Anatomy of an Occupation: The Indonesian Military in West Papua

Full Report is available for download and distribution as a pdf Anatomy of an Occupation: The Indonesian Military in West Papua

and the Secret report is available Here

By Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb-Gannon, with Peter King

Report for the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), The University of Sydney, August 2011

Executive Summary

This report deals with a series of Indonesian military documents that were passed to the West Papua Project (WPP) in early 2011.[1] The documents provide remarkable insights into how the Indonesian military (Tentara Nasional IndonesiaTNI), operates within the disputed territory of West Papua (disputed, that is, between the vast majority of Papuans and the Indonesian government), and how they view West Papuan civil society. The documents reveal the names and activities of Indonesian intelligence agents; describe how traditional Papuan communities are monitored; and include a detailed analysis of both the West Papuan armed guerrilla groups and the non-violent civil society organisations which promote self-determination. Identifying so many West Papuan leaders and others as “separatists”, these documents effectively show that support for independence is widespread and surprisingly well organised. West Papuans have long complained of living under an Indonesian military “occupation” and these documents go a long way to Anatomy of an Occupation: The Indonesian Military in West Papuasubstantiating this claim.

The authors of this report have sought to verify information contained in the documents where possible. Much of this information on individuals and Papuan organisations is already well known, although presented here more comprehensively in some respects than ever before. We can therefore be relatively confident that the documents are not fabricated or deliberately misleading, although they do contain inaccuracies, omissions and many obvious examples of false or misleading precision. Names of Indonesian intelligence agents, both Papuan and non-Papuan, are impossible to verify and have been left out of our report. We do believe, however, that the general modus operandi revealed in the documents is a fair representation of how the Indonesian military operates. As many diverse and disputed claims are made about the conflict in West Papua by the Indonesian and other governments, by international commentators and by the Papuans themselves, we believe that this information should be in the public sphere to increase understanding of this little-known, but intense, bitter and long-standing conflict.

The report is split into two sections. The first deals with the 97 slide PowerPoint presentation entitled, Anatomy of Papuan Separatists. The presentation itself can be viewed at http://sydney.edu.au/arts/peace_conflict/research/west_papua_project.shtml. This section acts as a running commentary on the slide show, explaining and contextualising what is an intriguing exposition of the West Papuan armed liberation movement and its non-violent civilian counterpart. The forensic details of the Anatomy leave the reader in no doubt as to the level of military scrutiny under which the Papuans live. It shows just how seriously the Indonesian forces take the threat of “separatism”, especially its attempts to reach out to an international audience. The presentation could accurately be renamed as an Anatomy of the Papuan Occupation.

The second section deals with an assortment of other leaked documents that flesh out the day-to-day reality of living under Indonesian occupation. In both images and text the daily tasks of security force members are outlined as they maintain a close surveillance on communities of traditional Papuans. Details of Indonesian agents  – who they are, where they work, what information they can provide – are listed as small links in the heavy chain mesh of an occupation which has at its core the modern practice of “psychological warfare”, PSYOPS. This pernicious system of social control has created a pervasive atmosphere of terror amongst the Papuan population as their lives are manipulated by state actions and threatened with “black operations”. Unsolved, indeed uninvestigated, killings, beatings and rapes occur against a background of a rapidly changing demography as hundreds of thousands of non-Papuan Indonesians move into the province. Predominantly Muslim, the newcomers are adding another layer of tension and fear, as the Muslim-Christian divide widens – taking its cue from the threatened growth of radical Islam in Java and elsewhere.

PSYOPS, as practiced in West Papua, is analysed initially from a general perspective and then from the personal experience of several individual Papuans. As a tool of social control it has been effective in dividing the Papuan people, some of whom now form a Papuan elite that has prospered economically under the bureaucratic “reforms” enacted by the Indonesian government, particularly the creation of two provinces and some 23 new administrative regencies in Papua. However, these documents show that, despite PSYOPS and divide-and-rule administrative policies, there is a high degree of cohesion and unity amongst the West Papuan nationalist majority. Indeed, looking at the Papuan individuals identified in these documents it can be seen that West Papuan nationalism is spread throughout civil society, in the churches, youth groups, customary bodies and political organisations. Far from the desire for self-determination dying out, the younger generation of Papuan leaders is now stridently demanding the rights to which they are entitled by Indonesian law, albeit increasingly as a non-violent, civil resistance movement.

These documents show that Indonesian rule over West Papua can be characterised as an ongoing military/police occupation. Inevitably this involves the systematic infliction of human rights abuses on a civilian population. Our report concludes that Australia should not be co-operating as it does with the TNI elite special forces, Kopassus, because it directly implicates the Australian army and taxpayer in the suffering of the Papuan people. And all Australian military aid to Indonesia should be seriously reconsidered while the military dominated system of occupation persists in Papua. The political and administrative reforms that have benefited so much of Indonesia since 1998 need to be properly implemented in West Papua. Until then West Papua will remain a blight on Indonesia’s international reputation and a place of suffering for its indigenous Melanesian population.


[1] The West Papua Project, at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney, has operated since 2000 as an academic think tank and research center examining the conflict in West Papua between the indigenous Melanesian people and the Indonesian state and its security forces. During this period the WPP has held many conferences, workshops and briefings, and its affiliates have produced a wide range of publications including books, scholarly articles and reports.

Introduction

This report is based on a series of documents recently leaked into the public domain that relate to military and intelligence operations in West Papua.[1] The most important is entitled Anatomy of Papuan Separatists and it gives observers unprecedented insight into how the Indonesian army views the situation there. Organised as a confidential briefing document, presumably for senior Indonesian military, political and government figures, it clarifies a situation that is generally regarded as opaque. Other documents relate to the use of Papuan and non-Papuan intelligence agents by the TNI and efforts by soldiers to socialise with Papuan village communities (these documents are analysed in the second section of this report). While the Indonesian government bans foreign journalists and researchers from Papua’s two provinces, now confusingly named Papua and West Papua, in an attempt to block information on the situation from reaching the outside world, here is a case where the Indonesians themselves are providing a frank and comprehensive assessment. While undated, the Anatomy document’s reference to US President Barack Obama suggests it was written, or at least finished, sometime after his election on November 4, 2008.

Anatomy of Papuan Separatists is an extraordinary document in the form of an extended PowerPoint presentation. Produced by the TNI,[2] it is a systematic and detailed analysis of the West Papuan political landscape, mapping who the various actors are and where they fit into a larger picture. Almost every leading West Papuan political and military player is included in this analysis – leaving one with the distinct impression that there is no other game in town except “separatism”. In fact the goal for most of the West Papuan leaders in this analysis is independence, which implies that this is also the desired outcome for the overwhelming majority of the Papuan people. So this document is both a study in “separatism” and a blueprint for a military occupation meant to combat that separatism. Separatism is shown to be not a rare sentiment held by the few, but rather the glue which binds together the West Papuan ethnic and political consciousness. We are given a valuable insight into how West Papua and its Indonesian occupation actually work.

The Anatomy file comprises 97 slides and methodically works through the various ways in which the West Papuans confront the Indonesian state. In broad terms the conflict is split between military and political spheres, with some overlap. Both of these spheres are explored in remarkably frank detail. The military analysis of the “separatist” movement is the most detailed ever undertaken, or at least revealed publicly, and shows just how extensive the armed opposition to Indonesian rule is. The Anatomy document provides details of 31 armed groups of the TPN (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional –the National Liberation Army), the military wing of the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka—the Free Papua Movement) that are spread right across the two provinces (Papua and Papua Barat) that constitute the region referred to collectively in this report as West Papua. Rather than being the ragtag bunch of malcontents – which the OPM/TPN are usually portrayed as — this Anatomy shows them to be a relatively cohesive and deeply entrenched resistance army, highly committed to achieving their goal of independence from Indonesia, even though the Anatomy often seems to imply that all the dozens of groups it identifies across a 40 year period are still functioning pretty much as when first identified.

Before proceeding with analysis of the document we have three general comments.

First, we wish to highlight the pervasiveness of the phenomenon of “separatism” as seen from the (Indonesian military) author’s point of view. Demands for dialogue; the “return” of Special Autonomy to Jakarta, and for  demilitarisation, improved human rights, an end to discrimination, economic marginalisation and environmental devastation in West Papua — all amount to only “separatism” in the Anatomy. And separatism is viewed as a legitimate thing for the military to attack; separatists are enemies of the Indonesian state, and therefore enemies of the military and the police. There is no attempt to understand where this sentiment comes from, just to identify its existence to be targeted for destruction. That there are so many separatists does not seem to faze the author(s) of the Anatomy; just to reinforce his (their) sense of mission.

There is little discussion of those Papuans who are not separatists. There are undoubtedly Papuans who have thrown in their lot with Indonesia, one of whom is identified in the Anatomy, Franzalbert Joku. He is the only person of the hundreds listed who has “returned to Indonesia”. Joku is a well-known former independence activist who has given up the struggle as a hopeless cause and works hard to convince other “separatists” to do the same. Later in this report we will explore Joku’s views further as well as those of other prominent Papuans who have eschewed the struggle for freedom.

Second, it is noteworthy that there are so many “separatists” identified in the Anatomy, and that they include so many of the most prominent people from the three generations since the Indonesian takeover of Papua in 1962-3 is striking. While most outside observers dismiss the chance of achieving independence as remote if not impossible, given the power and determination of the Indonesian state and the comparative weakness of the Papuans, many Papuans do not. They are fully committed to the struggle. In fact these documents show that the younger generation, those in their 20s and 30s, are as committed as the older generations. Together the Papuans listed in this document represent most of the current leading figures in West Papuan society. The Anatomy shows how seriously the Indonesian state and military consider the threat of separatism, and indeed it places the people named under grave threat of targeted assassination. Some of them have indeed already been killed since the publication of the document (for instance OPM leader Kelly Kwalik). This has led some informed readers of the Anatomy to describe it as a “hit list” of people targeted for removal.

Thirdly, this document tells us how the Indonesian military views the West Papuan political structure. To an outside observer it is hard to grasp how all the multiple military, social and political Papuan groups relate to each other. Here this complex situation is laid out with surprising clarity: there are traceable lines of authority and engagement — even between various “factions” and geographically isolated groups. One reason that Jakarta has given for refusing to negotiate with the West Papuans over the myriad problems that beset the province is that “we do not know who to negotiate with”.[3] This document undermines that pretext.


[1] These documents have been referred to in a blog site on the internet dated January 30, 2011 at www.nokenlama.blogspot.com/2011/01/kisah-tentang-kekerasan-seksual.html in an entry entitled “Story About Sexual Violence in West Papua [By] Army Personnel”, which refers to “an article titled An Anatomy of Separatists in Papua, [by] Maj. D. Arm Fence”.  The article was published by the Secretariat for Justice and Peace, Archdiocese Merauke, Papua. Some others of these documents have been quoted previously (see allannairn.com), although many appear to be new, or at least to have received no public analysis; hence this report.

[2] The author of the Anatomy document is named as Major Arm Fence D Marani.

[3] Private conversation with senior Indonesian officials accompanying President Yudhoyono on his visit to Australia, Sydney University, 8 March, 2010.

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