[asia-apec 145] apcet, apec, sticks & carrots, part 2

George J. Aditjondro by way of daga <daga at hk.super.net> aditjond at psychology.newcastle.edu.au
Wed Oct 9 01:16:01 JST 1996

SO much for the sticks in Jakarta's East Timor diplomacy. What about the
carrots it has used to deal with its international critics? As far as I
have been able to discover from my library research, Indonesian diplomats
and other members of the Jakarta ruling elite have repeatedly used
financial and other material means to seduce their critics and reward their
supporters, in all the five continents -- in America, Europe, Asia, Africa,
and Australia.

Indonesia's former ambassador to the Netherlands, Ret. General Alamsyah,
once bragged in an Indonesian newspaper, how he seduced the president of an
unnamed state, to cease his support for the outlawed South Moluccan
Republic (RMS). When this RMS-supporter was visiting the Netherlands,
Alamsyah presented him with pieces of silver wrapped in fine batik from
Java, with the request to detain the RMS leader who was residing in his
country. According to Alamsyah, that bribe had done the trick, and he
suggested that Indonesia should also not hesitate to bribe the US Senators,
who had put pressure on Indonesia after the November 12, 1991 Dili

This report in the Indonesian daily, Pikiran Rakyat, of Dec 7, 1991, did
not specify which head of state was bribed, for an insulting cheap price,
by Alamsyah. However, from researching South Moluccan politics one can know
that only Benin (formerly Dahomey) had at one stage officially recognized
three Indo-Melanesian independence movements -- the South Moluccas, West
Papua, and East Timor. Another West African country, Senegal, had only
supported the West Papuans with an embassy in Dakar, while the Lusophone
countries, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cabo Verde, and Sao Tome e
Principe, have only supported -- and are still supporting -- East Timor.

In mid 1987, the then Indonesian defense minister General Benny Murdani
"contributed" US$ 139,000 to Ret. General Ted Diro, former PNG defense
minister and forestry minister in Paias Wingti's cabinet, to assist Diro's
People's Action Party's election campaign. The exposure of this bribe --
and many others in the forestry sector -- ended Diro's political career
(The Bulletin , June 23, 1992, pages 28-30).

Earlier this year, the Australian media publicised the close business
partnership of Victorian Labour Left politician Gerry Hand, with the
Indonesian Christmas Island casino baron, Robby Sumampouw. This Indonesian
businessman has profitted tremendously from his more than long association
with General Benny Murdani and President Suharto's youngest son, Tommy
Suharto (Tony Wright, "How Labor's Gerry Hand hit the jackpot in Jakarta,"
Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 30, 1995; George Aditjondro, "Man with the right
mates," West Australian, Jan 3, 1996; David Jenkins, "Mr. Robby's biggest
bet," Sydney Morning Herald, March 30, 1996; Lindsay Murdoch, "Mr Robby's
world, " The Melbourne Age, Feb 22, 1996).

Then, the third diplomatic carrot in the South Pacific region was a shady
business deal between a company owned by the Suharto family, PT Harapan
Insani, with a Vanuatu-registered company, Dragon Bank, owned by a
Malaysian Chinese. Harapan Insani itself is directed by Ibnu Widoyo, a
brother-in-law of President Suharto. With funds channelled through this
mysterious bank, Harapan Insani was supposed to build a 101-storey
telecommunication tower, an "Eiffel Tower of the East" in Jakarta, worth
US$ 8 billion, plus a US$ 80 billion tourist resort on Langkawi Island in
Malaysia. The Vanuatu connection enjoyed the full blessing of Vanuatu's
Reserve Bank Governor and finance department secretary, Barak Sope, while
the Langkawi mega-project had the blessing of Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir as well.

Both schemes collapsed when the Dragon Bank branch in Jakarta could not
honour its committments with the Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) and
the Hongkong Bank branch in Jakarta. Eventually, after this scandal broke
out in the media, the Indonesian government cancelled the operating permit
of this mysterious bank, while Ibnu Widoyo had to face police
interrogations in Jakarta. This case, which smells of money laundering,
might not just stop in Jakarta, where Ibnu Widoyo's powerful brother-in-law
still rules the country. The Australian government is currently
investigating a possible fraud of US$ 100 million in Vanuatu Government
bonds, involving an Australian citizen and the mysterious Dragon Bank
(Sydney Morning Herald, June 18 and July 30, 1996; Economic and Business
Review Indonesia, June 26, 1996; Neraca, July 18, 1996).

What have all those three South Pacific scandals in common? They all
involved local politicians, -- Ted Diro, Gerry Hand, and Barak Sope --, who
were once known to support the West Papuan and East Timorese independence

Another important businessperson-cum-diplomat who has worked hard to
counter the international East Timor solidarity movement is Siti Hardiyanti
Rukmana, also known as Tutut, the eldest daughter of President Suharto.
Apart from controlling a large business empire, Citra Lamtoro Persada (CLP)
Group, she is also a chairperson of Indonesia's ruling party, Golkar, and
heads a number of charities as well as an Indonesian-Portuguese friendship
association. She only befriends, however, Portuguese and East Timorese who
support Indonesia's occupation of East Timor. These friends can thereby
enjoy preferential business deals with Indonesia.

Three East Timorese 'friends', who have enjoyed her patronage are Abilio
Araujo, who lives in Portugal, the late Jose Martins, who also lived in
Portugal, and Manuel Tilman, who lives in Macao. Interestingly, they were
all at some stage East Timorese freedom fighters, or had at least attacked
Indonesia's policy publicly. Abilio Araujo was even a Marxist who was one
of the ideologues of Fretilin, the radical pro-independence party in East
Timor. And the late Jose Martins, although he once joined the Indonesian
side by signing the pro-integration declaration in Bali, two days after
Fretilin's unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), later exposed the
role of the military's intelligence apparatus in orchestrating that Bali
declaration, at the UN headquarters in New York.

Recently, representatives of the East Timor diplomatic front have met South
African president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, presenting the
anti-apartheid veteran with a letter from the jailed East Timor leader,
Xanana Gusmao. They asked Mandela to use his charisma as a statesman of
global fame to support the East Timor independence struggle, in return for
the support with the two largest Lusophone countries in Africa, Mozambique
and Angola, had rendered to Mandela's African National Congress (ANC)
during his anti-apartheid struggle.

Unfortunately, Mandela might not be the right person to ask that favour,
since an ANC-affiliated fund raising agency, the Foundation for Peace and
Justice, had suffered huge losses in a sanction-busting US$ 40 million
bungled bank loan that also leads to the doorstep of President Suharto.
That loan, which had been invested in two lucrative business projects in
London and the Cape Peninsula, were provided by an Indonesian bank, Bank
Putera Sukapura (Weekly Mail and Guardian, May 8, 1995, on Apakabar
internet service, May 9, 1995).

As the 1991 report of Indonesia's top 300 business groups published by the
consultancy firm, PT CISI Raya Utama, shows on pages 198-199, this bank was
owned, among others, by two important Indonesian ladies. One was President
Suharto's second daughter, Siti Hediati Heriadi Prabowo, wife of  Mayor
General Prabowo Subianto, commander of the Army special force, Kopassus,
and the other one was Elsye Anneke Ratnawati Harjoyudanto, the wife of
Suharto's eldest son, Sigit Harjoyudanto. Only early last year, on Feb 22,
1995, the Suharto family decided to sell the bank to the top
Indian-Indonesian textile baron, Marimutu Sinivasan, head of the Texmaco
Group. Under its new owners, the bank was officially renamed, Bank Putera
Multikarsa, or BPM (Swasembada, Oct 1995, page 135; Warta Ekonomi, May 27,
1996, pages 96-97).

Hence, Mandela's visit to Jakarta, two years ago, could also be seen as a
business meeting between a client and his banker, not merely as a political
meeting between the African leader and the head of the Non-Aligned Movement

Finally, we also have to take the diplomatic effect of Indonesian
conglomerates investing overseas into consideration. Since conglomerates
owned by Suharto's family and cronies as well as state companies headed by
Suharto's cronies have aggressively expanded their overseas markets, some
governments which initially supported East Timor's right to
self-determination have now changed their votes in the UN. China and
Vietnam, for instance, were among the countries which recognized the
aborted "Democratic Republic of East Timor", declared on November 28, 1975,
and also voted against Indonesia in various UN forums. However, since
Indonesian conglomerates owned by the Suharto family and their cronies
began to invest in China and Vietnam, these two socialist countries have
began to tow the Indonesian line in the UN.

This 'diplomatic effect' of Indonesian conglomerates may also explain the
official US government's line to render de facto recognition of Indonesia's
occupation of East Timor. For instance, the Ryadi family who own the
majority shares in the Lippo Group, have a long standing friendship with
the Clinton family, and had contributed to Clinton's governorial campaign
as well as his 1992 and current presidential campaigns. During the hearings
of the Senate Special Committee on Whitewater, it emerged that Webster
Hubbel, a former law partner in Hillary Clinton's law firm in Arkansas and
former associate attorney-general in the Clinton Administration, had
received a retainer from the Lippo Group during the 18 months between
resigning as associate general and going to jail to serve a two-years
sentence for fraud. On top of that, a Lippo employee, John Huang, who had
handled the US$ 200,000 'donation' from the Riyadis for Clinton's
presidential campaign fund, had even been appointed as a staff for the
deceased Secretary of Trade, Ron, Brown.

The Riyadi family were indeed no strangers in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Together with the family of Jackson Stephens, a large Arkansas businessman
and Clinton backer, they are part-owners of the Worthen Bank. The Riyadis
also have joint business ventures with the Stephens in Hong Kong (Wall
Street Journal,  March 1, 1996; Australian Financial Review, Sept 17, 1996;
William Safire, "The Asian connection, " The New York Times, Oct 7, 1996).
Therefore, it is understandable that  President Clinton refused to meet the
29 youngEast Timorese who camped in the US Embassy in Jakarta during the
1994 APEC.

Likewise, the choice of Indonesia's aircraft industry, IPTN, to locate its
branch company in Alabama is closely connected with the seat of the head of
the appropriation committee in the US Senate. This aircraft industry is one
of the ten state companies headed by President Suharto's most trusted
minister, Dr Rudy Habibie. The minister's younger brother, Fanny Habibie,
has also supported Tutut's East Timor diplomacy from his post as
Indonesia's ambassador for the UK and Ireland. Two meetings between the
pro-independence and pro-Indonesian Timorese took place in London, brokered
by Fanny Habibie and Mbak Tutut.

WITH all these developments in mind, one has to realize that the
international East Timor solidarity movement is facing an increasingly
tougher battlefield. This is all the more a reason to combine economic
pressure with political pressure, just like the Jakarta regime has done, by
targeting Indonesian businesses overseas as well as Indonesian diplomatic
units. In response to the stick and carrot diplomacy of the Suharto regime,
East Timor activists and their supporters should more actively picket the
branch offices of Indonesian state and private business offices, factories,
and showrooms, and organize massive consumer boycotts of Indonesian
products, marketed overseas by companies owned by the Suharto clan and
their cronies.

Therefore, it is a big bonus to the East Timor solidarity movement and
their Indonesian comrades to learn about the Sept 18, decision of the
Maritime Union of Australia to ban Indonesian ships transporting Australian
wheat to the Suharto-family owned Bogasari flour mills in Java. This is a
replay of a similar ban which lasted for three years from the end of 1975
until the end of 1977, in protest against the illegal occupation of East
Timor by the Indonesian military. Hopefully, more similar actions will be
declared by other labour, environment, and human rights movements, world

Newcastle, October 8, 1996

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