Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Statement on Donbas Referendum Revives Its Own Monstrous Past & Reveals Western Hypocrisy

Mari Pangestu & Retno Marsudi

“With the region’s richest hoard of natural resources, Indonesia is the greatest prize in South-east Asia,” wrote Richard Nixon in 1967. This enormous wealth in natural resources  has become Indonesia’s misfortune and brought with it the greatest suffering for its people. For centuries, Indonesians have been enslaved and their resources plundered, first by the Portuguese and then the Dutch colonialisation that lasted for 350 years, before the Japanese invaded and colonised Indonesia for 3 years during 1942-1945. 

In 1965, the West-backed coup overthrew President Sukarno who are deemed too “left” or “communist” by the West as he wanted to use the massive wealth of Indonesian natural resources for the benefit of all Indonesians. This is the bloodiest coup in Indonesian history as it massacred around a million Indonesians comprised of peasants, farmers, communists, Chinese Indonesians, and Sukarno supporters. Until today the exact number of deaths is unknown, more than 3 millions may be killed. This dark side of Indonesian history is still taboo, not discussed openly out of fear, and it is not acknowledged formally by the Indonesian government. When the seventh Indonesian President Joko Widodo would like to apologise and reconcile with the victims’ families, the US threatened him that they will also oust him in a bloody coup like they did to President Sukarno. 

Since that coup in 1965, The West has been savagely plundering and raping Indonesia, killing anyone who is in its way. West Papua is the richest gold mine in the world and the third-richest copper deposit. It is also rich in oil and gas. The oil in West Papua is without sulphur so no oil refining is needed, something that the Rockefeller had been wanting to get his hands on since the moment it is known that Indonesia is very rich in natural resources, particularly oil and minerals. It was through his former lawyer Allen Dulles, who became the Director of Central Intelligence in the 1950s and whose expertise was regime change, that the Rockefeller managed to get his hands on Indonesian immense wealth of natural resources. Since that millions of Indonesians have been slaughtered, including the Papuans and the East Timorese, all for greed and money. Indonesians are murdered every day in the name of Western Imperialism and American Hegemony. 

Fast forward to 2022 and the Ukraine war, the recent statement by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the referendums in DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic), LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic), Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia reflects not only Indonesia’s hypocrisy regarding its horrific past on human rights abuses but also the hypocrisy of its imperial master, The West.


The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 2 October 2022 stated that the referendums in those 4 regions are violations of the UN Charter principles and international law. It also adds that these referendums will hinder the peace process, thus perpetuating the war. 

Indonesian government seems to forget its monstrous past when in 1969 the Act of Free Choice referendum was held under gun threats over the Papuans’ heads. The Indonesians hand-picked 1,026 West Papuan men and ordered them to vote for integration with Indonesia. The West backed this referendum primarily the US, Britain, and Australia as they have massive interests in exploiting the wealth of West Papua’s gold, copper, oil, gas, nickel, etc. Name any western corporation that is not operating in resources-rich Indonesia. 

The West has been supplying weapons and arms and providing training to the Indonesian military and militia to protect their business interests, namely the Western corporations such as Freeport, BP, Shell, Exxon, Total, Rio Tinto, etc. There was silence in the international community regarding this referendum and the ongoing human rights and environmental abuses in Indonesia. You don’t hear the mainstream media screaming that it is a sham referendum. The media mostly owned by the Western oligarchs are complicit in covering up the abhorrent human rights abuses in Indonesia. The Indonesian media is no better, there is no independent journalism and most if not all the Indonesian media are owned by Indonesian oligarchs or Western-backed media such as the English-language online news  outlet ‘The Jakarta Post’ that relays news from the likes of Reuters and AFP (Agence France Presse). 

This silence of the  international community about the ongoing human rights abuses in Indonesia is explained by the fabulous wealth of Indonesia. The renowned and respectable journalist John Pilger wrote in his article titled “Secret war against defenceless West Papua”: 

“ In November 1967, soon after Suharto had consolidated his seizure of power, the Time-Life Corporation sponsored an extraordinary conference in Geneva. The participants included the most powerful capitalists in the world, led by the banker David Rockefeller. Sitting opposite them were Suharto’s men, known as the “Berkeley mafia”, as several had enjoyed US government scholarships to the University of California at Berkeley. Over three days, the Indonesian economy was carved up, sector by sector. An American and European consortium was handed West Papua’s nickel; American, Japanese and French companies got its forests. However, the prize – the world’s largest gold reserve and third-largest copper deposit, literally a mountain of copper and gold – went to the US mining giant Freeport-McMoran. On the board is Henry Kissinger, who, as US secretary of state, gave the “green light” to Suharto to invade East Timor, says the Dutch report. ”

Indonesia and The West have also forgotten about the West-sponsored East Timor invasion in 1975 and their brutal occupation that lasted until 1999. East Timor is rich in oil and gas. Again radio silence in western media as if the East Timorese is not worthy of victim as the Ukrainian. The United States, Britain, France, Australia, the United Nations and the Vatican were involved in this horrendous crime against humanity. For the  barbaric fascist racist West, the Indonesians, the Papuans, and the East Timorese don’t matter because we are seen as beneath them or the ‘unpeople’. In the West, Indonesia is seen as a poor uneducated uncivilised third-world country. This is how arrogant and ignorant the West is, ignoring and denying the crimes of their countries in perpetrating crimes against humanity overseas while boasting as civilised countries, defenders of democracy and freedom.

There were no coverage of the sham referendum in West Papua and the West-sponsored East Timor annexation by the Western Media. The immense suffering of Indonesians that lasted to this day as the result of Western meddling and Imperialism is not reported because it benefits the West. A Referendum is called a sham when it doesn’t align with the Western agenda. Crimean Referendum is called annexation by The West because the majority of Crimean people chose to be part of Russia which is considered an enemy by the West. The lies and hypocrisy of the West are abominable.  

The Jakarta Post recently published an article titled “Putin and East Timor” which is widely promoted in social media by western propagandists, Indonesian pseudo-intellectuals, and western disinformation army as if it is a stupendous journalism piece. The article makes a wrong comparison between the referenda in former Ukrainian territories with the East Timor annexation. The Jakarta Post is so dishonest in the way it describes the East Timor annexation by whitewashing the Western roles in this Western-backed annexation of East Timor. To call one of the greatest crimes in the 20th century that was fully supported by The West a mistake is an insult to the suffering of the East Timorese and a blatant denial of the gravity of our crimes. 

The Jakarta Post’s editorial board writing this article, whose names couldn’t be found on the site also deliberately ignored historical facts of what led to the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine as they wrote that the “invasion” was without provocation from Kyiv. They also lied about the motives behind the invasion of East Timor in 1975, which was not about fighting communism but for the West to plunder oil and gas in East Timor that was worth zillions of dollars. 

The Jakarta Post - Putin and East Timor
Screenshot from The Jakarta Post's article titled "Putin and East Timor"

The authors finally end the article with utmost arrogance and hypocrisy disguised as advice to Putin. They say following the Indonesian government’s statement that the referenda in 4 territories are a breach of the UN Charter, Putin needs to take Jakarta’s stance seriously and learn from Indonesia’s “mistake” in East Timor. The denial of the holocaust that took place in East Timor, dismissal of historical facts, and then daring to give a lecture to Putin is appalling.

The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s odd stance on referendums was preceded by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi meeting with Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnership at World Bank Mari Elka Pangestu a week before to discuss the upcoming G20 event.  World Bank and IMF are the Western imperialist’ arm in impoverishing countries like Indonesia through its Neoliberal Capitalism economic policy.

CSIS (Centre for Strategic and International Studies) Indonesia

Mari Elka Pangestu is a board member of CSIS (Centre for Strategic and International Studies) Indonesia. There is no evidence that CSIS Indonesia is the Indonesian branch of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is an American think tank funded by major western foundations and corporations. But some of CSIS’ members are linked to the Trilateral Commission. The Trilateral Commission is a globalist think tank, founded in 1973 by war criminal Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski at the behest of one of the richest world’s oligarchs, David Rockefeller. 

Jusuf Wanandi, the co-founder and President Director of ‘The Jakarta Post” is also the co-founder of CSIS Indonesia. Jusuf Wanandi was the adviser of the notorious Western-backed Indonesian dictator Suharto during the 1970s and 1980s. His brother Sofjan Wanandi is a business mogul and an anti-communist who was active in suppressing The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) in the 1960s. 

Jusuf Wanandi is a member of the Trilateral Commission together with his nephew Lukito Wanandi, Dato’ Sri Prof. Dr. Tahir (member of President Jokowi’s advisory board, led by General Wiranto, a fugitive wanted by the ICC for his war crimes in East Timor), Hassan Wirajuda, and Jacob Soetoyo. 

Jusuf Wanandi - Trilateral Commision
Jusuf Wanandi, a member of the Asia Pacific Trilateral Commission

Hassan Wirajuda, Sofjan Wanandi, and Lukito Wanandi are also listed as board members of CSIS Indonesia.

CSIS Indonesia Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees CSIS Indonesia

The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Statement on the referendum in former Ukrainian territories proves that Indonesian foreign policy is neither independent nor active as it boasted because it was influenced heavily by pro-Western officials linked to Western organisations. Indonesian government policy can’t be independent when the head of the presidential advisory council is General Wiranto, a war criminal that is wanted by the ICC (International Criminal Court) in The Hague for his war crimes in East Timor.  

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