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Indoleaks revives 1965 autopsy documents

  • Tifa Asrianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, December 15 2010 | 11:50 am
Indoleaks revives 1965 autopsy documents

Still leaking: The home page of Indoleaks, the Indonesian version of WikiLeaks, shows copy of a document about the 1965 tragedy which the Soeharto administration blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). JP/Arief Suhardiman Indoleaks, a portal set up on the heels of the global brouhaha over WikiLeaks, posted four autopsy documents on the victims of the infamous 1965 tragedy. The documents apparently lead to the conclusion that the victims were not sadistically tortured as described in a propaganda movie shown to students during the Soeharto era.

The 1965 tragedy, which took place on the eve of Sept. 30, 1965, was allegedly instigated by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Six high-ranking military officers were murdered in a single evening, although their remains were only found several days later in a well.

The autopsy documents, signed by five doctors from the Gatot Soebroto Army Central Hospital (RSPAD Gatot Soebroto), stated that the victims’ bodies were ridden with bullets, but decomposition was already substantial after four days at the bottom of the well.  

However, Berita Yudha, a newspaper that was part of second president Soeharto’s propaganda machine, detailed sadistic acts, such as victims being burned by cigarettes, having their vital organs cut off and even having their eyes gouged out.

A Soeharto-era propaganda movie eluded to the alleged torture. The movie was actually not a documentary, but the Soeharto regime made it mandatory for Indonesian students to watch as part of their history education.

Historian Asvi Warman Adam said that while he had yet to check the documents, he believed he had already read them in a book written by Cornell University Indonesian political historian Benedict Anderson titled How Did The Generals Die?

“There was nothing new about the documents. But at least they refresh our minds. Also, for everyone who does not know that such documents exist, it is a revelation,” he said.

Asvi said that the site opened opportunity for whistleblowers to post on things that officials were hiding, such as the Bank Century case or other corruption cases.

“For a country with good a documentary system like the US, sites like Indoleaks may bring troubles. But Indonesians usually decide on matters without the papers, so this site is a good thing for checks and balances,” he said.

Indoleaks followed the footsteps of Wikipedia in providing information for the public, and therefore everyone could help grow the site together, he added.

“While the information in Indoleaks may not be sufficient enough, it can provide a glimpse into the issues for a layman,” he said.

Using “Because Information Is Human Rights” as its tagline, Indoleaks seems to follow WikiLeaks, which was born out of dissatisfaction with the implementation of the concept of freedom of information.

Indoleaks also prioritized originality of documents as its main concern. Unlike WikiLeaks, the information on Indoleaks is public information, not top secret or personal information.

However, access to downloading the documents has been difficult because there has been so many people trying to view the documents. As a result, several mirror sites have emerged to help people who want to see the documents found on the main site.

Communications and Information Technology Ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewa Brata said that the ministry would only monitor the information posted on the site, but would not block it. He explained that the data from the monitoring activity would be brought to an in-depth meeting in his department.

“We don’t have any authority to comment on the content or the content’s authenticity. However, if anyone feels that they have been  disadvantaged by information posted on the site, they can challenge it in the courts,” he said.



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