Posts made in March, 2016

The Sawito Affair

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Sawito Affair

Sawito Kartowibowo was a low-level bureaucrat in the Agriculture Ministry and Javanese kejawen mystical arts devotee with family ties to Sukarno. He was the son-in-law of the Republic’s first national police commander, Raden Said Soekanto Tjokrodiatmodjo, himself a believer in Javanese mysticism. The elder Tjokrodiatmodjo brought Sawito into contact with prominent national figures, including former Vice President Mohammed Hatta, Siliwangi veteran Major General Ishak Djuarsa, former National Police Chief Hoegeng Iman Santoso (sacked by Soeharto in May 1968), Lieutenant General T.B. Simatupang (Indonesian Protestant Council Chairman), and Cardinal Justinius Darmojuwono (head of the Indonesian Roman Catholic Church). The forty-five-year old Sawito had visited holy sites throughout Java and the outer islands. He claimed a variety of mystical experiences and visions, was convinced of his own invulnerability, and apparently believed he was the Ratu Adil (Just King) of Javanese legend. Gradually, he developed a significant following. Mohammed Hatta was drawn to Sawito’s therapeutic ascetic meditation and exercise practices (tapa brata). In August 1974, Sawito enticed prominent figures to attend a dinner celebration for the former Vice President’s seventy-second birthday hosted by Major General Ishak Djuarsa. Djuarsa was one of Sawito’s enthusiastic disciples. Despite his principled stand on corruption, Djuarsa had a reputation for brutality. He led counterinsurgency operations against Darul Islam militants in West Java during the late-1950s and early-1960s, presided over the bloody purge of communists in Aceh in late-1965, and was said to have ordered Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) detainees executed while serving as South Sumatra Sriwijaya Regional Commander in the late-1960s. [1] While Aceh Regional Commander from 1964 to 1967, Ishak Djuarsa angered Soeharto when his men broke up a smuggling ring involving the President’s family members. After Djuarsa organized an effort to draft Mohammed Hatta as a presidential challenger in the 1972 elections, Soeharto exiled him to coordinate assistance for the anti-communist Lon Nol regime in Cambodia. Djuarsa returned to Jakarta in 1974 but, after hosting Hatta’s birthday party, was once more dispatched to Phnom Penh in February 1975, this time as ambassador. When the country fell to the Khmer Rouge in April, Djuarsa was transferred to Belgrade as Ambassador to Yugoslavia. Sawito normally met with followers in the West Java Puncak area, south of Jakarta. He lamented government corruption and the decline in national morals. By July 1976, Sawito had suggested to his students that Soeharto had lost his pulung (divine providence) and advocated transferring power to Hatta. He drew up a vague, moralistic critique entitled “Toward Salvation” (Menuju Keselamatan) and, apparently through trickery, convinced Hatta, Cardinal Darmojuwono, General Simatupang, Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) Chairman Dr. Buya Hamka and his father-in-law, Tjokrodiatmodjo, to sign the manifesto. After Hatta signed, Sawito visited the others individually and asked them to autograph the document as a souvenir without giving them a chance to read it or explaining he planned to publish it. Other figures, including United Development Party (PPP) Chairman Mintaredja, refused Sawito’s request. Hatta signed two more supporting documents Sawito had prepared, including a “letter of transfer” modeled after the Supersemar (Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret, March Eleven Letter of Authority) letter that Soeharto had used as the...

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Supersemar

Posted by on Mar 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Supersemar

Jakarta and other Indonesian cities remained chaotic in the weeks and months following the murder of army generals and large-scale massacre of communists. Large anti-Sukarno student demonstrations took place in Surabaya, Makassar and other cities on March 5-7, 1966. On March 8, students occupied and ransacked Soebandrio’s Foreign Ministry office in Jakarta seeking evidence of collaboration with Red China. Plainclothes army intelligence officers rifled through ministry files. Police fired tear gas to clear the building. The same afternoon, in apparent retaliation, pro-Sukarno youth and paid thugs scaled the fence at the U.S. Embassy, showered the chancery with rocks, and burned or damaged over twenty cars in the parking lot. Indonesian policemen assigned to guard the embassy stood by and did nothing to stop the attack. Kami (Indonesian University Student Action Front) and Kappi (Secondary School and Youth Action Front) students arrived later to drive off the mob. After the attackers had departed, an Indonesian employee shimmied up the flagpole to bring down the Indonesian flag the attackers had raised. (They had burned the American flag.) At last, the police sprung into action, hauling the worker off to police headquarters where he was beaten. [1] The following day, March 9, Kami and Kappi students occupied the Education Ministry, briefly besieged Parliament and then ransacked the Chinese News Agency. On March 10, students attacked the Chinese Embassy compound in North Jakarta, using a bulldozer to push down the gates. After pillaging the chancery, the students burned the Chinese Cultural Center. Attacks occurred around the city targeting Chinese-owned businesses. Mobs returned on April 15 to attack and ransack the Chinese Embassy a second time. Livid over the Foreign Ministry attack, Sukarno ordered the Tjakrabirawa (a Sanskrit term meaning “Powerful Weapon”) presidential guard regiment to fire on anyone who violated government property. Rumors circulated the President would dismiss either or both Army Commander Lieutenant General Soeharto and West Java Siliwangi Commander Ibrahim Adjie. Coordinating Minister for Foreign Trade Adam Malik reported the Army had assembled a twenty-two-battalion force to move against the cabinet and arrest leftist ministers. Any attempt by the President to dismiss Soeharto or other army leaders might trigger an army take-over, he said. [2] In a final effort to regain the initiative, Sukarno scheduled weekend meetings with political party leaders on Friday, March 10, cabinet ministers on March 11 and military commanders on March 12. At the Friday gathering, Sukarno told leaders from nine political parties the CIA had financed the anti-government protests. He browbeat the politicians for several hours until they agreed to sign a statement condemning the student actions and warning Nekolim (Neo-colonialism, Colonialism and Imperialism) forces were manipulating the student movement. Most recanted the next day. [3] Soeharto signed arrest orders for Deputy Prime Minister Soebandrio and leftist cabinet members. The Central Intelligence Agency (BPI) had been placed under the new army-controlled the Supreme Operations Command (Koti) during November. Soeharto stripped Soebandrio of his posts as BPI Chief and Intelligence Deputy in the new Crush Malaysia Command (Kogam). Sukarno shielded Soebandrio and other threatened ministers at the Bogor Palace under Tjakrabirawa protection. He provided them helicopter transport to...

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