Tag Archives: Benny Giay

TPN/OPM warned of deadline for return of two weapons

Bintang Papua, 6 September 2011The executive committee of the Synod of the KINGMI Church in the Land of Papua has responded to the threat issued by the police force in Paniai that failure to hand back two firearms by the end of Wednesday, 7 September  would mean that the police will launch hunt and search operations against the TPN/OPM led by John Yogi.

According to the KINGMI Church, these search operations  against John Yogi who is alleged to have seized the weapons, could result in possibly hundreds or even thousands of casualties of innocent people among the civilian population, said Dr Benny Giay.

The deputy chairman of the Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission, Matius Murib, also had a meeting with Ruben Magai, the chairman of commission A of the DPRP about the issue.

Dr Benny Giay of the KINGMI Church called on Commission A of the DPRP to provide the opportunity for local leaders and churches to hold discussions with John Yogi and his comrades. The reason for doing so was that, according to reports from local communities in Paniai, everyday life in Paniai has been paralysed and many local inhabitants  have fled their villages in a state of trauma, havng heard about the forthcoming operations against the TPN/OPM. ‘We call upon Commission A and the chief of police to do everything possible to prevent casualties among the civilian population,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Albert Kesya, said that plans to launch search operations against the TPN/OPM had been made public at a time when the congregation were involved in Spiritual Camping in Madi Kampung, Enaro,sub-district of Paniai. on 26 July. which is not far from the location where the headquarters of the TPN/OPM is believed to be based. Even so, Brimob forces in Panai had attacked and seized many things, including thousands of bullets (the figure given in the article is 40,000), Rp 50 million, twelve hand phones, ten bows and arrows, and a Yamaha motorbike.

Deputy chairman of the National Human Rights Commission in Papua, Matius Murib, said the government and the security forces need to pay attention to three things.  There can be no justification for anyone among the authorities or the population to use violence and cause  casualties among the population. ‘Such actions,’ he said, ‘were rejected by human rights organisations around the world, bearing in mind that  Indonesia has ratified  covenants against the use of violence. and the loss of lives. Secondly, the local population needs to hold negotiations with the TPN/OPM. Whatever the situation, people like John Yogi  and his group can be expected to listen and to understand.’

‘There is no need to set a deadline for the launching of operations. Weapons belonging to the state should be in the hands of the state. There can be no justification for launching search operations against the TNP/OPM. There are weapons in the hands of many groups. And there are many weapons in the hands of  people who are not authorised to hold weapons.’

‘People cannot be allowed to do things that will result in victims falling among the civilian population.’ He said that some people can be expected to use weapons as a bargaining point to achieve certain objectives, but trying to force people to return weapons  will never solve the problems.’

Ruben Magai, chairman of Commission A of the DPRP in Papua, called on the chief of police in Papua to use social means, not military means, because the latter will only traumatise the people and make them very afraid.

An Indonesian War of ‘Unknown Persons’

By AUBREY BELFORD

Published: August 26, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/world/asia/27iht-papua27.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

JAKARTA — It is a seemingly unending conflict in a part of the world famous for both its awesome remoteness and the incredible wealth on and beneath the ground.

For half a century, Indonesian troops and police officers have fought a shadowy and sporadic war in the vast forests and highlands of Papua, as the western end of New Guinea is known, after taking control of the former Dutch colony in the 1960s. It is a long-running conflict that is poorly understood by even those involved.

On one level, the fight is between security forces and ragtag groups of indigenous separatists, armed with guns, spears and arrows.

Sometimes, it is alleged, it is factions of the security forces fighting among themselves, drawn into competition over the ill-gotten spoils of a region of vast natural resources, including some of the world’s richest mines. Often, official references to those doing the killing go no further than “unknown persons,” leaving their identity — agents provocateurs, business rivals or guerrillas — the stuff of conspiracy theories.

But after an outburst of violence in recent months that has killed dozens, Indonesia is coming under renewed calls to solve a conflict, replete with economic misery and human rights abuses, that has tainted the country’s image as an emerging democratic giant.

A report this week by the International Crisis Group, an independent research organization, is the latest in a series of calls by civil society groups for a renewed dialogue between Papuans, who are ethnically distinct from other Indonesians and many of whom favor independence, and officials in Jakarta, who see the region as an inviolable part of Indonesia.

At issue are special autonomy arrangements put in place a decade ago by the administration of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri to head off renewed calls for independence following the 1998 fall of the Suharto dictatorship. Suharto ruled Papua with an iron fist while making billions for Jakarta from its natural wealth.

Special autonomy devolved some power to Papuans and saw the creation of local governments and the pumping of huge sums of money back into the region. The government also, controversially, split Papua into two separate provinces, Papua and West Papua.

But the report argues that special autonomy has so far failed to solve the roots of the conflict. Deep poverty persists, as does chronic corruption.

Non-Papuan migrants from other parts of Indonesia dominate the economy.

And, importantly, there remains a sense among Papuans that Indonesian security forces remain a law unto themselves, killing and torturing with near impunity.

“The government of President Yudhoyono, on Papua as on everything else, has been glacially slow to develop a policy that would be different from the default response of throwing cash at the problem and hoping it will go away,” the report by the crisis group said.

While democratic Indonesia has made huge strides in solving bloody wars of separatism and intercommunal conflict in provinces like Aceh and Maluku, Papua has stood out as a weeping sore.

Recent violence exposes the complexity of the conflict. The past two months have seen a rash of attacks in the highland district of Puncak Jaya, one of the poorest and remotest areas of Indonesia and a hot spot for a local insurgency led by a faction of the separatist Free Papua Movement, or TPN-OPM.

This month, a helicopter carrying a shot and dying soldier was hit by rebel bullets in the region and, last week, a motorcycle taxi driver was shot and killed in the district capital by “unknown persons,” said Lt. Col. Alex Korwa, the local police chief.

Over the hills, in Puncak, another district created as part of the government’s special autonomy plan, fighting between indigenous clans over control of the local government left 17 dead in late July.

This month, five people, including two soldiers, were killed in separate incidents near Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province. A series of other gunfights and stabbings have continued throughout Papua over this period.

The authorities have, mostly, pointed the finger at the TPN-OPM for the deadliest of the Jayapura attacks, an ambush in which four people were killed. But Papuan independence campaigners assert that elements of the security forces, or their clients, are behind many such attacks.

“These attacks I think have been carried out either by militias, or the military themselves, as violence to create an atmosphere of fear,” said Benny Giay, a pastor in the Gospel Tabernacle Church. The commander of military forces in Papua, Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu, said the attack near Jayapura was “purely the TPN-OPM.”

Mr. Giay also alleged that a Papuan farmer, Das Komba, was abducted and killed by soldiers near the border with Papua New Guinea on Friday, but the police and military have so far not commented on the case.

Cases in which members of the security forces received light sentences for the torture and murder of civilians have caused outrage in recent months, but the crisis group argues in its report that the fact such trials exist at all is a step forward.

With Papua thousands of kilometers from Jakarta, and tightly sealed from foreign journalists and many rights groups, it is difficult to confirm independently claims and counterclaims about much of the violence. For those on the ground, too, many attacks remain mysterious.

“How can we trust the police or the military if there are no perpetrators, if no one gets caught?” asked Latifah Anum Siregar, the director of the Democracy Alliance for Papua, a human rights group.

“Police will send out 200, 300 people on a sweep, but they won’t get anyone.”

One senior police officer who has had command roles in Papua’s hot spots said that even he was often uncertain who exactly was behind attacks — rebels or rogue soldiers. “We weren’t sure,” said the officer, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Every time we got a glance of the shooter, they always disappeared really quickly into the jungle.”

Realizing the drawbacks of special autonomy, the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged to put together a temporary body, called the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua, to seek solutions to corruption, poverty and rights abuses in the region, but its formation has been delayed.

“There’s a lot of mistrust by the people in Papua, both towards the government in Jakarta and their own regional governments,” said Dewi Fortuna Anwar, a political science professor at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences who is involved in setting up the body.

But building trust may take more than building schools. Many Papuans remain fiercely committed to independence, arguing that the process by which Indonesia achieved sovereignty over Papua in 1969 — a vote by 1,025 Papuan elders handpicked by the Indonesian authorities — was flawed.

Indonesia is similarly inflexible. Simply unfurling the region’s Morning Star independence flag can be considered subversion, a crime punishable by up to 20 years or life in prison. About two dozen people are in jail or awaiting trial in Papua on subversion charges, according to Human Rights Watch.

Amid violence earlier this month, thousands of people protested in Papuan towns and cities to demand a referendum on independence. The political affairs minister, Djoko Suyanto, was firm in his response. “Papua is a part of the unitary republic of Indonesia,” he said. “That is what we must maintain.”

Supporting Accountability, Not Separatism, in Indonesia

Elaine Pearson

Deputy Asia Director, Human Rights Watch

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-pearson/supporting-accountability_b_932075.html

What do US Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Patrick Leahy, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have in common? Their names appear among 248 foreign politicians, government officials, academics and journalists the Indonesian military views as “supporters of Papuan separatists.”

The list appears among 500 pages of Indonesian military documents, which recently came to light, that provide an insider view of the military’s surveillance operations in Papua. the country’s easternmost province.

Most of the documents concern the activities of Indonesia’s Special Forces, or Kopassus. The US should be paying close attention since a year ago it restored full military ties with Kopassus, which had been suspended for years because of the force’s notorious human rights record.

Officially, Kopassus operates in Papua to monitor and suppress the Papuan separatist movement, the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM), which has been engaged in an armed struggle against the Indonesian government since the 1960s. The documents show, however, that the focus of Indonesian military operations in Papua goes far beyond the roughly 1,000 poorly armed rebels and includes a broad swathe of Papuan political, traditional, and religious leaders, and civil society groups who are spied on by a vast network of Papuan informants.

The documents show that the military believes it has more to fear from peaceful “political separatist” activity than from armed separatists. A 2007 Kopassus report states, “Current political activity in Papua is very dangerous compared to the activities of Papuan armed groups because their access already reaches abroad.”

The problem, as the documents make clear, is that pretty much anyone who challenges authority is automatically deemed a separatist. A couple of years ago I met a Papuan family from Jayapura, the provincial capital, who were pro-Indonesia. They told me how their son had taken a romantic stroll on a nearby beach with his girlfriend when they were set upon by eight naval officers, who beat him up and forced the pair to engage in humiliating sexual acts. The family tried to complain to the police and to the naval base to no avail. The youth’s cousin told me, “I am a Papuan woman and an Indonesian citizen. We are not separatists, but whenever anyone tries to stand up for their rights, they are called separatists – that’s how they silence us.”

The reports indicate that Kopassus believes nongovernmental organizations primarily work to discredit the Indonesian government and the armed forces by using the “human rights issue” to garner international condemnation of Indonesia’s military presence in Papua and to promote Papuan independence.

Human Rights Watch has long documented violations by Indonesian security forces in Papua. For years, the military denied the reports of human rights violations in Papua, even when faced with overwhelming evidence. This lack of accountability gives security forces a green light to commit abuses against the local population. However, the recent growth in cell phone video is making it more difficult to deny abuses.

Last year, a film uploaded to YouTube showed soldiers brutally torturing two farmers in Papua, kicking them, threatening one with a knife to his face, and repeatedly jabbing the other in the genitals with burning wood. A prolonged international outcry finally forced the military to take action. In the end, three soldiers got light sentences for “disobeying orders” rather than torture. It is unclear whether the military has discharged any of them. Two months earlier, soldiers from the same battalion shot and killed Rev. Kinderman Gire on the suspicion he was a separatist. At the trial, the defendants claimed Gire led them to believe he was a member of OPM and tried to grab a rifle from one of them, who then shot him in the chest. They dumped the body in a river, after trying to cut off his head. Last week a military tribunal convicted three soldiers, again only for “disobeying orders,” and sentenced them to six, seven and fifteen months in prison.

Indonesia’s military has heralded such light sentences for torture and killing as “appropriate.” Perhaps this is not surprising given a US Defense Department official characterized the prosecution of the video torture case as “progress.”

Last year, when resuming full military ties, then-US Defense Secretary Robert Gates described how Indonesia’s defense minister “publicly pledged to protect human rights and advance human rights accountability and committed to suspend from active duty military officials credibly accused of human rights abuses, remove from military service any member convicted of such abuses, and cooperate with the prosecution of any members of the military who have violated human rights.”

The revelations in the military documents don’t appear to have changed any thinking inside the Indonesian armed forcesResponding to recent articles about the documents, an Indonesian military spokesman told the Jakarta Post: “There is no such thing as a repressive or militant approach. What we do is always a welfare approach, where we help Papuans have better lives.”

And the old pattern of military denials continues. Where individual cases garner international attention, the Indonesian military has understood that all it needs to do to continue receiving US military funding is to slap soldiers on the wrist for “disobeying orders” rather than prosecute them for serious crimes. The US has conveyed multiple messages of disappointment to the Indonesian government and military on individual cases such as the video torture trial. But US unwillingness to impose significant consequences, such as suspending new military cooperation, tells the Indonesians and others that the US doesn’t insist on sticking to its standards.

The US should call on the Indonesian government to fully disclose all military tribunal cases involving alleged abuses against civilians, including prosecutions for “disobeying orders,” and provide transcripts to the public. Until the Indonesian government re-examines these cases, in line with the US Leahy law, which prevents the US from cooperating with abusive military units, the US government should not participate in joint endeavors with military personnel or units working in Papua. The US should also call on Indonesia’s military to stop viewing peaceful political activists as threats to national security and stop spying on them.

Both the US and Indonesia should recognize that people like Senator Leahy, who are named in the Papua military documents, were not seeking to challenge Indonesian sovereignty, but simply to defend the international standards for accountability that the Indonesian military is undermining.

Elaine Pearson is the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Follow Elaine Pearson onTwitter.

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

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]