Indonesia & East Timor News Updates - October 22, 2017

* Amnesty International urges gov't to reveal archives on 1965 mass killings
* US Embassy account of 1965 mass killings hard to prove: Minister
* Indonesia demands explanation after US refuses entry to military chief Gatot Nurmantyo
* Could anti-Chinese violence flare again in Indonesia?
* Freeport vehicles shot at by unidentified assailants
* Indonesia's secret nudist community defying the law
* House speaker skips graft trial, sues immigration office
* S. Tangerang Police arrest man claiming to be FBR member for alleged extortion, violence


Amnesty International urges gov't to reveal archives on 1965 mass killings

Jakarta Globe - October 22, 2017

Jakarta -- Amnesty International has urged the government to use the information contained in recently declassified United States Embassy archives on the Indonesian mass killings of 1965 as new momentum to reveal the truth and deliver justice to survivors.

The US National Declassification Center published the so-called Jakarta Embassy Files, consisting of 39 secret archives containing approximately 30,000 pages, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday (17/10). The archives, which span the period between 1964 and 1968, were revealed to the public at the request of George Washington University's National Security Archive.

"Amnesty International urges the Indonesian government to do same [release secret archives] to ensure accountability and justice for the survivors," Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said in Jakarta on Friday.

The documents consist of reports and telegrams from the US Embassy in Jakarta to the US State Department to inform it of systemic human rights violations in Indonesia. Ambassadors serving during this period were Howard P. Jones (1958-1965) and Marshall Green (1965-1969).

Usman said despite a strong response to the revealed documents, it is not yet clear what impact the declassified documents will have on efforts to find the truth.

"There needs to be a comparison between the newly revealed documents and other findings by the government, civilians and academics. [...] Thus, we are pushing state institutions, including the TNI [Indonesian Military], which is repeatedly mentioned in the documents, to also open their archives to complement the internationally disseminated discourse," Usman said.

Responding the revelation, Chief Security Minister Wiranto said on Thursday that the declassified files cannot automatically be taken into account in legal proceedings as they need to be examined first.

Amnesty International has also documented human rights violations between 1965 and 1966. The public can access its archives at



US Embassy account of 1965 mass killings hard to prove: Minister

Jakarta Globe - October 22, 2017

Jakarta -- Recently declassified United States Embassy archives documenting Indonesia's 1965 mass killings may not be included in legal proceedings before their veracity can be established, Chief Security Minister Wiranto said.

On Tuesday (17/10), the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., released 245 pages of 39 secret archives compiled by the US Embassy in Indonesia between 1964 and 1968. The documents show that the Indonesian Armed Forces, or ABRI, as it was known at the time, started conducting a public campaign of mass killings against the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965.

However, the Indonesian government said the archives are not valid and therefore cannot be used in legal proceedings. "We cannot make those US archives part of our investigation process," Wiranto said in Jakarta on Thursday.

He said an examination was necessary to establish whether the information contained in the archives was factually correct.

"It is difficult to find evidence and witnesses," Wiranto said. He added that incidents that occurred in the past would have been resolved fairly and effectively under the prevailing circumstances, laws and conditions in society at that time.

Conversely, it will be difficult to prosecute those crimes in a different period under laws that have already developed, amid a changing social environment, he said.

Wiranto said the government has conducted many coordinating ministerial meetings in a bid to settle the matter. "Komnas HAM [National Commission on Human Rights] was also involved in those meetings," he added.

Separately, Amnesty International country director Usman Hamid said in Jakarta on Friday that the most important thing the government could do was to investigate whether the archives contained the truth, rather than being doubtful of the content just because it came from abroad.

"Do the facts described in these archives contain the truth?" Usman said. He pointed out that the government can examine the detail contained in the archives.

"For example, it is written that on Dec. 28, 1965, it was recorded that ABRI soldiers took people regarded as PKI members to a desolate area and massacred them before burying their corpses," Usman said.

Moreover, he explained that on Dec. 31 of the same year, ABRI soldiers secretly handed over at least 10 prisoners accused of being communists to vigilantes for execution.

"This report mentions the date, month, year, names, numbers and what institutions were involved. It is so clear," Usman said.

He urged the government to also present its own evidence by making military archives public. "This is actually what we are hoping for," Usman said.



Indonesia demands explanation after US refuses entry to military chief Gatot Nurmantyo

WA Today - October 22, 2017

Jewel Topsfield, Jakarta -- Indonesia is demanding an explanation after its military chief Gatot Nurmantyo was refused entry into the United States moments before the plane departed from Jakarta on Saturday.

General Gatot -- who earlier this year suspended military ties with Australia over teaching materials perceived as derogatory at a Perth Army base -- was travelling to Washington to attend a conference at the invitation of General Joseph Dunford, the US's highest ranking military officer.

However he received a notice from United States Customs and Border Protection informing him he could not enter US territory despite having a visa.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said the Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC had sent a diplomatic note to the US Foreign Ministry to obtain clarification on what had happened.

"Considering the US Ambassador is out of Jakarta at the moment, the Deputy Ambassador has been summoned to Kemlu (the Foreign Ministry) tomorrow to give an explanation," Mr Nasir said.

Lowy Institute Research Fellow Aaron Connelly said it appeared to be an "administrative SNAFU" given General Gatot had been invited to attend a conference on countering violent extremism by General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff.

"If there were a substantive issue preventing his entry into the United States, then he wouldn't have been invited," Mr Connelly said.

"But because Gatot has built his reputation on identifying phantom threats to Indonesian sovereignty and pride, a slight like this can only boost his standing among Indonesians in a nationalist mood."

General Gatot had previously raised concerns about the US Marines that rotate through Darwin, pointing out the close proximity to West Papua and Indonesia's giant Masela gas block.

"I, as TNI (Indonesian military) commander, have to wonder what it's all about," General Gatot said in a lecture. "Why not in the Philippines? They have a base there. No problems, but it's Darwin."

He also spoke of putting a stop to Australia trying to recruit Indonesian officers as spies or agents of influence.

"In public speeches he often espouses his pet theory that foreigners are engaged in a proxy war to undermine Indonesia," author and Indonesia commentator John McBeth wrote in Asia Times this month.

President Joko Widodo named General Nurmantyo, the former army chief, to the position of Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) chief on July 8, 2015.

Evan Laksmana, a senior researcher with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, tweeted that entry refusal was a very serious matter for bilateral relations.

He said he was sceptical it was related to typical alleged human rights abuses because the entry refusal was last minute and General Gatot had entered the US before.

Mr Laksmana tweeted that typical refusal of entry was related to military operations and career, as several TNI officers had experienced in the past.

"But not sure how this applies to Gatot. Like most he did have operations in Timor but I can't remember his name coming up in investigations over that period or lately."

Fairfax Media is seeking comment from the US Embassy in Jakarta.

General Gatot, who is believed to have political aspirations when he retires from the military in March next year, stirred controversy last month when he alleged a number of non-military institutions had ordered 5000 illegal firearms from overseas.



Could anti-Chinese violence flare again in Indonesia?

South China Morning Post - October 22, 2017

Jeffrey Hutton -- At the Orion Plaza in the North Jakarta suburb of Glodok, Along Jenggot solders a connector onto a satellite dish cable. He has worked here since before 1998, when rioters stormed the mall, looted its shops and set it ablaze. The ceiling fell in, Jenggot recalls. The walls are still charred in places.

Now the owner of a small electronics repair shop at the mall, Jenggot worries whether the same strife will erupt again. "It can happen," the 50-year-old said. "They are using race and religion now. We know the capacity of the politicians now."

After a toxic election campaign that centred on race and religion, many in this sprawling city had hoped tensions would ease. But for many, those hopes were dashed this week when the capital's newly minted governor, Anies Baswedan, during his inaugural address appeared to pit the country's majority against ethnic Chinese and other minority groups.

In remarks that triggered a barrage of criticism on social media, Baswedan called on the Muslim majority "pribumi" -- a loaded term to refer to anyone not a visible minority -- to become "masters of an independent country". For some the comments underscored worries that Baswedan would not live up to earlier assurances that he would protect religious and ethnic minorities.

"Anies has promised to respect minorities and be a governor for all residents of Jakarta. However, his attitude is often the opposite," said Soe Tjen Marching, an ethnic Chinese activist and writer.

"He consciously or unconsciously emphasises division and discrimination. Although he promised to respect minorities, this seems like just lip service."

Baswedan, a former academic and education minister in the cabinet of President Joko Widodo, owes his election to the support from hardline Muslim groups targeting the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

Better known as Ahok, Purnama ran afoul of Muslims when a doctored video circulated on social media that appeared to depict him insulting the Koran. He did not, but groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) ran with it, in part because they objected to being governed by a non-Muslim.

"The most important thing for us is to have a Muslim governor," said Sugito Atmo Pawiro, the FPI's chief lawyer.

Late last year, the Islamic group and their allies mobilised hundreds of thousands onto the street in a successful effort to force police to charge Purnama with blasphemy. Purnama was jailed in May. "This was a very big struggle and God willing we prevailed," said Sugito.

As Purnama's case went to trial during the election campaign earlier this year, Baswedan, a moderate Muslim in step with the country's secularist traditions, allied with the FPI, which supports the introduction of sharia law, in a bid to secure a big chunk of the Muslim vote. It worked and Baswedan, who had never held elected office before, swept to victory with nearly 60 per cent of the vote.

But Baswedan has already needed to back pedal on his promises after meeting resistance from the central government. For now, he has shelved a programme that would offer low-income housing loans without a deposit. The central bank has warned that this violates lending regulations but Baswedan has said he can find a way around those rules. His promise to stop a land reclamation project in Jakarta Bay also seems likely to come up against resistance from President Widodo's administration, which favours the plan as a way to hold back a rising sea from a city that is sinking about 15cm every year.

But it's Baswedan's implicit promises that have some analysts worried. Yenny Wahid, director of the think tank The Wahid Institute, said Baswedan, who does not have his own party to back him, will be under pressure to splash out on mosques, Muslim religious festivals as well as to appear at overtly religious events.

"There will be government funding for hardline causes," said Wahid, who is the daughter of the former President Abdurrahman Wahid. "Once you give more space to them they will posture for more."

Baswedan and his deputy, the private equity banker Sandiaga Uno, declined repeated requests for comment.

Baswedan's transition from Muslim moderate to conservative marks a complete reversal of many of the beliefs he expressed in public. While campaigning for Widodo during the presidential election in 2014 local media quoted him saying: "Indonesia is built on a foundation respecting diverse ethnicities and religions. The FPI is a radical group that forces Islamic values that will tear down that building."

The about-face may be understandable given what was at stake. The governorship is widely viewed as a launch pad to the presidency. Widodo, a former mayor of Surakarta, generated a national profile after winning the office in 2012 by kick starting badly needed infrastructure projects and extending health and education services to the poor. Purnama became governor when Widodo won the presidency in 2014.

While deals with the devil are nothing new in politics, in Indonesia, where democracy is barely two decades old, fanning the flames of sectarianism and interethnic strife risks throwing progress off track.

Ethnic Chinese were driven from their homes from angry mobs in Medan, Jakarta, and elsewhere after the fall of former dictator Suharto on rumours Chinese were hoarding rice and driving up the price. Hundreds of thousands of suspected leftists and ethnic Chinese were slaughtered after the abortive coup in 1965 that helped bring Suharto to power.

"It could start a trend," said Yuli Ismartono, a veteran local journalist and editor with Tempo, a publication banned for seven years under Suharto. "The question is will it work in the future? It's very worrying."

To be sure, the mass rallies of last year have not been repeated. The demonstrations aimed at deposing Purnama were largely peaceful. FPI's Sugito has said his organisation will respect Jakarta's diversity -- to a point. "We appreciate diversity as a gift from God," said Sugito. "But there must be no tyranny from a minority."



Freeport vehicles shot at by unidentified assailants

Jakarta Post - October 21, 2017

Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura, Papua -- Unidentified perpetrators shot at two vehicles in a gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) mining area in Tembagapura, Mimika, Papua, on Saturday.

The driver of one of the vehicles, M. Jamil Lampung, 49, sustained injuries from broken glass.

The first vehicle shot at was a PTFI patrol vehicle driven by Jamil at 8:05 a.m. He was passing through Tembagapura district when unknown assailants fired shots at his vehicle. Bullets hit the left door and the windshield of his vehicle.

Jamil, who was on his way to pick up patrol officers at a sports hall, was rushed to Tembagapura Hospital.

"He underwent minor surgery during which pieces of glass were removed from his arms. He has been discharged from the hospital. The medical team says he is in good condition," said Papua Police spokesperson Sr.Comr. AM Kamal on Saturday.

The second vehicle shot at was another patrol vehicle driven by a man identified as Joseph Nelson Hatch Jr., 49, a United States citizen.

"Bullets hit the left door and the left front tire of the vehicle. The tire deflated but the driver continued to drive to the Tembagapura Police. He did not sustain any injuries," said Kamal. (ebf)



Indonesia's secret nudist community defying the law

BBC News - October 22, 2017

What is it like to be a nudist in a country that prizes modesty and where public nudity is strictly forbidden? Clara Rondonuwu of the BBC's Indonesian service went to meet some members of the country's nudist community to find out.

There isn't a single thread on Aditya's body. As he speaks to me, droplets of hot oil splash on to his bare belly from the large frying pan of sand crabs, eggs and Chinese cabbage.

"I love doing everyday things in the buff, including cooking my meals," he says. "I take a great deal of pleasure in being naked anytime I want to. I feel happier and way more comfortable without clothes."

Aditya is taking a risk though and therefore doesn't want his full name revealed. Under majority Muslim Indonesia's anti-pornography laws, it is illegal to be naked in public.

Yet he meets regularly with four other nudists in private. "We could face jail time if we appeared nude in public," he explains. "Which is the reason why we let it all hang out in private."
A closely knit group

Aditya has been a nudist in his spare time since 2007. "I was surfing the web, reading articles about nudism and got really into it. It seemed that it was the life path I had been looking for," he says.

He made contact with other nudists in the country -- they are a small but committed and closely knit group. Jakarta's naturist group now has about 10 to 15 members, both men and women.

Aditya feels that being naked gives them a stronger connection and lasting bond. "We can be ourselves. No one body shames you no matter how fat or paunchy you are or because of your flaccid penis, breast size or birthmarks. You are nude."

He dreams of travelling to nudist colonies in countries like France, where his lifestyle choice would be accepted as something not unusual.

Yet while Indonesia's law doesn't allow for public nudity, this does not mean that there are no opportunities to go bare. The group gets together from time to time, renting a holiday villa, like recently in a mountainous area outside Jakarta.

"Within seconds, we disrobe," he says. They just spend a normal day together, with conversations ranging from anything like politics to work life.

He tells me he just got back from a beach escape at one of Indonesia's best-kept secret destinations, where he is far from the discrimination he would face elsewhere in the country.

It's not a nudist site, but it is "well hidden by the dense foliage," he explains. Even so, he took precautions. "I picked my time carefully, and went for walks really early in the morning."


Despite the risks, Aditya also posts openly about his lifestyle on nudist websites.

Among his many Instagram accounts, there was also a private one where he uploaded his nude pictures. One of them showed him fully nude, standing inside a church.

He has since deleted the account as he could be found guilty under Indonesia's anti-pornography law. "My fellow naturists said I was pretty reckless to open up on the internet," he explains.

But he thinks all these posts were necessary to change the many misconceptions about his lifestyle.

"People here in Indonesia think that nakedness has something to do with sex," he says, pointing out that nudity is not the same as exhibitionism.

"If we strip off together they assume it is a sex party. The truth is, there is nothing sexual about it. People are so hypocritical when they think that being fully clothed is more polite than being open."

A difficult lifestyle

Another naturist who lives on Borneo does not want to be named, and agrees that being a naturist in Indonesia is a "difficult lifestyle decision".

He looks enviously at places like France and Germany, where nakedness is more accepted, and thinks Indonesian businesses could cater more to the nudist market.

Their best shot would be Bali, which is less strict than the rest of majority Muslim Indonesia. But he says the existing nudist-friendly resorts "cater to foreigners only".

Rewind 40 years and nudity was common in places like Bali -- women would often walk around topless, and bathe naked.

There are no public nude beaches on the mostly Hindu island, though a number of coastal areas remain popular with nudists because they are protected by rocks.

The manager of one resort in Bali says he has two properties which advertise themselves as "clothing optional" and that there are 10 other such resorts in the tourist centre of Seminyak alone.

Additionally, "some of the villas do not promote themselves as naturist-friendly, but many foreigners do go naked in there," he says. "Nudism is common for the upper-class people."

The hotel manager told the BBC he only accepts foreign guests, but said that other resorts might take Indonesian nudists too.

Abused for being different

Aditya says he wants to educate society that he and his fellow naturists are human beings just like everyone else.

"Most people tend to be overly expressive when they see something unusual to them. Look how aggressive they are to transgender people, they beat them."

"What I do is not pornography," he says. "I feel sad when they judge me and think of me as immoral, some even called us animals. I am just being myself, it's nothing grotesque. I don't harm anyone."

At times, he explains, he feels like challenging all these misconceptions in social media.

Yet then again, he often just doesn't have the energy to engage in what he says are long and useless conversation with internet trolls. "Most people here still cannot deal with nudity."



House speaker skips graft trial, sues immigration office

Jakarta Globe - October 21, 2017

Jakarta -- House Speaker Setya Novanto skipped a court hearing related to the misappropriation of funds in the electronic identity cards project, known as e-KTP, at the Jakarta Anticorruption Court on Friday (20/10), citing "other important activities."

Setya, whose suspect status in the case was dropped by a pretrial, was scheduled to appear as a witness in a trial of Andi Agustinus, also known as Andi Narogong, a businessman who is accused of being involved in the e-KTP graft scheme. The project was worth Rp 5.9 trillion ($443 million).

Setya also skipped a previous summons on Oct. 9, as on that day he had a medical check-up.

"Today, we are going to hear witness testimonies in a trial session of suspect Andi Agustinus. [The Corruption Eradication Commission] KPK has just received a letter from the House saying that its Speaker Setya Novanto cannot attend the trial," KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said on Friday.

Setya reportedly asked KPK prosecutors to read his investigation report (BAP) instead. "KPK prosecutors are considering his request and [have to decide] whether he will be summoned again," Febri said.

The case has been investigated since 2015. The first trial started in March and in July saw the Home Ministry's former officials Irman and Sugiharto sentenced to seven and five years in prison. The graft resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion state losses.

Looking for loopholes

The Immigration Office has barred Setya from leaving Indonesia until April next year, as requested by the KPK. The Golkar Party chairman has in turn sued the office at the Jakarta State Administrative Court.

Setya's action was recorded on the court's website on Friday. According to the KPK, the suit is pointless.

"Based on the law, the KPK can prevent someone from travelling abroad... so if the substance of the suit is about the ban, then it's very weak," Febri said. "The Immigration Office only acted in accordance with the law, they are right," he added.

The court that has dropped Setya's suspect status at the same time refused to lift the travel ban.



S. Tangerang Police arrest man claiming to be FBR member for alleged extortion, violence

Jakarta Post - October 21, 2017

South Tangerang -- South Tangerang Police have arrested a man claiming to be a member of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) for allegedly committing theft, extortion and attacking employees of an eel farm in Ciputat.

The suspect, identified as Ahmad Mudohi, reportedly paid a visit to the farm on Friday night with his friend Adi, claiming to be FBR members, and demanded Rp 500,000 (US$37) to be used for a Betawi festival with a receipt as proof of payment, said the police's criminal unit head, Adj.Comr. Alexander Yuriko, on Saturday.

"The suspects said they would disrupt their business activities should they fail to meet their demands," Alexander said in a statement.

After one of the employees handed over Rp 100,000, the alleged perpetrators snatched a cell phone. Police officers patrolling the neighborhood tried to catch the suspects, but one escaped.

Alexander said similar incidents had previously occurred in South Tangerang and South Jakarta. Police seized from the suspect four payment receipts and a cell phone.

The alleged perpetrator will be charged under articles 368, 363 and 170 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on extortion, theft and violence against people and could face a maximum sentence of nine years' imprisonment. (wnd)



Asia Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN)