Something amiss about the Government’s handling of demonstrations

There is something amiss in the Government’s handling of the demonstrations that have taken place in at least nine cities over the past week.

It is at best, half-hearted and amateurish; at worst, grist for a conspiracy theorist’s mill.

Contrast this week’s handling of protests with that of how it handled the protests surrounding the riots of May 21 and 22, after Prabowo refused to accept the results of the Election Commission’s decision that Jokowi had won the presidential elections.

Reformation in Repair. Source: The Jakarta Post

The police acted with discipline, determination and restraint.

And it was communicative, calling press conferences and briefing the media often on developments and messages the government wanted the citizens to know. Police Chief Tito Karnavian was also highly visible in press conferences, giving the public an assurance that things were being handled properly and everything was under control.

Jokowi too was visible, giving press briefings and appearing confident that everything was under control.

Unspun remembers conversations with Jakarta old timers marveling about how professional the Indonesian Police Force could be if it wanted to.

Then the student demonstrations began last Wednesday and the Police suddenly looked amateurish again in their handling of protestors. Time and again the police had to apologize for its mistakes and videos of police brutality began cropping up.

It had to apologize for a policeman running into a mosque with shoes on to apprehend a protestor. It had to backtrack after accusing Jakarta City ambulances of carrying rocks, petrol for Molotov cocktails and fireworks to supply rioters. It shot teargas into Atma Jaya University, a zone set aside for first aid to injured protestors.

In its communications Police seemed to play a defensive game, otherwise issuing admonitions that fell on deaf ears.

And all this wall, what realty stood out was the absence of leadership. Tito gave a press conference somewhere but he said nothing substantial. He then virtually disappeared from the public eye.

On the Government’s side the deafening silence from Jokowi is astounding. That left the way open for the relics of his government, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto and Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko to fill in the vacuum with their tone-deaf hectoring and defensive statements. Many wondered why the Presidential Chief of Staff, who should concern himself with the internal running of the presidential office, was acting as government spokesperson.

In the vacuum of information that they have created, all sorts of conspiracy theories have begun to surface.

Some say that Jokowi has his hands full trying to balance the demands of the parties in the new Cabinet. Others say that the police ineptness is part of a conspiracy to weaken him. Still others hint of dark forces at play orchestrating paid rioters to create mayhem.

Nobody really knows what’s happening and whether the government will get a handle on things, and that’s the problem.

Indonesia is at an important juncture. After over two decades of Reformasi, corruption and sense of entitlement among the elite have made a strong comeback. The swift and cavalier passage of the Bills to the KPK law and Criminal Code was a manifestation of this comeback and its contempt for the other sectors of Indonesian society.

Through the passage of the Bills Parliament has shown that it cannot be trusted to act in the public’s interest. The Judiciary Has along ago been discounted as an institution that can protect their rights. And now the Executive, helmed by Jokowi, is also showing signs of tentativeness, indecision and compliance to the demands of conservatives.

What that means for most people is that Indonesia is approaching a failed state. This sounds dramatic but how do you describe a nation when none of the branches of government can be relied on to act as a check and balance of the other branches?

This is why the students are right in refusing to meet with Jokowi unless it is in an open forum where he can be held accountable. And they are right to continue the pressure through further protests until the message gets through that the Executive and the Legislature is accountable to the people.

The mystery behind the police apology

There is something very strange about this story.

Early this Police stopped 5 Jakarta City (DKI) ambulances on Jalan Gatot Subroto.

In at least one they found rocks and petrol. They suspected that the ambulances were being used to supply rocks for throwing at police and fireworks, said Kumparan. Other news outlets said there was also petrol for making Molotov cocktails.

The ambulances were impounded and police released a video of the interception on their twitter feed.

In the video, a policeman was heard saying that they were carrying rocks and fireworks.

The Twitter posts have been taken down.

Later today Polda Metro Jaya spokesman Argo Yuwono said that there was a misunderstanding. The ambulance (or ambulances – it is not clear) were not, as the Police initially suspected, ferrying rocks and Fireworks to rioters.

There was a misunderstanding, he said. He went on to clarify that the rocks and Fireworks got into one of the ambulances because a rioter had been cornered by police and he sought to hide in the ambulance that happened to be nearby.

Ergo, it was a random act by a single rioter.

This raises several questions:

1. How did the rioter get into the ambulance int he first place?

2. Rocks, especially when packed in a a cardboard box (seed for Aqua bottled) must be heavy. He was so strong he could run to evade the police and jump into the ambulance?

3. Ambulances have drivers and attendants. Were they oblivious to a super-strong rioter loaded with rocks and fireworks jumping onto the back of their ambulance?

The mind boggles.

Uncouth Harley riders, police lackeys and one brave cyclist in Jogjakarta

Who among us who have the sense not to buy a big bike in Indonesia  do not resent the Harley Davidson riders?

They ride with seeming impunity on the roads we have a share in, polluting the environment with their throaty machines, violating our right of way with their convoys, brazenly violating the law with their illegal sirens and look extremely smug because the police they hire push the rest of us aside to make room for them.

One of the photos of the Jogja confrontation going viral on social media
One of the photos of the Jogja confrontation going viral on social media

So it is with great satisfaction that we see a brave citizen and cyclist in Jogjakarta taking on the Harley riders and their lackeys, the traffic police. Photos and videos of the incident has gone viral on social media. The videoclip below is long but worth looking at:

This video is enough to make any Harly Davidson rider with any sense of dignity hang up their leathers for good. How can grown, educated men behave in such a way?

Ah, the harley Davidson riders would say, but those are the bad riders who give us a bad name. We are the responsible ones who don’t do things like that. Tell that to the rest of us when we have seen you do something like that cyclist in Jogja. Of all people,if you really care for The Ride then you should be at the forefront of doing something like this.

Otherwise take your unnecessarily expensive leather jackets, the macho T-shirts you have to such your stomach in to look halfway decent, and your ridiculous bandana hiding your thinning pate up your exhaust pipes.

Where the police are concerned, they are so corrupt and obsequetious they are not worth getting angry over. You wonder what the police chiefs make of this incident. They’d probably be raging, but for the wrong reasons because either they or their mates are probably in the Harley convoy.  Shame. Shame. Shame.

 

 

 

Susno: comeback king or a wounded bull in a china shop?

I’ve said my piece in the Jakarta Globe article below. What do you think?

Susno Duadji. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Susno Duadji. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

NGO Testing Susno’s Food for Poison

Susno Duadji says he has taken steps to ensure his safety after making corruption allegations against fellow officers in the National Police.

“I’m not a little boy anymore. I calculated the risks before I opened my mouth. I’m not afraid. I know the National Police institution and I have taken preventive measures,” the former National Police chief detective told detik.com.

He said he anticipated the possibility of being slandered, attacked, imprisoned and even murdered.

“I don’t stay in one place anymore now. It’s not safe for me anymore,” he said.

Susno has even enlisted an NGO to sample his food lest he be poisoned.

“We’re guarding his health because he’s under a lot of pressures,” said Dr Joserizal Jurnalis of the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee or MER-C.

Susno appears to have made a remarkable comeback in the public sphere. Reviled late last year as king of the corrupt “crocodiles” in a battle against the “geckoes” of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), he now presents himself as a man risking his life to battle graft. He has even been mentioned as a candidate to lead the KPK. 

But talk of Susno heading the antigraft agency comes from politicians “with an axe to grind,” says media strategist Ong Hock Chuan of Jakarta’s Maverick public relations firm.

“The press picks up those interpretations and presents them as fact,” said Ong, who dismissed the notion that Susno could actually get the position.

Meanwhile, Ong suspects Susno’s actions are not a strategy to reinvent himself but simply an attempt at revenge. The longtime police officer was removed from his position in the wake of the KPK scandal.

“I think he’s like a bull in a china shop, a wounded bull. It’s about getting back at the people who cost him his career,” he said.

JG

Why we all should support Susno for KPK chief

It is, of course, complete nonsense that disgraced-police-top-brass-turned -whistle-blower Susno Duadji should even be considered as a candidate to lead the Corruption Eradication Commission.

The preposterous suggestion comes from Golkar, a party with a huge axe to grind, especially after they failed to oust Boediono and Sri Mulyani in the recent furore over the Bank Century case, and therefore should be ignored.

Despicable slimeball as he is, however, Susno deserves all our support and encouragement for the time being. This is because he is the guy who knows where all the skeletons are buried in the Police Force. And now that he’s been done out of a career in the Police Force, sacrificed, as it were by fellow slimeballs and corrupt officers, he’s now out for revenge by spilling the beans on his former comrades.

This is unsavory but healthy for the nation for it will help bleed corruption out of the system faster than other means. It is interesting to see how the implicated police officers are now screaming blue murder and getting all defensive about their role in the alleged corruption cases.

All of them have predictably protested innocence but how innocent are they? If the country’s journalists are worth their salt they would go digging around the houses and families of these police officers. How many of their wives would sport Bulgari watches, Louis Vuitton or Hermes handbags? What luxury cars do they and their family members drive? How many Blackberries per household? These are telltale signs of the integrity of lowly paid police officers and it is extremely simple to find out. So Unspun is at a loss why the journalists haven’t gotten of their backsides to do some investigation.

In the meantime and in the absence of some investigative spirit among the journalists the only recourse we have left is to egg and encourage Susno on in his mad quest for revenge. Feed his delusion that he could be the head of KPK, or even the police department, stoke his ego or whatever it takes to keep him spilling the beans on the corruption in the police department.

So anyone up for a “Susno for President” campaign?

Susno has chance to lead the KPK

The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Mon, 03/22/2010 4:23 PM  |  National

Former National Police detective chief Susno Duadji has been tipped as a candidate to lead the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

“Susno has a chance,” legislator Bambang Soesatyo from the Golkar Party said as quoted by kompas.com.

The KPK has no chairman after the House of Representatives rejected the government regulation-in-lieu-of-law that appointed Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean as KPK acting chairman, replacing Antasari Azhar who was found guilty of murder.

Four KPK deputy chairmen, however, remain on active duty.

Bambang said the government must decide quickly whether the KPK should have a new chairman or whether the current deputy chairmen were sufficient.

Remembered with fondness and respect: Hoegeng

This is the second time in two weeks that Unspun’s heard of the legendary Hoegeng, the chief of police who was so much of a straight shooter that he was removed from office by Suharto.

The first time Unspun heard of Hoegeng was from an old-time Jakarta resident. Speaking of corruption he told me about how Hoegeng was so honest that Suharto had to remove him.

He also told a story about how vindictive the New Order administration was. When Hoegeng’s son applied for a business permit he was refused because of his name. A friendly official told him that if he wanted his permit approved he should change or abbreviate his name.

Like his father he had integrity and refused. As a result he had great difficulty getting a permit.

The straight arrows of today may face a difficult life but people remember them and with affection and admiration. Surely it means more to Hoegeng’s family if the patriarch is remembered with respect rather than contempt?

Contrast that with the Police’s top brass today. How many of them are living in styles not commensurate with their pay checks? How can they hold their heads high when meeting anyone?

What’s more intriguing is how will their children cope? What would you do if one day you realized that your luxurious life, the cars that the family has, the Richard Mille watch your dad wears, the money he spent on your education all came from corruption?

What do you do then?

Hoegeng

Posted by iman under: HUKUM & ETIKA; TOKOH .

Hugeng

Suatu hari di bulan September 1971, setelah Hoegeng Iman Santoso dicopot sebagai Kapolri oleh Presiden Soeharto. Ia mengembalikan semua barang barang inventaris milik dinas termasuk peralatan radio dan mobil.

Jend Pol. M Hassan yang menggantikannya menemuinya.

“ Kamu kok gila gilan, semua barang kamu kembalikan ? “.

“ Habis khan bukan punya saya “ Jawabnya.

Hoegeng juga mengatakan kalau ia naik bis kota saja untuk kemana mana. Sang Kapolri pengganti tak sampai hati, sehingga memaksa untuk meminjamkan mobil kepadanya.

Ini memang bukan cerita khayal tentang integritas seorang pejabat publik di Indonesia, bahwa di negeri ini pernah ada orang mengangkat kejujuran di atas segala galanya.

Jauh sebelumnya, ketika masih menjabat sebagai Kepala Jawatan Imigrasi – sekarang Dirjen – Hoegeng pernah mengusir seorang pengusaha asal Aceh kesayangan Bung Karno. Waktu itu pengusaha besar itu meminta paspor diplomatik, dengan iming iming akan memberi uang jatah bulanan kepada Hoegeng.

Kelak, dalam sebuah pertemuan di Istana, si pengusaha itu berusaha memberi impresi kepada Hoegeng bahwa ia dekat dengan Bung Karno. Tapi Hoegeng tak perduli, ia langsung mengatakan di depan presiden bahwa, orang itu hendak menyogoknya. Serta merta, Bung Karno memarahi habis habisan di depan Hoegeng.

via Iman Brotoseno » Hoegeng.

Jakarta foreign correspondents question deportation of 2 journalists

Can someone do a favor for the Indonesian Police and buy them a copy of Dale Carniegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People?

As if they do not have their hands full managing the ill will that is emanating from their bungling of the KPK investigations, the Indonesian Police just had to go out to make enemies on yet another front.

This time it’s the foreign journalists and obviously the police have not heard of the saying that “you never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

Yesterday, Indonesian police detained and deported two journalists who were covering a project in which Greenpeace was demonstrating against a business concern.

Today the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club responded with an email to its members questioning why the journalists had been detained and deported while apparently doing their jobs.

Typical of journalists, however, the JFCC did not say whether the email was only for members’ consumption or whether they will deliver it in the form of a letter to the authorities. None of the 5Ws – who, what, why, when, where and how. Go figure.

The Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club is deeply concerned about the detention and deportation of two foreign journalists who were reporting on a Greenpeace protest against deforestation in Indonesia.

Raimundo Bultrini, a reporter for the Italian ‘l’Espresso’ weekly and Kumkum Dasgupta, an editor with the ‘Hindustan Times’ of India were forced out of the country on Wednesday.

Free reporting and movement of the media should be protected as a cornerstone of democracy. We strongly protest the apparent violation of press freedom and request immediate clarification from immigration authorities.

These journalists were visiting Sumatra to report on a protest by the international organization Greenpeace when they were held by the police for hours of questioning. They were watching the deforestation caused by several pulp and paper and palm oil companies.

After being interrogated they were told they would be deported for “illegal activities” for allegedly not obtaining local permission to be in the area.

Local immigration officials say the two had obtained journalist visas from national authorities. Neither was on a tourist visa. By obtaining the visas they showed their respect for Indonesian laws and regulations.

We at the JFCC would like to know on what grounds the two journalists were expelled. What exactly were their “illegal activities” and on which law or regulation were the deportations based?

The JFCC Executive Committee