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Twitter Farce Follows Revelations of Australia Spying on Indonesian President

It has taken a “conservative political and communications strategist” to catch the imagination of netizens during the current diplomatic standoff between Australia and Indonesia over spying revelations. Indonesia's president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has tweeted to protest phone tapping by Australia's Defence Signals Directorate, which included his and his wife's phones in 2009:

The revelations are contained in a series of Powerpoint slides. This one lists the targets of the phone tapping:

Indonesian surveillance targets

Indonesian surveillance targets
Document leaked by Edward Snowden

On 20 November 2013 Mark Textor, pollster and political tactician for Australia’s ruling Liberal Party, experienced one of those twitter moments: ‘Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970s Pilipino porn star and has ethics to match’. [The misspelling is his own.] It was an apparent reference to the Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa.

His deletion of the offending tweet did not save Textor from embarrassment:

His deletion was followed by an a denial and apology of sorts.

His twitter apology served to focus attention on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s refusal to apologise because he will not discuss national security matters:

Tweets also captured the humour of the moment:

Textor has deleted his twitter account, apparently because of death threats but Vermeera has sounded a cynical note:

Inevitably it has been replaced by fake accounts:

It seems that we now have #Textor’s Law: the most social media savvy spin doctors are only 140 characters away from their inevitable brain snap. It has something to do with wishing you could eat your words.

SBY has suspended military and intelligence cooperation with Australia and cooperation on people smugglers. Meanwhile, a small crowd of protestors in Jakarta has burned Australian flags.

Demonstration in front of the Australian Embassy, Jakarta, Photo by Denny Pohan, Copyright @Demotix (11/21/2013)

Demonstration in front of the Australian Embassy, Jakarta, Photo by Denny Pohan, Copyright @Demotix (11/21/2013)

After the leaks by Edward Snowden, Australian security agencies must be wondering about the wisdom of sharing with the United States the Powerpoint about spying on the Indonesian government.

Update: Carolina has a Global Voices post on the online reactions from Indonesian netizens: Indonesia-Australia Diplomatic Tension Escalates Over Wiretapping

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