The Jakarta Post
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Surabaya
Another WikiLeaks document on Indonesia appeared
in The Age on Saturday, revealing the reasons for
the US Embassy in Indonesia’s decision to turn
down deputy defense minister Lt. Gen. Sjafrie
Sjamsoeddin’s application for a visa to the US.
In 2009, Sjafrie, a senior adviser to President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the time, was
scheduled to accompany Yudhoyono to Pittsburgh to
attend a G20 meeting. The US Embassy in Jakarta
denied him the entry recommendation.
According to leaked embassy cables, the Jakarta
embassy was about to issue a visa to Sjafrie but
“advice” from the US Embassy in Dili, Timor Leste, led to the rejection.
The cables allege that Sjafrie, while serving as
an Indonesian special forces commander in then
East Timor, was responsible for directing the
Santa Cruz cemetery massacre in 1991.
Sjafrie was also accused of being responsible for
widespread violence committed by Indonesian
troops in Dili after East Timor’s vote for independence in 1999.
In its communiqué, the US embassy in Dili said
Sjafrie was responsible for acts of violence in 1991 and 1999.
Indonesian Defense Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.
On Friday, Australian newspapers The Age and the
Sydney Morning Herald published WikiLeaks
documents hinting that Yudhoyono abused his power
upon taking office in 2004. It also claimed First
Lady Kristiani Herawati used her husband’s
influence by setting up several companies after Yudhoyono took office.
On Saturday, The Age also ran Yudhoyono’s denial
in a piece titled “President rejects corruption claim”.
It also contained statement issued Friday by US
Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel, who said
embassy reports to Washington were often “incomplete and unsubstantiated”.
Yudhoyono said it was regrettable the newspapers
published the allegations without seeking his
side of the story first. The Indonesian
government and Yudhoyono aides were quick to
publicly dismiss the reports as untrue.
Some critics, however, remain unconvinced.
Din Syamsudin the chairman of Muhammadiyah,
Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization,
said Saturday that Yudhoyono had to clarify the
allegations in the articles in reference to abuse of power.
“The President must speak up. It’s not enough [to
address the issue] through his spokespeople or
aides because we know the President has spoken
out on even small problems,” he said.
Din dismissed speculation the reports were an act
of foreign intervention to topple the Indonesian government.
Foreign institutions have the freedom to publish
data and facts, which the Indonesian government
must counter through facts too, he added.
“If the President remains quiet by not providing
clarification or filing a lawsuit, this incident
will repeat itself, and it will send the message
that the reports are true,” he said.
The Jakarta Post [website] Sunday, March 13, 2011
Presidential Staffer Regrets “Sloppy” Australian Reports
The Australian media’s recent Wikileaks-sourced
stories alleging that President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono abused his power are regrettable,
according to a senior presidential official.
A report entitled “Yudhoyono ‘abused power’”
published in The Age on Friday and echoed by The
Sydney Morning Herald were “sloppy” and that the
right of reply offered by the dailies to
Yudhoyono was inadequate, presidential spokesman
on political issues Daniel Sparingga, said.
“Sloppiness does not represent press from a
nation that respects another nation,” he said on
Saturday as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.
According to a US State Department cable released
by Wikileaks, Yudhoyono personally intervened to
halt prosecution of Taufik Kiemas, husband of
former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, in a
graft case centered on infrastructure projects, the reports said.
Daniel said that he regretted the way the US
Embassy in Indonesia treated classified
information and that an apology from the embassy
was inadequate. American diplomats should change
their views of the US and of other countries in
the wake of the Wikileaks scandal, he said.
The Jakarta Globe Sunday, March 13, 2011
US Embassy Plays Down Significance of Documents
The United States Embassy in Jakarta has refused
to comment on the explosive revelations made by
embassy sources about President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono and published in Australian daily The Age.
Ambassador Scot Marciel said in a statement on
Friday, issued after his meeting in the morning
with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, that the
US Department of State did not comment on
specific material, including classified documents, that had been leaked.
He also characterized the embassy’s field
reporting to Washington as “candid and often raw
information. It is preliminary, often incomplete and unsubstantiated.”
Marciel went on to say that the information
provided “is not an expression of policy, nor
does it always shape final policy decisions.
These documents should not be seen as having
standing on their own or as representing US policy.”
“This type of publication is extremely
irresponsible and we express our deepest regrets
to President Yudhoyono and the Indonesian people,” he said.
In a similar statement issued later on Friday,
the US Embassy said the United States “deeply
regrets the disclosure of any information that
was intended to be confidential, including
private discussions between counterparts or our
diplomats’ personal assessments and observations.”
“Our official foreign policy is not set through
these messages, but in Washington. Our policy is
a matter of public record, as reflected in our
statements and our actions around the world,” it
said. “Any unauthorized disclosure of classified
information by Wikileaks has harmful implications
for the lives of identified individuals that are
jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations.”
The statement also said Washington was fortunate
to have a very strong partner in Yudhoyono.
Marty told reporters later on Friday that the
contents of the US Embassy cables were based on
talks held over dinner tables and at receptions.
“They gathered information, views, hearsay and
they reported what they heard to Washington,” he
said, adding that the Indonesian government would
continue to monitor future WikiLeaks reports.
“If this was something substantial, for example
they mentioned the state’s view [on something] as
A while it is actually B, we would have to …
respond to it because it was not true.”