How Naomi Robson Became Indonesia’s Public Enemy No. 1
AUSTRALIAN academics, church leaders, businessmen and journalists have been targeted by Indonesia’s military for their supposed support of independence in the troubled region of Papua, a cache of documents and intelligence reports from the elite special forces unit Kopassus reveals. The 19 documents, dating from 2006 to 2009 and obtained by the Herald, show Kopassus runs a vast network of spies and informants as part of its campaign to keep vice-like control of the region, and monitors the activities of foreigners in the region and around the world.
As well as providing a chilling insight into the deep paranoia of Kopassus and its interference in the daily lives of ordinary Papuans, the documents are also remarkable for the false assertions they contain. A case in point is the inclusion of Naomi Robson – the former current affairs host who now runs an online dating service – on the list of ”foreign leaders in support of Free Papua”.
Her place on the list in the 2009 document titled Anatomy of Papuan Separatism, along with four other journalists from Channel Seven, relates to her infamous trip to Papua in 2006 to rescue ”Wa-wa”, the six-year-old member of the Korowai tribe that still practises cannibalism.
Channel Nine’s program 60 Minutes had run the original story on Wa-wa but left him behind, prompting Channel Seven’s program Today Tonight to launch a mission to save him and embarrass its rival. Ms Robson was briefly detained, alleging that Channel Nine had tipped off Indonesia about her arrival.
Others on the list include ABC journalists Geoff Thompson and David Anderson, who have reported from the region, the Greens leader Bob Brown and a senior Uniting Church pastor, John Barr. More than 40 US Congress members, including the chairwoman of the powerful Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, are also branded separatist agitators.
Other names include the South African anti-apartheid hero Desmond Tutu and the former prime minister of PNG, Michael Somare.
Senator Feinstein and Bishop Tutu have raised concerns about human rights in Papua, where many indigenous people live in poverty, and chafe at rule from Jakarta amid a heavy military presence and claims of abuse. But they have never backed independence. Sir Michael spent decades opposing separatists. The Sydney Morning Herald by Tom Allard Jakarta