Skip to content

Labor union condemns alleged shooting on Freeport workers

April 24, 2017

Labor union condemns alleged shooting on Freeport workers
Jakarta | Mon, April 24, 2017 | 01:28 pm

Andi Gani Nena Wea, president of the Indonesian Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI), lamented the actions of police officers who allegedly fired shots at PT Freeport Indonesia workers during a rally in Timika, Papua.

Andri Santoso, Sakarias, Puguh Prihandono, Wibowo, Faisal and Zainal Abidin were reportedly injured during a protest in front of Timika District Court on Thursday, demanding the release of Sudiro, a colleague who is standing trial in an embezzlement case.

"Thousands of our workers called on the judge to suspend Sudiro’s detention because of his [poor] health, but the judge denied [our demand]," Andi said.

(Read also: Freeport accepts govt terms)

The judge’s decision to return Sudiro to his cell angered protesters, which led to a clash with police personnel, said Peter Selestinus, one of Sudiro’s lawyers.

"Someone threw rocks at the feet of the Timika police chief, and officers responded by firing shots – they were aimed at protestors, not the air," he added.

Andi said he has been in direct communication with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to report on the incident and the actions of the Papua Police.

KSPSI will stage a solidarity rally for the victims on Labor Day, or May Day, on May 1.

Neither the Papua Police or the National Police have responded to queries related to the case. (dis/wit)


2) Company threatens workers over plans to strike at West Papua mine

The global mining giant, Freeport McMoRan, is threatening to punish workers at its Indonesian unit who are threatening to strike over employment conditions.
2:08 pm today

Tensions have been rising around the massive Grasberg mine in West Papua after Freeport laid off thousands of workers to stem losses from an ongoing dispute with the Indonesian government.
The Freeport workers’ union said the company’s efforts to reduce its workforce by as much as 10 percent have had extensive impacts, and announced plans for a 30-day strike from 1 May.
Indonesia halted Freeport’s copper concentrate exports in January under new laws that require Freeport to get a special licence and divest a 51 percent stake in its operations, among other measures.
Negotiations had been underway, and Reuters reported an agreement was expected to be reached soon to allow exports to temporarily resume.
But a strike would severely impact those efforts to ramp up production.
A Freeport spokesperson, Eric Kinneberg, said absenteeism would be tracked at the mine, and disciplinary action would be enforced under the terms of a collective agreement.

Freeport collects export permit after Pence visit

April 24, 2017

Freeport collects export permit after Pence visit
Reuters – April 21, 2017

Fergus Jensen and Bernadette Christina Munthe, Jakarta — Freeport McMoRan Inc collected a permit to resume copper exports from Indonesia on Friday after a hiatus of more than three months, hours after a state visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who discussed the copper miner’s dispute with Jakarta.

Indonesia’s trade ministry issued Freeport with a permit to export 1.1 million tonnes of copper concentrate up to February next year, although it was unclear how long shipments would last.

Freeport is still at loggerheads with Indonesia over rights to its giant Grasberg mine in Papua, and tensions with workers threaten to disrupt its operations further.

Indonesia halted Freeport’s copper concentrate exports in January under new rules that require the Arizona-based company to adopt a special license, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51 percent stake in its operations and relinquish arbitration rights.

The dispute has cost the company and Indonesia hundreds of millions of dollars. Jakarta has said it would halt exports again if negotiations over sticking points were not resolved within six months.

Freeport has also warned Jakarta, saying it had the right to commence arbitration by June 17 if no agreement was reached.

Pence thanked Indonesian President Joko Widodo for the interim solution to the Freeport dispute on Friday but said more steps were still needed, a White House foreign policy adviser said.

"We told them that there were more steps that needed to be taken," the adviser said, noting this was the only business issue Pence raised in his meeting with Widodo on Thursday.

Absenteeism, furloughs

Tensions are rising around Grasberg after Freeport laid off thousands of workers there to stem losses from its dispute with the Indonesian government over mining rights.

Freeport warned on Friday it would punish workers for absenteeism, a day after one of the main unions announced plans to strike over employment conditions.

"Freeport Indonesia has experienced a high level of absenteeism over the last several days," Freeport spokesman Eric Kinneberg said. "Absenteeism is being tracked and disciplinary actions will be enforced under the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement," he said.

Freeport had "demobilized" just over 10 percent of its workforce of 32,000 by last week, a number expected to grow until the dispute is fully resolved.

The Freeport workers’ union said the company’s efforts to reduce its workforce so far have had "extensive impacts on workers and their families".

Workers are worried about the layoffs "because there are no limits or specific criteria on workers who will be furloughed," the union said. It demanded an end to the furlough policy and notified Freeport of plans to strike for 30 days from May 1.

"Efforts by the company to cut costs and reduce their numbers of workers, this is what has made them feel agitated," said Virgo Solossa, a Freeport workers’ union member told Reuters, but said many other workers would not join the strike.

Adding to tensions around Grasberg, several Freeport workers and police were injured in a clash in Papua on Thursday, when officers fired rubber bullets at demonstrators in Timika.

Timika Police Chief Victor Machbon confirmed the details of the incident and said about 1,000 demonstrators attempting to free a union leader at a court hearing had not dispersed when tear gas was fired.

According to the trade ministry, Freeport exported 1.17 million tonnes of copper concentrate to Japan, South Korea, China, India and the Philippines in 2016.

[Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor, Fergus Jensen, Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina Munthe in JAKARTA, and Roberta Rampton aboard Air Force Two; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Tom Hogue and Paul Tait.]



Asia Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN)
Email : apsn
Web :

Taking a stand: Workers of US-based gold and copper mining company Freeport Indonesia stage a rally in front of Timika District Court on April 20.

April 23, 2017

Police shooting victims treated at Mimika HospitalJakarta | Sat, April 22, 2017 | 05:17 pm

Taking a stand: Workers of US-based gold and copper mining company Freeport Indonesia stage a rally in front of Timika District Court on April 20. (Antara/Vembri Waluyas)

Two employees of US-based gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia, who were victims of a rubber bullet shooting allegedly committed by Timika police personnel on Thursday, are receiving intensive medical treatment at Mimika Regional General Hospital (RSUD) in Timika, Papua.

According to RSUD Mimika spokesperson Lucky Mahakena, the two Freeport employees are Andrian W. Santoso and Muhammad Faidsal.

Faidsal was reportedly shot on the left side of his buttocks while Andrian suffered wounds to his left leg, directly under his knee.

“Two other people who were rushed here have returned home,” Lucky said as quoted by Antara on Saturday, referring to Zainal Arifin, who was shot in his right thigh, and Pukuh Prihantono, who was shot in his left knee. Another Freeport employee wounded in the sole of his foot returned home immediately after receiving treatment by medical personnel at the hospital.

The five Freeport employees suffered the wounds during a clash between police personnel and mining company workers who staged a protest in front of Timika District Court on Thursday. The police shot rubber bullets in their attempt to disperse the crowd.

Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Victor Dean Mackbon suffered injuries, including a punctured vein, to his left heel because of shrapnel from rubber bullets. He is currently receiving intensive treatment in a VIP room at RSUD Mimika.

Lucky said a team of doctors at RSUD Mimika had removed the shrapnel from Victor’s wounds. “After surgery, he [Victor] may need two or three weeks for recovery,” he added. (mrc/ebf)


AdminApr 20, 2017

Community of seven villages in Demta District, Jayapura District, blocked te street of Demta 18th April – Jubi/Simon Daisiu

Demta, Jubi – Residents of seven villages led by the heads of each village blocked the Trans road Brap-Demta, Demta District, Jayapura District.

Road blocking was triggered by road condition that has been damaged for long time, but failed to repair.

Tarfia community leaders Abubakar Eli, one of the villages participated in the action said on April 18th that a palm oil company, PT. SInar Mas has operate and crossed this area since 2000. He suspects the damage is caused by cars/trucks passing carried goods belonging to PT Sinar Mas.

According to Eli, residents have organised five demos to demand the road to repair. But until now their demands never responded.

“We, the people of Demta District have been very disappointed. We asked the government about the road work from Kilometer 17 to Demta, is it (the improvement) is just a lip service? We demand it now. Do not use us a political object,” he said.

According to him, road damage hampered economic activities of the people. Residents who want to sell their farm products to the city were forced to discourage.

The protest action coordinator, Oto Tauruy said they blocked the main road to prevent PT Sinar Mas’ vehicles from passing the road.

“Public vehicles may pass,” said Oto.

The blockade starts from port of Sinar Mas in Demta from the morning until afternoon. Jubi failed to get any explanation from the company.

Head of Tarfia Village, Silas Tauruy said the blockade will continue until they get response from the company.(*)


AdminApr 21, 2017

Waisai, Jubi – The Raja Ampat Regency Government, West Papua Province is said to be drafting a draft regional regulation (draft) on prohibition of large-ships and cruise ships entering the area.

Head of Legal Division of the Raja Ampat Regional Secretariat, Mohliat Mayalibit, said they are discussing the draft with indigenous leaders.

“We are discussing the draft, and we have consulted with West Papua Legal Bureau for the revision,” he told Jubi in Waisai, capital of Raja Ampat, Wednesday April 19th.

He said the Raja Ampat regency involves indigenous leaders to formulate the regulation, so they do not feel alienated in their own village.

“Iindigenous leaders are involved to keep their customary rights,” he said.

In early March the Caledonan Sky-flagged British cruise ship, weighing 4,000s and a length about 90 meters, hit a coral reef in Kri waters, Mios Mansar District, Raja Ampat, West Papua.

It is expected after the regulation will be passed; large ships and cruise ships cannot go without control into Raja Ampat coastal, known as the world’s coral reef triangle.

Once corrected, the draft legislation will be brought to local parliament to be ratified into a local regulation.

“But we will review portions of each authorities such as Sayahbandar, Transportation and Fisheries and Marine Service,” he said.

Head of Sorong Syahbandar, Jhoni Silalahi supports the good step of Raja Ampat Regency initiative in designing the rules.

He said he also ready to provide input for proposed draft discussion so it does not conflict with the rules of Ministry of Transportation. (*)


AdminApr 20, 2017

Sentani, Jubi – The implementation of Local Regulation (Perda) Number 3 Year 2000 on Sago Forest Area Protection in Jayapura District will soon be evaluated.

Member of Legislative Commission B of Jayapura District, Freddy Kaway said it seems that legislation has not functioned. This local regulation has struck with the interests of indigenous peoples’ customary rights.

“We forbid any construction of building in sago forest areas, but those who have customary rights are local people, so this is also often became a barrier in the implementation,” he told Jubi in Sentani, Wednesday April 19th.

He refer to the facts that some customary rights owners sold their land and turn them to property buildings.

Therefore he added, this law will be reviewed for evaluation. Thus, there would be a protection for local potential that still exists in the area.

At different occasion, Boaz Enok, Ondoafi (indigenous Papua who owned customary land) in Sosiri village said the problem is the protection of sago trees which regulated in Local Regulation No. 3 of 2000 has not been socialized well to the public.

“If there are rules or regulations made by the Government, it should be socialized widely. Now the impact of development implemented by different interests who seek profits in this area has been very difficult to handle, “said Enok. (*)


AdminApr 21, 2017

Jakarta, Jubi – Ministry of Health asked the public, especially tourists who want to travel to eastern Indonesia, to be cautious of malaria transmission.

Based on data from Ministry of Health quoted in Jakarta, April 19th the achievement of malaria eradication in NTT Province, Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua is still zero percent, or still considered high endemic malaria.

Director of Vector and Zoonotic Disease Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health, Vensya Sitohang reminded tourists, especially those who travel backpacks and adventure to various remote areas in order to prepare for malaria anticipation.

Vensya said the most important anticipation is to keep away from being bitten by anopheles mosquito, the cause of malaria.

He suggested, if possible, for tourists not to go out at night when anopheles mosquitoes are more active.

“If they have to go out at night, protect the body with lotion, and if sleep must use mosquito net,” she said while suggested people regularly visit the health service for laboratory checks to know whether they are infected.

In addition, tourists are also advised to take preventive malaria drugs before traveling that can be obtained at health centers. The drug is given free of charge.

NTT and West Papua provinces are now popular tourist destinations with several favorite places, such as Raja Ampat and the stunning islands of Labuan Bajo.(*)

Antara/Zely Ariane


DemocracyNow: Nairn Exposé Reveals Trump Associates and ISIS-Linked Vigilantes Are Attempting Coup in Indonesia

April 21, 2017

[Key quote: "So, the generals, to a degree much more than I
realized before I started talking to people about this coup movement,
have become obsessed with the idea of staving off justice.

"And what has happened with their sponsorship, the sponsorship of
many generals of this coup movement, is that they’ve created a very
elegant win-win strategy. If they succeed in toppling President Jokowi,
then no worry about accountability."

Shocking Exposé Reveals Trump Associates & ISIS-Linked
Vigilantes Are Attempting Coup in Indonesia


As Vice President Mike Pence railed against ISIS-linked terrorism
Thursday, we speak with longtime investigative journalist Allan Nairn
about his shocking new exposé that reveals backers of Donald Trump in
Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement
linked to ISIS in an attempt to oust Indonesia’s president. Writing in
The Intercept, Nairn reveals that Indonesians involved in the coup
attempt include a corporate lawyer working for the mining company
Freeport-McMoRan, which is controlled by Trump adviser Carl Icahn. Video
has even emerged showing the lawyer at a ceremony where men are swearing
allegiance to ISIS. According to Nairn, two of the other most prominent
supporters of the coup are close associates of Donald Trump­Fadli Zon,
vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, and Hary Tanoe,
Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump
resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta. Nairn’s article is making
waves in Indonesia.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in
its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Vice President Mike
Pence visited the largest mosque in Southeast Asia Thursday during a trip
to Indonesia. A day earlier, he addressed reporters at a press conference
with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta.

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: The United States is also proud to be
one of Indonesia’s oldest and most engaged defense partners. And under
President Trump, we are firmly committed to continuing to collaborate on
the security of both of our peoples. A stronger defense partnership will
serve us well as we confront the various security threats and challenges
that we now face. And, of course, one of the greatest threats we face is
the rise and spread of terrorism. Sadly, Indonesia is no stranger to this
evil, nor is the United States of America, as the president and I
discussed. The world watched with heartbreak in January of last year when
ISIS-linked terrorists struck in central Jakarta in a barbaric suicide
bombing. Our hearts broke for your people. This vile attack claimed the
lives of five innocents, injured more than two dozen others. What I can
assure you and the people of Indonesia is that you had the condolences
and the prayers of the American people as you confronted this

AMY GOODMAN: While Vice President Mike Pence railed against
ISIS-linked terrorism, a shocking new

by longtime investigative journalist Allan Nairn has revealed
backers of Donald Trump in Indonesia have joined army officers and a
vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in an attempt to oust
Indonesia’s democratically elected president. Writing in The
Intercept, Nairn reveals Indonesians involved in the coup attempt
include a corporate lawyer working for the mining company
Freeport-McMoRan, which is controlled by Trump adviser Carl Icahn. Video
has even emerged showing the lawyer at a ceremony where men are swearing
allegiance to ISIS. According to Allan Nairn, two of the other most
prominent supporters of the coup are close associates of Donald Trump:
Fadli Zon, the vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives,
and Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who’s
building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta. Nairn’s
article is making waves in Indonesia. The Indonesian military is
threatening legal action against the news portal, after it
published a partial translation of the article and ran a profile about
Allan Nairn. In response, Nairn tweeted a message to the Indonesian
military, saying, quote, "Dear TNI: If you want to threaten brave
Indonesian reporters and publishers, please threaten me too,"

Well, I recently sat down with Allan Nairn in our Democracy Now!
studio and asked him to outline what he’s uncovered.

ALLAN NAIRN: Indonesia is in the midst of a political crisis, in
that there is an attempt to stage what people on both sides of the
conflict call the coup. And this is a de facto, or even direct, coup
against the elected president, the elected government of Indonesia, which
is headed by President Joko Widodo, Jokowi. Jokowi was the first person
from outside the political elite who ever was elected president. He’s­on
certain issues, in certain respects, he’s a bit of a reformist. He got
elected, in an important part because he speaks the language of the poor,
and people relate to him. He has been pushing social programs on health
and education. But, especially in recent months, his government has been
fighting for survival. Those backing this coup project include the top
generals in the country, who are seeking to escape any whisper of
accountability for their past mass murders­mass murders that have been
supported by the U.S.­and for their ongoing atrocities in West Papua,
also the friends and business partners and political associates of Donald
Trump. The local Trump people in Indonesia, including his top political
backer, the politician Fadli Zon, including his local business partner,
Hary Tanoe, and others, have been funding and backing this coup

The instrument they have been using is a­what purports to be a
radical Islamist street movement, which has been staging massive
demonstrations on the streets of Jakarta, demonstrations drawing out
hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people. And their hook is
what they claimed to be a religious issue, where they are attacking and
demanding the death by hanging of the incumbent governor of Jakarta, who
happens to be an ethnic Chinese Christian who is currently standing trial
for insulting religion, for insulting Islam. And he could actually be
sent to prison. And he’s also currently standing for re-election. But
this Islamist street movement is, in a sense, a front for the real
powers, the real interests, which are trying to use the demonstrations
and the attacks on Governor Ahok­that’s his name, Ahok­to bring down the
government of President Jokowi. I know this because for much of the past
year I’ve been talking to people within the Jokowi government and also
people within the coup movement, and they’ve been describing what’s
happening as it­as it goes along. The group that they are using to front
the street demonstrations is called the FPI. The FPI is what are known in
Indonesia as preman, street thugs. They were created by the
Indonesian army and police shortly after the fall of Suharto, in order to
do killings­

AMY GOODMAN: U.S.-backed dictator.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes­in order to do repression and, when needed,
killings on behalf of the army, without the army having to take
responsibility for it. And they would do it under the banner of radical
Islam, kind of diverting attention from the fact of army and police
sponsorship behind it. This group, the FPI, has been implicated in
attacks on mosques­they frequently attack Islamic religious denominations
that they do not agree with­attacks on churches and murders, one of
which, in spectacular fashion, was videotaped, and their mob is seen
beating and kicking to death a man who’s lying face down in the mud. They
openly call for the hanging and murder of various politicians who
displease them. They live day to day by­in addition to the funds they get
from the army and the police, by extortion. They claim to be religiously
compliant, but one of their key tactics over the years has been to go
into strip clubs, go into bars; if the owners haven’t been giving their
weekly payoff to the FPI in a timely fashion, breaking the place up with
heavy sticks, then taking the liquor and drinking it or reselling it. I
mean, this is famous on the streets of Jakarta. Everybody knows about
this. Another of their big activities has been evicting the poor. They
would be rented out to army, police, rich developers, landlords, in order
to violently evict poor people so that their homes could be demolished
and used for other purposes.

The group also happens to be listed by Western intelligence,
including ASIO, the Australian intelligence service, as a violent
extremist organization­a term they use for "terrorist." And
this happens to be one of the cases where their characterization of a
movement as violent and extremist is accurate. This group FPI also has
numerous connections to ISIS. The leader of the FPI militia is a lawyer
who is a corporate lawyer for Freeport-McMoRan, the giant U.S. mining
corporation that is controlled by Carl Icahn, Donald Trump’s good friend
and White House deregulation adviser. This lawyer­his name is Munarman­he
represents a local corporate front for Freeport. And he is there
presiding over the militia, as­the FPI militia, as they commit violence,
and standing next to the FPI leaders as they call for the death by
hanging of Jakarta’s governors. This lawyer for Carl Icahn’s Freeport was
videotaped not long ago at an ISIS swear-in ceremony, where he was one of
two people presiding as a group full of young men pledged allegiance
to­swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. The
program of massive street demonstrations, aimed at ultimately bringing
down the Jokowi elected government, has been endorsed by Indonesians who
have gone to Syria and joined up as ISIS fighters, as they describe
themselves, etc.

This is the group which is being used by the U.S.-trained Indonesian
generals and being backed by Donald Trump’s key Indonesian business
partner, Donald Trump’s key Indonesian political backer and the lawyer
for Carl Icahn’s Freeport-McMoRan. Maybe it was about a year ago, we did
a short

on Democracy Now! regarding the fact that one of these
figures, Fadli Zon, the politician who was involved in this coup
movement, he appeared at Trump Tower along with Donald Trump. This was
shortly after Trump launched his presidential campaign. He launched his
campaign by attacking Mexicans as rapists, and he got some heat for that.
And one of the things Trump did, apparently, was to say to his people,
"Get me some foreigners." One of the foreigners they got him
was this Indonesian politician, Fadli Zon. He appeared at the press
conference with Donald Trump. For doing so, he was fiercely attacked by
the grand imam of the Indonesian mosque here in New York City­a very
courageous act, by the way, by that imam, given the fact that Fadli Zon
is not just a politician but is also the right-hand man of General
Prabowo. Prabowo is the most notorious mass-killing general in Indonesia.
He was also the general who was the closest protégé of the U.S. Pentagon
and intelligence during his military career. So, Fadli Zon was attacked

AMY GOODMAN: And Prabowo was instrumental in East Timor.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes. He did massacres in Timor and many other
places. But now, it is his right-hand man, Fadli Zon, who was appearing
with Trump at Trump Tower, helping in the­the initial stages of launching
the campaign, and who is now one of the main supporters of this movement,
which has as its final goal the toppling of Indonesia’s democratically
elected president. And among the generals­and this is in a piece that
I’ve been working on, and maybe by the time this airs the piece will have
already been released­that have been complicit, in one degree or another,
in this movement, include General Prabowo; General Wiranto, who is
currently still under indictment for war crimes in Timor; General Gatot,
who is currently the commander of the Indonesian armed forces.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll be back with investigative journalist Allan
Nairn in 30 seconds.


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our conversation with investigative journalist Allan Nairn, who has just published a shocking exposé at The Intercept revealing backers of Donald Trump in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in an attempt to oust Indonesia’s president. I asked Allan Nairn to talk more about Trump’s connection to Fadli Zon, the Indonesian politician who was seen with Trump at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, after Fadli Zon returned to Indonesia, as I mentioned, he was fiercely and very courageously attacked by the grand imam of the Indonesian mosque here in New York City. And then he was also attacked by his colleagues in the Indonesian congress. Fadli was and is the number two person in the Indonesian congress. And they tried to censure him for appearing with Donald Trump, on the grounds that it was unethical. And as the imam had pointed out, the thing that Trump is famous for in New York­in U.S. politics is being a racist and being anti-Islam. And this was especially sharp and ironic, because Prabowo and Fadli Zon have used as their main political tactic attacking any of their opponents on the grounds that their opponents are, one, anti-Islam, not as Islamic as they are, and, two, tools of foreigners. Prabowo, of course, as he had told me in our extensive discussion, himself was the most­the closest partner of U.S. intelligence in Indonesia when he was helping to run the mass-murdering Suharto military. He worked for the DIA, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. But in the campaign, he was running as a phony nationalist.

So, after he returned to Indonesia, Fadli Zon was under pressure from the congress. He, in the end, escaped any serious censure. But he did not repudiate Donald Trump. He became Donald Trump’s most vocal defender within Indonesian politics. And indeed, after the point in the campaign when Trump said that he was going to ban all Muslims from the United States, including in its first version, in its first iteration, ban even Muslims who were citizens of the U.S., even members of the U.S. military who happened to be overseas at that moment­he was going to ban them from returning home; he later had to modify and back off from that­after Trump made his first outrageous call for the Muslim ban, Fadli Zon defended him in Indonesia. And he said, "Trump is not anti-Islam. Donald Trump is not anti-Islam. And just you wait and see. As soon as he becomes president, he’s going to drop all that stuff, because that’s only campaign rhetoric." So, in essence, Fadli Zon has been Donald Trump’s political spokesman in Indonesia.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Allan Nairn, who is Hary Tanoe.

ALLAN NAIRN: Hary Tanoe is one of Trump’s two business partners in Indonesia. They’re working on a resort and some other projects. And there was recently a report within BIN, the Indonesian intelligence agency, which asserted that Hary Tanoe was covertly donating funds to the anti­the coup involving the FPI and the generals. Hary Tanoe is a media magnate like Trump. They actually have a similar profile in business. He’s in media, and he also sponsors beauty pageants. Tanoe’s media stations have been, in a sense, propaganda wings of the­of the coup, the street coup movement, to the extent to which they were actually admonished, officially admonished, by the Indonesian state broadcasting board, which is a very­usually a very weak, quiescent body. So these stations have been serving as kind of the propagandists for Trump. And the internal intelligence­


ALLAN NAIRN: As propagandists for the coup movement. And the internal intelligence report, which I had access to, asserts that Tanoe was also going beyond that and directly contributing funds to the movement.

Now, the background to this is very important. The Indonesian military came to power in 1965 in a coup, where they ousted the country’s founding father, Sukarno. They consolidated power with a massacre of anywhere from 400,000 to a million civilians. The massacre was enthusiastically backed by the U.S. The CIA gave them a list of 5,000 communists to start with. The U.S. press hailed it as, in the words of one New York Times column, "a gleam of light in Asia." The army installed General Suharto as the country’s dictator. The Clinton White House, years later, described Suharto as "our kind of guy." President Ford and Henry Kissinger gave­personally gave Suharto the green light to invade East Timor, which produced the most extensive proportional slaughter since the Nazis. The army implemented a regime which involved kind of a semi-religious glorification of the army and stigmatization of any kind of reformist element, which they would characterize as communist. And, when needed, or when they felt like it, over the years, they would stage additional massacres.

Then, in ’98, partly as a result of the Asian financial crisis, triggered by banks, partly as a result of the amazing courage of activists who came out on the streets of Jakarta to demand the ouster of Suharto, partly as a result of the fact that the grassroots movement here in the U.S. had succeeded in cutting off most of the arms pipeline from the U.S. to Indonesia, which then constrained them, in the extent to which they were willing to open fire on those demonstrators, Suharto fell.

After Suharto came what is referred to as Reformasi, reform, which is still underway. The army is still the dominant number one power in Indonesia, but their power is much less than it used to be. The fact that Jakowi, the civilian who related to the poor, was able to defeat the mass-murdering U.S. protégé, General Prabowo, in the presidential election was a real watershed in Indonesian politics. A very courageous movement of survivors of army massacres and human rights activists in Indonesia has persisted for year after year after year, putting their own lives at risk and sometimes dying in the process, like in the case of Munir, the brilliant and heroic human rights activist and my friend, who was assassinated by arsenic poisoning in 2004. They have persisted with this movement to bring the generals to justice. And in past few years, they’ve succeeded in upping the pressure. They’ve made gains, to the point that some generals have started to worry about whether they might be brought to justice, or at least might be publicly humiliated by their crimes being acknowledged publicly and the survivors gaining some degree of public legitimacy. So, the generals, to a degree much more than I realized before I started talking to people about this coup movement, have become obsessed with the idea of staving off justice.

And what has happened with their sponsorship, the sponsorship of many generals of this coup movement, is that they’ve created a very elegant win-win strategy. If they succeed in toppling President Jokowi, then no worry about accountability. On the other hand, if they don’t succeed, Jokowi will owe the generals who are supporting him, because although the bulk of the mass-murdering generals are affiliated in one way or another with the coup movement, there’s another fraction who are backing Jokowi and helping him to fend off the coup movement, and are getting­exacting a de facto guarantee. "Hey, we’re keeping you alive here. No prosecution, right? No public exposure of our crimes. No humiliation for the atrocities that we have committed." So, whichever way it turns out, in their mind­and there’s certainly reason to think that it’s a not unreasonable expectation­ justice and accountability lose­loses, and the army wins.

AMY GOODMAN: Is Jokowi aware of the Trump connections to the supporters of the coup movement?

ALLAN NAIRN: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I don’t know when this will air, but as we are speaking, as this is being recorded, next week, on Wednesday, the Jakarta gubernatorial election is due to happen. That’s when it will be decided whether the governor, who is the kind of pretext for this street movement, will be voted in or voted out as­

AMY GOODMAN: This is April 19th.

ALLAN NAIRN: ­as governor. Yes. And the day after the scheduled gubernatorial election, Vice President Mike Pence is due to arrive in Indonesia for two days and to meet with President Jokowi. Now, one interesting aspect of this is: Where does the U.S. stand on all of this? Because, on the one hand, the U.S. has a longtime policy, in countries around the world, of backing the repressive armies and security forces, but, on the other hand, also backing elected presidents­as long as those elected presidents do not have a program that threatens U.S. corporate interests or the interests of the local rich or the fact that the U.S. is allowed to back the local army and security forces. Barring that, the U.S. is all for local elected presidents. So, in accord with that historic worldwide policy, the U.S. has, up to this moment­as far as I know, up until at least recently, been backing Jokowi against the coup movement.

But it’s Trump’s local people who have been helping to push the coup movement. Now, I don’t know whether this question has come to the attention of President Trump himself. It could come to his attention through his business partner, Hary Tanoe, through his main Indonesian political partner, Fadli Zon, through his other business partner, Setya Novanto, who is a famously corrupt politician, or it could come to his attention through Carl Icahn, who is close to Trump, is his deregulation adviser from the White House and who is the controlling shareholder of Freeport-McMoRan, the oil and­the mining giant of copper and gold which has been ravaging West Papua, taking their gold and copper, but which­and this is quite significant­recently has been under challenge from the Jokowi government. For years, Freeport-McMoRan has had a free ride in Indonesia. As long as they paid off General Suharto and his cronies, as long as they paid off the army, various bureaucrats, they were able to do whatever they want. They were able to just strip the mountains of West Papua, turn the rivers indescribable primary colors from their pollution, knock off their dissident workers when necessary. They were able to do anything. But now, just in the past year and a half or so, they have been under challenge from the Jokowi government, which is demanding a renegotiation of the contract between the Indonesian government and Freeport-McMoRan, and which has been restricting Freeport’s copper exports. So this is creating a problem for Icahn, a serious economic problem for Carl Icahn. As this conflict between the Jokowi government and Icahn’s Freeport has been going on, the local lawyer for Icahn’s Freeport has been helping to lead the coup movement to oust­to oust Jokowi.

Now, I don’t know how much Trump knows about this, but I know there’s some question among some officials in Indonesia as to, in the end, which side will the U.S. come down­come down on. Will it continue the traditional U.S. policy of wanting to keep an elected president in for kind of stability purposes and front purposes, or might it align with Trump’s personal and business connections on the other side, who are backing the coup?

AMY GOODMAN: Investigative journalist Allan Nairn. We’ll link to his piece at The Intercept.

Tune in tomorrow for our coverage of the march on­of the March for Science in Washington. And on Sunday, I’ll be speaking at Princeton University. Special thanks to Sam Alcoff and Mike Burke.

Allan Nairn: Trump’s Indonesian Allies in Bed with ISIS-Backed Militia to Oust Elected President

April 20, 2017



Allan Nairn

April 18 2017, 9:50 p.m.

ASSOCIATES OF DONALD TRUMP in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in a campaign that ultimately aims to oust the country’s president. According to Indonesian military and intelligence officials and senior figures involved in what they call “the coup,” the move against President Joko Widodo (known more commonly as Jokowi), a popular elected civilian, is being impelled from behind the scenes by active and retired generals.

Prominent supporters of the coup movement include Fadli Zon, vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives and Donald Trump’s main political booster in the country; and Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta.

This account of the movement to overthrow President Jokowi is based on dozens of interviews and is supplemented by internal army, police, and intelligence documents I obtained or viewed in Indonesia, as well as by NSA intercepts obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Many sources on both sides of the coup spoke on condition of anonymity. Two of them expressed apparently well-founded concerns about their safety.

The Coup Movement

On the surface, the massive street protests surrounding the April 19 gubernatorial election have arisen from opposition to Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese incumbent governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok. As a result of pressure from the well-funded, well-organized demonstrations that have drawn hundreds of thousands ­ perhaps millions ­ to Jakarta’s streets, Gov. Ahok is currently standing trial for religious blasphemy because of an offhand comment about a verse in the Quran. On Thursday, the day after he hears the results of the very close governor’s election, he is due back in court for his blasphemy trial.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on March 27, 2017.
Photo: Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images

Yet in repeated, detailed conversations with me, key protest figures and officials who track them have dismissed the movement against Ahok and the charges against him as a mere pretext for a larger objective: sidelining the country’s president, Jokowi, and helping the army avoid consequences for its mass killings of civilians ­ such as the 1965 massacres that were endorsed by the U.S. government, which armed and backed the Indonesian military.

Serving as the main face and public voice of the generals’ political thrust has been a group of what Indonesians call preman ­ officially sponsored street thugs ­ in this case, the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI (Front Pembela Islam). Originally established by the security forces ­ the aparat ­ in 1998 as an Islamist front group to assault dissidents, the FPI has been implicated in violent extortion, especially of bars and sex clubs, as well as murders and attacks on mosques and churches. During the mass protests against the governor, FPI leader Habib Rizieq Shihab has openly called for Ahok to be “hanged” and “butchered.”

FPI leader Habib Rizieq Shihab openly called for Ahok to be “hanged” and “butchered.”

Joining Rizieq at the protests atop a mobile command platform have been the FPI’s spokesman and militia chief, Munarman, as well as Fadli Zon, who is known for publicly praising Donald Trump and appeared with the candidate at a press conference at Trump Tower during the opening days of the presidential campaign. Fadli Zon serves as the right-hand man of the country’s most notorious mass-murdering general, Prabowo Subianto, who was defeated by Jokowi in the 2014 election.

Munarman, who has been videotaped at a ceremony in which a roomful of young men swear allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is also a corporate lawyer working for the Indonesian branch of the mining colossus Freeport McMoRan, now controlled by Carl Icahn, President Trump’s friend and deregulation adviser. Although the Trump connections appear to be very important for the coup plotters, it is unknown whether Trump or Icahn have any direct knowledge of the Indonesian coup movement.

FPI spokesman and corporate lawyer Munarman, indicated with an arrow far left, at a ceremony in which young men swear allegiance to ISIS

Munarman did not respond to requests to comment for this article.

The FPI demonstrations in Jakarta, officially shunned by the country’s top mainstream Muslim groups, have been endorsed in messages from Indonesian ISIS personnel in Syria. The FPI, for its part, has waved black ISIS flags at Prabowo rallies and has officially endorsed the call of Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri for Al Qaeda and ISIS to pursue their common fight in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

The Snowden archive contains numerous documents related to the Islamic Defenders Front, including an Australian intelligence document describing FPI as a “violent extremist group.” The documents include Indonesian-language intercepts of reports by police officials complaining that the Indonesian public distrusts the police because it uses violent groups like FPI. The intercepted Indonesian police reports also note that although FPI is largely a creation of the state security apparatus, it at times escapes the state’s control, particularly when fomenting mob violence, such as in a well-known case in which a man was beaten to death on videotape because he attended a mosque targeted for extermination by the FPI. In one case of murder carried out by an FPI mob, a memo states, police were unable to arrest and detain the FPI suspects because they were afraid the mob would attack and burn the police station.

Another intercept links FPI figures to an offshoot of Jemaah Islamiyah, the jihadist network implicated in the 2002 Bali bombings, and details weapons training delivered by officers of the Indonesian national police special forces to FPI Aceh members.

The NSA had no comment on the content of the intercepts. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Islamic Defence Front, FPI headquarters in Jakarta city center.

Islamic Defense Front headquarters in Jakarta, where a portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs on the wall in 2007.

Photo: Thierry Dudoit/Express-REA/Redux

As the FPI’s mass protest movement has proceeded over the last six months, I received detailed information from five Indonesian internal intelligence reports. The reports were assembled by three different Indonesian agencies. Each one was confirmed by at least two current army, intelligence, or palace officials.

One intelligence reportasserted that the FPI-led protest movement was being funded in part by Tommy Suharto ­ son of the former dictator Suharto ­ who once served time for having a judge who displeased him shot in the head. Tommy’s financial contributions were also affirmed to me by retired Gen. Kivlan Zein. Kivlan, who helped the FPI lead a massive November protest in Jakarta, is currently facing the charge of treason (makar) for allegedly trying to overthrow the government during the recent protest drive. He is also the former campaign chair for Gen. Prabowo, who was defeated by President Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election.

Another report asserted that some funds came from Donald Trump’s billionaire business partner Hary Tanoe, who was repeatedly described to me by key movement figures as being among their most important supporters. Last Friday night, when I sat down with a roomful of such figures ­ none of whom requested anonymity ­ they expressed excitement about their closeness to Hary and his personal and financial relationship with President Trump, who along with his son Eric welcomed Hary to Trump Tower and the inauguration. They said they hoped Hary, who is building two Trump resorts in Indonesia, would serve as a bridge between Trump and Gen. Prabowo. Manimbang Kahariady, an executive of Prabowo’s political party, said he had met with Hary three days before. He and others at the meeting were convinced that Hary is telling Trump about the need to back the movement and remove their adversaries, beginning with Ahok.

Tommy Suharto could not be reached for comment. Hary Tanoe declined repeated requests for comment.

A third report asserted that some FPI movement funds came from former president and retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) ­ information that apparently angered President Jokowi, was leaked to the public, and was in turn denied publicly by an angry SBY who asserted at once that the facts were false and that the government had tapped his phone to get them. Nonetheless, seven current or former army or intelligence officials I spoke to said that SBY had indeed given funds but had channeled them indirectly. One official, retired Adm. Soleman Ponto, who is not a supporter of the coup movement, is the former chief of military intelligence (BAIS) and currently advises the state intelligence agency (BIN). Though he declined to comment directly when I asked him about specific intelligence reports, Soleman said that it was “very clear” that SBY, whom he called a friend, helped fund the movement, “giving through a mosque, giving through a school, SBY is the source.”

More broadly, Ponto said, “almost all the retired military” and “some current military back SBY” in supporting the FPI-led protests and the coup movement. He said he knows this because ­ in addition to his being an intelligence man ­ the pro-coup generals are his colleagues and friends, many of whom correspond on the WhatsApp group known as The Old Soldier. The admiral said that for the movement’s military sponsors, the Ahok issue is a mere entry point, a religious hook to draw in the masses, but “Jokowi is their final destination.”

As for the tactic of a straight army assault on the palace in a coup d’etat, Ponto said that would not happen. This one would be “a coup d’etat by law,” resembling in one sense the uprising that toppled Suharto in 1998, except that in this case the public would not be on the revolt’s side ­ and the army, rather than defending the president, would be working to bring him down. The FPI-led protestors, he said, would enter the palace and congress grounds, then try to get inside and set up camp until someone made them leave.
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 14 : Thousands of the hardline Isl

Thousands of members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front take part in a protest in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 14, 2016, to show their disapproval of Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, who has been charged with anti-Islamic blasphemy.

Photo: Agoes Rudianto/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“It would look like People Power” ­ the people gathered by FPI and their allies, but in this case, “with everything paid. The military would just do nothing. They only have to go to sleep” and let the president fall.

The admiral’s description of the movement’s strategy matched that of a dozen top officials I spoke to, some of them still active in the aparat ­ some for the coup, some against it.

Another possible scenario was described by another large group of officials: that the FPI-led rallies would get out of hand, with Jakarta and other cities tumbling into chaos, and the army stepping in and assuming control to save the state. This second, more violent option was discussed in detail when I met in late February, on the record, with FPI movement leaders Ustad Muhammad Khattath and Haji Usamah Hisyam.

Ustad Khattath had been referred to me by the Freeport lawyer and FPI militia chief Munarman, who had declined to see me. Haji Usamah accompanied Ustad Khattath and they gave a joint interview.

(The material in this section is attributed to “they” and presented without quotation marks, because since our interview, Ustad Khattath has been arrested and charged with makar (treason), a legal concept that I view as being unjust and repressive and have denounced when it has been used before.)

Barely mentioning religious questions, they saidIndonesia’s problem was New-Style Communism, and the army must be able to step in and guide the situation because Indonesia is not mature, not ready for democracy. Jokowi, they charged, was providing a space for communism, and the only strong organization that can face up to that is the army.

As to their street protest movement, they said, we civilians must be backed by the military, something they said was indeed happening secretly because now under reformasi the military can’t engage in politics. According to Haji Usamah, “It’s an intelligence operation by military personnel, but the army can’t be out front. They give the strategic view and direction. The army doesn’t like the communists.”

They said there are communists in the legislature and the executive branch. They must be targeted. For the street movement, the key strategic and tactical guidance was given to them by an anti-communist general who works with them. The army can only step in if there is chaos. If there is peace, they can’t do anything.

Ustad Khattath and Pak Usamah told me that they don’t want blood, they want peaceful revolution, but also insisted that not long from now there will be a revolution by the umaat, several weeks in the future. The palace is afraid, they said, they are afraid Jokowi will fall. They said the upcoming street actions would all be with revolutionary steps because peace has not yet brought down Ahok.

Ustad Khattath and Pak Usamah told me that if the president does not accede to their demands, there will be more massive action, using a stronger style of pressure, and added that their direct destination will be the president.

They saw the revolution beginning with days-long occupations of the congress and the palace and noted that if the people are hurt by being rebuffed, they will take the shortcut outside the law. Anything could happen. There could be millions that take the law into their own hands. Their position was, remind the president not to break the law by failing to jail Ahok or the people will get mad and out of control. It’s a disorderly situation, one that they felt would resolve itself by the army stepping in.

After Ustad Khattath was arrested by police and charged with treason, Usamah texted me to say he had now taken command of the street actions, just as Ustad Khattath had done after FPI leader Rizieq was brought up on pornography and other charges.

An alleged dissident questioned under gunpoint by Indonesian soldiers in 1965.
Photo: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

1965 Again

Soon after our interview, I received an army document from an officer inside the aparat that could be seen as providing the template for Khattath’s and Usamah’s remarks about the street actions.

Titled “Analyzing the Threats Posed by the New-Style Communism in Indonesia,” it is a series of PowerPoint slides used for ideological training at army bases nationwide.

New-Style Communism, or Komunisme Gaya Baru, abbreviated “KGB,” is a concept whose menace is framed with sketches of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler ­ and appears to be broadly enough defined to include any critic of the army anywhere.

Referring to such purportedly communist policies as “free health care and education programs,” the document denounces “idealizing pluralism and diversity in the social system” as a specific “KGB” threat now rising in Indonesia. Using threat assessment techniques drawn from Western intelligence doctrine and texts ­ excerpts from which are used, sometimes in English ­ the document warns of the communist enemy “separating the army from people” and “using human rights and democracy issues while positioning oneself as victim to gain sympathy.”
Error retrieving document: Origin is not allowed by Access-Control-Allow-Origin

The statement about human rights victims is an apparent reference to figures such as the brilliant social justice advocate Munir Said Thalib, my friend, who was assassinated in 2004 with a massive dose of arsenic that caused him to vomit to death on a flight to Amsterdam, or the victims of the 1965 slaughter of perhaps a million civilians, carried out by the army with U.S. backing in order to consolidate power after an attempted coup.

The 1965 massacre came up when I sat down with retired Gen. Kivlan Zein, who said that if Jokowi refused to accede to the army’s wishes, similar tactics could be deployed again.

Like many officials I spoke with, Kivlan said that the current army-backed street movement and crisis began as a result of the Symposium, a 2016 forum organized by the Jokowi government that allowed survivors and descendants of ’65 to publicly describe what had happened to them and to discuss how their loved ones died. For much of the army, the Symposium was an intolerable outrage and in itself justified the coup movement. One general told me that what most outraged his colleagues was that “it made the victims feel good.” The Symposium, of course, had nothing to do with Gov. Ahok or with religious questions of any kind. It was about the army and its crimes.

“If not for the Symposium, there wouldn’t be a movement now,” Kivlan told me. “Now the communists are on the rise again,” Kivlan complained. “They want to establish a new communist party. The victims of ’65, they all blame us. … Maybe we’ll fight them again, like ’65.”

I was taken aback by that and wanted to make sure I had heard correctly.

“It could happen,’65 could be repeated all over again,” he repeated.

And the reason?

“They are seeking redress.”

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA - MAY 06: A visitor walks pass a picture

A visitor walks pass a picture of Suharto at the Suharto museum on May 6, 2016, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

In other words, Kivlan was raising the specter of new mass slaughter if the old victims did not learn to forget. Kivlan then went on to detail why the ’65 coup was justified. He said that the ousted president, Sukarno, who was by then the army’s virtual captive, had given an order for the army to take over. The army “was handed power” by the congress.

Could that happen again now, I asked?

“It could,” the general said. “The army could move again now, like Suharto in that era.”

The general told me that last July, Jokowi had visited armed forces headquarters in the aftermath of the Symposium and had told the assembled generals that “he was not going to apologize to the PKI [communist

“If Jokowi sticks with that” ­ the no-apology stance ­ “he won’t be overthrown. He will save himself. But if he apologizes, [he is] finished, over,” Kivlan said.

I again wanted to be sure he was really saying the army would take action, like ’65 again.

“Yes, it will secure the situation, including like in ’65.”

“No say surrender,” he concluded in English.

Though Kivlan is regarded as being among the more ideological of the generals, it’s worth noting that many of his colleagues have been toying with ousting Jokowi even if he doesn’t apologize. In that sense, Kivlan belongs to the movement’s moderate wing. Remarkably, the idea of a mere apology to the army’s victims is enough to motivate generals to move to overthrow the president.

Kivlan is often credited with helping to create the FPI, after Suharto’s fall. In our conversation he denied to me that he was responsible for setting up the FPI but went on to discuss in detail how the group was just one example of the broader army and police strategy of creating civilian front groups, sometimes Islamist, sometimes not, that could be used to attack dissidents while keeping the aparat’s own hands clean.

He said that days before the massive Jakarta demonstration of November 4 last year, he received a text message from retired Major Gen. Budi Sugiana asking him “to join and take over the 411 [November 4] movement.”

The mission, he said, was “to save Indonesia,” by joining FPI leader Habib Rizieq on the mobile stage at the demonstration, because “they need someone if [Rizieq] is shot and dead to take over the mass” outside the palace.

In December, Kivlan was arrested by the police for trying to overthrow Jokowi, but as we spoke in late February he remained free and had been traveling outside the country. Indeed, he told me he had been carrying out missions for Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, the current armed forces commander, attempting to release Indonesian hostages held in the Philippines.

On the question of who privately backs the movement and who precisely the “communists” are, Kivlan spoke both on and off the record, and both precisely and generally. His characterization of his fellow generals’ stances meshes closely with what the other aparat people said, but, unlike most of them, he said it on the record.

“So many retired military ­ and in the military ­ are with the FPI. … Because the goal of the FPI is also against the communists.”

After his discourse to me about ousting Jokowi and taking actions like ’65, I asked him: Does Gen. Gatot ­ the current armed forces commander ­ agree?

“He agrees!”

But he noted that as a younger, still-active officer, Gatot has to “be very careful” in his public stances.

Kivlan’s on-the-record remarks about Gatot’s role are consistent with those of other generals and coup people, as well as with the purported remarks of President Jokowi himself. When I asked an official with regular access to the president about a claim that Jokowi had said that “Gatot is the main factor in the coup,” the official replied, yes, the president said it, privately. Gatot did not respond to requests for comment.

As for his old boss Gen. Prabowo, Kivlan also echoed what others said: “Prabowo doesn’t want to be close, but he does it through Fadli Zon.” If he were openly close to the movement, it would be difficult for him, so Fadli Zon is the front. Regarding Gen. Ryamizard, the current minister of defense, Kivlan claimed that “his heart agrees. He agrees with our goal,” but he can’t “speak candidly.”

Kivlan praised the stance of Gen. Wiranto, saying “Wiranto is good.” Kivlan said Wiranto “wants to build harmony” with the movement, often pressing its case from his current post as coordinating minister for politics, law, and security. It was under Wiranto’s command that the FPI was first created. When Wiranto received the FPI’s Rizieq during the demonstrations, he described him as “an old friend.”

Kivlan added that Wiranto, who is himself under indictment for East Timor war crimes, has a “good plan” on the army’s pivotal issue. He is pressing Jokowi for “no human rights trials.”

The strategic elegance of the army push for a coup is that the army wins even if it loses. Even if Jokowi stays in office, the generals will be safer than ever ­ they think ­ from human rights trials, since in order to stave off one group of killers, the president has embraced another group of equally murderous generals who have exacted a price.

Foremost among them is Gen. A.M. Hendropriyono, the former BIN chief and CIA asset, who has been implicated in the Munir assassination and a series of other major crimes. Throughout the coup crisis, it has been Hendro’s men ­ army, intel, police, civilian ­ who have been leading the anti-coup defense of Jokowi against their colleagues. It is mainly Hendro’s people who have organized the treason arrests and hobbled Habib Rizieq Shihab with pornography charges, as well as charging movement financiers with ISIS money laundering.

In exchange, Hendro and his allies have received what they view as guarantees of immunity from prosecution. And under prevailing aparatrules, if they’re safe, everyone else is as well, since there’s a tacit agreement to reject prosecution of colleagues, even if they’re bitter enemies.

In February, under palace pressure, a Jakarta administrative court declared that the Jokowi administration could duck its legal obligation to officially release a government fact-finding report that openly addressed Hendro’s responsibility for the Munir assassination. Munir’s widow Suciwati and Haris Azhar of Munir’s human rights group, Kontras, denounced that verdict as “legalizing criminality.”

In similar fashion, the coup movement has also been helpful for Freeport. Since last year, the Jokowi government, after decades of state quiescence, has been trying to rewrite the state contract with Freeport and has been dialing back their export rights. At the same time, the government has been shaken by the movement led in part by a lawyer associated with the company.

In early April, after the movement launched the first of what the police claimed were four planned attempts to seize congress and the palace, the Jokowi administration shocked Indonesia’s political world by unexpectedly giving in to Freeport and green lighting new copper exports. The sudden retreat didn’t end the dispute ­ deep, long-term contract issues remain ­ but it suggested, as Jokowi officials later told me, that the government now felt its position had been weakened.

In a story with the droll headline “Freeport gets red-carpet treatment, again,” the pro-U.S. and pro-business English-language Jakarta Post observed: “The government has defended its decision, even though there is no legal basis that backs [it]. … Freeport is seen as having dodged the bullet again.”

On April 20, Vice President Mike Pence is due in Indonesia. Jokowi administration officials have been saying privately that they expect Freeport’s demands to be at the top of his wish list. At the meeting of movement figures last Friday, one of them looked at me and exclaimed: “Pence will threaten Jokowi on Freeport!”

Freeport Indonesia did not respond to requests for comment.
Jakarta's Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok s

Jakarta’s Gov. Ahok speaks to his lawyers inside the courtroom during his blasphemy trial at the auditorium of the Agriculture Ministry in Jakarta on April 11, 2017.

Photo: Beawiharta/Press Pool via AFP/Getty Images

Blasphemy as Pretext

Although privately movement leaders and their sponsors spoke incessantly of the army, evading justice, and seizing power, on the streets outside the theme was decidedly religious. Walking among the huge crowd at one action at the Istliqlal mosque near the palace, it was clear to me that although the protest movement was fronted by the FPI, it had drawn a wide swath of people, many of whom were demonstrating simply because they were conservative or felt aggrieved.

The proximate cause of that grievance was Ahok and his alleged blasphemy in suggesting that non-Muslims could lead Muslims. (Ahok is also justly criticized for his evictions of the poor.) It was therefore quite illuminating to hear the leaders of the coup movement privately minimize those themes.

Kivlan surprised me when he remarked offhandedly that Ahok had given the movement a “gift” with his “slip of the tongue” regarding the Quran.

The required public stance of movement leaders was to claim to be forever wounded by Ahok’s remark asking people not to be deceived by rivals trying to use a Quranic verse against him. But here was one of them ­ with a small smile ­ acknowledging that strategically Ahok’s statement was welcome, because it had enabled the FPI and its sponsors to shift the balance of power inside the state, elevate themselves from street killers to theologians, and alter the cultural climate to boot. And here he was, accepting that the fateful remark was a “slip of the tongue.”

With that, he not only appeared to be conceding that the blasphemy criminal case against Ahok was bogus ­ as we spoke, Ahok’s lawyers were arguing in court precisely that he had just spoken loosely, intending no offense ­ but also that the coup movement’s sole big public issue was something that, in private, they did not take seriously.

Beyond that, when I sat with Usamah and the movement leaders whom he half-joking called his politbureau, they casually contradicted their position that non-Muslims cannot lead Muslims. They did so while discussing Hary Tanoe, who they all effusively praised as their movement’s top supporter ­ through direct aid and by means of his TV stations, which were admonished by Indonesia’s broadcast commission for unseemly pro-movement political bias and inaccuracy ­ and their perceived lifeline to President Donald Trump.

Those in the room all agreed they wanted a Prabowo-Hary Tanoe government, perhaps with Hary as president and Prabowo as vice president, or the reverse, depending on the polling.

The catch, which didn’t seem to bother them, is that Hary, like Ahok, is an ethnic Chinese Christian, which if they believed in their own standards should disqualify him from leading Jakarta, let alone Indonesia.

Top photo: A member of the hard-line Islamist vigilante group the Islamic Defenders Front shouts slogans after burning an effigy of Jakarta Gov. Ahok in front of Jakarta’s city hall, Dec. 1, 2014

Protested, blocking related websites West Papua situation

April 19, 2017

Protested, blocking related websites West Papua situation

Jubi | News Portal Papua No. 1

The press conference to protest the blocking of four organizations related websites West Papua in LBH Pers, Kalibata, Jakarta, Tuesday (04/18/2017) – supplied

Jakarta, Jubi – Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Press, Jubi Association, Foundation One Justice (YSK), and community Papua That We protest against the alleged blocking of some websites containing news, attitude and analysis related to West Papua.

"In early April 2017, the official site Papua Students Alliance / AMP alleged to have internet access terminated arbitrarily without any prior notice. Termination of this access in unison with other websites that also raised human rights violations in Papua, "according to a release received by the editors Jubi, Tuesday (04/18/2017).

Sites that allegedly cut off his Internet access is,,, and Termination of such access was not only on sites managed in Papua, but also sites that are managed outside of Papua, and

Their protest addressed to Kominfo allegedly blocked by not using a strong legal basis because it is contrary to Article 28J of the 1945 Constitution "Although the government has been given the authority by Article 40 paragraph 2 of Law ITE, but the implementation of the article must be set forth in Government Regulation and to date these provisions have not been there, "said Asep Komarudin of LBH Pers in the statement.

Although the alleged reason for termination access because these sites contain elements of "separatist", but only in a permanent blocking can not be done without based on the human rights standards.

It was emphasized Bernard Agapa, a community movers Papua It Kita in Jakarta. According to him, every person has the right to communicate and obtain information to develop personal and social environment, and the right to seek, obtain, possess, store, process and convey information by using all available channels.

"That is the mandate of the 1945 constitution, you know, so that the people of Papua, also have the right to communicate information according to kepentinngan them, sekalpiun the political demands, as long as do not by force and meet the principles of human rights," said Bernard when confirmed Jubi, Tuesday (18 / 4).

Right of citizens to know

Mid-February, Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) hard criticized Jakarta for allegedly kept silent on violations of press freedom in Papua, including human rights violations was allowed to happen in the profit-taking in Papua rich.

"They keep silent on violations against the press and other human rights, try to compare with the billions of profits gained from Papua by outside interests. It’s a shame, "said Monica Miller, Chairman of the PFF.

They also protested the blocking of the portal, while appreciating the Press Legal Aid Institute and non-press solidarity initiative in Jakarta who do advocate for Papuan Voices exempt access.

"Blocking is allegedly one form of press freedom and the silencing of one form of termination of the right to information society, especially the people of Papua," said Asep Komarudin of LBH Pers mid-December.

Separately, Syamsul Alam Agus from The Justice Foundation (YSK) specifically highlighted the role of such sites for information obejktif and what for the people of Papua.

"We know that the content of web sites are blocked in Papua is a provider of information for the people of Papua and the public objectively. Imagine if there is no content and the web? Public-infomrasi information presented only development that seems to good but the endless corruption and human rights violations, "said Syamsul Alam.

The blocking for him by the government violates the right of citizens to know.

Fourth and community organizations urged the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Communications) to open and normalize these sites. They also urged Kominfo create transparent mechanisms related to blocking the website to be more respect for the principles of human rights.

For information Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sat Indonesia in World Press Freedom Index rankings to 130th out of 180 countries. Indonesia is considered the country further away from qualification that supports freedom of the press. RSF also condemned the ban and restrictions on access, imprisonment and even deportation of foreign journalists in Papua.

"Indonesia is scheduled to host the celebration of World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May, but repeatedly refused to issue visas to the press, even the number of journalists who entered ‘hitam’nya list is increasing," it said Benjamin Ismaïl, head of RSF Asia Pacific.(*)


US-Indonesia disputes in the spotlight

April 17, 2017

US-Indonesia disputes in the spotlight

Bilateral tensions lurk behind American Vice President Mike Pence’s upcoming visit to Jakarta, a three-day tour the US has billed as a ‘goodwill’ visit
By REUTERS APRIL 17, 2017 5:24 PM (UTC+8)

Papuan students display placards during an anti-Freeport rally in front of the US giant Freeport-McMoRan office in Jakarta on April 7, 2017. The students demanded an end to mining by Freeport in Papua and the freedom of Papua from Indonesia. / AFP PHOTO / Bay ISMOYO

Washington has billed Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Indonesia next week as a booster for the Strategic Partnership between the world’s second- and third-largest democracies, but a raft of bilateral tensions could sap the goodwill from his trip. Pence’s counterpart in the world’s most populous Muslim country has voiced worries about US President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, which critics say is biased against Muslims, and about his “America First” mantra on trade and investment. “We in Indonesia never change. The change is there. That’s why we’re asking them now, ‘what is your policy now on the economy, on democracy, now that Trump is in power?’,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Reuters on March 31.

“What does it mean, ‘America first’? I can say, too, ‘Indonesia first’ if you say ‘America first’.”

Indonesia is one of 16 countries against which the United States runs a trade deficit that will be investigated by the Trump administration for possible trade abuses. Trump’s combative approach will not sit easily with Indonesia, where economic nationalism and protectionist tendencies have flourished since a slump in commodity prices in recent years slammed the brakes on economic growth. “Unfortunately I do see a hardening of attitudes on our side,” said a senior Indonesian government official, who declined to be named. “And it’s of particular concern because we’re on that list of 16 countries … that are going to be investigated.” The official said a tougher stand by Indonesian authorities had also contributed to a series of disputes with US companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc and financial services giant JP Morgan Chase & Co. Indonesia has dueled with Google over back taxes and fines running into hundreds of millions of dollars, and with Freeport in a contract row that has crippled operations at the world’s second-largest copper mine, Grasberg.

It also dropped JP Morgan as a primary bond dealer after the bank’s research analysts issued a negative report on the country in November.

“It’s a very unfortunate series of issues which all happen to be American,” said the official, who expects them to come up in private during Pence’s visit. Indonesia is the third stop on an April 15-25 tour that includes South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Google declined to comment for this report, and JPMorgan did not respond to a request for comment.

Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said: “This visit is happening entirely independent of our current negotiations with the government of Indonesia.”

However, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, Freeport’s third-biggest shareholder and now a special adviser to Trump, has described Jakarta’s tactics over the mining contract as “disingenuous and insulting”, according to the New York Times.

Another potential irritant is biodiesel.

The US National Biodiesel Board (NBB), a producer group, has petitioned the US government to impose anti-dumping duties on biodiesel from Indonesia and Argentina, claiming they have flooded the US market.

“This is one of the issues that we have asked the trade ministry to bring to the meeting (with Pence),” Paulus Tjakrawan, a director at the Indonesia Biofuel Producers Association, told Reuters.

“Our hope is for the government to be firm … Otherwise we will be taken advantage of,” he said. “Not to act like thugs but, for example, if they put barriers to our exports, why not stop importing some of their goods?” Despite the strains, the government official said Indonesia would be careful to start its relationship with the Trump administration on the right foot. Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s approach to foreign policy has been led more by economic interests than geopolitical considerations: he has pursued increased trade and investment from China but keeps a diplomatic distance from Beijing and established a strategic partnership with Washington under former President Barack Obama.

US ambassador to Indonesia, Joseph Donovan Jr, said in a statement last week that Pence’s visit reflected a continued commitment to that partnership, would deepen economic engagement and boost regional security cooperation. “The US embassy here certainly is going to great lengths to make the visit a success,” said the Indonesian official. “My impression is he’s (Pence) not going to ruffle feathers in public, he’s not going to cause a ruckus.”