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How the United States Influenced Indonesia and the Netherlands Settle Dispute over Western New Guinea

203. Despatch From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State0

No. 905Djakarta, May 26, 1959.


  • Embassy Despatch No. 904 of May 26, 1959


  • A Proposal for Settlement of the West New Guinea Dispute

[Page 384]

In Despatch No. 904 the Embassy submitted a recommendation that the United States abandon its present policy toward the dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands over West New Guinea in favor of a policy of actively seeking a solution to the dispute.

In this despatch the Embassy submits a specific proposal for settlement of the West New Guinea dispute, including both a formula for settlement and a suggested method to be followed in obtaining approval of the formula by the two disputants. In summary, the two-part formula envisages (1) a special United Nations trusteeship over the territory for a limited number of years, at the end of which time sovereignty would be turned over to Indonesia, and (2) a bilateral agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands providing for the payment by Indonesia of adequate compensation for seized Dutch assets and the removal of discriminatory restrictions against Dutch nationals. Steps to effect the settlement would be inaugurated by a General Assembly resolution calling on the two sides to negotiate the dispute, thereby giving the United States an opening to convince both sides to accept the proposed formula.

Part I—The Formula for Settlement

A satisfactory settlement of the West New Guinea dispute is possible only if each disputant receives what it considers to be substantial compensation from the other in return for concessions offered. The elements for mutual compensation can be found in (1) the Indonesian demand for sovereignty over West New Guinea, and (2) the Dutch demands for adequate compensation for Dutch assets seized by Indonesia and for the elimination of Indonesian discrimination against Dutch business, cultural entities, language, etc. A two-part settlement, accordingly, is required, one part covering sovereignty over West New Guinea and the other compensation for Dutch assets. The mutual lack of trust felt by both participants to the dispute makes it necessary that both parts of the settlement come into effect simultaneously, that each part be brought to completion at about the same time, and that execution of the two parts be linked. This can be accomplished through (1) a special United Nations trusteeship which would assume sovereignty over West New Guinea for five years, at the end of which period sovereignty would be transferred to Indonesia if certain conditions were met, and (2) a bilateral agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, by which the former agrees to the payment in installments of adequate compensation for seized Dutch assets, and further agrees to the progressive removal of discriminatory restrictions on Dutch enterprises in Indonesia.[Page 385]

A. The United Nations Trusteeship

A three-nation trusteeship, to include the Netherlands, Indonesia and a third power, would be established by the General Assembly and given the following terms of reference: To administer the trust territory of West New Guinea for a period of five years and to take measures during this period to effect the orderly transfer of sovereignty over the territory to Indonesia, the Dutch administering power to utilize this period to effect the withdrawal of its prior administrative apparatus, and the Indonesian administering power to utilize this period in making necessary preparations for the assumption of sovereignty. Transfer of sovereignty would be postponed if, at the end of five years, (a) the trustees were unanimously agreed that preparations were not complete, or (b) the United Nations made a finding that such transfer would, under then existing conditions, be a threat to world peace.

The trusteeship would operate under the following general and specific conditions:1.The administering powers will take over the administration of West New Guinea from the Netherlands government one year after passage of the resolution establishing the trusteeship. (Comment: The one-year interval is necessary to allow the Netherlands time to amend its constitution to permit a transfer of sovereignty and to give both countries an opportunity to conclude a bilateral compensation agreement.)2.Administration of the territory will be placed in the hands of a commission consisting of two members appointed by each of the three administering powers plus one ethnic Papuan member representing the West New Guinea populace, the latter selected by majority vote of the other members of the commission. Decisions of the commission will be by majority vote.3.The commission will appoint subordinate civil officials to operate the various administrative, security and welfare bureaus of the territorial government. At the outset these subordinate officials will be the Dutch incumbents. In making subsequent appointments the commission will draw up and will follow a schedule by which Dutch officials are progressively replaced by Indonesian nationals and ethnic Papuans over a period of four years. At the end of a four-year period, subordinate administrative personnel will be entirely Indonesian/Papuan. All subordinate officials appointed by the commission must have the approval of at least one of the two Indonesian members.4.The commission will establish training schools, provide for on-the-job training, and make available other necessary facilities for training Indonesian nationals and ethnic Papuans in the various branches of civil administration, security, welfare and health services, etc.5.At the end of five years the Dutch and Indonesian members of the commission will report to the commission the satisfactory conclusion of measures undertaken by prior agreement of the two powers to adjust the status of Dutch nationals and of Dutch business and cultural enterprises in West New Guinea and in Indonesia. Upon the receipt of such a report, the commission will surrender its responsibility for administration of the territory to the Indonesian government except in case of postponement as noted above.6.If such a report by the Indonesian and Dutch members is not forthcoming at the end of five years, the commission will continue to administer the territory until such time as the Indonesian and Dutch members report agreement over the future status of the territory.7.All expenses incurred by the commission will be borne by the Dutch and Indonesian governments, each paying an equal portion thereof.

The identity of the third nation of the trusteeship would be subject to certain limiting criteria: It should not be one of the former colonies or strong anti-colonialists among the Afro-Asian states, any of whom would be considered by the Dutch as unduly favorable to Indonesian interests; to meet similar Indonesian sensitivities, it should not be either a Western European nation or Australia; it should not be Japan because of its wartime association with West New Guinea; and, in our interests, it obviously must not be a Soviet bloc country.

The United States itself is an obvious candidate for the third trust power. This may, however, be inadvisable. The third trust power will, in effect, be the actual governing power in West New Guinea during the trust period, and will be in the position—particularly during the earlier years—of deciding between opposing Dutch and Indonesian views. Its decisions may at times create strong reactions in the Netherlands and, especially Indonesia. As the United States is already labeled as the chief external enemy by Indonesian leftists, it appears unwise to place us in a position whereby we will provide a standing target for communist propaganda and agitation for five years, particularly as the PKI would use our inevitable “adverse” decisions on the commission to drum up support among other nationalist groups for its anti-American campaign. A further consideration is that United States participation in the trusteeship would bring forth the most strenuous efforts by the Soviet bloc to frustrate its establishment and defeat its objectives. Soviet opposition to the trusteeship can be expected in any event, but its intensity would be increased by direct American participation therein.

The most suitable third power in the trusteeship, accordingly, is one relatively remote from the dispute and one belonging neither to Afro-Asia, Western Europe or the Soviet bloc. Among countries meeting [Page 387]these specifications, the most appropriate may be: Turkey, Mexico, Canada.

B. The Compensation Agreement

At the time the General Assembly passes a resolution establishing the trusteeship, Indonesia and the Netherlands would initiate bilateral negotiations leading to treaty or other form of agreement covering (1) the payment of compensation for Dutch enterprises seized by Indonesia, (2) the elimination of discriminatory restrictions on Dutch commercial and cultural activities in Indonesia, (3) the status of Dutch interests in West New Guinea at the conclusion of the trusteeship period, and (4) the re-establishment of normal trade and consular relations between the two countries.

Points two, three and four could be handled in a relatively simple manner by clauses extending to Dutch enterprises and Dutch nationals in all fields the same rights now enjoyed by the enterprises and nationals of other countries in Indonesia, and by an Indonesian commitment to revoke progressively all conflicting laws and regulations over a stated period of time.

The major point, that of compensation payments, presents more of a problem. The key to an ultimate solution would be mutual agreement on arbitration in all cases resulting in a deadlock. The exact formula by which a figure for compensation is reached in the case of individual enterprises might best be left up to the negotiators. Agreement on certain guide-lines, however, would be obtained from both sides as a part of the over-all West New Guinea settlement. They would include the following:1.Acceptance of present market value as the criterion in fixing compensation.2.Delegation of the task of setting actual compensation figures for individual enterprises to a binational commission of financial and economic experts, whose decisions would be final.3.Establishment of a simple and specific procedure for submission to arbitration of those individual cases in which the binational commission is unable to reach agreement, the arbitrator or arbitrators to be designated in advance. (Comment: A special arbitration board with, perhaps, a Malayan as the chief figure might be the best arbitration procedure, but this would be decided by the principals.)4.Once a specific compensation figure is set for each individual enterprise, a schedule of installment payments would be drawn up in such a manner that the final payment coincides with the termination of the trusteeship over West New Guinea.

Part II—The Method for Obtaining Settlement

In attempting to bring about a settlement of the West New Guinea dispute, the United States faces a particular problem in that the current intransigence of both participants all but precludes a direct approach to [Page 388]either. Should the United States approach either side directly with the foregoing proposal, we lay ourselves open to the charge that we are promoting the surrender of what that side considers its just and inalienable right. To avoid this danger the Embassy suggests the following course, admittedly tortuous but with greater prospects of success:1.A resolution would be submitted to the General Assembly calling upon both the Netherlands and Indonesia to undertake further negotiations toward settlement of the West New Guinea dispute and related issues, its text carefully drafted to show complete impartiality toward both sides. It would not be introduced or sponsored by the United States but by a group of non-European states. Among likely candidates are the Philippines, Malaya, Japan, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil—the last particularly useful because its sponsorship would indicate wider support for the resolution than was received by the 1957 resolution.2.While the resolution is pending in the General Assembly, the United States would approach the Dutch government. Pointing out that the resolution appears to have a good chance of passage and that we will find it difficult to recommend that friendly non-European members abstain, we would take the opportunity to suggest that the time had come for a re-examination of the entire West New Guinea issue as it affects our mutual interests in Indonesia and NATO. We would then put forth the most persuasive arguments for a final settlement of the dispute in accordance with the formula described in Part I, ultimately presenting the Dutch with the formula itself for study. We would assure the Dutch that, should the formula be acceptable to them, we would make a major effort to induce the Indonesians to accept it, to the extent of applying quiet pressure if necessary.3.Should the Dutch reply that their internal political balance or the temper of their populace precludes the voluntary surrender of sovereignty over West New Guinea, we would then propose the following: that the Dutch vote against the pending General Assembly resolution and attempt through other public means to defeat it; if the resolution passes despite their efforts, that they then announce their reluctant decision, as loyal members of the United Nations, to accede to the demand for negotiations notwithstanding their opposition to it. The formula could then be represented as the best obtainable under the circumstances.4.While the formula is being discussed with the Dutch, the United States would also approach the Indonesian government. Pointing out that passage of the pending General Assembly resolution would be assured by our open or tacit support, we would affirm our interest in finding a solution to the West New Guinea dispute and our conviction that both sides must accept a compromise. We would then put forth a suggestion [Page 389]for settlement in accordance with the formula, making the point that any other course on which they may embark to obtain West New Guinea would in all likelihood take them at least the five years envisaged in the formula. We would assure the Indonesians that, should the formula be acceptable to them, we would make a major effort to induce the Dutch to accept it, to the extent of applying quiet pressure if necessary.5.(a) Should both the Dutch and the Indonesians signify general agreement with the terms of the proposed formula, the West New Guinea resolution would come before the General Assembly and be passed with United States support.(b) Should the formula be definitely rejected by either side or by both, the United States would abstain on the resolution, making no effort either to aid or to block passage. This eventuality would mark the defeat, for the time being, of our attempt to achieve settlement of the dispute, but the proposal would be in the hands of both governments for later second thoughts.6.Should the settlement pass the stage described in 5 (a), we would suggest a conference of Dutch and Indonesian officials at the Prime Minister or Foreign Minister level at a neutral site—preferably Washington—where they would agree formally to the proposal, petition the General Assembly to undertake action on the trusteeship agreement, and set the time and place for the beginning of negotiations toward drawing up the compensation agreement. The United States would assist informally at this conference but would have no official role.


As stated in Despatch No. 904, the Embassy believes the foregoing proposal for settlement of the West New Guinea dispute to be feasible and to avoid certain of the pitfalls which otherwise will threaten United States efforts to solve the issue. Should this particular proposal be found impractical by the Department, however, the Embassy strongly recommends that steps be taken as soon as possible to draft an alternative proposal.For the Ambassador:
John W. Henderson
Counselor of Embassy for Political Affairs

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/5–2659. Secret. Drafted by Ingraham. Jones transmitted despatches 904 (Document 202) and 905 in despatch 925, June 1, which reported his concurrence with the conclusions and recommendations reported therein. He concluded: “Our position of neutrality has served its purpose. It is time we developed a formula to remove this major irritant to Indonesian relations with the West.” (Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/6–1550)


Former TNI Commander: Don’t brand West Papuan resistance OPM ‘terrorist’, say ex-general, critics

General Gatot Nurmantyo, a former commander in the Indonesian National Armed Forces, giving his television interview – in Bahasa Indonesian. Video: TV-One Indonesia

Asia Pacific Report correspondent

A former Indonesian military commander has condemned the formal labelling of the West Papuan resistance TPN/OPN as “terrorists”, saying that the Papuan problem was complex and could not be solved by armed force alone.

Among other critics of the tagging are the Papua provincial Governor, Lukas Enembe and a Papuan legal researcher.

General Gatot Nurmantyo, former commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), said during a live interview on TV-One Indonesia that it was wrong to label the TPN/OPM (National Liberation Army/Free Papua Movement) as a terrorist group.

He said that Jakarta had tried to use a military solution since the former Dutch colony of Irian Jaya was “integrated” into Indonesia in 1969 without bringing about any change.

“Papua cannot be solved by military operations,” he said.

General Nurmantyo said military operations would not solve the root cause of the conflict in Papua.

He regretted the decision made by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration on May 5.

“I am saddened to hear that troops are leaving for Papua to fight. It’s a picture that I think makes me sad,” said the general.

Sad for two reasons

He said he felt sad for two reasons:

First, Papua was one of the Indonesian provinces and the youngest province of the Unitary State of the Republic.
Second, based on Government Regulation in Lieu of Acts (PERPU) 59 of 1959, Papua was still under civilian rule. So, the military actions should be mainly territorial, which supported by intelligence and prepared combat operations.
The retired general said that Papuans “are our own people”, so the burden could not be imposed only on the military and police. Executive government and other government agencies should comprehend the real background of the movements and be involved to resolve the prolonged problem in Papua.

“Territorial operations are operations to win the hearts and minds of the people, because what we face is our own people. Do not expect to solve a condition in Papua only with military operations,” said General Nurmantyo.

“I remind you, it will not work, no matter how great it will be. Because the problem is not just that small,” he said.

General Nurmantyo, who has been a former military district commander in Jayapura and Merauke said that Indonesia already had experience in Aceh where the conflict had not been resolved by military operations.

As the PERPU 59 of 1959 was still valid, the governor was the single highest authority. The military was not allowed to carry out operations without coordinating with the local government.

Communication with government

General Nurmantyo said communication with the local government was carried out and measured operations launched.

“Lest the people become victims! How come, in a situation like this we are waging an open war? Seriously!

“Meanwhile, the situation is still very civil. The leader is the governor or local government.

“This is a state regulation. This is different from when Papua would be designated as a military operation,” said General Nurmantyo.

According to a media release received by Asia Pacific Report. Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and the provincial government also objected to the terrorist label given to the KKB (“armed criminal group”), as the Indonesian state refers to the TPNPB (West Papua National Liberation Army).

Key points
Two of the seven points made in the media release said:

“Terrorism is a concept that has always been debated in legal and political spheres, thus the designation of the KKB as a terrorist group needs to be reviewed carefully and ensure the objectivity of the state in granting this status, and
“The Papua provincial government pleaded with the central government and the Indonesian Parliament to conduct a re-assessment of the observation of the labeling of KKB as terrorist. We are of the opinion that the assessment must be comprehensive by taking into account the social, economic and legal impacts on Papuans in general.”
A West Papuan legal researcher, who declined to be named, said that the Indonesian government misused the term “terrorism” to undermine the basic human rights of indigenous West Papuans.

So far, the term terrorism had no precise definition and so has no legal definition, said the researcher.

Many of the United Nations member states did not support UN resolution 3034 (XXVII) because it contained a certain degree of disconnection to other international instruments, particularly human rights laws.

Disagreements among the states remained regarding the use of terrorism, especially the exclusion of different categories of terrorism.

Right to self-determination

In particular the exception of the liberation movement groups. Particularly contentious which was the affirmation in 1972 of “the inalienable right to self-determination and independence of all peoples under colonial and racist regimes and other forms of alien domination”.

“The legitimacy of their struggle, in particular, the struggle of national liberation movements by the principles and purposes is represented in the UN charter. Therefore, designating West Papua Liberation Army as a terrorist group by the Indonesian government considered outside the category of the terrorist act,” said the researcher.

“Any definition of terrorism must also, accommodate reasonable claims to political implications, particularly against repressive regimes such as Indonesia towards West Papuans.

“The act of self-determination by Papuans cannot be considered terrorism at all.”

The international community should condemn any regime that is repressive and terrorist acts by colonial, racist and alien regimes in denying peoples their legitimate right to self-determination, independence, and other human rights.

A coherent legal definition of terrorism might help “confine the unilateral misuse” of the term by the national government such as Indonesia against TPNPB/OPM, said the researcher.

The other side of the story was war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, oppression, torture and intimidation by the state.

These elements were present in West Papua and they qualified as the act of terrorists and were therefore universally recognised as crimes against humanity and criminals, the researcher said.

The researcher added: “The West Papua army or TPN/OPM are not terrorist groups. They are the victims of terrorism”

This report and the translations have been compiled by an Asia Pacific Report correspondent.


Operasi Media Sosial Kembali Terdeteksi Berusaha Mengalihkan Isu Papua Merdeka

Oleh Farid M. Ibrahim

Operasi media sosial untuk menenggelamkan isu Papua Merdeka kembali gencar dilakukan melalui akun-akun palsu yang berhasil dideteksi oleh Bellingcat, suatu organisasi investigasi data online. (Supplied: Bellingcat)

Ratusan akun media sosial terdeteksi menyerang wacana Papua Merdeka secara daring dengan modus menggunakan foto profil palsu dan berbahasa Belanda dan Jerman dalam menyebarkan pesan-pesan yang mendukung otonomi khusus.

Temuan terbaru ini dipaparkan oleh Benjamin Strick, peneliti Open Source, melalui situs website Bellingcat, sebuah organisasi kolaborasi peneliti, penyelidik dan jurnalis warga yang tersebar di lebih dari 20 negara.

“Operasi media sosial ini belum bisa kami kaitkan kepada suatu pihak, karena hal itu merupakan aspek paling sulit dalam investigasi kami,” ujar Benjamin ketika dihubungi, Selasa (17/11/2020).

“Namun satu hal yang bisa saya pastikan yaitu adanya jejak dari jaringan ini, misalnya desain grafis video di YouTube, infografis di Facebook, dan gambar di Twitter, kesemuanya memiliki kesamaan desain dengan apa yang kami temukan tahun lalu,” jelasnya kepada Farid M. Ibrahim dari ABC Indonesia.

Konten video yang disebarkan oleh akun palsu di media sosial yang ditemukan peneliti Bellingcat. (Supplied)

Ia menjelaskan temuan Bellingcat tahun lalu berhasil mengumpulkan cukup bukti melalui data publik, untuk menghubungkan jaringan ini dengan InsightID yang mengklaim diri sebagai perusahaan marketing di Indonesia.

Menurut Benjamin, jaringan yang melakukan operasi medsos tahun lalu menargetkan para aktivis HAM dan menyuarakan propaganda Indonesia tentang Papua Barat.

ABC Indonesia telah mencoba menghubungi pihak InsightID.

Namun tahun lalu, media Jakarta Post menerima surat elektronik dari kelompok yang mengaku sebagai InsightID.

Mereka menyatakan diri sebagai “gerakan nasionalis yang terdiri atas praktisi komunikasi dan profesional”.

Kepada Jakarta Post, kelompok ini mengaku “prihatin dengan disinformasi masif dan bias yang dilakukan separatis Papua Merdeka pimpinan Benny Wenda dengan mempolitisasi dan memanipulasi isu kemanusiaan dan konflik di Papua demi kepentingan politiknya”.

Penyebutan InsightID juga dilakukan oleh pihak Facebook sendiri ketika mengambil tindakan terhadap puluhan akun palsu yang menyebarkan konten tentang West Papua.

Saat itu, Facebook mengumumkan telah menghapus 69 akun FB palsu, 42 laman FB, serta 34 akun Instagram karena “perilaku palsu yang terkoordinasi” terkait isu West Papua.

Investigasi Facebook saat itu menemukan kaitan dengan pihak yang menamakan diri InsightID, yang menurut Facebook telah membelanjakan iklan di Facebook setara dengan 300 ribu dolar.

Kelompok ini telah membantah keterangan Facebook mengenai iklan Facebook tersebut.

Lebih menargetkan audiens berbahasa Belanda dan Jerman?

Menurut Benjamin, temuan akun-akun palsu kali ini masih baru dan dampaknya pun minimal.

“Jaringan ini relatif lebih kecil dibandingkan dengan operasi tahun lalu,” katanya. “Kontennya pun termasuk baru.”

Lewat penelusuran metrik media sosial jaringan, Benjamin menemukan terbatasnya interaksi manusia.

Kebanyakan akun-akun ini, katanya, berinteraksi dengan sesama akun palsu lainnya mengenai Papua Barat dan kurang melakukan dialog dengan akun medsos seseorang yang nyata.

Padahal, menurut Benjamin, sumber daya yang digunakan untuk membuat konten berupa video, infograifs dan postingan unik lainnya sangat besar serta butuh waktu.

“Yang perlu diingat bahwa, isu Papua Merdeka tidak diliput secara luas jika dibandingkan dengan konflik lainnya di dunia, serta tak populer sebagai isu internasional,” katanya.

“Sehingga apa yang dilakukan jaringan ini yaitu menarget perhatian tatanan internasional dengan menggunakan nama, wajah dan bahasa orang Barat,” jelas Benjamin.

“Mungkin ada hubungan yang bisa dilihat di situ, misalnya karena kebetulan hubungan sejarah antara West Papua dan Belanda atau keberadaan Mahkamah Internasional di Belanda,” jelasnya.

Benjamin mengatakan, dengan mengamati akun-akun dalam jaringan ini, misalnya yang menggunakan profil sebagai “jurnalis Australia”, atau yang mengaku tinggal di Den Hag, terlihat adanya upaya terkonsentrasi untuk mempengaruhi narasi masyarakat dunia tentang kemerdekaan Papua Barat.

“Satu kesamaan nyata dari jaringan ini dengan jaringan yang kami ungkap tahun 2019 yaitu sama-sama menarget masyarakat internasional melalui iklan di Facebook,” katanya.

“Iklan-iklan (di FB) tersebut menarget Inggris, Belanda dan Jerman, sehingga operasi mengalihkan isu Papua Merdeka ini tampaknya menyasar masyarakat internasional, yaitu Uni Eropa dan Belanda khususnya,” ujar Benjamin.

Melaporkannya ke perusahaan jejaring sosial

Bellingcat mengidentifikasi jaringan terbaru yang terkait isu Papua Merdeka ini di Twitter dengan memantau tagar #WestPaoua dan #PapuanLivesMatter.

Salah satu teknik mengidentifikasi foto-foto palsu melalui GAN, yaitu dengan mengamati posisi bagian mata. (Supplied)

Dikatakan, Bellingcat tak butuh waktu lama untuk menemukan sejumlah akun yang pengikutnya hanya beberapa orang, yang menyebar tagar ini dengan memberikan tautan ke beberapa situs website yang sama.

“Kebanyakan akun Twitter dibuat pada Juni, Juli dan Agustus 2020. Salah satu tanda adanya operasi semacam ini yaitu ditemukannya akun-akun serupa dengan hanya beberapa pengikut, dibuat pada saat hampir bersamaan, dengan fokus pada isu yang sama,” jelasnya.

Artikel-artikel yang mereka sebarkan, jelas Benjamin, umumnya berisi dukungan pada otonomi khusus bukan kemerdekaan Papua.

Bellingcat menyatakan pihaknya telah melaporkan akun-akun ini ke pihak Twitter, Facebook, Instagram dan YouTube.

Sejauh ini pihak Twitter menyatakan telah menghapus akun-akun dimaksud sesuai dengan kebijakan manipulasi dan spam. Sedangkan YouTube dan Facebook, yang juga mengelola Instagram, belum memberikan tanggapan.

Dewasa ini, menurut Bellingcat, pembuatan profil di akun media sosial dengan menggunakan foto dari orang yang tak pernah ada, sangat mudah untuk dilakukan, bahkan caranya tersedia di berbagai website.

Namun pembuatan foto-foto tersebut, meski secara kasat mata tampak sempurna, tetap memiliki kelemahan seperti “adanya kerutan wajah yang tidak nyambung antara sisi kiri dan kanan”.

Foto-foto palsu semacam ini bisa dibuat melalui apa yang disebut sebagai Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). Ini merupakan kerja mesin yang menciptakan foto baru dari koleksi foto-foto lama dari orang yang sebenarnya.

Dengan menggunakan GAN, maka akan mencegah upaya untuk menelusuri sumber dan asal-usul suatu foto, seperti yang umum terjadi dengan akun medsos palsu yang hanya mencuri foto orang lain.

Salah satu cara untuk mengidentifkasi foto-foto akun medsos yang diciptakan melalui GAN, yaitu dengan mengamati posisi mata dari foto-foto tersebut.

Posisi mata dari foto-foto buatan yang menggunaan GAN selalu beradsa di tempat yang sama.

Simak berita lainnya dari ABC Indonesia.

Mengempuni dan Mendoakan Orang Indonesia Adalah Perintah Allah untuk Orang Kristen

Pada saat Angkatan Bersenjata Papua Merdeka atau West Papua Army berbicara tentang “pengampunan” dan doa untuk pengampunan bagi orang-orang yang membenci dan merencanakan serta melakukan kejajahtan terhadap bangsa Papua, maka tentu saja bisa menimbulkan penafsiran bahwa kita mengampuni Indonesia atas semua hal yang dia lakukan selama ini di Tanah Papua, atas diri dan nyawa bangsa Papua.


Amunggut Tabi, Gen. WPRA mengatakan,

Ini adalah strategi peperangan Rohani, karna kita tidak hanya berperang secara jasmani, tetapi terutama kita berperang secara rohani, untuk memenangkan hati Allah, karena Tuhan hanya berpihak kepada KEBENARAN, dan yang dimaksud “KEBENARAN” di sini ialah KEBENARAN DIA sendiri, bukan kebenaran saya, apalagi kebenadan Anda.

Karena begitu besar kasih Allah akan dunia ini,” *Yohanes 4:16a”, di sini Alkitab TIDAK mengatakan “Karena begitu besar kasih Allah akan orang Kristen”. Apalagi Alkitab tidak mengatakan, “Karena begitu besar kasih Allah akan orang Papua”. Sama sekali tidak!

Allah mengasihi semua orang, orang Papua, Indonesia, orang Kristen, orang Islam, orang Ibrani, orang Yunani, orang hitam-putih, orang timur-barat orang utara-selatan, orang Melayu, orang Melanesia. Semuanya

Pada saat kita berdoa, mengeluh tentang penjajahan Indonesia atas tanah Papua, mengeluh dan mengundang Allah untuk turun tangan membantu dalam penyelesaian kasus-kasus pelanggaran HAM dan berbagai hal lain, kita harus tahu bahwa pertama-tama kita harus berbicara atas dasar kasih.

Kasih harus menjadi alasan, dasar, titik-tolak, dan sebab daripada doa kita. Bukan kebencian. Bukan denndam. Bukan kepahitan. Bukan….., bukan….

Kasih…. Kasih…. dan Kasih…. harus menjadi dasar.

Kasih kita harus kita buktikan dengan pertama-tama mengampuni. Setelah kita mengampuni, maka kedua kita doakan. Setelah kita doakan maka terakhir kita lupakan.

Setelah itu baru kita datang kepada Allah, menyampaikan petisi kita kepada-Nya, dengan tulus, dengan terus-terang, dengan berani, dan menuntut Tuhan berperkara.

Matius 5:24 TB

tinggalkanlah persembahanmu di depan mezbah itu dan pergilah berdamai dahulu dengan saudaramu, lalu kembali untuk mempersembahkan persembahanmu itu.TB: Alkitab Terjemahan Baru

Indonesia Memasuki Era Transformasi Budaya Global

By:Kristian Griapon, 16 Oktober 2020

Era reformasi yang terjadi dan dimulai di Indonesia sejak rezim orde baru di tumbangkan pada tahun 1998, telah membawa sebagian rakyat Indonesia pada suatu perubahan pola pandang terhadap tatanan kehidupan yang modernisme dan kritis. Perubahan itu bertumbuh dan berkembang mengikuti perkembangan jaman, disesuaikan dengan dilai-nilai peradaban universal, yaitu

“manusia ditempatkan sebagai manusia, bukan robot, atau binatang yang harus dikendalikan sepenuhnya oleh kekuasaan negara untuk kepentingan penguasa. Dan manusia mempunyai kedudukan yang tinggi sesuai kodratnya yang harus dilindungi, dihormati, dijunjung tinggi, dan dijamin harkat dan martabatnya dalam kehidupan bernegara”.

Negara merupakan pemahaman dari bentuk tatanan kehidupan modern, yang terbentuk diatas kepentingan suatu kelompok etnis dan budaya, bertujuan untuk melindungi dan memberikan jaminan pemenuhan terhadap kebutuhan dasar penduduk yang menjadi warga negaranya tanpa pengecualian, yang meliputi: “Keamanan, Kebebasan, Ketertiban, Keadilan, dan Kesejahteraan”.

Indonesia sejak merdeka menjadi sebuah negara, telah dijadikan ranah perebutan kekuasaan, baik itu ditingkat elit kekuasaan di Pusat maupun di daerah, sehingga kepentingan rakyat diabaikan. Dan para elit politik di Indonesia mempunyai jaringan yang kuat dari pusat hingga ke daerah, jaringan itu dibangun melalui partai politik yang mengakomodir berbagai kepentingan golongan didalamnya untuk saling merebut, mempertahankan dan membagi-bagi kekuasaan negara. Dan rakyat Indonesia selama ini telah dijadikan tameng demokrasi semu untuk kepentingan legalitas kekuasaan dari para elit politik itu sendiri.

Yang terjadi saat ini di Indonesia adalah suatu proses dinamika transformasi budaya global, dimana penguasa negara telah panik menghadapinya. Dinamika transformasi budaya global membuka kedok berbagai kepentingan kekuasaan yang selama ini bersembunyi dibalik kekuasaan negara dan mengatas namakan kepentingan rakyat. Kepentingan-kepentingan rakyat itupun mulai bergeser arah kepada rakyat yang sesungguhnya, dan negara yang selama ini dijadikan tameng kekuasaan telah terbuka kedoknya, dan disaksikan langsung oleh rakyat.

Dalam hubungan internasional, Indonesia sebagai suatu negara tidak bisa menghindari dinamika transformasi budaya globlal yang menyentuh berbagai lini kehidupan masyarakat global diatas dasar peradaban nilai-nilai universal, terutama yang berhubungan langsung dengan Hak Asasi Manusia dan Demokrasi.

Dalam konteks RUU Omnibus law cipta kerja yang disahkan secara mendadak menjadi UU RI pada 5 Oktober 2020, dapat dikatakan merupakan bentuk dinamika transformasi budaya global di Indonesia yang di jadikan alasan kuat oleh pemerintah Republik Indonesia untuk menjamin asas keadilan ekonomi di Indonesia dan mengakomodir seluruh kepentingan pemerintah didalamnya.

Pengadopsian RUU Omnibus law cipta kerja menjadi UU, tidak mematuhi asas transparansi, sehingga memunculkan berbagai tanggapan negatif terhadap pengesahannya. Penggunaan Omnibus Law telah banyak dilakukan oleh negara di dunia terutama yang menggunakan tradisi common law system.

Di dunia terdapat dua sistem hukum yakni common law system dan civil law system. Indonesia mewarisi tradisi civil law system.

Omnibus Law sudah diterapkan di AS dan Kanada mulai tahun 1880-an. Di Asia Tenggara ada Vietnam dan Filipina yang telah menerapkan konsep UU Sapu Jagat ini,dan di Indonesia disahkan menjadi UU pada 5 Oktober 2020.

Diharapkan UU Omnibus law cipta kerja 2020 yang telah menciptakan pro-kontra di kalangan masyarakat Indonesia, benar-benar menjamin keadilan terhadap hak-hak seluruh Warga Negara Indonesia, baik yang bersifat individual maupun kelompok, tanpa harus dijadikan alat kekuasaan negara bentuk baru, untuk menindas warga Negara Indonesia.(Kgr)

Facebook dan Twitter Tutup Akun Propaganda Indonesia Soal Papua, Termasuk Akun Bot Pro-Pemerintah RI

ABC Indonesia / ReutersUpdated 6 March 2020 at 4:47 pmFirst posted 6 March 2020 at 10:00 am

Facebook dan Twitter kini menutup sejumlah akun yang dikelola pihak militer Indonesia untuk menjalankan propaganda soal Papua. (Reuters)

Twitter dan Facebook telah menutup sedikitnya 80 akun yang selama ini menjalankan propaganda Indonesia tentang Papua. Akun-akun tersebut diduga terkait dengan sejumlah situs berita yang mempublikasikan propaganda pro-pemerintah Indonesia.

Penutupan ini dilakukan setelah kantor berita Reuters menemukan ada sekitar 10 situs yang menerbitkan konten yang mendukung tindakan TNI dan polisi dalam menumpas gerakan separatis di provinsi Papua.

Sejumlah situs yang pro-pemerintah RI itu diketahui dikelola dan didanai oleh TNI, dengan berkedok sebagai sumber berita independen.

November tahun lalu, bertepatan dengan Hari Pahlawan Nasional, Kolonel Muhammad Aidi, penasihat intelijen Kopassus pernah memberikan penghargaan kepada Yunanto Nugroho, seorang perwira TNI yang juga bertugas mengkoordinir situs-stits tersebut, demikian laporan Reuters.

Ia mengatakan Yunanto sebagai seorang operator komputer militer telah membantu membuat dan mengelola banyak situs berita, sebagai bagian dari “upaya militer” dengan bermitra bersama relawan dari kalangan non-militer, termasuk beberapa wartawan.

“Situs resmi TNI tidak dapat mempublikasikan semua yang kita lakukan, jadi ada beberapa kantor berita yang telah mendukung kami melaporkan berita positif, serta melawan situs negatif, atau berita-berita palsu,” katanya. selintas memiliki tampilan seperti (Foto:

Pemberitaan dari situs-situs tersebut kemudian secara aktif disebarkan oleh sejumlah akun Twitter dan Facebook.

Kantor berita Reuters menemukan setidaknya ada 80 akun di Facebook dan Twitter yang terkait situs tersebut.

Sebelumnya, Benjamin Strick, yang juga seorang penyelidik Open Source, menemukan sebuah network atau jaringan akun bot yang menyebarkan konten-konten yang mendukung pemerintah Indonesiamelalui jejaring sosial.

Kepada ABC, Benjamin mengaku telah melakukan investigasi pada seluruh unggahan di Twitter dengan tag #WestPapua dan #FreeWestPapua, antara tanggal 29 Agustus hingga 2 September tahun lalu.

Data yang ia miliki kemudian divisualisasikan dengan menggunakan sebuah program online.

“Saya kemudian dapat melakukan analisa network untuk melihat siapa para influencer dari dua topik tadi,” ujar Ben yang juga kontributor Bellingcat, sebuah situs jurnalisme investigasi dan pengecekan fakta yang berbasis di Inggris.

Benjamin mengaku ia menemukan banyak otomotisasi atau akun bot yang datang dari sebuah newtork.

“Setelah diselidiki mereka semua adalah bot yang mempromosikan kegiatan pemerintah Indonesia di Papua Barat.”

Tidak diketahui pasti siapa pemiliknya, akun-akun bots promosikan sejumlah kegiatan pemerintah Indonesia di Papua. (Foto: Bellingcat, Benjamin Strick)

Beberapa diantara akun-akun tersebut menggunakan foto profil atau animasi seolah sebagai warga Papua.

Akun-akun ini tidak hanya memuji pendekatan TNI untuk “mengatasi masalah seperatisme”, tapi juga mengkritik para pendukung Referendum Papua.

‘Sebagai bentuk jiwa patriot’

Meski mengaku tidak mengetahui keberadaan akun-akun ini, Kodam Cendrawasih kepada ABC Indonesia mengatakan hal tersebut adalah bentuk “rasa cinta pada tanah air” dari sejumlah netizen.

“Bentuk cinta tanah air netizen Indonesia untuk melawan kampanye untuk melepaskan Papua dari NKRI di berbagai platform media sosial, yang dilakukan oleh kelompok Free West Papua (FWP) dari dalam dan luar negeri,” kata Letkol Inf Dax Sianturi, Wakil Kepala Penerangan Kodam XVII Cendrawasih.

Menurutnya, penyebaran informasi yang dilakukan oleh kelompok ‘Free West Papua’ cenderung mendiskreditkan pemerintah Indonesia, khususnya Tentara Nasional Indonesia dan Kepolisian RI.

Ia yakin jika pembelaan dari netizen Indonesia adalah sebagai bentuk jiwa patriot dan kesadaran bela negara melalui spektrum ‘cyber’ harus lebih ditingkatkan, demikan tulis Dax lewat pesan singkat yang diterima ABC Indonesia di Melbourne.

“Ketika ada upaya membentuk opini menyesatkan tentang Indonesia, maka netizen Indonesia akan bergerak melawannya.”

Twitter telah mengaku menutup lebih dari 60 akun yang tampaknya menggunakan identitas palsu.

Saat akun-akun tersebut dicoba untuk diakses, muncul tulisan “Akun Ditutup. Twitter menutup akun yang melanggar ketentuan Twitter”.

Tapi juru bicara Twitter menolak menjelaskan alasan penutupan tersebut.

Sementara itu, juru bicara Facebook menyatakan, pihaknya telah menutup “sejumlah akun” yang ditandai dilaporkan Reuters.

Alasan penutupan itu, katanya, karena melanggar standar komunitas Facebook.

Oktober tahun lalu, Facebook juga menutup akun-akun palsu yang memposting konten tentang gerakan Papua Merdeka.

Simak berita-berita menarik lainnya dari ABC Indonesia.

Penemuan Akun-akun Bot Pendukung Pemerintah Indonesia di Twitter Terkait Papua

Oleh: Liam Fox dan Erwin RenaldiUpdated 6 September 2019 at 4:27 pmFirst posted 6 September 2019 at 4:06 pm

Konflik terkait Papua di Indonesia tidak hanya terjadi jalanan lewat aksi protes dan pengerahan militer Indonesia, tapi juga di dunia maya, menurut seorang penyelidik independen.

Beberapa akun bot pendukung pemerintah Indonesia telah menggunakan foto-foto yang dicuri dari jejaring sosial lainnya.(Foto: Bellingcat)

Benjamin Strick yang juga seorang penyelidik Open Source mengatakan selain pembatasan internet yang telah menyebabkan layanan bagi warga Papua terganggu, kini ditemukan sebuah network atau jaringan akun bot yang menyebarkan konten-konten yang mendukung pemerintah Indonesia melalui jejaring sosial.

Kepada ABC, Benjamin mengaku telah melakukan investigasi pada seluruh unggahan di Twitter dengan tag #WestPapua dan #FreeWestPapua, antara tanggal 29 Agustus hingga 2 September.

Data yang ia miliki kemudian divisualisasikan dengan menggunakan sebuah program online.

“Saya kemudian dapat melakukan analisa network untuk melihat siapa para influencer dari dua topik tadi,” ujar Ben yang juga kontributor Bellingcat, sebuah situs jurnalisme investigasi dan pengecekan fakta yang berbasis di Inggris.

Benjamin mengaku ia menemukan banyak otomotisasi yang datang dari sebuah newtork.

“Setelah diselidiki mereka semua adalah bots yang mempromosikan kegiatan pemerintah Indonesia di Papua Barat.”

Lantas darimanakah Benjamin mengetahui jika akun-akun tersebut adalah bot?

Dari penyelidikannya ia menemukan penggunaan foto palsu dalam akun-akun tersebut, dengan menggunakan foto dari bintang pop di Korea Selatan atau Jepang, hingga foto warga biasa di Amerika Serikat.

Akun-akun tersebut juga menurutnya mengunggah di waktu yang sama, dengan pola, jenis konten dan pola algoritma yang sama. Mereka juga terkait dengan akun-akun di jejaring sosial lainnya, seperti di Facebook dan Instagram.

Tidak diketahui pasti siapa pemiliknya, akun-akun bots promosikan sejumlah kegiatan pemerintah Indonesia di Papua. (Foto: Bellingcat, Benjamin Strick)

“Kebanyakan material tersebut adalah konten video infografik yang menunjukkan kinerja yang dilakukan pemerintah di papua,” ujarnya.

“Atau soal dana yang digelontorkan untuk membantu pelajar Papua dan bagimana warga Papua menghromati bendera Indonesia dan bangga sebagai bagian dari Indonesia.”

Meski ia tidak mengatakan akun-akun bot ini dibuat pemerintah Indonesia, tapi menurutnya jaringan ini memiliki agenda, yakni mendukung pemerintah Indonesia.

“Mereka mencoba memutarbalikkan kenyataan apa yang sebenarnya terjadi di Papua.”

Yang membuat menarik bagi Benjamin adalah beberapa konten menggunakan Bahasa Inggris dan banyak dari akun-akun Twitter tersebut baru dibuat dalam tiga bulan terakhir.

Pemerintah Indonesia sebelumnya telah menuduh adanya keterlibatan pihak asing terkait kerusuhan di Papua dan empat warga Australia telah dideportasi karena dianggap telah ikut unjuk rasa, meski tak ada bukti kuat.

“Jadi saat jurnalis independen ingin tahu soal apa yang terjadi di Papua lewat Twitter dengan kata kunci ‘West Papua’, maka yang ditemukan adalah betapa hebat dan baiknya pemerintah Indonesia terhadap warga Papua.”

Benjamin mengatakan ia sengaja menyampaikan penyelidikannya lengkap dengan langkah-langkah cara melakukannya, termasuk di situs Bellingcat.

“Jika ada yang ingin menyerang hasil temuan saya, mereka bisa mengikuti langkah-langkah yang saya jelaskan dan akan melihat jika hasilnya sama.”

Ia mengaku telah banyak mendapatkan tanggapan, termasuk ancaman dari pengguna jejaring sosial di Indonesia, namun beberapa diantaranya pun ia identifikasi sebagai akun bot.

Beberapa akun bot sudah dinyatakan ‘suspended’ di Twitter dan hal ini hanya bisa dilakukan oleh pihak Twitter sendiri.


West Papua Army Condemns Racist Statement by Colonial Police in Java, Indonesia

Gen. Amunggut Tabi says such a statement clearly indicates Indonesian people the Nazi of this era. Not many people in the world realize this. The Indonesian government have long practiced apartheid in West Papua and across Indonesia. This is real in the South Pacific, and that Indonesia sees all non-Malays in South Pacific as “non-humans”.

West Papua Army fights in defending the dignity and integrity of all black, white, red, green, and any colours as human beings, with the same and equal rights to be fully recognised and treated as fellow human beings. Therefore, we condemn Indonesian Nazi community and apartheid government in West Papua.

Further info – Email: – Mobile: +675-74215300

Read Full Article HERE

Will Indonesia break up?

Indonesians in the resource-rich outer regions no longer accept the heavy hand of Jakarta

Anne Booth

Edition 59: Jul-Sep 1999
Published: Sep 11, 2007

On 17 August 1998, the leading news magazine Forum Keadilan devoted its National Day edition to a discussion of national unity. According to a poll it conducted, over 90 per cent of respondents were worried about the danger of the country falling apart, over 80 per cent thought the emergence of political parties based on ethnicity and religion would increase the dangers of disintegration, and over 85 per cent thought the control of the economy by minorities increased these dangers.

The fact that a widely read magazine could openly conduct a poll about such a sensitive issue, and publish the results, indicated the extent to which press freedom had blossomed in the three months since Suharto’s resignation. But the results of the poll could hardly have been gratifying to the new government of President Habibie. They were a clear indication of the extent of concern among middle class Indonesians about the fragility of their country.

In addition the poll reflected a widespread conviction that the regions must be given greater political and financial autonomy. In effect, the message of the poll seemed to be that the resource-rich regions would have to be permitted to keep a much higher proportion of the profits from resource exploitation. At the same time the electorate would have to have the power to vote in, and vote out, key provincial and local officials such as governors, regents, and mayors.

In the latter part of 1998 and early 1999 there were many manifestations of regional unrest. Some were violent and tragic, such as the events in Ambon and West Kalimantan. Some, such as student demonstrations in Caltex facilities in Riau, obviously intended to make a political point to both the national and the international media. The Habibie government’s apparent promise, made at the end of January, of self-determination for the troubled province of East Timor, immediately provoked predictions of a domino effect in other parts of the archipelago, from Aceh to Irian Jaya.

By the end of April, press reports suggested there was a strong military backlash against any promise of ultimate independence for Timor, based in large part on the conviction that, once the Pandora’s Box had been opened, several other provinces would want to escape as well. Increasingly, newspaper pundits in various parts of the world began to talk about ‘another Yugoslavia’ in Southeast Asia. To many, the world’s fourth most populous country appeared to be unravelling in much the same way as the former USSR in the early 1990s.

To a number of observers of the Indonesian scene (myself included) it had seemed obvious for some years that the highly centralised system of government which Suharto and his key advisers had put in place in the 1970s was, by the 1990s, both politically unacceptable and, from an economic viewpoint, inefficient and inequitable. (My own views were expressed in a lecture I gave at SOAS in 1992: ‘Can Indonesia survive as a unitary state?’, Indonesia Circle no.58, June 1992.)


In the early 1970s, the establishment of firm central government control over revenues from natural resources (mainly of course oil) had seemed essential if the government was to provide infrastructure and improve the quality of life for populations in all parts of the country. After all, much of the oil was in fact located in two rather small and isolated provinces, both of which seemed to lack any strong sense of regional identity. Given the development needs in other parts of the country, it would have been very difficult to make a case in the 1970s for handing over a significant part of the oil revenues to either Riau or East Kalimantan.

When huge gas reserves were located in Aceh, a province which did have a long tradition of rebellion against outside control, some observers predicted that there could be trouble, although I cannot recall anyone in the 1970s forecasting the tragic events of the latter part of the 1980s and early 1990s in that province.

But as rapid economic growth and industrialisation transformed both the urban and the rural landscape in Indonesia, and especially in Java, over the 1980s and early 1990s, the whole nature of the ‘regional problem’ in Indonesia changed. In the 1970s the central government could claim to be playing the role of a benevolent Robin Hood, robbing the rich few to pay for improved living standards for the poor millions, especially but not exclusively in Java. But by the mid-1990s, it was clear that the incidence of poverty in Java was in fact lower than in a number of provinces outside Java, including some such as Irian Jaya with abundant mineral wealth.

Even in those provinces such as East Kalimantan and Aceh where poverty was lower than the national average, there was growing resentment at the differences in living standards between the local populations and those of neighbouring Malaysia. Per capita GDP in East Kalimantan in 1993 was about the same as in the neighbouring Malaysian state of Sarawak, and higher than in Sabah, but poverty incidence was much higher in East Kalimantan. Given the porous nature of the land borders and the widespread movement of labour from Indonesian Kalimantan into East Malaysia by the early 1990s, it was inevitable that local populations would make comparisons between their own living standards and those in adjacent regions of the neighbouring country.

In addition, by the early 1990s, the combination of rapid economic growth and over two decades of administrative centralisation had produced a situation where government ministries in Jakarta were handling huge budgets for both routine administration and development projects in all parts of the far-flung archipelago. Given the absence of effective audit procedures, and the demonstration effect of growing nepotism in the first family, there was inevitably a sharp increase in the magnitude of official corruption throughout the central government apparatus. Even those government ministries and agencies which had been considered ‘clean’ in the 1970s became increasingly blatant in the way they creamed off funds for the personal use of senior staff, including lavish housing and cars, foreign travel and foreign education for their children. Regional and local government officials often followed suit.

That there is now, with greater freedom in both the print and the electronic media, an explosion of public outrage against such manifestations of bureaucratic abuse is hardly surprising. The Habibie government has not been slow to sense the public mood. On April 23, the parliament (the same body which slavishly approved the centralist policies of President Suharto) passed a new law on inter-governmental fiscal relations which allows for a considerable amount of revenue-sharing between centre and province, especially for revenues from oil, gas, other mining, forestry and fisheries. The issues are complex and it is, as yet, far from clear how the law will operate in practice (see John McBeth in Far Eastern Economic Review, May 13, 1999). It is also possible that the new parliament, to be elected in June, will press for even more sweeping changes.


There seems to be little doubt that what James Mackie once termed the ‘powerful centralising and integrating forces’ of the New Order era have been halted and indeed thrown into reverse. But how far will the reverse process proceed, and will it inevitably lead to the breakup of Indonesia?

On this question, I can only give a personal view, based on my own observations over nearly three decades of study. It does seem to me that, after more than fifty years of independence from Dutch colonialism, most inhabitants of this vast archipelago do wish to be part of some entity called Indonesia. Understandable demands for greater autonomy from a corrupt and predatory central government apparatus should not be confused with a desire for outright independence. Indeed it was the repeated failure of both Suharto and the armed forces to comprehend this distinction which led to so many human rights abuses in places like Aceh and Irian Jaya.

While the East Timor problem may only be resolved ultimately by independence, it ought still to be possible for other regions to remain within the Indonesian state, but with different conditions of membership from those which were laid down in the Suharto era. New conditions of membership in effect mean constitutional change. Accommodating growing demands for such change while at the same time trying to restore confidence in both the economic and the administrative system will severely test the skills of whatever government assumes control in Indonesia in the post-Suharto era.

But one thing is clear: Suharto’s New Order has gone, and with it the highly centralised political and economic system which he fashioned. There will be a very powerful group of losers from the changes now in progress in the central bureaucracy (both civilian and military), and especially in its upper echelons.

The logic of the decentralisation measures introduced in April will be that provincial and local governments will assume more direct responsibility for sectors such as health, education, family planning, women’s affairs and environmental protection. Much economic and social planning will have to be done in the regions rather than at the centre. Many officials will thus have to move to the regions or find alternative employment.

To the extent that they will be forced to leave central departments, they will also be cut off from the extensive patronage networks which developed at the centre; indeed these networks will themselves wither as they are deprived of resources. Senior bureaucrats were among the most privileged people in Suharto’s New Order and they can hardly be happy about the inevitable attenuation of their power which a genuine process of decentralisation will entail. What, if anything, they can do about the situation remains to be seen.

Professor Anne Booth teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has written numerous books and articles on the Indonesian economy.

Inside Indonesia 59: Jul-Sep 1999

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