November 15, 2008
1. Executive Summary
2. The Bombings
On October 12, 2002, three bombs went off on the Indonesian island of Bali in the tourist district of Kuta, killing 202 people, of which 164 were tourists. Blame for the bombings was placed on a radical Islamic group called Jemaah Islamiyah, of which some members were convicted and recently three sentenced to death.
The bombings involved a backpack bomb carried by a suicide bomber and a car bomb, which were both detonated near nightclubs and caused massive damage. A smaller bomb detonated outside the U.S. Consulate in Denpasar caused minimal damage to surrounding property.
The majority of people killed were Australians, with their death toll at 88, while the Indonesian death toll was 38.
3. Jemaah Islamiyah
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was the group held responsible for the bombings, so it is important to take a closer look at what this organization is and where its origins lie.
The History of JI
Jemaah Islamiyah was founded in 1993 by Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar. In the mid-1990’s, Sungkar developed ties to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.
JI and Al-Qaeda
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, JI does have some links to Al-Qaeda, although to what extent is up for debate as there are some U.S. officials and terrorism experts who refer to JI as "al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asian wing". One of JI’s leaders, Hambali, is supposedly the person “most closely linked to al-Qaeda,” within the organization.
The CIA referred to Hambali as the “Osama bin Laden of South East Asia”. He was thought to have been the “major brains” behind the Bali bombings. In the 1980s, he had fought alongside the Afghan Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets. He is currently imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
4. Al-Qaeda in Perspective
To understand the significance of JI’s links to Al-Qaeda, it is important to understand Al-Qaeda’s origins and key players, and its connections to western intelligence agencies.
Provoking the Soviets
Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, explained his role in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, in a 1998 interview with the French publication, Le Nouvel Observateur. He explained that while the “official version of history” states that U.S. aid to Mujahadeen began in 1980, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on December 24, 1979, the reality was that on July 3, 1979, Carter “signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul”. Brzezinski told Carter that, “this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”
He also told Carter that “we now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”
Western Intelligence Creates the Mujahadeen
The Afghan Mujahadeen was organized by the Pakistani military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The ISI worked closely with the CIA Director and the Saudi Intelligence director in creating the legions of “Arab Afghans” to fight against the Soviets. They were trained in camps overseen by the CIA and MI6, while the British special forces, SAS, trained future Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making, and Al-Qaeda’s future leaders were personally trained by the CIA in Virginia.
Al-Qaeda in the 1990s
It was in the 1990s that the JI developed ties with Al-Qaeda, so it is important to understand Al-Qaeda’s role in the 1990s.
In the early 1990s, the CIA helped support Muslim radical groups in Bosnia. German intelligence also supported these groups, while U.S., Iranian and Turkish intelligence agencies smuggled arms to groups in Bosnia, with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia.
In the mid-1990s, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which had extensive links to the former members of the Afghan Mujahadeen, “including Osama bin Laden,” began fighting Serbian forces. The KLA was getting support in finances, weapons and training, from the U.S. German intelligence and the CIA supported the KLA terrorists, while the KLA was developing extensive ties to Al-Qaeda.
5. JI Leaders and Al-Qaeda
The future leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah, specifically Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar, aided the Afghan Mujahadeen in both supplying recruits from Malaysia and finances from Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. More than 200 people who became affiliated with the JI were trained in Mujahadeen camps in Afghanistan. JI would not have come into existence “without the CIA’s dirty operations in Afghanistan.”
6. The Bali Bombings and Indonesian Intelligence
In October of 2005, Indonesia’s former President, Abdurrahman Wahid, said in a television interview, that he has “grave concerns about links between Indonesian authorities and terrorist groups.” He said the JI had placed the original bomb in the nightclub, but the second, larger car bomb outside, “had been organised by authorities,” suggesting that either “the police ... or the armed forces,” may have planted the bomb. He also stated that, “the orders to do this or that came from within our armed forces, not from the fundamentalist people.”
The same television program reported that one of JI’s key individuals behind its formation was an Indonesian spy, and the President continued in stating that, “there is not a single Islamic group either in the movement or the political groups that is not controlled by (Indonesian) intelligence.”
7. Omar al-Faruq
Omar al-Faruq, believed to be “one of bin Laden's top representatives in Southeast Asia,” was said to be the “point man” between Al-Qaeda and JI in Indonesia, and that Hambali, referred to by the BBC as the Osama bin Laden of South East Asia, was actually working for Faruq. Faruq was arrested by Indonesian police in 2002 and handed over to CIA custody.
In 2005, al-Faruq reportedly escaped from a high-security U.S. prison in Afghanistan. Faruq also reportedly told U.S. authorities of an impending terrorist attack in Indonesia in 2002, prior to the Bali bombings. U.S. military officers reported Faruq’s escape four months after it occurred. In 2006, it was reported that Faruq had been killed by British soldiers in a raid in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, when 250 British soldiers stormed a house where he was reportedly hiding.
8. JI and Western Intelligence
An Indonesian intelligence expert, Sayed Abdullah, who operated an intelligence services firm in Indonesia, said in an interview that the CIA and Israeli Mossad had infiltrated JI. He also stated, “it is obvious the CIA and the Mossad, assisted by the Australian Special Action Police (SAP) and the M15 of England, are all working towards undermining Muslim organizations in an attempt to weaken the Muslims globally.” He continued that the 2002 Bali bombings were “an operation clearly financed and assisted by the CIA and Mossad, [which] made use of Muslims to carry out the final act,” who “were not innocent since they took the bait handed over by the CIA and the Mossad to bomb Bali and to avenge against the U.S. war on the Muslims in Afghanistan.” He also referred to Omar al-Faruq as a CIA operative, and that Faruq was a key operative in organizing the Bali bombings.
In 2002, a former State Intelligence Coordinating Board (BAKIN) chief, A.C. Manulang, said in an interview that Omar al-Faruq “is a CIA-recruited agent,” and that when “Al Faruq finished his assignments, the CIA created a scenario that he had been arrested.”
In October of 2008, Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar, who was the spiritual leader of the JI and linked to the Bali bombing terror suspects awaiting execution said that, “the 2002 attack which killed more than 200 people, including 88 Australians, was the work of the CIA.” 
There were even senior Indonesian National Intelligence Agency officials who “believe that the C.I.A. was behind the bombing.” The CIA had been working closely with the Indonesian intelligence agency’s staff for nearly a year prior to the bombings, “primarily providing guidance and surveillance assistance.” Australian intelligence had also been granted authority to work closely with the Indonesian intelligence agency.
The official Indonesian investigation into the bombings was “guided” by the CIA and Australian intelligence.
9. The Repercussions
The Bali bombings ensured that Australia supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the wider "war on terror".
Following the Bali bombings, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that, “there is a danger that a Bali-style terrorist attack could take place in Australia.” The bombings occurred just prior to the government being set to review its anti-terrorism laws.
Days following the bombings, the Australian government said that, “Australians may have to sacrifice some freedoms to help fight terrorism.”
10. The Executions
On November 9, 2008, three of the men convicted of the 2002 Bali bombings were executed by the Indonesian authorities. This was done in spite of widespread opposition, even from family members of the victims of the Bali bombings. This act has spurred calls from the leaders of the JI saying that there would be “retaliation”, and there are many fears that this action could likely increase recruitment into radical Islamic groups.
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