By Brabant King Gambrinus
Aug 14, 2007, 05:09
The official reasons given involve a series of almost comical lies; “The state-owned importer forgot to order anything”, “The customs department is re-organizing”, “This is all connected with a smuggling ring where the smugglers are using counterfeit duty seals”. You have to smile because this almost childish reasoning or rather attempt at deception or perhaps deflection is repeated time and time again in Indonesia when something is going wrong. But if you look at snippets between the lines you will find the real reason for all of this. The fact is, the murderous Indonesian military (TNI) control the alcohol business in Bali; yes, really, they do. It is a fact that the TNI operate mostly clandestine businesses in Indonesia, such as alcohol, protection rackets for the major foreign corporations and land theft sale, where they steal land from the people to sell to domestic and foreign corporations. You see, they have to make a dollar or rather many millions, as the Indonesian government only provide the TNI with one third of their operational budget; fact!
Now, recently, the International community have been encouraging the civilian administration AKA the Indonesian Government (The TNI state ultimately they are in control of Indonesia) to get their armed forces out of politics and business. Part of this process was to have the TNI declare their business operations, affirmed to be at least 1,500 official companies or operations in the archipelago; the TNI recently submitted their report stating they had only 6 such businesses! What the TNI did, in part, was to set some rules on what constituted a TNI business; it had to be wholly owned by them with assets over US$50,000. Now the problem with that is a) Most of their commercial operations are part owned with the civilian administration / government and wealthy military families such as the Suharto’s, and b) The TNI do not keep any money in the businesses they operate of course and use or rather abuse state assets to keep them running. In fact both the Indonesian military and police split Indonesia up into what they call “wet” and “dry” areas; the former being more lucrative and where officers want to be posted. It is also a fact that the TNI and Indonesian police often are involved in gun battle disputes with each other over rights to certain markets; at least sometimes TNI bullets are put to good use!
So here now comes a weak initiative from the civilian administration headed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to try and separate the TNI from their revenue sources, without making up the shortfall from the state coffers; a recipe for disaster? Absolutely and here in the alcoholic jewel in the crown are the first signs of a battle which may turn very bloody indeed. You only have to ask yourselves who has the balls and ability to “smuggle” in alcohol in quantity with illicit duty seals on the bottles and the only answer is, the TNI! Add to this the apparent inability for a clerk at the so called state import company to renew orders and an alleged reorganization of Bali’s customs department, and there is your real answer; a dispute between the TNI and local agencies about who gets what from this very, very lucrative market.
Of course the Indonesian government and Balinese tourism market do not want to tell you the truth, putting it all down to a series of bureaucratic blunders instead, because the truth about the TNI running the alcohol show in Bali hurts in other ways too. It is a fact the TNI are such a murderous, human rights abusing outfit, trained not to defend Indonesian borders but to suppress their population and particularly those who seek their international legal right to self-determination, independence. The fact the liquor business in Bali is currently controlled by TNI businesses is something they want to keep quiet; not least because for every beer, glass of wine and / or shot of spirit a tourist drinks in Bali, they are buying bullets for the TNI to put into the heads of innocent civilians. Just one drink normally has enough profit in it to be able to buy a magazine round for some murderous TNI officer.
Whether Bali gets its drinks feud sorted out or not, the fact is when you buy an alcoholic drink in Bali you are contributing to the civil and human rights abuse of others, period. So if you have a conscience and like a tipple, Bali is not the place for you in any respect. Please, stop going to Bali and putting money into the pockets of the TNI. Visit Human Rights Watch and Tapol on the Internet to see what your holiday dollars are ultimately doing. Understand that the TNI get two thirds of their budget plus a lot more in profit of course, from businesses within the lucrative tourism sector of Bali. Hotels, tour companies, food supply companies, local beer and soft drink bottling plants, alcohol imports, all have their share of TNI financial interest and benefit. If you consider yourself a human being, spend your money somewhere it is not abused to torture and murder civilians, thank you.