Monday, November 25, 2013

1) Former editor in Indonesia says Government must solvePapua issue

3) Lawyer Says Australian Diplomats May Face Removal


Posted at 19:32 on 24 November, 2013 UTC
A former Chief Editor of the Jakarta Post says restrictions on foreign media visiting the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua should be lifted.
Endy Bayuni says there is a lack of development and social justice in the region, and there are frequent human rights violations, which means the interest of foreign media is understandable.
Endy Bayuni says the Government must look at problems from the inside rather than worry about outside impressions.
“If there is a problem in Papua this is mostly because of mismanagement and misrule on the part of Indonesia in Papua. We mishandled Timor-Leste badly but we have not learned the lessons of Timor-Leste. We seem to be repeating the mistakes in Timor-Leste in preventing justice to the Papuan people”
Endy Bayuni says Papua is the most resource-rich region but a long way from Jakarta, where it is seen only for its economic benefits, and the Government must look after the people if it wants to avoid unrest.


2) A bandwagon for everyone

Indonesian political parties are using the Australian spying scandal to score points with voters, both at Australia and President Yudhoyono’s expense

Elisabeth Kramer

American whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, revealed that Australian intelligence agencies had been tapping the phones of Indonesia’s president, the first lady and a slew of high-level cabinet minister. The incident, which had occurred four years earlier – and politicians reactions to it – was front-page news in both countries.
When President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa demanded an apology from Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott issued a statement of ‘regret’ of any embarrassment caused to Indonesia but stopped short of an official apology. His reasoning: that phone-tapping was standard intelligence procedure, and that any apology would be insincere. Unconvinced, Indonesia withdrew its ambassador to Australia, temporarily halted military ties and suspended cooperation on people smuggling issues.
Media commentary has focused mainly on the political tit-for-tat between Jakarta and Canberra. But there’s another whole layer to this dispute. Indonesia is due to hold national elections in 2014, and candidates are falling over each other to demonstrate their nationalist credentials. The Australian spy scandal provided a perfect opportunity for these parties to blast Australia and Yudhoyono in one fell swoop, whilst also airing their own opinions on the damage done to Indonesia’s reputation – a reputation that must, of course, be maintained at all costs.

Making the most of a bad situation?

Far from keeping the phone-tapping incident under wraps, the Indonesian government decided to milk it for all it was worth. Not only Marty Natalegawa gave numerous media interviews on the issue, but Yudhoyono himselftook to twitter to condemn Abbott.
Such an open and forceful airing of opinions on the Australian government’s handling of the affair seemed out of character for Yudhoyono, who had often been critiqued in the past for his reluctance to speak out about difficult issues. However, given the sensitivity that Yudhoyono has demonstrated in when personally affronted or when his family has been criticised, the reaction does seem more typical.
Also, given the nature in which the information was revealed, it was impossible for Yudhoyono not to respond in this way. And with the pressure to respond also came the opportunity to benefit. Arguments that Indonesia’s sovereignty had been violated, outrage that the first lady – who does not herself hold political office – had been spied upon, and claims that Indonesia would never themselves engage in eavesdropping gave Yudhoyono the moral authority to put Australia firmly on the spot.
Indonesia did not just press for an apology; the incident provided leverage for other requests that are perhaps not immediately apparent. The temporary cessation of military ties and of Indonesia’s agreement to accept asylum seeker boats turned back by Australian maritime vessels put the responsibility to compensate Indonesia for the loss of trust firmly in the hands of the Australian government. It also provided Yudhoyono with a much-needed opportunity to appear tough on something, with little potential for domestic backlash.

Plenty of room on the bandwagon

Yudhoyono and his cabinet are far from the only ones to be taking advantage of the situation. Those within opposition parties have taken different tacks in their approach to the scandal, reflecting the individualistic nature of campaigning for office in Indonesia, where candidates are generally responsible for building their own public profile. But, overall, the responses fell largely into two camps: those criticising Yudhoyono for over-reacting and those criticising his delayed/inadequate response. For both camps, it’s not necessarily Tony Abbott (or Australia) that is the prime target; it’s the president himself.
2014 presidential hopeful, Prabowo Subianto, from Gerindra, led the charge against Yudhoyono’s over-reaction. He claimed that spying on government officials is commonplace and that the responsibility lies with government officials not to say anything important over the phone. In a curious twist on the issue, Prabowo levelled criticism at the government for not only making a fuss, but also for jeopardising the national interest through their indiscretion. To paraphrase one of his public statements: Yudhoyono needed to apologise to the Indonesian people for not guarding Indonesia's secrets more carefully, and Australia can't be blamed for its actions because if someone steals something from you, it's your fault for not looking after it more carefully.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) and the National Democratic Party (Nasdem) have all condemned the government for not acting forcefully enough. PDI-P claimed that Yudhoyono’s actions do not go far enough, urging that the Australian ambassador to Indonesia be thrown out. Nasdem issued a statement soon after the Indonesian ambassador to Australia was recalled, stating that it was too little too late. It also accused Australia of maintaining an unbalanced power relationship with Indonesia, particularly in pressuring the government to assist with its ‘stop the boats’ policy. Hanura, which is led by former General Wiranto, also called on the government to stop all cooperation on people smuggling activities, stating that Indonesia has much to gain from making it easier for asylum seekers to get to Australia. One Hanura MP not only said that the asylum seeker issue could be useful leverage for demanding an apology from Abbott, but accused Australia of using asylum seekers to gather intelligence in Indonesia.
The general consensus (apart from Prabowo), meanwhile, is that spying on the President is unacceptable and the situation warrants the use of all influence possible to elicit an apology. Opposition parties are aware of Australia’s interest in ensuring close bilateral ties with the country and have no qualms about using to improve their own political standing. Being able to invoke a foreign threat while also criticising a domestic political opponent is like hitting the political campaign jackpot. The opposition have nothing to lose and everything to gain from jumping on the bandwagon and riding it for as long as they possibly can.
Elisabeth Kramer ( is a PhD candidate in the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on the political discourse of anti-corruption amongst emerging parties in the lead up to the 2014 Indonesian national legislative elections.

Inside Indonesia 114: Oct-Dec 2013


3) Lawyer Says Australian Diplomats May Face Removal

The Indonesian government can remove Australian diplomats from the country should the letter sent by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in response to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s request for clarity regarding the wiretapping issue fail to address the president’s concerns, an expert says.
Abbott on Saturday said he has written a letter to Yudhoyono over the spying row that has seen diplomatic ties between the two countries worsen over the past week.
Writing to Abbott after the revelations, Yudhoyono was reported to have demanded a clear explanation on the subject as well as an official apology for the people of Indonesia.
“The President will of course have to study this letter before taking his next steps. It is possible Australian diplomats could be expelled from the country,” said Hikmahanto an international law expert from the University of Indonesia
According to him, the president and his staff will need to thoroughly consider if the response is satisfactory to the Indonesian public.
“It’s not just a situation where the president thinks the reply is sufficient if the public thinks otherwise. Public opinion needs to be taken into consideration,” he said, noting the public resentment shown in recent days toward the Australian government.
In the event the response is not satisfactory and the public opinion concurs, the president will take the strictest possible action against Australia.
“This is where a third option will be needed,” he said.
Hikmahanto explained that in taking such an action, the government will not need to provide further explanation or expect another reply letter from Abbott.
“If this step is taken and no further reply is received, then this shows that Australia admits that they had indeed conducted the wiretapping,” he said.
“They cannot say this explicitly in public domains,” he added noting that by forcing diplomats out of the country, the issues between the two countries could be deemed resolved and they can subsequently focus on healing the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
Separately on Sunday, Indonesia Police Watch has pushed the government to immediately rid themselves of the cyber equipment given by the Australian government as an aid, specifically the cyber Crime Investigation Satellite Office, which was given to the National Police and is placed in five different locations.
“Before cleaning out all the equipment, it is best not to activate them,” said IPW chairman Neta S. Pane, adding that results of the alleged wiretapping on Yudhoyono, his wife and several other senior government officials may soon be released.
He suspected the results to be in relation to several corruption cases such as the Hambalang sports center case, the Century bailout case as well as the BP Migas case.
According to IPW, Australia had given several sets of equipment to Indonesia after the first Bali bombing, which included aid for the government’s anti-terror unit, known as Densus 88, and for the National Police.
According to JPNN’s report, the Australian Federal Police is the official operator of the Cyber Crime Investigation Satellite Office at the National Police’s headquarter.
Similar offices were also established in the Jakata Police, North Sumatra, Bali as well as West Nusa Tenggara. “Australia’s target is for this equipment to be built in all regional police headqaurters,” he said.
Neta said the cyber crime office is equipped with sophisticated tools and facilities aimed to conduct wiretapping and to reveal as well as fight against cyber crime.
“This partnership was established due to the prevalent cyber crime in Indonesia. Even the the website got hacked,” he said, as quoted by, adding that the AFP had spent up to 9 million Australian dollars on cyber crime aid.
“[It should be investigated ] whether or not these tools have been used to tap on the president and other Indonesian government officials,” he said.
In a report by Australian publication Sydney Morning Herald, Labor Leader Bill Shorten said that the exchange of letters between Yudhoyono and Abbott was a good start, but he emphasized that the ongoing stand needs to be fixed imediately.
“I do think it requires direct discussion and negotiation.,” he said.
“We have seen that through the letter to letter. That’s a start. We just want the government to get this right,” he added, as quoted by Sydney Morning Herald.
“We have our fingers crossed that the coalition government is able to fix up this problem.”

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