Monday, May 26, 2008

Sjafrie; Fort Benning USA; Swanbourne Australia; Military Rule

1. In Indonesia, real power lies with the military, including the regional military commands.

Each region or territory has a military command which is very powerful (the territorial function).

In Indonesia, the reform movement wants the Indonesian Military (TNI) to give up its control of politics and everyday life and focus on defense.


2. On 26 May 2008, the Defense Ministry secretary-general Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin talked to The Jakarta Post about the issue. (TNI territorial function to stay despite decade of reform: Sjafrie)

General Sjafrie stated:

"TNI territorial commands are in the form of military deployment as a defense force. Therefore, if the function is scrapped, TNI will lose its strength.

"The presence of regional military commands is needed as long as they do not conduct government functions as they did in the past. When it's deemed necessary, the military can be deployed for humanitarian operations or to help regional governments."

3. In the Jakarta Post, 29 December 2000, Dr. Damien Kingsbury, of Monash Asia Institute, explained:

"The greatest impediment to reform is that the TNI remains necessary to ensure Indonesia's territorial integrity.

"If the TNI gave up its territorial function the tendency for Indonesia to disintegrate would be considerable and the options for stopping it limited.

"So, the territorial function remains, yet that is in itself perhaps the greatest obstacle facing reform. There is one, increasingly thought about, view that suggests that real reform cannot exist in Indonesia for structural reasons, and that if there is real reform Indonesia would cease to exist." - Interview w/Dr. Damien Kingsbury on TNI, Mahfud, Gus Dur

4. Sjafrie Syamsuddin

Most of his career has been in Kopassus, including participating in the invasion of East Timor (Operasi Seroja) in 1976, the first of many tours there.

He has also had combat experience in Aceh. His specialisation was intelligence.

In 1985 he took the Infantry Officer's Advanced Course, in Fort Benning, USA.

In 1990 he commanded the Kopassus’ SGI (Intelligence Task Force) in East Timor, where he is reported to have been closely involved in directing the Santa Cruz massacre.

In 1993 he took a two-week training course at Special Air Service base, Swanbourne, Perth, Australia.

He led the presidential guard for Suharto in 1993-95. He gained experience in territorial commands, especially in Jakarta where he became military commander between 1997 and 1998.
He was questioned over his role in the shooting of protesters in Jakarta in May 1998.

He became armed forces spokesman in February 2002 - the appointment was greeted by protests from human rights organisations. (MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin - Master of Terror)


May 2008

"Angry students hurled molotov cocktails at police after Indonesia hiked the cost of gasoline by 33 percent." - Angry protests as Indonesia hikes fuel prices

"The United States says it has lifted a travel warning placed on Indonesia following a string of terrorist attacks. It cited improved security for the decision." - Indonesia travel warning lifted; security improved


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Justice in Indonesia

Video: The Murder of Munir

1. In Indonesia, "Another timber company director pursued in a police crackdown on illegal logging in Riau province was acquitted of all charges by judges in the Pelalawan District Court last week." - Blatant snub of justice: Indonesia timber exec acquitted .

2. In Indonesia, "an independent team set up to investigate the riots (May 1998) found that 85 mostly ethnic Chinese women were sexually assaulted, but authorities dropped the inquiry, citing a lack of evidence.Ten years later the victims remain silent because they fear for their safety and have no faith in the country's justice system, according to a new report issued by the National Commission on Violence Against Women." - Victims of 1998 Indonesia riots still silent-report Reuters

3. The U.N. Committee Against Torture says it is "deeply concerned about numerous ongoing credible and consistent allegations" of abuse in the Indonesian justice system. The committee says no state official accused of perpetrating torture has been found guilty, this despite efforts to combat rights abuses. - U.N. body says torture widespread in Indonesia

4. Indonesia is still run by the military. "Former militia leader Eurico Guterres — the only Indonesian jailed for the destruction of East Timor that claimed about 1500 lives in 1999 — has been acquitted by a Jakarta court. The decision means all the men, most of them Indonesian military officers, charged by Indonesian prosecutors over the violence during the 1999 independence referendum have now been acquitted." - Jakarta judges clear ex-militia leader over Timor carnage

5. All Indonesian airlines including national carrier Garuda are banned from the European Union, on grounds of safety. - BBC NEWS Europe EU bans all Indonesian airlines

6. "There is evidence that 'the military encourage the radical religious violence largely responsible for creating Indonesia's terrorism problem'. The Indonesian military 'has a history of using terrorism for political purposes'..." - aangirfan: Terror and the military in Indonesia; Munir

7. "Indonesian human rights campaigner Munir was murdered... Muchdi is a former chief of the Army’s elite Special Forces (Kopassus). He was dismissed from the position in 1998 after Munir exposed his role in the kidnapping and torture of numerous pro-democracy activists." - aangirfan: Terror and the military in Indonesia; Munir

8. The Bali Bomb, Mossad, the CIA and the Indonesian military.

9. Indonesia Loses a Human Rights Voice

On 16 may 2008, Todung Mulya Lubis, Indonesia’s most prominent human-rights voice, was disbarred from practicing law by the Jakarta Regional Honor Board after another prominent lawyer, Hotman Paris Hutapea, filed a complaint against him for an ethics violation.

In a telephone interview with Asia Sentinel, Mulya Lubis called the decision “totally baseless and unlawful” and said he has little hope of winning an appeal.

“For me this is a conspiracy of corrupt lawyers who feel troubled and disturbed by my stand to play by the rules and consistently fight against corruption,” he said. “The accuser, Hotman Paris Hutapea, is known as the most corrupt lawyer in Indonesia, while I am regarded as symbol of an incorruptible lawyer. The judgment is outrageous and has killed my life, violated my right to practice law, and defied common sense and justice. I will appeal, but I am losing hope in the integrity of the Bar Association. The legal profession is rotten.”