[News] Indonesia - US-Backed Death Squad Files Surface

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 10 12:39:18 EST 2010


November 10, 2010

As Obama Lands in Indonesia

US-Backed Death Squad Files Surface



Secret documents have leaked from inside Kopassus, Indonesia's red 
berets, which say that Indonesia's US-backed security forces engage 
in "murder [and] abduction" and show that Kopassus targets churches 
in West Papua and defines civilian dissidents as the "enemy."

The documents include a Kopassus enemies list headed by Papua's top 
Baptist minister and describe a covert network of surveillance, 
infiltration and disruption of Papuan institutions

The disclosure comes as US President Barack Obama is touching down in 
Indonesia. His administration recently announced the restoration 
of  US aid to Kopassus.

Kopassus is the most notorious unit of  Indonesia's armed forces, 
TNI,  which along with POLRI, the  national police, have killed 
civilians by the hundreds of thousands.

The leaked cache of secret Kopassus documents includes 
operational,  intelligence and field reports as well as personnel 
records which list the names and details of Kopassus "agents."

The documents are classified "SECRET" ("RAHASIA") and include 
extensive background reports on  Kopassus  civilian targets  -- 
reports that are apparently of uneven accuracy.

The authenticity of the documents has been verified by Kopassus 
personnel who have seen them and by external evidence regarding the 
authors and the internal characteristics of the documents.

Some of the Kopassus documents will be released in the days to come, 
in part via my <http://www.allannairn.com>website.

Those being released with this article concern West Papua, where tens 
of thousands of civilians have been murdered and where Kopassus is 
most active.  Jakarta has attempted to largely seal off Papua to 
visits by non-approved outsiders.

When the US restored Kopassus aid last July the rationale was 
fighting terrorism, but the documents show that Kopassus in fact 
systematically targets civilians.

A detailed 25-page secret report by a Kopassus task force in 
Kotaraja, Papua defines Kopassus' number-one "enemy" as unarmed 
civilians.   It calls them the "separatist political movement" 
"GSP/P, " lists what they say are the top 15 leaders and discusses 
the "enemy order of battle."

All of those listed are civilians, starting with the head of the 
Baptist Synod of Papua. The others include evangelical ministers, 
activists, traditional leaders, legislators, students and 
intellectuals as well as local establishment figures and the head of 
the Papua Muslim Youth organization.

The secret Kopassus study says that in their 400,000 - person area of 
operations the civilians they target as being political are  "much 
more dangerous than" any armed opposition since the armed groups 
"hardly do anything" but the civilians -- with popular support -- 
have "reached the outside world" with their "obsession" with 
"merdeka" (independence/ freedom) and persist in "propagating the 
issue  of severe human rights violations in Papua," ie. "murders and 
abductions that are done by the security forces."

The Kopassus document cited above is embedded below, followed by 
supplementary field reports. [The documents can be viewed 
Ban - 5 Kopassus 

Given that the Kopassus report states as settled fact that security 
forces do "murder, abduction," those who they define as being the 
enemy can be presumed to be in some danger.

In its discussion of "State of the enemy" Kopassus identifies the 
enemy with two kinds of actions: "the holding of press conferences" 
where they "always criticize the government and the work being done 
by the security forces" and the holding of private meetings where 
they engage in the same kind of prohibited speech.

The Kopassus "enemies" list -- the "leaders" of the "separatist 
political movement" includes fifteen civic leaders.  In the order 
listed by Kopassus they are:

-- Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman, chair of the Papua Baptist Synod

-- Markus Haluk head of the Association of Indonesian Middle 
Mountains Students (AMPTI) and an outspoken critic of the security 
forces and the US mining giant Freeport McMoRan;

-- Buchtar Tabuni, an activist who, after appearing on the Kopassus 
list, was sentenced to three years prison for speech and for waving 
Papuan flags and was beaten bloody by three soldiers, a guard, and a 
policeman because he had a cell phone;

-- Aloysius Renwarin, a lawyer who heads a local human rights foundation;

-- Dr. Willy Mandowen, Mediator of PDP, the Papua Presidium Council, 
a broad group including local business people, former politcal 
prisoners, women's and youth organizations, and Papuan traditional 
leaders.   His most prominent predecessor, Theys Eluay, had his 
throat slit by Kopassus in 2001;

-- Yance Kayame, a committee chair in the Papuan provincial legislature;

-- Lodewyk Betawi;

-- Drs. Don Agustinus Lamaech Flassy of the Papua Presidium Council staff

-- Drs. Agustinus Alue Alua, head of the MRP, the Papuan People's 
Council, which formally represents Papuan traditional leaders and was 
convened and recognized by the Jakarta government;

-- Thaha Al Hamid, Secretary General of the Papua Presidium Council;

-- Sayid Fadal Al Hamid, head of the Papua Muslim Youth;

-- Drs. Frans Kapisa, head of Papua National Student Solidarity;

-- Leonard Jery Imbiri, public secretary of DAP, the Papuan Customary 
Council, which organizes an annual plenary of indigenous groups, has 
staged Papua's largest peaceful demonstrations, and has seen its 
offices targeted for clandestine arson attacks;

-- Reverend Dr. Beny Giay, minister of the Protestant evangelical 
KINGMI Tent of scripture church of Papua;

-- Selfius Bobby, student at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology.

Reached for comment, Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman of the Baptist 
Synod laughed when told he headed the Kopassus list. He said that 
churches were targeted by TNI/ Kopassus because "We can't condone 
torture, kidnapping or killing." He said that he has received 
anonymous death threats "all the time, everywhere," but that as a 
church leader he must endure it .  He said the real problem was for 
Papua's poor who "live daily in pressure and fear."

Markus Haluk said that he is constantly followed on foot and by 
motorcycle, has been the subject of apparent attempts to kill him, 
and receives so many sms text death threats that he has difficulty 
keeping current with the death-threat archive he tries to maintain 
for historical and safety purposes.

One threat, written months after his name appeared as a target in the 
Kopassus documents, promised to decapitate him and bury his head 200 
meters deep, while another imagined his head as a succulent fruit to 
be devoured and swallowed by security forces.

But as a famous figure in Papua, Haluk enjoys, he thinks, a certain 
kind of protection since when security forces have actually arrested 
him it has at times touched off street uprisings.

Village Papuans, he said, enjoy no such advantage. For them, being 
targeted by Kopassus "can get you killed. If there's a report against 
you, you can die."

Contacted in prison, Buctar Tabuni, the number three enemy on the 
Kopassus list, told of getting a death threat with a rat cadaver, 
described living with round-the-clock surveillance, and said the 
threats to him repeatedly stated that "you will be killed unless you 
stop your human rights activities."

Three days ago, writing from his prison cell, Buctar Tabuni called on 
President Obama to cut off aid to TNI and back a democratic vote on 
Papuan independence. He told me that Indonesia follows the US lead 
and that the US was complicit since, as he wrote Obama, US-trained 
"troops in cities and villages all over West Papua treat the people 
like terrorists that must be exterminated."

Anti-terrorism was indeed Obama's main argument for restoring US aid 
to Kopassus, but the documents make clear that Kopassus mainly 
targets unarmed civilians, not killers.

In fact, the main unit that wrote the secret documents, SATGAS BAN - 
5 KOPASSUS, is ostensibly doing anti-terrorism, with the Kopassus 
Unit 81, Gultor.

Obama justified the Kopassus aid restoration to Congress by saying 
that the initial US training would be given not to Kopassus as a 
whole but only to its anti-terror forces. The White House and 
Pentagon suggested that these forces were less criminal than the rest 
of Kopassus and of TNI/POLRI, but the documents establish that they, 
like the rest, go after civilians like the Papuan reverends and activists.

Reverend Giay said, when reached for comment that TNI, Kopassus and 
POLRI were making the case that "it's OK to kill pastors and burn 
churches since the churches are separatist."

Among Giay's collection of anonymous sms death threats was a 
political missive demanding that "the reverend stop using the 
platform of the church to spread the ideology of free Papua."

Giay said that "they need ideological and moral support from the 
Indonesian majority and the media" so they use Kopassus and others to 
attack the churches as constituting security threats.

He compared TNI/Kopassus actions in Papua now to those earlier in 
East Timor and the Malukus where "they created this conflict between 
Muslims and Christians" to expand their presence and get more money and power.

Reverend Giay said that "local pastors have been targeted. They kill 
them off and report them as separatists."

The Kopassus documents boast that "in carrying out the operational 
mission of intelligence in the kotaraja area, we apportion work in 
order to cover all places and avenues of kotaraja society."

The files show that Kopassus indeed penetrates most every part of
popular life. In addition to plainclothes Kopassus officers who go 
undercover in multiple roles, Kopassus fields a small army of non-TNI 
"agents" -- real people with real lives and identities, who are 
bought, coerced or recruited into working covertly.

Kopassus Kotaraja area agents discussed in the secret personnel files 
include reporters for a local newspaper and for a national TV news 
channel, students, hotel staff, a court employee, a senior civil 
servant who works on art and culture, a 14 year old child, a broke, 
"emotional, drunken" farmer who needs money and "believes" that 
Kopassus will "take care of his safety," a "hardworking" "emotionally 
stable" farmer who also is a need of funds, a worker who "likes to 
drink hard liquor," is poor and "likes to believe things," a 
motorcycle taxi driver, a cellphone kiosk clerk who watches people 
who buy SIM card numbers, and a driver for a car rental company who 
"frequently informs on whether there are elements from the Separatist 
Political Movement who hire rental cars and speak regarding 
independence/freedom (merdeka)."

In the file, though, the word "merdeka" is not spelled out. In accord 
with Kopassus practice, only an initial is written, in quotation 
marks: "'M'", the unwritable, unspeakable M-word.

The documents support the longtime word on the street: you rarely 
know who is Kopassus. So best watch what you say if you care for 
safety, especially if what you say is "freedom."

Allan Nairn is a journalist living in Indonesia.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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