[News] Indonesia - US-Backed Death Squad Files Surface
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
By ALLAN NAIRN
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
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.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News