JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Father
Ricardo walked gingerly across the charred remains of a
church that recently was torched by a band of Muslim
fanatics. In a macabre scene, burned pews, crushed stained
glass windows, tattered vestments, a communion chalice and a
few torn pages from a hymnal dotted the floor.
"It's a nightmare. My Lord, when is
it going to stop? Where is this all going to lead?" he said
softly again and again, in great despair.
Indonesia's stab at democracy -- after having been ruled by
either a left-wing or right-wing strongman for decades --is
in great peril, with Christian-Muslim violence continually
festering here in the capital of Jakarta.
"I know it's only a building, and
God's spirit is inside of His followers. But still, it's a
holy place, a place for prayer and reflection. Why would
anyone want to burn it down?"
He is not afraid. "God has not
given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of
sound mind," he said thoughtfully. "An eye for an eye would
leave us with a lot of blind people. An arm for an arm is
not a proper response. Love can melt the hearts of
The priest then led the way through
a small alley nearby. The floor of the alley was littered
with posters depicting American actress Neve Campbell and a
movie about the 1970s disco scene called "54." Continuing
on, Father Ricardo led this WorldNetDaily reporter to a
green park nearby, where he sat down on a bench near to a
group of Indonesian soldiers, the TMI, from the elite and
feared Koppassus -- the Special Forces division.
Sporting green camouflage and red
berets, the soldiers sat in a group of 12, checking their
gear and basking in the warm summer sun. They carried M-16s,
AK-47s, pistols and even small grenade launchers.
One of the soldiers took out a
large Rambo-style knife, spit on a sharpening stone and
began to hone the edge in small rhythmic circles.
Father Ricardo eyed the soldier
warily. "For over 400 years, Indonesia was a Dutch colony.
The Hollanders united Indonesians into one country. Since
the Japanese invaders were driven out by the Allies at the
end of World War II, we have had a left-wing dictator --
Sukarno -- and then a right wing dictator -- Suharto. Now,
just as democracy has supposedly arrived, everything is
coming apart at the seams," he told WorldNetDaily as the
smooth yet discomforting sound of the knife sharpening
ritual filled the quiet afternoon air.
"I don't like the soldiers having
to patrol the streets. I mean, we must respect authority,
and they are trying to keep order. But guns and soldiers are
not a long-term answer to our problems in Indonesia."
Speaking about the reign of
Sukarno, known as "Bung" or "Brother" Karno, Father Ricardo
said that Sukarno took power in 1945. After two decades as a
left-wing dictator, he appointed himself president for life
"Sukarno was obsessed with liberal
anti-Christian ideas like The Enlightenment and the French
Revolution -- the 'goddess of Reason' and that sort of
thing," said Father Ricardo.
"Sukarno was a collaborator with
the Japanese occupation, and actually recruited thousands of
Indonesians to work for the Japanese military. All of these
men perished, having been worked to death. But he was a
shrewd character -- first a nationalist, then a collaborator
with the Fascist Japanese, mutating into a communist, after
that a leader of the non-aligned movement. And finally, just
"Suharto, with the help of the CIA,
deposed him in 1965, and turned Indonesia away from
communism. Suharto took much wealth for himself, and gave a
lot of money to his generals. But he raised living
standards, and was in the broadest sense of the word a just
and good leader. But the liberals in the West tired of him,
and decided to shove him out the door. The 1997 Asian
meltdown provided them with a good excuse. Never did the
West realize the anarchy that would ensue after his reign
A trail of blood
Recently over 500,000 Muslims gathered in the capitol to
call for a "jihad" against Christian Indonesians.
Chanting "Allah Akbar," or "God is
Great," and "Jihad!" and "Death to all Christians," the
Muslims marched under the watchful eye of their own
green-clad security men.
"Tolerance is nonsense. Slaughter
the Christians," read a large banner that was unfurled at
the rally, witnessed by WorldNetDaily. Chants of "Burn the
churches!" and "Death to the Crusaders" filled the air.
Father Ricardo said that Muslim
vigilantes attacked and burned down the entire campus of
Doulos Seminary. Many of the 400 students there were
wounded, and a few died.
Muslims threatened further
vigilante action around Indonesia at the end of Ramadan. The
Islamic Teachers Council of Indonesia wrote a letter to the
attorney general of Indonesia asserting that Christian
organizations are "conducting illegal activities" such as
"Christianizing Muslims," even though freedom of religion is
guaranteed by the Indonesian Constitution.
The priest seemed to grow
increasingly agitated at the sight of the soldiers and their
"Isn't it sharp enough yet?" the
priest asked the soldier.
"It's never sharp enough," the
soldier replied without looking up. Then, after a short
moment passed, the soldier took the knife and ran it along
his tongue horizontally, till a thin red line of blood
showed on it.
"Hey Father," another soldier
shouted. "The Muslims burned down all the discos -- Disco's
dead! They took out a bunch of hotels. Now they're starting
on the churches. Looks like if this keeps up, you'll be out
of a job."
Ignoring the teasing and taunting
of the troops, Father Ricardo then said, "The Holy Father
said Mass on January 5th, and asked that the message of
peace from Bethlehem echo forcefully in places struck by war
-- particularly Indonesia. But no one is listening to the
The priest took a deep breath,
wiping his balding gray head with a white handkerchief.
"Did you know there was a huge
earthquake off of Jakarta, under the water on January 6th of
this year?" he then inquired.
"It registered 5.6! Imagine that. I
wonder if it was a warning from God to stop all of the
anti-Christian killing. And all killing in general. Maybe
another seaquake will occur and send a big tidal wave over
Java, and then everyone will learn their lesson."
The soldiers laughed among themselves, seemingly inoculated
against the violent destruction currently gripping their
country. In the "New Indonesia," the military, long a
bastion of power, has come under international scrutiny,
with calls for war crimes trials to be held over the
military's role in East Timor. An anti-communist country
since Suharto's takeover in 1965, the military is not well
pleased with seeing the Marxist Xanana Gusmao installed to
power in East Timor by Australia and the United Nations.
As such, tensions are high in
Jakarta and throughout Indonesia. Rumors of a military coup
against the new government are rampant. U.S. Ambassador to
the United Nations Richard Holbrooke went so far as to warn
Indonesia's military rulers against a coup.
"We're in the 21st century now. Any
coup would isolate Indonesia internationally and hurt its
economic recovery," said Holbrooke, who was backed up by
President Clinton in his warning to Indonesia's military.
The Clinton administration is eager to smooth over any
trouble that might interfere with the G-7 summit in Tokyo
later this month. As such, senior government officials from
the UK and U.S. will travel soon to Jakarta for high-level
meetings with Indonesia's new governmental leaders.
Almost all of the Indonesian
soldiers questioned by WorldNetDaily mocked Holbrooke's
"So does that mean that three weeks
ago we could have had a coup -- when we were still in the
20th century?" one asked mockingly.
"We are so sick of the United
Nations and America telling us what to do. Your President
Clinton is a rapist and a murderer who has committed treason
against your own nation. Why don't your generals stage a
coup against him? Just leave us alone to work out our own
According to one Western military
attache based in Jakarta, "The West fears the growing power
of General Wiranto, the former chief of the TMI [Indonesian
army]. Wiranto has maintained active duty status. He is now
the most powerful member of the new cabinet. Will he just
stand by when his troops are tried for rape, arson and
killing in East Timor?" said the attache, who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
"When the TMI invaded Timor in
1975," he said, "Henry Kissinger was in Jakarta the day
before the invasion, presumably to give the go-ahead. It was
an anti-communist counter-insurgency type of operation. Now
the TMI has been asked to hand over the country to the
communists. As such, I expect to see the TMI continue to
close ranks. The Damocles Sword of military interventionism
will continue to hang over Indonesia for the next year at
The attache also told WorldNetDaily
that East Timor was home to a deep-water sea passage vital
to the Australian navy.
"The Timor Sea provides the only
deep water corridor for Australian submarines to pass north
into Southeast Asia. So it is vital that Australia maintain
an active presence in the region."
The ice melts
Indonesia's problems are too vast and complex to defy even a
sliver of comprehension for the casual observer.
To begin, Indonesia is a vast
archipelago comprised of some 13,700 islands spread over
1,475,000 square kilometers. It is also the fifth most
populated country on earth, with 220 million people, and the
third largest democracy in the world -- trailing only India
and the U.S.
With 86 percent of its population
nominally Muslim, Indonesia is the most populous Islamic
country on earth -- most people being the moderate Sunni
Since the 1997 Asian financial
crisis, Indonesia's economy has hit bottom, with millions of
Indonesians unemployed. The nation's foreign debt is about
Clearly, a Balkans-style break-up
of the nation is not out of the question.
Trouble spots include Sumatra, the
world's sixth largest island. In the Northern Aceh Province,
Islamic jihad warriors, including well-armed and
well-trained women, are waging a protracted war of
independence with the Indonesian military. On Jan. 16, the
Free Aceh Separatists killed 20 TMI troops and wounded 50
Sumatra holds the world's largest
deposits of natural gas, and also boasts large oil reserves.
The violence in Sumatra has caused Western multinational oil
companies to pull out, leaving millions of dollars worth of
equipment languishing in the field. Between 1989 and 1998,
over 2,000 citizens of Aceh province have been killed by the
A TMI soldier caught selling three
guns to Free Aceh Separatists was summarily executed two
weeks ago. While waging a struggle via the Internet and
hosting foreign journalists for an "educational seminar" on
their goals and aims, the Free Aceh Separatists hope to cash
in on international sentiment over freedom for East Timor to
propel their own dreams of an Islamic state.
"Aceh and Sumatra will never break
free. The West loves Marxists like Gusmao, but East Timor
has no oil and natural gas. Texaco and Chevron haven't left
millions of dollars in equipment behind. And the West
loathes fundamentalist Islam," said TMI Col. Sippen Mayar.
The Free Aceh Movement continues to
grow and plague the TMI. More than 70 elementary schools
have been burned to the ground and almost 20,000 students
were forced to stay home after recent violence. Acehnese
have resorted to using the rencong, a traditional machete to
attack the TMI soldiers, who are caught in a hopeless
Vietnam-style war of attrition.
"How can we hold the country
together?" said one Koppassus soldier who talked with
"Are we here to fight for Chevron
or Mobil? Or is it Christianity? Or against Islam? Or for
the territorial integrity of Indonesia? If so, why did we
abandon East Timor?"
"The Indonesian military are a
tough bunch," said Maj. Carl Bernard, a former U.S. Special
Forces soldier who has worked extensively in the Pacific
"Their former chief of staff --
Benjamin Moerdani, spent a year in the U.S. as our guest at
Fort Bragg when he was a captain. He captured a U.S. Special
Forces team we "inserted" on Sumatra and we had to pay
eleven infantry battalions of equipment to get them back.
Who knows though if the TMI can contain the Free Aceh
Spice girls ... and boys
Another trouble spot to the east is East Timor, in the grips
of an uneasy truce.
Australian soldiers in East Timor
have been accused of rape. Tuberculosis is rampant, killing
scores of Timorese. Australian troops, frustrated with
"mission creep," have now taken an interest in digging for
ANZAC war dead buried in the hills of Timor. In the 1940s,
many Australians died in Timor fighting the Japanese. Their
current mission in Timor is a new chance to tie up loose
ends of the past.
But Sumatra, Jakarta and East Timor
are merely the tip of the iceberg. In Lombok, near the
vacation haven of Bali, Muslims burned seven churches to the
ground on January 17.
In the fabled Spice Islands of
Maluku, Christian-Muslim violence continues to rage
unabated. A virtual lockdown of the islands has been put in
effect by the TMI.
The Spice Islands consist of a
scattered collection of isles, which lie between Sulawesi
and Irian Jaya. The largest of these islands are Halmahera
in the north and Seram in the south. To the southeast is
Ambon, also a trouble spot for Christian-Muslim violence.
"The Spice Islands are sort of a
Kosovo-Serb stronghold identity-wise," said a Western
diplomat based in Jakarta.
"Muslims dominated the region until
the Portugese kicked them out in the mid-1500s. Recently
there has been a large Muslim influx into the region."
"The feelings among Christians of
being treated unjustly has ignited the unrest," said Thamrin
Amal Tamagola, a Maluku-born sociologist at the state
University of Indonesia.
"If you pour fuel on dry hay, it
will suddenly burn to ashes."
Over 1,700 Indonesians have been
killed in violence in the Spice Islands since January 1999.
Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the violence.
Over 700 have been killed in the past 10 days.
Despite the presence of 10,000 TMI
troops, including 600 Koppassus Special Forces soldiers and
nine new battalions, the carnage continues to rage.
Newcrest Mining, an Australian gold
mining company digging in North Malaku, has been accused of
aiding the Christians in their struggle against the Muslims.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government has confirmed that the
Iran-based Hezbollah, or "Party of God," has been trying to
smuggle arms to the Muslims in the Spice Islands. Both
Muslims and Christians alike have accused the Indonesian
military of siding with the other.
The new leaders
Trying to keep a lid on the violence has proved no easy task
for Indonesian President Adburranman Wahid -- known
affectionately as "Gus Dur" -- Gus for "brother" and "Dur"
as a shortened version of his name.
Wahid is a Muslim holy man who
leads the National Awakening Party. Blind, aged 59 and under
poor health with kidney problems and diabetes, Wahid is seen
by the Western transnational elite as the "Savior of
Having recently recognized the
State of Israel, Wahid has also promised to squash any
Islamic jihad in Sumatra and the Spice Islands. His
Nahdlatul Ulama Muslim Social and Educational organization
boasts 40 million members.
Wahid was educated in Iraq and
Egypt. Speaking English, Arabic and German, in addition to
two Indonesian languages -- all fluently -- he is believed
to possess magic and psychic powers by many of his
One of Wahid's early initiatives
was to set up a South Africa-style "Truth and
Reconciliation" tribunal to try Suharto for financial and
criminal misconduct. Suharto has thus far refused to
cooperate. More recently, Wahid has pushed to help the
"pribumi" or "native Indonesians." Ethnic Chinese are a
small minority in Indonesia, yet they control much of the
country's wealth. As such, there is great resentment against
them, so Wahid has advanced the idea of low interest loans
and government contracts to appease the complaints of the
Wahid has also promised to hold a
referendum on Acehnese autonomy, and has undertaken a
14-nation world tour to gather international support for his
moderate Islamic regime.
Heeding warnings given by MI-5 and
the CIA of a possible military coup, Wahid has ordered a
major shake-up of the military. Major-General Sudradjat has
been replaced by Air Force Marshall Graito Husodo.
Sudradjat had been a major critic
of Wahid, stating that Wahid "had no right to interfere with
the TMI." Sudradjat is also a strong ally of General
Wiranto. The move has been seen as an attempt to weaken
Wiranto's access to the military.
Assisting Wahid in trying to bring
a coherent agenda to Indonesia is Vice President Megawati
Sukarnoputri, the daughter of the former Marxist dictator
Sukarno. Megawati is the darling of the Clinton
administration, having a long affiliation and support of the
Democratic Party in the United States. The alliance of
Megawati's "Democratic Party Struggle" with the Red Chinese
People's Liberation Army and the infamous pro-Clinton Lippo
Group is a convoluted one. The "Democratic Party Struggle"
was expected to win the recent Indonesian elections, but
when it fell short, Megawati's supporters turned violent,
rioting, killing and setting off car bombs, which killed
many innocents. Fearing anarchy, Wahid promised her the
number two slot in his government.
Mega, as she is known, has been
called an "abangan" or "Bad Muslim" by her detractors.
Recently, more radical Muslims have called for her
resignation for refusing to help the Muslims in their jihad
in the Spice Islands.
As for just where all of this
violence and anarchy will lead the "New Indonesia," no one
can be sure.
"It comes down to control," said
one CIA official interviewed in Jakarta by WorldNetDaily.
"Dictatorships, left or right, are
too unstable. They breed dissent. Except for the Middle
East, we eschew them. Get used to a new term: 'Polyarchy.'
That meaning, two foreign-funded political parties,
supposedly competing to rule any particular country. Yet no
matter which one wins, both will do the bidding of America,
the West and the transnational corporations. In Indonesia
today, you have Mega and Wahid, both foreign funded, both
having sold their soul to the West. The only force that can
wreck our cozy little arrangement is the Indonesian
military. You see, patriotism has become a dirty word in the
new world order."
Indonesia's 50-year storm
Island nation long-time home to Christian persecution
NIAS, Sumatra – While Indonesia has
suffered at the hands of outsiders at times during the last
50 years, it is the Islamic crackdown on the minority
Christians that is the nation's greatest scourge, say local
"From the Japanese occupation
during World War II to the battle against Dutch colonialism,
the Marxism of Sukarno to the right-wing anti-communist
government of Suharto, the people of Indonesia have endured
much suffering," said Sister Elizabeth Soto, a Catholic nun
living in Sumatra.
"Yet the greatest fight in the
history of Indonesia is being waged today – it is the battle
between Christianity and Islam. The Muslims in Indonesia
claim to be moderate and want to cooperate with the West,
but you wouldn't know it from the bloodshed they have
wreaked upon the Christians in Indonesia."
"Indonesia has been in the grips of
a storm for 50 years at least," she told WorldNetDaily.
At over 200 million inhabitants,
Indonesia is the third most populous country in Asia, next
to China and India. Nearly nine out of 10 Indonesians are
Muslim. More than half of those adhere to Javanese Islamic
beliefs, which contain a mix of Buddhism and mysticism.
Three percent of the population are Catholic, while 5
percent are Protestant.
When WorldNetDaily visited Lake
Toba in the center of Sumatra, scores of Christians living
in fear of Islamic jihad spoke of their trials and
tribulations. Lake Toba sits adjacent to a large, dormant
volcano and is home to some long-standing Protestant
churches that have stood as a bedrock for the Christian
faith in the region.
"Ming," a Christian Indonesian of
Chinese origin, spoke of the "great persecution" Chinese
Christians have endured in recent years.
"The Chinese of Indonesia are hated
because we are perceived to control the economy and the
financial destiny of the nation," he told WND.
Ming had been traveling on business
through the fabled Spice Islands, the Molaccas, when he "was
caught up in a series of attacks launched by Muslims against
"They attacked a church and the
congregation I was attending," he said. "They have camps for
military training set up. This is well-documented. There was
even a film crew from the BBC at one of the Islamic training
camps. I have no doubt that sinister forces are at work
behind the scenes. 'Laskar jihad' they call it, I believe.
It's just unreal how the Christians in the West sit back in
their big churches and do nothing."
Pastor Richard Fu, a Baptist who
lives on the shores of Lake Toba, told WorldNetDaily that
the Islamic jihad in Sumatra and Indonesia "finds its roots
in foreign money, ideology and training in places like Saudi
Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan."
"Why does America bomb Afghanistan
but fete the leaders of Saudi Arabia, who are the real head
of the snake?" he asked.
Fu believes the Islamic jihad is
"strongest on the northern tip of Sumatra."
WorldNetDaily arrived on the
northern tip of Sumatra via ferry from Penang, Malaysia.
Rich in natural gas and seeking autonomy from Jakarta, Acheh
Province is currently the scene of a desperate battle
between government troops and Islamic independence seekers.
Muhammad, a 12-year-old Muslim boy
living in the war-torn region, says he and his peers engage
in military training because they "want the Crusaders out."
When asked if it mattered to him
that almost all Indonesian Christians were non-European,
Muhammad told WorldNetDaily, "That does not matter. The
Chinese follow the religion of the Crusaders, and so they
must be driven out."
Says Sister Soto, "This is the type
of mentality that we, as Catholics and Christians, can only
meet with sincere love. Jihad is at the core of every 'good'