Monday, November 18, 2013

1) We Can't Afford To Be Ignorant On Indonesia

1) We Can't Afford To Be Ignorant On Indonesia
2) SBY Evaluates Bilateral Cooperation with Australia
3) Commentary: When Australia’s  Cold War mentality goes  too far


1) We Can't Afford To Be Ignorant On Indonesia

By Clinton Fernandes
Just before Christmas 1981, Indonesia’s foreign minister Mochtar Kusumaatmadja asked to meet Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta, Rawdon Dalrymple. In the course of their meeting, Mochtar asked why some people in Australia “had such a hostile attitude towards Indonesia”.
He thought the hostility derived from fear, and recalled that when he had spoken on behalf of Indonesia at a major seminar in Canberra, he had received the strong impression that many of the Australians present were afraid of “waves of brown people coming down”.
Dalrymple explained that “that sort of Australian anxiety had probably died out in about 1910”. Rather, he said, “there were people in Australia who had reflected on the fact that Indonesia had used armed force on three occasions to change, or seek to change, international borders”.
As it happens, those people were correct. Indonesia seized West Papua by a combination of military pressure and diplomatic threats in the 1960s. The same decade, Indonesian troops launched a series of cross-border raids into Malaysian territory in order to destabilise the newly formed Malaysian federation.
Australian forces were deployed against Indonesian troops in order to protect Malaysia. Twenty-three Australians died during this episode, known as “Confrontation”. In 1975, Indonesia illegally invaded East Timor, a non-self-governing territory as defined by the United Nations Charter.
According to Article 73 of the UN Charter, there was "a sacred trust" to uphold "the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories". However, Indonesia’s invasion and 24-year occupation of East Timor caused the largest loss of life relative to total population since the Holocaust.
Little wonder, then, that Australians who have to think professionally about national security don’t pay too much attention to press releases professing friendship between Australia and Indonesia. They don’t have that luxury.
What counts for them is capability. Intentions matter, and are part of intelligence assessments, but capabilities are much more important. Unlike intentions, which can change rapidly, capabilities take a long time to build up. This is why the role of the Defence Signals Directorate is:
“To obtain intelligence about the capabilities, intentions or activities of people or organisations outside Australia in the form of electromagnetic energy, whether guided or unguided or both, or in the form of electrical, magnetic or acoustic energy, for the purposes of meeting the requirements of the Government, and in particular the requirements of the Defence Force.”
The DSD and other agencies have long been interested in obtaining intelligence on Indonesia, and other countries in the region. That’s their role under the Intelligence Services Act. Far from them being out of control, they are doing exactly what they are required to do under Australian legislation. They are as much a part of the Australian Defence Force’s capability as aircraft, tanks and submarines.
The revelations about Australian intelligence collection against Indonesian targets should be seen in context. For one, it’s natural that DSD would focus on the senior Indonesian leadership and their trusted interlocutors. Who else would they focus on, given their role under the Intelligence Services Act? A rickshaw driver in Jakarta?
For another, there is a well-designed asymmetry between Australia and Indonesia. The Australian Defence Force is small compared to Indonesia’s military, and the Australian Army in particular is much, much smaller. The advanced technological gap that Australia enjoys in terms of intelligence, fighter aircraft and naval vessels compensates for this disadvantage in size.
Also, Australian foreign policy has protected the Indonesian government on many occasions; although Indonesian troops murdered Australian journalists in Balibo and Dili, East Timor, no Australian government has taken meaningful steps to bring those responsible to justice.
During the 24-year occupation of East Timor, when Indonesian forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, Australia supported Indonesia diplomatically and in many other ways. Even today, despite numerous allegations of serious human rights abuses in West Papua, successive Australian governments continue to do all they can to protect Indonesia from international criticism. We continue to train Indonesia’s military and police, and give them weapons.
Seen in that context, Indonesia’s protestations about spying not being cricket seem a little overblown.
TUESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER, 2013 | 11:26 WIB
2) SBY Evaluates Bilateral Cooperation with Australia
TEMPO.COJakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reacted strongly to the alleged tapping by Australia to himself, his wife, and several ministers.
Through his twitter account @SBYudhoyono, SBY stated that Australia has put its strategic partnership with Indonesia under pressure. "As fellow democracies," as quoted from SBY's twitter account on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.
SBY will reassess several bilateral cooperation agendas with Australia as a reaction to Australia's "hurtful" action.
Indonesia, SBY said, will also demand an official answer from Australia for the alleged tapping. SBY has ordered Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and government officials to take effective diplomatic steps to explanation and clarification from US and Australia.
3) Commentary: When Australia’s  Cold War mentality goes  too far
Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Commentary | Tue, November 19 2013, 9:37 AM
“Reveal their secrets — protect our own”, read the motto of the Defence Signals Directorate (now the Australian Signals Directorate) stamped on the bottom of a slide showing the secret monitoring of calls between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his inner circle.

As Australian media reports emerged on Monday it became clear that despite the extravagant declarations of friendship by past and present Australian leaders, Indonesia is very much a part of “them” 
and not “us”.

The Guardian further reported that Australia and the US even used the 2007 United Nations climate change conference in Bali to carry out surveillance operations.

The latest revelation further exacerbates the deterioration in bilateral ties, which have been on a downward trend for the past week. This started with the boat-people issue, then initial reports of spying stemming from documents leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

And now we learn that there was an attempt to intercept President Yudhoyono’s phone calls and monitoring of top officials’ calls, including those of the First Lady.

Now it’s personal! 

The argument that such tapping is normal practice is but an excuse, not a justification. The true inherent reason is that Australia is stuck in a mind-set of mistrust toward its northern neighbor.

This may not be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back, but it certainly exhausts it to a point that it needs time to heal before it can again bear any burden.

Gathering strategic intelligence is common practice. The act of probing and ferreting out information to ascertain the intent of a potential adversary is routine.

Australia is part of a “five eyes” intelligence pact involving the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand born just before the Cold War, involving the interception of communications and joint use of the Echelon intelligence analysis network.

It is commonly known that each of the five countries is each other’s “eyes and ears” in intelligence gathering (spying) in the region where that country is located.

In this part of the world, Australia is tasked with monitoring much of Asia, while New Zealand also looks after the Western Pacific region.

But in the 1990s, then-Australian prime minister Paul Keating asserted a strategic shift in Australia’s global outlook. 

“No country is more important to Australia than Indonesia,” Keating said.

Successive prime ministers have reinforced that statement.

Indonesia has only itself to blame for being so naïve. Perhaps Indonesians believed that Australians would think it degrading to still be spying for the US in this new era of cooperation.

But Indonesia’s National Encryption Agency has repeatedly warned that Australia has been bugging and tapping into the communications of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra since 1991. However they assure us that the information is encrypted and has been indecipherable for 20 years with codes changed every two weeks.

It all goes to show that while the world has changed, Australia’s mind-set has not.

What is most despicable about the latest incident, quite apart even from the fact that the First Lady’s cell phone was monitored, is that it continued to occur after the Lombok Treaty of 2006, which was supposed to cement a framework for security cooperation between the two countries.

“I need quite desperately an explanation how a private conversation involving the President of the Republic of Indonesia, involving the First Lady of the Republic of Indonesia, how they can even have a hint, even a hint of relevance impacting on the security of Australia,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa demanded on Monday.

Former ambassador to Australia Sabam Siagian, and current senior editor of The Jakarta Post, echoed the sentiments of many in the foreign policy community, “this has gone too far!”

“You don’t eavesdrop on strategic partners,” he remarked, while describing it as a setback to years of diplomacy and goodwill building.

The damage is done and Jakarta has, appropriately, recalled its ambassador.

It is up to Canberra to mend fences. Prime Minister Tony Abbott cannot remain aloof by playing with semantics the way he has done over the last few days when asked about intelligence-gathering activities. An open acknowledgement, even if short of an apology, is required. It is not only the President who has been insulted but, by and large, the entire Indonesian nation.

What Abbott is facing is a case of broken trust.

He must also demonstrate, without reservation, that Australia is revising its view of Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

During his visit here in 1994, Keating asked: “Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends?”

Well he may have his answer now. 

In the same way that Indonesia can be friends but not allies with the US, Indonesia is finding it can be neighbors with Australia but increasingly difficult to be friends.

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