30 July 2009
Can rape be a joke or perhaps an accident? The Victorian County Court, before Judge Tim Wood, is soon going to have to determine this very issue. The case involves a buck's night, the best man, a stripper, and a strap-on pink dildo. Yes, the makings of a very interesting story and turn of events that have resulted in claims of rape and the rape being nothing more than a joke.
The rape is alleged to have occurred in 2007. Perhaps alleged is the wrong word as the event occurred and all parties agree that it occurred. The substance of this issue is whether the event is rape.
The stripper, Linda Maree Naggs, is accused of using the strap-on pink dildo to violate the best man. After unequivocally stating that he did not want to have the dildo stuck in his anus, Naggs went ahead and did it anyway. This was done in spite of his insistence that he did not want to be violated. It has always been a case of "No" means "No" when one discusses the wishes of a woman declining sexual intercourse. Simply, "No" does not sometimes mean "Yes" or "Maybe" or "just do it as I am only playing hard to get." No means no, and this standard must not differ between women and men.
Naggs has pleaded not guilty to rape.
There is little need to get into the nitty gritty details and specifics. However, suffice to say, the alleged rape caused physical injuries to the best man. And, at this point there was some push and shove, and a demand for a refund of the stripping fee. Naggs refused and then threatened to call in some bikie acquaintances to settle the matter.
The best man kept the black-strapped strap-on pink dildo as evidence and this was tendered to the court.
Rape can never be a joke!
This post has been amended slightly from the original posting for the purposes of accuracy with regards to the names of victim and the prosecutor in the case.
This is the latest travel advice for Indonesia that I have received.
Make of it what you will. The internal links are working when I checked them. What appears below is the overall summary of the advice. I have also cut and pasted the section on terrorism. This section includes a statement that Indonesian authorities have provided information that terrorists may be intending to kidnap foreigners. If you want to read the advice in full, then follow the relevant links.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza 09 in a number of countries throughout the world, including Indonesia. For a list of these countries, visit the WHO website. For further information and advice to Australians, including on possible quarantine measures overseas, see our travel bulletin on H1N1 Influenza 09.
- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack.
- On 17 July 2009, terrorists detonated bombs at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. Australians were among those killed and injured.
- There is a possibility of further terrorist attacks in Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia, including Bali. In past years, terrorists have attacked nightclubs, bars, restaurants and hotels in Bali and Jakarta. In the wake of the 17 July Jakarta bombings, we judge that these types of venues in Bali and Jakarta are still targets of interest to terrorists.
- We continue to receive credible information that terrorists could be planning attacks in Indonesia and that Bali remains an attractive target for terrorists. You should exercise great care, particularly around locations that have a low level of protective security.
- If you do decide to travel to Indonesia, you should exercise extreme caution.
- Previous terrorist attacks against Westerners in Bali and Jakarta indicate these areas are priority targets. You should take particular care to avoid places known to be terrorist targets. See the Terrorism section for details.
- Presidential elections were held on 8 July 2009. There were incidents of violence in Papua during the parliamentary elections in April 2009, including attacks on infrastructure. There is a possibility of further attacks, including on infrastructure, in the period surrounding the Presidential elections.
- Since 11 July 2009 there has been a series of violent attacks near the Freeport Mine in Papua. One Australian has been killed in these attacks. Further violence is possible.
- Australians should avoid all protests, demonstrations and rallies as they can turn violent.
- We advise you to read carefully the sections on travel to Aceh, Central Sulawesi Province, Maluku, Papua and West Timor where additional safety risks exist.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed human deaths from avian influenza in Indonesia, including Bali. The Indonesian Government has declared that rabies is present in Bali. See the Health Issues section below for advice to Australians travelling to or resident in Indonesia.
- You should telephone ahead for an appointment before going to the Australian Embassy (See Where to Get Help).
- Because of the serious terrorist threat we strongly recommend that you register your travel and contact details with us so we can contact you in an emergency.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia due to the very high threat of terrorist attack. Ask yourself whether, given your own personal circumstances, you're comfortable travelling to Indonesia knowing there is a very high threat from terrorism and you may be caught up in a terrorist attack. Ask yourself whether travel could be deferred or an alternative destination chosen. If, having considered these issues, you do decide to travel to Indonesia, you should exercise extreme caution.
On 17 July 2009, terrorists detonated bombs at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. Australians were among those killed and injured.
There is a possibility of further terrorist attacks in Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia, including Bali. In past years, terrorists have attacked nightclubs, bars, restaurants and hotels in Bali and Jakarta. In the wake of the 17 July Jakarta bombings, we judge that these types of venues in Bali and Jakarta are still targets of interest to terrorists.
We continue to receive credible information that terrorists could be planning attacks in Indonesia and that Bali remains an attractive target for terrorists. These attacks could take place at any time. You should be particularly vigilant during holiday periods such as Easter and Christmas.
Indonesian authorities have warned that terrorists may be planning to kidnap foreigners.
Attacks against Westerners in Bali and Jakarta indicate that these areas are a priority target for terrorists. Suicide attacks against locations frequented by foreigners in Bali and Jakarta such as the 1 October 2005 and 12 October 2002 Bali bombings and bomb attack outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in September 2004 killed and injured many people. Westerners were also targeted in the bombing of a five-star hotel in central Jakarta in August 2003. We cannot rule out the possibility of another attack targeting Westerners, including Australians.
In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided at venues. You should take particular care to avoid places known to be terrorist targets. Tourist areas and attractions throughout Indonesia and tourists travelling to or from these places, including those in tour groups or tour buses, could be targeted. Other possible targets include international hotels, clubs, sporting clubs and venues, restaurants, international fast food outlets, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, Jakarta's embassy district and diplomatic missions elsewhere, international schools, expatriate housing compounds and Western interests and businesses. Places frequented by foreigners, central business areas, office buildings, churches and other places of worship, airlines, airports, public transport and transport hubs, shopping centres, premises and symbols associated with the Indonesian Government, and outdoor recreation events are also potential targets.
Due to security concerns, security at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Consulate-General in Bali is at a high level. The Australian Embassy has advised its staff and their families to be particularly careful in how they travel or walk to and from the Embassy.
29 July 2009
Noordin M. Top has allegedly signed off on an internet message that was posted on behalf of Top. As has been suspected, Top claims the bombings on behalf of a splinter group linked to Jemaah Islamiyya (or Jemaah Islamiyah), Tandzim al-Qaeda.
Interestingly, the message claims that the American business community, and presumably anyone remotely associated with that community, for stealing Indonesia's natural resources. Therefore, this would give some credence to the idea that James Castle's round table breakfast function was in fact the intended target and not a target of opportunity.
The message was written in Arabic and Indonesian. It was posted on Sunday to a website that had not be known previously, Bushro. Top and his band of terrorists have only claimed one previous Indonesian bombing, and by all accounts it seems that this message is in much the same manner as the previous claim. The previous claim of responsibility related to bombings in Bali in 2005.
Whether the claim is legitimate and issued on the orders of Top remain to be seen and investigated more fully. I have recently heard that some experts are starting to question its authenticity as it contains some errors. These experts are questioning the authenticity because Top is a renowned perfectionist. Time will tell I guess.
The note mentions some of Top's closest confidants that have been killed by anti-terror forces during the pursuit of Top. However, these confidants were killed in 2005 and 2006, so this suggests that the planning and execution of the plan were a long-time in the making. So long in fact that it has been reported that the police had intelligence to suggest that a bombing was a possibility.
Noordin M. Top is Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist. He hails from Malaysia but has honed his bombing skills in Indonesia. He has become a real merchant of death in that he is allegedly responsible for the killing of almost 250 people since his bombing spree started.
The sooner anti-terrorism forces catch this man the better. Otherwise, Indonesians can be assured of one thing; he will continue to build bombs designed to kill as many people as he can for as long as he can. He, and his group, might be targeting foreigners, but history shows he is not adverse to killing Indonesians as acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of his goals.
Violence is not the answer. It will never resolve our differences and it will never allow us to move forward to a place where we all live in peace and harmony with one another. People of all faiths must denounce violence as a legitimate means to an end; violence is not legitimate and it never ends.
Not everything is as easy as installing a filter, this includes blocking pornography on the internet. The New South Wales Department of Education has installed filters on school computers presumably to ensure that students, and teachers, do not have the ability to access porn and to ensure that their time is productive in accessing appropriate academic and education-related sites.
The filter has some problems. This is highlighted in the case of a Year 10 student who typed in the search term "swallow". Yes, I know, you can see where this is going already. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, for this particular Year 10 student, the sites that came up had nothing to do with a little bird but rather some hard core porn that dealt not with the little swallow but with a whole different set of swallow circumstances.
But, turning this into a farce is that harmless sites like the Minister of Education, Verity Firth's, own web page is blocked by the filter.
This is the problem with filters. They are not discriminating enough and too discriminating all in the same algorithm. It is perhaps better to err on the side of caution and block web pages and sites that are harmless if the filter could ensure that it was doing the job it was supposed to and filtering out all the harmful web pages and sites. However, this example clearly shows that the filters are not up to that task.
The reality is that even the constant updating of lists is of limited use. Pornographers are smart enough, and technologically savvy enough, to up and move their material to a new web page address and avoid the filter. Web / internet users are also generally sufficiently technologically savvy to be able to follow along with the pornographers, if they are so inclined to do so.
There must be a better way to ensure that access is restricted in a manner that prevents the access to pornography while maintaining access to the sites required by school-aged children.
This begs the question are the filters a worthwhile investment or a waste of time?
It would seem that at this present time filters are not working and it is time to invest in finding a better and more effective alternative.
At the outset, a reminder is necessary...this is a fascination and not an obsession! :D
The prince, Tengku Fakhry, has certainly upped the ante in the domestic / marriage dispute between himself and his teenage wife and her mother. The ante in this case is reportedly in the tens of millions of Ringgit for the defamation case that the Fakhry has submitted to the Malaysian courts. Latest reports set the figure at 105 million ringgit. There is also another claim that Manohara's mother, Daisy, owes the prince about 1 million ringgit.
I am still wondering why a 30-year-old prince wanted to marry a 16-year-old wanna be starlet and social climber. Perhaps he was sucked into the black magic powers of the mother and the surgically implanted golden needles and diamonds in Manohara's jaw. Who knows, and I guess in the big scheme of things, who really cares outside of those immediately affected by this ever deepening crisis of domestic bliss turning to domestic mess.
Upping the ante also sees the prince's legal team for the defamation case, headed by Mohd. Haaziq Pillay, seeking special leave from the Kuala Lumpur High Court to file a writ of summons in Jakarta. Generally, in common law legal systems the permission of the court is required where a summons needs to be filed outside the jurisdiction because the defendants are not within the local jurisdiction. There would seem to be no reason why the court would not grant this application, except if the court was of the opinion that the case had no merit and no likelihood of success.
The court has since granted the leave and it would seem now the writ of summons needs to be forwarded to Indonesian authorities and onto the legal team of Manohara and her mother. It will be interesting to see if this spurs both mother and daughter into returning fire and filing criminal complaints in Malaysia regarding the alleged conduct of the prince.
If the duo do return fire then it will require them to start furnishing evidence of the alleged abuse, rape, kidnapping, and torture that the prince allegedly perpetrated against Manohara during their brief marriage. The reports of the abuse and alleged photos of the razor blading of Manohara have surfaced on the internet and doctors have issued statements in support of Manohara's claims. However, this has been a case of the drama being played out in the court of public opinion and the burden in this court is considerably different to that required in a criminal court of law or even in a civil matter.
To be clear, the sense here is not that Manohara has not been abused or raped or kidnapped or tortured in the manner that she claims. However, there is this underlying and emerging series of questions starting to bubble to the surface not only in Malaysia, but also in Indonesia, that if these claims and allegations are true, then why are Manohara and Daisy not more forcefully pursuing justice? On a personal level, I would like to think that in the big scheme of things that Manohara and her mother could use this unsavoury and tragic occurrence to help victims of domestic violence to escape their respective tragic existences for a better future.
Perhaps not one filled with a sinetron named after them and multi-billion rupiah appearance fees and the like, but an escape to a better life.
The defamation case is set for mention in the Malaysian courts on 2 August 2009.
The Indonesian authorities, headed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, has offered to help in any way that they can in terms of assisting Manohara and her mother filing the necessary paperwork to commence legal proceedings in Malaysia. Even the Malaysians themselves have committed to a thorough investigation to ensure that justice is done wherever that justice may be.
No matter what happens, there is still the issue with Daisy being to all intents and purposes on the run from French authorities. The sad part is that Manohara is not implicated in the legal problems that befell her mother in France, yet it is ironic that the mother, who has been so vehement in wanting to see the prince punished for his abuse of her daughter, is in fact a person who has been convicted of assaulting and abusing an Indonesian under her care.
If Indonesia is series about stamping out the practice of foreigners thinking that they can abuse Indonesia's migrant workers with impunity, then this would be a perfect case to say, enough is enough. The Indonesian government should be pro-active in working through the merits of the Daisy Fajarina case, and if necessary facilitating her return to France to face the music. To not do so sends a very poor message to all of Indonesia's migrant workers; where here for you if you want to come back and star in a sinetron and engage in some Malaysia bashing, but while your overseas you're on your own.
The last point is not entirely fair. Indonesia has and continues to pursue initiatives to afford greater protection to their migrant workers. If for no other reason than migrant workers repatriate huge sums of foreign exchange into the Indonesian banking system. Cynical, I know, but also true.
The time has come for Manohara and her mother to decide whether they are going to play legal ball here. The prince has shown his hand, Manohara's move.
They teach you this very simple philosophy of advocacy in law school. It seems that they should also teach it to you in media and communications studies programs as well!
There are always exceptions to every rule. There are sometimes as an advocate when in the pursuit of truth you take an educated and calculated risk in asking certain questions. However, for most advocates this would be a lot less frequent than asking questions to which you know the answer to.
A perfect example of this occurred on the Kyle and Jackie O's Lie Detector segment on 2Day FM radio. A mother dragged her 14-year-old daughter onto the show,and Kyle and Jackie O being the ratings hogs that they are decided that this would be a real ratings boost for them. The mother seemingly wanted to shame her daughter into confessing on public radio during a peak hour morning segment to her drug and sexual history.
As a parent, I am not into naming and shaming. It does much more harm than good to a child. That is my personal view and I am sure if there are any readers out there interested in this issue you will undoubtedly be able to find statistics that suggest naming and shaming works.
The girl had told her mother that she had been raped and the mother has not believed her. So, in her infinite parenting wisdom she has decided that taking a lie detector test on a public radio station would clear this whole sordid episode up once and for all.
The girl is 14-years-old! What was the mother thinking? And, more to the point, what were Kyle and Jackie O thinking when they decided to go ahead with this? Discussing a 14-year-old's sex life and drug use on a public radio program appears to me to be in blatant disregard for the rights of the child and the welfare of that child. If Kyle and Jackie O intend hiding behind the fact that the mother gave her approval and the mother is the guardian of the child and has the right to do so, is naive and disingenuous.
It is not rocket science to see that the potential harm here far outweighs any good that might come from the segment. Not everything in life is about ratings and popularity.
The girl clearly did not want to be there and can be heard saying before the questioning starts, "I'm scared ... it's not fair." This should have been a red light to stop the segment then and there. Unfortunately, no one present bar the girl seemed likely to stop.
Then the questioning begins.
The first question was pretty harmless about whether or not the girl had skipped school. Then the questions got to the nitty gritty of why the segment was on in the first place.
The mother asks the daughter, "Have you ever had sex?"
The daughter replies, "I've already told you the story about this ... and don't look at me and smile because it's not funny." At this point, anyone worth their salt would have cut to an advertisement and posed some quick questions to the mother about the story and what was going on here. I guess for some people ratings are more important than the rights and mental health of a child.
After a brief moment the girl then said, "Oh, OK ... I got raped when I was 12-years-old!" If the lead in of the previous question was not enough to shut the segment down, then this statement should have been.
However, after a brief pause, Kyle (Kyle Sandilands) asks, "Right ... is that the only experience you've had?" What an idiot!!! This bloke needs to get slapped around a little bit by regulators, by his station masters, and by the general public. The statement is outrageous!
Then the girls mother jumps in and says she only found out about the rape a couple of months ago. What? Has she reported it? Has she looked at getting her daughter some counselling to try and work through the trauma of being raped as a child? There are some serious issues here all around that need to be addressed relating to the welfare of this particular child.
I hope that in the aftermath of this fiasco that 2Day FM antes up and helps this family get the counselling that they need to deal with the issues that the rape has resulted in, as well as the stupidity of running the segment in the first place. This was hardly the time or place for "The Moment of Truth" to be played out. And, the sexual and drug history of a 14-year-old is hardly suitable material for a live segment on any public platform.
It is certainly a Forrest Gump moment, "stupid is as stupid does!"
28 July 2009
The Prita Mulyasari case is an interesting one. It is interesting for a number of reasons. First, among these, is the necessity for criminal defamation in Indonesia. Second, was this the right case to test the those criminal defamation provisions. Finally, did the Tangerang District Court err in the manner in which it dismissed the indictments which set Prita free?
I noted in an earlier post that the manner in which the indictments were dismissed left the prosecutors no alternative but to appeal. The reason is simple, the judgment sets a bad precedent. The idea that a law does not come into force until all of the subsidiary or implementing legislation is in place is clearly not the case in Indonesia. The judges in this case have erred in the application of the law.
Even more so when one considers that the article under which the indictment was issued does not require any subsidiary legislation to be effective. This really was a case of putting the cart before the horse. Ultimately, this undermines legal certainty rather than reinforcing it.
Funnily enough when confronted with the fact that the Tangerang Office of the Public Prosecutor were going to appeal this to the High Court in their pursuit of a conviction, Prita is alleged to have said the following, "Is it the prosecutors' personal problem?" I wonder!
Prita's lawyers from the firm of OC Kaligis have stated that if the High Court accepts the appeal, then this would set a bad precedent. I am not sure how it sets a bad precedent as each case is judged on its merits. If the judges believe their is merit in the appeal then that appeal must be granted leave for the appeal to be heard. Prita's lawyers went further to suggest that if the judges accepted the appeal then this is indicative of their arrogance.
In my mind, if the prosecutors did not appeal and the judges did not accept the appeal, then I would argue that both had erred in their duties to the larger community. It is unfortunate that Prita is going to end up as a pawn in this struggle. But, the reality is that the judges fell victim to public outcry and their legal reasoning for dismissing the case is not sound.
The judges would have been better to allow Prita's defense team to present their case and then agree with the submissions of the defense and then dismiss the case because the elements of defamation had neither been made out nor had the prosecution presented sufficient evidence in support of the indictment. And, finally, the defenses to the indictment were made out.
If the judges had done this then Prita would be a free woman and not worrying about an appeal.
I have made the arguments for and against the prosecutors pursuing this case in other posts and they do not need repeating here. If our interested follow the link.
27 July 2009
Gambling is illegal in Indonesia. This does not mean it does not happen. There is probably a case to made for instances of gambling and then gambling. The point here is that organized gambling is clearly against the law and any attempt to regulate it into existence has met with fierce opposition. Then there is gambling that kids partake in like having a flutter on the outcome of a coin toss. The first one sees hundreds of millions of Rupiah change hands and the other is lucky if it sees tens of Rupiah change hands.
A recent case that was heard in Tangerang District court has ended with ten children being convicted of gambling. Their punishment to date is that they have been sent home with their parents. The result is clearly not the right one. The case should never have even seen the light of day. But, it did and it highlights the lunacy of the law enforcement system in Indonesia. Anyone who argues that reform is taking hold is kidding themselves.
The lawyer of the children intends to appeal the decision. If I can help out from afar, then I would be more than willing to do so. The idea that these children were ever in detention was outrageous. The fact that they have been convicted is just as outrageous. The Attorney General should have instructed prosecutors to drop the case. The fact that he did not indicates where the priorities lay. I would also suggest that the masks provided hardly are sufficient to conceal the identities of these children, so the Tangerang prosecutors have failed in this regard as well.
There must be something in the water out Tangerang way. These are the prosecutors from the same Tangerang office that placed a young mother of two, Prita Mulyasari, in jail for writing a letter complaining about the service she received from the Omni International Hospital. There must be absolutely no serious crime in Tangerang that these prosecutors have nothing better to spend their time on than jailing young children and mothers.
This is a case that must capture more people's imagination and not just in Indonesia but further afield. An excellent piece, some might call it an enlightened and educated rage against the machine was written by a resident expat in Indonesia, Patrick Guntensperger, and can be found here.
The stupidity of the whole affair is that there are hardened criminals and organized criminal activities continuing to go about their ways without any concern at all about being arrested or brought to justice. Now, whether this is because they have connections to the right people or pay the necessary "fees" to avoid trouble, I will leave to you and your imaginations. However, the lawyer for the ten children, Kristin Tambunan, has a point when she asks, "since when is playing a crime?" This becomes even more absurd when one considers that these children are currently convicted criminals because they were tossing coins to fill in time between shoe shining gigs.
The conviction of these children is, plain and simple, wrong. The appeal must be accepted on the grounds that the judges erred in allowing the case to proceed, as the prevailing laws and regulations clearly state that the prosecution of children is a last resort. The verdict must be vacated and these children need to be allowed to get on with their lives without the noose of convicted felon hanging around their neck.
What is the Office of the Public Prosecutor thinking?
Jack Newton was one of Australia's great golfers until he walked into the propeller of a small aircraft and lost an arm and an eye. Hey, even after that he was still a better one-armed golfer than most two-armed hacks like me.
The reason I am writing this blog post is that I read an article in The Daily Telegraph about her. Having lived in Indonesia for many years the name Santoso jumped off the page and caught my eye. It is an interesting story. Besides I have a fascination for all things Indonesian and Australian, so this combines both of those fascinations and rolls them into one story.
Cathleen Santoso was born in Australia to Indonesian parents. The article does not say whether the parents have taken out Australian citizenship or not. But, a quick Google search reveals that Santoso has won her state age championship event three years running and is in the representative school-age teams for which she qualifies. I have not managed to track down any photos of her in action on the Internet.
Her inspiration, Michelle Wie, of course.
The beauty of multicultural Australia, our talent is bred locally (although not always) but can trace its ancestry to all points on the globe.
26 July 2009
The idea of a terrorism master plan for Indonesia being in existence since at least 2002 and known to anti-terror authorities since 2005 is hardly surprising. The master plan was found on the computer of Azahari bin Husin who was shot dead by police in November of 2005. Azahari and Noordin M. Top worked closely together in the planning and carrying out of terrorist bombings in Indonesia. And, they are both Malaysian.
What is surprising is that it is only being made much more fully public in 2009. Even if one were to give the relevant authorities the benefit of the doubt that parts of this master plan had to be kept secret in the immediate aftermath of its discovery, does not justify it being kept secret through to 2009.
The master plan allegedly shows that the perpetrators of the most recent bombings, who are now being directly linked to Top, are part of this plan. The master plan also suggests that there is more public exposure on an international scale if places that are world-renowned are targeted or the victims are high-profile. High profile in this context notes explicitly that business executives will provide as much, if not more, media coverage for the cause than a couple of tourists.
The suggestion here is clearly that James Castle's business round table was the target of the suicide bomber. The intent being to kill and maim as many of the business people in attendance there as possible. By all accounts the terrorists fulfilled that mission.
Furthermore, the master plan also makes it clear that Bali remains a viable target. The viability of Bali is that it will provide large-scale media exposure. The Bali Bombings of 2002 shows this to be true. Probably scarier still is that the master plan suggests that prime tourist targets include fast food restaurants (such as KFC, McDonalds, among others), taxi queues at airports and other places where tourists congregate in order to travel, art markets (with the art market at Ubud being specifically singled out), open-air restaurants, movie theatres, shopping centers, and the Kuta beach.
My folks go to Bali every year. If anyone asks them about terrorism and do they feel threatened, the answer is always a resounding, no! The rationale or justification for their confidence is that they do not visit bars and pretty much only sleep at the hotel in amongst trips to the beach and some shopping. Their most recent trips to Bali have seen them staying with friends and not in a hotel.
This might no longer be a sensible rationale for those that stay in hotels and go to Bali just to shop and laze around on the beach.
The bombing at the Ritz-Carlton clearly showed that the bombers were targeting the Airlannga restaurant. It is one of the restaurants where guests can have their complimentary included breakfast for staying at the hotel. If the plan is to target breakfast time at major hotels in Bali, then the potential for mass casualties is a real one.
The fact that this master plan exists, and assuming that Australian authorities were aware of it, then the travel advisories issued by the Australian government and other governments were accurate when they stated things such as "intelligence exists that Bali remains a target for terrorists" (or words to that effect).
What this all means? To each their own. I would not hesitate to return to Indonesia, anywhere in Indonesia, Bali included. My philosophy on life has always been, "if your numbers up, then your numbers up!" Nevertheless, that said, it is always important to be aware of your own personal safety and make sure that you do everything you can to ensure that you do not put yourself in harms way.
Yet, when it is all said and done, if we let the terrorists dictate our lives through the use of fear, then we may still have our lives but we do not have our freedom.
It seems that the decision of the Sharia Court in eastern Pahang State to cane a Muslim model, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, for having a few beers in a nightclub has not been greeted with universal approval in Malaysia. The debate centers on the idea that convictions and sentences like this are rare in Malaysia where alcohol is widely available for consumption. There is also a belief that where an individual sins against their religion in this manner; drinking alcohol when it is forbidden, has sinned against God and therefore it is God who should mete out the punishment.
I have always argued that for those of us who sin against our religions or our Gods will be punished by our respective Gods when the time comes. There is no need for us insignificant human beings to get involved and take over the primary punishment role from God. Let's face it, I have some serious explaining to do come judgment day:
God: So, you spent your life doing good things and helping people less fortunate than yourself. You contributed to making the world a better place. But, not one day in your life did you acknowledge me or my existence, in fact you told everyone who asked that you did not believe in God. You told everyone that you were doing it because you were a good bloke and it was the right thing to do! Therefore, here's my question for you now, "what you got to say about that?"
Me: God, that is a good question. To be perfectly honest, I just figured I would be worm food and that would be it. I had never really contemplated having to come back and justify myself to you. But, God, here's my question to you, "why did you not reveal yourself to me in a more tangible way that would have made believing in you a whole lot easier proposition rather than irrational faith?"
You can see where this conversation with God is going.
There is little doubt that the punishment is harsh. Interestingly, it could have been a whole lot more harsh as the law allows for up to 40 lashes with the rattan cane. And, in all likelihood it is not going to deter those Muslims in Malaysia that want to drink alcohol from drinking alcohol. Where there is a will there is a way, simple.
Shukarno, though, has decided that it would be best just to get the punishment over and done with so that she can go back to living her life. And, she hopes that others learn from her experiences and refrain from drinking alcohol (or more specifically from getting caught).
The caning methods are set out here. It would appear that in many ways that the caning is as much symbolic as it is meant to cause pain in this case. Although, most canings I have read about talk about causing open wounds that leave nasty scars on those who are on the receiving end of the caning. This though is allegedly not the case here. Shukarno will be clothed, the cane will be shorter than usual, and the person doing the caning cannot raise the rattan above their head.
I wonder if there will be video of the sentence being carried out that will make its way onto YouTube or something. If you can get video of Saddam Hussein's hanging onto YouTube, then one would think the caning of a model should be easy.
25 July 2009
The whole idea that Barack Obama is not a US citizen is absurd. However, it was one of those things that are great fun to watch. This is in spite of the fact that it is just too bizarre and you cannot help but think that those getting on this band wagon are the proverbial "sandwich short of a picnic basket". It also has the feel of being too bizarre that it just cannot be true, one giant hoax. Even so, it is, as I said, fun to watch.
And, if it is to be funny, then who better than Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on Comedy Central to do it. I am still laughing as I write this post.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Born Identity|
The film Balibo is about five journalists (Greg Shackleton, Tony Stewart, Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters, and Malcolm Rennie) who were either murdered or killed in the cross-fire between Indonesian troops and Timorese rebels. Primarily the focus is on the relationship between Roger East and Jose Ramos Horta. East was later captured and executed, reportedly by firing squad, by Indonesian soldiers. This happened during Indonesia's invasion of the former Portuguese colony that ultimately led to Portuguese Timor being integrated into Indonesia as East Timor.
Aside from the justice that the Balibo Five deserve, Roger East also deserves to receive justice. Journalists must not be cold-bloodedly murdered by invading and occupying forces. More than that, journalists must not be targeted and murdered in the course of pursuing their profession.
This invasion led to the Timorese suffering for the next 24 years at the hands of a greedy colonizer with an insatiable appetite for natural resources and violence. History was only set right with the direct ballot of 1999. Unfortunately, this was not an entirely peaceful transition from colonization to independence.
East Timor has now become the independent Timor Leste.
The film has premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival where the current Timor Leste president and former rebel leader, Jose Ramos Horta, spoke about his knowledge of the events of 1975. His comments make for interesting reading and are more likely to strain the Timor Leste and Indonesian bilateral relationship than the fact that Australian film makers have gone about making this film.
Interestingly, the Melbourne International Film Festival website has been hacked purportedly by Chinese hackers critical of the festival's decision to screen a film about the violence perpetrated by the Chinese state against the Uighurs. Here is the link (not sure if it is still hacked and displaying the Chinese flag).
According to Ramos Horta, who is known for being very blunt in his assessment of most things, has said that the killings were not an accident nor did they occur in a cross-fire situation. To the contrary, according to Ramos Horta, the five journalist were tortured and then killed.
It is worth noting that Australia was the only country to recognize Indonesia's sovereignty over Timor Leste. It is also worth noting that the governments of Australia and the United States of America were complicit in the invasion as both gave the green light to Soeharto and his bunch of not so merry marauders to go about their invasion business.
Many are looking to see whether the film will put a strain on bilateral relations, it won't but it probably should! Now, whether or not it should is a different question altogether. Yet, if the most recent statements coming from the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs is anything to go by, then it is unlikely that there will be any significant impact on the relationship.
Teuku Faizasyah, is quoted as saying that to all intents and purposes this issue has been settled and the accepted explanation of the deaths are that the five journalists were killed in the cross-fire between Indonesian soldiers and Fretilin rebels. Simply, "they were in the wrong place at the wrong time." It is hardly surprising that the Indonesian government is dismissing the film as fiction and the vivid imagination of film makers.
What will be really interesting is whether or not the film gets past Indonesian censors and is shown in Indonesian theatres across the breadth of the archipelago. This is interesting because Faizasyah is also reported to have said that the Indonesian government is not into banning films as this would kill the film sector. This is certainly a different position from that which was adopted in the past.
My personal opinion is that they were murdered and that those responsible, the majority of whom are still alive, must be held accountable for their actions. On the bilateral relationship front between Indonesia and Australia, the relationship is likely to come under pressure if the Australian government was to get some testicular fortitude in the aftermath of the screening of the film and pursue the NSW Coroner's findings about who was responsible and what action should be taken (I have written about this here).
The reason I don't think that this film will unduly strain bilateral relations is that I do not believe that my government has the testicular fortitude, at this point in time, to pursue this. This makes me sad, if for no other reason that it proves the saying, "that the first casualty of war is truth".
I have not seen the film yet. I cannot get down to Melbourne for the festival. However, as soon as I get the chance to see it in Sydney, I will. I will then write a review of it and post it on the blog.
For now, I attach the Official Trailer (available on YouTube) for your viewing (dis)pleasure.
24 July 2009
In case you are wondering whether this is an obsession or a fascination with the Manohara case, then let me assure you it is a fascination. As one of my readers pointed out, perhaps it is a fascination with young women with legal problems.
I have also written extensively on Schapelle Corby. The fascination for me is with the legal issues that are inevitably going to arise in this case, assuming that either side ever gets around to fully pursuing the legal aspects of the case.
Unspun, over at the Unspun blog, also has numerous Mano themed posts at his place. By the way, Unspun my increased rate of frequency in Mano-related posts is not the beginning of a competition amongst us :D
The prince appears to be a little more committed to pursuing the legal avenues available to him. This is of course when he is not helping out on the movie he is making about the stormy marriage he had with Manohara. The marriage is going to be shown to be breaking down as the result of an over-bearing and interfering mother of Manohara / mother-in-law to the prince.
The prince has filed two cases recently at his local Sharia Court in Malaysia. The first seeks a reconciliation with his wife. The other is a claim that Daisy Fajarina and Manohara borrowed almost 1 million ringgit from him, and that money has not been repaid. This works out to be a debt of somewhere in the vicinity of USD 276,000.
Hey, if it is true that they owe the prince money, then they should not have much trouble in repaying it as Manohara has just scored a soap opera part reportedly paying more than IDR 1 billion.
Daisy has denied owing the prince any money. According to Daisy the real issue is that the prince forbade Manohara from working and earning a living. I don't know, I would have thought the real issue was why the prince, allegedly kidnapped, raped, and abused his young wife. Then again that is just me.
Daisy Fajarina is always good for a chuckle. Some of the comments attributed to her include, "he would have to prove his accusation before a court." Ah, I am guessing that is why he filed the complaints that he did in a Shariah Court. Besides proving something in a court of law is no guarantee justice is going to be done. It is not impossible that the parties would try and dodge their obligations by fleeing the jurisdiction or not presenting themselves for punishment. And, ending up subject to an Interpol Red Notice.
Daisy also wonders why the Shariah courts are even hearing the prince's complaints. As far as Daisy is concerned, the prince has violated every law of Islam in his treatment of his estranged wife.
The plot thickens as the saga continues.
The Manohara saga just keeps getting more saga-y with each passing day. I know that I am having fun following the to and fro between the young Indonesia starlet in-the-making and victim of domestic abuse, Manohara, and her estranged husband, the Prince of Kelantan State, Tengku Fakhry. I am guessing that Unspun is also enjoying it. Unspun has been covering the whole story a little longer than I have.
However, Unspun does have the excellent idea of a soap opera shootout with the best soapy being crowned the crowd favourite, where Unspun and yours truly act as the judges. I am up for that. As 'Big' John McCarthy would say in the UFC, "let's get it on!"
As most of my loyal readers are aware, Manohara has kicked over her entry into the soap opera realm with her self-titled, Manohara. I have not watched it as it is not available in my neck of the woods. Although there are a few of us who are thinking about lobbying our local multicultural broadcaster to pick it up. However, some of the people I have alked to that watched it said it was only average viewing as Indonesian soap operas go. And, that Manohara did not have all that many lines. So, it is probably a good thing she is not getting paid by the word or the number of lines she speaks.
Not to be outdone by his estranged wife, Tengku Fakhry, has decided to tell his side of the story through a movie. It is being billed as his version of the Fakhry and Manohara love story. Yet, in recognition of the fact that the marriage was not all wedded bliss and peace, harmony, and love, the working title of the Prince's film is "The Stormy Love Story of the Prince" or in Malaysian "Kisah Prahara Cinta Pangeran".
The film is to be directed by Malaysian director, Kardi Syaid. Interestingly, the stormy relationship in the film is going to suggest that the love affair went off the rails because of a third party. It would have been better if the third party had been some adulterous stud who swept the young bride off her feet even though she was married to a prince. Unfortunately, the third party seems to be an interfering mother-in-law, who allegedly has enough legal problems of her own that she does not need to be getting involved in those of her daughter.
I have to say, movies with gratuitous violence and kinky sex are always likely to do good business in Indonesia. I am not sure how the over-bearing mother angle will work though. The film is sure to be interesting as the director has already suggested that the reporting of the "facts" in the case have all been one-sided and it is time that people learned the real truth.
I do not know about the rest of you, but I am kind of looking forward to a knock 'em down, drag 'em out bar fight through the small and silver screen mediums. The film is likely to have some authenticity to it as the prince has granted permission for the actual Kelantan State Palace to be used as the location for the shooting of some of the scenes.
I guess that the real issues will have to wait to see the light of day in the inside of a court room. It seems that the most pressing matters for these two former love birds is a grudge match on the screens of out living rooms and movie theatres. Sounds like fun!
Let the battle begin.
What the investigation revealed was a culture of poor safety, poor training, and an accident that did not have to happen. Adam Air was stripped of its operations certificate and can no longer fly. However, the pain for those who lost loved ones will forever remain with them.
If you missed Air Crash Investigation the program has been broken down into six parts and uploaded to YouTube. The first part is attached here. You can navigate to each of the other parts from part 1. You can also access the videos through IndonesiaMatters.
23 July 2009
It seems that 50 Cent wants to downsize from his current crib, a rather imposing 19 bedroom and 37 bathroom place, to something a little smaller. In fact the rapper is so keen to sell that he has dropped the initial asking price from USD 14.5 million to just USD 10.9 million. Unfortunately, for 5o this means that he is probably only going to break even. He bought the place for USD 4.1 million and has made somewhere in the vicinity of USD 6 million in renovations.
50's humble abode can be found in the suburb of Farmington in Hartford, Connecticut. Another selling point aside from the fact that each bedroom has almost two bathrooms is that the place was once owned by Mike Tyson. And, there is also a gym, a billiards (I prefer pool myself) room, racquet ball courts, and a disco room with stripper poles. Now, every home should have a disco with stripper poles. There is also a helipad.
Anyways, best of luck 50. If I had the cash, I would be interested.
I wonder why?
I found these videos over at this site. I have included some tags to this post that are designed purely to push up my visitor stats (I will let you know if it works in a postscript).
EMBED-Banned Sprite commercial - Watch more free videos
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This is a great story with a reasonably happy ending. I have never been a big fan of freak shows or side show alley at the local fair or circus. There was always something that bothered me about paying money to view someone or something who was a little different from me; a special attribute that I did not possess.
About six weeks ago this cute as a puppy, puppy was born. It was born with a real interesting distinguishing feature, a fifth leg. The owner of the dog was contacted by John Strong, a Coney Island, New York, Side Show owner. Strong's claim to fame is a side show that features disfigured animals. The owner of the dog is supposed to have agreed to sell the puppy for USD 3000 to Strong, and Strong claims that he paid a USD 1000 deposit to secure the dog. Fortunately, that deposit has been repaid and the puppy has been sold to someone else for USD 4000.
The plan is to get the extra leg, on the chihuahua-terrier cross puppy, removed. The surgery is listed for the coming week and is expected to cost a further USD 2000. However, once the extra leg is removed vets are expecting that the little one, now named Lilly, will make a full recovery and lead a normal dog's life. Lilly is expected to live out her days somewhere in North Carolina.
I went to university in North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill. So, this is a story from my third home.
All's well that ends well.
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir is never one for a dull moment. Some might like to describe the man as a radical or fundamentalist Muslim committed to the creation of a pan-Asian Caliphate at just about any cost, including providing support for terrorism. I certainly believe that the man is pro-terror, particularly where people are not prepared to accept what he says or come around to his way of thinking or world view.
However, he is also a bit of a conspiracy theorist it seems, and true to form he has determined that the most recent bombings at the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta were the work of the CIA. This is not the first time that the Head of the Jemaah Ashorut Tauhid, which is a rather loose coalition of Islamic groups keen to see a more universal adoption and implementation of Syariah Law, has blamed the CIA for bombings perpetrated in Indonesia.
In the aftermath of the Bali Bombings in 2002, in which he himself was implicated, he maintained that the bombings were not the work of Islam but of the CIA that was looking to discredit Islam. The claim was that based on the devastation at the Paddy Club in Bali that the bomb was a micro-nuclear device and that it was launched from a US warship off the coast of Bali.
By his own admission, Ba'asyir knows nothing about bombs or how to make them, but in his mind the only thing that makes sense is that the CIA has carried out the bombings as a means of sowing hate against Islam. The idea that Ba'asyir knows nothing is, at best, disingenuous.
Ba'asyir also addressed the issue of Jemaah Islamiyah and the belief that it has splintered into two factions. According to Ba'asyir the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid is not a splinter group of Jemaah Islamiyah or of the Indonesian Mujahideen Council (Majelis Mujahideen Indonesia / MMI). As far as Ba'asyir knows, Jemaah Islamiyah is an Egyptian Muslim study group.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Ba'asyir added that the US and Australia will never defeat Islam and in fact they fear us ("us" I am guessing is Islam). He cites the fear that the US and Australia have of al-Qaeda, which he calls a small group. By my reckoning neither the US and Australia are trying to defeat Islam or make it subservient to some Western Christian ideal.
From a religious perspective Ba'asyir condemned the bombings as not being in accordance with Islam. The not in accordance with Islam part relies on the fact that there has been no formal declaration of war. To bomb "targets" without a formal declaration of war contravenes Islamic or Syariah law principles. Further, he goes on to say that the killing of innocent women and children is wrong even if these women and children are kafir.
However, this is moderated by "if they get involved, even in thought, then they must be killed". There does not seem to be any leeway on that front, and the idea that a mere thought is enough to warrant a killing opens the door to many killings as the idea of a thought seems so very discretionary.
If Ba'asyir did not have any followers and his Al-Mukmin Islamic Boarding School did not have such a long track record of breeding willing and able terrorists, the man would be nothing more than a distraction. However, he succeeds on both these points and this makes him a particularly dangerous man. This is sad because he so does not represent the majority of Indonesians or what Indonesia is about. There appears to be little doubt that there are quite a few Indonesians who wish that he stayed in exile in Malaysia.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or SBY as he is affectionately known, seems to have erred in his speech in the immediate aftermath of the bombings of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels last Friday. The president used the opportunity to link the bombings to the recent presidential elections and then to link his political rivals to the bombings and other yet to occur violence at the Headquarters of the General Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum / KPU).
It is now being argued whether the speech is to become an ongoing political problem for the incumbent president as he heads into a likely second term (the official election results have not yet been released) or is it nothing more than a storm in a tea cup that will dissipate as quickly as it formed.
It has also recently come to light that the photos that the president used in order to highlight that the terrorists were in fact after him are probably from 2004. So, it seems highly unlikely that the link between the alleged plot targeting the president, the bombings, and the photos can be sustained. Ruhut Sitompul of the Partai Demokrat is unequivocal in stating that the photos were confiscated in May 2009 at a terrorist training facility in East Kalimantan. The president also is adopting this line.
Yet, there are plenty of people coming forward suggesting that these are the same photos that were shown to the House of Representatives (DPR) in 2004 by the National Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara / BIN). Permadi and Andreas Pereira of PDI-P have said that they saw these pictures in 2004. Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group also believes that the photos originated in 2004 and were taken at a facility in West Seram in Maluku.
If it is true that these photos are from 2004 then there are two distinct possibilities; the president has been misled by his closest security advisers or SBY was being a little disingenuous by using these photos to link the attacks to himself and the recent elections.
However, the president is not conceding that he erred in his judgment in making the statements that he made. To the contrary, SBY has gone on the offensive to state that his comments have been misinterpreted as the speech did not link the hotel bombings to the elections and presumably he did not all but name Prabowo as being involved.
I must add here that I am not a fan of Prabowo. The evidence put forward to date that he was involved in the disappearance and presumed murder of activists in 1998 is compelling and deserves to be heard in a court of law. The idea that the let bygones be bygones, and that this is all ancient history and Indonesia is ready to move on, neglects to understand the loss suffered by the family and friends of those who were disappeared. My argument has always been that the timing of SBY in calling out Prabowo, and suggesting that Prabowo's time was near in terms of him being held accountable for his past sins, in this particular speech and at this particular moment was poor. I am all for the heat being turned up on Prabowo.
The president claims that the photos are from 2009 and the intelligence is real, and not some rumour, gossip, or beat-up for the press as being perpetuated by those not in the know.
The debate as it develops is interesting as there are two distinct camps evolving; those that think the president erred in the manner in which he went about this business and those who do not give the proverbial, rat's arse, and who cannot see what the fuss is about. In the former camp is Professor Effendy Ghazali. Ghazali is adamant that SBY has made a "significant mistake". The reality is a little more simple than that, the president might have erred in his judgment on this one but it is far from likely that this error is going to be fatal to his next term in office.
If the photos are definitively proven to be from 2004 and not from May 2009 then this story might get a new set of legs.
Watch this space.
22 July 2009
The sketches are of the reconstructed faces of the alleged bombers. Both their heads were found at the scene of the crime. The sketches have been released in an effort to get members of the public who recognize the two faces to come forward and identify them.
Initially, authorities were leaning towards two men identified as Nur Hasbi and Ibrahim. However, it is being reported that the DNA tests on family members related to Hasbi and Ibrahim do not match the DNA of the alleged bombers.
The additional data accompanying the two sketches state that the Ritz-Carlton bomber was approximately 40-years-old, 165cm tall, with dark skin and black hair. The JW Marriott bomber is approximately 17-years-old (so very young), about 180cm tall, with light skin. The forensic teams must have also found a foot as it is noted that the Marriott bomber wears a size 42 shoe.
Identifying these two individuals is going to be important in determining whether or not the links alleged by SBY in his post-bombing speech that the attacks were coordinated attacks against him in response to his election victory and an attempt to undermine the economy can be made out. It will also be important in determining what the motivation for such wanton violence was. And, finally, it will bring closure to their loved ones.
Although some might not care much for the last point. However, the reality is that they were likely to be someone's husband, father, son, brother, uncle, or whatever, so there is probably someone, somewhere who loves them and misses them.
It seems that the police have allegedly captured and detained the wife of Noordin M. Top. I am not sure that this ups the ante on Top but if the police can get a head start on his next move then they might just be able to catch him. It appears that Malaysian police and their Indonesian counterparts are working closely in trying to break down what is an international operation under the guidance of Noordin M Top.
So, maybe in light of the differences Indonesia and Malaysia share over issues such as Ambalat and Manohara it is worth noting that Indonesia and Malaysia also share some common ground in the fight to unravel and eliminate terrorist organizations in their respective countries and the region.
Violence is not the answer. And, for this reason, the terrorists will never win!
21 July 2009
Drinking beer and being a Muslim in Malaysia do not mix. However, when they do, you might just find yourself in a situation where you are before a Religious Court and destined for a few strokes of the cane.
The Religious Court in the Eastern State of Pahang has sentenced a Singaporean model of Muslim faith to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer in a nightclub, and getting caught doing it.
I remember getting six strokes of the cane in high school back in the day when a little bit of corporal punishment was thought to be good for naughty boys to ensure that they grew up into responsible adults. However, my understanding is that Malaysia is similar to Singapore in that you get the rotan cane across the buttocks. I dare say that it probably hurts a little more downstairs than on the hands.
The model, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, pleaded guilty. Generally, early guilty pleas attract a little bit of leniency. However, this was not to be. The court held that a good old-fashioned caning was in order, if for no other reason than the law allows for such a sentence to be imposed. But, furthermore, the court believed that this case would serve as a good example not only to Shukarno, but also to other Muslims thinking about having a beer or two. Shukarno also was fined 5000 Ringgit.
Shukarno is intending to appeal. Yet, there does not seem to be good prospects for success in light of the court's reasoning. I suppose her lawyers might want to be arguing that the sentence is manifestly excessive for the nature and seriousness of the crime.
The problem as I see it is that there is a two-tier justice system in Malaysia; regular courts and religious courts. The religious courts only hear matters relating to alleged crimes committed by Muslims. Religious courts are designed to hear matters relating to religious-based offenses of which drinking alcohol is one. This makes the system two-tiered because Malaysia's other religious minorities are free to drink alcohol as they please and are not going to be subject to a caning for imbibing.
I wonder is this fair and just, or is it just a simple case of; this is the way it is, get over it, and deal with it.
The establishment of, or the expanding of the jurisdiction, of religious courts is something that Indonesia faces periodically. The religious courts in Indonesia, until recently, had a very restrictive jurisdiction relating to family issues. This has expanded to include some financial matters where the financial issues relate specifically to Syariah-based issues. There are some who would see the jurisdiction of the religious courts in Indonesia expanded even further to include the ability to hear matters relating to all things to do with the Muslim faith.
Some have called my fascination with this case an obsession. I would rather call it just a fascination, the fascination about the making of a celebrity, especially where there are interesting legal issues and points of law arising from what are allegedly a tragic set of circumstances relating to domestic violence.
It seems that Manohara's handlers, and presumably chief among these is her mother, will go to any lengths to ensure that the girl does not miss out on a media and photo opportunity. Most of these appearances seem to be geared to exploiting any nationalist sentiment that Indonesians have with respect to being anti-Malaysian. The carefully managed media opportunities are also designed to take the focus off of Daisy Fajarina and her own serious legal problems including the one where she is allegedly on the run from France for the abuse of a domestic servant. Brett over at Spruiked has his own take on the media coveting matter here.
Mano, as she is known to her friends, decided that Monday was a good day to get over to the MMC hospital in South Jakarta and visit some of the victims of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings. Mano did not only make these visits by herself, but she went along with her mother and 50 members of her entourage all clad in red and white camouflage gear. Red and white just happens to be the colours of the Indonesian flag. I am all for a little patriotism and being proud in one's country, but is this really the moment for this expression?
The fact that the prime suspect for planning and coordinating the most recent bombings is Malaysian is not enough reason for this kind of circus to occur, particularly when it seems that the trigger men, or suicide bombers if you prefer, are most likely to be Indonesian. In any event, if Mano was really concerned about the health and welfare of the victims she would not have made them participants in the Mano horse and pony show. This hospital appearance was all about self-promotion and promoting the new soap opera she is to star in, Manohara.
The hospital visit followed a visit to the site of the actual bombings and her signing of the memorial canvas.
It is times like these that people look for sincerity in the actions of their celebrities. Unfortunately, Mano's actions here seem to be self-serving and exploiting the grief of others in order to keep her own name in the press (and by posting this blog entry perhaps I am complicit in this vicious cycle). As serious and severe as the alleged physical and sexual assaults were against Manohara, a double bombing is certainly going to bump you from the front couple of pages of the tabloids and out of the main story slot on all the gossip shows.
Cynical, maybe! But, based on what is available it is a reasonable thing to be.
The case will soon return to the substantive issues that first brought Mano to the attention of the masses. The prince has announced that he is pursuing a defamation action against Manohara and her mother for the lies they have spread about him. The prince went on to say that he is also seeking to terminate the marriage and is hopeful of a divorce in the near future.
Some people will do anything to be famous, and once they are famous they seem willing to do whatever it takes to remain so.
20 July 2009
Despite the title of this post, it is not some academic expose on juvenile justice. It is a commentary on a particular case that is currently before the Tangerang District Court in Indonesia. It involves children and an alleged gambling session.
The relevant law in Indonesia is Law No. 3 of 1997 on Juvenile Justice. The law states that a juvenile that is subject to the provisions of the law is any child between the ages of eight and eighteen. However, where children are found to have committed an offense that is subject to the provisions of this law and they are under the age of eight, then the child may still be subject to some form of action. This action will not include a court appearance. However, it might include removal from the home and placement with child services.
However, once the child has reached an age of eight then they can be brought before a court of law and tried for their alleged offenses. The trial is to be closed and the identities of the children are to be protected. Interestingly, the above photo is from the hearing and it shows the children wearing masks in order to protect their identity. For me, though, a closed hearing must mean just that, it is closed to all bar the prosecution; the defense counsel, the judges and associated court staff, and the child or children's immediate families. This is seemingly not the way it has been done to date in this case.
However, the lack of real protection of the children's identities is hardly surprising. Having lived in Indonesia and watched a good deal of crime reporting on television or reading about crime in the paper, it is clear that a very poor job is done with respect to "really" protecting the identities of children in criminal matters. I am certainly not in favor of naming and shaming of minor children. On a slightly different note, I also believe that children who have been victim of crime have an absolute right to have their identities protected.
In a case that is currently before the Tangerang District Court that involves the prosecution of ten children ranging in ages from eight to eleven. These children were allegedly caught gambling. Their game of choice was guessing the value of a coin at IDR 1000 a game. This is hardly big stakes gambling, and you would think that the police, public prosecutors, and the courts have bigger fish to fry in the crime stakes than these ten children. Then again, maybe not.
The children were caught in the middle of their high-stakes game within the surrounds of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in June. Sadly, the reason they were there was because they were trying to make a few extra Rupiah shining shoes of much wealthier travellers on their way out of Jakarta or out of the country. The majority of these kids are regulars in primary school and would hardly classify as hardened criminals in the making.
In any event, the criminal prosecution of these children should have been a case of last resort. A slap on the wrist and a warning to their parents and guardians that this sort of thing is not on and if they get caught again then perhaps it is time for social or children's services to become involved. The idea that these ten children could end up in a juvenile detention facility for gambling less than one dollar is more wrong that the offense that they have allegedly committed.
My previous post on the recent bombings in Jakarta and the speech by SBY in the aftermath dealt with the idea that he used his position as president to take advantage of the tragic events to score a few political points and to finger the opposition of being involved. Now, it may well turn out after the investigation that the president's accusations are borne out and Prabowo was the man.
However, all early indications are suggesting that this was a JI, or remnants of JI, operation with a man by the name of Nur Hasbi (or Nur Aziz) allegedly being at least one of the suicide bombers. It seems that Nur Hasbi has links to JI and to Abu Bakar Ba'asyir through Al-Mukmin Ngruki Islamic Boarding School (Pesantren).
The Sydney Morning Herald and their correspondent on the ground in Jakarta, Tom Allard, is running a story with the headline that the speech indicates that Dr. Yudhoyono is flustered and that the speech in which he links his rivals (primarily Prabowo) to the bombing violence as being extraordinary. The sense of extraordinary being that the speech and the linking of his rivals runs counter to what most people would have expected considering the nature of the events. The story goes on to suggest that this is raising serious concerns about the president's judgment in a crisis situation.
When you are like me, to suggest that the president might have a few judgment issues and that he took advantage of a tragic situation to score political points is likely to get you labeled as a foreigner (or as Indonesians prefer to call their white foreign folk, bule) trying to read too much into a situation, or simply not understanding the Indonesian dynamic or "way" because you are white (there are plenty of examples of this -- See Indonesia Matters for a sampling of these types of comments). This is always an easy way out of having to debate the real issues of substance. It always reminds me of the kid who brings the ball for the footy match and when he gets picked last, decides he would rather take the ball and go home than play.
The substantive issues in the speech are critical and must be addressed. It is time for the president to ante-up if he is intending to stand by the statements that he has made. Specifically, the idea that the attack was really an attack by the political elites of Indonesia against him personally. The president talks in his speech about Indonesia being a country where the rule of law applies and a place where evidence is required to gain a conviction. Now would see like an appropriate time to put forward a little more convincing proof than a few photos and a video of some balaclava clad supposed terrorists shooting at a mugshot of the president.
Furthermore, that there is or was a plan to take over the General Election Commission headquarters on the announcement of his presumed victory in the recent presidential elections. If there is enough intelligence floating around that this "attack" was a real possibility then there is enough intelligence obviously that the attack would have been thwarted. How about some evidence being released and the arrest of some of the would-have-been perpetrators of this brazen attack on Indonesian democracy and the headquarters of the KPU.
Finally, the president has indirectly linked Prabowo as being an instigator of the bombings and presumably the impending violent response to the announcement of the presidential election results on 27 July 2009. This really does require a little bit of support in terms of evidence. It will be interesting to see whether Prabowo and his legal team thinks there is enough in the statement to start some defamation proceedings. Anyone who knows anything about Prabowo's questionable human rights history knows that the references in SBY's speech can only be about Prabowo.
The speech was extraordinary. It was extraordinary because the speech was prepared prior to it being given. This was a planned and calculated attempt to use a tragic set of circumstances for personal political gain. Even if at some point in the future the president's assertions are proven to be true, specifically that his political rivals are involved, it still does not condone the method or the timing of the speech to launch a personal attack of his own. It cannot be forgotten that this is a case where innocent Indonesians and foreigners lost their lives in attack that was anything but a personal attack on the president.