According to The Sunday Age of South Africa on Sunday, 23 February, an employee at the Indonesian embassy in South Africa has asked for asylum and says that he is in possession of secret documents giving proof of corruption in Indonesia and relating to human rights violations in East Timor.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
February 25, 1997
Washington – Increased political sensitivity here over U.S. ties to Indonesia has given advocates of independence for East Timor more hope of pressing Washington to support their cause, according to activists and government analysts alike.
[A summary was posted earlier, but parts got mangled by an unstable line. (Not as bad as the truth is mangled by Indonesian reports on East Timor). Pedro T Coelho asked for a reposting, here done so by Wes, + comments.]
Jakarta – A top Indonesian military official has said that encouraging people not to vote in the upcoming general election is against the law, a local newspaper reported Tuesday.
Jakarta – The head of the Indonesian United Democratic Party (PUDI), Sri Bintang Pamungkas, along with PUDI leaders have gone to the National Human Rights Commission to lodge a complaint against armed forces chief General TNI Feisal who they consider discredited PUDI.
Susan Sim, Jakarta – The leader of Indonesia's second-largest Islamic organisation has resigned from his post in a Suharto-linked Muslim association amidst talk that he had angered the President with his criticism of the government's handling of the Busang gold find and the activities of American mining company Freeport.
February 24, 1997
In a few weeks time, Ireland's capital city will have a square named after the Timorese Resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao... The initiative is evidence of the interest and commitment to the East Timor cause that exists in the Republic.
Dili – An estimated 6,000 East Timorese have burned tens of houses owned by Indonesians migrants after local people became enraged by a slight against a Catholic priest who had been given a dinner-box containing leftover food on Wednesday evening.
February 22, 1997
San Francisco – As Nike opened a new store in San Francisco's bustling Union Square Saturday, human rights advocates protested what they call worker exploitation at the sports and footwear giant's factories in Indonesia.
[Herald Correspondent Louise Williams goes behind the lines in the fighting in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.]
Sei Duri, West Kalimantan: Two nights ago the tribal war party came - boys just out of childhood, the black mark of battle upon their foreheads, the feathers of swiftness tied to their heads, the torches and knives of destruction firmly in their grasp.
Agencies in Dili and Jakarta – One man was killed and several others injured yesterday when 6,000 East Timorese set fire to the homes of migrant Muslims in reaction to reports a Catholic priest had been insulted at a Muslim gathering.
At least seven people were injured during the six-hour riot in Ambeno district in the former Portuguese colony.
February 21, 1997
Jakarta – The Indonesian military arrested 86 people following the latest ethnic clashes in West Kalimantan province, which remains tense after almost two months of unrest that has left hundreds dead, reports and sources said yesterday.
Jakarta – In Indonesia, doing business is largely a matter of whom you know. And few executives know more people than Mohamad "Bob" Hasan.
Mr Hasan, 72, just helped settle a tussle for control of the world's largest gold deposit. The tale of how the dispute got settled is a good example of how business gets done in Indonesia these days.
Bandung – Tension gripped several parts of the Indonesian city of Bandung following a traffic accident and a riot on Tuesday evening which left four people dead and seven others hospitalised.
Residents and passers-by went on a rampage after two people were killed in a traffic accident, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
Buy Astra? Or sell Astra? It depends on what Mohammad "Bob" Hasan will do when he takes over at Astra International, Indonesia's largest manufacturing force. Hasan - king of the Indonesian logging business and golfing buddy of President Suharto, right, - will be anointed Astra's president commissioner at a special shareholders' meeting on Feb. 19.
Jakarta – A special Indonesian parliamentary commission had recommended unanimously the passing of a Bill which would allow the government to control the use of nuclear energy, reports said here yesterday.
British-made Scorpion tanks were among the army equipment inspected in Jakarta on Thursday 20 February by top generals of the Indonesian military dictatorship, checking security preparations for the Indonesian elections scheduled for 29 May this year, [Republika Daily, 21.2.1997]
Megawati Sukarnoputri, accompanied by a team of sixty lawyers, responded to a police summons Thursday, two days after her husband Taufik Kiemas had been questioned by the police.
Jakarta – Indonesian authorities are to charge 25 people, including four accused of subversion, over a December riot in the West Java town of Tasikmalaya in which four people died, a report said yesterday.
Subversion carries a maximum death penalty in Indonesia.
Joe Leahy and Agencies in Jakarta – The military has arrested 86 people during a resurgence of ethnic conflict which has left hundreds dead and forced more than 1,000 people to abandon their homes in West Kalimantan.
Jakarta – Indonesian security authorities will deploy 10,000 policemen and soldiers backed by tanks in the capital to safeguard general elections with campaigning getting under way in April, a report said Friday.
Military chief General Feisal Tanjung inspected the 10,000 troops at the huge open parking lot of the Senayan sports complex, the Republika daily said.
The prosecutor, M Salim in the Central Jakarta State Court on Thursday, February 20, again requested the appearance of Bambang Widjojanto, the chairperson of YLBHI [Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation]. Bambang has been ordered to be a witness in the subversion case against PRD chairperson Budiman Sudjatmiko.
February 20, 1997
Richard Borsuk, Jakarta, Indonesia – Bankers and securities analysts piled into PT Astra International's news conference Wednesday for a glimpse of the Indonesian auto assembler's new chairman.
Jakarta – The attitude and conduct of the whole state's apparature must totally be reorganized, so that it will be more communicative and persuasive. This is as one of the efforts to lessen, or even check the various riots which presently are ever more flaring up.
Jakarta – Bre-X Minerals Ltd will not receive any payment for the 30 per cent stake in the Busang gold deposit that it gave to its Indonesian partners, said Mohamad "Bob" Hasan, an Indonesian businessman who helped broker the agreement.
"It's very straightforward," Mr Hasan said.
Joe Leahy, Jakarta – Further peace efforts are needed in West Kalimantan to avoid a repeat of ethnic clashes which have rocked the province in the past two months, a senior member of the National Commission on Human Rights warns.
Louise Williams, Pontianak, West Kalimantan – Dayak tribal leaders have sent out the so-called "red cup" of war across Kalimantan and say a peace pact between the tribal "head-hunters" and migrant workers will not hold, according to a Dayak source.
Jakarta – A war of political colours in a Central Java town took another turn this week after supporters of an ousted opposition leader painted the town square in the colours of the national flag.
Nigel Holloway in Washington and John McBeth in Jakarta – February 20, 1997At a United States Air Force base near Tucson, Arizona, 28 Lockheed Martin F-16 strike aircraft stand in pristine condition. They've never flown on a combat mission but they've been caught in a dogfight of a very different kind.
Jakarta – Three weeks of ethnic violence in an Indonesian province in Borneo have left hundreds of people dead and community leaders at a loss as to how to resolve the conflict.
Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces will not soften its tough stance in handling the recent unrest that has jolted the multi-ethnic country in the past few months, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
Dini Djalal, Bangkok – Some of them are no older than 12 and not much bigger than the guns and spears they carry.
John McBeth and Jay Solomon in Jakarta – It's hard to get any closer to the top. Timber tycoon Mohamad "Bob" Hasan and Indonesian President Suharto have been friends for more than 30 years and they play golf together twice weekly.
John McBeth and Margot Cohen in Jakarta – Days of savage blood-letting in West Kalimantan, which led to Malaysia closing part of its border with Indonesia, have served as a disquieting reminder of what can happen in an ethnically diverse country when extremists among two groups one indigenous, the other migrant harbour a Balkans like animosity that seems to defy solution.
[Following is an op-ed column from the February 20, 1997 San Francisco Chronicle.
Richard Cole, San Francisco – The multi-billion dollar Nike empire and its muscular sports machine rolled into town Thursday to launch a new store, but instead ran into the city's protest movement and eked out a public relations draw.
The East Timor Human Rights Centre has received a report from reliable East Timorese sources relating to the suspected extra-judicial execution of four East Timorese men in October 1996.
February 19, 1997
Taufik Kiemas, the husband of Megawati Sukarnoputri, complied with a summons from the Jakarta police and was accompanied by twenty lawyers and hundreds of Megawati supporters. He was interrogated for seven hours. During the questioning, he was accompanied by four lawyers.
Jakarta – About 300 people have died as a result of recent ethnic clashes in West Kalimantan and four people are being investigated for allegedly sparking the unrest, military (Abri) officials are reported to have said yesterday. "It's not true that the number of victims killed reached more than 1,000 like it was quoted in an English-language newspaper in Jakarta.
Richard Borsuk, Jakarta – The government gave its formal blessing to the recently settled ownership battle for the giant Busang gold find, and an official used the occasion to deliver a message to all mining companies: Don't worry.
Jakarta – PPP has rejected the accusation that PPP cadres RKH Amin Imron and KH Abdullah Schal were involved in the riots in West Kalimantan, said the chair of PPP Ismail Hasan Metareum. "It's really not true" said Buya, on February 18. According to Buya photos and posters of the two are common in the Maduran community not just in West Kalimantan but throughout Java
What is described as a "process of decolonization" by Portugal is in fact a record of failure and ineptitude. In July 1975, the Portuguese government ordered formation of a transitional government for East Timor to prepare for the election in October 1976 of a Popular Assembly that was to take responsibility for determining the future status of the territory.
Jakarta – Indonesia has accepted a proposal by Canada's small Bre-X Minerals Ltd mining company to develop the huge Busang gold find, Mines and Energy Minister Ida Bagus Sudjana confirmed yesterday.
Jakarta – The General Chairman of the Central Directing Council of PPP, Ismail Hasan Metareum, evaluates that those meant by Army Chief of Staff General R Hartono, when he mentioned there were elements from East Java inciting the community in West Kalimantan, were Parliament PPP Fraction members KH Amin Imron and Madurese religious teacher KH Abdullah Schal.
[The following statement was passed unanimously on 21 February, 1997 by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco & Allied Workers' Association (Asia/Pacific) 9th IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Conference, held in Hong Kong from February 19 to 21, 1997.]
Joe Leahy, Jakarta – The Government has sought to suppress details of the disturbances in West Kalimantan with a clampdown on foreign media and apparent self-censorship by the Indonesian press.
Of those arrested in the Viqueque district of East Timor in relation to disturbances between 7 and 11 February, 105 have now been released, leaving at least four still in detention. According to reports, many of those that have been released were tortured or ill-treated while in custody.
Jakarta – The Jakarta Military Command has begun operating the National Alert Command Centre (PKN) which would be effective throughout the country.
Jakarta – The head of the Jakarta Police, Maj-Gen Hamami Nata has said Megawati Sukarnoputri will be questioned as a witness by police this Thursday (February 20).
"If she doesn't appear for this second request, she will be called in a third time. If she doesn't turn up, she will be 'met' by police" he said on February 18.
Jakarta – Business tycoon Muhammad "Bob" Hasan, a close associate of Indonesia's President Suharto, is tipped to take a key role in the country's largest carmaker PT Astra International, brokers and analysts said yesterday.