Saturday, December 15, 2007

Australian Anti-Terror Official 'Attacked' By Undercover Police In Indonesia

This story is about two weeks old, but there's some interesting differences between how the story was originally reported, and then later 'corrected'.

Here's a report from November 29 from the Associated Press, which appeared in The Age :

Police are investigating an armed attack on the Australian head of an anti-terrorism school in Indonesia.

Lester Cross, director of the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, was unharmed when three men riding motorcycles fired at his car on Sunday after he refused to stop, local police chief Doddy Sumantyawan said.

They hit his bulletproof window and a tyre, but caused little significant damage, he said.

"We strongly believe it was an attempt of violent robbery," Sumantyawan said, adding that Cross was with his family when the attack occurred in the Central Java city of Semarang.

Nine days later, on December 7, the story changes dramatically, in this report from the Australian Associated Press :
An Australian Federal Police agent shot at last week was attacked by Indonesian police, authorities in Java have revealed.

Lester Cross, the head of a joint Indonesia-Australia anti-terrorism school in central Java, was not injured when his vehicle was shot at on November 25.

Central Java police chief Dodi Sumantyawan today said the shots were fired by Indonesian drug squad officers, who mistakenly thought Cross was dealing drugs.

Four Indonesian police officers fired on the vehicle after receiving a tip off a drug dealer was in the area, he said.

The police had seen the driver of Cross' vehicle stop and speak to someone, and believed it may have been the drug vehicle.

When the car started to move again, the police fired three warning shots, and then shot in the direction of the vehicle twice.

Cross and his family had been on the way to a friend's wedding, when they stopped and asked a passer by for directions.

And there's this version, which also appeared on December 7, from the Associated Press :
Undercover officers opened fire on a bulletproof vehicle carrying the Australian head of an anti-terrorism school in Indonesia after mistaking him for a drug trafficker, police said Friday.

Four police officers, acting on a tip from an arrested drug dealer, had been lying in wait for a vehicle believed to be carrying narcotics, Central Java police chief Maj. Gen. Doddy Sumantyawan said.

Police initially said they believed the attackers were robbers or terrorists.

"It was a big mistake by our members, who were not aware Cross was inside the car," Sumantyawan told reporters. "I met Cross to apologize and he fully understands that it was an accident."

So what happened to the guys on motorcycles who supposedly carried out the shooting? Three guys on motorcycles pull up alongside a car carrying an anti-terror official and open fire. No wait, it was undercover police, lying in wait, who opened fire on the vehicle.

It sounds like an attempted assassination.

But then, if that's what it actually was, you can understand why they'd want to bury the story. Or least change 'the facts' a few times to add to the confusion.

The story doesn't appear to have been mentioned in any media since December 7.

It should be noted that both of the very different version of events came from the same Central Java police chief.