Tuesday, February 9, 2016

1) UPDATE 2-Indonesia mines ministry backs new Freeport copper export permit

2) Oppenheimer reflects on  implications of Oscar-nominated  documentary The Look of  Silence 

1) UPDATE 2-Indonesia mines ministry backs new Freeport copper export permit
Markets Tue Feb 9, 2016 7:43pm IST
* Recommendation linked to payment of 5 pct export tax
* Trade ministry still needs to issue permit (Adds Freeport comment)
By Wilda Asmarini
JAKARTA, Feb 9 Indonesia’s mining ministry on Tuesday recommended that Freeport McMoRan Inc receive a new six-month copper export permit, 
potentially ending a near two-week stoppage after the previous permit expired last month.
Freeport was forced to halt overseas shipments from one of the world’s biggest copper mines in Papua after the government demanded the U.S. 
mining giant first pay a $530 million deposit for a new smelter before a new export permit could be approved.
A lengthy export stoppage would have hit Freeport's profits and denied the Indonesian government desperately needed revenue from one of its biggest taxpayers.
"We issued a recommendation that Freeport receive an export permit," Bambang Gatot, the mining ministry's director general of coal and minerals, told reporters.
The mining ministry recommendation will now be sent to the trade ministry, which has the power to issue export permits.
Typically once the trade ministry receives a recommendation from the mining ministry, the renewal of an export permit would be a formality.
Freeport Indonesia produces about 220,000 tonnes of copper ore from the mine per day. About a third usually goes to a domestic smelter at Gresik, with the rest exported as concentrate.
Gatot told parliament the mining ministry supported the renewal of Freeport's export permit because of the miner's willingness to continue paying an export tax of 5 percent.
Talks between the two sides over the $530 million bond were still ongoing.
Indonesia wants the deposit as a guarantee that the Phoenix, Arizona-based company will complete construction of another local smelter. The amount would add to an 
estimated $80 million that Freeport set aside in July 2015 to obtain its current export permit.
Clementine Lamury, a director for Freeport Indonesia, told parliament the company already had a contract with vendors on constructing the smelter and would abide by the 
agreed payment terms, despite government demands for the investment to be accelerated.
Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson last month said the government's demand for a smelter deposit was "inconsistent" with an agreement reached between the two sides in mid-2014.
According to that agreement, Freeport must sell the government a greater share of the Grasberg mine, and invest in domestic processing to win an extension of its mining contract beyond 2021.
The U.S. mining giant wants to invest $18 billion to expand its operations at Grasberg, but is seeking government assurances first that it will get a contract extension.
Freeport’s long-held desire to continue mining in Indonesia beyond 2021 has been beset by controversy, including cabinet infighting, resignations and a major political scandal that
 led to the resignation of the parliamentary speaker. (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Additional reporting by Bernadette Christina Menthe; Writing by Michael Taylor and Randy Fabi; 
Editing by Himani Sarkar, Tom Hogue and Mark Potter)

2) Oppenheimer reflects on  implications of Oscar-nominated  documentary The Look of  Silence 
Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, thejakartapost.com, Jakarta | National | Tue, February 09 2016, 6:59 PM -

The American documentary film director Joshua Oppenheimer is set to make his way up the red carpet at the 2016 Academy Awards later this month, voicing the 
important message that past human rights abuses still haunt many Indonesian families.
Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence is up for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards set to be held in Hollywood, the US, on Feb. 28. 
The film follows a man probing his brother’s murder in the violence that racked the country from 1965 to 1966.
The critically acclaimed documentary, released in 2014, is the companion piece to Oppenheimer's award-winning Oscar nominee documentary The Act of Killing, which was released in 2012.
The two documentaries tell stories encompassing a dark chapter in Indonesian history, namely the 1965 to 1966 communist purge, in which up to a million people with alleged links to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were murdered, kidnapped or tortured.
For The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer befriended Adi Rukun, an optometrist living in North Sumatra whose brother Ramli Rukun was brutally killed in 1965.
While The Act of Killing focuses on the perpetrators boasting of how they butchered people associated with the PKI, The Look of Silence shows how Adi confronts his brother's murderers who live free, with some now grasping the reins of regional power. 
The confrontation results in powerful scenes, as Adi's repressed feelings bubble up as he asks his brother’s murderers why they did what they did.
Oppenheimer refers to the film as an Indonesian production.
“This is the first Indonesian film ever nominated for an Oscar. The movie was made by Indonesians and for Indonesians,” he told thejakartapost.com in a Skype interview from Los Angeles over the weekend.
While The Act of Killing also received an Oscar nod in 2012, it was not an Indonesian production, according to Oppenheimer, as he did not involve many Indonesians in his crew, fearing their safety might be at risk given the appearance in the film of the likes of Vice President Jusuf Kalla and the chairman of paramilitary group Pancasila Youth, Yapto Soerjosumarno.
Conversely, sixty Indonesian crewmembers, who remain anonymous, worked on the making of The Look of Silence.
At one point during production, Oppenheimer and his crew, including cinematographer Lars Skree and producer Signe Byrge Sørensen, emptied all numbers on their mobile phones and bought a second car, allowing them, if need be, to make an instant switch after leaving perpetrators' houses to throw any hired goons or cops off the scent .
Despite the myriad challenges he faced, an Oscar nomination never crossed Oppenheimer’s mind.
“We made these movies in order to hold up a mirror inside Indonesia and outside Indonesia so that everyone in the world can recognize the terrible consequences of what happens when human beings turned against one another, kill, frighten and torture one another and create a whole regime of fear," said the 41-year-old director.
"We try to capture what happens when a whole society is built on a story of lies, justifying crimes against humanity."
The nomination is also expected to draw people’s attention to human right issues.
In his acceptance speech after winning best documentary at the 2014 BAFTA Awards, Oppenheimer accused the UK and the US of "help[ing] to engineer the genocide, and for decades enthusiastically support[ing] the military dictatorship that came to power through the genocide". This part of the speech was cut by BAFTA when it posted the acceptance video online.
Oppenheimer is currently working on a petition to force the US to acknowledge its role in the 1965 violence.
At least 50,000 people, including activists from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have signed the petition.
The auteur will meet members of the US Senate in Washington DC this week, urging them to make available all documents relating to the US role in the genocide.
However, his actions will remain limited to overseas, as he is reluctant to return to Indonesia – a country where he spent 12 years making the two documentaries - in the face of threats. 
He has not returned to the country since completing the production of The Look of Silence in 2013.
The Copenhagen-based director cited "several threats" from individuals he declined to mention.
“There was one threat that said ‘Don’t come back to Indonesia, unless you want us to use your head as a football.’”
Oppenheimer has also provided guarantees of the safety of Adi, the film’s protagonist, who now lives safely with his family away from North Sumatra.
A whole network of people, from human rights activists to journalists, are monitoring Adi's safety and whereabouts.
Oppenheimer and his anonymous Indonesian codirector received the prestigious Suardi Tasrif Award in September last year from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) for The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence. The judges expressed their opinion that the two documentaries had unveiled facts relating to past human rights abuses that could help spur movement toward settlements and reconciliation.
The Tasrif award was inspired by Suardi Tasrif, considered the author of the code of ethics among Indonesian journalists.
Resolving past rights abuses
The Look of Silence trains its focus on a single protagonist – Adi – but he serves as a synecdoche for untold grieving families left without justice and without answers in the wake of the government- and military-backed brutality of 1965-1966.
Through the documentary, Oppenheimer expresses hope that the government will settle past human rights abuses, hopes given impetus by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s promise to do just that during his 2014 presidential campaign.
Jokowi's administration announced in January that it would settle past human rights cases this year, aiming for reconciliation with victims’ families.
However, the intention has been criticized by human rights activists, who disdain any reconciliation process that does not entail assigning responsibility for the crimes, and, where possible, meting out justice.
Jokowi's administration moreover gave the cold shoulder to an International People's Tribunal 1965 held in The Hague in November to shed light on the notorious yet hushed-up killings. His ministers refused to acknowledge the tribunal, citing that Indonesia had its own justice system.
The tribunal, which had no legal status to enact measures in Indonesia, stated that grave human rights abuses had taken place in 1965-1966, and called on the government to act to resolve them.
While holding out some hope in Jokowi, Oppenheimer realizes that the President is in a difficult position to keep his promise, as he “depends on power from people who have blood on their hands".
The Look of Silence was officially distributed in Indonesia through the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), but other state bodies have called for a ban on screenings of the film.
In October, the annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) was forced to cancel a series of panel discussions on the 1965-1966 violence, including screenings of The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence.
Oppenheimer believes that despite the daunting obstacles to resolving past rights abuses, new generations of young Indonesians will take on the torch of justice. "I just hope that people can come together in a non-violent way to demand justice and reconciliation, as the films have encouraged,” he said. (rin)

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