Posts made in August, 2014

Woyla

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Woyla

In the second half of 1980, Imron bin Zein, a militant Javanese cleric originally named Harmon, acting with a small band of followers, launched attacks on mainstream targets in Jakarta and West Java. Imron had spent eight years as a laborer in Saudi Arabia and was inspired by the 1979 Iranian Revolution. While unsuccessful in obtaining support from the revolutionary Iranian government, Imron built a significant congregation in Bandung and nearby Cimahi with his sermons about militant Islam. Like the Darul Islam before him, Imron wanted to overthrow the New Order regime and establish a revolutionary Islamic state in its place. His followers included soldiers and sons of military officers. Imron’s group, which he designated the Indonesian Islamic Revolutionary Council, attacked a police post in Bandung on March 11, 1981, killing three policemen and seriously wounding a fourth. The government responded in force, rounding up twenty-nine of Imron’s followers during a crack-down on March 14. Authorities arrested another two dozen the following week. Imron escaped and devised a plan to hijack a Garuda airliner in order to bargain for his cohorts’ release. On Saturday, March 28, five of Imron’s men, armed with an automatic pistol, a fragmentation grenade and a stick of dynamite, hijacked a Garuda DC-9 – the Woyla, named after a river in South Sumatra – with forty-two passengers on a scheduled flight from Palembang to Medan. Six on board were foreigners, three American businessmen, one Japanese, one British and a Dutch national. It was not Indonesia’s first aircraft hijacking. On April 4, 1972, a lone hijacker with a hand grenade had forced a Merpati Nusantara Airlines flight from Surabaya to Jakarta to land at Yogyakarta Adisucipto Airport. The hijacker’s apparent motive was money. He demanded 50 million rupiah ($120,000) and a free fall parachute. One of the Vickers Viscount 613 pilots, Hindiarto had attended U.S.-sponsored pilot training in California during 1950-1951 with Omar Dani, Sri Mulyono Herlambang and Rusmin Nurjadin. He held his arm out the cockpit window and was handed a .38 caliber revolver by a policeman on the ground, and then shot the hijacker dead. The grenade did not explode. The Woyla hijackers first diverted the aircraft to Penang, Malaysia and demanded all Israeli military personnel be withdrawn from Indonesia (apparently a spurious allegation), while denouncing Indonesian Vice President Adam Malik for allegedly taking kickbacks from a U.S. aircraft manufacturer. They called for Indonesia to release twenty “political prisoners,” later increased to thirty-four, and then to a total of eighty Islamic extremists. In addition to Imron’s own followers, the hijackers called for Komando Jihad and Momok Revolusioner militants to be released, along with Abdullah Sungkar, a radical imam from Surakarta who had been arrested for instructing his followers to boycott the 1977 elections – although they had no direct connection to the other groups or Sungkar. In addition, the hijackers requested U.S. $1.5 million in cash and safe passage to an unspecified destination, thought to be Libya. The militants released an elderly woman in Penang and on Saturday afternoon continued their exodus to Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok, arriving shortly after 5:00 p.m....

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Ibnu Sutowo’s Rise and Fall

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Ibnu Sutowo’s Rise and Fall

Ibnu Sutowo was born into the privileged Javanese priyayi class. His father was the chief (wedana) of Grobogan Regency (District) near Purwodadi, Central Java under the Dutch. Young Ibnu was educated in France and Holland, followed by training at the colonial medical college in Surabaya. Graduating in 1940, he was sent to Palembang to supervise the malaria eradication program in local transmigration colonies. He was elected to chair the South Sumatra Indonesian National Party (PNI) chapter. Ibnu ran the Palembang hospital during the Japanese occupation and married into a wealthy local family. After the war, he organized a youth militia, the Indonesian Nationalist Youth (Nasionalis Pemuda Indonesia, Napindo). He was granted military commission as a major, while continuing to administer the Palembang hospital. South Sumatra Military Governor A.K. Gani (a fellow doctor and nationalist) promoted Ibnu Sutowo to lieutenant colonel and placed him in charge of PT Permiri (Perusahaan Minyak Republik Indonesia), comprising former Shell Oil assets taken over by the Japanese. He was given an additional post in February 1948 as chief of staff in the South Sumatra Gajah Division under Colonel Bambang Utoyo.[1] Showing keen organizational skills and early entrepreneurial talent, Ibnu invested in tin, rubber and tobacco production during the Revolution. He retired to private medical practice in South Sumatra after the transfer of sovereignty but was recalled in June 1955 to become South Sumatra Sriwijaya Regional Commander, after the Ali Sastroamidjoyo Cabinet appointed Colonel Bambang Utoyo Army Chief of Staff. Restored Army Chief Major General Abdul Haris Nasution brought Ibnu Sutowo to Jakarta in July 1956 as his Army Logistics Assistant. After Dutch properties were seized in December 1957, Nasution asked Ibnu Sutowo to manage the valuable Sumatran oil assets, consolidated under army control as PT Permina (Tambang Minyak Sumatra Utara, North Sumatra Oil Company). As logistics assistant, Ibnu helped Colonel Ahmad Yani plan operations against PRRI rebel forces in West Sumatra; he resumed duties as South Sumatra Sriwijaya Commander after rebel leader Lieutenant Colonel Barlian was arrested in June 1958. Nasution promoted Ibnu Sutowo to brigadier general. He stacked the Permina staff with friends, mostly officers he had known since the Revolution. During 1958, Nasution was forced to relieve Ibnu from his headquarters duties after it was revealed he was running an illegal smuggling operation exporting rubber and bringing luxury automobiles into the country through Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port. Nasution temporarily suspended him from active duty but left Ibnu as president-director for the lucrative Permina oil business.[2] The suspension didn’t last long. Nasution returned the dark-skinned, chain smoking Javanese entrepreneur to his logistics duties at Army Headquarters, where Ibnu forged an enduring friendship with Army Administration Deputy Colonel Soeharto.[3] Ibnu Sutowo parlayed the Permina state-run oil corporation into a profitable business empire. Initially, Japanese companies financed millions of dollars in urgently needed equipment and technical assistance for Permina in exchange for repayment in crude oil. A Japanese cartel invested over $50 million in Permina during the late-1950s, working with Ibnu to establish the model for the dozens of ground-breaking “production sharing” agreements that followed – wherein the state enterprise maintained full ownership and mineral...

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The Act of Free Choice

Posted by on Aug 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The 1962 West Irian peace agreement between the Netherlands, Indonesia and the United Nations required a plebiscite, or “Act of Free Choice” (Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat, Pepera), by the inhabitants by year-end 1969 to determine if the territory would be integrated into Indonesia or attain independence. The agreement was vague, calling on Indonesia to administer the plebiscite in consultation with the United Nations. President Soeharto and political leaders understood the need to comply with the UN-sponsored agreement to avoid losing international favor, but maintained Indonesia was not obligated to accept UN advice. Most Indonesians believed West Irian was an integral part of the country and viewed the plebiscite as a formality imposed by neocolonial powers. Soeharto, Mandala Commander during the 1962 conflict, and his military leaders felt more strongly than most that West Irian was inseparable from the Republic. He told a foreign reporter that anyone who opposed West Irian’s integration with Indonesia would be guilty of treason. [1] Hence, Indonesian leaders rejected a “one-man, one-vote” formula in favor of representative polls. Jakarta announced it would use a consensus-building process (musyawarah) among community elders in West Irian. By 1969, international interest in West Irian and the plebiscite had waned. The United States was entrenched in the Vietnam conflict. Soeharto gave primary responsibility for managing the Act of Free Choice to his top problem solver, Brigadier General Ali Moertopo. Ali liberally used bribery, threats and intimidation to achieve the New Order government’s goals – much the same tactics he employed against the political parties during the 1971 national elections. He brought in planeloads of much-desired consumer goods and passed out the loot to local chiefs, community leaders and the hand-picked Papuan delegates. Such wholesale bribery, accompanied by the arrest of those bold enough to speak out against the arrangement, insured a nearly unanimous vote in Indonesia’s favor. President Soeharto dispatched red beret Brigadier General Sarwo Edhie Wibowo as West Irian Trikora Regional Commander in July 1968, a year before the referendum. Under the previous Trikora Commander, the aristocratic Javanese Brigadier General Bintoro, security forces had killed an estimated 2,000 Papuans while brutally suppressing the 1965-1967 Arfak uprising around Manokwari in the western birds’ head region, including aerial strafing of villages.[2] Sarwo Edhie was on orders from Soeharto to forcefully put down the Arfak rebellion. He employed 6,000 army troops to carry out pacification sweeps across the area in the months before the plebiscite. Indonesian troops destroyed whole villages, including air attacks. In August 1968, Jakarta announced 162 Arfak tribesmen had been killed and over 3,000 had surrendered to government forces – although independent observers estimated several thousand had died in the operations. Sarwo Edhie accepted rebel commander Lodewijk Mandatjan’s surrender in January 1969. Mandatjan had led the Arfak rebellion since 1963, with an estimated 10,000 followers. Sarwo Edhie flew the rebel leader to Jakarta for a public show and embarrassing allegiance declaration.[3] Lodewijk Mandatjan was the first of many Papuan separatists “turned” (dibina) or recruited by the red berets in West Irian. Arfak leader Frits Awom continued low-level resistance. Awom finally surrendered under a government amnesty offer following the Act of Free...

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