SBY Covered Up Ambush Murder of U.S. Citizens

link –

SBY Covered Up Ambush Murder of U.S. Citizens

Eben Kirksey, Ph.D., University of California (Santa Cruz)
+1.831.429.8276 or +1.831.600.5937 (English or Bahasa Indonesia)

Paula Makabory, Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (Melbourne)
+61.402.547.517 (English or Bahasa Indoneisa)

John M. Miller, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (New York)
+1.718.596.7668 (English)

1 July, 2009 – Previously secret U.S. State Department documents
implicate the President of Indonesia in a probable cover-up of an
ambush in West Papua. The documents show Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who
is running for reelection on July 8, maneuvering behind the scenes to
manage the investigation into the August 2002 murder of three
teachers—one Indonesian and two U.S. citizens.

Yudhoyono brought politics into a case that should have just been
about forensic facts,” said Dr. Eben Kirksey, an anthropologist at the
University of California, Santa Cruz and a regional specialist. “The
documents reveal that Yudhoyono initially stalled attempts by the FBI
to launch an independent investigation,” he continued. The U.S.
Congress, outraged at these stalling tactics, blocked funds for
Indonesian military training until there was cooperation with the FBI.

The documents released today add a new twist to a hotly contested
Presidential race.

Yudhoyono is not the only controversial former soldier running in the
presidential election,” said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of
the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network. “Vice presidential
candidates and former generals Wiranto and Prabowo Subianto were
involved in well-documented human rights crimes in East Timor and
throughout Indonesia.”

When a police investigation implicated Indonesian military shooters as
the likely murderers of the schoolteachers, Yudhoyono became involved.
Yudhoyono, a retired General and then the Coordinating Minister of
Political and Security Affairs, wrote to the Charge D’Affaires of the
U.S. Embassy in Jakarta that “I have dispatched a fact finding team
led by one of my deputies to Timika and its surrounding (sic), to find
additional information and other related facts especially on a broader
political and security aspects of the incident.” Timika, the site of
the attack, is in the remote province of Papua, where U.S. mining
giant Freeport McMoRan (FCX) operates a concession.

Yudhoyono’s stalling tactics let the Indonesian military cover their
tracks,” said Paula Makabory, a Papuan human rights activist who
founded the Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights in
Australia. “The ‘fact finders’ under his command systematically
intimidated witnesses and tampered with material evidence,” Makabory

Following high-level negotiations with Bush administration officials,
who promised Indonesia millions in military aid, Yudhoyono allowed the
FBI into his country. “By the time the FBI were granted access the
trail was cold,” said Makabory. “The FBI investigation proceeded
within a narrow framework that fit the Bush administration agenda,”
said Dr. Kirksey.

The Special Agents found a fall man, while tiptoeing around evidence
connecting their man to the Indonesian military,” Kirksey added.

Antonius Wamang, an ethnic Papuan, was indicted by a U.S. grand jury
for his role in the attack. He was apprehended in 2006 by the FBI and
sentenced to life in Indonesian prison. Wamang had extensive ties to
the Indonesian military, according to a peer-reviewed article,
Criminal Collaborations,” co-authored by Dr. Kirksey and Andreas
Harsono, an Indonesian investigative reporter (link below).

The declassified documents disclosed today were obtained through a
Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) by Dr. Bradley Simpson of
the National Security Archive. The State Department found 62 documents
relevant to the Timika murders. They released only two of these
documents in full and 20 others “with excisions.” The rest were
withheld. The FBI did not release any documents, writing: “No records
responsive to your FOIA request were located by a search of the
automated indices.” The FBI is notorious for not complying with
Freedom of Information Act requests.

The documents reveal evidence of a cover-up,” said Dr. Kirksey. “The
fact that many relevant documents were not released is more evidence
of the same”

Selections from these documents are published here in seven distinct
sections [links to the PDFs of the documents can be found here:

1) Response by the State Department and the FBI to the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) Request

2) Initial Reports About Attackers; Yudhoyono Orders a Quick Response
The first State Department reports about the 2002 attack seriously
entertained two theories: that the perpetrators were Papuan
independence fighters (OPM guerillas) or rogue elements of the
Indonesian military. The documents note that the assault took place on
a foggy mountain road near a military checkpoint and an Army Strategic
Reserve Forces post. Upon learning of the attack, Yudhoyono ordered a
quick response to restore security and to investigate the attack.

The U.S. Embassy noted in a cable to Washington: ”Many Papuan groups
are calling for an independent investigation led by the U.S. Calls for
an independent probe are unrealistic, but we believe that Papua’s
Police Chief, who enjoys a good reputation with Papuan activists (and
U.S.), can conduct a fair investigation.” The Police Chief’s
investigation later indicated that the Indonesian military was
involved. The FBI subsequently launched a separate probe.

3) Attack Victims Treated in Secrecy at Australian Hospital

The survivors of the assault were airlifted out of Indonesia to a
hospital in Townsend, Australia. Here U.S. diplomats, the FBI,
Queensland Police, and the Australian Defense Force kept a tight lid
on the situation—preventing the victims from speaking with the press
and even from contacting family members for the first two days. See:
Tom Hyland, “Lost in the Fog,” The Age, September 28, 2008.

4) Yudhoyono Assumes Coordinating Role in Investigation

Following police reports of Indonesian military involvement, these
documents reveal that Yudhoyono began to play a more active role in
managing and influencing the direction of the investigation. Yudhoyono
met repeatedly with the FBI field investigators, as well as high-level
U.S. diplomats, blocking their initial attempts to gain unmediated
access to witnesses and material evidence. This file includes a letter
from Yudhoyono to the Charge D’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy where he
outlines a strategy for managing the broader political and security
aspects of the incident.

5) Commander-In-Chief Concerned About Washington Post Interview

The Washington Post reported in 2002 that senior Indonesian military
officers, including armed forces commander General Endriartono
Sutarto, had discussed an unspecified operation against Freeport
McMoRan before the ambush in Timika. General Sutarto vehemently denied
that he or any other top military officers had discussed any operation
targeting Freeport. He sued The Washington Post for US$1 billion and
demanded an apology from the paper. Several months after this lawsuit
was settled out of court, The Washington Post asked to interview
Sutarto. This document contains notes from a meeting between the U.S.
Ambassador and Commander-in-Chief Sutarto where this interview request
was discussed: “Clearly concerned, General Sutarto asked why the
Washington Post wanted to interview him, as well as TNI’s Strategic
Intelligence Agency (BAIS) and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN)
Chiefs regarding the Timika case.” See: Ellen Nakashima and Alan
Sipress “Indonesia Military Allegedly Talked of Targeting Mine,” The
Washington Post, November 3, 2002.

6) Most Important Issue in U.S.-Indonesia Bilateral Relationship

The U.S. Ambassador stressed in a June 2003 meeting with Yudhoyono
that justice in the Timika killings was “the most important issue in
the bilateral relationship.” During this period, FBI agents were given
intermittent access to evidence. Yudhoyono continued to play an active
role in coordinating the political aspects of the investigation.
Taking an unusual personal interest for someone with a Ministerial
level position, Yudhoyono repeatedly met with the FBI case agents the
low-ranking U.S. investigators who were deployed to Timika for field

7) Attorney General Ashcroft Suppressed Evidence

On June 24, 2005, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director
Robert Mueller announced that Antonius Wamang, an ethnic Papuan, was
indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for the Timika murders. The
indictment alleged that Wamang was a “terrorist” who sought
independence from Indonesia. Following this announcement, three
respected human rights groups and indigenous organizations charged
that the U.S. Government suppressed evidence linking Wamang to the
Indonesian military. A peer-reviewed article, titled “Criminal
Collaborations: Antonius Wamang and the Indonesian Military in
Timika,” details the nature of these links. The group called for
Wamang to be given a fair trial in the U.S., rather than in
notoriously corrupt Indonesian courts. See: Eben Kirksey and Andreas
Harsono, “Criminal Collaborations,” South East Asia Research, vol 16,
no 2.


John M. Miller Internet:
National Coordinator

East Timor & Indonesia Action Network
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile: (917)690-4391
Skype: john.m.miller Web:

Send a blank e-mail message to to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

— oooooooooooooooooooooo S. Eben Kirksey, Ph.D. NSF Post-Doctoral Fellow 2008-2010 Web: Direct-line: +1.831.600.5937 Projects:


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