Residents of a village in the Aceh province of Indonesia said today that the Indonesian military fired yesterday on an unarmed crowd that included women and children, killing at least 23 people and injuring many more.
Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta yesterday sent a letter to UN Secretary general Koffi Annan asking that the Indonesian military not be in charge of the referendum on independence scheduled for this August in Indonesia-occupied East Timor. In the letter, he once again denounced Indonesia for arming and training death squads in East Timor, which are responsible for killing scores of independence supporters.
Indonesia is just one of many countries named in a report released last week by the group Demilitarization for Democracy that says that in 1997, the Clinton administration set a record for exports of arms and training to dictatorships around the world. In the case of Indonesia, which in 1997 was still under the ruthless dictatorship of Suharto, the U.S. provided up to $20 million in military exports for that year.
In its report, entitled "Arms Uncontrol," the Washington Research Center for Demilitarization for Democracy identified $8.3 billion in U.S. military exports to 52 countries where the State Department says citizens are not allowed to choose their government democratically.
- Caleb Rossiter, Director of Demilitarization for Democracy. Call: 202.319.7191.