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Cablegate: Meeting Leahy Amendment Requirements in Indonesia

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DE RUEHJA #1702/01 2530734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 090734Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0020
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UNCLAS JAKARTA 001702

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, DRL, DRL/AWH
NSC FOR E. PHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM MARR MASS SNAR ID
SUBJECT: MEETING LEAHY AMENDMENT REQUIREMENTS IN INDONESIA

REF: STATE 89639

1. (SBU) This is an Action Request. Please see para 11.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Post trained close to 2000 members of the
Indonesian military and police in 2007 who were subject to
Leahy Amendment human rights vetting. Post faces a central
problem with current interpretations of the Leahy Amendment:
although the political-military thrust of U.S. policy is to
use the re-establishment of relations with Indonesian
military and security services to build a strong ally in the
war on terror, we are prohibited from training security
forces who manage Indonesia's response to direct threats.
The second goal of engagement is to promote security sector
reform here, yet the U.S. is unable to train members of the
military or police even when many of those are not charged
with gross human rights violations. Post recommends finding
a way to allow younger members of the police and military to
receive U.S. training, which includes establishing a time
limit after which members of a tainted unit can be trained.
END SUMMARY.

CURRENT PROCEDURES
------------------

3. (SBU) According to current guidelines, all training of
security forces that is funded by the Foreign Operations
Assistance Act or the Defense Appropriations Act is subject
to the human rights vetting requirements of their respective
Leahy Amendments. For each proposed trainee, Embassy Jakarta
conducts a name check of available data bases and open
sources. If the name check reveals credible allegations that
the individual was responsible for gross violations of human
rights, he/she is ineligible for training. Under new vetting
rules, if the individual's current unit of assignment has a
record of responsibility for gross violations of human
rights, as previously determined by decisions of the
Department of State, then any individual currently assigned
to that unit will be ineligible for training.

BACKGROUND
----------

4. (SBU) For the Indonesian military, the Ministry of
Defense maintains a centralized personnel system that
facilitates access to name check information. In addition,
training programs are identified and agreed well in advance
through semiannual defense discussions. For the Indonesian
National Police, which has over 350,000 members serving on
6,000 separate islands, there is no centralized personnel
system. The police require significantly longer to obtain
the names and data on each trainee. Of the training subject
to Leahy Law requirements, Department of Defense programs
included 342 individuals in 2007 (45 of these under IMET);
Department of State programs included 1,652 individuals in
2007.

5. (SBU) In 2005 the Secretary ended a 13-year embargo on
security cooperation with Indonesia, and in 2007 President
Bush told President Yudhoyono that the United States wanted
to increase security cooperation. Embassy Jakarta has taken
every precaution to ensure that no perpetrator of gross
violations of human rights receives U.S. training assistance.
Nevertheless, implementation of the Leahy Amendment has
prevented cooperation with several of the units most crucial
for USG interests due to their responsibility for past human
rights violations. For events from 2005 onward, these forces
have not been the object of credible allegations of gross
violations of human rights.

MILITARY
--------

6. (SBU) For trainees serving in the Indonesian military,
most vetting can take place quickly. The most credible
allegations of gross violations of human rights concern
incidents that occurred ten years ago in East Timor and
during the instability that accompanied the fall of Suharto,
although some incidents took place since then. It is
relatively easy to scan available databases for allegations
relating to individuals and to identify those units that are
alleged to have been involved. Most of those individuals
against whom there have been specific allegations have
retired or are now too senior to qualify for USG-funded
training. Under the new rules, however, younger officers,
who were not in service at the time of the human rights
violations, will be denied training if they are currently
serving in a unit that had at one time been implicated.

POLICE
------

7. (SBU) Regarding the police, the situation is similar.
In the four years that we have records of vetting trainees
individually, including information from service records that
would have indicated prior service in a unit implicated in
gross violations of human rights, fewer than three percent of
those vetted served in locations at times when police
allegedly committed gross human rights violations. Under the
current procedures, however, those currently serving in units
accused of prior violations will be barred, without recourse,
even though the specific trainee may not even have been in
service at the time of the violation.

8. (SBU) Embassy Jakarta has a full record of individuals
cleared by the Department for training, which provides
authoritative guidance on which units in either the police or
the military have had members cleared for training on the
basis of their membership in that unit. Embassy Jakarta will
follow that record in vetting.

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS?
----------------------

9. (SBU) The central problem with current vetting
procedures is that the main political-military thrust of U.S.
policy is to use the re-establishment of relations with
Indonesian military and security services to build a strong
ally in the war on terror. The police and military are
structured in a way that each has an elite force that manages
crises and counters direct threats to security of the state.
The military's elite force is KOPASSUS, the 5,000-member Army
special forces, many of whom are in the UN Peacekeeping force
in Lebanon. The police's elite force is BRIMOB, the
32,000-member Mobile Brigade with a direct role in protecting
embassies, countering terrorism, human trafficking,
narcotics, intellectual property rights violations, and
environmental crimes. Mobile Brigade is also heavily
involved in disaster response, which is one of our largest
training programs, and will supply 70 percent of the
peacekeepers scheduled to deploy to Darfur in September. The
current interpretation of the Leahy amendment impedes - at
times, prevents - training of those forces most critical to
the achievement of U.S. policy objectives in Indonesia.

RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------

10. (SBU) Embassy Jakarta proposes the following options as
a way forward to ensure that no violators of human rights
receive U.S. training while also training the forces engaged
in promoting important U.S. policies. First, establish a
time limit for units after which a unit charged with past
violations can again be trained; five years would seem to be
reasonable period. Second, allow individual members of a
unit associated with human rights violations to be "vetted
clean"; if a database scan and review of a full service
record revealed no credible evidence of violations by that
individual, he/she would be eligible for USG-funded training.
This approach would encourage the internal reform within
units that previously had problems. Specifically, we need to
train younger members of the police and military, who were
not even in the service at the time of the violations, to
drive internal reforms. This change is essential to our
ability to promote reform of Indonesia's security forces.

ACTION REQUEST
--------------

11. (SBU) Mission requests policy-level Department
consideration of the recommendations mentioned above to
permit continuation of robust security-sector training in key
areas of U.S. foreign policy interest.
HUME

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