Posts made in July, 2014

Komando Jihad

Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Komando Jihad

Soeharto and his men assumed the “simplified” party system introduced in 1973 – forcing four dissimilar and quarrelsome Muslim parties to merge – would neutralize political Islam. They discovered by combining the Muslim parties under one banner, they had in fact unified political Islam and provided many voters with an alternative to Golkar. During 1973, the United Development Party (PPP) had forced the government to back down on the controversial marriage bill, widely viewed as un-Islamic.[1] The Muslim party was not in a position to challenge Golkar, with its many structural advantages, but any significant increase to the Islamic vote would be an embarrassment and might portend further challenges to government authority. Soeharto’s inner circle decided steps should be taken to undermine PPP legitimacy. Community leaders later alleged the government had provoked a militant Muslim group known as Komando Jihad in a spate of anti-government violence before the 1977 general elections. Available evidence showed Ali Moertopo and his Special Operations (Opsus) associates had extensive connections to the militants. On August 1, 1962, with Darul Islam Commander Kartosuwirjo in captivity, the Army had compelled thirty-two militant group leaders to pledge allegiance to the government in exchange for amnesty. Known as the Ikrar Bersama (Collective Vow), the rebel commanders acknowledged the separatist movement had been wrong, renounced aspirations for an Islamic state and affirmed loyalty to the Republic. Ali Moertopo and Opsus recruited several former Darul Islam militants, including Deputy Commander Danu Subroto (known as Danu Muhammad Hasan within the movement). During the 1965-1966 anti-communist pogrom, Moertopo and Yoga Sugomo provided weapons to the former militants in exchange for their help in hunting down Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members in West Java. Ali Moertopo and his Opsus assistants (Central Javanese Catholic Colonel Aloysius Sugiyanto and Central Javanese Muslim Colonel Pitut Suharto) later employed Danu Mohammad Hasan and other former Darul Islam members to spy on the fundamentalist Muslim community. Pitut Suharto was the primary handler for the former Islamic guerillas.[2] Ali Moertopo came from a santri family background but his own outlook was secular. He had known Danu Muhammad Hasan and other Darul Islam leaders since the Revolution, when the militants had fought with Muslim Hizbu’llah militias against the Dutch. As a Darul Islam commander in Central Java, Danu and his fighters were said to have surrendered to then-Banteng Raider Captain Ali Moertopo in the early-1950s. Moertopo’s ethics were situational. In the late-1950s, he had enlisted leftist Pemuda Rakyat volunteers to track down anti-communist PRRI rebels in West Sumatra. During the mid-1960s, Moertopo’s Opsus men recruited expatriate PRRI-Permesta separatists as intermediaries for secret negotiations between the Indonesian Army and Malaysian leaders to end Konfrontasi. During the 1965-1966 conflagration, he employed Darul Islam militants and other anti-communist volunteers to hunt communists in West Java. Moertopo reportedly intervened with Soeharto to save Danu and other Darul Islam leaders, who Soeharto had considered eliminating under the cover of the mass killings. Moertopo felt the former separatists would be more useful as intelligence agents and a means to secure support from conservative Muslim voters. The guerillas embraced Moertopo, apparently convinced he secretly shared their goal to...

Read More

Soeharto in Central Java, 1942 to 1959

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Soeharto in Central Java, 1942 to 1959

With help from a policeman friend, Soeharto had joined the Colonial Army in June 1940 at age nineteen. Serving in the KNIL battalion in Rampal, near Malang in East Java, he was a sergeant by the time the Japanese landed. After returning to his home in Kemusuk village, near Yogyakarta in the shadow of the ancient Buddhist Borobodur ruins, he first joined the Japanese auxiliary police force, Keibodan, and then transferred to the Peta Battalion in Wates, not far from Kemusuk. He had advanced to company commander when the Japanese surrendered and immediately volunteered for the new People’s Security Army (TKR). With his Peta comrades, Soeharto helped organize an attack on the Kotabaru Japanese garrison in Yogyakarta and at Maguwo airfield outside the city – capturing hundreds of carbines, machineguns and vehicles, while losing around two dozen men. Soeharto and his men were also involved in skirmishes with Allied troops in the Semarang, Magelang and Ambarawa areas. Young Soeharto made a name for himself in those guerilla actions. In October 1945, by popular acclaim he was elected TKR Battalion X commander in Yogyakarta with major rank. Soeharto was promoted again in early-1946 to assume command of the 3rd Regiment in Yogyakarta, the wartime Republican capital. It was a formative experience. In Yogyakarta, Soeharto had first-hand exposure to General Sudirman, Colonel Nasution and other army leaders, the Sultan of Yogyakarta – who made a strong impression on the simple Javanese farmer’s son – and with Republican political leaders, including Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta. Sukarno branded the young officer “pigheaded” (koppig) when he balked at a verbal order to arrest the rebellious Diponegoro Division Commander Major General Soedarsono during the July 3, 1946 Affair. Personal loyalty was important to Soeharto. Soedarsono was his superior officer and a man with whom the young officer had developed a personal bond through shared guerilla operations against the Allies and to seize Japanese weapons. On December 26, 1947, during the interim between the first and second Dutch offensives, Soeharto married Siti Hartinah, whose father was a minor official in the Surakarta Mankunegara Sultanate. It was an arranged marriage. Siti’s family faced economic difficulties. Some suggested she had converted to Catholicism and only re-adopted Islam when she married Soeharto.[1] The union between Soeharto and Siti – better known as Ibu (Mother) Tien – produced six children between May 1951 and August 1964. Soeharto’s closest family members died during the Republic’s formative years. His birth mother, Sukirah, succumbed to disease in 1946; his stepfather, Atmopawiro, was killed during the second Dutch offensive; and his natural father, who had changed his name a third time to Notokariyo, passed away in 1951. Consequently, Soeharto developed close ties to Ibu Tien’s family in Surakarta. As Yogyakarta Commander during the second Dutch offensive, Soeharto led the celebrated March 1, 1948 counterattack against Dutch forces in the occupied Republican capital. It burnished his reputation and propelled forward his army career. Lacking much formal education, Soeharto emerged from the revolutionary conflict as a lieutenant colonel and the Diponegoro Garuda Mataram Brigade Commander.[2] His brigade was part of the task force deployed to put...

Read More

Ali Moertopo

Posted by on Jul 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ali Moertopo

Born in 1924 in Blora, near the northern provincial boundary between Central and East Java, Ali Moertopo was son to a devout Muslim batik merchant. Like Soeharto, he was educated only through Dutch middle school. During the Japanese occupation, young Ali volunteered for the Student Army, and then joined a Muslim Hizbu’llah laskar, later absorbed into Diponegoro Division. Diponegoro became Ali’s home. As a lieutenant, he participated in military operations to crush the September 1948 communist uprising in Madiun. Moertopo served as a company commander in Colonel Ahmad Yani’s Banteng Raider Battalion in operations against Darul Islam insurgents in the early-1950s. Even without formal intelligence training, he excelled as an intelligence officer on Colonel Soeharto’s Diponegoro staff in the late-1950s and became one of his most trusted officers. Ali Moertopo participated in military operations against PRRI rebels in West Sumatra in 1958 – again under Colonel Ahmad Yani – and served under Soeharto during the Trikora campaign to liberate West Irian. As the Army Strategic Reserves (Kostrad) Opsus detachment commander, under orders from Soeharto, Moertopo initiated secret army negotiations with Malaysian officials to avoid escalating Sukarno’s low-intensity Confrontation. Unlike fellow Central Javanese comrades Soeharto and Soedjono Hoemardani, Ali Moertopo did not partake in Javanese mystical practices and, despite his santri roots, maintained an uncompromising secular outlook. He was the ultimate New Order insider, mastermind for the unprincipled New Order political and security strategy. He was involved in virtually all government functions – good and bad – political parties and elections, economic development strategy, foreign policy, intelligence and the New Order “security approach,” wherein political stability was the highest national priority. In essence, the security approach meant that any means (no matter how brutal) was justified so long as the end (the Republic’s stability, unity and integrity) was considered correct. The security approach effectively stifled dissent and political opposition, but resulted in widespread human rights violations by security forces and stunted development of democratic institutions and values within Indonesian society. Thus, Sukarno’s radical, rather romantic, even whimsical revolusi state – capable of substantial injustice and brutality in its own right – quickly evolved into a more formalized counter-revolutionary criminal regime during the New Order. “Ali Murtopo concealed an energetic, wide-ranging mind behind a mask of joviality and earthiness. He presented a broad, gap-toothed smile (until cosmetic dentistry later in his life) as he ruthlessly pressured and enticed his opponents into meek alliance.”[1]While slow to make rank, he was happy to stay in the background. Aside from Soeharto himself, Moertopo was perhaps the most important figure during the New Order’s first decade, but always in a supporting role – commanding the Opsus “dirty tricks” unit, as Soeharto’s principal political and foreign intelligence advisor, as deputy in the national intelligence agency, Bakin, and later as Soeharto’s Information Minister. He was the President’s emissary to establish the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); he engineered the 1969 Act of Free Choice in West Irian, and crafted Soeharto’s winning political strategy during the 1971 elections. Ultimately Ali Moertopo was surpassed by his Opsus understudy, Leonardus “Benny” Moerdani, who went on to become Armed Forces...

Read More

Father Jopie Beek and CSIS

Posted by on Jul 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Father Jopie Beek and CSIS

Born in Amsterdam in March 1917, Father Josephus Geradus “Jopie” Beek joined the Jesuit order and was sent as a novice to Central Java in 1931. The Japanese jailed Beek along with other Dutch nationals during the Second World War. After the war, he went back to the Netherlands to continue his religious education. He returned to Indonesia in 1952 as a missionary in Yogyakarta, where he enlisted Catholic university students to build a dormitory school complex completed in 1955. Beek took Indonesian citizenship the same year. He began a strict training program intending to prepare Catholic youth to become intellectuals and national leaders with expectations they would occupy important positions in Indonesian society.[1] By the early-1960s, the Catholic Party had concluded the communists would take power legally and constitutionally within five years through the polls. From Yogyakarta, Father Beek witnessed firsthand the PKI’s growing popularity. With backing from overseas Catholic organizations and cooperation from the Indonesian Catholic Students Association (PMKRI), Beek set up Pancasila unions and village cooperatives, effectively an underground anti-communist movement. He organized spiritual retreats and training sessions for students that included basic military instruction.[2] Colonel Soeharto became the Central Java Diponegoro Regional Commander in September 1956. The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) won the general elections in the province a few months later. Along with the Muslim Student Association (HMI), the Catholic Party became the PKI’s top enemy. The Catholics were pressed into a natural alliance with Muslims and the Army.[4] Father Beek and other Catholics advocated the “lesser evil” theory among the two “greens” – Islam and the Army. Beek had close ties to anti-communist army officers and possibly with western intelligence agencies well before the October 1 Affair. He was connected to fellow Jesuit Father Laszlo Ladany, a Hungarian priest who had fled China after the communists took over. Ladany established the China Analysis Centre in Hong Kong to analyze Chinese news and radio broadcasts, publishing the China News Analysis.[5] Father Ladany was rumored to be a Central Intelligence Agency operative and, by inference, many suspected Beek also had ties to western intelligence. Some even suggested he was the dalang behind the September 30th Movement, although there is nothing to support such claims. Father Beek moved to Jakarta in 1960 to head of the Catholic Church Documentation Bureau (Biro Dokumentasi). He and his acolytes prepared a newsletter similar to Father Ladany’s bulletin in Hong Kong, summarizing daily news and providing succinct analysis of legal, political and economic developments. The mimeographed newsletter was distributed to the anti-communist Pancasila Front, the Army Joint Functional Groups Secretariat (Sekber Golkar) and other conservative groups.[6] The Documentation Bureau was thought to be the source for anonymous pamphlets that circulated describing the dangers of communism and oppressive conditions in the Soviet Union, East Europe and Communist China.[7] Father Beek left the country in 1962 after Deputy Prime Minister Soebandrio’s national intelligence agency issued an arrest warrant for him on charges that he was a CIA agent. He returned during 1963 after a one-year sabbatical in England. During the 1965-1966upheaval, Father Beek formed a group called Catholic Action that enthusiastically supported...

Read More

Prabowo’s Exile

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

With his father-in-law’s resignation and his admitted involvement in kidnapping political activists, Kostrad Commander Prabowo was desperate. He had backed B.J. Habibie at the expense of his ties to Cendana. Whether he had gone beyond moral support to actively plot Soeharto’s overthrow remains an unanswered question. Prabowo tried to meet Habibie early Thursday morning, May 21, before he was sworn in as Indonesia’s third president, and again that afternoon. Finally, on Thursday evening Prabowo and Kopassus Commander Muchdi caught up with the new president at his Kuningan, Central Jakarta home. Prabowo had taken the liberty to draft a cabinet line-up, along with recommended changes to military leadership. Reminding Habibie of his earlier promise to make him Army Chief or Armed Forces Commander, perhaps with a degree of intimidation, Prabowo proposed advancing General Subagyo to ABRI Commander, himself to succeed Subagyo as Army Chief, and Wiranto to retain the less powerful post as Defense and Security Minister.[1] Habibie and Prabowo had common friends in the modernist Muslim community and shared interests in promoting Islamic causes. Prabowo had helped Habibie – long a target for ridicule – find common ground with military leaders. During his brief tenure as vice president, Habibie had promised to make Prabowo either Army Chief or ABRI Commander. The situation had changed dramatically in a few short weeks. Habibie recognized Prabowo had become a liability, as the suspected mastermind behind the Trisakti shootings and May riots, along with his admitted role in the kidnappings. Promoting him under such circumstances would have been political suicide. Even Prabowo’s erstwhile ally, General Feisal Tanjung (who Habibie retained as Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs), advised the new President that Prabowo was “too dangerous” to lead the Army.[2] Prabowo had sent Kostrad Chief of Staff Major General Kivlan Zen to obtain an endorsement for his cabinet and military leadership recommendations from General Abdul Haris Nasution, one of Habibie’s personal heroes. A few months earlier, Habibie had brokered a reunion between Soeharto and Nasution for the October 5, 1997 Armed Forces Day ceremony at the Palace where the two revolutionary heroes were promoted to honorary five-star general. By early-1998, the seventy-nine-year old Nasution was increasingly invalid. Kivlan Zen later admitted he had written the letter and convinced Nasution to sign it.[3] Prabowo’s familiar manner perturbed Habibie. He told the ambitious general to bide his time while his bodyguards summoned General Wiranto. Prabowo hastily escaped through the back door to avoid confronting his rival.[4] Habibie worked on his cabinet roster into the night. Economic Coordinating Minister Ginandjar and his allies, who had helped remove Soeharto by refusing to join a reform cabinet, urged Habibie to appoint Transmigration Minister Lieutenant General Hendropriyono to replace Wiranto as ABRI Commander. Ginandjar disliked Wiranto and considered him a weak commander.[5] Habibie’s security advisor Lieutenant General Sintong Panjaitan concurred with Ginandjar, calling the May riots “the worst blunder in the history of the Armed Forces since 1945.” He faulted Wiranto for failing to prevent the destruction and loss of life – and for refusing to take responsibility. Sintong also advised Habibie to install fellow red beret Hendropriyono...

Read More