The Nation - According to senior Indonesian officials and police and details from government files, the US-backed Indonesian armed forces (TNI), now due for fresh American aid, assassinated a series of civilian activists during 2009. The killings were part of a secret government program, authorized from Jakarta, and were coordinated in part by an active-duty, US-trained general in the special forces unit called Kopassus who has just acknowledged on the record that his TNI men had a role in the killings.
The news comes as President Barack Obama is reportedly due to announce that he is reversing longstanding US policy--imposed by Congress in response to grassroots pressure--of restricting categories of US assistance to TNI, a force that, during its years of US training, has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The revelation could prove problematic for Obama, since his rationale for restoring the aid has been the claim that TNI no longer murders civilians. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the issue is whether there is a "resumption" of atrocities, but in fact they have not stopped. TNI still practices political murder. Read more.