Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Freeport-McMoran, BP, West Papua, the Indonesian military

The following is taken from the excellent 30 November 2005:

In yesterday's Guardian, John reported on an announcement from the Indonesian military that a new division of some 10,000-15,000 troops of the élite strategic reserves would be created specifically to be based in West Papua.

The territory is home to the world's largest gold and copper mine, run by a subsidiary of the American firm Freeport-McMoran, and the Anglo-American oil giant BP is developing a massive natural gas field which is expected to be generating revenues of around £55m a year.

The military has yet to become an organ of the state and has to find some 60% of its own budget.

Suharto allowed the military to establish business conglomerates in return for their backing of his regime.That he left the country bankrupt means that the state has yet to have the financial resources to properly fund the military.

The consequence is that they need to engineer problems in provinces rich in resources in order to keep going.

Foreign journalists and most researchers and aid workers are banned from Papua but, ironically, tourists are not.Ironically, John? Tourists have money and generate income for the military-owned resorts. I doubt that your Guardian expense account is of interest to anyone but your editor.



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