Clinton defends Indonesia arms deal

Posted at Sidney Morning Herrald September 4, 2012 – 3:20AM

HILLARY Clinton has defended the Obama administration’s decision to provide air-to-surface missiles to the Indonesian military despite its record of human rights abuses in West Papua. Asked about the decision on Monday night, the US Secretary of State said, “Indonesia has a right to enhance its security,” before congratulating the country on its role in combatting terrorism using tough law enforcement. The comments come as Indonesia seems about to appoint a former head of the uncompromising counter terrorism police agency, Detachment 88, to lead the police force in Papua. Brigadier General Tito Karnavian will soon be appointed Papua police chief, according to a letter obtained by the Jakarta Globe newspaper, at a time when the work in the restive province of his former unit, Detachment 88, is coming under serious scrutiny.

General Karnavian, 47, led the Australian-funded and trained anti-terror police between 2004 and 2010, instituting a tough but successful crackdown on terrorist groups in Indonesia. However, Detachment 88’s work to suppress separatist strife in West Papua is considered much more controversial, particularly after allegations that the unit was involved in the recent, allegedly unprovoked, killing of independence activist Mako Tabuni. The American government has recently promised to give Indonesia two F16 fighter jets, and sell it air-to-surface guided missiles valued at $25 million. The missiles are designed to hit targets including ships, vehicles and fuel storage facilities.

Ms Clinton nodded towards the concerns of activists over the Tabuni killing, saying: “We deplore violence of any sort in Papua and when it does occur there should be full and transparent investigations under the rule of law and make sure that the lessons are learned from that”. However, she added that the United States “believe that there has been an enormous amount of good work done by the Indonesian government”. Australian foreign minister Bob Carr recently called for a full and open inquiry into the Tabuni killing – earning a rebuke from a senior Indonesian parliamentarian. The Indonesian government has so far made no moves towards an inquiry. On the police version of events, Mr Tabuni was armed.

Sorce from The Sydney Morning Herrald, follow link below for the whole article.
http://www.smh.com.au/world/clinton-defends-indonesia-arms-deal-20120904-25b2e.html

Michael Bachelard, Indonesia

 

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