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Attacks, disappearances and killings by unknown persons are now part of daily life for West Papuans

October 17, 2017

Attacks, disappearances and killings by unknown persons are now part of daily life for West Papuans

OCTOBER 17, 2017

The statement below has been written by West Papuan Independence Leader Benny Wenda, following a spate of brutal human rights violations committed towards West Papuan people this month.

This month, several West Papuan people, particularly activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) have been intimidated, attacked and killed by the Indonesian police and so called “unknown persons”.

  • On 14th October, in Port Numbay (Jayapura), 19 year old West Papuan activist Alex Sambom from the KNPB went missing and the next day was found dead. He had been stripped naked and brutally murdered. It is believed that he was beaten to death with wood.
  • On 16th October, also in Port Numbay, West Papuan student activist Rosalina Fonataba was attacked in a hit and run attack by suspected members of the Indonesian police. She suffered wounds on her hands and feet and it is believed she was targeted after uploading photos with the West Papuan flag on social media.
  • On 16th October, in Dogiyai, West Papuan man Petrus Iyai was brutally beaten until bloodied by the Indonesian police mobile brigade (BRIMOB), for demanding his rightful pay after dropping off 2 passengers at Moanemani airport.
  • On 8th October, in Sorong, Indonesian police confiscated 4 West Papuan traditional bilum bags with the West Papuan flag on them. When asked why, they replied, “Because it’s terrible and violates the law”.
  • On 4th October and 16th October, West Papuan students studying in Indonesia were terrorised by the Indonesian police as their student dormitories in Manado and Tomohon were been searched and raided by the Indonesian police.
  • There have also been many other cases of intimidation, harassment, torture and killings against West Papuan people in recent weeks
  • full report at


U.S. Embassy Tracked Indonesia Mass Murder 1965

October 17, 2017

U.S. Embassy Tracked Indonesia Mass Murder 1965


General Suharto in the days after the September 30th Movement

Published: Oct 17, 2017
Briefing Book #607

Edited by Brad Simpson, Founder and Director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, University of Connecticut

For further information, contact: 609-751-8206

Newly Declassified U.S. Embassy Jakarta Files Detail Army Killings, U.S. support for Quashing Leftist Labor Movement

Washington, D.C., October 17, 2017 – The U.S. government had detailed knowledge that the Indonesian Army was conducting a campaign of mass murder against the country’s Communist Party (PKI) starting in 1965, according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University. The new materials further show that diplomats in the Jakarta Embassy kept a record of which PKI leaders were being executed, and that U.S. officials actively supported Indonesian Army efforts to destroy the country’s left-leaning labor movement.

The 39 documents made available today come from a collection of nearly 30,000 pages of files constituting much of the daily record of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1964-1968. The collection, much of it formerly classified, was processed by the National Declassification Center in response to growing public interest in the remaining U.S. documents concerning the mass killings of 1965-1966. American and Indonesian human rights and freedom of information activists, filmmakers, as well as a group of U.S. Senators led by Tom Udall (D-NM), had called for the materials to be made public.

The documents concern one of the most important and turbulent chapters in Indonesian history and U.S.-Indonesian relations, which witnessed the gradual collapse of ties between Jakarta and Washington, a low-level war with Britain over the formation of Malaysia, rising tension between the Indonesian Army and the Indonesian Communist Party, the growing radicalization of Indonesian President Sukarno, and the expansion of U.S. covert operations aimed at provoking a clash between the Army and PKI. These tensions erupted in the aftermath of an attempted purge of the Army by the September 30th Movement – a group of military officers with the collaboration of a handful of PKI leaders. After crushing the Movement, which had kidnapped and killed six high-ranking Army generals, the Indonesian Army and its paramilitary allies launched a campaign of annihilation against the PKI and its affiliated organizations, killing up to 500,000 alleged PKI supporters between October 1965 and March 1966, imprisoning up to a million more, and eventually ousting Sukarno and replacing him with General Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for the next 32 years before he himself was overthrown in May 1998.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the National Security Archive worked with the National Declassification Center (NDC) to make the entirety of this collection available to the public by scanning and digitizing the collection, which will be incorporated into the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) digital finding aids. When completed, scholars, journalists, and researchers will be able to search the documents by date, keyword, or name, providing unparalleled access, in particular for the Indonesian public, to a unique collection of records concerning one of the most important periods of Indonesian history.

Of the 30,000 pages processed by the NDC, several hundred documents remain classified and are undergoing further review before their scheduled release in early 2018. While some of the documents in this collection were declassified and deposited at NARA or the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in the late 1990s, many thousands of pages are being made available for the first time in more than 50 years.


The documents in the files of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta range widely, from the daily operations of the Embassy to observations on Indonesian politics, economics, foreign policy, military affairs, the growing conflict between the United States and Sukarno, the conflict between the Army and PKI, the September 30th Movement and the mass killings that followed, and the consolidation of the Suharto regime. While most of the documents in this briefing book concern the events of September 30, 1965, and their aftermath, we have included a handful of others to give a sense of the range and historical significance of the larger collection for an understanding of the broader consolidation of the Suharto regime.

Document 1
U.S. Consulate in Medan, Telegram 509 to Jakarta, Limited Official Use

Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 12, Folder 8 Pol 12 PKI-Army

The U.S. consul in Medan, Robert Blackburn, reports that Army officials in Medan have overruled local authorities using powers claimed under the DWIKORA Commands issued by President Sukarno to extend additional powers to the Armed Forces in the context of the military confrontation with Britain over the formation of Malaysia. On October 1, as historian Jess Melvin has shown, local military commanders in Medan would use the same powers to declare martial law and launch the first mass killings against alleged PKI supporters.

Document 2
Copy of Letter from Sjafruddin Prawiranegara to Edwin L. Fox, Enclosure 1, Airgram A-125 from U.S. Embassy Jakarta to State, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 3, Folder 22 – POL – POLITICAL AFF. And REL. 1965 general
In this letter to former USAID administrator Edwin Fox, Sjafruddin Prawiranegara (former finance minister and prime minister of the PRRI government during Indonesia’s civil war from 1958-1961) offers a full throated defense of the U.S. war in Vietnam. The then-imprisoned Sjafruddin, a member of the Moslem Masjumi party, argues that the United States “is following the only right path which leads … to a necessary containment of aggressive Communism” in the region. Sjafruddin’s enthusiastic support for the Vietnam War was extraordinary given the widespread opposition to U.S. foreign policy in the region even among anti-Communist Indonesian military leaders, many of whom deeply sympathized with the Vietnamese fighting the United States.

Document 3
Telegram 542 A from Secretary of State to American Embassy in Jakarta
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 5, Folder 13 Assistance to US citizens – Lovestrand 1965
This telegram comments on conditions in West Irian (West Papua) in mid-September 1965, as recounted by a Dutch Protestant missionary reporting on the case of imprisoned U.S. missionary Harold Lovestrand. The missionary reported “talk of open rebellion by Papuans” and a brutal crackdown by Indonesian military forces after three soldiers were shot at a flag-raising ceremony. “Soldiers next day sprayed bullets at any Papuan in sight and many innocent travelers on roads gunned down.”

Document 4
US Embassy in Jakarta, Telegram 971 to Secretary of State, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 4, Folder 7 pol 23-9 rebellion. Coups. 30th September Movement 1965
The U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, Marshall Green, reports on a conversation with the German ambassador to Indonesia, according to whom “Indo Army is now considering possibility of overthrowing Sukarno himself and is approaching several Western Embassies to let them know that such a move is possible.” An Indonesian army representative approached the German ambassador after Sukarno appeared to dismiss Army efforts to present him with evidence of “PKI complicity in Sept. 30 Movement.”

Document 5
Telegram 779A from American Embassy in Jakarta to Secretary of State in Washington, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 38 (Dummy Box), Folder 3
This document records a conversation between Embassy staff and Surtarto, special assistant to Ruslan Abdulgani. It notes “anti-PKI actions” were now occurring in Medan, South Sumatra, and Makassar while Central Java was in “turmoil.” This “anti-PKI action” is reported as being led by “Army/Moslem [groups].” Surtarto freely discusses the interrogation of Untung (one of the leaders of the September 30th Movement) and suggests “we will probably have to string up” key PKI leaders and “kill” Air Force Commander Omar Dani. American Embassy staff are recorded asking what actions the Army will take “beyond” current mass anti-PKI demonstrations and “sacking” of PKI-associated establishments and residences. Army plans to conduct actions at the Chinese Embassy are also reported.

Document 6
US Embassy in Jakarta, Telegram 1168 to Secretary of State, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 1-POL 23-9 Rebellion Coup 30 September Movement Oct.20-25, 1965
This report from U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Marshall Green describes the Army’s efforts to ban the PKI-affiliated Central All-Indonesian Workers Organization (Sentral Organisasi Buruh Seluruh Indonesia, or SOBSI), which the Army publicly accuses of complicity in the September 30th Movement, and to remove Labor Minister Sutomo. The memo discusses the Army’s (and the United States’) dilemma in deciding how to deal with the labor minister, who was not fully cooperating with the Army in attacking SOBSI. Though Green considers it “improbable” that SOBSI had any knowledge of – or involvement in – the September 30th Movement, he notes that the Army considers it a possible “independent political force” and therefore a threat to its plans to consolidate power.

Document 7
US Embassy in Jakarta, Telegram A 298 to Secretary of State, Secret; Memorandum of Conversation: The Situation in Indonesia After the Coup Attempt and Efforts of Indonesian Moderates to Assist the Army to Destroy the PKI.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 1-POL 23-9 Rebellion Coup 30 September Movement Oct.20-25, 1965
This memorandum recounts a conversation between Second Secretary of the Embassy Robert Rich and Adnan Buyung Nasution, an assistant to the attorney general, and later a critic of Suharto and founder of Indonesia’s first human rights organization. Nasution tells Rich that this is a critical moment for Indonesian moderates, such as members of the PNI and Masjumi, who must “continue to crack down on the Communists in order to break the back of the PKI power…” Nasution said that “the Army had already executed many communists but this fact must be very closely held” and that “the extent of Army repression of the PKI was being carefully kept from Sukarno.” The memo suggests just how widespread support for the Army-led mass killings was even among moderate political forces in Indonesia.

Document 8
Letter from Norman Hannah, CINCPAC to Marshall Green, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 5 pol 23-9 Sept 30th Mvt Nov 10-19 1965
In this letter, Hannah, the political advisor to the commander-in-chief for the Pacific (CINCPAC) asks U.S. Ambassador Green how CINCPAC and the United States should respond to the “reasonable possibility that the Indonesian Army might request our help against a PKI insurgency.” Such a request, he speculates, “might include anything from covert operations and assistance on up through the spectrum, including transport, money, communications equipment, or arms.” A week later, Green would request that the Johnson administration “explore [the] possibility of short-term one shot aid on covert, non-attributable basis” as a sign of U.S. support, precipitating an expansion of U.S. covert support for the Army which would include money, communications equipment, and arms.

Document 9
Telegram 1290 from American Embassy Jakarta to Department of State, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 4 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt November 1-9, 1965
In this telegram from early November 1965, U.S. Ambassador Marshall Green describes conditions in North Sumatra (site of some of the worst massacres after October 1) and the Indonesian Army’s efforts to dismantle the PKI-affiliated oil workers union, PERBUM. It notes that “reportedly 600 communists already jailed and arrests continuing,” including “all leaders communist oil workers union PERBUM.” Green also notes that “Top SOBSI officials at both Shell and Stanvac refineries and at PURSI Fertilizer Plant among those picked up.” At the time, both Stanvac and Shell, two of the three largest foreign oil companies operating in Indonesia, were negotiating to complete the transfer of ownership of local refining capacity to the Indonesian government, a plan scuttled later in the year under intense pressure from U.S. officials.

Document 10
Report from the Director of Intelligence, Indonesian Air Force on the situation in East Java (No. 51/ch/Pr/i/65)
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 4 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt November 1-9, 1965
This report, written in Indonesian by the director of intelligence of the Indonesian Air Force, provides a rare glimpse into the Armed Forces’ internal reporting of its activities in the wake of the September 30th mMmovement. It describes the activities of the Army’s RPKAD (Regimen Para Komando Angkatan Darat, or Army Para-Commando Regiment) in the area around Surakarta, in particular SOLO, which was treated as a war zone by the Army because of the popularity of the PKI in the area. RKPAD troops were previously assigned to the Konfrontasi campaign with the British over the formation of Malaysia, and the report describes the reassignment of these units to help spearhead the attack on the PKI.

Document 11
Telegram 194 from American Consul in Surabaya to Jakarta, Limited Official Use
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This telegram describes Indonesian Army repression of the PKI in various parts of East Java as the mass killings are getting underway. It describes East Java as largely under control.

Document 12
Telegram 1425 from American Embassy Jakarta to Secretary of State, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 5 pol 23-9 Sept 30th Mvt Nov 10-19 1965
This telegram from U.S. Ambassador Marshall Green summarizes the political and security situation in Sulawesi, Central and East Java, as Army-supported and organized repression of alleged PKI supporters, as well as Chinese-Indonesian residents, continues to expand. According to Green, a Sulawesi Protestant leader reported “90% of Chinese shops in Makassar raided and contents destroyed during November 10 riot which reportedly involved virtually entire population.” The same Protestant leader “also reported extensive anti-PKI violence in Buginese area of Sulawesi. Moslems in Bone reportedly broke into a detention camp and killed 200 PKI prisoners.”

Document 13
Telegram 1485 from American Embassy in Jakarta to Secretary of State in Washington, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 38 (Dummy Box), Folder 4
This telegram reports that while the embassy had not yet heard of specific attempts by the Army to bring Moslem parties in Jakarta “under the umbrella organization ‘Action Committee to crush 30 September Movement,’” it is understood the Army is building a coalition with Moslem and Christian parties and the right wing of the PNI. It is additionally reported that the inter-regional military commander for Sumatra, Mokoginta, has expressed the view that the Army will not tolerate “free political party politics or free trade unionism.”

Document 14
Telegram 1516 from American Embassy in Jakarta to Secretary of State, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 6 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, November 20-30, 1965
This important cable reports on conversations between Western observers and PKI activists in Jakarta and Central Java, including Jogjakarta. According to a “Reliable Australian journalist” recently returned from Central Java, “PKI source who said he was on fringes of top 50 PKI in Jogjakarta who are ‘in know’ claimed that Jogjakarta PKI had no advance word on September 30 Movement and that there was great confusion in Party ranks on what they were supposed to do.” The Australian, fluent in Indonesian, “was first Western journalist to visit Central Java on October 10” and found local PKI cadres “thoroughly confused and claiming lack of any foreknowledge of Sept. 30 Movement.” The cable suggests U.S. officials were well aware that alleged PKI supporters and members being arrested or killed in an Army-led campaign of repression and mass murder had no role in – or even knowledge of – the September 30th Movement, even as the United States began moving to offer substantial covert support for the campaign.

Document 15
Action Telegram 183 from American Consul Surabaya to Jakarta, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 6 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, November 20-30, 1965. (This cable appears in the State Department Central Files as Telegram 41 from Surabaya to State, November 27, 1965, RG 59, Central Files, 1964-1966, POL 23-8, NARA)
This detailed cable from a U.S. consular officer in Surabaya offers some of the most detailed (and bloody) reporting on the Army-led campaign against the PKI. The officer notes that “we continue receive reports PKI being slaughtered many areas East Java. Missionary, who returned from Kediri Nov. 21 heard largest slaughter had taken place at Tulungagung where reportedly 15,000 Communists killed.” The killings in East Java “have coloration of Holy War: killing of Infidel supposed give ticket to heaven and if blood of victim rubbed on face path there even more assured.” Even discounting for exaggerations, the consulate reports that a “widespread slaughter” is taking place.

Document 16
Airgram A-353, Joint Weeka No. 45 from U.S. Embassy Jakarta to State, Secret.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 10, Folder 12-POL 2-1 Joint Weeks Sept. 1-December 31, 1965
This Joint Weeka, a weekly summary of events, offers one of the first acknowledgements of Suharto’s support of, or orders for, mass killings of PKI supporters. The Embassy reports that “In a series of meetings with youth leaders from several parties General Nasution expressed his determination to continue the campaign to repress the PKI, which has reached the stage of mass executions in several Indonesian provinces, apparently at the behest of General Suharto in Central Java at least.” “Both in the provinces and in Djakarta, repression of the PKI continued, with the main problem being that of what to feed and where to house the prisoners. Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their PKI prisoners, or by killing them before they are captured, a task in which Moslem youth groups are providing assistance.”

Document 17
Telegram 1025 A from American Embassy Jakarta to Secretary of State, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This extraordinary document describes a meeting between Embassy staff and the Polish First Secretary Andrzej Gradziuk. Gradziuk provides a markedly different account of the September 30th Movement to that which was being promoted by the Army. He proposes the “idea originated outside the PKI” and that it was intended to be an “intra-government operation to seize limited group of top generals.” There was no intention, he explains, to kill the generals. Gradziuk additionally notes that the Soviets are disturbed that the Army’s targets have extended beyond the PKI itself to “other progressive groups” within Indonesian society. He cannot understand, it is reported, why the PKI “did not act in the face of repression of Army.” It is speculated that perhaps the PKI was too used to taking orders from Sukarno to know how to act independently once the original plan went off course. The author of the report suggests it is possible that this account from the Polish Embassy (that the September 30th Movement was indeed planned as an internal army affair) may be “doctored,” however the author appears to be unsure whether there might be some merit to the account, suggesting not all Embassy staff fully believed the Army’s official propaganda version of events (or knew that it was indeed fake).

Document 18
Telegram 184A From American Consulate in Medan to the American Embassy in Jakarta, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This report reports that the Islamist group Muhammadiah in Medan is issuing instructions that it is a religious obligation to kill “PKI.” These instructions (that PKI members are the lowest level of infidel “the shedding of whose blood is comparable to killing chicken[s]”) are being disseminated at mosques. These instructions, it is reported, are being interpreted as a “wide license for killing.” The Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is said to hold a similar position.

Document 19
Telegram 183 A From American Consulate in Medan to American Embassy in Jakarta, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This report explains the military is “strengthening its grip on all aspects of political life” on Sumatra. It reports that the islands’ governors and district governments are now under military control. The military is also establishing a “Moslem umbrella organization to embrace and control all Moslem organisations.” It is noted the military wishes for political parties to remain suppressed, as it prefers to govern through the functional groups established under Guided Democracy. Indeed, the military is taking this process further. The National Front, the report explains, will now become an “army instrument for controlling parties and mass organisations.” The press is under Army control. The Army is also continuing to arm Hansip units in order to “extend direct military chain of command into every village on Sumatra.” There is no viable opposition to this on the ground due to the emasculation of political parties. The report remarks that regardless of development on Java, it is likely the military will continue to maintain its iron grip over Sumatra.

Document 20
Airgram A-373, Joint Weeka No. 46 from U.S. Embassy Jakarta to State, Secret.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 10, Folder 12-POL 2-1 Joint Weeks Sept. 1-December 31, 1965
This Joint Weeka reports on the ongoing campaign against the PKI, noting the arrest of up to 34,000 alleged PKI members in Java alone and the arrest or extrajudicial execution of leading PKI politburo members. The report notes that “liquid assets of Chinese-origin residents of Indonesia were confiscated in several provinces” and that “regional military commanders would take over all rice mills and textile enterprises owned by members of the Chinese Community Association Baperki,” an act of opportunism undertaken in the guise of associating local Chinese with the September 30th Movement.

Document 21
Telegram 187 from American Consulate Surabaya to American Embassy Jakarta, ‘Joint sitrep 19’, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This telegram details military “cleanup” operations in East Java. It reports that the “PKI mass following” in Kediti has been “decimated” and that, as a result, the Army is now “seeking [to] put stop to killing.” The report describes the killings as having been led by “Moslems.” The cleanup operation in Surabaya is reported to be taking longer due to the large number of PKI sympathizers in the area. East Java’s deputy PKI governor Satryo is reported to be “staying quietly at home” while purges occur.

Document 22
Telegram A-386 From American Embassy Jakarta to Secretary of State, ‘The PKI Hunt in Central Java’, Confidential.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This report provides an overview of Army operations in Central Java. It explains the RPKAD brought together the Catholic party, IP-KI, and NU to “root out” PKI elements. The NU is said to provide the “bulk of support” to this operation. Its is reported that the Army has had some difficulties controlling NU’s youth arm Ansor, which is said to have been violently attacking not only “PKI elements” but also “non-PKI victims” who are said to have been involved in “personal feuds with Ansor members.” The Chinese community, it is reported, is also being attacked. A list of “200 Baperki members” has been given to the Army. This list is said to be a “Who’s Who” of the Kudu’s business community. The Army is reported to have announced that these listed individuals will be interrogated and jailed indefinitely if found to be Baperki activists. Many have “disappeared.” Kudus is said to now be “free of PKI elements.”

Document 23
US Department of State, Airgram A-398 to U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 12, Folder 9 PKI 1965
This extraordinary document, compiled by Embassy First Secretary Mary Vance Trent, reports on the fate of PKI leaders at the height of the mass killings, suggesting an intimate knowledge of Army operations to arrest or kill ranking PKI members. The report also notes the “widespread falsification of many documents such as alleged confessions,” citing the case of PKI Politburo member Njono, who had been arrested by the Army and was being held prisoner in Jakarta.

Document 24
Airgram A-408, Joint Weeka No. 48 from U.S. Embassy Jakarta to State, Secret.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 10, Folder 12-POL 2-1 Joint Weeks Sept. 1-December 31, 1965
In this Joint Weeka, compiled by Embassy First Secretary Mary Louise Trent, the Embassy notes the “striking Army success” of its efforts to accumulate power under the auspices of its recently formed Supreme Operations Command, or KOTI, greatly limiting Sukarno’s power and asserting itself over him. The report goes on to note that at least 100,000 people have been killed in the Army-organized campaign against alleged PKI supporters, including at least 10,000 in Bali. According to most scholars, the killings in Bali began in early December when the Army Para-commando Regiment and Brawijaya units under the command of Sarwo Edhie Wibowo arrived. The killings would continue for several more months, resulting in an estimated 80,000 dead.

Document 25
Telegram 203 from American Consul in Surabaya to Jakarta, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This telegram reports that while “indiscriminate killings” are alleged to have ceased in East Java, the “army is quietly releasing nightly 10 to 15 prisoners to Moslems for execution.” Similar reports are said to have been heard from other sources. This technique, it is reported, is apparently being used so that the Army can claim it has the situation under control while “allowing” Moslems to “carry out their determination to wipe out the PKI.” This statement is disingenuous – Moslem groups are clearly helping the military to implement its own policy while allowing the military to deflect its responsibility for the violence. The report also documents the burning of Chinese stores on Bali. This violence has not been confined to only “Red Chinese,” though there are official attempts to protect pro-Kuomintang Chinese. “Bali Chinese communists” are reportedly seeking evacuation to mainland China.

Document 26
Telegram from 212 American Consul in Surabaya to Jakarta, ‘Joint Sitrep 22’, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 14, Folder 7 pol 23-9 September 30th Mvt, dec 1-31, 1965
This telegram reports that “[k]illings of PKI suspects continue” in East Java but “on lesser scale and in more discreet manner.” It describes the process by which victims are killed – victims, it is reported, are now being “taken out of populous areas before being killed” and their bodies are being “buried rather than thrown into river.” It is reported that the NU is helping to lead this “campaign to exterminate the PKI” in East Java. In Madiun, PKI prisoners are now being “delivered to civilians for slaughter.” The East Java Police Chief Sumarsono is reported as saying “it is very difficult to stop killings.” This comment should be taken in context. Some PKI leaders are alleged to still be hiding in Surabaya. Due to the effects of inflation, rice is “virtually unobtainable.”

Document 27
Telegram A-503 from American Embassy Jakarta to the Secretary of State in Washington, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 23, Folder 4 POL INDO 1966
Written one month before the formal transfer of power from Sukarno to Suharto, this report notes the “palace games” Sukarno and his top leadership are engaged in. Mass mobilization as a way to depose Sukarno is discouraged due to the alleged “apathy of the Indonesian masses” which, it is noted, have “demonstrated their unwillingness to move without some Army guns behind them.” Exactly how the transfer of power will occur appears to remain unknown. There is concern that Army leaders are also being drawn into the intrigues of the palace and may no longer push for Sukarno’s removal. The report provides a detailed overview of the balance of forces in Indonesia at the time.

Document 28
Telegram 222 from American Consul General Hong Kong to American Embassy Jakarta, Limited Official Use
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 27, Folder 14 Pol 23-9 rebellions and coups 1966
This report confirms that information circulating during the aftermath of October 1, 1965, that Mao and the Peoples Republic of China had been involved in the actions of the September 30th Movement was a “hoax.” The author explains an article appearing in the military-sponsored newspaper Angkatan Bersendjata on April 26, 1966, was an “almost word for word reproduction” of an article that had appeared in a Hong Kong based Chinese-language fortnightly on December 16, 1965. The original article, the author notes, had been “expressly written to ridicule the Peking regime.” Both articles portray Mao as having helped PKI Chairman Aidit plan the September 30th Movement’s coup attempt, including its timing. Mao is also noted as having urged Aidit to “be resolute in removing the generals.” Both articles furthermore suggest Mao indicated that the killing of “cadres and soldiers” may be necessary – as he himself had “killed more than 20,000 cadres and soldiers” during his own rise to power. This misinformation not only supported the military’s claim that Mao had helped the Aidit plan the September 30th Movement’s “abortive coup,” but that the PKI was planning to carry out mass killings of its opponents, thus justifying the military’s own killing campaign.

Document 29
Enclosure 1: A-666, Djakarta’,
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 27, Folder 14 Pol 23-9 rebellions and coups 1966 ‘The History of the Gestapu Abortive Coup, Engineered in Peking’
This report reproduces an article published in the military-sponsored newspaper Angkatan Bersenjata on April 25-26, 1966. Through this article, Mao is depicted as having ordered Aidit to carry out the September 30th Movement during the evening of September 30, “in order that the national day of the would-be Indonesia People’s Republic of the Chinese would fall on October 1, the national day of the CPR.” It is here suggested that Indonesia would have become subordinate to China had the September 30th Movement been successful. Aidit, meanwhile, is depicted as having been hesitant to carry out the action. He is alleged to have telegrammed Mao requesting the action be delayed due to the unpreparedness of the plotters. Mao is said to have explained his refusal to allow such a delay as a means of making sure Aidit would follow through with the plot. In addition to depicting Aidit in a subordinate position to Mao, this account may have been intended to explain the ultimate disorganization and failure of the Movement.
The article additionally proposes that Mao had ordered the killing of the generals. Mao is said to have encouraged Aidit to kill “all reactionary senior officers such as Nasution, Yani and Suharto in one stroke” such that the Armed Forces would become “like a dragon without a head” that would then “yield” to Aidit. In addition to proposing that both Mao and Aidit had planned the killings – and had intended to kill more had they not been stopped by the Army – this account acts to explain that Suharto had been an original target of the September 30th Movement. That Suharto had not been targeted by the Movement and had instead acted so quickly to establish his own control over the armed forces has long been viewed as evidence that Suharto may have been complicit in the actions of the Movement. The article additionally proposes that Mao had ordered the killing of the generals. Mao is said to have encouraged Aidit to kill “all reactionary senior officers such as Nasution, Yani and Suharto in one stroke” such that the Armed Forced would become “like a dragon without a head” that would then “yield” to Aidit. In addition to proposing that both Mao and Aidit had planed the killings­and had intended to kill more had they not been stopped by the Army­this account acts to explain that Suharto had been an original target of the 30 September Movement. That Suharto had not been targeted by the Movement and had instead acted so quickly to establish his own control over the armed forces has long been viewed as evidence that Suharto may have been complicit in the actions of the Movement.

Document 30
Telegram A-673 from American Embassy to Department of State, Confidential. ‘Example of Anti-Chinese Propaganda’
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 27, Folder 14 Pol 23-9 rebellions and coups 1966
This report introduces an enclosed copy of a newspaper article used to spread the military’s propaganda line that the PKI and China had been behind the September 30th Movement. The author, Ambassador Green, acknowledges that the allegations have been manufactured to serve “the propaganda needs of the moment.” The military, Green explains, wanted to deflect blame away from Sukarno while fostering the notion that “the whole pro-Communist movement … should be considered guilty ‘in principle’.” Green states clearly that “we do not think the Chinese were a primary factor in the September 30 Movement.”

Document 31
Airgram from American Embassy in Jakarta to Department of State, ‘Public Finance: Foreign Exchange Fragmentation’, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 38 (Dummy Box), Folder 4
This long report, drafted by the Embassy but never sent to the Department of State, details foreign exchange fragmentation within Indonesia. The report notes that certain officials and Army officers “continue to operate sectors of the economy as personal fiefdoms.” The Embassy notes that it is difficult to confirm these accounts without access to Central Bank records and hopes the IMF would attempt to address the problem. After October 1965, U.S. officials observed (and approved of) Indonesian military officials allied to General Suharto approaching foreign firms and requesting that they deposit royalties and rents into Army-controlled bank accounts as a means of depriving the Sukarno regime of foreign exchange and accelerating Indonesia’s collapse, in order to legitimize their assumption of power.

Document 32
Telegram A-808 from American Embassy to Department of State, ‘Army Military Police Corps Assuming Role as Thought Police?’, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 23, Folder 12 – DEF6 Armed forces 1966
This report outlines a new process for formalizing the purging of Indonesia’s civil service. Civil servants are “tested” and given a series of questions that they must complete, including reporting any political affiliation they might have, any “mistakes” they might have made prior to 30 September 1965, and how they proved their loyalty to anti-September 30th Movement forces. It is observed that while this process is incredibly thorough, such a testing might be difficult to administer outside of Jakarta. The test, it is noted, is being administered by the Army Military Police Corps, who see their role as to “safeguard the ideology of the state.” Their role, it is explained, it to become a form of “thought police”– a role that under Sukarno was increasingly being played by the Tjakrabirawa regiment.

Document 33
Telegram A-65 from American Embassy to Department of State, ‘Conditions and Attitudes in East Nusatenggara’, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 27, Folder 14 Pol 23-9 rebellions and coups 1966
This report recounts the observations of an American anthropologist, Mr. James Fox, and his wife who had contacted the Embassy to describe local events in Roti, where they lived, during the time of the killings. Mr. Fox reports that in January or February 1966 an Army detachment had arrived in Roti and executed the local PKI leader and a party cadre from Jakarta named Sukirno. The Army then returned in mid-March and executed “between 40 and 50 local Roti communists plus another 30 communists” from the neighboring island of Sawu. From his discussions with locals, Mr. Fox believed between 800-1,000 alleged communists were executed by the Army in East Nusatenggara.

Document 34
Telegram A-218 American Embassy Jakarta to Department of State, ‘The Army Takes Hold in Central Java’, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 23, Folder 12 – DEF6 Armed forces 1966
This report records a trip Embassy officials took with a New York Times reporter to Central Java. This was an example of “imbedded” journalism as Army representatives also accompanied them. The idea was for the Army to show the visitors several examples of “model” Indonesian villages that had been brought under military control. The author notes that the Army has imposed an “ironclad grip” on the province. Details are given about the use of roadblocks, ID cards, a ban on meetings of five people or more and house-to-house searches as a means to bring the area under control. The military’s activities, it is noted, have extended from the “affairs of basic security” to an attempt to “re-direct political life.” The military is also running a socialization program to disseminate the military’s political program as formulated at the Bandung Army Seminar. Civilians who attend these meetings are asked questions about the “new order” [a term that remained new]. The author notes that political parties have been suppressed and that a large political prisoner population has been created. The military is described as the “new political arbiter, economic innovator and local educator.”

Document 35
Telegram 1626 from American Embassy in Jakarta to Secretary of State in Washington, Secret
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 38 (Dummy Box), Folder 5
This telegram records a discussion between Embassy staff and Major General Sjarif Thajeb. Sjarif notes that although Suharto is taking longer to oust Sukarno than is desired by him and other “hawks,” that he will soon act to formalize the transition. Sukarno was expected to give an address to the MPRS in the next few days, through which he would attempt to play down alleged PKI complicity in the actions of the September 30th Movement. Sjarif suggests Sukarno planned to place greater blame of “Nekolim” (meaning the CIA) and “its local Army friends,” and thus, by extension Nasution. This, Sjarif suggests, would help harden military opinion against Sukarno. Sjarif planned to use this momentum to move against Sukarno and predicted further bloodshed if Sukarno resisted.

Document 36
Telegram 2997 from American Embassy in Jakarta to Secretary of State in Washington, Confidential
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 38 (Dummy Box), Folder 5
This telegram records a discussion between Embassy staff and Foreign Minister Adam Malik regarding the appointment of “ex-Sukarno henchman-propagandists” and PNI member Ruslan Abdulgani as Indonesia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations. Malik expresses unhappiness in the appointment, suggesting Suharto was being too friendly to someone so closely associated with the “Old Regime.” Malik believes Suharto was coming to see the PNI as the only political party large enough to act as a “counterpoise” to “Moslem groups” which he was increasingly coming to view as his greatest domestic threat. It is noted elections are not anticipated before 1970.

Document 37
Airgram A-12 from American Embassy in Jakarta to Department of State, Basic Problems in our Dealings with Indonesia, Secret.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 38 (Dummy Box), Folder 5
This eleven-page report sets out the Embassy’s opinion of the Indonesian regime. Steeped in the language of contemporary development and modernization theory, it draws on cultural tropes of “the Javanese” to propose deep cultural differences to divide Indonesian and American attitudes. The aim of the U.S. government, the report suggests, should be to “identify and support ‘modernizing’ elements within the national leadership” while avoiding cultural misunderstandings. It proposes different suggestions for productively dealing with Indonesian officials. It explains that the U.S. has a “heavy stake in the outcome” of the present government’s success.

Document 38
Telegram A-521 from the American Embassy in Jakarta to the Department of State, Limited Official Use.
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 31, Folder 10 TP 15 trade and investment opportunities 1967 (m-z)
This document and the next concern the Suharto regime’s efforts to induce Western firms back to Indonesia through the drafting of a new foreign investment law, as well as the signing of concession agreements with oil, mining, and timber companies. The first records the activities of the Greater San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Pacific Trade Mission that arrived in Jakarta on April 18, 1967, for a week-long stay. It offers an unusually detailed and candid view of the thinking and strategy of U.S. businessmen and Indonesian officials as the latter sought to lure Western investors back to Jakarta.

Document 39
Elliott Haynes’ Indonesian Diary’, Unclassified
Source: RG 84, Entry P 339, Jakarta Embassy Files, Box 31, Folder 10 TP 15 trade and investment opportunities 1967 (m-z)
This remarkable document offers the observations of Business International Corporation (BIC) Chairman Elliot Haynes from more than 40 meetings with key Indonesian figures and international executives from Europe, the U.S. and Japan, held to discuss a forthcoming roundtable on investment in Indonesia. Haynes also candidly discusses his opinions about various politicians and the functioning of the new regime under Suharto. Topics of discussion included fears about corruption and “creeping militarism.” After a meeting with Marshall Green, Haynes concludes that military influence in government has increased markedly, noting that the “army has taken over provincial government down to a very low level, a grass-roots political control that could lead to Army control on a vast, long-lasting scale” (p.5) and that the country “simply isn’t ready for elections.” He records that there is interest by multinational corporations, including Uniroyal and Goodyear, to set up operations in Indonesia. Companies like Alcoa are reported to be seeking lower income tax. Most Indonesian figures he spoke to were very keen to restructure the Indonesian economy to facilitate foreign investment.


Legacy Indonesia Project page

CIA Stalling State Department Histories
Blocks Release of Information on Indonesia’s Campaign Against PKI in 1965-66

The Question Of West Papuan Independence – Analysis

October 12, 2017

The Question Of West Papuan Independence – Analysis

October 12, 2017 Kerry Collison*

West Papua became the twenty-sixth province of Indonesia in 1969, after the so-called “Act of Free Choice” sponsored by the UN saw the transfer of official administration of the territory from the Netherlands, to Indonesia.

With the growing number of nations voicing their support for the United Nations to revisit what has now been widely criticized as a flawed plebiscite in 1969, Jakarta should indeed be concerned that they could eventually lose the re- source-rich territory, an event which could drag Australia into conflict with its restive neighbor.

Over the five decades which Indonesia has held official control of West Papua, the indigenous population has endured what has been extensively documented as a repressive system of Javanese-colonial occupation. Based on reports filed by church organizations, missionaries, and the West Papuan diaspora, Indonesian security forces continue to commit what have been labeled as “gross human rights abuses” against the indigenous population, with estimates of civilians killed reaching a half-million since the occupation commenced.

West Papua has Indonesia’s largest Indonesian military and police presence. The Indonesian National Military Forces (TNI: Tentara Nasional Indonesia) reaps great economic rewards from its occupation of West Papua. Institutionally, the police and military remain determined to maintain their presence because their control of the fuel and timber-smuggling trades, as well as the trade in drugs and prostitutes, is so lucrative. Then there are the substantial benefits paid to the military to provide security to the jewel in West Papua’s crown: the iconic Grasberg gold and copper operation which in 2016 produced more than 500,000 tonnes of copper and more than one-million ounces of gold. (Significantly, the Indonesian Government in August 2017 forcibly acquired 51 percent of the shares of the company, PT Freeport Indonesia, from the US owners, Freeport McMoRan, Inc., although reportedly leaving the company to run operations at Grasberg.)

These economic and social repressive activities are hidden from the outside world by the Indonesian Government. The Government routinely prevents most foreign journalists from visiting the territory.

When considering West Papua, Javanese envisage a huge, rich, empty land mass, vulnerable to exploitation and interference from foreign powers. Papuans are defined by Javanese as greedy, corrupt drunkards who need Javanese guardianship. Racism is prevalent and Javanese consider Papuans as stone-age primitives.

The indigenous people of West Papua are of the same ethnic origin as those in the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and are also related ethnically and culturally to other Melanesian peoples of the Pacific. Yet under Jakarta’s Transmigrasi program, the indigenous West Papuans have been reduced to a minority population due to waves of sponsored migrants from Java and Sulawesi.

After decades of Dutch colonial governance until 1963, indigenous Papuans constituted 99 percent of the population. Under Indonesian administration since 1963, that figure has fallen to 47 percent.

West Papua and the Melanesian Spearhead Group

There has always been a deeply-felt sense of kinship and common heritage amongst the Melanesian Spearhead Group of nations towards West Papua. Vanuatu has always been a place of refuge for West Papuan dissidents and independence activists.

Indonesia has been aware of this support within the Vanuatu body politic for many years, and has recently sought to counter it. This open diplomatic confrontation was evidence that Indonesia’s diplomatic offensive over West Papua was well underway.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) came into being on July 17, 1986, as a result of an informal meeting of the heads of government of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and a representative of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS).

The member states now are Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist Liberation Front of New Caledonia.

In 2015, the ULMWP (United Liberation Movement for West Papua), a coalition of West Papuan organizations, was made an observer of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The ULMWP subsequently applied for full membership, hoping it would give their movement greater political recognition. This is unlikely to succeed as the leaders of the MSG voted to make Indonesia an associate member, paving the way for stronger cooperation between Jakarta and Melanesian countries. Indonesia’s membership of the MSG has given Jakarta a greater influence in Melanesian politics than the ULMWP.

Nonetheless, in January 2017, the Melanesian Spearhead Group began discussions to provide full membership in the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

It is Indonesia’s view that West Papua already falls under its (the Republic of Indonesia’s) representation in the MSG and strongly opposes this consideration because it regards West Papua as an integral part of its territory.

Although the MSG’s core philosophy supports decolonization and greater independence in Melanesia, the potential inclusion of the ULMWP is problematic because of Indonesia’s associate membership (granted on on the basis of the Mela- nesian identity of five of its provinces).

Currently, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu openly favor the ULMWP’s inclusion, while Fiji and Papua New Guinea remain undecided. Papua New Guinea and Fiji’s hesitancy can be understood, as Fiji continues to share strong trade links with Indonesia and currently receives aid for the MSG’s regional police academy in Fiji.

Papua New Guineans support West Papuan liberation.

However, Port Moresby continues to vacillate on the issue given that PNG has extensive trade and border relations with Indonesia and would wish to maintain these without any diplomatic disturbances.

History was made for West Papua in September 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly when seven Pacific Island nations raised the issue of West Papuan independence. These countries were Nauru, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solo- mon Islands, Tonga, and Palau.

Ireland, Guinea, and the Netherlands have now added their voices to the cause.

In April 2017, a global petition for West Papuan self-determination was launched in Papua New Guinea. This historic petition was originally launched in the British Parliament in Westminster on January 27, 2017.

The petition calls upon the UN Secretary General to “appoint a Special Representative to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua; – put West Papua back on the Decolonization Committee agenda and ensure their right to self-determination — denied to them in 1969 — is respected by holding an Internationally Supervised Vote (in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV)).”

Political support in New Zealand for an independent West Papua also continues to grow after 11 members of Parliament from across four political parties signed the Westminster Declaration in May 2017, calling for West Papua’s right to self-determination to be legally recognized through an indigenous Papuan vote.

On October 19, 2011, 5,000 academics, politicians, church leaders, and senior tribal leaders established the Federal Republic of West Papua (FRWP) during the Third Papua Congress. They determined its objectives, and elected a president and a prime minister. The Indonesian government immediately charged the President, Prime Minister and organizers of the Congress, with subversion, and they were all incarcerated.

The FRWP Department of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, and Trade is the only FRWP institution in the diaspora, under the guidance of an executive who doesn’t live in the West Papuan homeland.

The FRWP is yet to receive UN recognition.

ASEAN member states remain reluctant to acknowledge the growing possibility that Indonesia may be challenged with losing yet another of its provinces following former Pres. B. J. Habibie’s misstep which precipitated East Timor’s (Timor Leste/Timor Lorosa’e) gaining independence in 2000 from its Javanese, colonial masters.

Indonesia fears it will lose control over its West Papuan provinces, reminded by the role played by the Australian movement for a free East Timor in ending what was essentially a genocidal Indonesian occupation there at the turn of the millennium.

Indonesia continues to pressure Australia to caution its Pacific Island neighbors against interfering in the West Papua issue and to urges them to withdraw support for West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. It warns that the issue could pose a “stumbling block” to closer bilateral ties if Canberra fails to adopt a stronger public defense of Indonesia’s position.

Although all Australian governments since 1962 have supported Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua, the growing international support for independence is highly likely to continue to negatively impact upon Australia-Indonesia relations in the future, recalling Australia’s support for East Timor’s independence from Indonesia in 1999. Jakarta believes that Australia will eventually support West Papuan independence or has strategic designs on the province.

Jakarta is unlikely to readily surrender West Papua as it did East Timor. Papua New Guinea could also become victim to any conflict arising from a territorial fight and that would certainly invoke existing arrangements between PNG and Australia, requiring Australian boots on the ground to protect the PNG’s borders.

*Kerry Collison, Foreign Correspondent Jakarta and Melbourne for Washington’s “Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy” the journal of the International Strategic Studies Association.

This article was originally published in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, and reprinted with permission.

West Papua petition: Australia made a human rights promise that’s about to be tested

October 11, 2017

West Papua petition: Australia made a human rights promise that’s about to be tested
OPINION By Tom Clarke Posted about an hour ago

PHOTO: Protesters denounce alleged torture by Indonesia in West Papua in 2012. (Reuters)

Many Australians wouldn’t think twice about putting their name to a petition to support a cause close to their hearts, but in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces, where free speech is routinely and severely curtailed, "acts of treason" such as supporting calls for independence can land you in jail for 15 years.

So it is truly remarkable that 1.8 million Papuans (about 70 per cent of the population) have signed a petition — specifically banned by the Indonesian Government — calling on the United Nations to conduct a free vote about independence.

The preparation of this ambitious petition and the attempted presentation in New York to the UN’s decolonisation committee marks a dramatic new chapter in West Papua’s history, but it is also certain to present serious challenges for the Australian Government.

Caught in the middle

Australia’s bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council centres on its promise to be a voice for human rights in the Pacific.

If it is to be true to this promise, it simply cannot ignore this landmark petition or the wishes of many Pacific nations to support self-determination in West Papua.

It has to break with the tradition of successive Australian governments that have simply turned a blind eye to the human rights atrocities that have occurred on our doorstep for decades, and instead take a principled stance.

In the 1950s, the Australian Government assisted the Dutch colonial government to transition West Papua towards independence. By 1961 the colony had its own flag, the "Morning Star", and Papuan government officials. However, when conflict erupted in West Papua the following year between the Netherlands and Indonesia, the UN intervened.

A UN-brokered agreement gave temporary control of the colony to Indonesia and was meant to see a referendum held to determine the views of the population. But things did not go as planned.

A sham election

Following six brutal years of Indonesian control, which involved well-documented human rights atrocities, the Indonesian military conducted a sham referendum in 1969 that it called the "Act of Free Choice".

The Papuans were more or less deemed "too primitive" for democracy.

A mere 1,024 Papuans were hand-picked to vote on behalf of a population of nearly a million people. Under severe duress, including threats from military officials to cut out their tongues, they unsurprisingly voted for Papua to remain part of Indonesia.

An Australian journalist who witnessed the vote, Hugh Lunn, told a UN official about the violence and intimidation he had seen, but the concerns fell on deaf ears.

Two Papuan leaders, Clement Ronawery and Willem Zonggonau, tried to flee to New York to present the UN with evidence of the sham vote, but Australian authorities shamefully intercepted them and detained them on Manus Island.

The vote became known as the "Act of No Choice" in West Papua and in the decades that followed, an estimated 100,000 people have been killed or disappeared by the Indonesian authorities.

Just like with East Timor, Australian governments have ignored the human rights abuses that occurred in West Papua under the Suharto dictatorship, but actively provided military assistance and helped Indonesian authorities sweep such abuses under the carpet.

As the decades have passed by, not much has changed. But neither has the determination of the West Papuan people to ensure their voices are heard.

Despite the dangers, this petition has been passed village to village, from one end of Papua to the other.

An overwhelming majority of Papuans have put their name to it.

It calls on the UN to right the wrongs of its past failings and to hold a free, fair and internationally supervised vote so the Papuan people can finally have a say about the future of their country.

Australia on the world stage

The people of West Papua have a right to express their desires freely — a right the Australian Government should be willing to defend. We shouldn’t put trade and so-called pragmatism ahead of our values and moral duty to stand up for what is right.

Next month Australia is set to be appointed to the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year term. Now is the time for our government to decide what kind of role it’s going to play on that council.

It can continue to disappoint by trying to water down human rights resolutions — as it did last month regarding the violence unfolding in Myanmar, or it could find some courage and become a consistent and principled voice for human rights in the Asia Pacific region.

These 1.8 million Papuans just risked jail and violent reprisals in an attempt to have their voices heard. Rather than help silence them, the Australian Government can and should help ensure they are now heard on the world stage.

Tom Clarke is the director of campaigns at the Human Rights Law Centre.

Auckland Gig. Rockin’ For West Papua 2017 – Audio Foundation October 7, 2017

October 9, 2017

Rockin’ For West Papua 2017 – Audio Foundation October 7, 2017

By The 13th Floor – October 8, 2017

To put it mildly, the world is in a bit of a state nowadays. It finds itself in the middle of massive intersectional social problems, from devastating natural disasters driven by climate change to the refugee crisis, inequality levels that stretch a myriad of ways and the rise of white nationalism.
Now more than ever, there is a need for widespread social change which includes changing the way we collectively live if we are ever to truly address any of these issues. If we find ourselves in a position of privilege, using it to shine a light on issues that would otherwise be overlooked, to speak for those who cannot is of utmost importance.

From Bob Dylan and Joan Baez lending themselves to the American Civil Rights Movement to Killer Mike and Napalm Death, musicians have long used their skills and social standing to bring attention to a wide range of issues.

Last night, Audio Foundation hosted the New Zealand leg of Rockin’ for West Papua 2017. Between 6-8th October, bands from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands, England and Scotland will be performing in cities around the world. Organised by Ash Brennan the director of Punks for West Papua, an award-winning documentary, this global event is seeking to raise awareness of the plight of the West Papuan people. For the last 55 years, their basic human rights have been violated on a daily basis. More than half a million have been murdered, and they can face up to 15 years in jail for flying their own flag.

The Rockin’ for West Papua- Auckland Gig One comprised of The Biscuits, Hollow Grinders and Stefan Neville+ Hermione Johnston. With its ability to host avant-garde offerings yet remain warm and welcoming to all who come across it, Audiofoundation was the perfect venue.

Stefan Neville and Hermione Johnston kicked off proceedings. Stefan is best noted for his work in Pumice and involvement in Chris Knox and the Nothings, while Hermione is an Audiofoundation regular. For 20 or so minutes the duo created an improvised piece using a prepared piano with chopsticks strategically placed in-between the piano strings and a drum kit. Both were technically good musicians who created an artistic dischord that was undercut by the surprisingly eerie sound omitted by the chopsticks. It was avante-garde in the purest sense. While it wasn’t something you could or would chuck on to listen to in the privacy of your own ear-buds, to consider it in that way would completely miss the point of the this expressive and physical performance.

At times, the piano completely overpowered the drumming but the price that comes with improv is that it is a constant push-pull to mold your sound together on the spot. It was a hefty listen that could have been cut by five minutes.

Auckland-based band The Biscuits were up next. Their set was equal parts noisy punk songs and sprawling psych-rock. Regardless of sound, there was a surreal banality to each song that made them a joy to watch. “This is a song about my son getting a haircut” said front-woman Indira.

Neville before launching into some raw fuzzy goodness. The Biscuits started because Indira wanted to learn how to play guitar, and so, to cite an interview with The Fridge, took the Jesus and Mary Chain approach; jumping into a band feet first. It was a smart move on her part, because this trio works so well together. I hope they have more performances lined up soon.

The Hollow Grinders made their way up from Hamilton to close the night. I’ve seen them perform a couple of times and have been consistently impressed. The best description I’ve heard of their sound was overheard late one night in Biddy Mulligans when someone slurred “They sound like Quentin Tarantino” which was remarkably accurate. The Hollow Grinders are a surf band who ride a very early 1960s lo-fi instrumental wave without a Beach Boy in sight. Despite the distortion that is inherent to the sound, it’s a style of music that requires a lot of precision from those who play it. The Hollow Grinders pulled it off with aplomb and got the small but enthusiastic crowd dancing, which was a fun end to the night.

Kate Powell

Almost two million people calling for a vote on independence from Indonesia

October 7, 2017

Almost two million people calling for a vote on independence from Indonesia
October 7, 2017
By Mark Bowling
United: More than 1.8 million West Papuan people signed the West Papuan People’s Petition to the United Nations calling for a vote on independence. Photos: Free West Papua campaign
A WEST Papuan independence leader has described handing an historic petition to the United Nations as representing “the blood and bones of his people”.
More than 1.8 million West Papuans defied the Indonesian Government by signing a banned petition demanding a new vote for independence.
An estimated 70 per cent of West Papuans signed the petition as it was smuggled from village to village during the past year, resulting in arrests.
“The people have risked their lives, some have been beaten up, some are in prison,” exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda, who delivered the petition to the United Nations, said.
“In 50 years, we have never done this before, and we had to organise this in secret.
“People were willing to carry it between villages, to smuggle it from one end of Papua to the other, because this petition is very significant for us in our struggle for freedom.”
On September 27, Mr Wenda presented the petition to the UN’s decolonisation committee, the body that monitors the progress of former colonies – known as non-self-governing territories – towards independence.
Catholic peace and justice advocates have welcomed the petition which asks the UN to appoint a special representative to investigate human rights abuses and “put West Papua back on the decolonisation committee agenda and ensure their right to self-determination … is respected by holding an internationally supervised vote”.
The Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has been calling on the United Nations to investigate human rights abuses in West Papua, after CJPC executive officer Peter Arndt and human rights advocate Josephite Sister Susan Connelly released a report last year documenting recent military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua.
“The petition is consistent with the sentiments of so many Papuans with whom I spoke while inside Papua,” Mr Arndt said.
“It’s very clear to me that most Papuans from all walks of life want self-determination on the table.”
Free West Papua campaigners have drawn attention to the 42 people they claim have been tortured and the two people who had been arrested in the Indonesian province as a direct consequence of the petition.
Harsh treatment has driven many West Papuans into exile, including Mr Wenda, who left West Papua 13 years ago.
“Even though I am away from my people, my heart is with my people,” he said.
Mr Wenda said the petition had been signed by not just ethnic Papuans, but also migrants from other Indonesian provinces, born in West Papua.
The plebiscite by which Papua was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 was sanctioned by the UN.
But, with just 1025 people, about 0.2 percent of the population at the time, participating under duress, the so-called Act of Free Choice was regarded by Papuans as illegitimate.
Mr Wenda said there was an onus on the UN to correct this historical injustice and facilitate a legitimate self-determination process.
Mr Arndt said Australian Catholics who supported justice and peace in West Papua should support Papuan demands for self-determination.
“We have to play a role in ensuring that our Government listens to the cries of the Papuan people instead of steadfastly supporting the Indonesian Government, and to encourage the Indonesian Government to respond in a constructive way to the demands of the Papuan people,” he said.

Opposition SODELPA disappointed by UN decision

October 4, 2017

Opposition SODELPA disappointed by UN decision

TALEBULA KATE Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Update: 4:22PM ALMOST all the nations in the Melanesian group in the Pacific support the freedom of West Papua except Fiji whose government?s position on indigenous rights have never been strong given the blatant disregard of the same at home in Fiji.

Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa made the comment in a statement expressing the disappointment of the Opposition Social Democratic Liberal Party at the decision by the United Nations to reject a petition by the people of West Papua.

Ro Teimumu further deplored the move by Fiji on a Melanesian entity like West Papua to abandon and betray the will of the people of West Papua and support Indonesia in return for the tacit support it is getting in aid from the oppressors of West Papua.

"We would like it to be known that the rejection of the petition to free West Papua by the United Nations is in no way going to diminish our will to support and agitate for the freedom of the West Papuan people. We stand by them as do the rest of the Pacific States," Ro Teimumu said.


AdminOct 03, 2017

Jakarta, Jubi – Police Headquarters said the police weapons procurement is aimed at mass control in conflict-prone regions such as Papua and Poso, Central Sulawesi. It is also the reason for the procurement of weapons for the Brimob corps.

The police elite troops imported 280 grenade launcher guns and 5,932 grains of ammunition.

“The weapon is used for dalmas (mass control), for Poso and Papua, where operations are in the forests,” said Inspector General Inspector General Setyo Wasisto at the Pancasila Sakti Monument complex in Lubang Buaya, East Jakarta, Sunday (October 1 ).

Setyo said the weapons are still in the Airport Cargo of Soekarno-Hatta is still waiting for permission from the relevant agencies. The application for a license has been given to the Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) of the TNI under the applicable provisions.

Furthermore, Setyo said that related to the polemic of this weapon was immediately taken over by the Ministry of Politics, Law and Security.

“Now that the problem has been withdrawn by the Ministry of Polhukam, it has been handed over to BAIS and has been appointed to Polkam (Kemenkopolhukam),” said the two-star general.

On different occasions, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto deplored the heavily armed purchasing problem carried out by the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the Police.

“Actually there are many things that do not need to be a public commodity, there are problems that are solved by way of consensus, my job as Coordinating Minister for Political and Security on the order of the president to coordinate the institution under me to so;ve this,” he said.

Former Armed Forces Commander (now TNI) stated that he would sit together with TNI Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo, National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, BIN Chief Budi General Gunawan and PT Pindad to solve the polemic of weapons procurement.(*)