Tuesday, August 27, 2013

1) Freedom Flotilla says it has entry authority from West Papuans.

2) US Hopes Apache Sales Will Keep Indonesia on Side
3) Freeport and Newmont MoUs Not Enough: Hatta
4) Top Raja Ampat Officials Named Graft Suspects
5) Bob Carr publicly attacks West Papua activists

Posted at 16:50 on 27 August, 2013 UTC
A group of Australian activists says it has been granted authority to enter Indonesia’s Papua province by local people who have a sovereign right to grant access to their own land.
The Freedom Flotilla, a three-boat convoy of about 20 activists, is planning to reach Merauke in southern Papua in the coming weeks.
Its spokesperson, Ruben Blake, says they applied for sailing permits into Indonesian waters, which were granted but then withdrawn.
Indonesian authorities have warned the activists against arriving illegally.
Mr Blake says they are calling on Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to recognise the rights of West Papuans to grant access to their land.
“We are saying that the authority to travel and enter into West Papua has also been granted by West Papuan representatives who have issued visas under the authority of their transitional government. And people are travelling on original nations passports issued by Aboriginal elders in Australia.”
Mr Blake says most of the journey is in Australian waters and he is not expecting interception until crossing into Indonesian water in a few weeks.

By Jakarta Globe on 12:40 pm August 27, 2013.
2) US Hopes Apache Sales Will Keep Indonesia on Side

[Updated on Aug. 27, 12:40 p.m.]
Indonesia will buy eight Apache attack helicopters off the United States, it was announced on Monday, as US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta in what analysts said was a diplomatic bid to check the rise of China.
During the meeting, Yudhoyono said that Indonesia-US cooperation could enhance the prosperity of both nations, as well as have important implications for the peace and stability of Asia, according to a spokesman.
The world’s largest economy is in the process of shifting resources in Asia and the Pacific as part of a “pivot” with a view to the emergence of China.
“We are strengthening our bilateral ties and our cooperation in the region,” Yudhoyono said on Monday.
Both statesman said the Asia-Pacific region was an engine of global economic growth, underscoring the importance of peace and stability in the region, including a peaceful resolution to South China Sea territorial disputes.
“South China Sea is part of … the larger picture of relations in the region,” said Teuku Faizasyah, Yudhoyono’s spokesman for international affairs.
Hagel, for whom Jakarta was the second stop on a week-long four-nation trip that began in Malaysia on Saturday, voiced US appreciation for Yudhoyono’s leadership, which he said contributed to regional stability.
“I bring you greetings from President [Barack] Obama,” Hagel told Yudhoyono at the start of their meeting.
Hagel said the US president was “looking forward to seeing you in October,” referring to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders meeting in Bali.
The defense secretary added that Washington was committed to “deepening and strengthening” ties between the two countries.
Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia and has called for improved ties with the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, which has embraced democracy since the downfall of dictator Suharto in 1998.
The United States has gradually expanded cooperation with Indonesia’s military over several years, even while voicing concerns about the country’s human rights record.
US officials say the Indonesian military has improved its human rights practices and that Washington has an interest in expanding cooperation on counter-terrorism.
The US tilt to Asia is driven in part by the region’s growing economic importance and concerns over China’s expanding military might.
Several analysts said that Monday’s announcement of the sale of the eight Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters in a deal worth $500 million (including radar, training and maintenance), was part of a broader effort to persuade Indonesia to maintain its position as US friend amid the rise of China.
“I think the US needs to keep Indonesia close. And offering military equipment is one way to do it,” said Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s social and political science department.
Officials confirmed that the sale represented the culmination of more than a year of behind-the-scenes work by Indonesia, which saw the helicopters as a key part of a wider plan to modernize its weaponry.
A 14-person delegation, including Army Chief Gen. Moeldoko and Defense Ministry Secretary General Lt. Gen. Budiman, traveled last week to a Boeing factory in Arizona to inspect the aircraft.
On meeting the Indonesian delegation, Boeing business development manager Dave Bostrum said the deal was important to the evolution of the Indonesian military. “The Apache is expected to be a key part of Indonesia’s continuing efforts to improve its strategic defense capabilities,” he said.
When it first emerged that Indonesia wanted to acquire the helicopters, two human rights groups — The East Timor Action Network and West Papua Advocacy Team — wrote to the US Congress expressing their opposition to the sale.
Indonesia’s defense preparedness has lagged in recent years, with econ o mic problems preventing the country from maintaining or upgrading its military equipment. During his first term, Yudhoyono slashed defense purchases to free up money for economic and social policies, but he later increased the defense budget.
For 2014, defense allocations stand at Rp 83 trillion ($7.65 billion), the largest share of any government program.
Beside bilateral and regional issues, Yudhoyono and Hagel also discussed global issues — including the conflicts in Syria and Egypt— where Indonesia may play a role. The US has indicated it is preparing for military action in Syria.
“The president expressed Indonesia’s position on Syria and Egypt,” Faizasyah said.
After meeting with Yudhoyono, Hagel met with Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro in a follow-up to talks held recently at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Hagel will head to Brunei today for a regional defense gathering that will include China. On Thursday he will fly to the Philippines, his final stop.
Additional reporting from AFP & Reuters
3) Freeport and Newmont MoUs Not Enough: Hatta
By Tito Summa Siahaan on 10:39 pm August 27, 2013.
Indonesia will not exempt US-backed gold miners Freeport Indonesia and Newmont Nusa Tenggara from next year’s export ban despite both mining giants having signed memoranda of understanding to supply their concentrates to local smelters, a senior minister says.
Hatta Rajasa, the coordinating minister for the economy, on Tuesday said the signing of MoUs was not enough to grant miners extensions of the export deadline.
“If the ground breaking is already done and the financial closing has been made, we can consider granting them extensions,” said Hatta, who leads the government’s negotiations with the mining companies.
He said miners would not be allowed to export their commodities without domestic processing. “The mining export ban will still be imposed,” he said.
The government last year asked all miners to submit plans to build refineries or smelters ahead of the deadline for a ban on raw mineral exports in 2014, as part of a series of efforts to add more value to the country’s natural resources and boost state revenue through royalty payments.
But the government never set a deadline for the completion of the smelter projects, prompting expectations that it was open to negotiation.
Freeport, which operates the Grasberg Mine — the world’s second-largest copper mine — in Papua province, is processing a third of its ore in Indonesia via a local company that operated a copper smelter and refinery in East Java.
But the local company was not interested in expanding its facilities after weaker copper prices this year raised the likelihood of slimmer margins.
Freeport has signaled its reluctance to build smelters in Indonesia and voiced concern that the issue has delayed its multi-billion-dollar investment plan to expand Grasberg into underground mining and extend the life of the mine, which is claimed to have the world’s largest gold reserves.
Newmont Nusa Tenggara, which operates the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, has signed MoUs with three local smelters — Indosmelt, Indovasi Mineral Indonesia and Nusantara Smelting — to process concentrates.
The three companies have said that they plan to invest billions of dollars to develop the smelters, but no ground has been broken yet.
Martiono Hadianto, chairman of the Indonesian Mining Association, said he hoped the government would relax the export ban for miners, especially the giants such as Freeport and Newmont.
“We need a situation of give and take.”
He said metal miners operating in Indonesia generally already process raw materials domestically before export. The output from this process is called concentrate, which Martiono said represents 90 percent of the minerals’ market value.
Government officials have repeatedly claimed that miners export their output in raw form.
Meanwhile, officials from the ministries of trade, industry, and energy and mineral resources met at Hatta’s office on Tuesday to ensure a unified position on a series of controversial mining contract renegotiations.
Many large miners are engaged in discussions to alter decades-old agreements over royalty payment and government regulations.
The government is seeking to improve its benefits from miners operating under the so-called contract of works, which would affect 111 contract holders.
The 2009 Mining Law stipulates new provisions are required, including higher royalty payments and reducing the limit of the size of mining concession areas and the length of contracts. It also introduces divestiture obligation for foreign-owned miners. But miners say they are excluded from the law because it was passed after they signed contracts.

4) Top Raja Ampat Officials Named Graft Suspects

The head of emerging tourist destination Raja Ampat in West Papua and the speaker of the local legislative council have been named suspects over a corruption case surrounding a power procurement project.
“The head of Raja Ampat district is named a suspect, as stated in a letter of order for investigation [dated Aug., 2013],” AGO spokesman Setia Untung Arimuladi said in Jakarta on Tuesday, adding a similar letter had been issued concerning Hendrik.
The Attorney General’s Office named Raja Ampat district head Marcus Wanma and the speaker of Raja Ampat Legislative Council, Hendrik A. G. Wairara, as suspects in the graft-ridden procurement of generators and construction of a diesel power plant in Raja Ampat in 2004.
Marcus served as an acting head of Raja Ampat when the case allegedly took place in 2004, while Hendrik was named a suspect in his capacity as a former director of company Fourking Mandiri, a company implicated in the graft-ridden projects.
The projects cost a total of Rp 20 billion ($1.83 million), which came from the district budget. The alleged graft is estimated to have caused the state Rp 2.1 billion in losses, the AGO has said.
“The head of Raja Ampat district is named a suspect, as stated in a letter of order for investigation [dated in August 2013],” AGO spokesman Setia Untung Arimuladi said in Jakarta on Tuesday, adding a similar letter had been issued concerning Hendrik.
The AGO has named a total of six suspects in the case. The four other suspects include the president director of Raja Ampat Makmur Madani, Selviana Wanma, and a director with Graha Sarana Duta, Abbas Baradja. The two companies won a bid for the projects.
The two other suspects are a consultant at Graha Sarana Duta, identified only as D. S., and a retiree from state-owned telecommunication firm Telkom Indonesia, identified as E. R.
5) Bob Carr publicly attacks West Papua activists
Foreign minister Bob Carr has angrily attacked a group of Australians who are travelling to West Papua, to highlight the continued abuses under Indonesian rule.
The so called Freedom Flotilla is a small group of vessels currently on the way to West Papua.
The flotilla is supported by several prominent Australians including Bob Brown, David Bridie, Senator John Madigan, and even the Liberal Senator Warren Entsch.
But Bob Carr says the project is a “cruel hoax” and told News Limited “should they end up in prison as a result of breaching the law of Indonesia or Papua New Guinea we've got no obligation to give them consular support,"
Carr like so many other politicians refuses to raise any objections to Indonesia’s rule in West Papua despite regular, credible reports of brutal human rights abuses against independence activists.
Does Carr really think there were no problems with the original legal basis for Indonesia’s takeover, the “Act of Free Choice”.
Anyone with half a brain knows that the Act of free choice was a monumental sham involving violence and coercion.
For over 20 years the ALP continually played down the appalling state terrorism against the people of East Timor. Now they are playing down similar brutality in West Papua.
The Labor party simply doesn’t care about human rights and Bob Carr is a perfect example of this callous attitude.
More info on the situation in West Papua: http://freewestpapua.org/
Find out about West Papuas political prisoners:http://www.papuansbehindbars.org/

No comments:

Post a Comment