Dagboek, april-mei 2000, nieuw bezoek aan Oost Timor

De 'derde invasie'

Oost-Timor, weer hetzelfde liedje, oktober 1999

Dagboek, 26 oktober tot 17 november 1999. De situatie na de volksraadpleging.

Dagboek, 14 augustus tot 09 september 1999

Kort nieuws, 23 augustus 1999

Andere paginas over Oost Timor

Elite forces scouted island from April

UN investigation only a first step

Army defectors 'training militias to kill UN forces'

East Timor: Army's Plot and A Human Tragedy.

I would do same again, leader says 'Xanana' Gusmao

What caused the Ambon violence?

Blood on their hands

East Timor Retrospective

A Profile of Jose Ramos-Horta

Indonesia's special forces

Violence in E. Timor had parallel in 1969

E. Timor Failure Puts U.N. On Spot Interventionist Ability in Doubt

Business interests are behind Indonesia's fight to hold on to East Timor

US trained butchers of Timor

The East Timor Operation

The Covert Dirty War


The Covert Dirty War

By Dr Andrew McNaughtan

Information Officer


There is an orchestrated and engineered campaign taking place in East Timor at present that is coming from the top of ABRI / TNI. It aims to sabotage the possibility of the East Timorese obtaining independence through a free and fair vote under the auspices of the United Nations.

This military campaign was initiated about October last year but has obviously been speeded up since Habibie's announcement on 27th January this year that if the East Timorese population does not accept autonomy, they will be allowed independence.

It seems photographic evidence became available late last year that there was increased activity (such as movements of trucks and personell) in a camp or camps close to Atambua in West Timor

. This coincides with information from a well placed friend that " On 24 to 26th October 1998 was the acceptance of a large number of new recruits with priority given to young ETese and young people of NTT " - to initiate the militias in East Timor itself. He said further " The aim of all this is to cause division among the people of ET"

. However " many registrations were from the NTT youth because the ET youth were not interested." He also said that "besides the capacity of ABRI, there are (plans for) 11,000 informal troops in East Timor".

It was at this time - on November 10th , 1998 (according to the source) - that 400 Kopassus Group 4 (real nasties) landed at the port of Kupang in West Timor and headed east. These Kopassus intelligence or Satgas Int - SGI - have been the operators and handlers of the pre-existing paramilitary units in Timor - Team Saka, Alpha etc. It would be an obvious choice by the military to use existing systems and mechanisms to implement the new militia policy. Additionally a source in Kupang reported that there were many hundreds of troops being covertly landed and trucked towards East Timor at that time. He noted they went east with weapons and came back without them. This would imply a mechanism for the stockpiling of many hundreds or thousands of weapons in East Timor.

This process of secret training camps for local and West Timorese militias being operated by Kopassus in camps in West Timor but close to the East Timor border is of course familiar - Operasi Komodo of 1975. Again this is being done with the intention of creating conflict and repression inside East Timor that can be misrepresented to the outside world as 'civil war' between 'warring factions'.

If this was happening , why was it already being done in October last year ? Probably because ABRI was alarmed at the growing confidence and outspokenness of the East Timorese population after the fall of Suharto and onset of 'Reformasi' and realised their control was being eroded. They felt under pressure to be seen internationally to be releasing their stranglehold on East Timor but were afraid of the consequences of doing that - the likely growing strength of demands for independence. So they did what comes naturally - engaged in deception.

They publicly organised a ætroop withdrawalÆ PR exercise on the Dili docks (at the end of July) whilst covertly arranging redeployments to maintain or increase their numbers (which were already much higher than they admitted publicly). This deception however only worked for a while. The covert troop landings and arrivals became public within some weeks and the world knew they were keeping the jackboot in place and engaging in a cover-up. Shortly after this leaked ABRI documents became public - showing their numbers in Etimor were much higher than they had previously admitted . These documents (verified by various agencies as genuine) showed that ABRI had about 18,000 army and police and with their already existing paramilitaries and militia their total force was about 21,600.

In this era of æReformasiÆ they must have felt they needed a more indirect way to keep the population frightened. Their own actions were becoming too publicly visible. They needed 'plausible deniability' with their tactics of oppression. It is probably at that point the militia campaign was conceptualised. This program would have a number of advantages from their perspective - it could create the perception of 'warring factions' of Timorese who are a 'deeply divided people' etc., then ABRI could pretend to be at arm's length seemingly trying to 'restore order' between the factions. As the process developed it could be used to argue that ABRI could not be withdrawn from ET as they were now needed to Ækeep the peaceÆ . Again the echo of 1975 (when ABRI claimed they came in to 'restore order' between 'warring Timorese factions').

When Habibie made his announcement on January 27th that Timor could be released if the people did not accept the autonomy package, the ABRI high command must have choked. They had obviously not been consulted and had their own agenda separate from Habibie's. Reports from inside East Timor at the time (January/February) indicated that ABRI were making plans for a long term stay in ET - whilst the international community was relieved that Habibie was seemingly making plans to let ET go.

At this time the militia campaign would have been stepped up - with the purpose of enforcing the continued 'integration' of East Timor into Indonesia. It was about then that the MAHIDI militia appeared in the south west of ETimor in their campaign of terror around Suai - leading to some killings and thousands of terrified refugees. MAHIDI - in addition to being the acronym for 'Live or Die by Integration' also happens to be the name of Mahidin Simbolon - Deputy Commander of Kodam 9, the Bali command centre for operations in East Timor. Simbolon has a Kopassus background and was military commander of Timor previously. MAHIDI were operating with the blatant support of ABRI (for example when Mahidi and ABRI together attacked the village of Gallitas) and had already been supplied with automatic weapons.

On the north west coast Besih Merah Putih appeared. This area of Timor is populated by Belu people whose tribal group straddles the border with West Timor (where the majority of the Belu people live). From ABRI's point of view this would be a strategically good place to commence operations. It would be possible to control the northern (as well as southern) access roads to Dili , bring in militias from the training camps across the border and set them up pretending they are the nucleus of a threatened civil war if a vote on independence is allowed to go ahead. The source of a potential mercenary militia would be plentiful in West Timor with poverty, unemployment and misinformation about East Timor. The West Timorese presence in the BMP militia has been consistently reported and would be a factor in their willingness to attack victims inside a church and in a priests house (something even pro-integration East Timorese would be unlikely to do). Since then the numbers would have been augmented by locals , some of whom are press-ganged by threat to families etc.( as was shown in the film "License to Kill" and the recent comments by Aniceto Guterres, the Director of Yayasan Hak in Dili). It appears that some of the guns distributed may have disappeared 'up the mountains' and this may explain the apparent reluctance of ABRI to hand out more. Evidence is that within the militia groups there are ABRI (probably Kopassus) personnel in plain clothes. They probably have a supervising and controlling role and may be directly responsible for the killing. For instance survivors of the killings at Manuel Carrascalao's house described known ABRI members in balaclavas being involved in the killing .The photo on the front page of 'The Australian' on 1/5/99 entitled 'Marching in step : how Indonesian army still controls Timor militias' showed two 'militia members' walking with ABRI - all with automatic weapons. Interestingly the 'militia members' don't look Timorese, are wearing shiny new army boots and carry their automatic weapons with suspicious ease. They are most likely Kopassus in plain clothes. It is likely that the automatic weapons are given mainly to the ABRI supervisors within the militias, as ABRI do not fully 'trust' their militias.

Funding for this from Jakarta has been plentiful. It was an open secret that 26 billion Rupiahs (about 5 million AUS $) were being made available for this project in early February . There has no doubt been much more since. However there are indications that the money supply, to keep the killing and oppression going, may be drying up - there are reports that recent payments to the militias have been by counterfeit notes which have no serial numbers The IMF should be interested in this.

Habibie's motivation for letting East Timor go is obviously not based on humanitarian concern - but sound logic. The ET occupation is costing Indonesia a lot of money it can no longer afford and is a constant erosion of its international standing - something it needs to bolster now more than before. From Indonesia's viewpoint, letting East Timor go is logical . And of course East Timor wants overwhelmingly to be released.

But ABRI motivation to retain East Timor by force seems very deep - at least amongst the military elite. They would seem to be driven very much by a desire not to 'lose face' - especially having fought so long and 'invested' so much there. This may ironically be bolstered (in their minds) by the worsening perception of ABRI in Indonesia They may feel that if they are seen to let Timor go, it will become obvious to one and all that they are not only reviled , but they are ineffectual and beatable. At least if they are hated, they want to be feared. Marzuki Darusman (head of Komnas Ham and prominent Golkar leader) stated recently " If East Timor was let go, it would discredit the whole armed forces completely." He noted that "Of course ABRI could stop the militias", if they wanted to.

Financial interests of some ABRI officers and Suharto cronies in East Timor (as outlined in the recent article by George Aditjondro) have played a part in their thinking . And the military would rationalise that the terror campaign they have in place is necessary to protect the integrity of the Indonesian state. However this argument is flawed : to use a medical analogy - failing to amputate a severely damaged and infected body part may ultimately infect and kill the host body. A bloody repression and total debacle in Timor (as ABRI seem hell-bent on creating ) will simply further poison the political environment internationally and in Indonesia and add to the growing anger of the Indonesian people as well as the Acehnese, West Papuans and so on. The future of Indonesia generally (if ABRI bastadry is allowed to continue unchecked by the international community) will be grim indeed.

Unfortunately there are not yet any signs that ABRI are thinking of behaving honestly, transparently or with honour and integrity in East Timor (or Indonesia). There has been significant international pressure to get ABRI to restrain their ongoing dirty war in Timor (and disarm the militias etc) but so far with no effect on the ground. In fact the campaign has become more widespread, blatant and pitiless - there are now hundreds of victims and tens of thousands of displaced people and internal refugees.

Presumptions that this process must be endorsed from the top of the armed forces, are now verified. General Adam Damiri (Commander of Kodam 9 in Bali) was present in East Timor immediately before the recent massacre in Liquica. A few weeks later Gen. Zacki Anwar (former head of army intelligence BIA) and Gen. Kiki Syahnakri were in Dili when the militias were let loose on the defenseless population and dozens were killed. They were, in effect, endorsing and controlling the terror campaign. It may be significant that when Manuel Carrascalao pleaded with East Timor's military commander Tono Suratman at that time to stop the fatal attack on his house, Suratman replied it was 'beyond his control'. He was almost certainly taking orders from his superiors Anwar and Syahnakri.

On May 4th the Jakarta Post reported on a Cabinet meeting in Jakarta that involved Wiranto and Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah (an old Timor hand). According to Wiranto, CNRT had lost its roots in 10 of the province's 13 regencies. Wiranto said pro-integration groups had received wide support from the province's 800,000 residents, describing pro-integration sympathizers as a "silent majority". "Only in Viqueque, Baucau and Manatuto does CNRT still exist," Yunus (Yosfiah) said". By now it is clear that Wiranto is not simply 'turning a blind eye' to events in Timor, he is being briefed about the progress of the dirty war and noting how well the process  leader of the military force that , according to the UN, is supposed to maintain security in a neutral manner for a free vote in East Timor!

Wiranto had supervised a æpeace accord Æ on April 21st in Dili that was supposed tostop militia violence. However the violence was allowed to continue completely unchecked and in fact all evidence is that it escalated after this. In spite of the complete discrepancy between the stated objectives of ABRI and the clear evidence of worsening violence and thuggery taking place, not one ABRI officer or soldier has been disciplined or removed and not one militia member has been arrested or even restrained in their actions.

It seems that when Australia's Ambassador McCarthy recently asked ABRI top brass about whether they were planning to interfere with the UN process in East Timor, they just rolled their eyes and smiled.

ABRI bastadry in East Timor at least equals and probably exceeds Serb cruelty in Kosovo - yet the world is almost ignoring it. Belgrade is bombed whilst the world only whispers to Jakarta about a crime that is at least commensurate. The unanswered and continuing screams of pain from within East Timor are an indictment of the world's selective conscience and the hypocrisy of the international community - and especially governments like ours in Australia. Whilst Ruddock and Howard grandstand about receiving Kosovar refugees they warn East Timorese trying to flee their nearby hell that they won't be accepted here.

Unless the world wakes up soon and acts effectively to stop the ongoing horror in East Timor, the people there will be condemned to a continuing nightmare - until they get to participate in a 'vote' that may be simply a farce. But if the world thinks the problem of East Timor may disappear after such a final injustice, it may be badly mistaken.

The world must wake up now and act to put an end to this outrage that violates the fundamental civilised alues of us all .