Who was Behind the Bali Bombing

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Three Islamic militants were executed on November 9th for their alleged role in the 2002 Bali bombings that resulted in the death of 202 people. The official version of events was that the bombings were sponsored by Al Qaeda and carried out by members of an affiliate Islamic organization Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Most of those killed in the bomb attacks were Western, mainly Australian tourists.  

Evidence Withheld

There are indications that the trial procedures were manipulated and that evidence was withheld. Both the Western and the Indonesian media have been involved in a coverup.  

Known and documented, Al Qaeda has been supported by both Pakistani and US intelligence. JI has received covert support and training from Pakistan’s ISI. Jemaah Islamiah also has links to Indonesia’s military intelligence, which in turn has links to the CIA and Australian intelligence.

“Media accounts describing Jemaah Islamiyah as the outcome of some inexplicable Machiavellian plot are simply absurd. Without the CIA’s dirty operations in Afghanistan, neither Jemaah Islamiyah nor Al Qaeda would have come into existence. The anti-Soviet war provided the money and the training, as well as forging the loose international network of contacts that was to characterise the future modus operandi of these organisations. It also provided participants with powerful new credentials. Upon their return to South East Asia, Washington’s “freedom fighters” were treated as heroes within Islamic circles. In Indonesia, they even formed their own veteran organisation-Group 272-the figure being the number of former fighters.” (Peter Symonds, The Political Origins of Jemaah Islamiyah Behind the Bali Bombings, Global Research, November 2003)

Involvment of  Indonesian intelligence and the CIA?

A contradictory November 2002 report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA:

“The agency and its director, Gen. A. M. Hendropriyono, are well regarded by the United States and other governments. But there are still senior intelligence officers here who believe that the C.I.A. was behind the bombing.”(Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez, More Attacks on Westerners Are Expected in Indonesia, New York Times, 25 November 2002)

The links between JI and Indonesia’s Intelligence Agency (BIN) are tacitly acknowledged by US nased think tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG): “This link [of JI to the BIN] needs to be explored more fully: it does not necessarily mean that military intelligence was working with JI, but it does raise a question about the extent to which it knew or could have found out more about JI than it has acknowledged.”  (International Crisis Group, http://www.crisisweb.org/, 2003)

Former President Megawati Sukarnoputr accused the US

In response to these allegations, the Bush Administration demanded that President Megawati Sukarnoputri, publicly refute the involvement of the U.S in the attacks. No official retraction was issued. Not only did President. Megawati remain silent on the matter, she also accused the US of being:

“a superpower that forced the rest of the world to go along with it We see how ambition to conquer other nations has led to a situation where there is no more peace unless the whole world is complying with the will of the one with the power and strength.” (Ibid)


The links of JI to the Indonesian intelligence agency were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation –which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA.

Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard “admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning.” (Christchurch Press, 22 November 2002. Similar warnings were made by the CIA).

Also, in the wake of the bombings, the Australian government chose to work with Indonesia’s Special Forces the Kopassus, in the so-called “war on terrorism”.

Former President Abdurrahman Wahid: Involvement of the Police and the Armed Forces

The statements of two former presidents were casually dismissed in the trial procedures, both of which pointed to complicity of the Indoensian military and police. 

In 2002, president Megawati Sukarnoputri, accused the US of involvement in the attacks. In 2005, in an October 2005 interview with Australia’s SBS TV,  former president Wahid  Abdurrahman stated that the Indonesian military and police played a complicit role in the 2002 Bali bombing.

(The transcript of the SBS TV Program containing the interview with President Wahid was posted on the Global Research website shortly before SBS TV withdrew the transcript from its own archives).

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID … The orders to do this or that came from within our armed forces, not from the fundamentalist people,” 

REPORTER: But that bomb [second bomb attack] has been blamed also on Jemaah Islamiah.

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, I know but you don’t have any kind of proof. The proof is that the bomb is similar to that belong to the police. It’s a problem for us then. Every bomb there until now it belongs to the government.

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Amrozi was involved in the lighter bomb. That’s a problem always. Even though I agree that he should be given a stiff punishment, but it doesn’t mean that he is involved. No, no, no.

REPORTER: So you believe that the Bali bombers had no idea that there was a second bomb?

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, precisely.

REPORTER: And who would you suggest planted the second bomb?

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Well, it looks like the police.

REPORTER: The police?

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Or the armed forces, I don’t know.

Australia: “Useful Wave of Indignation”

The 2002 Bali bomb attacks contributed to swaying Australian public opinion in favor of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, while also weakening the anti-war protest movement. In the wake of the 2002 Bali attack, the Australian government “officially” joined the US-led “war on terrorism.” It not only used the Bali bombings as a pretext to fully integrate the US-UK military axis, it also used the attacks as a pretext to implement drastic police measures including “ethnic profiling” directed against its own citizens:

Prime Minister John Howard made the extraordinary declaration recently that he is prepared to make pre-emptive military strikes against terrorists in neighbouring Asian countries planning to attack Australia. Australian intelligence agencies also are very worried about the likelihood of an al-Qaeda attack using nuclear weapons. (Insight on the News, 3 February 2003).

According to Peter Symonds in his 2003 review article on JI, the role of the Indonesian military remains unanswered. 

“It is simply not plausible that Indonesia’s vast security and intelligence apparatus knew nothing about the large logistical operation involved in the Bali bombings. Yet no investigation has been carried out into precisely what information military officials had prior to the attack. Any leads casting suspicion on the TNI [Indonesian Military]-including the detention of a military officer-have been quickly dropped.” (Symonds, op cit)

Portions of this article were based on my earlier research and writings on the Bali bombings.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), He is the author of a America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research,  Montreal 2005.

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