Daily Archives: August 13, 2011

The Age: Independence at threat from enemy within

Tom Allard

August 13, 2011

A Papuan protester addresses a crowd.Mako Tabuni, KNPB leader addresses a crowd on August 2

Papuans remain under Indonesia’s menacing grip, reports Tom Allard from Jakarta.

It would seem, to most observers, to be a singularly unremarkable venture. A group of American tourists visiting a cultural centre in the Papuan town of Abepura, just outside the capital Jayapura. On the agenda was an opportunity to view some historical artefacts and watch a traditional dance.

But, as the group of some 180 visitors toured the facility and enjoyed the performance, they were being watched. In the shadows was an informant for Indonesia’s elite special forces unit, Kopassus.

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Indigenous traders sell produce in Jayapura, where migrants own many businesses.Indigenous traders sell produce in Jayapura, where migrants own many businesses.

In a report back to his handler, the informant observed the tourists had been warmly welcomed by the centre’s manager and been amused and entranced by the dance. The visit had lasted precisely 35 minutes, from 11.50am to 12.25pm, and had been ”safe and smooth”.

The informant warned there was no room for complacency, a point heartily endorsed by the Kopassus handler, Second Lieutenant Muhammad Zainollah.

”With visits from overseas tourists to Papua, there is the possibility of influencing conditions of Papuan society,” Lieutenant Zainollah wrote in his report to the local Kopassus commander. ”Politically, there needs to be a deeper detection of the existence hidden behind it all because of the possibility of a process of deception … such as meetings with pro-independence groups.”

<img src=”http://images.theage.com.au/2011/08/12/2554865/art-353-14-papua-1-200×0.jpg&#8221; alt=”Freedoms under surveillance … from left, Kopassus officer Lieutenant Muhammad Zainollah, author of many of the intelligence reports obtained by the Herald.” />Freedoms under surveillance … Kopassus officer Lieutenant Muhammad Zainollah, author of many of the intelligence reports obtained by the Herald.

The note is bizarre and even amusing. It is one of hundreds of intelligence briefs obtained by the Herald from Kopassus intelligence posts in Papua and part of a cache of 19 documents that includes a highly detailed analysis of the ”anatomy” of the separatist movement.

But it is also instructive of what the material in its entirety reveals: the Indonesian government runs a network of spies and informants in Papua that is staggering in its scope and range of targets. And infecting all the reporting and analysis is a deep paranoia that is both astonishing and disturbing.

In the easternmost reaches of Indonesia’s sprawling archipelago and located in the western half of the island of New Guinea, the resource-rich region of Papua is a running sore and source of angst and embarrassment for Indonesia, a country that has otherwise made substantial strides as a democratic and economic power.

Despite being granted special autonomy 10 years ago and targeted for accelerated economic development, its indigenous Melanesian people are the country’s poorest and many are deeply unhappy with Jakarta’s rule and a heavy security presence.

The documents, which date from 2006 to 2009, reveal that independence activists and members of the OPM-TPN, the small armed resistance, are under intense surveillance, but so too are many ordinary Papuans and civic leaders who do not advocate independence but are concerned about the advancement of their people or are influential in the community.

”Everyone is a separatist until they can prove they are not,” says Neles Tebay, a pastor and convener of the Papua Peace Network that is promoting dialogue with Jakarta. Around the capital, Jayapura, there are 10 Kopassus spy networks infiltrating ”all levels of society”, including the university, government agencies, the local parliament, hotels and the Papuan Customary Council.

A worker at a car rental agency tips off his Kopassus handler whenever a suspicious customer visits the establishment or talks about ”M”, shorthand for ”merdeka” or freedom. A phone shop employee ”often provides information on the phone numbers of people purchasing phone credits”.

Journalists, university students, bureaucrats, church leaders, teachers, motorcycle taxi drivers, clan leaders, village chiefs, farmers and forest workers are all on the books of Kopassus. One leader of the OPM-TPN has eight Kopassus informants within his network, including a 14-year-old family member.

Each of the informants, who cannot be identified to protect their safety, is described by temperament and motivation. The motivation is usually ”to make money”. Temperaments range from ”hard-working”, ”courageous” and ”quiet” to ”unstable”, ”explosive” and ”drunk”.

And the Kopassus intelligence documents are just a snapshot of the total campaign under way in Papua. Other units of the Indonesian military, known as the TNI, run similar operations, as do the police. There are also scores of agents in Papua from Indonesia’s national intelligence agency, known by its acronym BIN.

Benny Giay, a leader of the Gospel Tabernacle Church, is one of the civic leaders branded a separatist and targeted by Kopassus. For Dr Giay, the suffocating presence of the intelligence network is part of daily life, as is interference in the affairs of his church by the military.

”If someone joins the church, we always have to ask ourselves, ‘what did they come here for? Are they intels or worshippers?’,” he says.

And, given the disappearance and deaths of other leaders under the gaze of Kopassus, the surveillance leaves Giay constantly uneasy. ”I have to check my meals to make sure they are not poisoned and I have to be home by 7pm. If I walk around after then, I have to bring someone with me, always.”

Marcus Haluk, the secretary general of the Central Highlands Papuan Student Association, features heavily in the documents. It seems most of his meetings are attended by a Kopassus spy.

”I’ve lost count of the attempts to kill or threaten me,” he says. ”I’ve had guns pointed at my head, I’ve been thrown from a motorcycle. There are always SMS threats.”

Underpinning the spying is the view that most institutions in Papua are riddled with separatists. The documents outline a two-stage intelligence operation to address the perceived problem.

The first involves disrupting alleged separatist networks and the second is dubbed the ”diminishing dominant influence phase” or ensuring ”traditional institutions used for politics in Papua lose the trust of the indigenous peoples of Papua”.

In short, the objective is to discredit the institutions and arrangements introduced by the central government under Papua’s special autonomy deal introduced in 2001, the very policy supposed to give Papuans economic and cultural rights, dampen independence sentiment and secure national unity.

Agus Sumule, a long-term resident of Papua and adviser to Papua’s Governor, Barnabas Suebu, is an immigrant, a nationalist and was a key player in drafting the special autonomy laws which created a new legislative body to represent indigenous Papuans known as the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP).

Special autonomy has never had a chance, he argues, and much of that blame lies with Jakarta’s refusal to implement it properly.

Papua was divided into two provinces against the wishes of the MRP, Dr Sumule says. Moreover, the home affairs ministry interferes in the election of MRP candidates, and has banned people from taking their seats. Despite provisions in the special autonomy law for symbols of Papuan identity to be displayed, the cherished Morning Star flag has been outlawed. Those caught displaying it can be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Some $3 billion in aid has flowed from the central government to the region in the past decade, but it is handed out haphazardly and most of it has been siphoned off by corrupt officials or wasted on bureaucracies to support the new province and dozens of new regencies in Papua.

Meanwhile, Papua has been swamped by migrants from other parts of Indonesia who dominate its economy. Explaining the economic disparity, one Kopassus report offered a plainly racist rationale. Indigenous Papuans ”lack the willingness to work and the willingness to make a better life, so their lives seem to be making no substantial progress”, it said. Migrants, in contrast, had a ”high spirit and work ethic”.

Asked about the extensive intelligence operations, Dr Sumule observed: ”On the one hand its paranoia, but it’s also much more than paranoia. It shows they don’t have a relevant policy for Papua, an understanding of Papua or what Papua should be in Indonesia. The problem with the intelligence is it’s not intelligent. They send so much wrong information for the people in Jakarta, and they make decisions on it. It’s very dangerous.”

Indeed, the major report on the Anatomy of Separatists had a detailed section on the alleged foreign support networks for a ”Free Papua” and it bears out Dr Sumule’s criticism of the quality of the intelligence.

The list of 32 Australians includes academics, politicians and religious leaders who could understandably be placed in the category. Others have simply shown an interest in Papuan affairs, raised concerns about human rights or are journalists.

The appearance of the former current affairs host Naomi Robson on the list is a stand-out.

The former Today Tonight host, now running a web-based dating service and TV show, presumably gets a mention because she entered Papua without media accreditation in 2006 to ”save” Wa-wa, the boy who was the subject of a story by rival program60 Minutes.

Famously, Channel Nine’s current affairs flagship alleged Wa-wa was destined to be consumed by his fellow Korowai tribespeople, who were cannibals, but after filming they left him behind to an uncertain fate.

Foreigners in Papua are viewed suspiciously, especially non-government groups. Indonesia has expelled several foreign NGOs from the territory in recent years. The International Committee of the Red Cross is banned from visiting more than 100 political prisoners. By contrast, the ICRC is allowed into Guantanamo Bay and could visit prisons in apartheid-era South Africa.

One part of the intelligence analysis that is presumably more accurate is the assessment of the strength of the OPM-TPN. It is reckoned to have 1129 fighters with mixed weapons totalling only 131, and grenades.

While the poorly armed resistance fighters do have some success in ambushing Indonesian military posts and are adept at hiding in Papua’s mountainous terrain, the low estimate of their strength calls into question why there is such a large military presence in Papua.

The Indonesian government will not release precise figures on its armed deployments in Papua, but since special autonomy was introduced in 2001, it has doubled the number of battalions from three to six. It has 114 posts along the border with Papua New Guinea alone.

Estimates put the military numbers at about 15,000, roughly 13 soldiers for every armed separatist.

As one Indonesian official told a US embassy staffer, revealed in cables released by WikiLeaks: ”The TNI has far more troops in Papua than it is willing to admit, chiefly to protect and facilitate TNI interests in illegal logging operations.”

The massive military and intelligence apparatus in Papua makes a lie of Indonesia’s insistence that it long ago junked its ”security” approach to managing Papua and it is now formulating policy under the rubric of ”development and prosperity,” says Neles Tebay.

”[The troops] are trained to see Papuans as the enemy,” he adds. ”I’m not saying all the troops are bad but if one group of them is threatening the indigenous people then it creates widespread fear. Also, they are always interrogating people. It’s very threatening.”

Neither the TNI or Kopassus would respond to questions for this article, sent to them two weeks ago. However, it has maintained human rights abuses such as that depicted last year in a video of a man being tortured by soldiers holding a burning stick against his genitals, revealed in the Herald, do not reflect policy.

It also says it devotes energy towards improving living conditions in remote villages. Certainly, the Kopassus documents include accounts of its officers going to hamlets in the remote central highlands region to help with health clinics, building bridges and homes as well playing sport and attending religious and cultural ceremonies.

But, as shown by mass protests in Papuan towns last week, special autonomy has not worked for Papua’s indigenous people or for the Indonesian government. Papuans such as Neles Tebay have called for dialogue and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono talked last year about embarking on ”constructive communication”.

Progress, however, has been painfully slow and, as the cache of documents reveals time and again, the security forces make no distinction between demands for dialogue and militant separatism. If a lasting settlement is to be achieved, many believe it will require a significant scaling back of the military in Papua, its policy influence in Jakarta and the spy networks that treat ordinary Papuans like criminals and worse.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/independence-at-threat-from-enemy-within-20110812-1iqur.html#ixzz1UtYnzIxc

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.

Warinussy on importance of ILWP meeting in August

[Readers please note that TAPOL decided not to waste time on the item
that appeared in Bintang Papua on 4 August because of its many
inaccuracies. See below. We guessed to the time that this was the result
of TNI intervention, to block accurate reporting about an important
event for Papua in the UK. Readers should also note that the three-hour
meeting in Oxford on 2 August is constantly being reported in the
Indonesian press as a KTT, Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi, a Summit
Conference, an expression normally reserved for meetings of heads of
state, which of course was not appropriate for the meeting held in
Oxford, which was a meeting attended by academics and activists. ]
———————————————-

Bintang Papua, 5 August 2011

Yan Christian Warinussy, a human rights activist and law practitioner,
has expressed his appreciation of the demonstrations organised by Papuan
activists in Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura and Biak which highlighted the
principle of peace.

He said it was important for all organisations, especially the Dewan
Adat Papua (Papuan Customary Council), to gather together documents and
visual material about the ILWP conference that was held in the UK in
August. These documents need to be analysed and circulated widely to
the Papuan people and district governments, including the security
forces of the Indonesian armed forces and police, to ensure that
everyone has the same understanding about these activities as well as
their impacts on the future of the Papuan people.

‘Whether or not the idea of a referendum has the support of many
components is a matter for the future because it needs a response from
many groups, including those who are for and those who are against the
idea of self-determination for the Papuan people.

‘We need to remember that the right to self-determination is a right
for all the people on earth, including the indigenous Papuan people, as
stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’ Warinussy also
said that the achievements of the Papuan people in organising the Papuan
Peace Conference on 5 – 7 July this year was an extraordinarily
important event which no one had ever predicted. It was at this peace
conference that all the problems that the Papuan people have been
wrestling with for the past ten years were studied and analysed by
various groups and reported on scientifically. There were thoroughgoing
discussions which led to conclusions and recommendations that were
drawn up by representatives of the Papuan people who participated in the
conference.

The Dewan Adat Papua (Papuan Customary Council ) should speedily
consolidate their networks in the Land of Papua and take action
together with all components of the Papuan people to prepare concrete
measures for the achievement of a Papua-Indonesia dialogue in 2011.

Meanwhile, a news item published by Bintang Papua the headline of which
was ‘ILWP conference failed to reach agreement on its agenda’ described
it as ‘breaking news from the BBC but it was of questionable origin.
According to the editor of Bintang Papua, they realised that they had
not been careful enough in confirming that the BBC was the source of the
item; as a result, on the following day action was taken against the
person who had contributed the item, according to a statement by the
Bintang Papua editor.

According to the editor-in-chief of Bintang Papua, Walhamri Wahid, the
contributor admitted that the source of the item was an SMS which was
widely circulated by a senior officer of the Cenderawasih military
command, based on an SMS from a former OPM member who subsequently
defected and who was in London when the conference was taking place.

The SMS commenced with the words BREAKING NEWS BBC LONDON (written in
capital letters) which was sent by Frans Albert Joku in a report to a
senior officer at the Cenderawasih military command which was then
forwarded to Bintang Papua. ‘We did not clarify where the information
had come from, there was no check and counter check on its accuracy and
it was published as if it had been sent by BBC-London, said Walhamri
Wahid.

Bintang Papua abides by the Journalists’ Code of Ethics but on that
occasion, the journalist was in a race against time, facing a deadline
and relied solely on the journalist who had sent the item from the
field. ‘Our conclusion for the time being is that this news item was
untruthful, using another news agency as the source.’ It was decided on
the following day that they would confirm (this mistake) and apologise
if it turned out to be true that this report was not from the BBC. We
have received no denial from the BBC. ‘When I was later browsing on the
internet, I found no such breaking news in any of the reports from the
BBC, said the editor in chief.

At the time it was early in the morning, at 2am on 3 August, and this
was a news item that people in Papua were eagerly awaiting. This was
seen as an important day when the conference was adopting decisions
about the future of the Papuan people. According to the Bintang Papua
editor, their journalist (in the UK) was having difficulty reporting the
matter from the location of the meeting, and the impression was that it
was deliberately blocked so as to ensure that the news would not be
circulated.

The rest of this article regurgitates the erroneous information that was
contained in the BP report on 4 August.

[Reminder: Readers of this list may recall that we posted the following
statement on 4 August:

Note: The report in Bintang Papua today about the ILWP meeting in
Oxford on 2 August was so full of inaccuracies that it was a waste of
time to translate it. Suffice it to say that it described the meeting
as ‘a failure’.

Carmel Budiardjo, TAPOL

Strike pressures PT Freeport Indonesia into serious negotiations

Alex Rayfield and Claudia King11 August 201

Indigenous Papuans are waging a four-decade long nonviolent struggle for independence from Indonesia. At the heart of Papuan grievances lies Freeport, the world’s largest gold and copper mine, owned and operated by US based company Freeport McMoRan and their Indonesian subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia.

Perched on the western rim of the Melanesian Pacific, adjacent to independent Papua New Guinea is West Papua. Here, in a land so diverse that you can stand on a tropical glacier 15,000 feet high and peer down on the equator, indigenous Papuans are waging a four-decade long nonviolent struggle for independence from Indonesia. At the heart of Papuan grievances lies Freeport, the world’s largest gold and copper mine, owned and operated by US based company Freeport McMoRan and their Indonesian subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia.

Recently trouble at the mine flared up again, as around 12,000 Indonesian and Papuan Mine workers and contractors went on strike, joined by local indigenous leaders. Walking off a job has never been so hard, Yan Ampnir told us. When he decided to join the mine workers’ strike in the remote Indonesian province of Papua, it was not a simple case of heading out the gate and driving home to his family. It involved a gruelling 40-mile trek down a roller-coaster road that plunges 8,400 feet down from the vertiginous cloud-cloaked mountain walls of Tembagapura, the remote mine base camp, to the sprawling swamp lowlands of Timika.


SPSI collection. Freeport Mine.

Tembagapura is a company town. The only people who live there are mine workers. After long shifts in the Grasberg open pit or in the underground mine, workers are bussed on four-wheel drive trucks back to Timika or the US lookalike suburb of Kuala Kencana, replete with shopping malls, manicured lawns and street lights, all carved out of the middle of the jungle. So, when the company refused to bus the workers outside the Indonesian military– guarded mine area, Ampnir and his compatriots picked up their bags and started walking.

Seventeen hours later the first group arrived in Timika; tired, wet, cold and hungry. Eight days later the strike ended. In the process some 12,000 mine workers (of a total workforce of 23,000) halted production at the world’s largest gold and copper mine, inflicting a loss of USD$95,000 per day on US-based Freeport McMoRan, Indonesian subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia and their Anglo Australian partner, Rio Tinto.

After a quick search on the Internet, Albar Sabang, the local union branch secretary, hands us an excel spreadsheet. On it is a list of pay scales. Sabang is a mechanic who fixes heavy machinery like bulldozers and excavators. He has worked for PT Freeport Indonesia since 1994 and earns $3.00 per hour. He is one of the highest paid local employees out of a group PTFI calls “non-staff”. Others earn as little as $1.80 per hour, a wage that rose 98% after a similar workers strike in April 2007.

Sudiro (his only name) is a softly spoken tall Javanese man, unassuming in person. He is the local SPSI (Seluruh Pekerja Serikat Indondesia – or All Indonesian Workers Union) chair of the Freeport Mine Workers Union, an affiliate with the national SPSI network. Recently sacked by PT Freeport Indonesia for organising workers, he only just got his job back. “Of all the Freeport mines”, Sudiro tells us, “PT Freeport Indonesia is the most profitable. It has the lowest production costs. But workers are paid the lowest salaries. We are even paid less than Freeport mine workers in Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That’s not right.”

A history of local grievances 

Freeport is emblematic of much that is wrong in West Papua.

The company’s Contract of Work was signed in 1967, two years before the Act of Free Choice was concluded, a referendum that was supposed to give the indigenous West Papuans a chance to say whether they wanted to be independent or part of Indonesia. In fact, there was no vote. Instead, 1,022 West Papuans, less than 0.01% of the population, were corralled into camps and told to “vote” for integration with Indonesia or have “their tongues cut out”. But it was not just the Indonesian government that consented to democratic fraud writ large; the US, Australian and European governments were also not prepared to contest the election or risk stability in the region for what one US Embassy source at the time called a handful of “Stone-Age illiterate tribal groups”.


SPSI collection.Strike Leaving Tembagapura.

The biggest prize of all was Freeport. Suharto declared the company a national asset and instructed the military to guard the mine, which led to a long history of human rights violations, including un-investigated mass killings, theft of Papuan land and massive environmental degradation, all of which has led to ongoing violent and nonviolent resistance.

This was the era before the notion of “free, prior, and informed consent” became best practice for extractive industries. According to local indigenous landowners, they still feel that they have not been consulted or their rights respected.

As the Amungme people’s sacred mountain is consumed, tailings are dumped in the Ajkwa River at the rate of 200,000 tons a day. The result: over 30,000 hectares of rainforest have been wiped out and huge levee banks built to stop Timika from being smothered by sludge waste. In the process, Freeport became a lightning rod for all Papuan grievances.

Although the company tried to respond to local indigenous West Papuan grievances by hiring Papuan staff and redirecting 1% of the profits to support members of the local seven tribes, new problems continue to be added on top of old, unresolved issues. The local tribes (a number of whom work in the mine) and Freeport mine workers from elsewhere bring in massive profits for the company. They work under extreme conditions at high altitude but feel like they have little stake in the company and few worker benefits.

“We are not valued as human beings. We are treated as an instrument of the company. Our goal is to get to a position where we are treated as human” says Sudiro.

According to miners interviewed in July 2011, many workers are forced to take out bank loans to pay for basic needs and to support their families. After retirement, some must seek alternative types of income. Yet when workers attempt to raise these issues with Freeport management, they have received warning letters from them in return.

“It seems like the company sees us as the troublemakers. But,” says Sudiro, referring to workers’ contributions to gold and copper production, “we are the solution-makers.”

SPSI finds its teeth 

SPSI PT Freeport Indonesia is one local branch of the national labour union federation of Indonesia. The organization has represented PTFI mine workers in 16 Collective Labor Agreements (CLA) dating back to 1977. But until recently it functioned as little more than a rubber stamp for company policies.

Freeport has a history of suppressing workers’ rights and union organizing. Under Suharto, independent labour organising was prohibited. Those that tried were often killed or spent years in jail. But over the past decade, as political space has slowly opened up, Sudiro and other workers have been quietly organizing. But because of the closed-off nature of West Papua, they have done so through exchanges on the Internet, educating themselves on best practice and lessons learned from unions in other parts of the world. “We particularly admired the quiet, peaceful way Japanese workers raised their grievances,” said Sudiro.


SPSI collection. Strike Congregate at Tembagapura.

SPSI PT Freeport Indonesia’s mission and objectives are limited to workers’ rights and their tactics are exclusively nonviolent. But they continue to be associated with violence and separatism. “We use a peaceful way. We don’t want to get into the political arena, this is not our area. We just want to struggle for our rights, and to have the same rights as workers elsewhere.”

Campaigns to educate fellow mine workers about their rights and the role of unions in protecting workers seem to be paying off. Reflecting on worker participation in the recent strike, Sudiro said, “The workers finally opened their eyes and minds to the situation. The company cannot stop this. We have woken up. We will never go back to how we were treated before the strike.”

Nevertheless, SPSI Freeport members continue to face threats and intimidation from the company. When two of the union members travelled to Jayapura to seek advice from Papuan leaders, they were followed by Indonesian security forces who have long been paid by Freeport to guard the mine.

“The company does not like us organizing for workers’ rights, but we are not doing anything wrong. The strike is an action that is guaranteed by the law. Indonesia is a member of the ILO and the ILO is very clear. We have the right to form a union and we have done so according to Indonesian law” says Sudiro.

Article 104 (1) of Indonesian National Law Number 13, 2003 explicitly states: “Every worker/ labourer has the right to form and become a member of a trade/ labour union.”

The decision to strike 

The company has utilized a range of “dirty” tactics to avoid dealing with SPSI demands over wages and conditions. One of the most galling for mineworkers was the creation of a ‘new’ union aimed at pushing out SPSI’s union. The new union was created in response to SPSI Freeport mineworkers’ agitation around wages and conditions.

At the same time the company declared the SPSI Freeport Mine Workers Union – an organisation that has grown from a low of 4,000 to 8,200 members – illegal, and promptly fired six of the leadership including Sudiro himself. The only problem was this ‘union’ had no members. Its board was appointed by Nur Hadiah, a lawyer based in Jayapura, in violation of SPSI regulations. “It was a completely fake union” said Sudiro.

The reaction from the workers? An overwhelming decision from all of the 254 union representatives to strike and nearly 100% participation from SPSI Freeport union members. “We were up against a wall. We had no other choice,” Sudiro said.

But the strike was not just about wages. “We wanted the company to recognise the union, the right to freely organise, and to reinstate the six SPSI Union leaders who were dismissed by Freeport for conducting union business” said Sudiro.

 

SPSI collection. A female striker
After more than a week of strikes and continuous demonstrations, on the evening of July 11 PT Freeport Indonesia gave in to SPSI’s

demands. They reinstated the union leaders without any deduction in salary, agreed to pay the wages of all striking workers for the duration of the strike, agreed to recognise SPSI Freeport Mine Workers Union as the sole legal representative of Freeport mine workers and also agreed to enter into Collective Labor Agreement negotiations. Those negotiations opened Wednesday July 20 at the Freeport-owned Hotel Rimba Papua in Timika. They are still continuing and according to Company sources are not expected to finish until 19 August. Both workers and management are remaining tight-lipped about their progress.

The seven tribes

The current  (seventeenth) Collective Labor Agreement negotiations are different. They are not only about wages and conditions. They also concern the company’s relationship with local landowners, the Amungme and Kamoro, as well as five other major highland tribes – the Dani, Moni, Damal, Mee/Ekari and Nduga.

Amungme tribal elder Hengky Uamang speaks to us at one of the SPSI union leaders’ rented duplex house in the back lanes of Timika. His voice is quiet and one of his compatriots translates from Amungme into Indonesian so that we can understand what he is saying. His message is simple and profound.

“My heart is broken. It is as if we are not human beings but a piece of gold to be consumed. I am gold but I get no benefit.” Tears slowly roll down his face.

Others in the crowded living room become angry. “Does Moffet (the US Chair of Freeport McMoRan) have no shame?” Jecky Amisim rhetorically asks. “Does he not fear God? Don’t you people in America know that if you come to someone’s place and want to take something, you have to ask first?”

The seven tribal leaders nod in agreement. Sudiro tells us: “If these negotiations fail, we will see it as a death of democracy.”

“If Moffett and Armando Mahler (the president of PT Freeport Indonesia) can’t help us, if the wealth of these mountains do not bring a benefit to us the local tribes, the workers and the people of Papua,” says Mr. Amisim, “then it is better we just kick this company out.”

The strike may be over,  but as union and management begin month-long negotiations over their biannual Collective Labour Agreement, the company continues to face the possibility of continued disruption from disgruntled workers and restive landowners seeking significant changes after years of opposition to Freeport mining.

“This article was originally published in the independent online magazine www.opendemocracy.net

About the authors
Alex Rayfield is a freelance journalist based in Timika
Claudia King is a freelance journalist reporting from Timika


SMH: Under the long arm of Indonesian intelligence

Tom Allard, Indonesia

August 13, 2011
Papuans calling for a referendum for Papua in Jayapura.Papuans calling for a referendum for Papua in Jayapura. Photo: AFP

IT WOULD seem an unremarkable venture – a group of American tourists visiting a cultural centre in the Papuan town of Abepura. But to one observer the event (lasting, as he later reported, precisely 35 minutes) was laden with potential significance.

The man in the shadows as the visitors watched a traditional dance was an informant for Indonesia’s elite special forces unit, Kopassus. In a subsequent report, he noted that, while the visit had been ”safe and smooth”, there was no room for complacency. It was a point heartily endorsed by his Kopassus contact, Second Lieutenant Muhammad Zainollah, who alluded, in a report to his own commander, to the risk of foreign tourists ”influencing conditions of Papuan society”.

”Politically, there needs to be a deeper detection of the existence hidden behind it all,” he warned, ”because of the possibility of a process of deception … such as meetings with pro-independence groups.”

One of hundreds of intelligence briefs from Kopassus intelligence posts in Papua obtained by The Saturday Age – and part of a cache of 19 documents that includes a detailed analysis of the ”anatomy” of the separatist movement pushing for independence from Indonesia – the note is bizarre, even amusing, but also revealing. The Indonesian government runs a massive network of spies and informants in Papua, illustrating the level of paranoia in Jakarta about its hold over the resource-rich region in the western half of the island of New Guinea.

Situated in the easternmost reaches of Indonesia’s sprawling archipelago, the Papua region is a source of continuing embarrassment for Indonesia – a country that has otherwise made substantial strides as a democratic and economic power. Despite being granted special autonomy 10 years ago and targeted for accelerated economic development, its indigenous Melanesian people are the country’s poorest and many are deeply unhappy with Jakarta’s rule and a heavy security presence.

The documents, which date from 2006 to 2009, reveal that independence activists and members of the OPM-TPN, the small armed resistance, are under intense surveillance, but so too are many ordinary Papuans and civic leaders who do not advocate independence but are concerned about the advancement of their people, or are influential in the community.

”Everyone is a separatist until they can prove they are not,” says Neles Tebay, a pastor and convener of the Papua Peace Network that is promoting dialogue with Jakarta.

Around the capital, Jayapura, where many of the documents originate, there are 10 Kopassus spy networks infiltrating ”all levels of society”, including the university, government agencies, the local parliament, hotels and the Papuan Customary Council.

A worker at a car rental agency tips off his Kopassus handler whenever a suspicious customer visits the establishment or talks about ”M”, shorthand for ”merdeka” or freedom. A phone shop employee ”often provides information on the phone numbers of people purchasing phone credits”.

Journalists, university students, bureaucrats, church leaders, teachers, motorcycle taxi drivers, clan leaders, village chiefs, farmers and forest workers are all on the books of Kopassus.

One leader of the OPM-TPN has eight Kopassus informants within his network, including a 14-year-old family member.

Other units of the Indonesian military, known as the TNI, run similar intelligence operations, as do the police. There are also scores of agents in Papua from Indonesia’s national intelligence agency, known by its acronym BIN.

Benny Giay, a leader of the Gospel Tabernacle Church, is one of the civic leaders branded a separatist by Kopassus. For Dr Giay, the suffocating presence of the intelligence network is part of daily life, as is interference in the affairs of his church by the military. ”If someone joins the church, we always have to ask ourselves, ‘What did they come here for? Are they intels or worshippers?’ ” he says.

Given the disappearance and deaths of other leaders under the gaze of Kopassus, the surveillance leaves Giay constantly uneasy. ”I have to check my meals to make sure they are not poisoned and I have to be home by 7pm. If I walk around after then, I have to bring someone with me, always.”

Marcus Haluk, the secretary general of the Central Highlands Papuan Student Association, features heavily in the documents. It seems most of his meetings are attended by a Kopassus spy. ”I’ve lost count of the attempts to kill or threaten me,” he says. ”I’ve had guns pointed at my head, I’ve been thrown from a motorcycle. There are always SMS threats.”

Underpinning the spying is the view that most institutions in Papua are riddled with separatists. The documents outline a two-stage intelligence operation to address the perceived problem. The first involves disrupting alleged separatist networks and the second is dubbed the ”diminishing dominant influence phase” or ensuring ”traditional institutions used for politics in Papua lose the trust of the indigenous peoples of Papua”.

In short, the objective is to discredit the institutions and arrangements introduced by the central government under Papua’s special autonomy deal introduced in 2001 – the very policy supposed to give Papuans economic and cultural rights, dampen independence sentiment and secure national unity.

Agus Sumule, a long-term resident of Papua and adviser to governor Barnabas Suebu, is an immigrant and a nationalist and was a key player in drafting the special autonomy laws which created a new legislative body – known as the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP) – to represent indigenous Papuans.

Special autonomy has never had a chance, he argues, and much of the blame lies with Jakarta’s refusal to implement it properly. Papua was divided into two provinces – Papua and West Papua – in 2003 against the wishes of the MRP, Dr Sumule says. Moreover, the home affairs ministry interferes in the election of MRP candidates, and has banned people from taking their seats. Despite provisions in the special autonomy law for symbols of Papuan identity to be displayed, the cherished Morning Star flag has been outlawed. Those caught displaying it can be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Some $3 billion in aid has flowed from the central government to the region in the past decade, but it is handed out haphazardly and most of it has been siphoned off by corrupt officials or wasted on bureaucracies to support the new province and dozens of new regencies in Papua.

Meanwhile, Papua has been swamped by migrants from other parts of Indonesia who dominate its economy. Explaining the economic disparity, one Kopassus report claimed that indigenous Papuans ”lack the willingness to work and the lack the willingness to make a better life, so their lives seem to be making no substantial progress”. Migrants, in contrast, had a ”high spirit and work ethic”.

Asked about the extensive intelligence operations, Sumule observes: ”On the one hand it’s paranoia, but it’s also much more than paranoia. It shows they don’t have a relevant policy for Papua, an understanding of Papua or what Papua should be in Indonesia.

”The problem with the intelligence is it’s not intelligent,” he adds. ”They send so much wrong information for the people in Jakarta, and they make decisions on it. It’s very dangerous.”

Indeed, the major report on the ”Anatomy of Separatists” had a detailed section on the alleged foreign support networks for a ”Free Papua” and it bears out Dr Sumule’s criticism of the quality of the intelligence. The list of 32 names for Australia includes academics, politicians and religious leaders who could understandably be placed in the category, but many others are not separatist supporters – they have simply shown an interest in Papuan affairs, raised concerns about human rights or are journalists who have reported from the region. The appearance of the former current affairs host Naomi Robson on the list is a standout.

Foreigners in Papua are viewed suspiciously, especially non-government groups. Indeed, Indonesia has expelled several foreign NGOs from the territory in recent years. The International Committee of the Red Cross, for example, is allowed into Guantanamo Bay but banned from visiting more than 100 political prisoners in Papuan jails.

One part of the intelligence analysis that is presumably more accurate is the assessment of the strength of the OPM-TPN. It is reckoned to have just 1129 fighters with mixed weapons totalling only 131, plus some grenades.

While the poorly armed resistance fighters do have some success in ambushing Indonesian military posts, the low estimate of their strength calls into question why there is such a large military presence in Papua. The Indonesian government won’t release precise figures on its armed deployments in Papua but, since special autonomy was introduced, it has doubled the number of battalions from three to six. It has 114 posts along the border with Papua New Guinea alone.

Estimates put the military numbers at about 15,000, approximately 13 soldiers for every armed separatist.

As one Indonesian official told a US embassy staffer, revealed in cables released by WikiLeaks: ”The TNI has far more troops in Papua than it is willing to admit, chiefly to protect and facilitate TNI interests in illegal logging operations.”

Whatever the reason for its deployment, the massive military and intelligence apparatus in Papua makes a lie of the Indonesian government’s insistence that it long ago junked its ”security” approach to managing Papua and it is now formulating policy under the rubric of ”development and prosperity”, says Neles Tebay.

”[The troops] are trained to see Papuans as the enemy,” he adds. ”I’m not saying all the troops are bad but if one group of them is threatening the indigenous people then it creates widespread fear. Also, they are always interrogating people. It’s very threatening.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/under-the-long-arm-of-indonesian-intelligence-20110812-1iqtj.html#ixzz1Urwzdlye

Read the secret Kopassus report [PDF 3mb file]