Bali Terrorism Risk: another Bali Bomb soon?
By Bali BS News
Aug 30, 2005, 08:57
Have you heard the complacent lambs bleating “Bali is as safe as anywhere else in the world”, “If it happened in Madrid and London, it can happen anywhere”, and “I felt really safe while I was in Bali”. My, how the uniformed even uneducated generic statements of the vocal masses have suddenly appeared to replace reason and the “need” to follow government travel warnings. But now even the Indonesian president fears another major bombing event in Indonesia during September or October, we explain why later. But perhaps even his warnings will be ignored out of hand by the Baliholics.
The problem with the above two common cries of the “I won’t let anyone spoil my annual holiday to Bali” brigade are this; terrorism can strike almost anywhere, but at least the police in countries such as the USA, Britain and Spain are diligently working to prevent attacks, while the Balinese police seem to only show due diligence when it comes to extorting money from people. Which at the most basic risk assessment level is clearly visible to all who care to see by witnessing police on supposed anti-terrorism duty at Bali’s sea ports who take a few dollars in return for waving a vehicle through without inspection. Also policemen in tourist areas of the island clearly more interested in making sure car loads of dineros, not dynamite, do not get past them. At its highest level, clear accounts that Bali’s senior police officers are more interested in taking bribes to act against others and to extort money from those victims, than they are tackling true law and order problems should surely be enough of a risk statement to anyone with an IQ above their hat size.
But the true “Balifile” tourist has another rational [sic] argument; their perception that they somehow fealt safe in Bali! How does feeling safe actually equate to being safe? Did the bomb victims of 2002 feel safe just before the bombs went off? Do people feel safe because everyone seems so friendly and because they witnessed police officers in tourist areas? If so, what were those officers doing? Stopping Indonesians who might resemble a known terrorist photofit, or westerners with wallets who had apparently just committed some traffic violation!
People need to take their governments’ advice on travel, as they are much more informed then the average tourist of course. The generic soap box chants comparing London and Madrid with Bali is a common one with the “Come to Bali travel agent hacks” and “I am going to Bali anyway and need others to endorse my decision” flock of hair braided, ecstasy taking surfers on Bintang sabbaticals. You can not compare London to Bali. London’s bombers were British citizens whose extreme Muslim parents fled to Britain to escape human rights violations in their own countries. Britain gives sanctuary to human rights victims; Indonesia’s historical and even current modus operandi is to inflict human rights abuse against people. So personal freedom orientated countries like Britain are naturally disadvantaged against the likes of oppressive subjugate states such as Indonesia. Britain should receive credit for this, not comparison with those who debauch individuals freedoms; this is an insult to western police officers when the Indonesian police are the ones that need berating. But most importantly, the British police are professionals, who do not stop vehicles for “fines without receipts” but rather actually catch terrorists and often prevent terrorism. And who are obviously so adept at their jobs as they along with Australian and American law enforcement officials had to do Indonesia’s police job for them after the 2002 bombing.
Now even Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is warning that another major bombing is likely in the next 2 months; “Terrorist cells are still active. They are still hiding, recruiting, networking, trying to find new funding sources, and even planning. Entering September and October, these are special months for terrorism. There will be an increase of terrorist activities in the region.” Yes, those are the presidents own words. Although he did not specify a major bombing event, it is clear from Jemaah Islamiah’s resume that they stage a major bombing every year during August to October. This is also the prediction of security experts in the region “that despite the arrest of a number of its senior operatives, Jemaah Islamiah still has the capability to conduct one large bombing a year in Indonesia”.
But those Jemaah Islamiah’s senior operatives arrested does not include the believed tactical and technical masterminds of Bali’s October 2002 and also Jakarta’s terrorist bombings (the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing that killed 12 people, and the September 2004 Australian embassy bombing that killed 11); Azahari Husin, Noordin Mohammad Top and Dulmatin (AKA Joko Pitono). If you want to know what these people are capable of, just do a search using their names on Google. Also, it seems clear Bali’s recent drugs publicity and somewhat economic recovery make the island a logical target for Yemeni descent Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir’s JI terrorist organization. Recently, Australia and several other western countries expressed outrage that Bashir’s original sentence, which they believed was far too lenient to start with, keeps getting reduced and Bashir will now likely be released in just 10 months time. As well as this being a moral outrage levied at the victims and their families of his organization's bombings, it perhaps shows the true nature of the Indonesian authorities and their indifference to, or perhaps dislike of westerners. Although it is traditional to reduce prisoner’s sentences during the holiday season in Indonesia, this decision clearly smacked the faces of the victims.
Bashir’s early release news will have of course also been taken as a victory by JI and very likely an indication that the Indonesian government in some part condones their activities against foreign targets in Indonesia and elsewhere. Remember also, while Australians were crying “foul” and were outraged at Schapelle Corby’s 20 year sentence for alleged drugs offences, militants close to JI were calling for her to be executed. Since that time, more and more westerners have been caught with drugs in Bali. Although it is possible that some of those drugs, as was the case in Afghanastan, are produced by JI. The carrot of striking at the perceived rife drug taking and populous western tourist areas in Bali on the heals of Bashir’s sentence reduction must be very tempting for Jemaah Islamiah indeed.
We suggest people avoid or even boycott Bali for both the current tremendous risk (just ask the Indonesian president) and for the insult plus Freudian message against westerners regarding Bashir’s pending early release. We ask the Indonesian government to stop its officials treating or acting towards westerners like they are unimportant except for the money they bring the Indonesian economy. And we ask the Indonesian president to prove his stated stand against corruption by getting rid of all of Indonesia's lazy, extorting police officers and judiciary; we won't hold our breath!