|Subject: 6 Reports: SMH: Sutiyoso Still
Calls the Shots [+The Australian; Age Editorials]
- SMH: Big Man Who Still Calls the Shots
- SMH Editorial: Let the Balibo Cards Fall Where They May
- The Australian Editorial: Hang-Dog Attitude on Indonesia Unwise [Oversensitivity is not good for diplomatic relations]
- The Age Editorial: Asia and Australia must keep working on a tricky balance [incl: Indoensia/Sutiyoso Row]
- The Australian: Iemma apology to Jakarta
- SMH: Taxpayers pick up the bill
The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, June 1, 2007
Big Man Who Still Calls the Shots
by Hamish McDonald Asia-Pacific Editor
photo: Law unto himself ... Major General Sutiyoso inspects a gun during preparations for a 1996 air show. AP
THE Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso's affront at having policemen knock on his hotel door in Sydney reflects a lifetime spent mostly on the dark side of the Indonesian military - in effective legal impunity.
Mr Sutiyoso, 62, retired from the Indonesian Army as a lieutenant-general after a career that included 23 years in the notorious special forces regiment, now known as Kopassus.
This encompassed the numerous black operations mounted under the Soeharto presidency such as the covert invasion of Portuguese Timor in which the Balibo Five died, the fight against separatists in Aceh, or the summary execution of thousands of alleged gangsters in Jakarta.
In late career, he won Soeharto's favour as Bogor district commander securing the first APEC summit.
Then as Jakarta military commander in July 1996 he supervised the replacement of Megawati Soekarnoputri as head of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) with a pro-regime stooge.
Handily, Mr Sutiyoso had been running a program to "educate" former street hoodlums, known as preman, who were sent to storm pro-Megawati elements holding out in the PDI's headquarters.
The ensuing riots were an excuse for a wider crackdown on opposition to Soeharto. Openness was a good thing, Mr Sutiyoso told a forum soon after, but it could "open the door to liberalism and anarchy".
None of this held back his career, or his favourable reception by foreign military forces eager to improve ties with their Indonesian counterparts.
Training with the British Army's airborne brigade at Aldershot was followed by a long stint at the Australian Army Command and Staff College in Melbourne and Canberra, and then a spell with the US Rangers at Fort Bragg.
As an aggrieved Mr Sutiyoso told the Jakarta Post on his sudden return home this week, it was odd that Australia now chose to question him over the 1975 incident when in 1990 he studied as a colonel for a month in Melbourne and then six months in Canberra at the Joint Staff Services College and was not questioned once over the Balibo deaths.
David Bourchier, a political scientist at the University of Western Australia who closely tracks Indonesia's armed forces, said Mr Sutiyoso's shock during his Sydney visit "underlines how much people can get away with in the Indonesian military".
"This is a reality check for the Indonesian military, that impunity doesn't stretch across international boundaries in the way they probably think it ought to," Dr Bourchier said.
Another expert on Indonesia's military, Clinton Fernandes, of the Australian Defence Forces Academy, said Kopassus was not exceptional in its lack of accountability. "As an institution, the TNI [Indonesian National Army], the military, is simply refusing to put itself under civilian control," Dr Fernandes said. "Kopassus is simply the most pure expression of the TNI."
A joint Truth and Friendship Commission, set up in 2005 by Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and East Timor's former president, Xanana Gusmao, has recently heard senior Indonesian leaders and officials say the mayhem surrounding the independence vote in 1999 was everyone else's fault.
The then Indonesian defence minister, Wiranto, a military academy classmate of Mr Sutiyoso who has been indicted by United Nations prosecutors and is barred from the United States, claimed "there was no policy to attack civilians, there were no systematic plans, no genocide or crimes against humanity".
Mr Sutiyoso was installed as governor of Jakarta in the last months of Soeharto's rule. To the shock of her own party, Ms Megawati supported him for a second term in 2002.
Now, despite the flooding this February that brought misery to Jakarta's 14 million people - caused in part by illegal clearing of mountain forests to let military and other well-connected individuals build villas - Mr Sutiyoso thinks he has a chance at the presidency in 2009.
Like General Wiranto, who was humiliated in the 2004 presidential election, he may find that power doesn't equal support in a democracy.
The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, June 1, 2007
Let the Balibo Cards Fall Where They May
THE commander of an Indonesian special forces unit accused of murdering five Australia-based journalists in East Timor in 1975 has more lately styled himself as a champion of free speech. Mohammed Yunus Yosfiah was a captain when Indonesian forces overran Balibo in October 1975 and, according to evidence before an inquest into the deaths of the five men, was first to fire on at least three of the journalists as they tried to surrender. Under the former Indonesian strongman Soeharto, Yosfiah rose to the rank of lieutenant-general, but as Soeharto's authoritarian regime crumbled in 1998 Yosfiah quickly re-invented himself as a political reformist. As the first post-Soeharto information minister it was Yosfiah who abolished decades of censorship, media licensing restrictions and harassment of the press in one fell swoop. This recent history is worth recalling in assessing the latest howls of protest from the Indonesian Government and a couple of hundred angry protesters in Jakarta. Democracy in Indonesia is now almost a decade old. For Jakarta to profess such profound offence over the request for an Indonesian official to testify at the inquest during a recent visit to Sydney - and to continue to insist the Balibo case is closed - is an unfortunate flashback to the darker days of the Soeharto era. The proper legal process unfolding in Sydney is nothing more than the long overdue airing of a tragic truth. Whatever predictable diplomatic row now ensues, the core issue is this: respect for judicial processes and freedom of information in a democracy is not selective - no matter how unpalatable the truth or how prominent the officials involved.
Certainly, the evidence before the coronial inquest in Sydney tells a grim story. It wholeheartedly damns the Indonesian military and the Soeharto government, but it also does Australia's politicians and policy makers of the era no credit. At the centre is Yosfiah, identifiable from evidence before the coroner as one of two individuals who the counsel assisting the coroner believes could be successfully prosecuted for war crimes under the Geneva Conventions - although as a mere captain at the time he was almost certain to have been acting on orders. Yosfiah has always denied any involvement, and the Indonesian government has consistently claimed the men died in crossfire - a position earlier Australian inquiries have endorsed despite intelligence reports to the contrary.
Yosfiah and a second man, Christoforus da Silva, are highly unlikely to ever face an Australian court, because this would require Jakarta's co-operation in extradition. This reality does not undermine the value of the inquest. As truth commissions in nations such as South Africa and El Salvador have shown, the mere process of airing the truth is immensely important for surviving family members and in establishing credible historical records. In East Timor, where the 24-year Indonesian military occupation cost some 200,000 lives, only a handful of local Timorese have been jailed for their part in decades of terrible human rights abuses. And Dili has pragmatically chosen not to pursue senior Indonesian officials. Australia, however, has no such need to kowtow to a sensitive Jakarta over such a clear violation.
When Indonesia launched its full-scale invasion in December 1975, seven weeks after the Balibo raid, a plaintive cry was picked up by radio in Darwin: "They are trying to take over all Timor … Indonesians … SOS, please help us." But Australia was well aware of the illegal invasion plan and willing to turn a blind eye, over decades, to avoid offending the powerful Soeharto regime. It was also argued in 1975 that Australia had reasonably feared instability in the former Portuguese colony off its northern coastline and so preferred East Timor's incorporation into the Indonesian state. Realpolitik leads governments to make many difficult choices, but Australia's stance on East Timor arguably weighed the interests of the state too heavily against fundamental values of human rights and international law. The former prime minister Gough Whitlam referred to the five journalists as "foolhardy" and criticised them for not heeding warnings to leave East Timor. Journalists should not expect special privileges in a war zone but, like civilians, they must not be deliberately targeted. The revelation at the inquest that "nearly everybody in a position to know" in Canberra believed the five men had been deliberately killed - while the government peddled the crossfire line - discredits a succession of Australian officials. In retrospect, Australia's complicity in the occupation probably exacerbated bilateral tensions, rather than smoothed them, because of the endless protests it provoked in Australia.
After more than three decades, and much cynical obfuscation on both sides of the Timor Sea, a credible, if deeply disturbing, picture is finally emerging of how the Channel Seven reporter Greg Shackleton, 27, cameraman Gary Cunningham, 27, and sound recordist Tony Stewart, 21, and Nine cameraman Brian Peters, 29, and reporter Malcolm Rennie, 28, died. Whether the visiting Governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, who was a special forces officer at Balibo, should have been approached in his hotel this week is a side issue. Indonesia is a democracy. Indonesia's press is free to criticise Australia, and it does so with vigour. Indonesian courts are free to prosecute Australians within their jurisdiction, and they do. Mr Sutiyoso is an aspiring presidential candidate who well understands the demands of democratic openness. He is perfectly entitled to feel "deeply humiliated". However, if any apology is due it is only because the police may have let themselves into his hotel room using a master key. They should have knocked.
The Australian Friday, June 1, 2007
Hang-Dog Attitude on Indonesia Unwise
Oversensitivity is not good for diplomatic relations
THE ham-fisted attempt by NSW police to get visiting Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso to appear before the Balibo Five coronial inquest is difficult to understand, or defend. But it should not be allowed to poison relations between two close friends or frustrate the search for the truth of how five Australian journalists met their death in East Timor in 1975. For Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs, kowtowing to complaints from Jakarta on this issue would be evidence of weak knees and double standards when it comes to relations with Indonesia. It is at odds with the more proactive view of Australia's foreign affairs espoused by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, to drop the diplomatic niceties in favour of a more self-interested stance. In private and in public, Mr Downer has expressed dissatisfaction with Canberra's old diplomatic niceties and shown "sympathy" to the neocon world view. Evidence of this can be found in joint efforts with Britain and the US in Afghanistan and Iraq and, regionally, in East Timor and the Pacific.
Having been a good and loyal friend to the people of Indonesia, Australia does itself no credit in adopting such a hang-dog stance. As a nation, we supported the archipelago's independence from Dutch rule and have provided development and humanitarian assistance that stretches well beyond the speedy and heartfelt response to the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. Australia has nothing to be ashamed about. It has been a more supportive ally than many in Indonesia will acknowledge.
On issues such as the Balibo inquiry, maturity must be shown by both sides. While it is naive to think it acceptable for police to let themselves in to the hotel room of a visiting dignitary, it is not as if Indonesia is being singled out for special treatment. Other witnesses to the inquiry have included former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam. But following the clumsy handling of attempts to seek General Sutiyoso's voluntary attendance, Jakarta witnessed scenes reminiscent of the tit-for-tat dog cartoon furore between the two countries. Hastily assembled protesters gathered in Jakarta to light fires and brandish obscene placards denouncing Australia. Australia's ambassador was summoned to explain why Indonesia's pride had been wounded.
Histrionics must not be allowed to obscure the real issues. What exactly is the big moral reason why General Sutiyoso should not be required to give evidence to the Balibo Five inquiry? The whole point of the inquest being conducted by NSW Deputy Coroner Dorelle Pinch is to cut through the diplomatic obfuscation that has long shrouded the events surrounding the death of five Australian journalists in the East Timor town of Balibo in 1975.
The Australian recognises that Shirley Shackleton - the widow of reporter Greg Shackleton - who has campaigned tirelessly for the truth to be told, is unlikely to find real satisfaction. But the public has a right to know and, through this inquiry, has already learnt much more than has been previously admitted. Ms Pinch has recommended that commonwealth war crimes proceedings be launched against two retired Indonesian soldiers. General Sutiyoso was allegedly a member of the military squad responsible for the deaths but there is no suggestion he should face any charges. But there is no good reason why General Sutiyoso should not be asked to tell the inquiry his recollection of events. With the jailing of drug-smuggler Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine drug couriers, Australia has shown its respect for the Indonesian legal system. Indonesia should extend the same courtesy, and co-operate voluntarily with our inquiry.
The Age (Melbourne) Friday, June 1, 2007
Asia and Australia must keep working on a tricky balance
MUCH like family, countries can't choose their neighbours but must find ways to get along with them. In Australia's case, the neighbourhood is Asia and the relationships at times resemble those of squabbling siblings. The nations' leaders can usually be relied upon to rise above the rows, knowing that their countries stand to lose more than they gain by playing up their differences. This week alone, that awareness has been at play in Australia's relations with countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and China.
There was a time when outgoing prime minister Paul Keating claimed Asia would shun a government led by John Howard. Instead, the past decade has shown how strongly common economic and security interests are bringing Australia and Asia together. There is now a bipartisan consensus on this, with Asia at the heart of the century's great challenges: economic and environmental sustainability and security — terrorism in particular.
Yesterday, visiting Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Mr Howard signed a status-of-forces agreement that enables Australia to train Philippine forces and support military operations in the southern Philippines against groups linked to al-Qaeda. Under a second, aid-related agreement, Australia will provide $250 million for human rights projects. The agreements reflect the duality of relations with Asia. Dr Arroyo will soon receive a report by UN special rapporteur (and Australian) Philip Alston that accuses elements of the Philippine military and police of extrajudicial killings and political repression.
Indonesia has already taken offence at a NSW coronial inquiry into the death of one of five Australian newsmen killed in the 1975 invasion of East Timor. Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso demanded an apology after NSW police entered his Sydney hotel room to press him to give evidence. Warning that relations could be disrupted, Jakarta summoned the Australian ambassador and threatened retaliation over a contention that two Indonesian officers could be prosecuted for war crimes. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has voiced understanding of Indonesian feelings, but also observed that the coroner, police and government operate separately in Australia.
Apologise for discourtesy to a guest, by all means, but do not apologise for seeking the truth about a terrible crime. Australian governments have made the grave mistake more than once in the past of letting atrocities be swept under the carpet. The truth matters. Indeed, the inquiry paints a picture of Australia being terribly compromised in turning a blind eye to East Timor. The consequences haunt us still. Despite the continuing relationship troubles, the countries need each other, as evidenced by a $1 billion aid program and joint operations against Jemaah Islamiah, which is a threat to Australians and Indonesians alike. Australia must support moderate Islamic leaders such as Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Malaysia's Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Other countries present a different set of challenges. Japanese whaling continues to test Australia's ability to make its abhorrence clear without losing a broader, mutual respect. As for China, witness the contortions a visit by the Dalai Lama induces. Mr Downer and his Labor shadow, Robert McClelland, have also offered differing takes on Australia's place in a security pact with the US, Japan and India, which China regards with great suspicion.
Nations such as China, India and South Korea are setting up Asia as the 21st century's growth centre, but also the region where the climate change battle will largely be won or lost. Australia's work on promoting clean technology in the Asia-Pacific region must continue, as must co-operation on development and security, regardless of this year's election result. Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin speaker with diplomatic experience in Beijing, is to visit China to discuss the bilateral relationship and climate change. Former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove has rightly observed that "language skills and cultural sensitivity will be the new currency" of the 21st century's world order. But sensitivity should never stretch to pretending there is no problem when innocent people are killed.
The Australian Friday, June 1, 2007
Iemma apology to Jakarta
Dan Box and Stephen Fitzpatrick
NSW Premier Morris Iemma has written a lengthy apology to the Jakarta Governor over police use of a master key to enter the politician's Sydney hotel room while he was asleep and wearing only his shorts. The letter, given last night to Lieutenant General Sutiyoso, blames a communication breakdown for the visit by Detective Sergeant Steve Thomas and a fellow officer. The letter also promises an investigation into why "security and protocol was less than satisfactory".
"I apologise for the distress and inconvenience caused and regret your early departure from NSW," Mr Iemma says.
Despite his earlier outrage, Governor Sutiyoso - who cut short his trip to Australia on Tuesday in apparent protest at the intrusion - last night accepted Mr Iemma's apology.
The diplomatic incident was sparked after Sergeant Thomas was asked to deliver a request from the NSW Coroner for Governor Sutiyoso to attend an inquest into the death of one of five Australian-based journalists killed in Balibo, East Timor, in 1975, allegedly at the hands of a commando squad of which the Governor was a member.
The easing of tensions came after Australian ambassador Bill Farmer visited Mr Sutiyoso at his City Hall offices for the second time yesterday to pass on the letter of apology having earlier conveyed his regrets.
"I feel very touched with this letter, very satisfied," the Governor said. "There are so many apologies in it, in so many ways, that I must be big-hearted. I must thaw this row between Jakarta and NSW. A letter like this is almost too much - more than I need."
An interim report on the incident was delivered to NSW Police Minister David Campbell yesterday and will now be included in a wider inquiry conducted by Mr Iemma's office.
General Sutiyoso's chief of staff, Suhendro Baskito, yesterday said his boss was undressed when the police entered his room. "He was asleep, the two police woke him up. They were standing at the side of his bed.
"He asked 'Who are you?' and they explained that they were police officers and wanted him to appear at the inquiry into the East Timor killings.
"He immediately called me. I was staying in the adjoining room. By the time I got there he was wearing shorts and a T-shirt."
A spokeswoman for the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday repeated claims that police had demanded access to the room, which was provided by the duty manager, using a master key.
Additional reporting: Paul Maley
The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, June 1, 2007
Taxpayers pick up the bill
by Andrew Clennell State Political Editor
NSW taxpayers picked up the tab for the hotel rooms of the Governor of Jakarta, Mr Sutiyoso, and his entourage who were visited by police on Tuesday.
The Premier's office confirmed yesterday that the state had paid for the accommodation and transport around Sydney of Mr Sutiyoso and his entourage of six, as they were the guests of the Government.
'This was done because [we] wanted to do a bit of work on the sister-state relationship between Jakarta and NSW," a spokesman for the Premier, Morris Iemma, said.
Ben Wilson said that many dignitaries visited Sydney and taxpayers often paid for the guests' accommodation if the Government had invited them.
On Monday night Mr Iemma had a half-hour meeting with Mr Sutiyoso and his delegation. He also met the Indonesian ambassador and the Indonesian consul-general.
Later, the Tourism Minister, Matt Brown, hosted a reception for the delegation. Members of the Indonesian community in Sydney attended, as did Mr Iemma.
Mr Sutiyoso is understood to have told those at the function that he was sorry he had not visited Sydney earlier in his term as governor.
Executive suites at the Hotel Shangri-La cost about $500 a night. A spokesman for the Premier said the delegation had paid for its own flights.
Last night Mr Iemma's office released an apology letter, which explained that the judiciary and police were separate from the government executive in Australia.
Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku"): http://126.96.36.199/
------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service