MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014
By Allan Nairn
At one point during our meetings in
Jakarta in 2001,
General Prabowo started
talking about the US National Security
had already described
how he reported to the US Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) at least
weekly and had mentioned his extensive
work with other parts of the Pentagon.
When I asked about crimes by the TNI/
ABRI (the armed forces of Indonesia)
Prabowo said that evidence of them could
be found in the archives of the NSA.
He said his US handlers had talked to
him about the extensive electronic
surveillance that NSA, with help from
Australia, was carrying out against
Some of this was already public record,
but Prabowo said he knew more.
I asked if he had passed this
information to his superiors and
subordinates in the TNI/ABRI.
Prabowo replied "I don't remember if I
sent a memo warning about it [the
intercepts] but everyone should assume
that" -- i.e. assume that they were
The context for this was interesting.
Prabowo was not referring to his own
crimes, but to those of his rival,
He said that Wiranto was responsible for
the 1999 East Timor TNI militia arson
and massacre, and that Wiranto's main
man on the ground was
Prabowo noted with apparent bitterness
"I was the Americans' fair-haired boy,"
but now that the US had ditched him
"Wiranto is their fair-haired boy."
Prabowo said that during the terror
Wiranto was "close to" the US CINCPAC
(Commander in Chief, Pacific)
Prabowo added that from its intercepts
and from its direct involvement, the US
knew exactly what Wiranto had been up
As far as I can tell, all of this was
I had reported in 1999, as TNI and the
militias were burning Dili, internal US
documents showed that Wiranto had a
green light from Blair. ("US
Complicity in Timor," The Nation
[US], September 27, 1999; see also
"Breaking News: US Intel Nominee Lied
About '99 Massacre. US, Church
Documents Show Adm. Dennis Blair Knew of
Church Killings Before Crucial Meeting.")
It was also the case, as I reported
then, that many TNI atrocities were
ordered through communications equipment
that was interceptable.
Prabowo said "Only they [the NSA] would
have the evidence of Wiranto's militia
He said he had "heard that now DC is
saying prosecution of Wiranto is no
This latter statement was misleading,
since the US had never backed
prosecution (The UN, though, did indict
Wiranto for crimes against humanity).
But Prabowo's point that the US was
shielding Wiranto was indeed correct.
Prabowo knew the US procedures well.
The US had backed and shielded his
crimes for decades.
NSA surveillance has recently become an
The US should be pushed to divulge what
it has on crimes by itself and those it
When Prabowo implicated General Zacky to
me it wasn't entirely self-serving,
since Prabowo acknowledged that he
himself had often set up such militias.
He said correctly that such forces were
part of US counterinsurgency doctrine,
and that he, Prabowo, had set militias
up during his years in Timor.
He said "All counterinsurgency
operations need militias,
paramilitaries. The US uses them."
"They speak the local dialect, know the
area. They use tactics of claiming to
be the other side."
He said that he presumed that as we
spoke, in 2001, Kopassus was running
such militias in Aceh, and was hiding
its men in plainclothes and in BRIMOB
Prabowo knew in detail about Zacky's
Timor operation because Zacky had been
his -- Prabowo's -- man until he
"abandoned" Prabowo for Wiranto.
The TNI-run militiamen committed rape,
mass murder, torture and arson.
But Prabowo's objection to them was not
their crimes but their uncouth
He said Eurico Guterres, of Timor's
Aitarak, was "a street punk, a gambler,
barely literate." Though Eurico worked
for Kopassus, Prabowo said he found him
Today, the press says Eurico is "ready
to become a minister in a Prabowo
Guterres siap jadi menteri kabinet
At the time we spoke, there had been a
bombing at the Jakarta stock exchange (JSX)
nine months earlier.
Prabowo said one of those involved was
an ethnic Acehnese ex-Kopassus (Group
He said "Its a problem letting Acehnese
in there," (the military) because the
Acehnese were not trustworthy.
Prabowo said"Its like Black Panthers in
the US. Do you keep blacks out of the
Today, the Aceh ex-GAM leadership has
endorsed Prabowo for president.
I discussed this twice with Muzakir
Manaf, the former GAM guerrilla
The first time was on April 10, 2012
right after ex-GAM won local Aceh
elections. The second was last February
9 when Muzakir was serving as the Aceh
On both occasions I asked Muzakir if it
was true that, as I had
in 2010, the former Kopassus
commander, General Sunarko, had helped
assassinate pro-GAM activists during
Muzakir's response on this was
significant since, by 2012, Sunarko had
become a Muzakir ally. They were waging
an election campaign together.
On both occasions Muzakir said yes, it
was true, Sunarko helped command the
So why was GAM now supporting Sunarko,
this man who had killed their comrades?
Two reasons, Muzakir said, first,
Sunarko could help with the Central Aceh
Gayo vote, and second, Sunarko was in
Prabowo's party and Prabowo was giving
GAM lots of money.
Last February Muzakir acknowledged to me
that Prabowo's Kopassus had murdered
But Muzakir said "He [Prabowo] had his
orders, that was his national
necessity. That is all in the past
When I asked Muzakir if his new friend
Prabowo should be tried for crimes
against humanity, he replied "That is
not up to me. That is up to others,
Prabowo was careful when he spoke to me
to avoid implicating himself criminally.
It was not that he was denying things,
he was just refusing to talk about them.
But there was one interesting case, when
he appeared to come to the verge of
discussing his role in the 1998 Jakarta
riots that featured murder, rape and
Prabowo had just finished blaming
Wiranto for a long list of what he saw
as political embarrassments, including
the highly-publicized ABRI murders of
civilian demonstrators at Trisakti and
at Semanggi 1 and 2.
But when it came to the riots, Prabowo
did not attempt to blame Wiranto.
Instead, he said, with what could have
been pride: "There were 128 fires at one
time. This was an operation: planned,
The only thing he would not say was who
had done the controlling.
Prabowo reminisced that during his time
in occupied Timor, in the Kopassus
camps, he had the use of "slaves."
But then Prabowo caught himself.
Boasting about "slaves" was not
He corrected, in good American idiom:
"Well, not really slaves -- gofers."
He complained that as we spoke, in 2001,
he was short of money: "I am not rich."
Prabowo said "I have 15 servants. Maybe
you really only need 3."
Prabowo, Part 3: The NSA, Militia
Terror, Aceh, Servants, and "Slaves"
Indonesian Special Forces, Intelligence,
in Covert Operation to Influence
Election; Bahasa Indonesia:
Operasi Rahasia Kopassus dan BIN Untuk
Mempengaruhi Hasil Pemilu
Prabowo, Part 2: "I was the Americans'
The Nationalist General and the United
States by Allan NairnPrabowo, Bagian 2: “Saya anak kesayangan
Sang Jenderal Nasionalis dan Amerika
1: "Do I have the guts,"
Prabowo asked, "am I ready to be called
a fascist dictator?"Bahasa Indonesia:
"Apa saya cukup punya nyali," tanya
Prabowo, "apa saya siap jika disebut
ETAN, et al.:
Any New Government of Indonesia to Pursue Justice and
(June 30, 2014)
U.S.-Indonesia Security Assistance
Human Rights, Accountability and Justice