Sunday, 3 May 2009

Bali Bombs (2002) 5 years on – the final insults?

Bali Bombs (2002) 5 years on – the final insults?
By Norman Dennis and George Erdos
Oct 12, 2007, 08:52

Bali Bombing 2002 (courtesy Nasty Bali)
There were tears they say at the memorial service in Bali 5 years on from the date of the first of two terrorist bombings, committed by an organization listed by every western country as International terrorists and yet which the Indonesian Government refuses to outlaw to this day. As well as the tears from the friends, families and plain drama queens weeping at the loss of human life, there were also tears of joy too for the extra tourists coming to Bali for the event; a sad irony if ever there was one.

If you want to see what Bali's police were up to directly after the 2002 Bali bombing, visit Nasty Bali and ask yourselves; If that is how much diligence they had then, if they showed it was the same old corruption business as usual instead of chasing the bombers after the event, why are we trusting them with our safety now?

Just hours before the 5 years on ceremony, news came of a charming BBQ which had been held by Indonesia’s latest candidate for The Crass Cop of the Millennium Award, Brigadier General Surya Dharma, head of Indonesia’s so-called anti-terrorist police squad which actually does nothing except sit back and allow the Australian Federal Police to do their job for them. Dimwit Dharma held his up market BBQ not for fellow police officers or dignitaries in the diplomatic sense, but for jailed Indonesian terrorists including Ali Imron and mastermind of the 2002 attack, Mubarok. Subsequently attempts to hurriedly cover it up with claims it was an intelligence gathering exercise can only lead to the comment that Brigadier General Dharma personally needs all the intelligence he can get.

Made Mangku Pastika had this instead of hankies in his pocket
As news of the ill-timed haute cuisine kebab event filtered to the mourners at the ceremony in Bali, chief PR prayer and onion sniffer, former West Papuan rapist and murder chief Made Mangku Pastika told Australians not to be angry and that he understood the reasons why Dharma had done what he had, to fight terrorism. Of course Made Mangku Pastika is also a contender for The Crass Cop of the Millennium Award due to the fact, despite well publicized warnings, he failed as Bali’s then police chief to get his extortion loving subordinates to tighten up security by 2005. Even the Indonesian President confirmed security under Pastika had been lax at the time of the subsequent August 31, 2005 terrorist bombing, because President Yudhoyono ordered the over-rated or perhaps over-trumpeted Pastika to tighten security after the bombing. With all the warnings of that attack (including our own) being imminent, is it not an insult to the people who lost their lives in 2005 to have Pastika make a guest appearance at the 2002 memorial?

But it gets even better or worse. Remember how the Howard Government in Australia was chastised over the Australian Federal Police fingering of the Bali Nine to the Bali Plods, thus putting several Australians on death row in Indonesia when they should have allowed the narcotics ring to return home with their drugs and be arrested in Aus? Now cast your mind back to recent attempts made by Australia to get the Bali Nine members on death row off of it on the basis it was not constitutional, etc. Remember how the Bali bombers decided to appeal their own death sentences, failed and then refused to show remorse for their terrorist crimes and so give up their right to ask for clemency? Guess what? The efforts of the Australian Government to have the Indonesians review their capital punishment has worked, and now the Bali bombers may well also be spared their lives! It is true, the process to save to the Bali Nine has also granted an official temporary reprieve for the JI 2002 bombers as well, as they would likely qualify under any change in policy! Well done Australia. Well done Jakarta. Good job!

Still, all-important tourism things (fat wallet arrivals) are allegedly improving in Bali, or so they say. Deep joy amongst the sincere sorrow for the 2002 victims coming from Bali’s aviation chief Budhi Mulyawan Suyitno, who while paying tribute to the western tourist wallets sadly departed, opened his mouth and blurted his hope that many more tourists will come to Bali now the US Transportation Security Administration has lifted its 2 year old security warning on Bali International Airport. Yes, this will be trumpeted amongst the “Come to Bali Tourism Band” as proof Bali is now safe, again, yet again, once more, no really this time! Ah, but the cynics amongst us wonder if Bali Airport is actually safe now, why the US TSA did not say this directly after their inspection in April 2007 (see: Bali Airport Safety). How come the inspection clearly did not alleviate their concerns but now suddenly they consider Ngurah Rai Airport to somehow be safe, without a further investigation? Could it be the safety warning was going to be a significant political embarrassment for the upcoming December 2007 UN climate talks in Bali? That, although the event will receive massive additional security to remove any risk to powerful delegates from 189 countries, if the warning remained the US delegation would not have been able to attend legally?

Finally, talking of Bali Airport, did everyone enjoy the triumphant defeat of corruption meated out by none other than Vice-President Jusuf Kalla against Head of Bali Airport Immigration, Mr Nanang Yunanto after he demanded a huge bribe from 2 Australian tourists who had arrived in Bali with an Aussie Passport set to expire in, critically, just under 6 months (most countries have this 6 month thing but are generally flexible about it)? Australians Geoff and Dorothy Longhurst arrived on the 16th September after their airline, Jet Star, had failed to properly check their passports at Australian check-in. If Jet Star had done their job properly, they would have been able to call Ngurah Rai Immigration and ask if they would allow the two in anyway; chances are, with tourism in Bali as it is, Indonesian Immigration likely have been told to be flexible in such matters. But as Jet Star messed up, so the Longhursts, who have supported Bali even after the bombings, landed in a whole lot more mess.

So the Longhursts say, Bali immigration chief Yunanto took them to his private office and demanded US$4000 from them to let them in. When the Longhursts offered US$500, they say Yunanto stormed off in disgust shouting to his subordinates to put the Longhursts on the next Jet Star flight back to Australia; of course Yunanto was disgusted at the Longhursts only offering him the equivalent of 2 months wages! Well, good on the Longhursts for complaining about their treatment and they got “lucky”. Reeling from news that his country was diving down the International corruption league once again, embarrassed by Suharto the former Golkar party president winning millions in a highly dubious Supreme Court ruling against Time Magazine (see: Suharto / Time), in Bali partly to see why all of Suharto’s hotels were empty due to the downturn in western tourism, the Longhursts’ letter now being widespread on forums everywhere, Jusuf Kalla was in the right place, at the right time and in the right mood.

What amazes us though is Jusuf Kalla, the Indonesian Vice President and likely runner in the 2009 presidential election for Golkar, did not demand a full investigation, oh no; Kalla in a sea of publicity told the Immigration chief of Bali to sack Yunanto and publicly so. Now we do not doubt the Longhursts, but isn’t immigration patsy Yunanto legally and morally due an investigation to determine if he is guilty or not? And if so, what does that tell you about the Indonesian system to this day? We actually were in contact with the Longhursts and pointed out that even though Kalla had intervened, to remember they had offered a Balinese immigration official a bribe (the US$500 counter offer), and that as such they still could be arrested if they ever went back to Bali! The Longhursts said they did not care about that so much because anyway they were planning to go to Fiji instead now!

We say the events of the 2002 and 2005 Bali Bombings, plus the sham of the 2007 memorial service and surrounding events means you would have to be plain stupid to holiday in Bali right now. Forget about the faux support for the Balinese AKA having a cheap holiday with subservient people smiling at you and calling you “Mr.”. If you really want to help the Balinese, help them get rid of the corruption and associated human rights abuse that keeps them subservient, without a decent hope for the future. Don’t tell others you are helping Bali when you catch a flight to Ngurah Rai, be honest; admit you are purely and simply helping yourself. If you a give sincere damn about the people murdered in Bali with the help of state nonintervention (because law enforcement in Bali is not about law but extortion), for God’s sake, boycott Bali until the garbage in uniform and office have been removed.

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