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UNREST IN INDONESIA: THE OPPOSITION; U.S. Has Spent $26 Million Since '95 on Suharto Opponents
By TIM WEINER
Published: May 20, 1998
WASHINGTON, May 19— While trying to shore up President Suharto, the Clinton Administration has also been giving support to some of the most important Indonesian opposition groups, hoping to promote a transition to a democratic society.
The money has come from the United States Agency for International Development, better known for building dams and roads than creating bridges to political opponents of authoritarian leaders.
The sum, $26 million since 1995, is relatively small among United States foreign-aid programs. But it has been important to the survival of groups that support human rights and free speech in Indonesia.
The money from A.I.D. is the largest source of support for groups like the Indonesia Legal Aid Society, headed by Adnan Buyung Nasution, a leading figure in the Indonesian democracy movement and the nation's best-known civil rights lawyer. The group is giving free legal counsel to political figures and students arrested by the Government in the current crisis, the type of role that the society has played for years.
The United States agency has helped Indonesian rights advocates ''monitor human-rights issues, mobilize public opinion and monitor extralegal activities, corruption and abuse of the poor'' by the Suharto Government, said Sharon Cromer, deputy director of the A.I.D. mission in Indonesia.
The support has helped insure the survival of private groups that are emerging as leaders of the opposition in Indonesia, ''despite their being constrained by the authoritarian system,'' Ms. Cromer said.
A.I.D. has supported 30 nongovernmental organizations in Indonesia, agency officials said. The organizations include an environmental group that is fighting a large American mining company on behalf of people who live near the company's projects; a coalition of journalists whose work was banned by the Indonesian Government, a women's rights group and a consumers' rights foundation.
''A.I.D. is the largest financial supporter to and the most active donor in this controversial sector,'' the agency told Congress in a recent budget request.
Peter Galbraith, a former senior counsel to A.I.D., said: ''The idea was to send a message that the United States was concerned about something other than the banks and the economic issues, that we thought about the ordinary people of Indonesia, and to prepare for a possible transition from Suharto to what we hope will be a more democratic and stable system.''
William Little, a professor of Indonesia studies at Ohio University and a former A.I.D. consultant, said the program had been a success.
''A democracy requires a civil society,'' Professor Little said. ''Indonesia has been like the Soviet Union. The Government controls most civil society organizations. It creates them or determines who their leaders are. The point of the program was to try to develop these groups. The groups are now leading figures in the opposition.''
In the last five years, programs like the one in Indonesia have been created by the director of the agency, J. Brian Atwood, in more than 25 missions around the world in nations including Guatemala, Kenya, South Africa and the Philippines.
But the Indonesian program has come under fire from some supporters of the present Jakarta Government, including Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold of New Orleans, the largest single foreign investor in Indonesia.
Freeport-McMoran argues that the United States should not support Walhi, an Indonesian environmental and human-rights group that has attacked the company's projects as detrimental to Indonesians near Freeport mines.
''Walhi's trying to shut us down,'' said a spokesman for the company, Garland Robinette. ''That's their avowed intention.''
Despite intense pressure from the company, the United States Ambassador in Indonesia, Stapleton Roy, stood by the program.
The idea behind such programs, according to Charles E. Costello, director of the Center for Democracy and Governance, an A.I.D. office founded in 1993, is that economic development alone cannot create a civil society.
''Democratic political systems and market economies should go together,'' Mr. Costello said.
Human-rights organizations fiercely critical of the United States' foreign policy in Indonesia say the program has been invaluable for the Indonesian groups, which are known as nongovernmental organizations, or N.G.O.'s.
The Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Sidney Jones, said the program gave the United States Embassy in Jakarta insights it might otherwise lack.
''It keeps the embassy in touch with all the N.G.O.'s,'' Ms. Jones said. ''And of course that's useful. It also gives the N.G.O.'s a kind of protection.''
Correction: May 22, 1998, Friday An article on Wednesday about United States aid to Indonesian groups opposed to President Suharto misspelled the surname of a professor of political science who commented on the aid, and misstated his affiliation. He is William Liddle, not Little, and he teaches at Ohio State University, not Ohio University.
Various interrelated activities were based at the Utan Kayu centre, including a community radio station and the Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen or AJI), which some ex-Tempo journalists had founded after the magazine’s banning. Together with members of AJI, Goenawan established the Institute for the Study of the Free Flow of Information (Institusi Studi Arus Informasi, or ISAI). It documented attacks against free expression in Indonesia and circulated news nationally and internationally via the Internet. Goenawan’s concern was to make the opposition organisationally strong. He put his own funds into ISAI, but its largest funder was USAID – something with which many in the underground felt uncomfortable, and which revived old suspicions of American and CIA links. The Ford Foundation was also a donor. The Utan Kayu complex, with ISAI also headquartered there, was a hub of anti-régime activity.
THE JAKARTA POST, MEDIA PROPAGANDA CSIS
Di bawah ini adalah proses pendirian media The Jakarta Post dari media propaganda Orde Baru menjadi media propaganda CSIS dan keluarga Wanandi yang disarikan dari memoar Bill Tarrant, mantan jurnalis asing the Jakarta Post dalam memoar berjudul RI, Reporting Indonesia, The Jakarta Post Story 1983-2008 terbitan Equinox Publishing.
Jusuf Wanandi took his place in the line outside Minister of Information Ali Murtopo’s office in Jakarta one hot July morning in 1982. After 18 years working with Murtopo, he was not surprised by the parade of leftist intellectuals, jihadists, gangsters, double-dealers, teachers, preachers, journalists, tribalists, union leaders, shamus and finks, also waiting for their turn. This was Murtopo’s intelligence network – a motly group that Indonesians had long called “the Murtopo Zoo.” (halaman 33).
Murtopo, however, was unhappy. He was particularly annoyed about what he deemed was unbalanced coverage of Indonesia by westers wire services and newspapers. And there was no worthwhile English-language publication for foreigners to read Indonesia’s side of events. Indonesia was the largest and potentially the richest country in Southeast Asia but had two embarrassingly bad English-language dailies that were more the object of ridicule than a serious source of news (halaman 47).
Jusuf had an answer. “I asked him: ‘Why don’t you give us a chance to produce something decent in English?” Jusuf recalled. “Because it’s such a shame that we as the biggest ASEAN country and who are supposed to be the leader in the region, cannot even produce a decent paper in English. ‘That was the emphasis’ (halaman 47).
He [Jusuf Wanandi] proposed that the new newspaper be collectively owned and operated by the largest groups in Indonesia and bitter rivals to boot: Golkar’s Suara Karya; the Catholic-affiliated morning newspaper Kompas; its biggest competitor, the afternoon daily and Protestant Sinar Harapan (Ray of Hope); and the secular weekly magazine, Tempo. (halaman 47).
Murtopo, the unorthodox thinker and master political puppeteer, loved the idea. Giving the Jakarta post a license to publish would be one of his last official acts as a cabinet minister. (halaman 47).
In the 1994, after the krackdown against the media and a new independent labor union, Suharto issued a presidential decree that put NGOs on notice. An NGO would be shut down if it was found to be “undermining the authority (of the state), discrediting the government…hindering the implementation of national development” or upsetting “political stability or security” (halaman 180).
The NGOs were coming to realize as well that they needed a media strategy to market their message. The Jakarta Post, for its part, saw the NGOs as source material for the kinds of stories it wanted to cover in the 1990s. If the NGOs were eager sellers, Jakarta Post Managing Director Raymond Toruan was a motivated buyer. He wanted NGO people to hang out with him and other reporters in the office. “We were a bit political. We knew we couldn’t go on with Suharto. But we also knew the country was not prepared for democracy. We had had a dictatorship since 1955. Our philoshopy was to help develop a new Indonesia, a civil society. So what we were doing at the time was to help grow elements of civil society to help prepare for a change of regime to a more democratic one (halaman 181).
Raymond Toruan and Susanto Pudjomartono gave money to Muslim leaders, student leaders and in fact, it had been long established that the Jakarta Post’s office was the headquarters of the student movement. The newsroom generally supported the activist stance of their top managers, though some were a little uneasy with the intimate relationships that Raymond had developed with student leaders. “They would come here and have meetings in Raymond’s room often from midnight to morning talking about the next moves – what issues to blow up, when the next rallies would be,” says Harry Bhaskara, the opinion page editor at that tim. “We in the newsroom supported Susanto’s and Raymond’s vision about the government. But I was surprised to hear some NGO people saying ‘hey your boss gave us money.’ I suppose it was going too far as a newspaper to give them money. We could agree with their vision, but not give them money. That’s going too far.” (halaman 199).
Merdeka.com - 8 Juni 1921, hari ini tepat kelahiran Presiden Soeharto. Presiden kedua Indonesia ini memimpin selama 32 tahun. Nyaris akan menjadi presiden seumur hidup jika tak ada arus reformasi yang dipicu oleh krisis ekonomi.
Namun siapa sangka ternyata krisis itu sengaja diciptakan oleh Amerika Serikat dan International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tujuannya untuk membuat Indonesia bergolak dan membuat Soeharto jatuh.
Krisis ekonomi yang disusul krisis politik mengakibatkan pelarian modal ke luar Indonesia secara masif, hingga menyebabkan anjloknya nilai rupiah sampai mencapai Rp 17.000,- per dolar. Rupiah yang lemah membuat pebisnis kolaps karena tidak dapat lagi mengelola utang luar negerinya.
Pendapat ini antara lain dikemukakan Prof Steve Hanke, penasehat ekonomi Soeharto dan ahli masalah Dewan Mata Uang atau Currency Board System (CBS) dari Amerika Serikat. Menurut ahli ekonomi dari John Hopkins University itu, Amerika Serikat dan IMF-lah yang menciptakan krisis untuk mendorong kejatuhan Soeharto.
Hal ini dibuktikan dari pengakuan Direktur Pelaksana IMF Michael Camdessus sendiri. Camdessus mengakui IMF berada di balik krisis ekonomi yang melanda Indonesia.
"Kami menciptakan kondisi krisis yang memaksa Presiden Soeharto turun," aku Camdessus saat diwawancarai The New York Times dan dikutip Kantor Berita Antara dalam artikel IMF di Balik Kejatuhan Soeharto?
Di tengah krisis ekonomi yang memburuk, Soeharto terpaksa menandatangani 'letter of intent' dengan IMF di kediaman Cendana, pada 15 Januari 1998. Sepintas IMF seperti membantu, tapi kenyataannya sebaliknya. Bantuan dengan sejumlah syarat itu malah sangat merugikan perekonomian Indonesia.
Hanya beberapa pekan kemudian, tanda tangan itu terbukti membelenggu Soeharto sendiri. Mencoba lepas dari tekanan IMF, Presiden mencari 'jalan lain' yang tidak disukai lembaga donor internasional itu.
Pada akhir Januari 1998, Presiden menerima Steve Hanke yang menawarkan proposal Currency Board System (CBS) atau Dewan Mata Uang. Dengan CBS, rupiah akan dipatok pada 5.500 per dolar. Soeharto tertarik dan hampir memberlakukan CBS. Dia sudah menyiapkan Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-Undang tentang CBS.
Namun, IMF marah. Mereka menilai hal ini merugikan rencana mereka di Indonesia. Koran The Washington Post mengabarkan bocornya surat pribadi Michel Camdessus kepada Soeharto tertanggal 11 Februari 1998. Surat itu berisikan ancaman bahwa IMF akan menangguhkan pinjaman sebesar 43 miliar dolar AS jika tidak ada kejelasan mengenai masa depan reformasi sesuai LoI yang telah diteken 15 Januari. Ancaman tersebut manjur. CBS akhirnya dibatalkan menyusul tekanan Barat yang makin keras.
Menurut Steve Hanke, serangan terhadap gagasan CBS dan dirinya sebagai penasehat ekonomi presiden dilancarkan begitu keji. Pelaksanaan CBS Indonesia ditentang habis-habisan. Akan tetapi Argentina, yang juga pasien IMF, dibolehkan. Begitu pula kontrol devisa, yang digelar begitu mulus di Chili, ternyata diharamkan di Indonesia.
Padahal, kata Steve Hanke, kalau saja Indonesia kala itu diizinkan memakai CBS atau bahkan kontrol devisa, "Perekonomian Indonesia mungkin bisa selamat." Berkali-kali Hanke mengingatkan Soeharto agar tak mempercayai IMF, karena IMF sangat khawatir CBS bakal sukses diterapkan di Indonesia.
"Washington punya kepentingan agar krisis berlangsung terus sehingga Anda jatuh" kata Hanke kepada Soeharto.
Seiring dengan berjalannya waktu, Hanke kemudian mendapat jawaban lebih jelas mengapa idenya tentang CBS dibantai habis-habisan, padahal di negara lain bisa jalan dengan baik.
Merton Miller, seorang penerima Hadiah Nobel untuk Ilmu Ekonomi, mengatakan bahwa penolakan pemerintah Clinton dan IMF terhadap CBS "Bukan karena itu tidak akan jalan tapi justru kalau itu jalan maka Soeharto akan terus berkuasa".
Pendapat sama, lanjut Hanke, juga dikemukakan oleh mantan PM Australia Paul Keating. Keating mengatakan "AS tampak dengan sengaja menggunakan ambruknya ekonomi sebagai alat untuk menggusur Soeharto".
Menurut para ekonom, masuknya IMF ke Indonesia seperti membawa kunci pembuka bagi gudang harta terpendam, yakni pasar Indonesia yang luar biasa dahsyat.
Ini terbukti, setelah IMF menjadi 'dokter' perekonomian Indonesia, perusahaan asing begitu leluasa berbisnis di negeri ini. Di setiap pojok kota, kini begitu banyak kantor cabang bank asing, restoran asing, perusahaan multinasional dan barang produk luar negeri.
Indonesia baru bebas dari utang IMF di era Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Menurut SBY, sejak tahun 2006, Indonesia bisa bernapas lega terbebas dari utang IMF.
"Keseluruhan utang Indonesia terhadap IMF adalah USD 9,1 miliar, jika dengan nilai tukar sekarang setara dengan Rp 117 triliun, dan pembayaran terakhirnya kita lunasi pada tahun 2006, atau 4 tahun lebih cepat dari jadwal yang ada. Sejak itu kita tidak lagi jadi pasien IMF," kata SBY beberapa waktu lalu.