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Indonesia-Narcotics and Counternarcotics Operations

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Indonesia Index

Although production of narcotics, particularly opiate-derived products from the Golden Triangle in the Thai-Burmese-Lao border area, substantially increased during the late 1980s, Indonesia did not become either a major producer or user of illicit drugs. There was, however, considerable concern on the part of the national leadership and police officials that Indonesia might become an important drug trafficking center as major drug routes in mainland Southeast Asia shifted to take advantage of Indonesia's relatively innocuous reputation. The booming tourist destination of Bali provided a base for individual traffickers and transactions. Although there was no extradition treaty between the United States and Indonesia, Indonesian authorities were cooperative in deporting drug suspects, particularly if the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) was involved. During 1991, for example, a suspected American drug trafficker was deported to the United States with the cooperation of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Indonesian National Police, and Interpol. In addition, periodic police campaigns in the Special Region of Aceh and Sumatera Utara Province, which were the country's leading producers of marijuana (much of it used for local cooking and consumption), targeted marijuana fields in joint police/military eradication operations.

The criminal justice system was still evolving in the early 1990s, particularly under national and international scrutiny because of intense interest in the prosecution of civilians charged with criminal or subversive actions in the East Timor incident (see National Defense and Internal Security , this ch.). Those trials, which were monitored by the international press and foreign diplomats stationed in Indonesia, were judged to have been smoothly run. The trials illustrated the close relationship in Indonesia between the larger issues of internal security and national defense and Indonesia's criminal justice system.

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Several works treat the development of the Indonesian armed forces before 1970, the most balanced and comprehensive being Ulf Sundhaussen's The Road to Power: Indonesian Military Politics 1956-1967. Ernst Utrecht's The Indonesian Army offers a very detailed and often critical view from the perspective of a former insider. Ruth T. McVey's two-part "The Post-Revolutionary Transformation of the Indonesian Army" focuses mainly on the military's shortcomings in its early years. An Indonesian Tragedy by Brian May and The Army and Politics in Indonesia by Harold A. Crouch are more concerned with the causes and effects of the 1965 coup; they also evaluate the armed forces in a somewhat negative light. The National Struggle and the Armed Forces in Indonesia, a collection of essays by ABRI's former official historian, Nugroho Notosusanto, presents the viewpoint of the armed forces and the government regarding ABRI's development, its role, and its doctrine. The most comprehensive look at Indonesian military organization, the dwifungsi concept, and the role of the military in Indonesian society are several works by Harold W. Maynard.

Current reportage is available in the Far Eastern Economic Review [Hong Kong] and in the periodically updated "Current Data on the Indonesian Military Elite," compiled in Cornell University's journal Indonesia. Data on the size and composition of the armed forces are collected by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in its annual publication, The Military Balance, and in the annual United States Department of Defense Congressional Presentation Document.

Annual reports by Amnesty International and Asia Watch examine the state of human rights practices in Indonesia, as does the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices prepared for the United States Congress by the Department of State. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of November 1992

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