The Silent Slaughter
“Ever since the Indonesians set foot on Papuan soil, human rights abuses have been the rule of the day. In the antiquity or the dream time, the Indonesian quest had been Papuan slaves and the birds of paradise. Since 1962 however the quest has been for the rich mineral deposits, the vast virgin forest with its timber and the 'empty' land. The West Papuans have had to be removed from their land by hook or by crook. Political prisoners and detainees in Irian Jaya continue to be subjected to ill treatment and tortured by police and military authorities, particularly in the early stages of their detention. Indonesian security forces have also been responsible for the extrajudicial execution and 'disappearances' of suspected OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka/Free Papua Movement) activists and sympathizers both in West Papua and Papua New Guinea.” [1]
1. Budiardjo, Carmel. Liong, Liem Soei.(1988) West Papua: The Obliteration of a People. TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign.
Most articles mentioning death tolls in West Papua are followed with ‘unknown’ or ‘estimated’. Due to the secrecy of Indonesia’s tight lipped occupation of West Papua, the numbers collected are often vague. To echo one article’s caution, I “would prefer not to support any particular figure, only to state the conviction that the loss of life suffered by the West Papuan people at the hands of their Indonesian colonizers has been on such a scale as to threaten their very survival as a people.” ¹ Amnesty International estimates 100,000, ² while still many others exceed 500,000. “Dr. Kees Lagerberg reported that an estimated 300,000 people had disappeared without trace. This is an awful lot of people in anybody's language, but it is more horrific if one considers that the estimated population of the territory was about 700,000 in the early 1960, and about one million in the 1980's, when Dr. Lagerberg made the claim. Thus 30% of the population has simply vanished from the face of this earth.” ¹
1. Budiardjo, Carmel. Liong, Liem Soei.(1988) West Papua: The Obliteration of a People. TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign.
2. Griffiths, Jay. (December 30, 2012) Indonesia’s ‘Slow Motion Genocide’. The Guardian.
Freeport's Jungle Rot

Grasberg Mine, owned by U.S. based mining corporation Freeport McMoRan, is the biggest gold mine and third biggest copper mine on the earth. It has often been referred to as the symbol of everything that is wrong within West Papua. The Otomina and Aikwa rivers carry dumped tailings containing high levels of copper, arsenic, cadmium and selenium toxins into the wetlands and the Arafura Sea. 80 million tons of refuse is dumped every year. Company reports have revealed that the rivers and wetlands are unsuitable for aquatic life because of the tailings dumped. The tailings have buried over 166 square kilometers of formerly productive forest and wetlands, and fish have largely disappeared. ¹
New Guinea is home to many poisonous snakes, but the diamondback rattlesnake isn’t one of them. This is a foreign predator winding its way down the Ajkwa River, poisoning every eddie and tributary in its path. In it’s mouth it carries the spoils while the tailings, its venom, spills hungrily into the Arafura Sea poisoning its waters. With a forked tongue this foreign evil whispers lies about all the damage it is causing.
“With $2.3 billion in revenues, Freeport became among the biggest source of revenue for the Indonesian government.

“In Papua, the Grasberg mine became a chance for the military not only to profit but also to deepen its presence in a province where it had barely a toehold before Freeport arrived. For many years Freeport maintained its own security force, while the Indonesian military battled a weak, low-level insurgency. But slowly their security needs became entwined.” ³
1. Paull, D., Banks, G., Ballard, C., & Gillieson, D. 2006. Monitoring the Environmental Impact of Mining in Remote Locations through Remotely Sensed Data. Geocarta International 21:33-42. Kearney, M. “Freeport mine ‘poisoning’ West Papua’s environment.” The Age 04 May 2006.
3. Perlez, Jane. Bonner, Raymond (December 27, 2005) Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste. The New York Times. P. 1-2.
“When asked if US weapons were being used in the invasion of East Timor in December 1975 one high-ranking Indonesian general said, ‘Of course there were US weapons used. These are the only weapons we have.’” ¹
“The US played a crucial role in supplying weapons to Indonesia. A week after the invasion of East Timor the National Security Council prepared a detailed analysis of the Indonesian military units involved and the U.S. equipment they used. The analysis revealed that virtually all of the military equipment used in the invasion was U.S. supplied. While the US government claimed to have suspended military assistance from December 1975 to June 1976, military aid was actually above what the US Department of State proposed and the Us Congress continued to increase it, nearly doubling it.” ³

“Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.” ⁴
1.José, Ramose Horta (1997). Indonesia: Arms trade to a military regime. European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT).
4. Shanker, Tom (August 26, 2012) U.S. Arms Sales Make Up Most of Global Market. The New York Times. U.S. Foreign Arms Sales Are Most of Global Market - NYTimes.
“The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress September 19, 2012 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Indonesia of 8 AH-64D Apache Block Iii Longbow Attack Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.

“This proposed sale (an estimated cost of $1.42 billion) will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in Southeast Asia.

“The proposed sale provides the Government of Indonesia with assets vital to protect and deter both external and other potential threats. Indonesia will use these Apache helicopters to defend its borders, conduct counterterrorism and counter-piracy operations, and control the free flow of shipping through the Strait of Malacca.” ¹
“The Indonesian military (TNI) regularly conducts "sweep operations," involving attacks on villages where innocent villagers are forced from their homes. The groups write that "Papuan civilians either flee the attacks to neighboring villages or into the surrounding forests where many die or face starvation, cut off from access to their gardens, shelter, and medical care." Sweep operations are now underway in the Central Highlands region of West Papua.” ²
1. Puhliese, David. (September 24, 2012) Indonesia To Spend $1.4 Billion To Buy Eight Apache Helicopters And Related Equipment. Ottawa Citizen.
2. Miller, John M. (2012) East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).
“After the purchase plan of 103 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (worth US$280 million) from Germany, the Defense Ministry on Thursday stated that it would buy another 50 Marder 1A3 and 10 supporting tanks from the same country by September.” ¹ This deal occurred after the Netherlands rejected an offer put forward by Indonesia on their tanks, calling out Indonesia on its human rights abuses.

1. (September 13, 2012) Indonesia to purchase more tanks from Germany. The Jakarta Post.
Native to Australia, New Guinea and nearby islands, Death Adders are some of the most venomous snakes in the world. The snake’s bite causes paralysis and death 50 % of the time. They are also good swimmers. Thus I saw it fitting to use this deadly snake to symbolize the covert activities of the Densus (Detachment) 88, which is an anti-terror squad originally trained by Australia to combat terrorism in Indonesia following the deadly bombing in Bali in October 2002, which claimed 88 Australian lives. [1]

“But in recent months media reports have spread, mainly from West Papua Media Alerts, that the anti-terrorist group was being deployed in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, suppressing insurgents as well as peaceful demonstrators.
“Detachment 88 is a specialist counter terrorism unit within the Indonesian National Police, however it should be noted that Indonesian law does not differentiate between terrorism, separatism and insurgency.” [2]

“The unit has been accused of involvement of torture. In August 2010, Amnesty International said in an urgent appeal that Indonesia had arrested Moluccan activists, and they had anxiety that the activists would be tortured by Detachment 88.” [3]
Under the reflection of Australia’s flag the Death Adder slithers onto the island.
1. Harvey, Rachel. (July 3, 2012) Indonesia Opens Ant-Terror School. BBC News.
2. Perrottet, Alex. (August 29, 2012) WEST PAPUA: ABC report raises questions for region’s leaders. West Papua Media Alerts.
3. (August 4, 2012) Malukan activists at risk of torture in detention in Indonesia. Amnesty International Annual Report. Malukan activists at risk of torture in detention in Indonesia | Amnesty International

The Indonesian Government’s Transmigration program is the most extensive in history. West Papua has one of the countries highest provincial population growth rates adding to further legal and illegal deforestation.

“The destruction of West Papua's culture and environment is taking place with the full knowledge of the governments of the Western nations, protecting the business interests of numerous large multi-national corporations active in West Papua.” ¹

“The population growth between 1971 and 2000 in West Papua demonstrated a growth rate of 1.84% Papuans and 10.82% non-Papuans. The results of an estimation made in 2010 claimed 48.73% of the population were Papuans and 51.27% were non-Papuan. A 2020 projected estimation breakdown showed a difference of 28.99% Papuans to 71.01% non-Papuans.

“This analysis shows that the Papuans have become a minority in West Papua from being an overwhelming majority (96.09%) less than four decades ago.” ²

“There are currently around 10,400 West Papuan refugees living in East Awin and in border camps in Papua New Guinea and up to 150 living in exile overseas. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Papua New Guinea government recognizes those in East Awin as refugees. The more than 7,000 living in border camps are not recognized as refugees and are therefore not receiving medical assistance.

“Opponents to Indonesian occupation, including members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM - Organisasi Papua Merdeka), began seeking political asylum. The largest exodus took place in 1984, when over 13,000 sought asylum in PNG, most of whom remain today. ³

In 2006 Australia granted 42 West Papuan asylum seekers temporary protection visas enraging the Indonesian Government. ⁴

1. Cline, Alan Kaylor. (July, 1995) HTML version of the West Papua Information Kit. Australia West Papua Association.
2. Elmslie, Jim. (September, 2010) West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or not?. The University of Sydney.
3. Cline, Alan Kaylor. (July, 1995) HTML version of the West Papua Information Kit. Australia West Papua Association.
4. (March 24, 2006)
_with Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
If one takes the time to read through some of the exhaustive, (and still incomplete) records and accounts [1], which have been gathered from many available sources, one will quickly discover that the atrocities still being committed today on the island of New Guinea are no different than those of the Nazis Regime. One of the hardest parts to accept is the fact that most western governments are quite aware of these crimes against humanity and still choose to supply Indonesia with the arms to continue their genocide of a beautiful cultural group. “In 2012, the Tampoto tribe is on the brink of extinction, with only a single person still living; the Dasem tribe in Waena area is also near extinction, with only one family consisting of several people still alive. A decade ago, the Sebo tribe died out.”[4] “New Guinea is perhaps the most linguistically diverse region in the world.” [5] “Somewhere close to a quarter of the total of the world's languages are spoken in the New Guinea region-about 1100 languages.” [6]
1. Budiardjo, Carmel. Liong, Liem Soei.(1988) West Papua: The Obliteration of a People. TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign.
4. Marboen, Ade. (February 23, 2012). One Papua Tribe Extinct, Two More To Follow Soon. Antara News :
5. Papuan languages -
6. Foley, Bill. (2003) More on Papuan Languages: as written for the International Encyclopedia of Linguistics 2003. Documenting Endangered Languages of the Pacific at the University of Sydney.
Violent hands of Indonesian militia grapple to remove a demonstrator’s Morning Star bandana; the flag which stands for West Papuan self-determination, independence and freedom. As such extreme violence and unspeakable images of human rights abuses from West Papua become more widespread in the media, an equally sinister narrative lies just beyond the camera’s viewfinder. Dressed in a suit, the corporate opportunist slyly skirts the circle of the frenzied wolf pack. Finely dressed and far removed, the benefactors remain comfortably perched at the top of the pyramid. But it is largely the suit which must be held responsible for the heinous conditions in West Papua as they continuously ensure the lid of silence remains tightly fastened.

Not only does the suit allude to the corporate greed of oligarchs and tycoons, but it also represents those in the White House, Australian Parliament and at the UN who continuously refuse to even acknowledge or discuss the present conditions. Rather than enforce a strict arms embargo, the US Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, just visited Indonesia four days ago as an effort to improve military cooperation with Indonesia.

It’s a suit worn by the likes of Dr. Henry Kissinger, who influenced, among many, the overthrow of President Sukarno, supplied Indonesia’s special forces with arms and strategies for the Communist purge and the invasion of East Timor and West Papua. Well versed in espionage tactics, corporate strategies, and war crime persuasion, Kissinger was a lobbyist for Freeport McMoRan and had been a director of FCX since the 80’s and was also a majority stockholder. In case of environmental or indigenous rights concerns, or in the case of expired contracts, changes in policy or government, Kissinger always showed up in Jakarta with his black bag of trickery and deception. With connections in both the corporate and the political arenas, Kissinger is the perfect metaphor of the big trickle down surrounding Freeport McMoRan and Rio-Tinto’s impact in West Papua. So much could be said for the mindless environmental destruction, resource exploitation, transmigration (10% funded by the World Bank) and genocidal atrocities committed...
Foretelling the self-determination of West Papua

Indonesia’s special forces Kopassus salute the morning star before boarding the KRI Tanjung Oisina embarked for Jakarta. Leaving behind an autonomous, demilitarized West Papua.
"How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind"

-Bob Dylan
The Silent Slaughter

The Silent Slaughter

“..Indonesian rule over West Papua can be characterized as an ongoing military/police occupation. Inevitably this involves the systematic inflict Read More

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