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Allan Nairn: Indonesian Special Forces, Intelligence, in Covert Operation to Influence Election

July 6, 2014

Breaking News: Indonesian Special Forces, Intelligence, in Covert Operation to Influence Election

July 5, 2014

By Allan Nairn

Indonesia’s army special forces (Kopassus) and the state intelligence agency (BIN) are involved in a covert operation to influence the presidential election.

According to documented accounts of recent meetings at Kopassus headquarters, the operation is designed to ensure that the July 9 vote count will be won by General Prabowo Subianto, the former Kopassus commander who was a longtime protege of the Pentagon and US intelligence.

Polls suggest that General Prabowo is currently running neck-and-neck with his civilian opponent, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, the governor of Jakarta.

Prabowo and Jokowi are scheduled to face off in their final televised debate this evening.

The vote across the archipelago and the Indonesian global diaspora is expected to be the second-largest in the world this year. The largest was completed last May in India.

Prabowo has been implicated in killing civilians and in torture. Though currently running as an ardent nationalist, he spent his army career in collaboration with the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and with top US leadership, as well as with US Special Forces whom he brought, armed, into Indonesia.

Prabowo has called for rolling back Indonesians’ right to vote in direct elections. He has suggested that this be done after consultation with " the political elite."

In two off-the-record 2001 discussions with me Prabowo said Indonesia " is not ready for democracy." He said that the country’s then-president, the popular civilian Muslim cleric Gus Dur, was an "embarrass[ment]" to Indonesia because Gus Dur was legally blind. Prabowo lamented that the army obeyed Gus Dur, and mused about his own political future. "Do I have the guts," Prabowo asked himself, "am I ready to be called a fascist dictator?"

My reporting and commentary about General Prabowo has become an issue in this election.

The Prabowo campaign denounced me as " an enemy of the nation" and suggested the army should capture me. The armed forces stated I have " become an operational target." General Prabowo himself gave a speech on Thursday in which he implored Indonesia’s poor to discount my reporting about him because I am a foreigner.

The accounts below come from individuals who are involved in the Kopassus/BIN operation. They spoke to me on condition of anonymity.

The accounts of meetings at Kopassus headquarters in Cijantung come from sources who were present.

A July 4 call for comment to General Prabowo went unanswered. The call was made to a private cell phone number through which I have contacted Prabowo previously.

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