Wednesday, 12 September, 2012 | 20:35 WIB
Letting Our Defenses Down
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The latest spate of terror attacks suggest that intelligence, anti-terrorist agencies and the police must work together more closely. If they do not, the government will seem to have been caught off guard, such as in the case of a recent find in Jakarta – a bomb which eventually exploded.
The targets, which include police officers and those following particular religions, did indeed escape unscathed. This was not because the police had a hand in it, but because the bomb exploded prematurely. It is the House of Representatives (DPR) who considers the police, the National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT), and the National Intelligence Agency less than united in preventing and combating this crime, despite the tremendous amounts of state budget allocated to them.
There is also the impression that high-ranking government officials do not wish to blame the intelligence, as implied from the statement by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto. He claims that intelligence did not fail to detect the terrorist activities - the problem is they can only detect and track, but cannot make arrests.
Such issues on authority limitation need not have been raised again since the Law on Intelligence has been passed. In a democracy that respects human rights, intelligence should indeed not have the authority to catch people the way they did in the New Order era. When terrorists strike, should they not be able to immediately provide information to the police? Such cooperation seems to be lacking.
Many people are questioning the seriousness of the government in regard to deradicalization programs. There are many indications of captured terrorists having been "mentored" by inmates sentenced for terrorism, showing that the government has not been able to cut out and remove strains of existing terror networks.
Admittedly, the existing regulations are inadequate to counter terrorism. There is no regulation on counter-terrorism financing terrorism, making it difficult to halt the flow of funds for terrorist activities. In March, for example, it was uncovered that a group of terrorists – referred to by the police as the Group of 11—successfully raised around Rp8 billion from the Internet. The money was used to fund training in Poso, buy weapons, and finance bombings. In fact, according to the Center for Financial Transaction Report and Analysis, there were 33 suspicious transactions this year related to terrorism. The government and DPR must discuss the Bill on Counter-Terrorism Financing without delay. It will improve the ability to combat terrorism as well as improve cooperation among agencies and the deradicalization program. *****