24 November 2009

Manohara, Corruption, and Cemeteries

I have decided not to go with the traditional Manohara post heading. I think we are up to the mid-twenties or something, but who really cares about that.

There is one thing you have to acknowledge about Manohara and her handlers, they are master manipulators of the media. Manohara is often referred to as a teen sinetron star. Yet, her only foray into sinetron, or Indonesian soap operas, was axed after not fully completing a whole season. There are obviously diverse opinions on why that is, but it seems that the self-titled soap opera was not a big ratings winner once the novelty wore off.

In any event, this has not been a deterrent to Manohara or those handling her public image. She seems to have this uncanny knack of being everywhere that there is a photo opportunity. Most recently she turned up at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout to support a demonstration by the "Red and White Troops" focusing on anti-corruption.

The thrust of the demonstration or protest was that corruption is bad and that convicted corruptors need to be socially stigmatized in life and in death. In death, meaning that the government should set aside special pieces of land to build cemeteries for corruptors. Personally, this seems a tad unnecessary, particularly for god-fearing people. Simply, if corruption is the evil many of us believe it to be then it would seem pretty obvious that God is unlikely to reward corruptors no matter where they are buried.

And, if there is no God then it does not really matter where corruptors commence their worm food journey, does it?

In the understatement of the day category Manohara piped up that she hope that Indonesia will one day be corruption free. Don't we all, Mano?

She went onto say that she hopes corruptors are severely punished and that where those corruptors are government employees that they are fired. This was topped off by a call for unity in the fight against corruption that would see the KPK, the Police, and the Office of the Attorney General reunited in their common cause, corruption eradication.

Although, the best part of the Manohara saga is how she refers to herself in the third person. It is almost like she is not there when she is talking about herself. One quote attributed to her is, “Mano is not afraid to get dark (from the sun). Mano could get in the car but any people out here have to stand the heat.”

I am wondering though, if Mano and her mother, Daisy Fajarina, are so concerned about law and order, then why did they not deal with the case against them in Malaysia which resulted in a rather large default judgment against them? Or why Daisy insists in not finalizing the legal issues pertaining to her alleged abuse of a domestic servant whilst living in France?

People who live in glass houses probably should not throw stones (or walk around naked :D).

23 November 2009

Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto -- Deponeering...

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY, is not scheduled to respond to the Team of Eight report and their investigation and recommendations regarding the police and prosecutors case against Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto until tonight. However, unwittingly or not, he has probably provided some insight into what his remarks are likely to be when he addressed the chief editors of 75 media organizations last night.

It is clear that the president feels that some of the issues that have arisen during the cause of these shenanigans have been nothing short of a personal affront to him and his family. Therefore, it is of little or no surprise that he wants this issue to go away, and go away fast. The longer it drags on the more damage it does to him and his legacy.

So, what did the president say exactly. Well, in a nutshell, he wants the issue resolved, and he wants it resolved out of court. His suggestion is that the police and the Office of the Attorney General use their deponeering (sometimes spelt deponering) to discontinue the investigation. Deponeering is a legacy of the Dutch colonial legal system and in its most simple terms means to discontinue any investigation in the public interest. In essence, the president is telling the police and the AGO to end this thing by just pulling up stumps and letting the issue die a fast but peaceful death.

Yet, it is worth noting that in his comments he seems to suggest that ultimately this is a call for the police and the AGO. If this is true, and he has not issued a direct order to the police and the AGO to deponeer this case, then it is a little bit disingenuous to suggest that he is becoming actively involved in the case. In fact, it is pretty clear that he is setting up the public for disappointment by saying that he will not be forced into overstepping his boundaries as president.

And, as far as he is concerned, if he was to order the police or the AGO to stop the investigation then he would be overstepping his authority and interfering in the proper domain of law enforcement. However, he had no qualms about involving himself by pushing through an interim law (perpu) to get three new commissioners appointed to the KPK. It would seem that the president is prepared to pick and choose how he exercises his authority in this case while hiding behind constitutional amendments that supposedly limit the president's authority in dealing with matters relevant and important to the development of democracy within the Republic of Indonesia.

The Team of Eight report also recommends that heads should role. So, it will be interesting to see whether in letting the police and the AGO decide whether he lets the Chief of Police and the Attorney General to continue to make a mockery of their respective institutions.

The idea that deponeering this case as an out-of-court settlement is fair is also a backhanded slap to the face of the KPK and to Chandra and Bibit specifically. This is particularly so if the deponeering does not result in a complete withdrawal of the charges and some degree of compensation for the damage the investigation has done to the reputations of Chandra and Bibit to date.

There would need to not only be a deponeering happening here, but a full and unequivocal apology to both the KPK commissioners for the harm done to them. Anything less would be a slap in the face. This would be particularly so considering that the Team of Eight report states that the police and the AGO do not have enough to sustain a charge of abuse of power or extortion.

So, it remains to be seen. What will the president do? Mr. President what will you do?

Megan Fox, Panties, Crotch Shot, and Criticism...

It would seem that there has been much criticism of Megan Fox lately.

But some of the more recent is that she is somewhat "slutty". However, Ms. Fox responds with the charge that the reason her detractors think and talk like that is because she is beautiful and smart.

Nevertheless, I will reserve my judgment for some other day. But, I do post these pictures for your viewing pleasure, and so that you may make a determination for yourself about whether the criticisms are warranted or not.

These photos are classed as outtakes from a recent photo shoot she did for the New York Times (NYT) Magazine.

Justice -- Indonesian Style?

Sometimes there are certain events that just leave you shaking your head and saying, "what were they thinking?"

This is one of those moments. In the grand scheme of all things Indonesian the theft of three pods of cacao beans would seemingly rank fairly lowly on the justice meter. This is especially so considering the current turmoil engulfing Indonesia's law enforcement agencies and government with respect to the KPK vs. the police and AGO spat, and the developing mess known as the Bank Century scandal. However, it seems that if you steal three beans then justice is swift, but if you attempt to bribe public officials and / or participate in the suspect use of IDR 6.7 trillion then justice might not be so swift.

Now this is a story of Minah, a 55-year-old woman, who lives in Banyumas, and who helped herself to three cacao bean pods from a local plantation. The total value of her huge haul was about IDR 1,500. To give my non-Indonesian readers an idea of value here, that is about USD 0.15 or AUD 0.18. This is hardly the crime of the century, particularly in the Indonesian context.

However, the plantation and the law enforcement agencies in the relevant area decided that this was the perfect crime for making an example and educating the public about criminal activity, and the need to stop crime in its tracks. I am sure that there are many others out there who would find it hard to believe that this is the crime to educate the masses about the ills of criminal activity.

The Law and Human Rights Minister has gone on the record to suggest that this case is an embarrassment to Indonesia and her law enforcement agencies. Specifically, the Minister believes that law enforcers need to embrace humanitarian principles. Indeed they do, but they should not also turn a blind eye to criminal activity. The question is really one of degree, and particularly how this event of theft could have been dealt with in a more appropriate matter.

Ultimately, the District Court at Purwokerto handed down a 45-day suspended sentence. The sentence stipulates that Minah cannot commit a similar criminal offense within three months from the date of conviction. If she does then she will be required to serve her 45-day sentence.

Probably what the Minister should be more concerned about is that Minah represented herself. The law requires that all people appearing before an Indonesian court be given the opportunity to have legal representation. If an individual is incapable of paying for that legal representation, then it is to be provided on a pro bono basis. And, perhaps even more concerning is the assertion that Minah was encouraged to plead guilty to the crime without legal representation present as the prosecutors stated that it would be easier for her and her treatment would be more lenient.

I do not have a problem with the idea of plea bargaining. However, this needs to be done in a manner that people who have no experience of the legal system are not rail-roaded into making confessions in order to see leniency.

A suspended 45-day sentence is a little harsh for what amounts to an IDR 1,500 theft. This could have been easily settled out of court by getting Minah to pay compensation to the value of the seeds taken. The reason she provided to the court as the motivation for her crime was that she wanted to plant the seeds in order to grow her own cacao plants. Assuming this were true, then the plantation firm missed a perfect opportunity to put together a community cacao development program where the company provides seeds to poor locals, and they could have made Minah the first recipient of that community initiative.

Yet, the infinite wisdom of the pencil-pushing corporate types was, "this is a perfect opportunity for us to educate the masses about small-scale theft!" And, I might add, the perfect opportunity to show the community that we are here only to rape and pillage your land, make large profits, and then leave you with nothing, which sounds a little bit like a public relations nightmare.

With cases like Minah's there is little wonder that Indonesians are generally not convinced that the justice system works fairly for all citizens.

22 November 2009

Missing Pets...

For your viewing pleasure (sourced from here)

2012 Movie, Muslims, and Fatwas

When is a film just a film, and when does it become an unbridled insult of a religion, in this case Islam, that requires a fatwa (edict) to be issued warning Muslims not to watch it?

Well, this has seemingly been uncovered in Indonesia. It also highlights how little some Indonesian Muslim scholars follow the news and how narrowly they read in the case of the movie 2012.

2012 is the last year of the Mayan calendar. There have been doomsday predictions floating around for many centuries, Nostradamus has a few of them himself. However, ask a couple of Mayan scholars and experts, and you will soon come to the conclusion that the fact 2012 seems to be a cut-off date is not as evil as it seems with respect to the world ending.

In any event, it is a movie. Movies are designed to entertain, this movie has awesome special effects, and lacks somewhat on a real good plot (supposedly - I have not watched it myself, yet).

However, the very idea of a doomsday movie got the Malang (East Java) and Solo (Central Java) Chapters of the Indonesian Ulama Council (Majelis Ulema Indonesia / MUI) to thinking about how blasphemous the movie is because all good Muslims know that only Allah knows when the world will end. They forgot to add that part that all good rational Muslims also understand that this is a movie, it is not real. And, it is not likely to be the trigger for them to suddenly change their beliefs or to question Islam.

Nevertheless, these Ulamas or scholars thought that the best approach was to issue a fatwa banning Muslims in their constituencies from going to watch the film. To date this has been nothing more than a few talking heads looking for 15 minutes of fame and a few bylines in the papers (and of course the ridicule of most bloggers Muslim and non-Muslim alike). In any event, a fatwa seems unlikely.

It is worth noting that one of the key features of the movie is the scene that does not appear. The film does not show Mecca the destruction of Mecca or any other religious symbols of Islam. The director omitted the destruction of these things in order to avoid a fatwa being issued against the film.

It certainly is one of those shake your head moments where you find yourself giggling to yourself wondering if these gentlemen are for real. It would be better use of their time to be focusing on issues that have real meaning to people throughout Indonesia. For example, how about a fatwa on the prohibition of men marrying children? Or a fatwa on perils of corruption? There are so many more important things happening in Indonesia and the world compared to a Hollywood film exploring what doomsday might look like.

I have plans that go past 2012. Do you?

15 November 2009

Chandra on Al Jazeera...

This is a brief video, but provides a little insight into what the issues are and the supposed proof that the police have.

Worth watching. It looks like the Daniel S. Lev Law Library in the background.


13 November 2009

A Pittance of Time -- Terry Kelly...

Something that we must all ponder no matter what our personal views might be about war. We must not forget the sacrifices of so many. Simply, two minutes is no time at all to spend thinking about those sacrifices and being grateful for those that made them.

It is indeed a pittance of time that one needs to take out to remember.

Lest we forget!


Blog Housekeeping -- Word Verification...

Dear All...

It seems that a lot of my posts are getting spammed. Therefore, I have opted to activate word verification. Hopefully, this will reduce the amount of spam I am getting about buying pirated DVDs and CDs from Russia and other places, as well as medications from all over the globe. After all, there is only so much Viagra and Cialis that one man can use :D

Hopefully, you all will get to enjoy the rest of your Friday and have a nice weekend to boot.

11 November 2009

Remembrance Day...

The shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We shall remember them.

-- The Ode.

10 November 2009

Official Cicak Logos...

I have always fancied myself as a bit of a gecko as opposed to a crocodile.

So, it has been with great interest that I have watched the Cicak vs. Buaya spat as it unfolded in Indonesia. The Cicak (Cinta Indonesia, Cinta KPK / Love Indonesia, Love the KPK) movement has shown in a very short space of time what is possible when like-minded individuals get together and confront head-on the entrenched and special interests of the few, in this case the buaya (crocodiles of the Police and AGO).

This is people power, or perhaps gecko power, in action. And, what action it has been in the sense that the recently re-elected SBY has been presented with the perfect opportunity to cement his mandate, and his legacy, as a reformer by cleaning house and getting rid of all of the dead wood in the Indonesian National Police Force (Polri) and the Office of the Attorney General (AGO).

Long Live the Cicak!

Time For SBY To Step Up To The Plate...

The Fact Finding Team appointed by the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY, has held a press conference to relay their findings and what they intend to put in writing to the president. It is worth noting that the fact finding team, or the Team of Eight as it is known, have no real powers to stop the investigations by the police or the Office of the Attorney General (AGO).

Nevertheless, considering that SBY went to the trouble of appointing the team means that if he does not follow through on what the team finds, then he will look like he is dragging his feet and this can only be a negative in the long-term for the president and his legacy.

The fact finding team has reported that the police and the AGO do not have a case against Chandra and Bibit. The evidence that they offered up to the team as proof of the case has been deemed inadequate. It has been deemed to be insufficient to sustain the indictment and it has been deemed to not be sufficient to get a conviction. This is a pretty big slap in the face for both the police and the AGO.

It is worth noting that this is also a pretty big slap in the face for the president as well. He steadfastly refused to become involved and his reluctance to do so has shown him to be weak on ant-corruption measures and willing to do whatever it takes to avoid making the hard decisions and upsetting the apple cart. The failures in this case will continue to haunt SBY for some time. They might also be instrumental in undermining any legacy that he thought he might be leaving with respect to being a reformer and corruption fighter.

What the interim report does put into play now is how should those who remain be dealt with. This is particularly so for the lead actor in this charade, Anggodo. Anggodo by his own admission has seemingly said he was trying to bribe members of the KPK and had disbursed money for that purpose. If there is no evidence, and the fact finding team says that there is not, then Anggodo must be charged with obstruction of justice type violations and making an attempt to bribe members of the KPK.

Furthermore, the Chief of Police and the Attorney General must also be investigated to determine what they knew and when. It seems that both were either involved in the construction of the case against Chandra and Bibit or were aware early that it was a fabrication. Both men have fronted the relevant Commission at the DPR and claimed that there is evidence of the extortion and bribes being completed, In essence, they have suggested that both the police and the AGO intend to pursue the matter to its conclusion.

The only way that either can avoid the pink slip treatment is to prove that to all intents and purposes they were "just doing their jobs". Somehow this seems unlikely.

It appears that round three, four, and five have gone to the KPK as well. The police and the AGO are taking a beating in not only the courts of law but the court of public opinion as well.

Time to give this one up.

Smells Like Bullshit...

Here is a little gem from the Indonesian Attorney General. This was offered to Commission III at the Indonesian House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat / DPR), as reported by The Jakarta Post:

There is no evidence of bribery. But there is other proof to lead us to conclude the violation took place, although we have no adequate evidence of the acceptance of bribes.

This is clearly double-speak nonsense. Two parts of the quote state that there is not only no evidence but what they have is inadequate. This is then moderated by there is proof that the violation, in this case bribery and extortion, took place.

Now, if this is what the Attorney General intends to proceed to trial on, then he really must start packing his bags and cleaning out his office.

The president has no choice but to intervene. The AG must be dismissed and replaced by someone who has a better understanding of what the law requires for an indictment to be made and a trial to be undertaken. Simply, the "proof" that the AG is referring to is clearly the recanted testimony of a number of suspects and witnesses. The fact that the proof has been recanted suggests that the prospects for success at trial would be somewhere between nothing and a snowflake's chance in hell.

It is way past time for the police and the AGO to give this one up.

No apologies for the title of this post or the picture.

Kidnapping Julia?

Now that it seems Maria Ozawa (aka Miyabi) has pulled the plug on coming to Indonesia to play the lead role in the film "Kidnapping Miyabi" out of fear for her life, or perhaps it's just because she cannot be bothered to go toe-to-toe with the Indonesian Ulama Council (Majelis Ulema Indonesia / MUI) or Islam Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam / FPI). Either way, the Japanese porn star that was looking to expand her portfolio of film work into the comedy genre, Maria is now history.

So, rather than write the concept off altogether perhaps the people at Maxima Productions can come to an arrangement with a suitable Indonesian replacement. Perhaps this might be a series of suggestions of possible "stars" to take on the role that was to formerly be played by Miyabi.

It would seem that the MUI and the FPI could not possibly have a problem with a local starlet taking the lead role in an Indonesian comedy. Furthermore, it would seem that the relevant Minister would not be able to make up some lame excuse that might prevent Julia from getting a visa. Although, stranger things have happened. The film, being a comedy and all, should not run foul of the relevant authorities that are now tasked with ensuring that all Indonesian film meet exacting moral and educational standards.

First cab off the rank, so to speak, is Julia Perez. Ms. Perez has quite a following in Indonesia. At least she does in my anecdotal studies on the issue. She might not be a porn star of the magnitude of Miyabi, but nonetheless she does have the image of being a bit of a sexy rebel (unfortunately this is usually without a cause). Simply, suggestion one; "Kidnapping Julia".

I think it is a surefire hit. Just so you can see why, I have included a few "promotional" shots (all pictures freely available on the internet).

Suggestion two...stay tuned! I am thinking Jade Marcella...

09 November 2009

Bye Bye Chief of Police, Bye Bye Chief of Detectives...

The game might very well be up for both the Chief of Police, Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, and the Chief of Detectives, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji. That game being their employment in their current positions. Any attempt to maintain them by the president will be a mortal wound for the president as both the Chiefs are tainted beyond salvation. In essence, the president himself signed off on the pink slips when he created the fact-finding team, and then tasked that team with uncovering the truth.

There remain questions of independence considering the president appointed a team to uncover the mentioning of his name in a some wire-tapped conversations. However, the fact-finding team was always going to find that there was no evidence against Chandra Hamzah and Bibit Rianto because there was none to start with.

Indonesian law in its current form would not sustain the trumped-up criminalization of authority charges, and the alleged corruption has to-date not been proved. In fact, there is not even enough in police hands at the moment to even formulate the charge.

The fact finding team is supposedly going to send an interim report to the president that states that there is not enough evidence to proceed against Chandra and Bibit, either on the current charge or the alleged corruption. The president can no longer sit back and say that he is going to let this charade run its legal course. That course is done. The charges against Chandra and Bibit must be dropped and they must be reinstated immediately to their positions as Commissioners on the Corruption Eradication Commission.

This farce has already damaged the president, and any feet-dragging on his part once the fact finding team reports will only further damage his credibility as a corruption fighter.

If the president is worth his salt, then the Chief of Police will resign, or be dismissed, within 24 hours of the fact finding team's report (assuming that they report that there is not enough evidence to proceed). Quite simply, the Chief of Police used a Parliamentary Commission to state publicly that the police had enough evidence to proceed against Chandra on the corruption allegations. This would seem to be a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

In simple terms, the Chief of Police lied, and he seemingly has misled and lied to the parliament about the state of the police investigation into the allegations.

Furthermore, the Chief of Detectives must also resign or be dismissed. After all this was his own personal vendetta or war against the KPK, and he has been found wanting in the honesty and integrity department. This is in spite of any claims he may have made as God is his witness that he never received any bribes. Whether he did or did not is irrelevant. His pursuit of Chandra and Bibit was a clear abuse of power on his part, and that in itself is sufficient for him to fall on his own sword and resign. If he does not have the desire or courage to fall on his sword, then the president needs to ensure that the man is dismissed from his position.

Once the president has taken the opportunity to clear out the dead wood from the police force, he must then turn his attention to the Office of the Attorney General (AGO). Heads will also need to roll there. And, those heads must continue to roll until a new Attorney General is appointed. Best case scenario for the next AG is that it is a lawyer of good standing and a clean reputation. It cannot be an internal promotion from within the ranks of the AGO as the AGO has shown that as an institution it is tainted with corruption.

The reality is that an outsider with a mandate and the support of the president will have a foot up in terms of cleaning house and setting the AGO on the path of real reform.

This would seemingly be the perfect opportunity for the president to clean house, and start fulfilling the promise of corruption eradication, clean governance, and a brighter future free from institutionalized corruption for all Indonesians.


I should add that the Deputy Attorney General, Abdul Hakim Ritonga, and the Chief of Detectives, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji, have tendered resignations.

07 November 2009

Women's Soccer...

Vinnie Jones would be proud!

Whoever would want to argue that women do not get into it on the soccer pitch really need to watch this clip of Elizabeth Lambert. Lambert plays college soccer for New Mexico. This particular game was against Brigham Young University.

06 November 2009

UN Peacekeepers and Sex Crimes...

It is too bad that national authorities have the prime responsibility for punishing their nationals who commit sex crimes whilst on active duty with the United Nations (UN). Too bad, because most national authorities fail to appreciate the seriousness of the offenses, quite often perpetrated against children, or there is just no desire to prosecute at the national level.

Nevertheless, at least 50 peacekeepers have been punished by their respective national authorities for sex crimes committed whilst in the service of the UN. The punishments have been somewhat on the light side with most seeing a reduction in rank and the most serious punishment being a stint of eight months in jail.

The UN released the data after repeated requests to do so. However, the UN did not publicize the identities or the nations of the perpetrators of these outrages against human dignity.

Unfortunately for the UN, the UN can investigate the alleged crimes and forward relevant data and information to the relevant national authority. However, it is the national authority that makes the determination to prosecute or not. The data shows that although prosecutions for sex crimes is increasing, there are still vast numbers of allegations that go untried.

05 November 2009

Maria Ozawa, Miyabi, and Instant Noodles...

This post is obviously much lighter fare than the couple of posts previous. However, people with a sense of humor and photoshop skills are never boring. This is something that I found floating around the internet during my travels from here to there. I find it very amusing. Perhaps it is a case of small things amuse small minds. But, I do wish I had the photoshop skills to do these sorts of things myself.

Instant noodles usually feed quite a good proportion of the population on any one day. So, this is a very funny and excellent tongue in cheek job.

I am not sure what would be a good translation of "rasa ayam kampus". But, a loose translation would be "tastes like a campus [college] girl".

04 November 2009

Round 2 for the KPK...

If the analogy of the ding dong drawn out battle between the KPK and the vested interests of the police, the AGO, and seemingly, the establishment, was that of a boxing match, then it is pretty clear that the KPK has convincingly won round two. It might not yet be the knockout blow, but the police, the AGO, and some of the other central figures within the buaya (crocodile) camp are teetering on the ropes just waiting for that final blow before crumpling to the knees and taking the mandatory count.

The police and the AGO will recover from this little contest of wills, if for no other reason that every functioning democratic state needs a viable police force and a viable, and accountable, AGO. However, this contest will develop into the perfect opportunity for the president, SBY, to reassume the mandate of anti-corruption reformer, and clean out the dead wood from both the ranks of the police and the AGO.

The first to go must be Susno Duaji, he should then be closely followed by the Chief of Police, Bambang Danuri. After that, there are a few people at the AGO who must be sweating a little more profusely than usual, starting with Abdul Hakim Ritonga. The AG himself is not safe in this purge, particularly if the president is worth his salt and takes the opportunity to clean house. The former prosecutor Wisnu Subroto seems the most likely of the former officials from the AGO to see heat.

The fallout form these shenanigans is likely to spread and pick up plenty of casualties along the way. The Witness and Victim Protection Agency is also likely to come under a fair bit more scrutiny as it now seems that there were several requests for protection made to them, including by one of the key players in this farce, Anggodo, the brother of the on the run corruption suspect Anggoro Widjojo.

However, it would also seem that there is much more at stake here as Susno Duaji also played a key role in suppressing the Bank Century case. In fact, it has often been reported that he played a key role in getting funds of certain depositors released in a manner which could conceivably be construed as being in breach of the prevailing regulations. Time and greater analysis of the "facts" will tell on that one though.

The recordings that were played to the Constitutional Court yesterday, were a bombshell of sorts. Yet, to all intents and purposes most of what was revealed had been suspected and been the substance of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and gossip pages for at least the last couple of days. Most interesting is the mention of the president's name and his alleged involvement in signing off on the targeting of Chandra and Bibit.

This is interesting on a number of fronts. The president must still be smarting from the fact that the Constitutional Court gave him a bit of a slap down on the interim law he issued to appoint three new commissioners to the KPK. However, to be linked into the frame of two KPK commissioners, which allegedly included discussion of an assassination of one of those commissioners, is troubling to say the least.

The president has called for a full investigation. Not surprising. However, in light of the tape and the alleged allegations the appointment of a Fact Finding Team (Tim Pencari Fakta / TPF) by the president may be perceived by many as an opportunity to cover one's tracks. Any fact finding team needs to not only be independent but be seen or perceived to be independent as well. The president seemingly has a conflict of interest in appointing the team.

For the president's sake, particularly his legacy on anti-corruption, this needs to turn out to be nothing more than a desperate Anggodo and others participating in a little bit of name dropping in order to convince others that the president is on board with what was going down. Nevertheless, the mere mentioning of the president's name should see plenty of questions being raised about the president and his role in this affair.

The playing of the tapes has seen a positive development or two already. Chandra and Bibit have been released from detention. And, Anggodo has been detained for questioning in order to determine how much of the tape is verifiable as being true, but probably more so in order to uncover the true extent of the conspiracy to frame Chandra and Bibit.

Perhaps the game is now up for the crocodiles and the cicak can now return to a much more peaceful life.

03 November 2009

Death Threats and the Cicak vs. Buaya Shenanigans...

It would seem that the current shenanigans between the Cicak (pro-KPK) and the Buaya (pro-police / ago / establishment) is far more serious than many have been believing. The death threats are something that I have been aware of for a while. They are only now becoming publicly known. It is a scary and sad turn of events that planned assassinations are still the preferred method of silencing dissent.

Indonesia has learned nothing from the ongoing debacle that is the investigation into the assassination of Munir Said Thalib or as he is affectionately known by those who knew him, Munir. Or perhaps, the powers that be have in fact learned a thing or two. Specifically, they have learned that under the false promises and weak leadership of the current president that they can in essence murder with impunity. Some might wonder whether this statement is fair on the president, I would encourage you to think about Munir's widow, Suciwati, and children and then rethink what fair is, rethink what justice is, and then rethink whether the promises made by SBY to not only uncover the culprits, but to punish them to the full extent of the law have been fulfilled?

There has been some open speculation that perhaps Chandra M Hamzah has been targeted for assassination. This open speculation includes several law enforcers suggesting that the man has been targeted. This seems to be somewhat extreme for what the police have decided is nothing more than an abuse of power relating to the imposing and later revoking of a travel ban. The thought that there has even been talk of an assassination should be considered indicative of a much bigger "issue" needing to be covered up and buried.

I cannot imagine what Chandra and his family must be feeling knowing that his desire for public service and the desire to see Indonesia develop into a better country puts him at the forefront for political assassination. What is truly bizarre is that the police and others have gone to such lengths to frame Chandra and Bibit, but have come up empty handed on the evidence front.

Very amateurish to say the least but perhaps highlights why there is now talk of death threats and assassinations; if you cannot silence them through trumped up charges then there is always the belief that dead men tell no tales.

Perhaps what is more frightening about this than the threat itself is that the law enforcers were recorded talking about it in the first place. Assassinations that involve law enforcement agencies do not generally take place without an order coming from much higher up the chain of command. It is rare that the foot soldiers tasked with committing the murder hatch the plot themselves. Simply, the foot soldier have the least to gain and the most to lose.

This is the threat played at the Constitutional Court today:

"Kalau Chandra sampai masuk tahanan, biar kita habisi sekalian." Which loosely translated says: "If Chandra is detained, then let's finish him at the same time." This prompted one of his lawyers, Bambang Widjojanto to request that Chandra be released into protective custody for his own safety. However, the reality is that any request of this kind is in vain. The Constitutional Court's powers do not extend to making an order to force the police to release Chandra into protective custody, at least in the opinion of the Chief Justice of the court, Mahfud MD.

Why post? This is serious! A man's life is at stake, and it is my belief that the more people that know about this development, then the less likely it is to happen. At least this is the hope.

01 November 2009

USA & HIV / AIDS -- A Travel Decision...

It seems that the US has finally decided to make its decision to overturn the ban on HIV infected people travelling to the US a reality. President Obama has signed an order that will see the ban lifted from early next year. Hopefully, the other dozen or so countries that continue to ban HIV infected travellers will soon follow the US lead and remove the bans in their respective countries as well.

HIV / AIDS treatment has come a long way since the early eighties. So much so, that it is more a chronic illness than the death sentence it once was. People are living much longer with proper treatment, and the majority are able to live full lives and make lasting contributions to the communities in which they live. To discriminate against them on their HIV status is wrong.

Interestingly, there has not been a single HIV conference in the US since 1993. The ban on HIV+ travellers has meant that HIV+ researchers and activists would not have been able to attend to participate in any conference held. If you want to be the leader in any endeavour then you must act like the leader. This decision to remove the ban on HIV+ travellers is definitely a sign of leadership in the fight against HIV / AIDS.

Is Boediono the Man for Veep?

There were quite a few questions asked at the time Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) chose Boediono as his running mate and Vice President. Not of the Boedi who type, but rather an analysis of why the incumbent president chose the former Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs and, at that time, the Head of the Central / Reserve Bank (Bank Indonesia). Yet, the rationale might have been as simple as, "at least it is not Jusuf Kalla!".

That is not to say that Boediono is not an accomplished individual and worthy of the nomination that turned out to be his ticket to the vice presidency, and a heartbeat from the big chair. However, he is certain not to be a constant pain in the proverbial with off the cuff statements about the state of play in Indonesia. JK was renowned for his ability to produce news bites that did not always show SBY's administration in the best light.

Now, Boediono has stepped into the VP slot, or has he?

This photo is doing the rounds on the internet. It has a "Kompas" tag to it. But, I had a quick squizz on Kompas and could not find the photo to link to. But, it is interesting even if it is a photoshop job. It is interesting for the statement that it makes, particularly if you are a cynical pundit like I sometimes can be.

Hope you have all had a good weekend.