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Indonesian spies ‘must end their own brand of terror’

Updated On: Jun 17, 2005

Jakarta - The culture of corruption is not the only thing that Indonesia needs to rid itself of. The country must also put an end to the "culture of terror" that is deeply-rooted among its intelligence agents, derisively known as intel, according to a commentary in The Jakarta Post. 

   The newspaper was commenting on the government’s decision to revive the domestic spy agency, the Regional Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Bakorinda). The government said Bakorinda will help to improve coordination between the various security and military agencies and local leaders to prevent any terrorist attack at the provincial level. 
    Many groups have expressed concern that history will repeat itself, with Bakorinda being misused by security forces to violate civil liberties. 
    The Post acknowledged that improving coordination among intelligence authorities is urgently needed to combat the terrorist threat in Indonesia. 
    But it added: "Frightened and concern we are; given the track record of our intelligence authorities who have proved their skill in capturing suspected political dissidents, all while the masterminds of the bombing of Bali, the Marriott, the Australian Embassy, etc, ad nauseum, remain at large and continue to pose a fatal threat."
    Many Indonesians "find it hard to believe that the culture of our intelligence agents can change", it said.
    "The question today is whether an overhaul in our intelligence system would include a total change in the culture; from a sinister tool of oppression and intimidation to one of intelligent fact-gathering, involving law enforcers who actually respect the law, as part of a system accountable to its citizens. It is not too much to ask from a President that we directly elected: That intelligence authorities end their own brand of terror."

*Culture of terror (The Jakarta Post, June 14)