With Obama in Jakarta, secret documents show US-backed Indonesian Special Forces Unit targets Papuan churches, civilians
President Obama arrived in Indonesia today on the second stop of a ten-day trip to Asia. It’s Obama’s first state visit to Indonesia after having lived there for four years as a child.
We go to Jakarta to speak with investigative journalist and activist Allan Nairn, who has just released secret documents from Kopassus—the feared Indonesian special forces—which has been responsible for human rights abuses since the 1950s.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration lifted a 12-year funding ban for the training of Kopassus. While Obama talks about human rights, the documents indicate that Kopassus targets churches and civilians and includes a Kopassus enemies list topped by a local Baptist minister in West Papua. Nairn will continue to release documents on his website AllanNairn.com.By Allan Nairn
Jakarta, November 9, 2010.
Secret documents have leaked from inside Kopassus, Indonesia’s red berets, which say that Indonesia’s US-backed security forces engage in “murder [and] abduction” and show that Kopassus targets churches in West Papua and defines civilian dissidents as the “enemy.”
The documents include a Kopassus enemies list headed by Papua’s top Baptist minister and describe a covert network of surveillance, infiltration and disruption of Papuan institutions
The disclosure comes as US President Barack Obama is touching down in Indonesia. His administration recently announced the restoration of US aid to Kopassus. Kopassus is the most notorious unit of Indonesia’s armed forces, TNI, which along with POLRI, the national police, have killed civilians by the hundreds of thousands.
The leaked cache of secret Kopassus documents includes operational, intelligence and field reports as well as personnel records which list the names and details of Kopassus “agents.”
The documents are classified “SECRET” (“RAHASIA”) and include extensive background reports on Kopassus civilian targets — reports that are apparently of uneven accuracy. The authenticity of the documents has been verified by Kopassus personnel who have seen them and by external evidence regarding the authors and the internal characteristics of the documents.
Some of the Kopassus documents will be released in the days to come, in part via this website.
Those being released with this article are about West Papua, where tens of thousands of civilians have been murdered and where Kopassus is most active. Jakarta has attempted to largely seal off Papua to visits by non-approved outsiders.
When the US restored Kopassus aid last July the rationale was fighting terrorism, but the documents show that Kopassus in fact systematically targets civilians. A detailed 25-page secret report by a Kopassus task force in Kotaraja, Papua defines Kopassus’ number-one “enemy” as unarmed civilians. It calls them the “separatist political movement” “GSP/P, ” lists what they say are the top 15 leaders and discusses the “enemy order of battle.”
All of those listed are civilians, starting with the head of the Baptist Synod of Papua. The others include evangelical ministers, activists, traditional leaders, legislators, students and intellectuals as well as local establishment figures and the head of the Papua Muslim Youth organization.
The secret Kopassus study says that in their 400,000 – person area of operations the civilians they target as being political are “much more dangerous than “any armed opposition” since the armed groups “hardly do anything” but the civilians — with popular support — have “reached the outside world” with their “obsession” with “merdeka” (independence/ freedom) and persist in “propagating the issue of severe human rights violations in Papua,” ie. “murders and abductions that are done by the security forces.”