Fretilin Situation Analysis and Perspectives

Situation Analysis and Perspectives

FRETILIN’s Central Committee convened in Dili on 29 October 2006 to
discuss the situation in the country and, particularly, in the capital
city of Dili. The Central Committee drew the following conclusions:
The crisis, its origins and development
1.      The crisis currently affecting
Timor-Leste is essentially a political conflict. The disregard for the
country’s democratic constitutional framework and the ways and means used
to bring about a crisis reflect the anti-democratic and coup-like nature
of recent events.

2. The moves aimed at disrupting constitutional rule involved both
internal and external actors. There were various stages in the process,
which took many different forms, viz.:

the attempt to force the establishment of a Government of National Unity
in 2002;

the political pressure aimed at bringing about new elections in

the attempt at overthrowing the Government on 4 December 2002;

the demonstrations throughout 2003 using various fringe groups within the

the attempt at a political manipulation of the veterans’ issue, including
the demonstration by former commander L-7 and other veterans in

the demonstration convened by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in
2005 and, finally,

the demonstration by the petitioners in April 2006

the breakdown of institutional solidarity which is a prerequisite to a
smooth collaboration between organs of sovereignty and

the current crisis;
3. Over the past four years, a carefully designed counter-intelligence
plan was gradually implemented. Actions undertaken included:

creating a climate of rivalry and mutual suspicion between F-FDTL and

using the media and rumours to tarnish the Government’s image, and
particularly that of its Prime Minister;

stressing the different approaches taken by the President of the Republic
and the Prime Minister and driving a wedge between the two, thus
undermining their institutional relationship,

creating a split within FRETILIN and undermining its leadership;

organizing groups for recurrent demonstrations;

creating an atmosphere of chaos and nongovernability;

enticing the Armed Forces into staging a coup aimed at “saving the
country” and overthrowing a supposedly “unpopular government”;.

4. However, the High Command of F-FDTL took a clear stand in support of
Timor-Leste’s Constitution and democratically-elected institutions. The
mentors of the abovementioned plan had therefore to resort to:

creating a split within F-FDTL to undermine the institution;

enticing PNTL so as to ensure its inaction when the time came to defend
democratically-elected institutions; as well as creating a split within
the Police Forces with a view to ensure the support of part of the forces
to the actions aimed at overthrowing the Government;

turning the issue engendered within F-FDTL of an alleged “discrimination”
Loro Monu/Loro Sa´e into a nationwide issue; and making the Loro
Monu/Loro Sa´e issue bear on all State institutions, in particular
defense and security institutions;

mobilizing and organizing small groups to stage demonstrations and to
engage in widespread violence with a view to disrupting daily life and
creating an atmosphere of nongovernability;

denouncing the Government’s “inability and ineptitude” in solving the
crisis and thus demanding its dismissal;

striking hard at the party holding power, denouncing the illegal status
of its leadership so as to create a more favourable setting for the
establishment of a new Government;

to masquerade as much as possible the overthrow of the Prime Minister, to
make it look not as a coup but as a legal act pursuant to the President
of the Republic’s constitutional powers;

in order to achieve this a) pressuring the Prime Minister and demanding
his resignation and b) faking respect for the Constitution in the
establishment of a new cabinet by calling it 2nd
Constitutional Government.

in so doing, creating a feeling of injustice and leaving the new
Government under a cloud of suspicion regarding its legitimacy;

on the whole, causing a crisis amongst leaders at all levels of the
State, thus beheading the Nation, causing the breakdown of the State’s
authority and putting Timor-Leste’s sovereignty into jeopardy.
The current crisis has resulted from a set of coordinated actions typical
of a well-designed and well-executed conspiracy.
The main objective of the conspiracy was to strike at the country’s
historical leadership so as to behead the Nation, cause a breakdown of
the State’s authority and jeopardize national sovereignty.
The main weapons used were, on the one hand, a disinformation and
counter-information campaign that resorted to rumours and allegations of
all kinds. And, on the other hand, acts of violence against citizens and
their property with a view to deepen inter-group or inter-regional
conflicts, falsely described as being ethnic conflicts.
The main stage in the implementation of this conspiratorial plan required
undermining of the country’s defense and security institutions and
driving a wedge between national leaders, putting them against one
In order to create a split within the country’s leadership, many
different means were used. The struggle for power was depicted as the
main cause behind the conflict. When others approaches failed,
allegations were produced about crimes that had supposedly been
committed. This was aimed at “sowing a seed of mistrust” in an already
fertile soil of deep institutional crisis;
As there were no crimes, they had to be concocted by counter-intelligence
services using the national and international media. Examples of alleged
crimes include the “massacre” in Tasi Tolu, the “death squads”, “the
illegal import and distribution of weapons by FRETILIN”. The alleged
crimes made the headlines of several newspapers and were aired on
prime-time television and radio networks. The rumours got into people’s
minds but have now been proved to be completely unfounded;
Once again, the media, and particularly some Australian media, played a
crucial role in this orchestrated campaign which was typical of a
However, the objectives the abovementioned actions were not fully
achieved. They included:
overthrowing the Government,

dissolving the National Parliament,

controlling the judiciary and placing it at the service of the

establishing a “Government of National Unity” and postponing

dismembering F-FDTL,

“taming” FRETILIN, by replacing its leaders with more individuals more
prone to manipulation.
We believe that a “Plan B” could now be set into motion. Such plan would
involve, on the one hand, more selective terrorist activities. And, on
the other hand, a careful and more extensive use of measures in the realm
of politics, administration, the economy and the judiciary with a view to
undermining even further the authority of the State, beheading the Nation
by getting rid of its historical leadership, stirring up communities to
provoke a widespread reaction and to bring about an atmosphere of
generalized social and political unrest. Under such circumstances,
Timor-Leste could be declared a failed state and that would warrant a
more forceful and extensive intervention in the name of humanitarian
needs and regional and international security.
II. The Report by the International Commission of Inquiry
In the wake of a request submitted by the Government of Timor-Leste,
the United Nations set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry to
establish some of the facts that occurred at the beginning of the crisis,
viz. the incidents on 28-29 April and 23-25 May and other related events
or issues, and to recommend measures to ensure accountability.
The Commission completed its work and submitted a report to the National
Parliament. Copies were also provided to Timor-Leste’s other organs of
sovereignty. The report was also submitted to His Excellency the
Secretary-General of the UN and to the Chairperson of the UN Committee on
Human Rights. The report makes reference to more than 2,000 documents
that were examined and to some 200 interviews that were arranged by the
Commission. However, no annex was included with documentary proof to
support the findings and recommendations included in the report.
The report is lacking in some respects. But in the other areas, it
clearly goes beyond the Commission’s mandate. For instance, when the
report refers to the 4 December 2002 incident. At the time, UNMISET had
sole responsibility for defense and security. Responsibility for dealing
with the serious disruption of public order that occurred at the time can
in no way be placed with the Government and PNTL, as is stated in the
report. The home of the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri was burned, as were
other infrastructures, and the inquiry should have been conducted by the
International Police.
The Commission’s efforts to provide an historical introduction, in
particular of Timor-Leste’s last three decades, are commendable and
suggest a serious intellectual pursuit of the historical roots for the
crisis. However, the Commission overlooks the crisis’s proximate causes,
by stating facts without relating them to their causes. And it ignores
other facts that are just as important as those included in the
The Commission carried out an in-depth investigation into some of the
most serious allegations, which were shown to be false. However, that has
not been made public in the report. One example is the false allegation
regarding the existence of three containers with “illegally imported”
weapons. The Commission also failed to state very clearly, as was its
duty, that the allegation that FRETILIN had distributed weapons was also
false. If the Commission was able to determine that there was no illegal
import of weapons, and that FRETILIN did not distribute weapons amongst
delegates to its party congress nor to any one else, why are such facts
omitted from the report?
The Commission makes reference to institutional shortcomings and to the
fact that institutional mechanisms were not used or were bypassed, adding
that some of those in charge of organs of sovereignty failed to use their
firm authority. In so doing, the Commission omits the Prime Minister’s
endeavours, viz.:

            1. A
letter to Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates (10 May 2006)
requesting the deployment of a GNR company:

            2. A
letter to the President of the Republic Xanana Gusmão (27 May 2006)
asking him to convene the Council of State and the Superior Council for
Defense and Security;

Keeping the Crisis Cabinet operational until his resignation on 26 June
2006, inter alia;

Establishing a Commission of Notables;

Establishing a co-ordination mechanism between F-FDTL and PNTL;
The Commission dealt with the evidence before it in an unbalanced way.
Regarding F-FDTL, it took the mobilization of reservists as being
equivalent to “supplying weapons to civilians” and concluded that
responsibility for this lay with the Minister of Defense and the key
figures in F-FDTL’s High Command who should therefore be prosecuted.
However, the Commission was far more lenient with PNTL. It did not
recommend that PNTL’s General Commander be prosecuted, preferring to put
all the blame on the Minister of the Interior. In so doing, it blatantly
ignored the fact that it was the General Commander who was responsible
for the breakdown of PNTL, that it was him who evaded his duties before
the Government and took orders from other entities;
In the report, the Commission ignored the various meetings held at
Palácio das Cinzas and at the President of the Republic Xanana Gusmão’s
residence, choosing to pass over the matters discussed at those
It also ignored the meetings between the then Minister of Foreign Affairs
and Cooperation and individuals such as Alfredo, Railos, Tara, etc. which
were the object of extensive media coverage at the time.
It also ignored the role played by the SRSG in Timor-Leste, Mr. Sukehiro
The Commission did not address the Loro Monu/Loro Sa´e issue in depth
with a view to assigning responsibilities for this artificial division
brought forth in Timor-Leste’s society;
The Commission also chose to ignore the role of the hierarchy of the
Catholic Church, and made no reference to key individuals from opposition
parties who were involved in actions aimed at undermining the State;
However, in its recommendations, the Commission went beyond its mandate
by recommending “solutions” purportedly aimed at strengthening the
Thus, the Commission failed in completing the task it had set itself. Its
report gave us half-truths. Contrary to expectations, it does not
contribute to solve the crisis. The report is valued for what it is
worth, and it should be assessed in a critical and unambiguous
It is now up to Timor-Leste’s organs of sovereignty to boldly take the
decisions that the current circumstances require, so as to put an end to
the ongoing crisis.
III. The responsibilities of the Timorese leadership
A country like Timor-Leste, which was born out of a long struggle for
national liberation, depends upon the resoluteness of its People and upon
the ability of its leadership to mobilize and unite the People around the
Nation’s main goals.
Traditionally, countries like ours have been intentionally set off course
by a range of actions including:
creating splits within the leadership and separating it from the

undermining institutions and individuals of particular symbolic value
from the viewpoint of asserting nationhood,

dividing the people in order to rule.
We have to acknowledge that the ongoing crisis presents all these
And that Timor-Leste’s historical leadership fell into a well-set trap, a
well-designed conspiracy involving internal and external actors.
Timor-Leste’s historical leadership should therefore acknowledge, in a
unanimous and straightforward manner:
that we gave leeway to political manipulation;

that there are collective, as well as individual

that such responsibilities must be the object of an in-depth analysis and
that the origins of the crisis have to be identified,

that the whole truth has to be made public so that the People may know
what has happened.

that justice has to be made and that this should contribute to put an end
to the crisis.
At this crucial moment in time, the Timorese Leadership must be able to
overcome their differences. Together, we must fight to reassert national
dignity, to restore Law and Order, to reaffirm the State’s authority in
all realms of society, to reassert national sovereignty and
The Government and the National Parliament must take a more resolute
stand in defending the sovereignty of the State. More forceful measures
must be adopted with a view to normalizing the security situation and
reactivating PNTL, so as to allow displaced people to return to their
places of origin.
The Government and the National Parliament should undertake all the
necessary steps aimed at ensuring that the elections take place on the
required dates, pursuant to Timor-Leste’s Constitution.
FRETILIN strongly appeals to all its members to contribute to putting an
end to violence, by courageously denouncing to the authorities any
individuals involved in unlawful acts.
The people of Timor-Leste want this to happen, and they want it to happen
Dili, 29 October 2006.

The Central Committee of FRETILIN




Mari Alkatiri


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