John M. Miller / East Timor Action Network: – 2005-02-19 23:37:08
Rice May Release IMET to Indonesia Before Investigation Concludes
WASHINGTON, DC (February 17, 2005) — Researchers and advocates today called on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to consider new evidence of Indonesian involvement in an August 2002 attack on US citizens within the Freeport mining project area in Timika, West Papua, Indonesia, before releasing International Military Education and Training (IMET) military aid to the Indonesian military (TNI).
During her January 19, 2005, confirmation hearing for the position of US Secretary of State, Dr. Rice stated, “Although the investigation is not complete, the FBI has uncovered no evidence indicating TNI involvement in the Timika murders.”
“IMET should not be released,” said John Rumbiak, supervisor of the West Papua-based Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM). “There is new evidence pointing to the involvement of the Indonesian military in the Freeport attack.”
On January 26 and 27, 2005, Mr. Rumbiak briefed staffers of the US House of Representatives, Senate, and State Department with this new information. This information will be presented to FBI investigators on Wednesday, February 23, 2005. ELSHAM employees, who have already aided the FBI investigation, recently were threatened by Indonesian agents.
“By murdering these US citizens, the TNI may have been seeking higher payments to protect the Freeport mine” said Eben Kirksey, a regional specialist who is a Fellow at the University of California Washington Center. “The TNI has recently established indigenous militias throughout West Papua. Militia violence is used by the military to extort payments from foreign companies and Indonesia’s own civilian administration.”
Edmund McWilliams, former Political Counselor at the US Embassy in Jakarta, said, “It is crucial that the FBI explore well-documented ties between the Indonesian military and Wamang as well as a number of unindicted co-conspirators.”
On August 31, 2002, gunmen shot to death two US citizens and one Indonesian citizen while wounding eight other US citizens. This attack occurred on the heavily guarded main road within the mining project area of US-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. (NYSE symbol: FCX).
Initial Indonesian police reports identified the TNI as likely being involved in the attack. In June 2004, US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment of one man in connection with the crime, an Indonesian citizen named Anthonius Wamang. Wamang’s whereabouts are believed to be known to Indonesian authorities. He remains at large. Since the indictment, the FBI has not returned to Indonesia to continue the investigation.
The newly documented evidence of TNI involvement in the August 2002 attack includes these elements:
WAMANG LINKS TO TNI
Wamang traveled to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta in January 2002. ELSHAM possesses evidence that TNI agents paid for Wamang’s travel and accommodation expenses during this trip.
Before the January-March 2002 trip to Java, Wamang had no substantial combat experience nor advanced training in the use of automatic firearms. Weapons training may have been provided by the TNI at this time. Wamang reportedly claims that the ambush was planned during his January-March 2002 trip to Java.
PROVISION OF WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION BY TNI
Wamang has admitted in a videotaped interview, televised in August 2004 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that he purchased bullets from the TNI. ELSHAM has new detailed evidence about the roles of two other presumed co-conspirators who helped procure the weapons used in the attack.
These presumed co-conspirators have collaborated with TNI agents since 1996. One of the co-conspirators flew to Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta where he stayed at the home of Colonel Sugiono, an active TNI officer. Once automatic rifles were purchased from Indonesian military agents in Bandung, Col. Sugiono arranged for the payment of the airfare for this presumed co-conspirator to return to West Papua.
The rifles were not immediately brought back to West Papua and were stored at the Cikini Police Station (Polsek Cikini) in Jakarta.
POSSIBLE MOTIVE: TNI DESIRED INCREASED SECURITY PAYMENTS
Roughly 30% of the TNI annual budget comes from Indonesia’s civilian administration. The remainder of TNI funds come, in part, from both official security contracts with private companies and illegal extortion, and there is a documented history of TNI extortion of “protection money” from Freeport. ELSHAM has conducted extensive research about the financial details of the relationship between Freeport and the TNI.
Freeport made direct transfers, in amounts ranging from $1,800 to $2,100 per month, into the personal account of the regional military commander for West Papua (Pangdam Trikora). These payments were discontinued in the months leading up to the August 2002 attack. According to a communication by Freeport with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company paid the TNI $5.6 million in 2002.
John M. Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Media & Outreach Coordinator East Timor Action Network: 48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA: (718)596-7668 Fax: (718)222-4097 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391 http://www.etan.org