Statement: Indonesian Foreign Min. re: Snowden spying Revelations - PM Abbott silent
Indonesia recalls Ambassador to Australia in wake of spying revelations
ABC News, 19 November, 2013, 6:30am AEST
Indonesia has recalled its Ambassador to Australia following revelations that Australian intelligence agencies targeted the mobile phones of the Indonesian president as well as his wife and senior ministers. They have likened the spying program to a Cold War tactic and have demanded an explanation within two days, saying that Australia must act to mend relations.
NINIEK KARMINI AND ROD MCGUIRK | November 18, 2013 08:25 AM EST
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recalled his ambassador from Australia on Monday and ordered a review of bilateral cooperation following reports that an Australian security agency attempted to listen to his cellphone in 2009.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. and The Guardian reported Monday that they had documents from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden showing that the Australian agency also targeted the phones of Indonesian first lady Kristiani Herawati and another eight government ministers and officials.
The documents reportedly showed that the Australian Defence Signals Directorate, now the top-secret Australian Signals Directorate, attempted to listen to the president's phone conversations on at least one occasion and tracked activity on the phone for 15 days in August 2009.
The diplomatic spat is the second in less than a month between Indonesia and Australia stemming from Snowden's revelations linking Australia with U.S. espionage.
It's an early test for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's new government, which was elected in September and is anxious to cement ties with it populous near-neighbor before the uncertainty of Indonesian presidential elections next year.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters in Jakarta on Monday afternoon that Yudhoyono had "directly ordered" the ambassador, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, to be recalled.
Natalegawa said Indonesia "is very disturbed by this matter."
"This is not a clever thing to do, it's not a smart thing to do," Natalegawa said of the reported spying. "It violates every single decent and legal instrument that I can think of."
He said the onus was now on Australia to explain what happened and to make a commitment that it would never happen again.
"In short, it has not been a good day in the Indonesia-Australia relationship," Natalegawa said.
He said Kesoema would soon leave the Australian capital of Canberra and fly home. No time frame was given for his return to Australia.
Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs Joko Suyanto said in a statement that all cooperative relationships between the two countries were also under review, as were the postings of Australian officials in Jakarta.
Abbott, who was not in government in 2009, declined to comment on the reports in Parliament.
"All governments gather information, and all governments know that every other government gathers information," Abbott said.
"The Australian government uses all the resources at its disposal — including information — to help our friends and our allies, not to harm them," he added.
But Bob Carr, Australia's foreign minister until Abbott's coalition won September elections, advised Abbott to assure Yudhoyono that if his phone had been tapped, it wouldn't happen again.
"If the American president can give a guarantee to Angela Merkel of Germany that America won't be overhearing what she says on the phone, then we ought to be able to do it without any trouble to the president of Indonesia," Carr told Nine Network television news.
Second on the target list after the president was his wife, also known as Ani Yudhoyono.
Vice President Boediono, who visited Australia last week, was third, and his predecessor, Jusuf Kalla, was fourth. Like many Indonesians, Boediono uses one name.
Also listed was the government's then-foreign spokesman, Dino Patti Djalal, who later became Indonesia's ambassador to Washington.
Former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, now a managing director at the World Bank, was also on the list.
Earlier this month, the Indonesian government called in the Australian ambassador for an explanation following reports that the Australian Embassy in Jakarta was a hub for Washington's secret electronic data collection program.
A document from Snowden published last month by the German magazine Der Spiegel describes a signals intelligence program called "Stateroom" in which U.S., British, Australian and Canadian embassies house surveillance equipment to collect electronic communications. Those countries, along with New Zealand, have an intelligence-sharing agreement known as "Five Eyes."
The Australian Embassy in Jakarta was listed as one of the embassies involved in a report from Australia's Fairfax media, along with Australian embassies in Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili in East Timor; and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
McGuirk reported from Canberra, Australia. Associated Press writer Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta contributed to this report.
Tony Abbott silent on Edward Snowden SBY spying claim
The Australian, November 18, 2013.
TONY Abbott has defended Australia's intelligence gathering efforts amid fresh allegations that the nation's spies sought to eavesdrop on the Indonesian president's mobile phone.
The ABC and the Guardian are today reporting documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, alleging Australian spying in Indonesia went all the way to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
An image on the ABC website shows a leaked Defence Signals Directorate document showing surveillance targets and their model of phone handset. Picture: ABC Source: Supplied.
The Prime Minister told parliament today that all governments were involved in information gathering, "and all governments know that every other government gathers information".
He said he would not comment on intelligence matters, except to say that Australia "uses all the resources at its disposal, including information" to help its friends and allies.
"My first duty is to protect Australia and to advance our nationalist interest, and I will never, ever depart from that," Mr Abbott said.
The 2009 documents, from Australia's Defence Signals Directorate, show a list of surveillance targets and their 3G handset models.
Mr Yudhoyono is on the list, along with his wife, the country's then-vice president and its former foreign affairs spokesman.
The documents reportedly show how DSD monitored the call activity on Mr Yudhoyono's Nokia handset for 15 days in August 2009.
Indonesia was already irate at recent allegations, based on other Snowden documents, that Australia's foreign missions - including its Jakarta Embassy - were used as listening posts.
Mr Abbott said he would not say or do anything to damage Australia's relationship with Indonesia, "which is, all in all, our most important relationship; a relationship that I am determined to foster, a relationship that I am determined will get stronger in the months and years ahead".
Mr Abbott was answering a question from Greens MP Adam Bandt in question time today. Labor remained silent about the alleged spying, which according to the documents occurred under its watch.
Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie, a former intelligence officer with the Office of National Assessments, welcomed the latest revelations on Australia's espionage activities.
"I have no doubt he acted in the public interest when he revealed the information," he said.
"Good on him."
Mr Wilkie said it was important that "we all know how our intelligence services operate".
"Some capabilities must be kept secret ... but it is in the public interest that a light be shone on the way these agencies do business and how they spend billions of dollars of our money."
Former ambassador to Indonesia Richard Woolcott said the revelations could intensify diplomatic difficulties between the two countries.
"The overriding issue is the need for both countries really - it is important to Indonesia too - to maintain this intelligence co-operation on issues like people smuggling and on terrorism, including Islamic extremism.
"I think both countries will want to do that."
Greens leader Christine Milne said the latest revelations showed Australia's claims of friendship with Indonesia counted for little.
"This is not the way you treat your friends," she said.
"What is the justification for trying to spy on the phone calls of the president or his wife?"
Vice President Boediono expressed concern during a visit Australia last week about Australian espionage activity in his country.
"I think we must look forward to come to some arrangement which guarantees that intelligence information from each side is not used against the other," he said. "There must be a system."
Mr Abbott played down the significance of Australia's intelligence-gathering efforts in the region after his meeting with Mr Boediono.
"All countries, all governments gather information," he said.
"That's hardly a surprise. It's hardly a shock. We use the information that we gather for good, including to build a stronger relationship with Indonesia and one of the things that I have offered to do today in my discussions with the Indonesian vice-president is to elevate our level of information-sharing because I want the people of Indonesia to know that everything, everything that we do is to help Indonesia as well as to help Australia."