1,400 Police Secure Execution Site, All 8 Sang Together Until Shot

Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Noer Ali says Indonesia used 1,400 police personnel to secure the executions of the 8 non-violent drug offenders yesterday. This doesn't include military personnel who were also involved.

As I've written before, Indonesia was obsessed with security, to the point where they used four fighter jets armed with sidewinder missiles and a fully equipped navy warship to move the two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from one island to another. [More...]

What was behind the obsessive security? Apparently, Indonesia President Joko Widodo's pride and nationalism.

So much preparation in the face of so much world-wide objection. It seems like just pride and nationalism at work, by a newly elected President who's been catching heat for being too weak in dealing with corrupt officials.

The Jakarta Post in an editorial today chastised President Widido for the "unnecessary circus."

In related news, Father John Burrows, who attended the executions as the spiritual advisor for the mentally ill Brazilian, Rodrigo Gularte, said all 8 convicts refused blindfolds and chose to look their killers in the eye.

Father Charles Burrows, who provided spiritual guidance to condemned Brazilian man Rodrigo Gularte, said the men met their fate without blindfolds, staring straight ahead.
"Everyone was looking forward, it seems everyone accepted their fate," Father Burrows said.

As to Gularte's mental state:

Gularte talked to animals and was afraid of electromagnetic waves from satellites watching him above his prison on the island of Nusakambangan. In his deluded state, he believed Indonesia had abolished capital punishment and established a prisoner extradition agreement with Brazil, which meant he could go home next year.

Father Burrows, an Irish priest who has lived in Indonesia for 35 years, was at the executions of three Nigerian drug smugglers in 2008. He described for the procedure for the Telegraph. Some took 7 minutes to die and lay writhing on the ground in pain.

After they were shot they were hurting. They were moaning and it takes seven minutes to die, the blood was coming out. So then I tried singing a few hymns when they were dying. So you could say it's torture, shooting people. It's torture," Father Burrows says.

"It's torture. It's seven minutes to die so the heart is trying to pump the blood to the brain, the brain is still alive and as long as there's blood getting to the brain the brain is not going to die."

Australian media has been told the 8 killed last night all died right away. It wasn't necessary for an officer to shoot them in the head. Hopefully, that's true. (The executions began at 12:35 am but the time of death is

They also sang a medley of religious songs, until the bullets struck them.

In the still night air of Nusakambangan island, eight condemned prisoners joined together in a chorus of Amazing Grace just after midnight. They also sung Bless the Lord O My Soul before their song was cut off by the crack of gunfire.

...Pastor Karina de Vega said the voices of all eight members of the group cut through the air.
..."They bonded together," she said.

"Brotherhood. They sang one song after another. Praising God. They sang a few songs together, like in a choir. "The non-Christian, I believe, also sang from his heart.

Speaking of music, check out this letter Axl Rose of Guns and Roses wrote President Widodo pleading for mercy and a change of heart to avoid the executions. He begins very respectfully, thanking him and Indonesia for the graciousness they showed the band when touring toured there. But after that, he gets to the point, at times quite forcefully and convincingly.

I appeal to you Mr. President, Mr. Joko Widodo to use your power....to show each of us that there can be hope and true redemption in times of hopelessness and despair, that rehabilitation and turning one's life around is not just for one's place in what if any afterlife there may be or one believes in but here on this earth where it can do each of us the most good in this life now.

Where true justice is better achieved in not killing, not ending the lives of and not destroying others but instead in this case, this situation, right now in this moment in your hands in sparing the lives of these two able bodied young men who've proven in the Indonesian prison system they are more than capable of being productive and positive contributors to society.

...In a world where the bad often outweighs the good and evil and negativity would appear more and more prevalent we need and can use every person choosing to make a difference however that choice came about....To not do so does not send as much a message of deterrence but rather a cold, cruel and uncaring message of hopelessness and blindness by the powers that be. Please do not be this type of man, this type of individual blinded by rigidity and inflexibility and ignoring your true power and wisdom by not acknowledging true change verified, witnessed and confirmed by virtually all who've been involved with either of these men during their incarceration.

...It's true I do not know these men nor have I met them but their story has touched me deeply. I as well as many others could easily have found ourselves in their unfortunate and unarguably self-inflicted position. People make mistakes, sometimes big and horribly regrettable mistakes and sometimes more importantly people learn from their mistakes and make new choices, strive and succeed at true positive change. To not acknowledge and give such change the opportunity to prove it's value would seem in this case a greater crime than those originally committed.

....To kill these men under these conditions of their profound and proven change for the better seems a barbaric, backward and truly disgraceful act of pride, ego, fear and prejudice, prejudice against your own system and the souls of anyone who has committed what's been deemed a crime from one day making amends and having the opportunity to make things right by how they live their lives and not how they are brutally and with disregard executed.

...In the case and impeding execution of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso executing those on the bottom rungs of the ladder in the chain of drug trafficking or those caught in the web of human trafficking who may not have had the luxury of qualified representation or even proper translators during their trial seems more than unfair and proves what?

...I realize I am no one and no one to get involved with your affairs or those of your government and how this letter reads or anyone other than yourself thinks of it is irrelevant. Only the lives of these three human beings are what's important now. That said I did not speak in jest or empty flattery when I spoke of how I and my organization were affected by the depth of warmth shown us by the Indonesian people during our performance and stay in Jakarta.

Here's where he starts getting forceful:

I ask you now to show such great depth of humanity and compassion now to these individuals and to deny your bloodlust in your war on drugs and grant clemency to these three individuals and give them a permanent stay of execution and to change the course of your own life and place in both your country's and world history. No other can do what you alone have the power to do and that is the power to show benevolence and mercy where mercy can be truly appreciated and given it's proper respect not only by the condemned but by the entire world and it's many leaders.

He ends his letter with:

You've made your point and struck fear in both the hearts and minds of the condemned and anyone even remotely considering bad choices or already involved in those worlds. Their crimes were not committed on your watch. Life is the only thing important now, not death but life.

Since I don't know any Christian hymns, I'll close with Axl and Guns and Roses singing "Knocking on Heaven's Door" (Tokyo, 1992.)

I'd bet Heaven's door was open last night, waiting to welcome these 8 unfortunate souls, no knocking required. May they rest in peace.

Boycott Bali and Indonesia.

< Australia Recalls Ambassador to Indonesia | Jakarta Globe Criticizes Joko Widodo Over Executions >
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  • Display: Sort:
    I wonder from whom (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 09:59:53 AM EST
    Indonesia bought that military equipment, and what representations they made to the supplying country about the purpose for which the equipment was needed?

    Wow, a question I can answer. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 12:11:13 PM EST
    Being military equipment, it was designed, manufactured, marketed, sold, traded and procured as an instrument of killing or indirectly, as a tool facilitating killing.

    I too would like to know more about the pleasant fictions exchanged during sales negotiations like these.  But I suspect the focus was on price, delivery schedules, parts availability and support contracts, the pesky details that make supplying today's World Wasting Wehrmachts an administrative nightmare.


    If you'd look at the linked article, you (none / 0) (#5)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 12:47:25 PM EST
    see they are  Russian-made Sukhoi jets.

    As for the ships here is a list of active ships in their Navy. Most ships appear to be ex-East German , or Obtained from the Netherlands.


    And Sidewinder missiles (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 01:34:22 PM EST
    are a U.S. product (which is what I was reacting to, actually). Can a Russian-made jet be outfitted with U.S.-designed missiles? Or is the news story unreliable on one or the other detail?

    The russian K-13 Atoll missile is very (none / 0) (#8)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 02:17:07 PM EST
    similar looking to the Sidewinder.  Copied originally.  Used by Indonesia.

    I'll take your word for it (none / 0) (#10)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 08:38:49 PM EST
    I'm no military weapons expert. It would be that much better (i.e., a tiny bit) if the U.S. in fact is not complicit in that way.

    2013 Military Hardware sales figures, (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 10:45:14 PM EST
    Russian v. U.S., overlaid on a world map.  

    In 2013 both "we" and Russia sold Indonesia lots of military goodies.  I doubt if much of the 2013 U.S. share, $146,160,000, was for Nerf-bats.


    That Map... (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 08:59:20 AM EST
    ...if very informative and frightening.

    Compare the red to the blue, and then look at the dollars, the red area, while much smaller, buy more.  WTF is the UAE, Taiwan, & China doing with all those arms ?


    Doomsday Prepping? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mr Natural on Fri May 01, 2015 at 06:34:41 AM EST
    I saw an (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 04:24:26 AM EST
    interview with the Prime Minister of Australia. He was speaking after the executions.

    He began his little speech by saying that he respected the sovereignty of Indonesia... and other little bows in their direction.

    There was, in my opinion, no outrage. No anger. No "sick to my stomach"... Just diplomatic namby-pamby bs.

    "This is a dark moment in the relationship, but I'm sure the relationship will be restored"... is an example of his limp and pathetic rhetoric.

    Oh yes. He recalled their ambassador --- for a "consultation" or something.

    They must do a lot of trade with Indonesia or something.

    With friends like that...

    On the other hand, this is the first time I have seen such extensive coverage of these atrocities by the commercial media.

    Jeralyn was way ahead of the curve as usual.

    "some took seven minutes to die" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 11:45:34 AM EST
    Which still beats some of America's recent botchecutions.

    Which is the subject, indirectly, (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 01:36:44 PM EST
    of this morning's last-oral-argument-of-the-Term at SCOTUS.

    For the record, (none / 0) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 03:24:05 PM EST
    I am irrevocably against the death penalty for too many reasons that can be listed in a single blog post,

    However, the point of this thread isn't about the pro/con aspect of the DP, it's about the manner of implementing it.

    With that in mind, what's wrong with the technique used by the Russian KGB during its history.........a single, small caliber shot to the back of the head?

    Other than the "ickiness" factor, it seems to have the most desired attributes: painless & instantaneous