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Showing posts with label general. Show all posts
Showing posts with label general. Show all posts

Strategic Nigeria-Morocco Gas Line

    The Ukraine war, which has escalated into an energy war, is not expected to contribute to the strategic value of the Nigeria-Morocco gas line project. Why is that? Europe, with 40 percent of its gas needs imported from Russia, must now immediately look for alternative gas sources after the United States and Europe maneuvered to impose sanctions on Russia after the military invasion of Ukraine.

Raja Maroko Muhammad VI

    One alternative source that is in high demand today is the Nigeria-Morocco gas line project. The Nigeria-Morocco gas line project, as reported by the Al Jazeera website, Tuesday (8/3), was launched in December 2016, when the King of Morocco, Muhammad VI, visited Abuja and met the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Muhammadu Buhari

    At that time, Muhammad VI and Buhari agreed to conduct a study on the construction project of the Nigeria-Morocco gas line to Europe along 5,560 kilometers. The study began in May 2017. Furthermore, in June 2018, Nigeria and Morocco announced the construction of a Nigeria-Morocco gas line project to Europe which will pass through 13 countries in West Africa and North Africa. The project value reached 30 billion US dollars.

Gas line from Nigeria to Morocco

    In June 2021, the construction of the pipeline from Nigeria to Morocco began. Its construction will last 25 years. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates support the project and will principally invest in the project. The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on January 6 signed an agreement with Morocco and Nigeria. IDB will spend 15.45 billion US dollars for the construction of the gas pipeline.

ECOWAS

    The Nigeria-Morocco gas line megaproject will provide great benefits to the West African Region, North Africa, and Europe in the form of jobs, electricity supply in many areas of West Africa that are not yet electrified, and can help with fertilizer production. The project is considered to be strengthening the economic cooperation of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), which consists of 15 West African countries. The pipeline is said to pass through most of the ECOWAS member countries.

    Two Arab countries in North Africa, Morocco, and Mauritania have applied to join ECOWAS. Europe is also now paying attention to the project. Its existence is seen as part of the diversification of gas sources. So far, Europe is very dependent on Russia.

Strategic

    The outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war since February 24, followed by Western bloc sanctions, namely stopping European imports of Russian gas, has made the Nigeria-Morocco gas route project more strategic for Europe. Moreover, Germany has frozen the Nord Stream 2 project, namely the gas pipeline project from Russia to Europe via Germany, immediately after Russia attacked Ukraine.

the Nord Stream 2 project

    So far, the Nord Stream 2 project is the toughest rival of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project because the Nord Stream 2 project line is much shorter (about 1,230 kilometers) than the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline (5,560 kilometers). 

    However, Nord Stream 2's investment value is much lower so gas prices from the Nigeria-Moroccan pipeline are more expensive. However, Germany's action to freeze the Nord Stream 2 project left the Nigeria-Morocco gas line project without any more serious competitors.

    The only rival for the Nigeria-Morocco gas line will be the East Med gas route, which is a gas pipeline project in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea through Greek territory for gas exports to Europe. According to the US agency for geological studies, oil and gas reserves were found in an area of ​​83,000 square kilometers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. 

    It is estimated that the mine has gas reserves of up to 287 trillion cubic meters and liquid oil of 1.7 billion barrels. Almost certain, path Nigeria-Moroccan gas, the East Med gas line plus gas from Qatar, can become the new backbone of gas supply to Europe, replacing Russia.

Saad Sherida-Al-Kaabi

    It is impossible to cover Europe's enormous gas demand from a single source. There must be a collaboration between several large gas sources to be able to meet the European market. Qatar's Minister of Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida-Al-Kaabi, at the summit of world gas exporters in Doha on February 22, emphasized that Qatar is willing to increase gas supplies to Europe, but on the other hand, Qatar is unable to meet Europe's gas needs alone.

    This is because Qatar has long-term contracts for gas exports with many other countries. Al-Kaabi's statement shows Qatar's need to collaborate with gas sources in other regions, such as the East Med and the Nigeria-Morocco axis. This cooperation is necessary to fulfill the European gas market.

Kompas, Page-4, Friday, March 11, 2022

Claims of Successful Intelligence Operations Reply to Rebuttals

 


    Finally the long-awaited information from the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta regarding Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan (49) arrived. Sunday (12/12/2021) morning, a Whatsapp message was received from the Public Diplomacy officer of the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta, Ali Pahlevani Rad. He wrote in Indonesian, “This afternoon we will send a response from the embassy, ​​yes, sir.”

    In less than half an hour, he sent an answer letter to the Kompas team's questions. The question via letter was sent to Ali, Monday (29/11), or 11 days before the first issue of Gilchalan was published, Thursday (9/12).

Majid A.K.A Gilchalan

    The question relates to a request for confirmation about Gilchalan's figure and his confession regarding intelligence activities carried out in Indonesia. A day before the first article was published, Kompas reminded Ali as well as informed him of the plan to publish the article.

"Thank you for the information provided," he replied.

 After the article was published, Kompas again sent a message to Ali reminding him to ask for confirmation, but he didn't reply. The response to Gilchalan just emerged after the publication of the fourth article entitled "The Mask of Building an Intelligence Base in Bali" which was followed by a promo for the last article entitled "Intelligence Operation Claimed to be Successful".

    The letter from the Iranian Embassy signed by the Head of the General Diplomacy Section of the Iranian Embassy, ​​Bita Zolali, among others, denied Gilchalan's intelligence operations.

"The various oblique accusations that have been submitted relating to his activities in Indonesia are untrue and baseless," he said.

    He said Indonesia and Iran are two friendly countries with good and historic relations. In fact, in 2020, the two countries will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations full of constructive cooperation.

"In this regard, parties who are not happy with the development of bilateral relations between Iran and Indonesia are trying to abuse various things for their evil purposes," he said.

"The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has an obligation to protect the privacy of its citizens and in accordance with Iranian regulations and various international conventions and with full respect for the laws of the host country, only defending the rights of its citizens abroad."

Mission claim successful

    Meanwhile, Gilchalan claimed that his operation in Indonesia was successful. He conveyed this in a written statement in Persian that he made for law enforcement or when he was met by Kompas at the Class IIA Youth Correctional Institution in Tangerang, Banten, November.

MT Horse Tanker

    The mission is to free the Iranian tanker, MT Horse; “I came to Indonesia to help the Iranian tanker, MT Horse, which was being tried in Batam. The Iranian government sent me to help free the ship and return it to Iran," he said.

    Gilchalan's arrival to Indonesia, May 18, coincided with the trial of the MT Horse tanker. The ship was confiscated by the Maritime Security Agency in Kalimantan waters in January 2021 for violating shipping lanes. MT Horse transports 1.8 million barrels of crude oil, the value of which can reach Rp. 25 billion.

    MT Horse was confiscated while transferring its cargo of oil to a Panama-flagged tanker, MT Freya. In a trial on May 25, the panel of judges at the Batam District Court, Riau Islands, sentenced the captain of MT Horse, Mehdi Monghasemjahromi, to a year in prison with two years probation, the same as the prosecutor's demands so he was not detained. The judge then ordered the skipper to be released. After the verdict, MT Horse was also released.

“Yes (the mission was successful), everything went well. The tanker was acquitted by the court," Gilchalan said.

    Before going to Indonesia, in his written confession, Gilchalan said he contacted his acquaintances in Bali and in Batam to find out the condition of MT Horse. From acquaintances in Batam, information was obtained that MT Horse was involved in legal problems, the captain was imprisoned and awaiting trial at the Batam District Court. After conveying the information to the Intelligence agent Sayed Alireza Mir Jafari who recruited him, Gilchalan was ordered to immediately go to Indonesia.

    Gilchalan then took care of a residence permit in Indonesia by contacting a visa agent in Bali. However, before leaving, he met Jafari and his partner, Monghasemjahromi, in Tehran.

    Jafari said the MT Horse tanker had to be released because it was very important. Gilchalan was provided with 10,000 US dollars or the equivalent of Rp. 140 million. However, upon arrival in Indonesia, Jafari asked him to change his destination from Batam to Bali because the tankers would be free soon.

“You have to go to Bali to build a company, then come back to Iran,” Gilchalan wrote.

    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many places are closed in Bali. Gilchalan then reported this to Jafari and asked to return home early to Iran. The request was approved by Jafari. He asked that after Iran, Gilchalan continued the search for an Iranian citizen in Malaysia, namely Hamed Nasrallah. The person who is said to be dangerous to the country has already been stalked by Gilchalan in Malaysia.

    The results of the extraction of Gilchalan's cellphone by Indonesian law enforcement also found photos of Nasrallah's house. In his confession, Ghilcalan admitted that there was a threat from Daniel Ghorbani to the safety of his family if he continued the surveillance.

Not clear

    In his confession letter or when he met Kompas, Gilchalan did not mention how to free the MT Horse tanker. However, the results of the extraction of 11 cellphones by law enforcement found a number of traces suspected to be related to the MT Horse case. 

    On his cellphone, for example, there is a photo of MT Horse as well as a photo of three Indonesian defense and military officials. There were also several Whatsapp conversations with someone in Batam regarding the tanker's release. One of the man's messages to Gilchalan in English was:

“Brothers, from the very beginning we worked Underground for you as a shipowner, not for the embassy. If you need documents, we need a lawyer, you don't need a stamp, just your signature on paper. We will do our best for you.”

    The person in Batam referred to when confirmed, Tuesday (16/11), said Gilchalan, who claimed to be named Majid, asked for legal assistance to free the MT Horse tanker from criminal threats. When he wanted to go to Indonesia, May, 2021, Gilchalan promised to meet him, but it never materialized. 

    Extraction of Gilchalan's cellphone also found documents offering strategic consulting services and legal assistance from the Association of Cakra Sembilanbelas Nusantara (Perkasa) to Tulip Shipping Ltd, the registered owner of MT Horse.

    The letter sent in February 2021 was a response to Tulip Shipping Ltd's request to assist in the MT Horse case. Head of Perkasa Major General (Ret.) Andogo Wiradi in the letter said, to fulfill Tulip's request, a special team was formed, consisting of two institutions of strategic advisory consultants and legal assistance. In the proposal, the service is offered at US$300,000 or equivalent to Rp. 4.2 billion.

    When confirmed, Wednesday (17/11), Andogo confirmed that he had offered to offer strategic consulting services and legal assistance for the MT Horse tanker case. The information was obtained from the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta. He claimed not to know Gilchalan. However, the negotiations did not result in an agreement.

"Until the offer, no deal," he said.

    Former Head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Sutiyoso said BIN or the police needed to interrogate Gilchalan to trace what operations were carried out in Indonesia so that he claimed it was successful. An investigation is also needed to find out what other operations Gilchalan may have carried out in Indonesia. Former Deputy Head of BIN As'ad Said Ali said that the initial investigation could be carried out by tracing the parties that Gilchalan contacted through his cellphone.

Kompas, Page-1, Monday, Dec 13, 2021

A Camouflage to build an Iranian intelligence base in Bali

    A middle-aged woman with long blonde hair sitting right in front of us in one of the guest chairs at an outdoor cafe at Kedonganan Beach, Jimbaran, Badung, Bali, September. That night, we agreed to meet to talk about a foreign tourist who has become his best friend for the past three years, Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan (49).

Kedonganan Beach, Jimbaran, Badung, Bali

"I really don't like things like this. But it can't be helped, he called me, yes," said Mrs. Nyoman, the owner of the cafe where we met, starting the conversation.

Majid A.K.A Gilchalan

    Nyoman has known Gilchalan by the name Majid. His real name only came to her when law enforcement showed him Gilchalan's photo. They first met in 2019. She was impressed that Majid treated about 20 guests at his restaurant even though they didn't know each other.

    Since then, Majid alias Gilchalan always comes to her restaurant every time he visits Bali. In fact, when Nyoman had closed the restaurant and opened a cafe on Kedonganan Beach, he often visited the cafe. Once also Gilchalan rented her villa for a month.

"We are good friends, but only to the extent that I am a seller and he is a buyer," She said.

    However, Nyoman was a bit annoyed with Majid because the villa rental payment was not paid. Contrary to Majid's habit of treating many people.

    Nyoman, who is the owner of several cafes, villas, and four-star hotels in Badung Bali, was once invited to do business together. Majid wants to open a restaurant in Bali.

"I want to open a restaurant here, you manage it, I provide the capital," he said, repeating Majid's invitation.

    However, it never materialized. Majid actually disappeared.

"I sent WhatsApp, never got a reply," She said, showing the conversation on her cellphone. The last message was sent at the end of May 2021.

Two orders from Iranian Agent Sayed

    Through written acknowledgments in Persian for law enforcement. Gilchalan admitted that his arrival to Bali was an order from the person who recruited him as part of Iranian intelligence, namely agent Sayed Alireza Mir Jafari.

    Initially, he was ordered to go to Batam to release the MT Horse tanker which was confiscated by the Indonesian authorities in Batam, Riau Islands. However, the destination was shifted to Bali because the legal issues had been resolved.

"Sayed said, I have to go to Bali to set up a company, then return to Iran," he said in the confession.

Bali is Familiar to Gilchalan

    Records of a visa service company in Jimbaran show that he had applied for a limited stay permit card in 2014 which was valid for a year, using a Bulgarian passport. Gilchalan also came to the office to arrange for the same residence permit for his wife and two children.

"After that, there was no extension, no more news," said Fitriyah Agustin, an employee at the company that handles the Gilchalan Visa.

    Seven years on, Gilchalan contacted Fitriyah through the Whatsapp application number outside Indonesia, in February 2021, to apply for a business visit visa which is valid for 60 days. He inquired about the cost of obtaining visas for several people but ended up only taking care of himself.

    From February to April when the visa was issued, there was never a meeting between Gilchalan and Fitriyah.

"He sent all the requirements via Whatsapp, the results were also online visas," said Fitriyah who was also one of the witnesses in the trial of the Gilchalan fake passport case.

Bulgarian Passport

    To law enforcement, Gilchalan admitted that he lived in Bali from 2012-2017 living in a rented villa in Jimbaran Bali. When Team Kompas visit the location, the villa has been sold to foreign nationals in early 2021. The previous owner denied that there was a tenant in Gilchalan's name when he arrived confirmation by phone call. When asked further, he disconnected the call, then blocked our contact number.

Royal and Elegant

    For four days in Bali before he left for Soekarno-Hatta Airport and was arrested, Gilchalan stayed at a four-star hotel in Jimbaran. He ordered a suite-type room for IDR 1.2 million per night, which before the Covid-19 pandemic the rental price was more than IDR 2 million per night.

    The room, which is located on the third floor, has an area of ​​64 square meters, equipped with a bathtub. The room with wide glass doors and a balcony overlooks the pool area. Our room was right next to the fitness center.

    From the hotel clerk's notes that were shown to Kompas, Gilchalan had negotiated the room rental price for one month with the hotel manager. However, there is no agreed price.

    This hotel is not a new place for Gilchalan. He stayed three days in January 2019. While in Bali, Gilchalan rarely went alone because he rented a subscription driver. Gede, the driver's name, was impressed by Gilchalan's always dapper look. His body is stout like a bodybuilder. Her skin is clean. Just a little black spots on the face, he will ask to be taken to a beauty clinic.

    However, Gede also knows Gilchalan by the name Majid. He often pays taxi fares many times the general rate. In fact, he lent money to Gede. Gilchalan also often gave money to beggars on the street. Since first meeting Gede in 2012, Gilchalan has never asked to be escorted to many places. He only comes to tourist attractions, malls, beauty clinics, or fitness centers.

    However, unlike other places, Gilchalan always goes to the fitness center by himself, by renting a motorbike. A number of places that's also the ones he visited at the end of May. Even though they have known each other for four years, Gilchalan has never revealed his background or occupation. 

    He only just found out the full name and nationality of his subscription after someone named Jasmin, who claimed to be a Gilchalan child, contacted him via Whatsapp message.

    Jasmin sends a passport photo to ask for help, and Gede looks for his father who doesn't come home. From that communication, Gede knows The customer, whom he called “Brother”, was arrested in Jakarta.

Suspected Camouflage

    A Kompas source in law enforcement suspects Gilchalan's order to set up a business in Bali as a disguise to build a "Safe Intelligence House.

    The Kompas team, Monday (29/11), sent a letter to the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta, confirming Gilchalan's confession regarding the order to carry out an intelligence mission in Indonesia. As of Saturday (11/12), the Iranian Embassy did not answer questions despite promising to respond.

    The former head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Sutiyoso said that the pretext of establishing a business could be used to build a legal business to finance intelligence operations so that he would not be suspected. Another possibility is that this effort is also used for a meeting of intelligence agents from Iran who is in Indonesia. However, he wondered about Iran's interest in conducting intelligence operations in Indonesia. Usually, this is done when a country has problems with other countries.

"So far, I don't see any problems between Indonesia and Iran," he said.

    Meanwhile, former Deputy Head of BIN As'ad Said Ali assessed that the order to establish a company was a form of disguise for the intelligence profession. It is necessary to convince the people who are approached in order to carry out the mission of the operation.

Kompas, Page-1, Sunday, Dec 12, 2021

A Thousand Hours Ended by Iran Intelligence Confession Letter

 


    A law enforcement officer in charge of interrogating Ghasem Saberi Gilchalan is around 30 years old. We met at one of the cafes in Jakarta, early December 2021. The information he had to get from the Iranian citizen was no longer about the use of a fake passport but related to Gilchalan's activities which could endanger Indonesia's security.

    While enjoying the packaged yogurt, he tells the story, it is not easy to approach Gilchalan. Initially, he answered no questions apart from the fake passport case.

Gilchalan, Iranian Intelligence

"I have to go very slowly, trying to gain his trust until I want to give information about his activities," he said.

    Every day from late May to July, he visited Gilchalan, who was being held at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport City Police Detention Room. He invites Gilchalan to chat about things outside of the case while bringing food and drink to eat together. Gilchalan often refuses gifts, especially branded foods and drinks from Western countries. So the food and drink are separated from the packaging so that he does not know the brand. The new Gilchalan was willing to devour it.

“Gilchalan started giving out sensitive information after I exposed one thing he couldn't avoid. It was known only to the two of us,” said the legal officer.

    Gilchalan then began to open up to the law officer. He wants to reveal his identity and personal life, including the experience of living moving abroad. In fact, he is willing to cooperate with the law officer whom he calls brother to provide important information.

“I gave all the information to the officers. He asked me to write a confession and sign it, then promised to help me,” said Gilchalan, who met at the Class IIA Youth Correctional Institution, Tangerang City, Banten, at the end of November.

Handwriting

    He proved Gilchalan's seriousness to cooperate by making a handwritten confession in Persian on July 8, 2021. Gilchalan can speak English but admits he is not good at writing Latin letters. He wrote the eight-page document in less than an hour. However, it took a meeting of 40 days or the equivalent of “a thousand hours” before Gilchalan wrote the letter.

    This document and its English translation have been shown by legal officers to Kompas at a restaurant in Jakarta, mid-October. He showed it while snacking on edamame. The letter contained the life journey of Gilchalan, who had served in the Iranian Army for two years. He had lived in Malaysia from 1999-2012. In Malaysia, Gilchalan worked from being a driver, hotel employee, to opening a restaurant. In 2008, while still in Malaysia, he applied for a Bulgarian passport with the help of an acquaintance, Muhammad Karvati.

Bulgarian Passport

    The passport was made in Thailand at a cost of 2,000 euros. The passport was then used to travel to Indonesia, and he even admitted that he used it to settle in Bali in 2012-2012. In Malaysia, he met several times with Intelligence agent Sayed Alireza Mir Jafari, who he said worked at the Iranian Embassy to Malaysia. Based on Kompas searches on the 2018 Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular and Diplomatic List document, Sayed Alireza Mir Jafari has been listed as the second secretary for political and consular relations since 2015.

    To the law enforcer, Gilchalan admitted that he first met Sayed in 2011 at his restaurant in Malaysia. He was asked to come to the Iranian Embassy for Malaysia, and was then offered to work “for the country”. However, he refused to accept the offer when Sayed met him in Bali in 2019. After that meeting, Gilchalan met Sayed several times in Iran to receive orders, including the release of the confiscated MT Horse tanker. Indonesian authorities in Batam, Riau Islands, early January 2021. In addition, he was also ordered to start a business in Bali.

For the Government of Iran

    Asked about the contents of his confession letter, Gilchalan confirmed it. He also did not deny when asked about his status as part of `Iranian intelligence. He chuckled. He admitted that he had just started working for the Iranian government after being recruited by Sayed.

"I work for the Iranian government because I love my country," he said.

    The work, said Gilchalan, did not endanger Indonesia. He gave an example, if there are Indonesian citizens who come to Iran and cause problems, Indonesian intelligence will be tasked with finding information related to the problems that are happening, then reporting them. That's what he does.

"I came to Indonesia just to monitor what happened," he said.

    The Iranian Embassy in Jakarta neither denied, nor confirmed, Gilchalan's status as an Iranian intelligence agent. Kompas confirmed that by letter to the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta on Monday (29/11). The Iranian Intelligence in Embassy's Public Diplomacy Officer for Indonesia, Ali Pahlevani Rad, Thursday (2/12), said he would answer the questions that had been submitted. Kompas contacted Ali's intelligence agent several times, but as of this writing, no answer has been given.

    Former Head of the ARMY Strategic Intelligence Agency Rear Admiral (Ret.) Soleman B Ponto assessed that Gilchalan's willingness to reveal his identity and intelligence operation mission was not only because he wanted to cooperate. It also indicates that Iran considers its mission success so that disclosure of information will not be a significant problem.

"What Gilchalan revealed is also not related to state secrets," he said.

Kompas, Page-1, Saturday, Dec 11, 2021


Suspicious Repeated Deportation Requests from Iranian Embassy


    Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan (49) immediately greeted us when we first met in a room at the Class IIA Youth Correctional Institution Tangerang, Banten, Friday (26/11/2021) evening. He nodded his head slightly, for a moment before sitting down on the sofa. At that time he was wearing a t-shirt slim fit gray that makes his posture look solid, solid, combined with navy blue training pants. Footwear is flip-flopped.

    His eyes are always wary looking at his interlocutor. He spoke straightforwardly, but relaxed. The initial assumption obtained from an officer in detention who mentioned Gilchalan the closed figure instantly changed. Questions about his condition in detention were answered enthusiastically in fluent English. 180 degrees different from the initial information from one of the officers who mentioned Gilchalan often reasoned that he couldn't speak English foR stop the conversation.

"We talked for almost an hour about many things. However, for certain things, he was limiting himself. He seemed to show two sides; open, but also very careful. On the other hand, he laughed out loud a few times. One of them when asked about the fake Bulgarian passport he used to enter and leave Indonesia

Bulgarian Passport


“Ha-ha-ha, I made trouble for myself,” he said.

Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan, Iranian Intelligence

Confirmed Iranian citizen

    A day after arresting Gilchalan at the end of May 2021 for using a fake Bulgarian passport, Soekarno-Hatta Airport Police investigators confirmed the authenticity of the Iranian passport that Gilchalan also brought with him. Soekarno-Hatta Airport Police sent a letter to the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta to confirm Gilchalan's citizenship, as well as convey legal issues related to him. On the same day, a person claiming to be a representative of the Iranian Embassy asked for an explanation regarding the Gilchalan case.

"We admit that the use of fake passports is a crime committed by our citizens," said the man, as reiterated by the Head of the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Criminal Investigation Unit, Adjunct Commissioner Rezha Rahandhi, September.

    However, the police refused to elaborate on Gilchalan's case over the phone. The police asked the person to come to the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Police Station with a certificate from the Iranian Embassy. A few days later, two-agent intelligence who identified themselves as Ali and Amir from the Iranian Embassy came to the Airport Police Headquarters, demanding that Gilchalan be deported to Iran so that his case could be processed there. The request was rejected.

    Not long after, representatives of intelligence the Iranian Embassy again came to the Airport Police Headquarters, asking for the same thing, but getting the same result. The Iranian embassy then sent a letter with the number Ref:200-3-0055/1400 containing a request for deportation. The letter, dated June 14, 2021, was signed by the Consular Chief Intelligence of the Iranian Embassy, ​​Abbasali Salighe Dar. The request was also rejected.

"The application was submitted in three meetings, starting from being represented by the public relations department to the head of the consular post," said Rezha.

    When the trial began, Gilchalan had refused to eat on the grounds that he did not want to eat rice for a week. As a result, he got sick. Based on the prison doctor's diagnosis, his illness at that time was fever accompanied by dehydration due to lack of food intake. He was judged to need to be treated by a specialist. 

    The Iranian Embassy asked Gilchalan to be referred to the Tangerang District General Hospital. However, law enforcement took Gilchalan to the Police Hospital Sukanto Hospital in Kramatjati, Jakarta. Officers from the prosecutor's office also accompanied Gilchalan while he was out of custody.

    The Kompas team asked about Gilchalan's request for deportation through a written letter to the Iranian Embassy on Monday (29/11). Public Diplomacy Officer of the Iranian Embassy to Indonesia, Ali Pahlevani Rad, Thursday (2/12), said he would answer questions that had been submitted by letter.

"We are still learning," said Ali in a written message.

    Kompas contacted him again, Thursday (9/12), but until this writing was published, an answer had not been given.

AWKWARD REQUEST

    Professor of International Law at the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana, assessed that the request for repeated deportations made by the Iranian Embassy was odd. Deportation is the right of the country where a person commits an immigration violation, such as overstay. The practice of international deportation is also not based on the request of the violator's country of origin, but on the decision of the country where the violation occurred.

    As for the use of fake passports, according to him, is a crime that must be resolved through legal means, not by deportation. The embassy should provide assistance when its citizens violate laws in other countries.

"Indeed, the interest of the Iranian government must be suspected in asking for the deportation of its citizens," said Hikmahanto.

    Gilchalan, when met, admitted that the Iranian Embassy met him several times during the trial.

“During the trial, Intelligence from the Iranian Embassy came two or three times. They haven't visited in a long time because of Covid-19," Gilchalan said.

    He repeatedly admitted that he was sad that he could not return to his country immediately. He admitted that his parents and brother were hospitalized. He also could not meet his children and two wives who were in Canada and Uzbekistan.

Kompas, Page-1, Friday, Dec 10, 2021

Fake Passports Reveal Iran Intelligence Operations

 The figure of a man with a height of approximately 5,74 feet, with a stocky body and broad chest, walked leisurely towards the Qatar airline reporting counter Airways at Terminal 3 Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Banten, one evening at the end of May 2021. The atmosphere at the airport was quiet. Not many passengers.

Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan, Iranian Intelligence

    However, before the man named Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan arrived at the counter to pick up the departure of the Qatar Airways flight on the Jakarta-Doha, Qatar route, he was stopped by several people. To Gilchalan, they introduced themselves as personnel from the Soekarno-Hatta Airport City Police and Soekarno-Hatta Immigration Office. Gilchalan, who at that time was only carrying a backpack, without saying much followed the officer to a room that was still in Terminal 3 of the airport.

    Gilchalan, a 49-year-old man with fair skin, thin silver hair, and thick eyebrows. He wears rimless glasses. Tattoos are visible on his left and right arms. In the room, the officers' questions were answered casually in English. He spoke in a low intonation.

Bulgarian Passport

    For four hours, she was interviewed and her belongings searched. His identity was also cross-checked by officers. At that time Gilchalan was holding a Bulgarian passport numbered 382509836. However, in his backpack, officers also found two more passports. One expired Bulgarian passport, as well as an Iranian passport that is still valid until 2023. All in his name.

the Malaysian Ex-Police Association Gilchalan

    Not only that, but officers also found Gilchalan carrying a number of Persian-language documents, several cards bearing the members of the Malaysian Ex-Police Association and the PDRM 69 Squad.

SKUAD 69 PDRM Gilchalan

    In addition, officers also found cash in the form of 16 foreign currencies with a nominal value of Rp. 140 million. Not to be left behind, 11 cellular phones, one tablet, one music player, two modems, and several local or foreign SIM cards were also found.

Nokia 3310

    Of the 11 mobile phones, three of them are devices that can only be used to make phone calls and send messages, including Nokia 3310 and 8110. The rest are smartphones like iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 11, and Huawei Y5. Officers were suspicious of seeing so many cell phones that Gilchalan was carrying.

Nokia 8110

"I have friends in several countries, I have to save their numbers," said Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Police, Adjunct Commissioner Rezha Rahandhi, last September, imitating Gilchalan's answer during interrogation. The police then also checked the authenticity of Gilchalan's Bulgarian passport.

"The Bulgarian Embassy through a written statement stated that the passport was fake. He is not a Bulgarian citizen. Gilchalan also admits that," said Rezha.

    The Iranian passport that Gilchalan was carrying was also checked for authenticity. According to Rezha, the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta acknowledged that Gilchalan was an Iranian citizen. The Kompas team confirmed information regarding Gilchalan on Monday (29/11/2021) to the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta. However, as of Wednesday (8/12), there has been no answer to the question sent.

    Gilchalan was then arrested on suspicion of using a fake passport. He was then tried at the Tangerang District Court, Banten. In mid-September, Gilchalan was sentenced to 2 years in prison and a fine of IDR 100 million. His appeal was rejected last November.

    Already on the "radar" even though he was only caught at the end of May, data on immigration crossings shows that Gilchalan has entered and left Indonesia 30 times in 2012-2021 using Iranian and Bulgarian passports. Iranian passports were used in 2012 and 2019 only for travel to and from their country.

    Meanwhile, Bulgarian passports were used to enter Indonesia from 2013 to 2018 and 2021 from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Australia. A Kompas source in law enforcement said that Gilchalan's suspicious activity had been on the immigration radar since 2020.

    Since then, immigration has been gathering information about Gilchalan and is also working closely with airlines and airport authorities to track down if Gilchalan re-enters Indonesia. Thanks to that cooperation, the opportunity to capture Gilchalan was executed well. 

    The results of the extraction carried out by law enforcement on Gilchalan's 11 cellphones added to the suspicions of the officers. There are not only phone contacts found. There are 400 gigabytes (GB) of data downloaded from these phones.

    Among them were found photos of three Indonesian military and defense officials. There were also scans of 56 passports from the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Belarus. Then also the United States, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan. There are also several passport photos with the same blue background as the photos in some passports. However, some of them have different face shapes, hairstyles, and clothes worn.

MT Horse Tanker

    In addition, there is a photo of the Iranian tanker, MT Horse, whose captain is undergoing criminal proceedings in Indonesia regarding violation of shipping lanes in the waters of Kalimantan when illegally transferring oil to the Panamanian-flagged tanker, MT Freya, January 2021. 

    The captain of the ship who is also an Iranian citizen, Mehdi Monghasemjahromi, and the tanker loaded with 1.8 million barrels of crude oil was detained by the Indonesian authorities in Batam.

    The extraction of the cellphone also shows a screenshot of Gilchalan's conversation with someone in Batam, Riau Islands, related to the tanker MT Horse.

Alleged intelligence activity

    Former Head of the ARMY Strategic Intelligence Agency Rear Admiral (Ret.) Soleman B Ponto said a number of evidence such as fake passports, dozens of cellphones, photos of officials, scans of dozens of passports, and communications with parties related to the MT Horse tanker indicate part of an intelligence operation. For a tourist, a collection of dozens of cell phones is considered unnatural. However, for an intelligence agent, it was commonplace to operate.

    The device is used to communicate and find information regarding the operation being performed. The existence of “Out to Date” cell phones which are not connected to the internet is still needed because it is difficult to trace.

"There are cellphones that are specifically used to receive calls, make calls, and specifically for certain people," he said.

    Police intelligence expert Inspector General (Pensioner) Ansyaad Mbai said the number of passports and passport photos on Gilchalan's cellphone showed that he was not an ordinary person.

"So, from here, it can be seen that this is not an ordinary crime because he has come a long way in preparing the cover, both formally to disguise himself in terms of work, identity. And the information he gave, in my opinion, was also a cover story," he said.

    Director of General Crimes at the National Police-Criminal Investigation Agency Brigadier General Andi Rian said that there had been no cases related to Gilchalan's alleged intelligence operations handled by the Directorate of General Crimes or the Police Criminal Investigation Unit. However, he admitted the information about Gilchalan had already been discussed.

"It's still just a discussion. There is no visible criminal element," he said.

Kompas, Page-1, Thursday, Dec 9, 2021

China Protests with Indonesia, Asked to Stop Oil and Gas Drilling in Natuna

No need to be afraid, DPR: We must be ready for all possibilities

    The Chinese government asked Indonesia to stop drilling for oil and natural gas in the maritime area near Natuna. As reported by Reuters, Four people familiar with the matter reported an unprecedented and unreported request.

the House of Representatives (DPR) of the Republic of Indonesia

    According to the statement of a member of the National Security Commission of the House of Representatives (DPR) of the Republic of Indonesia, Muhammad Farhan, one a letter from a Chinese diplomat to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly told Indonesia to stop drilling on the offshore rig temporarily, because it was happening on Chinese territory.

"Our answer is very firm, that we will NOT STOP DRILLING because it is our sovereign right," Farhan told Reuters.

    A spokesman for Indonesia's foreign ministry said every diplomatic communication between countries is private and its content cannot be shared. He also declined to comment further. Three other sources who claim to have been briefed on the matter confirmed the letter exists. Two of them said China had repeatedly demanded that Indonesia stop drilling.

ZEE NATUNA INDONESIA

    Indonesia says the southern tip of the South China Sea is Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and named the area the North Natuna Sea in 2017.

    China objected to the name change and insisted that the waterway falls within China's vast territorial claims in the South China Sea which are marked by a U-shaped "nine-dash line".

    This is a line found to have NO LEGAL BASIS by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016. The letter is a bit "THREATING" because it is the first attempt by Chinese diplomats to push China's nine-dash line agenda towards Indonesian rights under the Law of the Sea.

    In a separate letter, China also protested against the mostly ground-based military exercise Garuda Shield in August. The exercise involves 4,500 troops from the United States and Indonesia and has been a regular event since 2009. It was China's first protest against Indonesia and the United States.

    Meanwhile, Member of Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Dave Laksono, asked the Indonesian government not to be afraid of China's protests through a diplomatic note that demanded a halt to oil and gas drilling in the North Natuna Sea area. 

    In fact, said Dave Laksono, Indonesia must prepare to anticipate all possibilities. Including the possibility of China taking the diplomatic note to the International Court of Arbitration.

"If the Chinese government takes this matter to the arbitral tribunal, we must also be ready to face this possibility and prepare all related matters," said Dave Laksono to the RMOL Political News Agency, Wednesday (1/Dec).

    The legislator said, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS, North Natuna is an Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). As the owner of the territory, Indonesia does not need to be afraid, let alone stop drilling for oil as the management of state-owned natural resources.

"That the area is the sovereignty of Indonesia, then we have the right to carry out drilling activities in the area," he said.

    A report from Reuters on Wednesday (1/Dec) revealed that China had sent a diplomatic note to the foreign ministry.

“I cannot confirm the content of the news (reports Reuters). Moreover, diplomatic communication, including through diplomatic notes, is closed," said the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Teuku Faizasyah.

Duta Masyarakat, Page-1, Thursday, Dec 2, 2021

Upstream situation is increasingly critical



In addition to production which continues to fall, upstream oil and gas investment has also not been able to answer the production problem. Investors need contract certainty for investment stability.

The situation in the upstream oil and gas sector in Indonesia is considered increasingly critical. Because production is ready to sell or [lifting both types of primary energy sources continues to fall from year to year. Therefore, improvements need to be made as soon as possible to increase production and attract maximum investment in the country.

Based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, [oil lifting in 2019 recorded 746,000 barrels per day or below the target of 775,000 barrels per day. The realization of lifting natural gas is only 1,060 barrels of oil equivalent per day and still below the target of 1,250 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The decline in oil lifting has occurred since 2016, while natural gas lifting has continued to decline since 2014.

According to Pri Agung Rakhmanto, a lecturer at the Faculty of Earth and Energy Technology at Trisakti University, Jakarta, the upstream oil and gas situation in Indonesia can be said to be in crisis. In addition to declining production, upstream oil and gas investment in Indonesia is also in a crisis situation. If the situation is not improved enough, the condition of Indonesia's upstream oil and gas will sink even deeper.

"Crisis and critical. That is the condition of upstream oil and gas in Indonesia. Called a crisis because existing investments have not been able to answer the problem of production which continues to decline. It is called critical if this situation continues, "said Pri Agung.

In terms of upstream oil and gas investment, during 2019 it collected 12.5 billion US dollars or lower than the target set, which was 13.4 billion US dollars. In 2018 the realization of upstream oil and gas investment will reach 12.6 billion US dollars. In the last five years, the highest investment was recorded in 2015, amounting to 17.9 billion US dollars.

"Indonesia has not been able to attract enough investment from world-class upstream oil and gas actors, both for new oil and gas reserve discovery projects and development projects to increase production. Upstream oil and gas investment has been around 60-70 percent, only for existing routine operational costs, "Said Pri Agung.

Not a Commodity

Pri Agung added, improvements in upstream oil and gas investment should start from the perspective of the state managing its natural resources. According to him, oil and gas resources should be used as capital for development in the country, not as an export commodity to collect foreign exchange In addition, policy improvements in taxation, fiscal and oil and gas revenue sharing are also urgent. Indonesia's oil and gas production has not been able to meet domestic needs.

The consumption of national oil will reach 1.5 million barrels per day, while domestic oil production is less than 800,000 barrels per day. LPG consumption is around 7 million tons per year, half of which must be imported. This condition causes Indonesia to often experience a deficit in its oil and gas trade balance.

Last weekend, in Jakarta, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif said the government would no longer require gross profit-sharing schemes in the auction of new oil and gas working areas.

The contractor is given freedom of choice, namely a gross split and cost recovery that can be recovered (cost recovery). Previously, for new oil and gas working areas, the revenue sharing that the government imposed on contractors was gross split.

"There are already two schemes (gross split or cost recovery), but the cost recovery scheme will be fixed first," Arifin said when asked for a profit-sharing scheme at the upcoming oil and gas working area auction.

Previously, at the annual general meeting of the Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA), IPA Vice President Ronald Gunawan alluded that investors needed contract certainty for investment stability. Because upstream oil and gas investment is a capital-intensive and high-risk investment. The stability of the contract is believed to increase the attractiveness of Indonesia's upstream oil and gas investment in the eyes of investors.

"To simplify the bureaucracy, in the last two or three years there have been positive signals. We hope that there will be continuous improvements in the future, "said Ronald.

Kompas, Page-13, Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020

Government to Open Tender for Oil and Gas Block 2020



The government will hold a phase 1 auction of working areas (WK) this year in the first quarter. In this auction, the government will again offer the production sharing contract / PSC investment cost scheme, in addition to the gross split scheme (gross split), Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Arifin Tasrif said, both schemes PSC auction will be offered to investors in this 2020 oil and gas block auction.

"We have been able to use two oil and gas contract schemes. But we are currently fixing the cost recovery provisions. We justified the one that didn't quite fit, "he said in Jakarta.

Regarding the oil and gas blocks to be auctioned, Acting Director-General of Oil and Gas at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Djoko Siswanto, added that he could not confirm the amount.


The reason is, his party is still waiting for the results of his study with the Geological Agency and the Work Unit for Upstream Oil and Gas Business Activities (SKK Migas) related to which oil and gas blocks are ready to be auctioned. Oil and gas blocks that were not in demand at last year's auction will also be auctioned again in 2020.

"Yes [the oil and gas block] yesterday that was not in demand was auctioned again. Maybe the auction will be in the first quarter, "said Djoko.

Unfortunately, Djoko did not specify which blocks will be re-auctioned. For information, there are eight oil and gas blocks that are not in demand by investors at the three auction stages held in 2019. The details are West Kampar, West Kaimana, Kutai, Bone, East Gebang, West Tanjung I, Belayan I, and Cendrawasih VIII blocks.

Cendrawasih VIII blocks

The West Kampar Block, located on mainland Riau and North Sumatra, has oil and gas resources of 4.3 billion barrels of oil stock. West Kaimana Block The oil resources of this block are 2.44 billion barrels and 4.64 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Furthermore, the East Gebang Block has 6 prospects and 7 leads with an estimated 1.36 trillion cubic feet. This block is also adjacent to production facilities and infrastructure in the Gebang Block and Glagah Kambuna.

West Tanjung I Block has 6 leads with an estimated 150 million barrels of oil resources. This block is adjacent to several blocks that have good facilities and can be tie-in with the Karendan and Tanjung Blocks.

The Belayan I Block has a proven basin with an estimated resource of 2.59 billion barrels of oil. In this block, there are at least three types of play, namely structural, stratigaphic, and combination, where 4 prospects and 10 leads are identified.

Belayan I Block is also adjacent to existing production facilities. The Cendrawasih VIII block in Papua is estimated to have gas resources of 3.84 trillion cubic feet and 1.02 billion barrels of oil. This block is located in a remote area and lacks facilities.

IN INDONESIA

Pemerintah Segera Buka Lelang Blok Migas 2020

Pemerintah akan menggelar lelang wilayah kerja (WK) tahap I tahun ini pada kuartal pertama ini. Dalam lelang kali ini, pemerintah akan kembali menawarkan opsi production sharing contract/PSC skema biaya investasi yang dapat dikembalikan (cost recovery), selain skema bagi hasil kotor (gross split) Menteri Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (ESDM) Arifin Tasrif menuturkan, kedua skema lelang PSC akan ditawarkan kepada investor dalam lelang blok migas di 2020 ini.

“Sudah bisa menggunakan dua skema kontrak minyak dan gas. Tetapi kami sedang benahi dulu ketentuan cost recovery. Kami benarkan yang kurang pas,” kata dia di Jakarta.

Terkait blok minyak dan gas yang akan dilelang, Pelaksana Tugas Direktur Jenderal Minyak dan Gas Bumi Kementerian ESDM Djoko Siswanto menambahkan belum dapat memastikan jumlahnya. 

Pasalnya, pihaknya masih menunggu hasil kajian pihaknya bersama Badan Geologi dan Satuan Kerja Kerja Pelaksana Kegiatan Usaha Hulu Minyak dan Gas Bumi (SKK Migas) terkait blok migas mana saja yang siap dilelang. Blok migas yang tidak diminati dalam lelang tahun lalu juga akan dilelang ulang di 2020 ini.

“Ya [blok migas] kemarin yang tidak diminati dilelang ulang. Mungkin lelang akan di kuartal satu,” tutur Djoko.

Sayangnya, Djoko tidak merinci blok mana saja yang akan dilelang ulang. Sebagai informasi, terdapat delapan blok migas yang tidak diminati investor pada tiga tahap lelang yang digelar pada 2019. Rincinya, Blok West Kampar, West Kaimana, Kutai, Bone, East Gebang, West Tanjung I, Belayan I, serta Cendrawasih VIII. 

Blok West Kampar yang berlokasi di daratan Riau dan Sumatera Utara, memiliki sumber daya migas 4,3 miliar barel setar minyak. Blok West Kaimana Sumber daya minyak blok ini yakni 2,44 miliar barel dan gas 4,64 triliun kaki kubik. 

Selanjutnya, Blok East Gebang memiliki 6 prospek dan 7 lead dengan perkiraan sebesar 1,36 triliun kaki kubik. Blok ini juga berdekatan dengan fasilitas dan infrastruktur produksi di Blok Gebang dan Glagah Kambuna. 

Blok West Tanjung I memiliki 6 lead dengan perkiraan sumber daya minyak 150 juta barel. Blok ini berdekatan dengan beberapa blok yang memiliki fasilitas bagus dan bisa diikutkan (tie-in) dengan Blok Karendan dan Tanjung.

Blok Belayan I memiliki basin yang telah terbukti dengan perkiraan sumber daya 2,59 miliar barel minyak. Di blok ini, setidaknya terdapat tiga jenis play, yakni structural, stratigaphic, dan kombinasi, di mana teridentifikasi 4 prospek dan 10 lead. 

Blok Belayan I juga berdekatan dengan fasilitas produksi eksisting. Blok Cendrawasih VIII di Papua diperkirakan memiliki sumber daya gas 3,84 triliun kaki kubik dan minyak 1,02 miliar barel. Blok ini berlokasi di wilayah terpencil dan minim fasilitas.

Investor Daily, Page-9, Monday, Jan 13, 2020

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