Monday, April 05, 2010

Indonesia / United States

U.S. Plan to Train Indonesian Elite Army Unit Raises Alarm
By John M. Glionna
The Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2010
"Usman Hamid knows the fear of being stalked. He's tasted the panic of receiving threatening, late-night phone calls. 'They say, "I'm going to take out your eyes,'" he said. '"I'm going to throw you into the ocean. I'm going to kill your mother."' The menace hasn't come from any bandits or terrorists, he says, but from operatives who he suspects work for his own military. Hamid is chairman of the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence, a nonprofit that for years has investigated alleged human rights abuses by an elite army special forces unit called the Indonesian Komando Pasukan Khusus, known as Kopassus. Allegations date to the squad's inception in the 1950s and include beatings, abductions and assassinations that have gone largely unacknowledged -- and unpunished -- by officials here, Hamid said. Now, contrary to U.S. human rights law, the covert counter-terrorism and intelligence unit that many here say already views itself as being above the law is about to go into business with the U.S. government. The Obama administration has begun talks with
Indonesian military officials to establish a special training program for Kopassus troops despite legislation known as the Leahy Law. Passed in 1997, the measure bars the U.S. from training foreign militaries facing accusations of human rights abuses unless officials attempt to bring all wrongdoers to justice. Although details of the training remain unclear, Indonesian officials hint that they include bringing Kopassus officers to the United States for nonlethal counter-terrorism training. Analysts say the administration's plans are part of President Obama's agenda to engage, rather than isolate, troubled nations or their militaries. [...]"

1 comment:

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ