FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Indonesian Intelligence Service Threatens to Kill Human Rights Activist

Last night, local time, during a ceremony celebrating democracy, one of the most noted killers in Indonesia, Col. Chaiwaran of BIN intelligence (Badan Intelijen Negara, State Intelligence Body), waited quietly in plainclothes.

(Chaiwaran, a US-trained Kopassus veteran, has been publicly implicated in disappearances, and told me in 1998 that he reported to a US Colonel, who worked for the US Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA]; see my “Our Man In Jakarta,” The Nation [US], June 15, 1998).

After the dancers and speeches had finished and the guests were gone from the Aceh governor’s palace, Col. Chaiwaran slipped in and met the governor till midnight.

As this was happening, news from Jakarta was confirming again that BIN had assassinated the famous activist, Munir, and — unreported — another far less famous activist was fleeing Indonesia in fear of his life.

This man had been at a pool with his wife and kids one recent Saturday when he got an urgent SMS text message, from family, saying he’d better come to Jakarta.

There he was confronted by a senior BIN man whom he, luckily, knew through family, and who informed him sternly that BIN was — as they now say in Indonesian security — considering “doing a Munir on him” (“akan di Munirkan”).

Munir was poisoned to death with arsenic as he traveled from Jakarta to Amsterdam, vomiting to death on the plane, reaching The Netherlands as a corpse (see posting of November 13, 2007, “Vomiting to Death on a Plane. Arsenic Democracy”).

(The new public news was that a BIN functionary who had paid Munir’s poisoner had now fingered one of his own bosses, Gen. Muchdi. This talking BIN man, though, was unavailable for court, overseas on “state duty,” and is reportedly “believed to be involved in intelligence operations in Pakistan”; see Mark Forbes, “Jakarta Spy Agency Linked to Murder,” The Age [Australia], January 17, 2008.)

The summoned activist, known to be a brave man, appeared to be shaken by the death threat since it followed two things: one, a detailed — accurate — recital of what he’d done in previous weeks (“You go to the store, we know it”), and, two, a reminder that BIN’s orders come directly from Indonesia’s President, Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

This was relevant since the activist — not from a poor family — has a few connections himself, but since BIN is the instrument of the country’s military president, “You can’t do anything,” he was told.

His offenses were severalfold. He was trying to oust a BIN agent from political office (his purported right, under democracy), and he had been seen meeting with people from watch-listed regions, including West Papua (likewise, a supposed right).

He already knew that BIN men had been watching his house, coming to his workplace looking for him. He had disconnected his phones, and, at the Jakarta death-threat meeting he learned that BIN was perusing his bank accounts.

So as they danced democracy in Banda Aceh, he got some things together and fled.

Several of the countries he’s said to be considering going to now boast enhanced martial ties with Jakarta.

When told about the situation, one senior elected official tried to play down the danger. His theory: if they threaten you, you’re OK. “The barking dog doesn’t bite,” he said.

That didn’t work for Munir, the receiver of many threats, but some threatened are, indeed, still living.

When you live shadowed by killers in democratic plainclothes, you just have to count your blessings — or, secure more of them.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

ALLAN NAIRN writes the blog News and Comment at www.newsc.blogspot.com.

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail