Friday, July 17, 2009

Conspiracy and Madness in Jakarta

Our Flemish correspondent VH sends this interesting update about this morning’s terrorist attacks in Jakarta. First, some introductory remarks by VH:

This is peculiar. The recently re-elected President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave a press conference today and appeared top be really quite mad.

There are rumors there is a complot set-up against him with the aim of preventing the inauguration in September of this year from happening. He in an aside suggested this tragedy might have something to do with this.

Furthermore, an expat eyewitness explained that the Ritz is the most secure and well-protected hotel in Indonesia, and couldn’t understand how this could ever possibly have happened. As became clear later on, the terrorist(s) didn’t walk in the building this morning: they already were in there, staying on the 18th floor.

And from ANTARA News:

Yudhoyono says terrorists targeted him

Jakarta (ANTARA News) — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) said he had been a target of a terrorist group since the legislative elections in April 2009 [which he won -VH].
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He said intelligence agents had obtained proof he was targeted in the form of pictures showing members of a terrorist group practicing their marksmanship on his photo.

The President made the statement at a press conference here on Friday following bomb explosions at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels Friday morning. “It’s intelligence information, not gossip nor rumors,” the President said while showing the pictures of terrorists in black masks doing shooting exercises with his picture as the target.

However, he said the intelligence reports did not provide any clues about a possible link between Friday’s explosions at the five-star hotels and the result of the general elections or him personally.

Concerning the 2009 elections, he said the intelligence service had collected information that there would be violence to reject the result of the 2009 elections. “There was a plan to occupy the General Elections Commission (KPU) during the announcement of the results of the ballot counting. There was also a statement saying there would be ‘revolution’ if SBY won, ‘we will turn Indonesia into another Iran, and lastly there was a statement saying that SBY should not be reinaugurated (as president),” he said [because a rumor emerged this afternoon suspecting his opponent in the recent elections, Prabowo Subianto of being involved in this, the latter made a statement early evening saying he has nothing to do with it. —VH].

The president strongly condemned the explosions which killed nine people. He said the blasts were an act of terrorism. “The act of terrorism was believed to have been carried out by a terrorist group, although it might not be a network that we already know about,” he said.

The head of state was confident that the security agencies would be able to capture and punish the bombers. Yudhoyono pledged that as the head of government he would instruct law enforcers to take stern actions and order all police, military and intelligence personnel and regional chiefs to step up alertness.

Nine people were killed and 52 others injured in the twin bombings on the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in the upscale Mega Kuningan district of Jakarta.

3 comments:

Tuan Jim said...

I read a translated transcript of the entire speech. It did seem a little weird trying to see the connections. There weren't any references to when the pics were found compared to the date of the bombing.

It was probably something he was planning on announcing earlier, but didn't really pick a good time/place to draw a parallel. I find it difficult to see him going off the rails at the moment - primarily since he was by far the best of the 3 candidates.

We'll see in the next few days if there was any domestic criticism of that speech - didn't see anything today.

Tuan Jim said...

Yeah, they did find out that the guy had been there for a while - I'm guessing parts were smuggled in over a short period of time - most likely with staff help (kitchen workers maybe?).

I think the security chief was a Westerner (from the name), but I could be wrong. I know that things have been a lot tighter - and he did reiterate all the current security measures they've had in place since the previous bombing.

VH said...

@ Tuan: Indeed, the statement of SBY did come across as quite unusual. I have not been able to read the transcript you mention, but have been able to watch most of it live on TV yesterday. He suggested he wanted to go to the site of the attacks earlier in the morning, but was not allowed by his security staff: they needed to secure the entire area first because of the threats aganst him. Maybe that is why he was that angry and decided to come forward with it?

Meanwhile there is a lot of criticism on his speech of yesterday, especially by the Megawati/Prabowo presidential candidate team, who are accusing SBY of scapegoating them. They also called it "an abuse of his presidency". I get the impression from what I hear though that the more statements the Mega/Prabo team makes, the more they raise the suspicion on them...

The pictures of the terror training that SBY showed on TV, had been taken in East Kalimantan on May 5 this year. That group was subsequently arrested. National police chief, General Hendarso Danuri, suspects that Noordin Mohammed Top [Malaysian Muslim, involved in Jemaah Islamiya, still at large], might be involved. The bomb seems to be similar to what was used by the Malang and Cilacap [East Java] terrorist networks the police did wind up previous years. One of the kamikaze Muslims might be Nurdin Aziz, who stayed in room 1808 already for a week and had set up a "base" there. This corresponds with your suggestion that material has been smuggled in.

I still wonder what was meant exactly with that threat to make another Iran of Indonesia (Java to be precise) ...

By the way, the Dutch government immediately suspended its activities in Jakarta and is still hiding under their desks I guess. Eventhough 1000 kilometers to the east, the surfing beaches are just as busy as always:)