Bali : a statement by WL Australia

Submitted by on 13 November, 2002 - 1:06

A statement by Workers' Liberty Australia
We condemn the bombing in Bali, and offer our deepest sympathies to the victims from all countries. We have no trust in the Indonesian police and military (the butchers of East Timor, Aceh, West Papua) to conduct an inquiry that will discover the truth.

We have no trust in the USA (most recently the butchers of Afghanistan and Iraq), or the [Australian] Howard government (the USA's unconditional ally) to uncover the truth.

The results of investigations so far as reported in the media are contradictory. Cases are being made that the perpetrators are Islamic fundamentalists, possibly associated with al Qaida or with Jemmah Islamiah.
But there is a long history in Indonesia of collaboration with such reactionary Islamists by sections of the ruling elite and the army in pursuit of their interests. The bombs could be aimed at weakening the Megawati government.
There is speculation that elements of the TNI could have played a role in the bombing. Others allege that it could be a US plot to keep the threat of "terrorism" alive.
None of these explanations is beyond belief, which means that any of the police and military forces which are being authorised to investigate the bombing conceivably could have reasons for covering up.
The Indonesian authorities may well frame a guilty party in order to appear to be addressing the problem.

We have no confidence in the US led "war on terror" to keep us safe from such attacks. In 13 months since September 11 they have failed to capture Osama bin Laden. They have murdered Afghan civilians by the thousands, and they have spent the last several months preparing war on Iraq and Saddam Hussein who has not been connected with either attack. Meanwhile the governments of several countries where evidence has strongly suggested that Islamist terrorists operate (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia) have not taken any action, but the USA approves of these governments and has done nothing.
The Howard Government's priorities were revealed with its failure to publish a warning from the US State Department that tourist destinations in Indonesia were serious targets. A serious warning from US intelligence that energy supply infrastructure in Indonesia was a likely target was published and acted upon. Australian capital invested in Indonesia had to be protected. But diplomatic relations with Indonesia seem to have been considered more important than issuing a warning that might have led some Australian tourists to stay away from Bali.
The reaction to this bombing by governments in Indonesia, Australia and other countries is likely to be to increase police and army powers and to further curtail civil liberties and freedoms. We know that Bush, Howard and their cronies will try to use this horror for their political ends.
First up in Australia will be a renewed push to pass the laws to extend ASIO's [Australian equivalent of the CIA] powers to clamp down on civil liberties. The ALP and other parties have opposed the ASIO laws so far - we call on them to refuse to buckle under to Howard on the back of these events. Bush and Howard will try to use this tragedy to argue for a renewed clamp on civil liberties and for "strong states" throughout Asia - for Malaysia's Internal Security Act, for Indonesia to crack down on dissent of all types. Within ten days of the Bali bombing Megawati had introduced decrees that increased police powers to arrest and detain without trial. In Indonesia this is particularly dangerous for the fledgling trade union and democratic movements, whom the state will not hesitate to use the laws against when they judge the time is right.
The political dangers in Indonesia are grave - there could be a return to naked military dictatorship, unelected presidency, intensified repression of national independence struggles, an Islamist resurgence and the repression of women, a split in the military along sectarian lines.
We call for Australian unions to express their solidarity with Indonesian unions and workers for:
1. Defence against threats to workers and democratic rights, from state repression in Indonesia, Australia and the countries of the region, and from reactionary Islamic fundamentalism particularly in Indonesia.
2. Open discussion on public safety within the context of maintaining civil liberties, in Indonesia and Australia, in the wake of the bombing.
3. All information gathered by any official Australian, Indonesian or other inquiries to be made public.
4. Quality medical treatment for all the victims of the bombing, whether Balinese, Australian or any other nationality.
5. No war against Iraq. It is a fake "war on terror".

l See http://australia.workersliberty.org

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