Is Indonesia even dumber than the United States?
The official justification for shutting down the lab is that the memorandum of understanding between the governments of Indonesia and the United States, which set up NAMRU-2 in 1970, expired in 2000 and has yet to be renewed. Since 2000, however, the lab has continued its activities--which in addition to large diagnostic and surveillance programs includes training medical workers to recognize and treat H5N1-infected patients--without interruption. "From 1 January 2006," the letter dictates, "all NAMRU-2 activities will be terminated until a new M.O.U. between the Government of Indonesia and the United States Government has been signed."
The letter does not mention what concessions Indonesia aims to obtain from the U.S. But it closes by reminding health officials that every scientific article they produce in collaboration with a foreign researcher must be cleared by the ministry of health before it can be published.
This hits close to home for me, as a technician in my lab is supposed to head over to Jakarta next semester, after finishing her MPH degree this month. This is the first time I've heard of these threats...I'll have to check with her to see if they've been more forthcoming in her communications.
Edited to add: Effect Measure's take on the situation