indonesian military

Learning to Ask Why

Except from Blackshirts and Reds by Michael Parenti

“When we think without Marx’s perspective, that is, without considering class interests and class power, we seldom ask why certain things happen. Many things are reported in the news but few are explained. Little is said about how the social order is organized and whose interests prevail. Devoid of a framework that explains why things happen, we are left to see the world as do mainstream media pundits: as a flow of events, a scatter of particular developments and personalities unrelated to a larger set of social relations—propelled by happenstance, circumstance, confused intentions, and individual ambition, never by powerful class interests—and yet producing effects that serve such interests with impressive regularity.

Thus we fail to associate social problems with the socio-economic forces that create them and we learn to truncate our own critical thinking. Imagine if we attempted something different; for example, if we tried to explain that wealth and poverty exist together not in accidental juxtaposition, but because wealth causes poverty, an inevitable outcome of economic exploitation both at home and abroad. How could such an analysis gain any exposure in the capitalist media or in mainstream political life?

Suppose we started with a particular story about how child labor in Indonesia is contracted by multinational corporations at near starvation wage levels. This information probably would not be carried in rightwing publications, but in 1996 it did appear—after decades of effort by some activists—in the centrist mainstream press. What if we then crossed a line and said that these exploitative employer-employee relations were backed by the full might of the Indonesian military government. Fewer media would carry this story but it still might get mentioned in an inside page of the New York Times or Washington Post.

Then suppose we crossed another line and said that these repressive arrangements would not prevail were it not for generous military aid from the United States, and that for almost thirty years the homicidal Indonesian military has been financed, armed, advised, and trained by the U.S. national security state. Such a story would be even more unlikely to appear in the liberal press but it is still issuespecific and safely without an overall class analysis, so it might well make its way into left-liberal opinion publications like the Nation and the Progressive.

Now suppose we pointed out that the conditions found in Indonesia—the heartless economic exploitation, brutal military repression, and lavish U.S. support—exist in scores of other countries. Suppose we then crossed that most serious line of all and instead of just deploring this fact we also asked why successive U.S. administrations involve themselves in such unsavory pursuits throughout the world. And what if then we tried to explain that the whole phenomenon is consistent with the U.S. dedication to making the world safe for the free market and the giant multinational corporations, and that the intended goals are (a) to maximize opportunities to accumulate wealth by depressing the wage levels of workers throughout the world and preventing them from organizing on behalf of their own interests, and (b) to protect the overall global system of free-market capital accumulation.

Then what if, from all this, we concluded that U.S. foreign policy is neither timid, as the conservatives say, nor foolish, as the liberals say, but is remarkably successful in rolling back just about all governments and social movements that attempt to serve popular needs rather than private corporate greed.
Such an analysis, hurriedly sketched here, would take some effort to lay out and would amount to a Marxist critique—a correct critique-of capitalist imperialism. Though Marxists are not the only ones that might arrive at it, it almost certainly would not be published anywhere except in a Marxist publication. We crossed too many lines. Because we tried to explain the particular situation (child labor) in terms of a larger set of social relations (corporate class power), our presentation would be rejected out of hand as “ideological.” The perceptual taboos imposed by the dominant powers teach people to avoid thinking critically about such powers. In contrast, Marxism gets us into the habit of asking why, of seeing the linkage between political events and class power.”

anonymous asked:

Hello, I saw you post about the West Papua conflict and was reading up on it and unsurprisingly America is involved but I wanted to ask what are these American groups doing? Thanks

Yeah, sure what i know basically:

  • The Netherlands, former colonisers of Indonesia agreed in 1962 to hand over West Papua to Indonesia promising West Papuans a free vote in 1969. However, when the Indonesians entered West Papua, they basically colonised West Papua, burnt any signs of independence and systematically killed/raped/tortured West Papuans (and still to this day do).  
  • UNSURPRISINGLY, the US supported Indonesia in this, as seen in these declassified documents: document 1 and document 2. The US had their own interests in doing so of course. Indonesia had signed a multi million dollar contract with US company Freeport-McMoRan, one of the largest producers of copper and gold in the world, awarding them the rights to mine in West Papuan land, subsequently forcibly removing them from their homelands and killing them. The contract was done two years before the free vote so basically West Papua had no chance in independence since it was fixed anyways. (For the vote Indonesia picked only 1,026 ‘representative’ Papuans and then threatened to kill their families if they voted against them, all whilst the fucking UN stood by.)
  • Anyways Freeport then went on to set up the worlds biggest copper and gold mine which is right in the area of the ancestral homeland of a West Papuan tribe and to them, it’s sacred land, West Papuans dont get ANYTHING from Freeport. Freeport basically uses the murderous indonesian military to keep away native West Papuans so they can keep profiting off stolen land. In return, Freeport pays millions of dollars for the Indonesian militarys service and they pumps toxic waste into the river each day to the point where alot of this area is literally biologically dead which then affects the West Papuans health, food, livelihood etc. Its beyond fucked up how this oppression and neo colonialism is occurring and due to media ban, not many are aware. Anyways I hope that helped :))
In Indonesia, female military recruits still need to pass a “2-finger” virginity test.

Human Rights Watch published a report on Wednesday urging the Indonesian military to abandon its practice of subjecting female recruits and fiancées of male recruits to so-called “virginity tests” in order to ensure they are not “naughty.” The report not confirmed the test "has no scientific validity,” it called it “cruel, inhuman and degrading.”

US officials similarly expressed their hope of “army at long last to act effectively against Communists” [sic]. “We are, as always, sympathetic to army’s desire to eliminate communist influence” and ”it is important to assure the army of our full support of its efforts to crush the PKI”.

US and British officials had clear knowledge of the killings. US Ambassador Marshall Green noted three weeks after the attempted coup, and with the killings having begun, that: “Army has… been working hard at destroying PKI and I, for one, have increasing respect for its determination and organisation in carrying out this crucial assignment”. Green noted in the same despatch the “execution of PKI cadres”, putting the figure at “several hundred of them” in “Djakarta area alone”[sic]. On 1 November, Green informed the State Department of the army’s “moving relentlessly to exterminate the PKI as far as that is possible to do”. Three days later he noted that “Embassy and USG generally sympathetic with and admiring of what army doing” [sic]. Four days after this the US Embassy reported that the army “has continued systematic drive to destroy PKI in northern Sumatra with wholesale killings reported”.

A British official reported on 25 November that “PKI men and women are being executed in very large numbers”. Some victims “are given a knife and invited to kill themselves. Most refuse and are told to turn around and are shot in the back”. One executioner considered it “his duty to exterminate what he called ‘less than animals’”. A British official wrote to the Ambassador on 16 December, saying: “You – like me – may have been somewhat surprised to see estimates by the American embassy that well over 100,000 people have been killed in the troubles since 1 October. I am, however, readier to accept such figures after [receiving] some horrifying details of the purges that have been taking place… The local army commander… has a list of PKI members in five categories. He has been given orders to kill those in the first three categories… A woman of 78… was taken away one night by a village execution squad… Half a dozen heads were neatly arranged on the parapet of a small bridge”.

The US Consulate in Medan was reporting that “much indiscriminate killing is taking place”: “Something like a reign of terror against PKI is taking place. This terror is not discriminating very carefully between PKI leaders and ordinary PKI members with no ideological bond to the party”. By mid December the State Department noted approvingly that “Indonesian military leaders’ campaign to destroy PKI is moving fairly swiftly and smoothly”. By 14 February 1966 Ambassador Green could note that “the PKI has been destroyed as an effective political force for some time to come” and that “the Communists…have been decimated by wholesale massacre”.

The British files show that by February 1966 the British ambassador was estimating 400,000 dead – but even this was described by the Swedish ambassador as a “gross under-estimate”. By March one British official wondered “how much of it [the PKI] is left, after six months of killing” and believed that over 200,000 had been killed in Sumatra alone – in a report called “The liquidation of the Indonesian Communist Party in Sumatra”. By April, the US Embassy stated that “we frankly do not know whether the real figure is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000 but believe it wiser to err on the side of the lower estimates, especially when questioned by the press”.

Summarising the events of 1965 the British Consul in Medan said: “Posing as saviours of the nation from a communist terror, [the army] unleashed a ruthless terror of their own, the scars of which will take many years to heal.” Another British memo referred to “an operation carried out on a very large scale and often with appalling savagery”. Another simply referred to the “bloodbath”.

British and US officials totally supported these massacres, the files show. I could find no reference to any concern about the extent of killing at all – other than constant encouragement for the army to continue. As the files above indicate, there is no question that British and US officials knew exactly what they were supporting. One British official noted, referring to 10,005 people arrested by the army: “I hope they do not throw the 10,005 into the sea…, otherwise it will cause quite a shipping hazard”.

—  Mark Curtis, Web of Deceit, with a real knee slapper from the Labour Party government
4

Indonesia resumes search for missing AirAsia plane

Indonesian authorities have resumed the search for an #AirAsia plane carrying 162 people from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, which went missing just after the pilot requested a change in course. 

The Indonesian military sent 12 ships, three helicopters and five aircrafts to the suspicious missing area to look for the Airbus A320-200. Singapore and Malaysia also joined the search operation, with two C-130 planes and five naval vessels, Singapore’s Channel News Asia television reported. 

The missing plane is operated by AirAsia Indonesia, a unit of the Malaysia-based budget carrier Air Asia. It was delivered to AirAsia by Airbus in 2008 and underwent its last scheduled maintenance last month. 

Those onboard included 155 Indonesians, three South Korea, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. 

The Flight #QZ8501 was about halfway between Surabaya and Singapore when it lost contact with air traffic control at 6:17 a.m. on Sunday. 

Bad weather was reported in the area but no distress call was made and no wreckage was discovered. 

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said late Sunday that the aircraft might have crashed, but “we haven’t got any information that indicates where.”

The search was started after the plane was reported missing but suspended as night fell. Authorities resumed the search early Monday morning. 

Shocked relatives gathered at both airports in Singapore and Surabaya, waiting for information from their loved ones.

INDONESIA, MEDAN : Indonesian search and rescue teams work at the site of an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules aircraft crash in Medan on June 30, 2015. An Indonesian military transport plane crashed on June 30 shortly after take-off in a city on Sumatra island, exploing in a ball of flames in a residential area. AFP PHOTO / KHARISMA TARIGAN                        

anonymous asked:

did you hear about the 5 west Papuan schoolboys massacred by the Indonesian army?

there’s a page on facebook called “Free West Papua Campaign” which covers all the crimes of anti-blackness against the West Papuans; however, there are photos of those who are deceased (meaning their bodies). still an informative source though

I did hear and read about this tragedy. It’s so horrible and I’m saddened that it didn’t get a lot of media coverage. I’m also angered that Australia is silent on the crimes being committed against West Papuans by the Indonesian military. I’ll reblog posts later on about West Papua’s fight for freedom and independence. People need to know about the human rights abuses and genocide taking place there.