By Florence Nightingale
Nov 20, 2007, 06:00
So Bali is safe from terrorism now is it? Not so as it is revealed that Indonesian prisons have allowed terrorists to continue conducting business as normal from their own prison cells, even recruiting fellow inmates into joining the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah, which the Indonesian government still refuses to ban despite its claim to be fighting terrorism. Of course news that the security chief at Bali’s Kerobokan Jail is to face criminal charges for operating a narcotic’s operation at the prison should come as no surprise to people in the know, as Indonesian jails are the cheapest and safest places to buy drugs in the country. Generally Muslim fundamentalist and Golkar party youth wing gangs called “laskar’ compete with one another for the trade, so a prison officer turned freelancer was always at risk of becoming a fall guy; a PR exercise since Bali Governor wannabe Made Pastika said Bali’s jails needed to clean up their narcotics act after failing to do anything about it himself when he was the Polda’s (Bali police’s) top dog. Seems you can get anything you want if you are prepared to pay for it in jail; women, drugs, laptops, mobile phones; the grinning terrorist Amrozi even sells phone top up cards to fellow inmates! With masses of explosives still unaccounted for in Indonesia, this is not a time to take safety with complacently.
News that Indonesia’s airline businesses have all cleaned up their act has been taken with some skepticism worldwide to say the very least, as the Indonesians would say that, wouldn’t they? Smiling faces and confident statements from Indonesia’s air safety board regarding the EU safety delegations visit to Indonesia to review alleged improvements with a view to lifting the EU ban on any Indonesian airline flying into its airspace have become somewhat muted after comments from the EU came out that Indonesia still has improvements to make, plus no lifting of the ban has happened yet. Maybe it will soon though in good old diplomatic style, as Britain, France and Holland bellyache about how this safety ban may work against them in their efforts to compete with the USA, Australia, Japan and now Russia to rob the people of Indonesia of their natural resources.
The case of the Garuda Indonesia pilot responsible for the March 7th crash in Yogyakarta killing 21 people including 4 Australians pretty much shows what the problems are. The Australian Government has called for pilot Marwoto Komar to be prosecuted as he would be in any decent country (fat chance then). You see, Marwoto Komar ignored some 15 very loud audible cockpit warnings and yet he still went ahead and tried to land his plane at breakneck speed and at too steep an angle. The problem is though what the Indonesians do not tell you is Garuda had a bonus program in place to conserve expensive aviation fuel supplies, with pilots rewarded with a few dollars, we understand 25 dollars, if they landed their planes first time and did not circle around. So Marwoto Komar almost certainly went through with his gung ho landing because of this, and so the Indonesians do not want this going to court. OK, so maybe Garuda and perhaps other Indonesian airlines have stopped this practice, but that does not change the fact a senior pilot with Indonesia’s top airline would take such a risk. If his mental conditioning and state allowed him to take such high risks for a few dollars, what are the other pilots like and what would it cost to have one crash a plane into a tourist hotel in Bali for example? Do not quaff, Indonesian sources initially stated that Marwoto Komar had some form of marital problem at the time. The Indonesians now claim they have added ongoing pilot psychological evaluations, better management practices and improved pilot training, but how do you fix something that quickly which is clearly so corruptly broke? The answer is you can not, it is just more lies from Jakarta.
With airport security problems, pilot problems, budget airline aircraft safety, bits falling and breaking off their airplanes, plus previously reported wholesale ground control system failures in Indonesia, you have got to be brave or rather stupid to step onto a plane bound for Bali, let alone an Indonesian owned or piloted plane!
Even when you get to Bali, security, terrorism and violent crime risk is still way too high, courtesy of the corrupt in it only for extortion Balinese (most come from Java) police. This has all been confirmed twice recently, first when the Chief of Police told villa owners in Ubud he was not happy with them asking for police help to catch burglars and said the villa owners needed to improve security themselves. What this means and is reference to is how the police operate in Bali. As the police are only there to extort money from victims, they appoint “Pecalangan” (violent vigilantes, normally linked to Golkar) to actually provide “policing” on the ground. Of course being vigilantes the pecalangan do virtually everything but that, including summary ex-judicial murder and rape. The second confirmation came with news that Jakarta was sending 5000 state police and probably the same number of soldiers to guard the World Climate Change Conference in Bali, with the Balinese police being ordered out of the Nusa Dua conference area because they are so hopeless at actual policing. Sure, the airport and Nusa Dua are very secure during the conference, not that tourists can enter or get hotel rooms there, but after the UN circus has left it will be bad inept criminal business as usual for the mafia police of Bali.
Of course, if you get into trouble with the “police” in Bali it is better to pay a bribe / extortion money (fines without receipts) as soon as possible as the longer you leave it to pay off a brown uniform, the higher the required bribe amount will become. There is no point in turning to your consul in Bali either; most are as bent or afflicted as they come. For example some report the German Consul is involved with corrupt business deals with his partner, lawyer Irwin Siregar, while we hear the British Consul has himself likely been the victim of police extortion regarding his meal ticket (business) on Bali, the appropriately named “Cat and Fiddle” pub in Sanur; my how the British Empire has sunk! If you are principled or perhaps stupid enough to go to court regarding a crime you did not commit in order for some bent plod in Bali to relieve you of some weight (from your wallet), you will of course be delighted to know that Transparency International ranks the Indonesian Judiciary as one of if not the most corrupt in the world; as in “You may not have been at the scene of the crime when it happened but the witness that said you did it has more money and / or power than you!”. Plus the fact you, as a foreigner, are not as equal as an Indonesian, especially if you are not Muslim (see: Love Indonesia). Just how warped it has all become now is clearly illustrated in a recent statement by a senior prosecutor in an interview with the Jakarta Post. He moaned how it cost him personally US$4,400 in bribe money to get his own son appointed as a junior prosecutor, but held this up as a reason Indonesian justice [sic] is fair, because everyone has to pay bribes, even prosecutors (and judges). Of course the reason “people” pay bribes to become policemen, prosecutors, judges, senior army officers, etc. in Indonesia is because they know they will make back their investment and a lot more in what they can extort from other people.
Unfortunately it does not end there. Thousands of dead fish washing up along Kuta Beach give testament to just how polluted the sea is around Bali and how nuts anyone eating seafood there must be. Anthrax, yes Anthrax cases are being reported in Indonesia, dengue fever and drug resistant TB epidemics are sweeping Indonesia, Indonesia has the most recorded H5N1 human deaths in the world now as their health minister continues to refuse to share samples with the WHO because she wants some money out of this, malaria cases are up, illegal effluence dumping in Bali is on the increase, chemical use on crops is rising dramatically, the hospitals in Bali are ill equipped and often staffed by disgraced western ex-doctors who can not practice medicine anywhere else, seismic activity in the region does not bode well for Bali as the tsunami causing fault-line also runs just off its southern tourist beaches (Bali is an official red risk area), and a European consul has warned of Balinese police planting narcotics on westerners in order to extort money from them.
Bali is definitely not a safe place to take your family on holiday and the vast majority of the problems can be put down to corruption and anti-western sentiment. You see, Indonesian “policy” is not to address such problems, in fact their inaction makes matters worse; instead they use patronizing lies to try and cover the state made or worsened risks up. So, do not give your valuable tourist dollars to the Indonesians until they clean up their act and change their nasty attitudes. Boycott Bali and maybe one day it will become a safe tropical paradise island again, which it certainly is not right now.