Moscow – Indonesia is analysing the combat characteristics of Russian military equipment and is considering the possibility of acquiring some, [Indonesian] Minister of State Bacharuddin J. Habibie said at a news conference in Moscow today.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
July 9, 1997
July 8, 1997
Moscow – Indonesia and Russia on Monday agreed to expand cooperation in the field of aviation technology and electrical power, visiting Research and Technology Minister BJ Habibie said.
July 4, 1997
Lisbon – UN and Indonesian officials are to set up an inquiry into the death of the deputy leader of East Timorese rebels fighting Indonesian troops in the former Portuguese colony, Nobel Peace prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta announced Friday.
Dili – Indonesian securities forces have killed one East Timorese guerilla member and captured 14 others during an operation on Wednesday in Curusa, 145 km of the capital Dili, a military spokesman has said.
It is believed that the fifth man arrested in Kaibada, near Baucau in East Timor on 25 June, is Cesario da Costa. The five included David Alex, second-in-command of the East Timorese National Liberation Army, Falintil, who later died in custody.
It is well known that since 27th July, the day on which the Suharto regime in a most violent manner crushed the peaceful movement in Indonesia which demanded a restoration of democratic rights in the country, hundreds of Indonesians have been persecuted and locked up behind bars.
July 3, 1997
Jakarta – The Indonesian military commander in troubled East Timor Thursday dismissed reports that rebel leader David Alex was still alive but said he would not block an independent investigation.
Indonesian police are to charge a Roman Catholic priest over harbouring three pro-democracy activists following serious riots in Jakarta last year.
The newspaper, the Jakarta Post, said the charges would be brought against Father Ignatius Sandyawan Sumardi for harbouring leaders of the People's Democratic Party who were accused of instigating the riots in July last year.
[This is an abridged translation of a chronology written by Coen Husein Pontoh, chair of the PRD affiliated National Peasants Union (STN), who along with Dita Indah Sari (Chairperson, Center for Labour Struggle, PPBI) and M Sholeh (Surabaya Branch of Students Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy, SMID) were interned together in the Madaeng prison in Surabaya, East Java.]
July 2, 1997
'Extra-budgetary' financing has always placed a question mark over the meaning of the Indonesian state budget. A new law might change all that. But only if it enjoys enough backing to overturn decades of departmental do-it-yourself financing.
July 1, 1997
In a table headed, 'Kings, Queens and Dictators', Forbes lists the world's richest rulers, identifying the country, estimated worth, source of wealth and the year they came to power.
Peter Montagnon, Hong Kong – Britain would lose its lucrative arms trade with Indonesia if the Labour Government insists on a broad link between human rights and equipment sales, Mr Ali Alatas, Indonesia's foreign minister, warned yesterday.
The guerrilla leader David Alex who has died aged 50 after being captured by Indonesian forces, had fought in the mountains of East Timor since the Indonesian army landed in the former Portuguese colony in 1975. He was fourth in the resistance's military hierarchy and was feared by Indonesian officers for his daring raids. He had been hunted for many years.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Indonesia's intelligence chief has predicted that more violence could hit the country in the run-up to next year's presidential election, warning that the recent riots have yet to reach a climax.
June 30, 1997
Interview by Greg Sheridan – The Indonesian political system does not reflect the wishes of the people and this has led to much of the recent violence in the country, according to Marzuki Darusman, vice-chairman of the Indonesian Commission on Human Rights.
June 28, 1997
By Miranda Sissons, International Relations Program, Yale University. Summary of a forthcoming publication of the East Timor Human Rights Centre
June 27, 1997
Jakarta – The Indonesian airforce is considering fighter planes from France, Sweden and Russia as possible alternatives for the US F-16 fighting Falcons that Jakarta has refused to buy, a report said Friday.
[The following is a translation of a statement sent to Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]
A Reuter report on 27 June quoted an army lieutenant as saying by phone from Dili: 'David Alex was buried in a public cemetery in Dili on Thursday afternoon and the burial was attended by his relatives.'
The ETHRC has received an urgent appeal from Baucau, East Timor, where 85 East Timorese people were arrested between 5 June and 16 June 1997. One ETHRC source has reported that the 85 are still in detention at Kodim headquarters in Baucau, however this is still unconfirmed and it is not known how many of the 85 are still detained.
June 26, 1997
On June 16, 1997, the Indonesian Government will introduce the Manpower Bill to parliament and force its passage into law, thereby consolidating its repression of the labour movement.
We have good reason to believe that the Baucau commander of the East Timor armed Resistance, David Alex, is still alive contrary to claims by the Indonesian armed forces (Abri) that he was killed in a battle.
We are deeply concerned over the safety of five East Timorese arrested together with the Baucau commander of the East Timor armed Resistance, David Alex. Indonesian authorities refuse to disclose their whereabouts and our sources indicate they might be detained in the Rumah Merah Indonesian military torture installation in Baucau.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – One of Indonesia's most influential economists has criticised the slowdown in deregulation and warned the Soeharto Government that it must address "collusion" in business to boost the competitiveness of Indonesia's exports.
Surabaya – Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activists Coen Husein Pontoh and Mohammad Soleh, suffered injuries as a result of torture after the riot by inmates at the Medaeng prison, Didoarjo, Surabaya, on June 11. The reason was that they were accused of being be brains and the leaders of the riot.
June 25, 1997
Richard Lloyd Parry – Weeks after it announced a new "ethical dimension" to foreign policy, and Robin Cook the Foreign Secretary promised to "put human rights at the heart of foreign policy", the Government has invited three senior officers of the notorious Indonesian Armed Forces (Abri) to a sales exhibition of British arms equipment.
June 24, 1997
Jakarta – An Indonesian journalist has died in hospital, two days after being admitted following a severe beating which left him in a coma.
Mohammad Sayuti, 43, worked for the Pos Makasar newspaper based in Ujungpandang, the capital of southern Sulawesi.
He was found unconscious and bleeding from the mouth on Monday in Palopo, the daily's editor, Harun Rasyid, said.
Ed Aspinall – General elections during the 30 years of President Suharto's New Order government were never times to make important decisions about the nation's future. After all, Golkar victories are never in doubt.
June 23, 1997
There is currently a climate of fear in East Timor with the launch of a sweep-up operation, called Gerakan Tuntas (Annihilation Campaign) , by the Indonesian armed forces (Abri). We have received numerous phone calls, from the territory, with the callers telling us of heavy movements of Indonesian troops in the towns of Liquica and Baucau and the capital Dili.
The Indonesian government has cancelled a controversial plan to hold a seminar to reassess the role of founding president, Sukarno, in a failed coup in 1965.
The Youth and Sports Minister, Haryono Isman, said that after hearing the views of various leaders it was proposed to President Suharto that there was no need to hold the seminar.
Indonesia has formally annouced the results of last month's general election, with the ruling Golkar party winning 325 seats in the 500-member parliament.
The National Election Institute says the Muslim-based United Development Party or P-P-P, won 89 seats, while the Christian-Nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party or P-D-I, won eleven.
June 22, 1997
Susan Sim, Jakarta – Opposition leader Megawati Soekarnoputri marks the first anniversary of her ouster by a government-backed faction today, cheered by reports that she has been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
An official of the opposition Indonesia Democracy Party or P-D-I has accused the government of tampering with election results.
In a press statement, an M-P of the P-D-I, Sukowaluyo Mintoraharjo, says the people at the National Election Institute who have tampered with the votes have committed a political crime.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister Tarmizi Taher faced further criticism yesterday for having said it was halal (permissible under Islamic law) to take the lives of rioters.
Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Indonesia's ruling group, Golkar, has always been in a no-lose situation. Under the country's electoral system, only three political parties are allowed to contest parliamentary polls, and all candidates must be vetted by the authorities. Golkar is the oldest and best-organized, and the one with most government support.
June 20, 1997
Message to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan
A new trend of "South-South colonialism" has emerged, where Southern companies are making heavy investments in the forestry sector of more backward Thirld World countries. In Denis Gray's article, "How Asia's logging companies are stripping the world's forests" (Sydney Morning Herald, August 31, 1996), several examples of this new trend was mentioned.
Margot Cohen, Jakarta – Forget Batman, Spiderman, and even Rambo. Indonesia's new celluloid superhero bears the name Fatahillah, and he's bringing a Muslim Holy War to Theaters Near You – thanks to the enthusiastic backing of the Indonesian government, bent on reviving the nation's moribund movie industry.
Jakarta – Fifteen Indonesian youths burned an American flag in front of the US Embassy today and demanded that Americans be expelled from the Muslim country.
Jakarta – Indonesia said on Friday it was considering buying air defence systems and fighter planes from Russia.
Jakarta – Indonesia's President Suharto has ordered officials to negotiate the purchase of Russian fighter jets and other military hardware, a minister said here Friday.
Military claims that East Timorese armed resistance leader, David Alex, died yesterday while in the custody of the Indonesian military again raises the immediate need for independent human rights monitors to have access to the country, Amnesty International said today.
June 19, 1997
Greg Earl, Jakarta – The World Bank has warned that Indonesia is failing to make use of a period of high foreign investment and economic growth to resolve economic challenges that threaten its long-term performance.
John McBeth, Jakarta – There are two things President Suharto detests more than anything: critics questioning his administration's legitimacy and outsiders interfering in Indonesia's internal affairs. The Australians had a taste of Suharto's ire in the mid-1980s. The Dutch discovered it five years ago. Now the United States is getting the message too.
We have received an urgent warning from a reliable source in Indonesia that the Indonesian Armed Forces (Abri), are planning an all-out offensive beginning this Friday, June 20, against East Timorese who are suspected to be associated with the Resista nce against Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor.
Jakarta – On the eve of U.N. sponsored peace talks in New York, Indonesian military commanders in East Timor on Thursday vowed to crack down on what they described as increasingly "brutal" tactics employed by the disputed region's separatists, a local newspaper reported.
Three men, Virgilio dos Santos Pinto, Cancio da Costa and Gil Fernandes, arrested on or around 14 June 1997, are believed to be in military custody in the town of Los Palos, East Timor, where they are at serious risk of torture or ill-treatment.
June 18, 1997
The Indonesian government says it's planning to try to place tight controls on what enters the country on the Internet.
Launching a new Internet service in Jakarta, the Minister for Telecommunications, Joop Ave, said it was a basic human right to have access to information.
Louise Williams, Bali – A retired Indonesian naval officer stunned a diplomatic and business audience today by announcing that the geopolitical balance of power in the region meant Indonesia did not need Australia.
A World Bank report says Indonesia does not need nuclear power. The report says Indonesia has the capacity to greatly increase its electricity generation by conventional means.
It says that given the environmental risks, Indonesia should fully exploit this capacity rather than resort to nuclear power.