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Nairn: Prabowo, Part 3: The NSA, Militia Terror, Aceh, Servants, and “Slaves”

July 8, 2014

MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014

Prabowo, Part 3: The NSA, Militia Terror, Aceh, Servants, and "Slaves"

By Allan Nairn

At one point during our meetings in Jakarta in 2001, General Prabowo started talking about the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Prabowo had already described how he reported to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at least weekly and had mentioned his extensive work with other parts of the Pentagon.

When I asked about crimes by the TNI/ ABRI (the armed forces of Indonesia) Prabowo said that evidence of them could be found in the archives of the NSA.

He said his US handlers had talked to him about the extensive electronic surveillance that NSA, with help from Australia, was carrying out against Indonesia.

Some of this was already public record, but Prabowo said he knew more.

I asked if he had passed this information to his superiors and subordinates in the TNI/ABRI.

Prabowo replied "I don’t remember if I sent a memo warning about it [the intercepts] but everyone should assume that" — i.e. assume that they were taking place.

The context for this was interesting.

Prabowo was not referring to his own crimes, but to those of his rival, General Wiranto.

He said that Wiranto was responsible for the 1999 East Timor TNI militia arson and massacre, and that Wiranto’s main man on the ground was General Zacky Anwar Makarim.

Prabowo noted with apparent bitterness "I was the Americans’ fair-haired boy," but now that the US had ditched him "Wiranto is their fair-haired boy."

Prabowo said that during the terror Wiranto was "close to" the US CINCPAC (Commander in Chief, Pacific) Admiral Dennis Blair.

Prabowo added that from its intercepts and from its direct involvement, the US knew exactly what Wiranto had been up to.

As far as I can tell, all of this was accurate.

I had reported in 1999, as TNI and the militias were burning Dili, internal US documents showed that Wiranto had a green light from Blair. ("US Complicity in Timor," The Nation [US], September 27, 1999; see also "Breaking News: US Intel Nominee Lied About ’99 Massacre. US, Church Documents Show Adm. Dennis Blair Knew of Church Killings Before Crucial Meeting.")

It was also the case, as I reported then, that many TNI atrocities were ordered through communications equipment that was interceptable.

Prabowo said "Only they [the NSA] would have the evidence of Wiranto’s militia operations."

He said he had "heard that now DC is saying prosecution of Wiranto is no longer necessary."

This latter statement was misleading, since the US had never backed prosecution (The UN, though, did indict Wiranto for crimes against humanity).

But Prabowo’s point that the US was shielding Wiranto was indeed correct.

Prabowo knew the US procedures well. The US had backed and shielded his crimes for decades.

NSA surveillance has recently become an international issue.

The US should be pushed to divulge what it has on crimes by itself and those it sponsors.

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