Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Indonesian army murdered two Americans?

http://laksamana.net/vnews.cfm?ncat=1&news_id=7934

Activists Link Indonesian Military to murder of two Americans


Laksamana.Net reports that human rights advocates are claiming there is new evidence linking the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to the August 2002 killing of two Americans and an Indonesian near the huge Freeport gold and copper mine in Papua province.

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights is urging Condoleezza Rice to consider the evidence before resuming aid to the Indonesian military (TNI).

"By murdering these U.S. 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 Indonesian military has set up militias throughout West Papua. Militia violence is reportedly used by the military to extort payments from foreign companies and Indonesia's own civilian administration.

Edmund McWilliams, former Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, said, "It is crucial that the FBI explore well-documented ties between the Indonesian military and the single individual so far indicted as well as a number of unindicted co-conspirators."

BACKGROUND On August 31, 2002, gunmen shot to death two U.S. citizens and one Indonesian citizen while wounding eight other U.S. citizens. This attack occurred on the heavily guarded main road within the mining project area of U.S.-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. (NYSE symbol: FCX).

Initial Indonesian police reports identified the Indonesian military as likely being involved in the attack.

In June 2004, U.S. 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 Indonesian military involvement in the August 2002 attack includes these elements:

WAMANG LINKS TO THE INDONESIAN MILITARY

Wamang traveled to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta in January 2002. Allegedly military agents paid for Wamang's travel and accommodation expenses during this trip. Wamang reportedly claims that the ambush was planned during his January-March 2002 trip to Java.

PROVISION OF WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION BY THE MILITARY

Wamang has admitted in a videotaped interview, televised in August 2004 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that he purchased bullets from the Indonesian military. Reportedly there is 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 Indonesian military agents since 1996. One of the co-conspirators flew to Jakarta where he stayed at the home of Colonel Sugiono, an active army 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: THE INDONESIAN MILITARY WANTED INCREASED SECURITY PAYMENTS

Around 2/3 of the Indonesian military budget comes from various businesses. These include security contracts with private companies and illegal extortion. 'There is a documented history of TNI extortion of "protection money" from Freeport'.

Freeport reportedly 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 reportedly discontinued in the months leading up to the August 2002 attack. According to a communication by Freeport with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company paid the TNI $5.6 million in 2002.

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