Prologue: The theft of natural resources from West-Papua is deeply embedded in Indonesia's economy and has greedy multinational corporations like the Anglo-American turned into voracious monsters on whose behalf Indigenous peoples, who are the rightful owners of the land and its resources, are subdued to genocide, mass-murder and atrocities since decades, while the international community looks the other way.
West Papua Revolt Update: Weeks 10 & 11
By Brian Brunton - 12 November 2019
Things are firming for change in Papua New Guinea at community level over West Papua. And there has been a political reshuffle that has brought a tougher foreign minister into cabinet. Indonesia is holding the ground it chooses; its full-spectrum low-intensity warfare: social media in Papua New Guinea is full of paid Indonesian advertisements, and trolls, indicating Indonesia vulnerability in/on West Papua.
The events were:
28th Jakarta Post reported Australia’s military commander General Angus Campbell met his Indonesian counterparts for discussions on joint exercises and inter-force cooperation.
Campbell is Australia’s top infantry commander (ex-Royal Australian Regiment, SAS, Chief of Staff to Peter Cosgrove in the East Timor conflict with Indonesia).
TNI has a manpower advantage; a domestic security and or unemployment relief, rather than an international fighting capability.
Australia spends more on defence, and crucially has superiority with submarines, attack-aircraft, and battle-tanks.
The same newspaper also published a report by two West Papuans claiming that the Indonesian government was not revealing all in its investigation of the Wamena riots.
Pacific Journalism conference at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, discussed in a Melanesian Media Forum, the success of online journalism and the relative failure of MSM to report on West Papua.
Jakarta Post wrote that President Widodo sidestepped discussing the rioting in Wamena on a two day visit there. He appeared to have no will “to mend the ties between Jakarta and Papua”
Channel 9 TV Australia said that Australian Prime Minister Morrison was most concerned about bilateral trade on his visit to Indonesia.
Jakarta Post reported that President Widowo had appointed a retired TNI general as religious affairs minister, much to the chagrin of Indonesia’s largest religious group Nadlatul Ulama.
United States of Africa posted on Facebook in support of West Papua self-determination.
Radio New Zealand reported that International Lawyers for West Papua had raised concerns about treason trials and political prisoners.
Max Lane in Todayonline.com said that Indonesia’s President Widowo cabinet re-shuffle signaled no change in economic policy; for politics, much the same as before: Widodo is a smoother of dynastics; of rivalries; of personalities, and a promoter of oligarchs, in an almost one-party state; with youth, student union unrest being an-off-scene opposition; and “the jihadist Islamist opposition, operating more or less underground”.
Jakarta Post reported on a digital forensic investigation “to manipulate the narrative about the protests and riots in the Papua and West Papua Provinces in favour of the Indonesian government”.
3rd Jakarta Post reported that Corruption Eradication Commission KPK employees laid a wreath at their office door, after senior police commander Firli Bahuri was appointed as its chair. KPK had denounced Bahuri over his conduct in a previous corruption investigation. Widodo refused to intervene.
Port Moresby (Pro-West Papuan Governor Powes Parkop’s) Active City Volunteers, campaigned for West Papua in Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.
4th Al Jazeera issued a YouTube on the commemoration on the 1998 massacre in Biak.
West Papuan Updates: YouTube of full video of the Question of West Papua at the United Nations, in Bahasa and English.
Including a very powerful speech in support for the self-determination of West Papua, by Prime Minister Manasseh Sovagare, of the Solomon Islands.
Australia West Papua Association released its Summary of Events in West Papua 9th September to 5th November 2019.
6th The Uniting Church of Australia “called on Indonesia and Australia to ensure a withdrawal of troops and an investigation into human rights abuse on Papua”.
7th Port Moresby (Pro-West Papuan Governor Powes Parkop) Active City Volunteers, inPopendetta, Oro Province (Pro-West Papuan Governor Gary Juffa) , displayed the Morning StarWest Papuan Flag. They then walked to Kokoda, and across the Owen Stanley ranges (Kokoda Track where in 1942 Australians defeated Japanese troops).
8th PNG Post Courier reported Papua New Guinea’s Opposition Leader Beldon Nemah MP (from a border electorate/ex commander Special Forces) had called on PNG Prime Minister James Marape “to take Indonesian atrocities in Papua, repeated border violations, to the United Nations and make them international incidents requiring international conflict resolution mechanisms”.
National Broadcasting Commission Papua New Guinea, reported a cabinet reshufffle. The rather ineffective Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe moved; and replaced by the much more experienced and tougher Patrick Pruaich, who is from Aitape-Lumi, Sandaun Province, an electorate close to the northern border with West Papua.
The Jakarta Post reported an Asian Development Bank, International Food Research Institute,assessment that “22 million Indonesians endured chronic starvation in Jokowi’s first term” 2016-18.
Reuters published an analysis “Anger on Campus: Behind the Student Protested that have rocked Indonesia”.
9th previous unseen video from Mount Hagen Western Highlands Province dated 6th October of a demonstration “Free West Papua”.
10th memorial in Bahasa, for Dortheys Hiyo Eluay, killed in Jayapura 10th November 2001, “because of Papua Freedom Major General of TNI Hartomo killed Dortheys Hiyo Eluay” (trans).
Jakarta Post reported “a downward trend in the [Defence] ministry’s allocation for Indonesian Military (TNI) weaponry system modernization between 2015 and 2020 from 18 percent of the total defence budget to 9 percent”.
News does not travel fast in the Pacific region.
We only just saw last months video from the General Assembly of the speech in support of self-determination in West Papua by Prime Minister Manasseh Sovagare of the Solomon Island. At heart, Sovagare is no friend of either Australia or Indonesia.
It is now certain, in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, that West Papua will not “go away” politically.
The position at the grassroots is hardening, and that is not amenable to any amount of trolling by who-ever, because these are small-scale, some-what ragged, traveling groups of Papua New Guineans-pro-West Papuan activists, moving around Papua New Guinea, calling for support for West Papua.
In particular, they have visited the populated, large-tribe province of the Western Highlands. And they have visited the Oro Province, of strong-man, Governor Gary Juffa.
Papua New Guinea's foreign affairs portfolio has generally been held by members of parliament whose electorates are away from the Indonesian border. What that meant, of course, is electorally they could get away with pro-Australian-Indonesian, anti-West Papua diplomacy.
That has changed.
There is widespread pro-West Papua feeling at grass-roots in Papua New Guinea.
Nevertheless, is too early to say that the appointment of Patrick Pruaich from the Aitape-Lumi electorate, in the border Sandaun Province, will impact on the Papua New Guinea-Indonesian relationship.
But Pruiach will need to watch his seat because he will be under the scrutiny of the Opposition Leader Beldon Nemah, from an adjacent electorate; and there are civil society groups in Pruaich’s electorate that are sympathetic to West Papua. Papua New Guinea is something of an electoral democracy. If you piss-off your voters sufficiently, they may well vote you out.
So, at the end of the last two weeks we can say, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are rock-solid pro-West Papua. So are a number of Pacific micro-states. And the grass-roots support for West Papua in Papua New Guinea is firming-up.
Mainstream media has failed to address Papua New Guinean and Australian vulnerability to the de jure integration of ISIS militia franchises into TNI.
There is no discussion on Widodo’s cabinet appointments of ex-military to control the Ulama, or the passage of laws protecting the ISIS franchises. No discussion on strengths and weaknesses of that. Or of scenarios and variable consequences.
Has anyone read the history of Germany after 1933, of Egypt after 1950, of Turkey after 1990, or even recently of Syria, or Lebanon?
Maybe General Angus Campbell has. Who knows.
Brian Brunton is a retired lawyer, citizen of Papua New Guinea, living in the South Eastern town of Alotau, Milne Bay Province.