12 March 2011

Leaked diplomatic wire, WikiLeaks, Internet, Blogging, What is this mean

When reading news through Google Reader, I found an interesting news reported by Antara News and Tempo Interaktif. There is mentioned that the two of Australia's famous newspaper, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, has reported confidential information about President Yudhoyono. The news on both paper were based on WikiLeaks's information, which have leaked from the diplomatic wire of U.S. Embassy.

Fellow blogger Martin Manurung, as I read on his profile was a President Director of PT Sekurindo Gada Patria (a company provides consultancy on managing risks and business continuity), has an interesting post about this issue titled Arti Heboh Wikileaks. Sadly he wrote in Bahasa Indonesia. He had quote and translate parts of the sentences from the Australian newspaper that he considers important (and I quoted from his posting), that is:
"...The US diplomatic reports-obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to The Age - say that soon after becoming President in 2004, Dr Yudhoyono intervened in the case of Taufik Kiemas, husband of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri..."
"...In December 2004, the US embassy in Jakarta reported that one of its most valued political informants, senior presidential adviser T.B. Silalahi, had advised that then assistant attorney-general Hendarman Supandji, who was leading the new government’s anticorruption campaign, had gathered "sufficient evidence of the corruption of former first gentleman Taufik Kiemas to warrant Taufik’s arrest"
"...But Mr Silalahi, one of Dr Yudhoyono’s closest political confidants, told the US embassy the President "had personally instructed Hendarman not to pursue a case against Taufik..."
Of course, the news got a lot of protests from senior officials of Indonesian government, like this:
"Suruh buktikanlah kalau itu benar. Kalau ada buktinya serahkan ke Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK)", kata Ketua Mahkamah Agung, Harifin A Tumpa.
Translated in English: "Tell to prove if it's true. If there was evidence, submit to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)", said Chairman of the Supreme Court, Harifin A Tumpa.
"Kalau memang (informasi) ini sungguh-sungguh tidak benar, kedutaan (AS) itu harus meminta maaf ke Pemerintah Indonesia," kata Jaffar Hafsah, Ketua Fraksi Partai Demokrat.
Translated in English: "If this (information) is really not true, the embassy (U.S.) must apologize to the Indonesian government," said Jaffar Hafsah, leader of Demokrat Party faction.

Like Martin, I do not want to comment on whether the news is true or not, factual or not, because I'm not involved in political mainstream, and do not have any evidence on my hand. I just want to release of what in my mind like this:
  1. Blogging is not just building our village (that is important too) as posted by Jim Belshaw. I think blogging has been ogled by many activists / journalist in this world as an alternative way out for channeling the freedom of expression without censorship, unlike printed news.
  2. WikiLeaks phenomenon is a signal that in the era of information technology, all things may be possible to open. Think about the incidence of a bank account hacked by hackers.
  3. Information through blogging, social networks like Facebook / Twitter, email, SMS via Blackberry, now seem more powerful. Unlike traditional media (printed newspaper), they do not know (not tied) with the journalistic code of ethics.
In closing I still wonder whether all the information stored in the WikiLeaks's safe deposit box are valid and accountable, or only partially that can be accounted. Hopefully the news from WikiLeaks, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald is not true, while I'm still love my president.


  1. Oh... I should add point number 4 like this:
    4. Governments today must realize that whatever they have done can be disseminated via the internet rapidly. Internet and social networks are now beginning to appear as an unofficial control-tool for government. They are far more than the number of members of parliament. Even your trusted staff can provide confidential information on the internet anonymously. They can write frankly unashamedly. So, if you are a leader then I will say "be careful" to you. Do the best for your country and your people.

  2. Can't but agree with you; technology, internet included, may be used for good causes as well as bad ones. I consider any contribution which provides information that limits manipulations of the people by the high and mighty, as ( very) positive.

    But, I guess, professional subjectivity
    As for the Wikileaks revelations, they are what they are. That is an enormous series of confidential cables by US diplomats on situations and persons of the country where they have their jobs.It's their ( the diplomats') perception, it's subjective. Wikileaks have them published in regular media after calculated timing.

  3. Hi Tikno,
    Very interesting post.
    Blogging and the social media like FB, Twitter can be considered as part of control process on the government, parliament, courts. It have been proven in the : Prita case, Bibid-Chandra case.
    Re: Wikileaks
    I don't how is the rule for US diplomats, but
    for Indonesian diplomats, diplomatic cable/ telex are classified materials typed using codes by special official of the embassy.
    Like diplomatic bags/pouches they belong to the Indonesian government.
    Whereas Wikileaks is created and maintained by private citizens whose credibility and accountability is unknown. There is no guarantee whatsoever that their materials are correct.
    The point is: why should we pay attention to news reports whose source is not clear at all ?
    If the government has not protested very loudly I would not pay attention to the news reports.

  4. Colson,
    Agree with what you say: "It's their (the diplomats) perception, it's subjective."

    I think the point is we need to make people aware that the archives owned by WikiLeaks should be questioned.
    Like you said: "...maintained by private citizens whose credibility and accountability is unknown." :)

  5. The word "subjective" has got a biased meaning in Indonesian daily use. Whereas, subjectivity is part of human conscience, it's not a sin, and everybody must have their own subjective perspectives. It's simply a lie to be always 'objective'.

    So, I'm laughing out loud when hearing Daniel Sparingga, the president's political communication special assistant, protesting how 'raw' US diplomatic cables were sent to Washington. It's every country's right to have their own procedure of information sharing, and Indonesia is not at the position to judge whether the information is proper or subjective. Of course, every country has their own subjectivity.

  6. @ martin: Interesting observation. Talking about ' subjectivity' I think you are right if you observe a "biased meaning". And I agree with you when you wrote it is the right of diplomats do to their job: gather the best knowledge you can get and report it back home - facts and opinions.

  7. @ Martin,
    Agree with you :)

    @ Colson,
    "... facts and opinions" ??
    According to you Colson, whether these leaked information for SBY is categorized as fact or opinion??


Comment policy : Spam comments or sounds like advertisement will be deleted without notice. Do not hesitate to write the dissent or critical comments.