Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indonesian Armed Forces Chief Confirms, Defends, Targeting Civilians.

The Jakarta Globe has a piece this morning on the TNI  response to my November 9 report detailing their targeting of churches and civilians:

"The Indonesian military chief has confirmed claims by a rights activist [Allan Nairn] that the armed forces are actively carrying out intelligence gathering in Papua, and defended the move as crucial for national security... On Thursday, Adm. Agus Suhartono, the recently appointed chief of the Indonesian Military, admitted that they were involved in intelligence gathering operations, but only to guard against threats to the nation’s sovereignty and to back up police operations there.  He rejected the idea that gathering intelligence among civilians was wrong, saying all intelligence operations in Papua served to detect and prevent separatist threats.  'What we’re doing is maximizing the use of our intelligence unit for the sake of the military and the country,' Agus said." ( See Markus Junianto Sialoho, "Indonesian Military Chief Defends Spying Operation in Papua," The Jakarta Globe, November 12, 2010).
What the TNI does to civilian dissidents in Papua is not just "intelligence gathering operations" but also, as a secret Kopassus report puts it: "abduction [and] murder." (See News and Comment, November 9).

If the TNI wants to defend this practice they should do so in open court.  When they commit murder they should stand trial for it, just like any ordinary person.

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