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Under the long arm of Indonesian intelligence |

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on August 12, 2011 | 9:13 AM


IT WOULD seem an unremarkable venture - a group of American tourists visiting a cultural centre in the Papuan town of Abepura. But to one observer the event (lasting, as he later reported, precisely 35 minutes) was laden with potential significance.
The man in the shadows as the visitors watched a traditional dance was an informant for Indonesia's elite special forces unit, Kopassus. In a subsequent report, he noted that, while the visit had been ''safe and smooth'', there was no room for complacency. It was a point heartily endorsed by his Kopassus contact, Second Lieutenant Muhammad Zainollah, who alluded, in a report to his own commander, to the risk of foreign tourists ''influencing conditions of Papuan society''.

''Politically, there needs to be a deeper detection of the existence hidden behind it all,'' he warned, ''because of the possibility of a process of deception … such as meetings with pro-independence groups.''
One of hundreds of intelligence briefs from Kopassus intelligence posts in Papua obtained by The Saturday Age - and part of a cache of 19 documents that includes a detailed analysis of the ''anatomy'' of the separatist movement pushing for independence from Indonesia - the note is bizarre, even amusing, but also revealing. The Indonesian government runs a massive network of spies and informants in Papua, illustrating the level of paranoia in Jakarta about its hold over the resource-rich region in the western half of the island of New Guinea.
Situated in the easternmost reaches of Indonesia's sprawling archipelago, the Papua region is a source of continuing embarrassment for Indonesia - a country that has otherwise made substantial strides as a democratic and economic power. Despite being granted special autonomy 10 years ago and targeted for accelerated economic development, its indigenous Melanesian people are the country's poorest and many are deeply unhappy with Jakarta's rule and a heavy security presence.
The documents, which date from 2006 to 2009, reveal that independence activists and members of the OPM-TPN, the small armed resistance, are under intense surveillance, but so too are many ordinary Papuans and civic leaders who do not advocate independence but are concerned about the advancement of their people, or are influential in the community.
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