DEA hires chauffeur to drive its local chief around Jakarta
By Dennis Cauchon, Editor

The slaughter of drug offenders continues in China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Singapore and elsewhere. The United States remains silent and complicit.

joko widodo

“Bloodthirsty” Indonesian president hailed by Time in October as “A New Hope.”

The latest bad news: Indonesia President Joko Widodo said he would not grant clemency to 64 drug offenders sentenced to death by firing squad. Five are to be shot to death in the next few days, starting the killing spree.

Those to be murdered include a British grandmothertwo Australians and, of course, many Indonesians. Nigerians have a frequent target of Indonesian firing squads as well.

Indonesia, a country of 250 million, stopped executing drug offenders in 2004 but resumed killings last year. Michael Bachelard of the Sydney Morning Herald says the country’s new president is particularly “bloodthirsty.”

Lindsay Sandiford british drug mule

Condemned British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford (left), convicted as drug mule, sits with her sister.

Indonesia’s National Bureau of Narcotics (BNN), the country’s equivalent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, announced support yesterday of killing drug offenders. “We fully support the firm decision of the government to carry out death execution of drug dealers,” said Palangka Raya, M Soedja, head of the BNN.

The DEA opened an office in Jakarta in 2011 to help Indonesia’s BNN capture drug offenders. (See this 2007 cable and 2009 cable, obtained by Wikileaks, of DEA asking for money to expand Indonesian operations.)

The State Department reports:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) opened the Jakarta Country Office in 2011, which included a Country Attaché and Deputy Attaché. The United States has provided wide-ranging support that includes training, technical assistance, equipment, and infrastructure. In 2012, the United States funded the construction of administrative offices, classrooms, and barracks for training counter narcotics officers as well as infrastructure support for the establishment of a command center at BNN’s headquarters. The U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Interagency Task Force West and DEA also collaborated on a Cannabis Eradication Course in North Sumatra in 2012. The United States also provided maritime law enforcement training and technical assistance to Indonesian maritime authorities.

DEA Indonesia hat 2

DEA-Indonesia cap

The State Department report makes no mention of Indonesia’s violation of international law by executing drug offenders. However, the State Department’s embassy in Indonesia is advertising to hire a chauffeur  to drive the DEA’s top local official (in bold above) in Jakarta.

The DEA has been increasing spending and other support for Indonesia’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

In 2012, shortly before executions resumed, the DEA-organized International Drug Enforcement Conference was held in Indonesia,  at Nusa Dua, Bali, a beachfront haven of five-star resorts. The execution-promoting BNN was the DEA’s co-host. DEA chief Michele Leonhart and BNN chief Gories Mere shared center stage.

DEA head in Indonesia 2012 conference

Deadly silence: (From left) U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel, DEA chief Michele Leonhart, Indonesia’s BNN chief Gories Mere


In a separate U.S. report, the State Department compliments Indonesia for getting tougher in 2013, when executions are resumed, although this fact goes unmentioned. The report says:

  • “Indonesia’s effectiveness in combating drugs increased in 2013. Based on significant powers
    provided by the 2009 National Narcotics Law, the BNN has put in place stronger policies and
    procedures, collaborated successfully with other ministries and social organizations, and formed
    drug control agreements with other countries.”
  • “The BNN improved its investigative and technical capacity to interdict drugs in 2013, areas where U.S. assistance has been particularly helpful.” (Emphasis added.)

In another State Department report focused on human rights in Indonesia, the U.S. government is silent again on executions, despite chapters on “Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life” and “Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

Harm Reduction International reports that killing drug offenders is legal in 33 counties and mandatory for some offenses in 13, although not all these countries actually execute drug offenders. Executions number in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, worldwide.

The issue gets extensive news coverage in Europe and Australia but almost none in the United States.

See other Clemency Report stories:

Singapore renews executions of drug offenders

Saudis behead 5 more drug offenders

China executes two South Koreans for meth

Iran pardons 16 drug offenders who memorize Quran, hangs the others

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