Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fishermen Blast Premier Dive Sites Off Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Jacob Herin, April 20, 2012

In this May 15, 2010, a Pinnate batfish swims among other fish in Tatawa
 Besar in the waters of Komodo islands, Indonesia. Coral gardens that  were
 among Asia's most spectacular, teeming with colorful sea life just a few months ago,
 have been transformed into desolate gray moonscapes by fishermen who use
explosives or cyanide to kill or stun their prey. (AP Photo/Robert Delfs)  
 Related articles

Komodo Island, Indonesia. Coral gardens that were among Asia’s most spectacular, teeming with colorful sea life just a few months ago, have been transformed into desolate gray moonscapes by fishermen who use explosives or cyanide to kill or stun their prey.

Dive operators and conservationists say the government is not doing enough to protect waters off the Komodo Islands in eastern Indonesia. They say enforcement declined greatly following the exit of a US-based conservation group that helped fight destructive fishing practices.

Local officials disagree, pointing to dozens of arrests and several deadly gunbattles with suspects.

Michael Ishak, a scuba instructor and professional underwater photographer who has made hundreds of trips to the area, said he’s seen more illegal fishermen than ever this year.

The pictures, he said, speak for themselves.

When Ishak returned last month to one of his favorite spots, Tatawa Besar, known for its colorful clouds of damselfish, basslets and hawksbill sea turtles, he found that a 200-square-meter reef had been obliterated.

“At first I thought, ‘This can’t be right. I must have jumped in the wrong place,’” he said, adding he swam back and forth to make sure he hadn’t made a mistake. “But it was true. All the hard coral had just been blasted, ripped off, turned upside down. Some of it was still alive. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The site is among several to have been hit inside Komodo National Park, a 500,000-acre reserve and U.N. World Heritage Site that spans several dusty, tan-colored volcanic islands and is most famous for its Komodo dragons — the world’s largest lizards. Its remote and hard-to-reach waters, bursting with fluorescent reds and yellows, contain staggering levels of diversity, from iridescent corals and octopuses with lime-green banded eyes to black-and-blue sea snakes.

They are supposed to be protected, but fishermen are drawn there by locally popular fish like fusiliers and high-value export species like groupers and snappers.

Fishermen can be seen in small wooden boats, some using traditional nets or lines. Others have been captured on video blasting sites with “bombs” — fertilizer and kerosene mixed in beer bottles. Breathing through tubes connected to air compressors at the surface, young men plunge to the bottom and use squeeze bottles to squirt cyanide into the coral to stun and capture fish.

Dive operators are increasingly seeing dead fish on the sea floor or floating on the surface.

“The biggest problem is that fishermen seem to be free to come into Komodo, completely ignoring the zoning and resource use regulations,” said Jos Pet, a fisheries scientist who has worked with numerous marine conservation groups in the area in recent years.

He said they are “quite simply fishing empty this World Heritage Site.”

Sustyo Iriyono, the head of the park, said problems are being exaggerated and denied claims of lax enforcement. “It’s only part of the black campaigns against us by those who are hurt by our rules and orders,” he said without elaborating.

He said rangers have arrested more than 60 fishermen over the past two years, including a group of young men captured last month after they were seen bombing waters off Banda island in the western part of the park.

One of the suspects was shot and killed after the fishermen tried to escape by throwing fish bombs at the rangers, Iriyono said. Three others, including a 13-year-old, were slightly injured.

“You see?” said Iriyono. “No one can say I’m not acting firmly against those who are destroying the dive spots!”

He added that the park is one of the few places where fish bombing is monitored with any regularity in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian nation of more than 17,000 islands.

Divers, however, say enforcement has dropped dramatically since 2010, when the government reclaimed sole control of operations.

For two decades before that, The Nature Conservancy, a U.S.-based nonprofit, had helped the government confront destructive fishing practices there. “No-take zones” were created, protecting spawning areas, and coastal areas also were put off limits.

Patrols using park rangers, navy personnel and local police were key to enforcement.

In 2005, the government gave a 30-year permit to Putri Naga Komodo, a nonprofit joint venture company partially funded by The Nature Conservancy and the World Bank to operate tourist facilities in hopes of eventually making the park financially self-sustaining.

Entrance and conservation fees — just a few dollars at the time — went up several tenfold for foreign tourists. With around 30,000 local and international visitors annually at the time, that would have given the park a budget of well over $1 million, but outraged government officials demanded that the funds go directly into the state budget. The deal collapsed in 2010, when Putri Naga Komodo’s permit was yanked.

“They had no right to directly collect the entrance fees from the tourists,” said Novianto Bambang, a Forestry Ministry official.

Dive operators and underwater photographers have asked The Nature Conservancy and similar organizations like WWF Indonesia, to return to Komodo and help with conservation efforts there.

Nature Conservancy representative Arwandridja Rukma did not address that possibility, saying only that the organization operates in Indonesia upon the invitation of the government.

Associated Press
Related Article:

Indigenous Tribes Call for Land Law At 4th Congress

Jakarta Globe, Philip Jacobson & Daniel Pye, April 20, 2012

Indigenous Tribes Call for Land Law At 4th Congress Indigenous peoples
 began their fourth congress in Tobelo, North Maluku
 on Thursday.
JG Photo/Philip Jacobson & Daniel Pye

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Tobelo, North Maluku. Under a blue sky on Thursday, thousands of indigenous people from across the country marched around the town of Tobelo in northern Halmahera.

Local residents and reporters lined the route, snapping photos of the parade that marked the start of the fourth congress of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN).

This year’s congress, which runs until Wednesday, has come a long way from when it was first held 13 years ago in Jakarta.

For the first time, lawmakers and government officials are involved, with House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie and Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu among participants.

“We do not look at the government as the enemy. We see them as a potential partner,” said Patricia Wattimena, AMAN’s officer on advocacy and Asean affairs.

It was a sentiment echoed by the event’s keynote speaker, Noer Fauzi Rachman, the head of the agrarian studies department at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), albeit with a harsher bent.

“The state is the source of the problems, but it can also solve the problems,” he said.

Fauzi, who wrote his dissertation on land reform and rural social movements in Indonesia for the University of California, Berkeley, said indigenous people felt as if they were being “sacrificed by the state.”

He said government lines such as “land acquisition for development” meant nothing as long as indigenous people were excluded from the political process.

“They need genuine participation and representation in the political process,” he said.

Highlighting the thrust toward working with the government, AMAN, which was formed during the first congress in 1999 and is now Indonesia’s largest indigenous peoples organization, presented the government with a draft bill that would change how they are seen under law.

If passed into law, the bill would give indigenous people the right to free, prior and informed consent, allowing them to withhold consent and effectively veto initiatives such as mining projects or a plantation concession that might affect their land and disrupt their way of life.

Henry Saragih, head of the Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI), compared the situation to colonialism and called for more indigenous people in the House.

“Indigenous people are in crisis. We did the water ritual, but most indigenous people don’t have sovereignty over their own water,” he said, referring to the ceremony that served as the climax of the parade. Community representatives poured water they had brought into a large fountain to symbolize unity.

Mari later told participants that the knowledge of indigenous peoples — sustainable fishing techniques, for example — could be harnessed to “add value to resources” and create a high-value local economy.

“This can be a new strength for Indonesia so that indigenous people can not only prosper but be happy,” she said.

But Fauzi responded by telling Mari that indigenous peoples’ rights to their land must be clearly stated in law, and he urged the acceptance of the draft law.

Lisga Klisye, from Ambon, Maluku, said he had seen too many people displaced by forestry, mining and plantation interests to take Mari at face value.

“We still don’t trust the government,” he said, speaking through a greying beard hanging off his chin. “Not yet.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Indonesia’s Aceh Province Elects Ex-Rebel as Governor

Jakarta Globe, Nurdin Hasan, April 17, 2012

Former separatist rebel Zaini Abdullah was announced as the winner of
Aceh's gubernatorial election on Tuesday. Zaini, of the Aceh Party, vowed to
 fight corruption and instill a "purer" form of sharia law in the only Indonesian
 province under Islamic law. Zaini and his running mate Muzakir Manaf will serve
as governor and vice-governor from 2012 to 2017. (EPA Photo)

Related articles

Banda Aceh. Indonesia’s Aceh province Tuesday elected a former rebel as governor, who vowed to implement a “purer” form of sharia in what is the country’s only region to practice the Islamic law.

The election was seen as a test of Aceh’s fragile peace following a 30-year separatist war that ended in 2005, and a devastating tsunami that destroyed entire towns in 2004.

The powerful Aceh Party’s Zaini Abdullah — the former “foreign minister” of the defunct rebel Free Aceh Movement (GAM) — beat four other candidates in a landslide victory in the largely autonomous province.

“The candidate pair Zaini Abdullah and Muzakir Manaf... will serve as governor and vice governor for the period 2012 to 2017,” Aceh electoral commission head Abdul Salam Poroh announced.

Abdullah won with 1.3 million votes, more than 55 percent, while his main rival, incumbent and independent Irwandi Yusuf, came second with around 30 percent.

Abdullah is credited as a key negotiator in a 2005 agreement with the central government that granted special autonomy to Aceh, which sits on the northern tip of Sumatra island.

The Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding, in which the rebels agreed to lay down arms, put an end to 30 years of bloody unrest in which more than 15,000 people died, and gave Aceh the freedom to implement sharia laws.

Abdullah, 71, said he was “deeply moved” to have been elected, vowing to eradicate corruption in government, and boost the local the economy by developing the agriculture and fisheries industries.

He also said he would seek to pass a new bill to implement “purer” sharia laws, which are not in force anywhere else in Indonesia, where the vast majority practice moderate Islam.

“We will meet with ulema and discuss a new sharia bill that can be accepted by all Acehnese,” he said.

“Sharia is about how to educate our youths about what is right and wrong.”

The vote on April 9 came after months of political maneuvering by Abdullah and his party, which tried to see independents like Yusuf disqualified from running.

Yusuf’s campaign team accused the Aceh Party of intimidating voters to back Abdullah by using threats of violence and kidnappings, allegations the party denies.

Around 200 Aceh Party supporters at parliament house cheered upon hearing of Abdulla’s victory, yelling “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) and “Long live Zaini Abdullah”.

Abdullah, a trained physician when GAM was formed in 1976, quickly rose to the top ranks of the rebel group while working as a doctor.

But the central government eventually named him a wanted man and he fled to the jungle, according to the Aceh Party, moving to Sweden in 1981, where he lived in exile for 24 years.

Abdullah’s win boosts the power of the Aceh Party, which already dominates parliament.

Sporadic politically-motivated violence continues in the restive province, with more than a dozen fatal shootings in the six months ahead of the election.

The 2005 agreement between Jakarta and the rebels was also made in the spirit of rebuilding Aceh after the devastating tsunami in 2004 killed 170,000 in Indonesia, the vast majority in Aceh.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Indonesia, China to Swap 'Iconic' Komodos and Pandas

Jakarta Globe, April 10, 2012

Two of Indonesia's iconic komodo dragons relax at the Surabaya Zoo on
 March 7. Indonesia will exchange an unknown number of komodos for
China's  endangered panda in a symbolic move to bolster the two countries’
bilateral ties. (Antara Photo)

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Indonesian exports to China already include natural resources like coal and palm oil. And now China is about to get its hands on an Indonesian icon: the komodo dragon.

The leaders of Indonesia and China agreed to swap komodo dragons and endangered pandas during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit to Beijing last month as a symbolic gesture of the two nation's improved bilateral relations, Indonesian vice presidential spokesman Yopie Hidayat said.

On Tuesday, Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Hui Liangyu met with Indonesian Vice President Boediono in Jakarta. The komodo-panda swap was among the items discussed, Yopie said.

“The two animals are symbolic in the two respective countries. We hope to exchange them in a hope to further strengthen our countries’ ties,” Yopie said in Jakarta on Tuesday, after a meeting between Hui and Boediono.

 “The deputy prime minister [Hu] said he was going to soon follow-up on the exchange plan and realize it. The vice president [Boediono] welcomes the intention."

The two nations are currently preparing habitats for the animals at local zoos.

It is unknown how many komodo dragons and pandas will be involved in the exchange, or which zoo in Indonesia will house the endangered pandas.