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Beyond the Bali 9: Indonesia’s Ongoing Contempt for Human Rights

After ten years of languishing in the Indonesian penal system, Myuran Sukumuran and Andrew Chan have been executed for drug smuggling on Wednesday the 29th of April 2015.

The executions came after months of diplomatic back and forth between Australia and Indonesia, high profile social media campaigns and even weigh-ins from celebrities around the world. Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision to go through with the killings is sure to deeply alter the future of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and cause international debate on the legitimacy of the death penalty and the so-called justice systems that administer it.

Hours after the event, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the decision to remove Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, an unprecedented response to the death penalty being carried out on a citizen. It is currently unknown how long the measures will last, according to The Age, senior government sources say that all aspects of the diplomatic relationship are “on the table”.

Australian politicians say that the Australian public should not “boycott” Indonesia and that the relationship between the two countries, although facing a “dark period”, should remain strong in the future.

Tony Abbott made statements today to the effect that he, or perhaps he means “us”, respects the Indonesian system of justice. All well and good. Diplomacy at times like these is, of course, an important consideration to avoid loss of relations, trade, and potential hostilities.

In saying this without qualification, however, we’ve missed our chance to stand up for our national values in a very real sense. Why has the administration not overtly and clearly denounced the death penalty? We can respect the Indonesian system as a sovereign judicial construct, but this does not imply that we must swallow it whole.

There are aspects of Indonesia’s justice system, as there are of our own, that are simply not good enough. The death penalty is one of them. More than half of the world’s countries have now abolished the punishment, and it is counted as a violation of section five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

There is also the issue of Indonesia’s legal hypocrisy when it comes to their treatment of Indonesian nationals facing the death penalty overseas. Their government, under Widodo’s leadership, has launched a formal appeal to acquit an Indonesia domestic worker on death row in Saudi Arabia for murdering her Saudi employer’s wife.

If President Widodo cannot practice universality in his treatment of human beings, we cannot take him seriously as a democratic leader. The rule of law is one of the most important foundations of the modern democratic state, and to skew the process so that some are treated more fairly than others is to hold democracy, and it’s values, in contempt.

His treatment of the issue has been frivolous at best, declining even to read each separate clemency application as he is required to by law.

To uphold the legitimacy of the death penalty is to state that, under certain circumstances, crimes committed are so reprehensible that their perpetrators are beyond redemption and worthless as human beings. For a crime far worse than this, that argument may hold some weight with some of the less astute moral thinkers among us, but if we are to be sensible in our appraisal of these Chan and Sukumuran, we must recognise that trafficking even a drug as dangerous as heroin is no cause for a state to engage in murder.

We must also acknowledge that these two young men were, factually, not beyond redemption. They had spent ten years in the Indonesian prison system, which is more than enough time to rethink the actions that landed them there. And so they did, Chan becoming a pastor with aspirations of starting a family with his new wife, whom he married on Monday this week, and Sukumuran a qualified artist using his talent to draw attention to the human costs of the Indonesian justice system.

The response from the opposition and from the Greens has been more strident in condemnation of the executions, with Christine Milne stating, “Capital punishment must be abolished wherever in the world it is still carried out. We in Australia must continue to advocate for an end to capital punishment and promote human rights around the world, especially in our region.”

Labour leader Bill Shorten and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek condemned the executions in “the strongest possible terms”, in a joint statement today, questioning their commitment to the rule of law and the impact the killings will have on Indonesia’s reputation.

“Indonesia has not just robbed two young men of their lives but robbed itself of two examples of the strengths of its justice system.”

It has also robbed itself of two men who could have served as mentors to Indonesia’s underfunded and mistreated prison population, giving hope to human beings in a situation that is, for all intents and purposes, hopeless.

There is also the burning question of whether the Australian Federal Police’s decision to alert Indonesian authorities prior to the arrests of the Bali nine in 2005 was a responsible one to make. It is public knowledge that Indonesia executes drug smugglers, so the AFP cannot plead ignorance. At best, their actions unintentionally sentenced nine people to face a corrupt and brutal system of justice, at worst, it was calculated and intentional.

In the wake of the executions, it has come to public attention that Justice Minister Michael Keenan had omitted a line from the ministerial direction of the organisation outlining the role of the AFP in matters concerning the death penalty. The line reads as follows: “[the Australian Federal Police should] take account of the government’s longstanding opposition to the application of the death penalty, in performing its international liaison functions.”

This seems to run contrary to Julie Bishop’s comments that the government has sought to uphold the values of Australians. The Foreign Minister criticised the attention given to the removal of the line, stating that the AFP guidelines and the ministerial directive were “completely different documents.”

This seems to me to be missing the point. Any removal of strong words condemning the death penalty from government publications is cause for discussion, and those responsible for the changes should be subjected to questioning from the press and the public.

On the topic of discussion, there has been talk about “redemption” in the media with regards to Sukumuran and Chan, and I think that’s patently absurd to talk about with regards to the situation. They were not murderers or rapists, they were drug traffickers, men who engaged in a form of business we have made illegal.

When a banker is caught laundering money, the word “redemption” is suspiciously absent. When a CEO is caught funnelling money out of his shareholders accounts, again the word is nowhere to be seen. To use it in the context of drug smuggling is to characterise the behaviour as in some way a condition, rather than a decision, and that seems to me to be in no-one’s best interests but those of cheap political commentators.

Many of those commentators have failed to use this disturbing waste of human life to draw attention to the wider humanitarian issues taking place in Indonesia today. While the eyes of the world are on Widodo and the people he governs, it is high time to critically examine the legitimacy of the power structures in Indonesia and the ways in which they affect the some 252 million inhabitants of the nation.

Advocates for human rights have noted Indonesian government actions as a concern. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have criticized the Indonesian government on multiple subjects. In it’s 2012 World Report, Human Rights Watch stated that “while senior officials pay lip service to protecting human rights, they seem unwilling to take the steps necessary to ensure compliance by the security forces with international human rights and punishment for those responsible for abuses.”

This contempt for human rights seems to have marred Indonesia since it’s establishment as a democracy. The nations first elected president, Sukarno, employed a form of political control he termed “Guided Democracy”, an oxymoron if there ever was one, and seemed to act as more of a de facto emperor than a democratic leader. After being deposed in a United States-backed military coup on October 1st, 1965, the Indonesian and East Timorese people were subjected to decades of abuse and genocidal murder at the hands of the new kingpin, General Suharto. By most estimates, between 500,000 and a million civilians were murdered, and tens of thousands were detained in concentration camps and prisons.

Journalist Kathy Kadane quoted Robert J. Martens as saying that senior U.S. diplomats and CIA officials provided a list of approximately 5,000 names to the Indonesian Army while it was fighting the Indonesian communist party and its supporters.

One would assume that such violence so close to our own borders would engender strong condemnation from our officials, but the reality is far from it. Internal documents from Australian embassies show that officials were approvingly reporting that army units and Muslim groups were working hand in hand to shoot, hack or club to death at least 1,500 suspected Communist Party sympathisers per day, sometimes parading their heads on sticks.

General Suharto relied heavily on the military to “maintain domestic security”, a synonym for suppressing dissent and quashing resistance to his authoritarian style of governance. By 1969, 70% of Indonesia’s provincial governors and more than half its district chiefs were active military officers. Under these conditions, foreign journalists were murdered for reporting on the abuses taking place, including five Australian men in October 1975.

Corruption in the government was rife during Suharto’s reign, with lucrative government contracts, such as the national toll-expressway market, being awarded to his children. The family is said to control about 36,000 km square of real estate in Indonesia, including 100,000 square metres of prime office space in Jakarta and nearly 40% of the land in East Timor.

From 1983-1985, army death squads murdered up to 10,000 suspected criminals in response to a spike in crime rates. Efforts were made to control the freedom of the press by issuing a law that required all media to possess a press operating license, which could be revoked at any time by the Ministry of Information.

While the situation has improved markedly in the years after Suharto’s leadership, conditions are still less than humane for many living in Indonesia, West Papua and East Timor. Many Papuans will be able to recount stories of friends or family members who have been murdered. A study carried out by the University of Sydney claims that the continuation of current practices in West Papua “may pose serious threats to the survival of the indigenous people”.

Torture is not only a reality for Papuans, it is widespread, with significant documentary evidence including “trophy footage” filmed by Indonesian soldiers that depicts extreme abuses being carried out on helpless individuals. Rape and sexual assault has reportedly been used as a weapon by the military and the police forces, with a 1999 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women concluding that security forces used rape as “an instrument of torture and intimidation” and that “torture of women detained by the Indonesian security forces was widespread.”

There are often limited or no investigation into human rights abuses and if any discipline is handed out it is usually a token gesture, with little effect on the perpetrators of the abuse. West Papua is currently off limits to international journalists, who face deportation, attack or imprisonment if they are discovered. The International Red Cross were expelled from the nation in 2010, and in 2012 Peace Brigades International were also forced to depart.

With all this injustice painfully surrounding the people of Indonesia, we simply cannot stop at a condemnation of the murder of two Australian men at the hands of a corrupt judiciary. If we are to call ourselves a nation that values human rights, where better to demonstrate that valuation than with our closest neighbour?

A clear message needs to be sent to Indonesia by Australian political leaders, that if they are to continue to commit genocidal acts on their citizens, that our economic and political relations will be unable to continue. If Australia garners international support for the movement, there is a good chance that the Indonesian leadership will be forced to comply, and that we can reopen the country to human rights organisations, aid groups and inspectors.

The omission of any mention of the crimes being committed under Widodo’s leadership in the Australian media’s response to the executions of Chan and Sukumuran speaks volumes about our leaders commitment to the goal of ending human rights violations in Indonesia. It is our responsibility as citizens of a somewhat functioning democracy to take action, to raise awareness and to push our elected officials to take a stand in our name against torture, rape, murder and genocide.

It is the least we can do.


This article was originally published on the author’s blog, which you can find here.

 

29 comments

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  1. kerri

    Have to say I was curious as to whether, regardless of what the Government tell us to do/accept regarding Indonesia, how many Trips to Bali will be shelved by average Aussies who can’t stomach financially supporting a country that happily doles out the death penalty and seems to have little comprehension of the concept of rehabilitation? I think we will see way more executions in Indonesia. Jokowi seems to regard the death penalty as a sign of his power and the size of his balls. He will sentence as many convicts as possible to prove what a hardline tough leader he is. But then, is that any different to shoving people in orange boats and sending them into a treacherous sea or back to the source of their persecution?? Let he who is without sin……..

  2. mars08

    Aren’t we training some of theirt commando troops?

  3. eli nes

    bali and jakarta are not like stradbroke and brisbane?

  4. Rob Marsh

    mars08, are we? Source please 🙂

  5. Shevill Mathers

    We need a government with balls, not one with one message for TV audiences and another when behind closed doors. Any ‘real’ action will cost money to those who make big money and we can’t have that, can we! The dollar rules.

  6. Kev

    Bit rich lecturing about human rights in Indo. Have you bothered to look at Australia’s record in this regard?

  7. Ricardo29

    I think the author makes the point that we don’t have a lot of high moral ground here, but that shouldn’t stop us making the protests. What disturbs me is that the recent revelations about the possibility of political interference in the sentencing, did not get a chance to be examined. I had high hopes for Jokowi but am disappointed that he seems to be more hardline on drug executions than his predecessor.

  8. Rob Marsh

    Kev, check my previous articles on this site 🙂

  9. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I think a lot of emotive arguments overlook some important points.
    Singapore has the death penalty but it is predominantly Chinese, a former British colony and no one has ever suggested withdrawing our ambassador because one of our citizens was executed there.
    Like some fundamentalist Christians, Muslim countries which adhere to, or whose citizens hanker after, Sharia law rely on religious doctrine similar to the ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ laws of Babylon.
    Countries which have not experienced an industrial revolution still cling to outdated dogmas which we think should have long been cast aside.
    That may seem an arrogant statement and in dealing with countries like Indonesia we tend to be arrogant. Ours is the right way.
    But anyone who has read Charles Dickens’ works knows that it is less than 150 years since Britain treated its children (and of course its convicts) with scant regard for human rights.
    We have to encourage countries which have largely uninformed and ill-educated populations to move into the modern world, not just to use its technology but also to develop its human rights principles.
    We are not good people to lecture Indonesia about human rights considering how we are maltreating refugees in our detention centres. We would be perceived as total hypocrites – as are many so-called Christians of whom, I am sure, Christ would have been ashamed!
    It was he who is credited as saying “Let he who is without sin amongst you cast the first stone” (or words to that effect) in relation to the stoning (in ancient Israel) of a woman accused of adultery – as is still the case in Sharia law.
    We turn a blind eye to those States in the USA which have the death penalty yet the USA is usually loudly condemning others for human rights violations.
    We would have more credibility in our region if we loudly criticised the death penalty in the USA before being critical of neighbours whose development might be regarded as somewhat behind ours.
    Christ is also reported as saying
    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
    —Matthew 7:1-5 KJV (Matthew 7:1-5 other versions) (Thanks Wikipedia!)
    I was brought up as a Christian and I think these and many other sayings attributed to Christ are valid moral lessons.
    I wish I lived in a world where people who claim to believe in a god actually tried to make the world a better place!

  10. PamelaK

    A counter-terrorism unit trained and supplied by Australia is accused of acting as a ‘death squad’ in Indonesia’s West Papua province.

    There’s growing evidence that the squad is involved in torture and killings as parts of efforts by the Indonesian authorities to crush the separatist movement in West Papua. Reporter Hayden Cooper and producer Lisa Mayne travelled to West Papua to file this exclusive report. And a warning, this story contains graphic images.

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3578010.htm

  11. PamelaK

    I think this article sums up Australia’s position quite well…

    You can’t abuse human rights in defiance of international law and then criticise others for doing the same. How did this weaken our ability to plead for mercy for our own citizens? Sunil Badami writes.

    “Only a pathetically weak leader would execute the powerless to prove his strength.”

    That’s Fairfax journalist Peter Hartcher’s assessment of the cruel and inhumane way in which Jokowi put humanity and judicial rigour aside in the lead-up to the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

    He’s right.

    But substitute the words “people smuggler” for “drug smuggler” and ask yourself this: how is Indonesia’s unjust, hard-line, domestically focused mistreatment of foreigners any different to ours?

    Australia too has refused to acknowledge the humanity of foreigners; Australia too has mistreated people in defiance of international law; Australia too has defended its policies using hyperbolic language – all on the basis that punishing a few will save many more.

    Next time, let’s not wait for someone to warm the cockles of our hearts before we take a massed stand against state-sanctioned murder, writes Neil McMahon.

    But will Jokowi’s actions stop drug smuggling any more than Australia’s mistreatment of refugees and their children will prevent people smuggling or stop people fleeing war and unrest?

    In the end, Indonesia isn’t the only country punishing the weak and the powerless for the sake of a weak and powerless leader’s grasp at popularity.

    Something to remember in the next few days is that you lose any claim to moral superiority if you only selectively choose to be compassionate. Human rights are universal, not optional. Many in Australia have criticised Indonesia for pleading clemency for its own condemned nationals overseas – but you can’t abuse human rights in defiance of international law and then criticise others for doing the same.

    As Tony Abbott said today:

    It was completely unacceptable for Indonesia to proceed as it did when critical legal processes were yet to run their course, raising serious questions about Indonesia’s commitment to the rule of law.

    These executions significantly weaken Indonesia’s ability to plead mercy for its own citizens facing execution around the world.

    So what of our refusal to allow for appeals for refugees, to retrospectively change the law, to ignore refoulement contraventions, to designate unborn children “illegals”, to excise the Australian mainland from Australia’s migration zone?

    When the Prime Minister boasts that his Government won’t “succumb to the cries of human rights lawyers”, why should he expect Jokowi’s government to do this?

    And what of our casual treatment of Indonesia’s borders in the name of our “sovereign” ones? How did this weaken our ability to plead for mercy for our own citizens? And how do our human rights abuses affect our ability to lecture others on theirs – a particularly pertinent point, given our bid to join the UN Human Rights Council, even as the new Sri Lankan government accuses the Abbott Government of being silent about the Rajapaksa regime’s human rights abuses in return for cooperation on Australia’s asylum seeker policy?

    What happened in Indonesia last night was terrible – but so too is what is happening every day in our detention centres and on the seas. The same secrecy, the same defiant cruelty, the same indignantly self-righteous sophistry.

    Chan and Sukumaran definitely did not deserve such a punishment for a foolish mistake they made as young men, but why do children and babies, brought by their parents or born in detention, deserve the punishment meted out to them by the Australian Government and its contractors – a life spent in detention without rights or adequate medical and other care?

    If only the Government acted as quickly on reports of sexual abuse in detention as it has in regards to these poor Australian men.

    And if only our Government – whether Liberal or Labor – recognised that you only have moral authority if you exercise and respect, rather than dodge or ignore, your moral obligations.

    If only. It’s a tragedy for all of us, whether Indonesian or Australian.

    Sunil Badami is a writer, broadcaster and performer.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-29/badami-our-selective-compassion-has-come-undone/6431266

  12. Kaye Lee

    We need to clean up our own house. Here is the latest outburst of childish petulance from our Minister for Immigration – seriously, where do they get these people? Do these sound like the words of a responsible national leader or a sooky kid?

    Thursday, 26 March 2015

    The Labor Party has thrown any thought of responsibility aside by joining the Greens to establish a Senate inquiry into the Regional Processing Centre (RPC) in Nauru.

    They are prepared to put Australia’s international relations at risk for perceived political gain.

    The Senate inquiry will be little more than an attack on the people of Nauru and the Government of Nauru.

    A responsible Opposition would not sanction such a blatant political exercise that will potentially harm relations with a neighbouring country.

    Unfortunately it is now clear Bill Shorten’s Labor has no such ethical compass.

    Having handed control of Australia’s borders to the people smugglers who then sent more than 50,000 people flooding into Australia – Labor needed help.

    Nauru, as a good regional neighbour, stepped up to help solve Labor’s problem.

    The Labor Party initiated the RPC arrangements with the Government of Nauru in 2012.

    Now they are repaid by Labor treachery.

    Mr Shorten and Opposition Immigration spokesman Richard Marles are clearly the captives of Labor’s ratbag Left.

    The Government and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have just considered and accepted all of the recommendations of the Moss Review into the Nauru RPC.

    But even before any action to effect those recommendations can be taken, Labor and the Greens have combined their numbers in the Senate to establish another inquiry.

    Their actions stand condemned for what they are – little more than a political witchhunt at the expense of the Australian taxpayer.

    http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/peterdutton/2015/Pages/labor-sanctions-irresponsible-inquiry.aspx

  13. kate ahearne

    Yes, it’s a great big fat problem that Australia has such an appalling human rights record itself. However, that onky means that we need to stand firm against human rights atrocities everywhere.

  14. diannaart

    I agree Kate, Australia must continue to speak out against human rights abuses beginning with itself, important trading partners and not confined to non-Anglo-Saxon countries.

  15. Rob Marsh

    With regard to Australia starting with itself on condemning human rights abuses, I wholeheartedly agree, and if you have the time a quick look over my blog will reveal the majority of my articles are calling for just that. It is hypocritical for our government to criticise other nations when their own behaviour has caused such widespread suffering among indigenous people, asylum seekers and the poor and sick of Australia.

    That said, this does not exempt us from decrying the ill treatment of our brothers and sisters worldwide, and we should not feel stymied in our ability to do this because of the ineptness and callousness of our elected leaders.

  16. Kaye Lee

    I also agree that we must stand up and decry human rights abuses everywhere but the truly frustrating thing is we can immediately make a difference here and should.

    Peter Dutton infuriates me as does Scott Morrison. With all the evidence from multiple sources of the abuse that asylum seekers are facing in offshore detention, Dutton and Morrison STILL label any criticism as a “political stitch-up”. Politicians from both sides want to score points to further their own career ambitions rather than to actually help refugees.

    The incarceration rate for Aboriginal people is deplorable as is the death rate from treatable and preventable conditions such as diabetes and respiratory illnesses. And yet we view everything in dollar cost. We can’t afford to support their “lifestyle choices” yet we can apparently easily afford Abbott’s “lifestyle choice” to live in Sydney when he works in Canberra – a choice that is costing us tens of millions.

    With forty-five per cent of Australians with disabilities living near or below the poverty line, the Coalition sacked the Disability Discrimination Commissioner to gift a job to the IPA’s Tim Wilson.

    We won’t even allow a vote on marriage equality.

    Our anti-terror and metadata retention laws subvert our justice system by removing people’s legal rights.

    If we can’t even get our own government to act humanely what hope do we have to influence other regimes?

  17. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    If we can’t even get our own government to act humanely what hope do we have to influence other regimes?

    We, the people of Australia, can make the same claims of far too many other nations: “My government does not represent my values, beliefs or expectations”.

  18. helvityni

    I’m too angry and upset with the antics of the Abbott government to have any energy left to be worried what about happens in other. countries. When I think they can’t go any lower, they come up with some new horror, as surely as night follows day.

  19. David Bruce

    Three observations: first, the AFP knew they were signing death warrants when they made the tip off to Indonesia. If they hadn’t done that at that time, the two masterminds would have created a pipeline for regular, large, drug shipments to Australia; second, the Indonesians have imposed martial law in west Papua to allow the secret removal of huge quantities of Gold by Freeport Mining and other US miners; third, I believe Australia is being blackmailed by Indonesia with the threat to release the floodgates and assist 1,000’s of refugees to get to Australia… just what Abbort needs before the next election?

  20. helvityni

    When are Abbott and Bishop going to lecture US on capital punishment? What about China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan…? Don’t be shy, guys.

  21. mars08

    I have a cunning plan!

    Let’s tap the mobile phones of the Indonesian president and other senior officials… that should improve diplomatic relations immeasurably…

  22. Annie B

    @ Rob Marsh – an extremely well written article – covers so very much, in relation to the outrages, both here and over there.

    One observation re : “It has also robbed itself of two men who could have served as mentors to Indonesia’s underfunded and mistreated prison population, giving hope to human beings in a situation that is, for all intents and purposes, hopeless.” …. questioning :

    Is that precisely why they singled out these two men to murder. ?

    The likes of Widodo wouldn’t like anyone interfering with the brutality they pride themselves on, in their prison system. … Would not want ‘mentors’ or anyone in there, helping other prisoners to stand up for their self esteem, become better and more peaceful individuals. …. I believe that would NOT go down well with that cruel regime. ….

    Just a thought.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  23. Annie B

    @ David Bruce …. while I agree with most of your comment, there is one point that rankles, somewhat.

    The AFP knowingly allowed the alleged ringleaders ( Chan and Sukumuran ) to be detained before they left Indonesia. ” If they hadn’t done that at that time, the two masterminds would have created a pipeline for regular, large, drug shipments to Australia ” ….

    If the Australian Feds. had waited ( bearing in mind they knew of the offences, which resulted in them tipping off the Indonesian authorities ), … and had arrested them when they arrived here with the heroin strapped to their bodies, the AFP would have been able to :

    a) show the powers behind these drug deals, that we CAN act to stop the entry of drugs here ( small potatoes to a degree, compared to some other shipments found here at other times ) ..

    b) stopped the ‘two masterminds’ from creating further pipelines for regular, large drug shipments to here which would have had the powers-that-be in Indonesia, casting about for further head sherangs and couriers !

    c) been able to glean far far more information from the two arrested, as … on their own home soil, knowing they faced jail time – but NOT the death penalty, it is my thought they’d have sung like canaries, naming names and routes of the operation in Indonesia. …. If indeed they were as far up the drug dealing food chain as you have suggested. … At that point, at much younger ages … they’d have most likely said or done anything to garner a few favourable points towards their looming indictment into the court system and ultimately jail.

    Again – just a few thoughts …..

  24. Rob Marsh

    Annie B, thanks for your insight, I hadn’t considered that at all. It’s possible, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some element of that kind of thinking in the Indonesian government/judiciary.

    As usual though, we can only really go by professed intentions.

    Cheers,

    Rob

  25. Annie B

    Thanks Rob ….

    And I agree – ‘professed intentions’ we go by, and they are aplenty, but I don’t think we can ever dare be so lacadaisical as to pretend that all is above board, or take anything on face value. ( not that you have said any such thing ). – – –

    As most have noted now, or are beginning to note, nothing is really ‘above board’ – not in poitics, not in religion, and not in international relations.

    We must therefore, entertain some distrust and cynicism about it all – or at least be prudent and careful about it all, especially re. politics. …( I do not extend that comment to family, friends and honest and decent folk who post on independent media and social networks, with their genuine and well considered, concerns. )

    If we don’t severely question, then we are completely down the gurgler – and washed out to sea with other detritus – as current politics sees fit to try and bring about !!!.

  26. kerri

    If the power to order execution is solely in the hands of Widodo, then it should be Widodo who pulls the trigger.

  27. diannaart

    Exactly, Kerri.

    One of my favorite characters on GoT, is Lord Eddard Stark (know affectionately as ‘Ned’ by friends and family), he always performed his own be-headings – high standards of responsibility that man.

  28. Dom Fammartino

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