Inventing “Jemaah Islamiah”
* SPECIAL REPORT *
Following Indonesian independence from the Dutch, Muslim factions within Indonesia united in their efforts to achieve an Islamic system of Government. As 1977 elections approached, the only permitted Muslim party, Partai Persatuan Pembangunan was realising majority public support. With the Soeharto presidency at risk of defeat, CSIS founder Gen. Ali Moertopo launched a covert operation on Darul Islam, a Muslim rebel group. Intelligence operatives who had defected from Darul Islam were ordered to bait their old comrades into action, arguing that with the fall of South Vietnam in 1975 Indonesia was in danger of communist infiltration. By mid-1977, the government had arrested one hundred and eighty-five men, accusing them of belonging to the unknown organisation, Komando Jihad. In reality, Komando Jihad was Gen. Ali Moertopo’s creation.
Darul Islam member provoked into violence by Soeharto Intelligence and branded Komando Jihad
Government prosecutors announced that Komando Jihad was a branch of “Jemaah Islamiah”. The Arab translation of Jemaah Islamiah is “Islamic community”.
The first official reference to “Jemaah Islamiah” denoted an organisation that the Darul Islam believed they were setting up. In fact, a hoax designed by Soeharto military intelligence to demonise the Islamic community or “Jemaah Islamiah”.
In 1976 Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar were charged by the Soeharto Government for establishing “Jemaah Islamiah”. At the trial, Sungkar admitted meeting a former leader of Darul Islam and agreeing to form a Jemaah as a way of confronting the new communist threat from the fall of South Vietnam. Both men were sentenced to three years, ten months prison.
Abu Bakar Bashir, born in 1938 in Jombang became a leader of an activist student group with ties to an Islamic political party banned by the government in 1960. In 1967 he co-founded the radio station Islamic Proselytisation Radio of Sukarta. Four years later in 1971, Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar co-founded Pesantren al-Mu’min, an Islamic organisation that would be later known as Pondok Ngruki. After their release from prison, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar fled to Malaysia in 1985. Both men returned to Indonesia following President Soeharto’s resignation in 1998. Sungkar died a month later; Bashir went back to Pondok Ngruki.
In August 2000 the Ngruki network held a congress, giving rise to the Mujahidin Council of Indonesia (MMI). Abu Bakar Bashir was appointed head of the organization. Many of Sungkar’s Indonesian recruits were against Bashir’s appointment. This group, including high-level “al-Qaeda” operative Riduan Isamuddin alias Hambali argued that the movement should have remained secretive.
The first real mention of “Jemaah Islamiah” in Australia came after the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings in Indonesia. An elaborate, synchronized series of church bombings spanned across eleven Indonesian cities. Nineteen people were killed, and some one hundred-twenty wounded. GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka), the Acehnese nationalist separatist group was blamed for the attacks. The only man convicted of involvement in the bombings was a mechanic, Edi Sugiarto. Sugiarto was sentenced to eleven years prison for allegedly making fifteen bombs used in the attacks. Sugiarto told the International Crisis Group (ICG) Jakarta that he had indeed made remote controls and timers for GAM in the past, but he was a mechanic, not an explosives expert and could only make the mechanical parts of bombs. He also said he was so badly tortured during his confinement he would have confessed to anything. According to Sugiarto’s lawyer, he was tortured with electric shocks to his genitals and was beaten so severely he has lost his hearing in one ear.
Teungku Fauzi Hasbi, alias Abu Jihad was at the centre of the Christmas Eve bombings plot. SBS Australia’s Dateline proved beyond doubt that Fauzi Hasbi had been an Indonesian military intelligence agent since defecting from GAM in 1979. Shortly after he was exposed as an Intelligence Agent, he was disembowelled in a mysterious murder in 2003.
Fauzi Hasbi was murdered after being exposed as an Indonesian Intelligence Agent
The highly respected Indonesian news magazine, Tempo, published conclusive evidence that the Indonesian military planned and coordinated the Christmas Eve bombings. The Tempo news investigation published telephone records of direct links between the bombers and Indonesian military intelligence. Fauzi Hasbi, the Indonesian Intelligence Agent had spoken to Edi Sugiarto, the man convicted of making the bombs seven times. Hasbi had also called a businessman, Jacob Tanwijaya, well connected with the military thirty-five times. Tanwijaya, in turn rang a Kopassus Special Forces Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Iwan Prilianto, fifteen times. Hasbi’s telephone number was discovered on the cell-phone of one Akim, an operative killed in one of the prematurely detonated explosions. After Edi Sugiarto was imprisoned investigations ceased. GAM was accused of orchestrating the church attacks; GAM is a nationalist movement working for Acehnese independence, not an Islamic movement and has never made an issue of other religions.
Indonesian Military was at the centre of the Christmas Eve bombings plot
According to ICG investigations (International Crisis Group, Jakarta), Fauzi Hasbi was reported as saying that he treats a high-level “al-Qaeda” operative, Hambali, “like a son.” In late 1999, Hasbi and Hambali reportedly attended a meeting arranged by Abu Bakar Bashir at the International Islamic University. Hasbi also met with Bashir separately in Bashir’s hotel. Following this engagement, Hasbi facilitated a meeting in Malaysia chaired by Hambali in January 2000. US intelligence reported that 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, attended this meeting under CIA surveillance.
According to Indonesian intelligence reports, Hambali was working closely with another “al-Qaeda” operative, Omar al-Faruq. Both had reportedly received military training in Afghanistan in the late 1980’s. Indonesian authorities illegally allowed the “rendition” of al-Faruq by the CIA to an undisclosed foreign country on June 5, 2002. Al-Faruq was a source of prior US intelligence of the 2002 Bali bombings. Senior US officials told the New York Times that the al-Faruq intelligence was the foundation of CIA threats made to President Megawati Sukarnoputri by the US government to concede to US anti-terror policies. Ralph C. Boyce, then US ambassador to Indonesia, delivered the last warning to President Megawati and her top officials just a day before the October 12th 2002 Bali bombings and gave her a deadline of October 24th to act.
Former BAKIN (Indonesian State Intelligence) Coordinating Board chief A.C. Manulang, interviewed by Tempo news one month prior to the Bali bombings said that Omar al-Faruq is a CIA agent who was assigned to infiltrate Islamic radical groups and recruit local agents within these groups. “When al-Faruq finished his assignments,” Manulang said, “the CIA created a scenario that he had been arrested.” Manulang made this analysis based on al-Faruq being a Kuwaiti citizen and holding a Pakistani passport, entering Indonesia as a refugee and marrying an Indonesian woman and the denial of National Police Chief, General Dai Bachtier, of police involvement in the handing over of al-Faruq. Routine deportation documentation was never filed. Manulang said, “After the CIA obtained complete data on this matter they then made al-Faruq disappear. It’s common in the intelligence world.” Despite repeated requests, Indonesian government officials were denied access to al-Faruq for questioning over the Bali bombings. When al-Faruq was called to testify in a US military tribunal in November 2005, the Bush administration announced that al-Faruq had escaped high security prison.
Fauzi Hasbi had visited Omar al-Faruq in Aceh in December 1999. During that time, Hasbi spoke with “Osama bin Laden’s deputy” Ayman al-Zawaheri via telephone.
Seven months later, al-Faruq hosted Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atef, al-Qaeda's former supposed military chief in Indonesia in June 2000, according to Indonesian regional intelligence officials.
US intelligence reports say the CIA traced a phone call made to Omar al-Faruq back to another “al-Qaeda” operative, Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi.
Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, a reported explosives expert who supposedly received training on the Afghan-Pakistan border admitted to helping plan and finance the 2000 Manila Train bombings which killed twenty-two people. Hambali and Singapore national, Faiz bin Abubakar Bafana reportedly purchased the explosives used in the bombings in Manila for MR180,000 (about US$47,000). Bafana’s first public appearance after his arrest was at the trial of Abu Bakar Bashir, testifying that Bashir was present at his swearing in to “Jemaah Islamiah.” Asked if Bashir had specifically approved bomb operations, Bafana answered: “Yes, twice, the Christmas bombings and the Atrium (a Jakarta plaza) bomb.” Bafana also claimed that Bashir had been present at a meeting where the assassination of Megawati was discussed. Bafana had previously testified behind closed doors against alleged 9/11 coconspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui in a Virginia federal court. Singapore authorities released Bafana in 2006, claiming he had “cooperated with ISD on investigations into the JI, and had responded positively to rehabilitation, including religious rehabilitation”. http://www.aliran.com/oldsite/hr/ISAWatchSpore.html
Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi “escaped” from the national police headquarters in central Manila, after being sentenced to 17 years prison. Hambali was “captured” by the CIA in Thailand in October 2003 and is still being held in Guantanimo Bay, Cuba.
Indonesian intelligence reported that al-Faruq was operating closely with Abu Bakar Bashir.
ICG reported that Bashir fell out with connections advocating terror campaigns and that Bashir was opposed to the 2002 Bali bombings. Weeks prior to the bombings, the US government threatened Indonesia President Megawati Sukarnoputri to secretly hand over Bashir to the CIA. Former US State department translator, Fred Burks who was present at that meeting spoke out when the US government lied that they had not pressured Indonesia to handover Bashir. Burks revealed that CIA officials told President Megawati to handover Bashir as they had evidence that Bashir was responsible for the 2000 Christmas Eve Bombings and two attempts on her life. President Megawati refused because he was too well known.
Former US State department translator, Fred Burks exposes Bush administration lies
All three lower level operatives, Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Ali Ghufron alias Mukhlas, sentenced to death for their role in the 2002 Bali bombings testified that they were tortured into implicating Abu Bakar Bashir’s involvement in the attacks. "I have seen my elder brother (Mukhlas) being tortured... the interrogators warned me, “Be careful, if you do not mention Abu Bakar Bashir you will be even worse," Amrozi said.
“Jemaah Islamiah” was the title invented to brand Darul Islam’s call to arms against communist threats. Abu Bakar Bashir was sentenced to prison in 1978 for allegedly co-founding “Jemaah Islamiah.” In reality, it was an intelligence covert operation engineered to demonize the Islamic community. The most recent infiltration of Bashir’s Ngruki network has given rise to another wave of attacks blamed on “Jemaah Islamiah.” Bashir was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for conspiracy in the Bali bombings. The US did not permit Indonesian officials to question Omar al-Faruq for Bashir’s trial, despite Indonesia handing over al-Faruq to the CIA. Bashir was once again found guilty by association.
Key References: International Crisis Group Reports
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