Police seize separatist flags in Ambon
The Jakarta Post August 18, 2003
AMBON, Maluku (Antara): Police seized two separatist Republic of South Maluku (RMS) flags here on Sunday as local people were going to commemorate Indonesia's 58th independence day.
The seizure followed a report from the public that the RMS flags was raised atop a tree on the road leading to the Job Training Center (BLK) of the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry.
No one claimed responsibility for raising the flag.
Both of Maluku Police Chief Brig. Gen. Bambang Sutrisno and Chief of the Maluku provincial military command Maj. Gen. Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo deplored the display of separatist RMS's flag here coinciding with the 58th anniversary of Indonesia's independence day on Sunday.
At least two separatist flags were flown on top of trees in Kudamati area, Nusaniwe subdistrict, and Passo village, Baguala subdistrict in Ambon municipality but the Indonesian military and police had managed to cope with the problem.
Meanwhile, security condition ahead of the commemoration of the country's 58th independence day in the area was relatively safe.
"I have instructed my men to hunt down the wavers, and once they are arrested the police will impose stiff measures against them based on the prevailing law," Bambang said.
He vowed not to compromise with persons or parties that continue to disrupt the country's souvereignty, especialty taking the momentum of the Indonesian Independence Day to strive for separation from the Unitary State of Indonesia.
"We will however seize the flags and arrest the perpetrators, as their acts have disrupted the state's souvereignty," Agustadi, concurrently the administrator of the Security Restoration Operation in Maluku and North Maluku provinces, said.
All contents copyright © of The Jakarta Post.
No cooperation with Jakarta's terror gangs!
Green Left Weekly August 20, 2003
Canberra's moves to resume military cooperation with Jakarta, especially with the quasi-state-terror gang Kopassus, in the name of the “war on terror”, should strongly be opposed by all those who support the democratic rights of the workers and peasants of Indonesia.
The Labor Party colluded with the Howard government in the Senate on August 14 to block a Greens' resolution calling for the cancellation of any move by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to resume cooperation with Kopassus. With this evidence once again of the policy convergence of both major parties, the campaign to end such military ties will need to be fought outside of Australia's parliamentary chambers.
The bomb blast outside Jakarta's Marriott Hotel on August 5, and warnings of imminent terrorist attacks in Indonesia against Australian tourists and business interests, have been used to justify the ADF's resumption of cooperation with what is painted as Indonesia's only capable “anti-terrorist” fighting force, Kopassus.
According to defence analyst Alain Dupont, Australian military officers were likely to be placed as “liaison officers” at Kopassus headquarters in Jakarta. Kopassus would also be permitted to observe the Australian SAS “anti-terrorist” unit training in Perth, a short step away from taking part in joint military exercises.
Kopassus is implicated in the killing of West Papuan leader Theys Eluay and is being investigated by the Indonesian police and US Federal Bureau of Investigation for its role in the ambush of a convoy of Freeport employees in West Papua last August, in which three people were killed. Pending any charges being laid, the US has for now been forced to withhold US$400,000 in military training funds that it had intended to release to the Indonesian armed forces (TNI).
Washington regrets that it is unable to resume this cooperation right now.
Nonetheless, US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said on August 12 that the US supported Australia's moves to resume cooperation with Kopassus.
Thus Canberra is implementing policies in relation to Jakarta that even the Bush gang finds too politically embarrassing for it to publicly carry out.
Kopassus has also been integrally involved in the funding, training and arming of East Timorese militia gangs which terrorised the East Timorese population after they voted for independence in 1999. Ironically, present ADF chief General Peter Cosgrove, who headed the Australian-led Interfet force that disarmed these militias, now calls for renewed ADF cooperation with Kopassus.
If the Australian government wants to put an end to terror in Indonesia, it
needs to examine the internal workings of the forces it wants to cooperate with.
The experience of many Indonesians with terror, is that perpetrated by the country's own so-called security forces.
When terror bombs were set off to destabilise President Abdurrahman Wahid's government in 2000-01, Canberra did not move to renew ties with Kopassus —— nor did it send Australian Federal Police officers to investigate.
The wave of killings and terror in Ambon, Aceh and West Papua perpetrated by Laskar Jihad, a Muslim fundamentalist group with links to Kopassus, hardly caused a stir among government ranks in Canberra.
Kopassus was responsible for the “disappearances” of Indonesian pro-democracy activists in 1998. The Indonesian people's fight for democracy is now being threatened by the TNI's moves to shore up its position in Indonesian politics prior to the 2004 election.
By resuming cooperation with Kopassus, the Howard government aims to help strengthen the position of the TNI — which the Australian imperialist rulers have always regarded as the most reliable Indonesian institution for the defence of their economic interests in Indonesia.
While the “opposition” ALP refused to condemn the resumption of ADF cooperation with Kopassus, shadow foreign minister Kevin Rudd has argued for increased cooperation with the Indonesian National Police. By doing so, Rudd is giving support to the Jakarta ruling elite's phoney separation of the police from the TNI. In reality, just as was the case under the Australian-backed Suharto dictatorship, the police and the military in Indonesia carrying out the same function — repression, through terror, of the political and economic struggles of working people.
© 2003 Green Left Weekly
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