Indonesia

Australian government snubs Indonesian lawsuit over teenagers jailed as “people smugglers”

By Max Newman, 13 October 2017

A legal class action has been brought against Australian authorities on behalf of 115 young Indonesians who were imprisoned as adults.

Indonesian government bans Hizbut Tahrir

By John Roberts, 1 August 2017

The Widodo government fears that growing political instability will generate a social movement from below and is adopting draconian anti-democratic measures.

Indonesian president supports military role in new “anti-terror” law

By John Roberts, 17 June 2017

The legislation will significantly reverse limitations placed on the military’s internal security role following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship.

Thousands of workers on strike at Freeport mine in Papua

By Oscar Grenfell, 31 May 2017

The industrial action at the second-largest copper mine in the world reflects mounting social unrest in Indonesia.

Political tensions in Indonesia after jailing of Jakarta governor

By John Roberts, 27 May 2017

Basuki has withdrawn an appeal over his jail sentence in line with ruling elite concerns about possible unrest generated by intense social divisions.

Incumbent Jakarta governor defeated in bitter electoral contest

By John Roberts, 20 April 2017

A virulent chauvinist campaign against Governor Basuki was a means of diverting the rising unrest generated by the pro-business program that he shares with President Widodo.

Australia, Indonesia discuss closer economic, security ties

By John Roberts and James Cogan, 15 March 2017

The flurry of diplomatic activity between the two countries is largely in response to the Trump administration.

The Look of Silence: Important documentary on the aftermath of the 1965 Indonesia massacres

By Clara Weiss, 6 March 2017

In a profoundly moving, intimate and disturbing way, Joshua Oppenheimer’s film deals with the long-lasting and devastating impact of the mass murder of up to one million Communists and suspected Communists.

Jakarta election points to social unrest in Indonesia

By John Roberts, 22 February 2017

A chauvinist Islamist campaign against the incumbent governor is seeking to capitalise on the mass discontent of some of the poorest sections of the population.

Trial of Jakarta governor signals wider political turmoil in Indonesia

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 9 January 2017

The campaign against Basuki is a sign of sharpening rivalry among Indonesia’s political elites, amid growing economic uncertainty and a widening social gulf between rich and poor.

Indonesian military suspends “cooperation” with Australia

By James Cogan, 6 January 2017

The incident sheds light on the deep concerns in the Indonesian military over the prospect of the country becoming embroiled in a confrontation between China and the US.

At least 23 dead, 17 missing in Indonesian ferry disaster

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 January 2017

The tragic toll from the accident appears to have been caused by overcrowding, a lack of life jackets and other lax safety practices.

Human toll rises after Indonesian earthquake

By John Braddock, 13 December 2016

A hundred people are dead and nearly 84,000 displaced in the worst disaster to hit Aceh since the 2004 tsunami.

Indonesia and Australia discuss joint naval patrols in the South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 2 November 2016

The naval operations would be anything but routine, given that the Indonesian navy has already clashed with Chinese fishing trawlers in the South China Sea.

Toxic smog over South East Asia killed over 100,000 in 2015

By John Harris, 10 October 2016

The estimate, which is yet to be verified by an analysis of official mortality data, far exceeds the Indonesian government’s death toll.

Indonesian naval vessels clash with Chinese fishing boats

By John Roberts, 24 June 2016

Indonesia’s aggressive fisheries enforcement regime has been encouraged by Washington as it prepares to step up military and diplomatic pressure on China.

Autopsy indicates Indonesian police unit tortured and killed prisoner

By John Roberts, 20 April 2016

The Densus 88 unit works closely with, and receives training from, the American FBI and the Australian Federal Police.

Indonesia accuses China of encroaching on its territory

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 23 March 2016

Last weekend’s incident involving Chinese and Indonesian vessels is a sign of the acute tensions being generated by Washington’s intervention in South China Sea disputes.

Indonesian authorities seize on Jakarta attack to strengthen detention powers

By John Roberts, 26 January 2016

Beneath the cloak of combatting terrorism, Suharto-era measures are being revived in response to developing social tensions.

“Paris-style” terror attacks in Jakarta

By Thomas Gaist, 15 January 2016

The largest terror attacks in Indonesia since 2009 have produced a flurry of media propaganda geared to legitimize a further escalation of the US “War on Terror” throughout the region.

Indonesian foreign policy tilts towards the US and its allies

By John Roberts, 31 December 2015

Amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, Indonesia has adopted a tougher approach to China, while at the same time seeking to avoid open confrontation.

Indonesian government discusses offering Australia an island to detain refugees

By Max Newman, 11 December 2015

As a result of Australia’s “turn back” policy, more than 13,000 asylum seekers are now living in some of Indonesia’s most impoverished provinces.

Indonesian authorities ban discussion of 1965 coup at Bali writers festival

By John Roberts, 3 November 2015

Police forced the organisers to cancel film showings and discussion panels referring to the massacre of over 500,000 people in the CIA-backed coup.

Deadly haze from forest fires engulfs South East Asia

By John Roberts, 19 October 2015

The levels of air pollution this year will equal or exceed those of 1997, the worst fire season on record.

Fifty years since the Indonesian coup

By Peter Symonds, 1 October 2015

The 1965 CIA-backed military coup, which resulted in the slaughter of at least 500,000 people, was one of the great imperialist crimes of the 20th Century.

Indonesian President Widodo under pressure as economy slides

By John Roberts, 29 July 2015

International finance capital and local business interests have stepped up their demands for a new Indonesian cabinet.

Conditions worsen for refugees trapped on boats in South East Asia

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 19 May 2015

Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have closed their borders to thousands of asylum seekers adrift at sea in atrocious conditions.

Australian government hypocrisy over Indonesia’s executions

By Peter Symonds, 29 April 2015

Australia’s political establishment and media have latched onto the state killing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to posture as opponents of the death penalty.

Australia: Official campaign against Indonesian executions steeped in hypocrisy and cynicism

By Peter Symonds, 10 March 2015

Examples of the glaring double standards of Australian governments on the death penalty could be multiplied endlessly.

Political crisis in Jakarta over national police chief

By John Roberts, 13 February 2015

Widodo’s appointee was accused of corruption provoking a public confrontation between the president and his party, as well as between the police and the anti-corruption watchdog.

Indonesian authorities prepare for more executions

By John Roberts, 30 January 2015

Eleven more prisoners, including two Australians, face death after President Joko Widodo ruled out clemency for anyone convicted of drug offences.

Indonesian president speeds up executions of prisoners

By John Roberts, 19 January 2015

Widodo’s law-and-order campaign is an appeal to the most reactionary elements in Indonesian society.

Indonesian president abolishes fuel subsidy

By John Roberts, 15 January 2015

The Indonesian and international media quickly endorsed the move as a first step to satisfying the financial markets.

Evidence mounts of safety violations contributing to AirAsia plane crash

By Will Morrow, 7 January 2015

The more information that emerges about the crash, the more it becomes clear that it was not an unforeseeable tragedy.

Wreckage of crashed AirAsia flight found in Java Sea

By Will Morrow, 31 December 2014

The three day search concluded last night with the discovery of debris and the confirmation of the deaths of 162 people on board AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

Search continues for missing AirAsia flight

By Will Morrow, 30 December 2014

While there has been no explanation for what caused the plane to crash, aviation experts have focussed on the severe weather conditions.

AirAsia flight lost over Java Sea

By James Cogan, 29 December 2014

No wreckage of the aircraft has been found and initial searches have been suspended due to stormy conditions.

New Indonesian president raises fuel prices

By John Roberts, 28 November 2014

Widodo’s first major policy decision was a signal to financial markets that he will deliver long-demanded “structural reforms.”

Indonesia’s new cabinet of generals, businessmen and technocrats

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 29 October 2014

Despite his populist claims to be “an outsider,” President Widodo is completely beholden to Jakarta’s political, corporate and military establishment.

Joko Widodo installed as Indonesian president

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 23 October 2014

Sections of the ruling elite backed Widodo, calculating that his image as “a man of the people” would help ram through unpopular pro-market measures.

New Indonesian government faces slowing economy, rising social tensions

By John Roberts, 18 September 2014

Widodo’s election promises will be watered down or ditched, as the new government presses ahead with IMF and World Bank’s demands for austerity.

New Indonesian president pledges to please investors

By John Roberts and Mike Head, 23 July 2014

As soon as Widodo was confirmed as president-elect, he promised to accelerate foreign investment projects and open talks with mining companies.

Indonesian election conflict continues, but financial markets set agenda

By John Roberts, 18 July 2014

Regardless of which candidate is declared the winner next week, the global markets are dictating sweeping restructuring and austerity measures.

Indonesian presidential election produces disputed result

By John Roberts, 11 July 2014

With both Widodo and Prabowo claiming victory, weeks of political uncertainty, court challenges and social unrest could lie ahead.

Financial elites and US envoy back Widodo in Indonesian presidential election

By John Roberts and Mike Head, 7 July 2014

Intensive efforts are being made to prevent a victory by Prabowo Subianto, who is regarded as less free market and less likely to align with Washington in its escalating confrontation with China.

Indonesian presidential election campaign gets underway

By John Roberts, 3 June 2014

The two presidential candidates are backed by competing factions of the Jakarta military/business establishment formed during the Suharto dictatorship.

Two candidates emerge for Indonesian presidential election

By John Roberts, 19 May 2014

Both candidates are backed by parties that are bound up with the military and Suharto dictatorship.

Indonesian election produces fractured parliament

By John Roberts, 14 April 2014

The inconclusive result will mean frantic wheeling and dealing as parties manoeuvre for the presidential poll in July.

Indonesians go to the polls amid growing social tensions

By John Roberts, 9 April 2014

Today’s parliamentary election is the prelude to the poll in July to decide on a replacement for President Yudhoyono.

Mining corporations pressure Indonesian government over mineral export law

By John Roberts, 3 March 2014

Indonesia’s mineral export trade virtually ceased overnight after the 2009 ban on export of unprocessed ores came into effect.

More Snowden documents expose US-Australian spying on Indonesia

By Mike Head, 17 February 2014

The latest leaks underscore the central role that Australian intelligence agencies play in the massive US spying operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Indonesian volcanic eruption displaces tens of thousands

By Oliver Campbell, 17 February 2014

The eruption last Thursday killed at least four people in Java’s densely populated east.

Indonesian government pushes ahead with planned executions

By John Roberts, 12 February 2014

The decision by President Joko Widodo to accelerate the carrying out of death sentences is based on cynical political calculations.

Australian media bid to justify spying angers Indonesia

By Mike Head, 20 December 2013

The Australian asserted that the tapping of the phones of President Yudhoyono and his closest associates was part of a legitimate strategy to monitor Jakarta’s ruling elite.

Indonesia maintains suspended relations with Australia as spying allegations widen

By Mike Head, 27 November 2013

President Yudhoyono’s announcement came amid sharply rising strategic tensions across region triggered by the US “pivot” to Asia.

Indonesian protests over Australia spying revelations

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2013

Indonesian president Yudhoyono has suspended military and intelligence sharing with Australia in a bid to contain widespread public anger at home.

Indonesia suspends military cooperation with Australia over US-Australian spying

By Mike Head, 21 November 2013

Jakarta’s response demonstrates the damaging fallout for Australia and its main backer, the US, from the diplomatic row.

Indonesian president threatens “strategic partnership” with US-Australia over spying affair

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 November 2013

Jakarta’s response points to the far reaching geo-strategic implications of the latest leaked documents from Edward Snowden.

Australian spying on Indonesian president provokes diplomatic storm

By Peter Symonds, 19 November 2013

Indonesia’s government has already recalled its ambassador to Canberra and is threatening to downgrade diplomatic and intelligence-sharing arrangements.

Refugee standoff heightens Australian-Indonesian tensions

By Mike Head, 12 November 2013

The conflicts over refugees are bound up with wider strategic questions, provoked by the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia, directed against China.

Anger in Indonesia over low wage increases

By John Roberts, 9 November 2013

The minimum wage rises followed two days of strikes by hundreds of thousands of workers.

NSA spying revelations exacerbate Australian-Indonesian tensions

By Peter Symonds, 6 November 2013

Indonesia’s foreign minister questioned intelligence sharing arrangements with Canberra following revelations of electronic spying from the Australian and US embassies in Jakarta.

Australian PM dismisses Indonesian human rights abuses

By Peter Symonds, 8 October 2013

Australian consular officials in Bali threatened to hand West Papuan protesters seeking refuge over to Indonesian police.

Indonesian and Australian leaders tone down refugee dispute

By Peter Symonds, 1 October 2013

Jakarta has objected to the new Australian government’s policy of using the navy to force refugee boats to return to Indonesia.

Australian “border protection” regime fuels dispute with Indonesia

By Peter Symonds, 28 September 2013

Jakarta’s opposition to Canberra’s naval operations to halt refugee boats is bound up with broader concerns over Australia’s close alignment with Obama’s “pivot to Asia.”

Indonesian economy faces continuing economic turbulence

By John Roberts, 21 September 2013

The Bank of Indonesia foreshadowed harsh austerity measures to prepare for the end of “quantitative easing.”

Australian prime minister travels to Indonesia to boost Labor’s anti-refugee witch-hunt

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 July 2013

Both the Labor and Liberal parties are mounting a xenophobic scare campaign for the forthcoming election, in order to erect an impenetrable barrier to refugees seeking to flee persecution.

Report exposes fraud of US aid to Haiti

By John Marion, 2 July 2013

According to a new report, USAID is funding the building of an industrial park, while providing inadequate housing for workers.

Fuel price rise provokes unrest in Indonesia

By Therese Leclerc, 24 June 2013

Protests have erupted against the Indonesian government’s decision to implement a 44 percent increase in the price of oil.

Indonesian government threatens mass layoffs over minimum wage rises

By John Roberts, 21 February 2013

The government is facing mounting protests by workers over moves to delay or block promised minimum wage rises.

Floods kill 21 in Indonesian capital

By John Roberts, 26 January 2013

As in previous major floods, government aid has failed to reach many of the worst affected people.

Indonesian police gun down alleged terrorists

By John Roberts, 23 January 2013

Within two days of the latest shootings, President Yudhoyono unveiled plans to further boost the police and military apparatus.

Millions of Indonesian workers join one-day strike

By John Roberts, 18 October 2012

The turnout was driven by pent-up anger over low wages and the “outsourcing” of work to contract workers, now common throughout Asia.

Anti-US protests spread throughout Muslim world

By Alex Lantier, 18 September 2012

Protests that began one week ago at US embassies in Egypt and Libya against an anti-Islamic YouTube video are rapidly spreading throughout the Muslim world.

Close associates of Indonesian president targeted over corruption

By John Roberts, 18 August 2012

Scandals have emerged amid the political manoeuvring for the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.

Indonesia to join US-Australia military exercises

By Mike Head, 4 July 2012

Following President Yudhoyono’s visit to Darwin this week, Australia will boost its US-backed military arrangements with Indonesia.

Russian plane crashes in Indonesia

By Clara Weiss, 11 May 2012

On Wednesday, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight crashed into the rock face of a volcano near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Indonesian government retreats from immediate fuel price rise

By John Roberts, 19 April 2012

Plans to cut subsidies provoked widespread opposition and weeks of protests throughout the country.

Indonesian government shaken by corruption scandal

By John Roberts, 15 February 2012

The anti-corruption court has heard evidence that senior officials of the ruling Democrat Party have been involved in pay-offs and bribes.

Indonesian police kill three protesters during anti-mine protest

By Mark Church, 29 December 2011

The protesters were part of the Anti-Mining People’s Front, which opposes mineral exploration in the area being carried out by Australian Arc Exploration.

Indonesian government orders police to break Papuan mine strike

By Mike Head, 3 November 2011

Indonesia’s newly appointed energy and mineral resources minister met on Monday with the US ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, to discuss the two-month-old Freeport dispute.

Freeport shuts Papuan gold mine in new strike-breaking bid

By Mike Head, 19 October 2011

The indefinite shutdown came a week after para-military police, mobilised by the Indonesian government, opened fire on protesting workers, killing one striker and wounding a dozen more.

Indonesian police open fire on striking miners in Papua

By Mike Head, 13 October 2011

Employed in the largest and most profitable gold and copper mine in the world, the strikers have demanded that their hourly wages, currently as low as $2, rise to a minimum of $17.50.

Sharp tensions in Indonesian Papua following failure of “peace conference”

By John Roberts, 10 September 2011

The lack of agreement between Jakarta and Papuan organisations was quickly underscored by a spate of violence and protest rallies in Jayapura and other towns.

Nike faces allegations of worker abuse in Indonesia

By John Braddock, 8 September 2011

The latest claims refute the longstanding assertions by Nike and other high-end garment and footwear manufacturers that they are improving conditions in their outsourced sweat-shop operations.

Corruption scandal rattles Indonesian government

By John Roberts, 31 August 2011

The latest scandal has further damaged President Yudhoyono’s standing, particularly as it has involved younger Democrats that helped promote his anti-corruption drive.

WikiLeaks cables confirm US knowledge of Indonesian military’s crimes

By Oliver Campbell, 10 January 2011

Leaked US embassy cables demonstrate that Washington was well aware of ongoing human rights abuses in Papua even as it pursued closer ties with the TNI.

Cables show US reversed Indonesian army ban for Obama visit

By John Braddock, 18 December 2010

The resumption of US ties with Kopassus was determined by the Obama administration’s steps to counter Chinese influence in Asia.

Obama trip consolidates strategic ties with Indonesia

By John Roberts, 17 November 2010

Obama’s visit to Indonesia was part of an aggressive US diplomatic campaign aimed at curbing China’s rising influence in Asia.

Indonesian government dismisses evidence of torture in Papua

By John Roberts, 9 November 2010

Captured on video, the Indonesian military’s torture of two Papuans in May highlights the extent of the violence and intimidation that exists throughout Papua.

Indonesia: Inadequate relief endangers disaster victims

By John Roberts, 3 November 2010

There is mounting criticism of the government as relief workers struggle to cope with two disasters involving tens of thousands of people—the October 25 tsunami in the Mentawai islands and the eruption of Mount Merapi in central Java.

Hundreds dead after two Indonesian disasters

By Peter Symonds, 28 October 2010

A tsunami off the west coast of Sumatra and a volcanic eruption in central Java have claimed more than 300 lives this week.

US ends ban on Indonesian Kopassus commandos

By John Braddock, 6 August 2010

The Obama administration is to lift a decade-long ban on US military contact with Indonesia’s notorious Kopassus special forces.

West Papuan protests voice discontent with Indonesian rule

By John Braddock, 20 July 2010

The demonstration was the biggest in the province since the fall of former Indonesian dictator Suharto in 1998.

Report highlights political persecution in Indonesia

By John Braddock, 2 July 2010

Despite efforts to portray Indonesia as “democratic” following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, a recent Human Rights Watch report demonstrates the government’s continuing abuse of basic democratic rights.

Indonesian finance minister appointed as World Bank director

By John Braddock, 19 May 2010

Mulyani’s elevation to the World Bank is not just a career change, but is bound up with deepening conflicts within the Indonesian ruling elite.

Indonesian bank bailout exposes split in ruling coalition

By John Braddock, 1 March 2010

Sharp political divisions in Indonesia’s ruling coalition emerged as the representatives of political parties on a parliamentary special committee on the 2008 bailout of Bank Century presented their findings.

Corruption scandal creates major crisis for Indonesian president

By John Braddock, 27 November 2009

Barely a month after his inauguration for a second term, Indonesian President Yudhoyono is embroiled in a scandal involving attempts to discredit the Corruption Eradication Commission.

Another Indonesian ferry disaster claims dozens of lives

By John Roberts, 25 November 2009

In the latest Indonesian ferry disaster, at least 29 people are dead and many missing after an overcrowded boat sank in bad weather off the Riau Islands province.

Indonesian police shoot two refugees trying to reach Australia

By Mike Head, 18 November 2009

The real face of the Rudd government’s hoped-for “Indonesian solution” for asylum seekers began to emerge last week. Indonesian police shot and seriously wounded two men trying to reach Australia aboard an Afghan asylum seekers’ boat.