Monthly Archives: August 2007

GLW Book Rev.

Australia: International oil thief

Green Left Weekly – August 22, 2007

[Shakedown: Australia’s grab for Timor oil. By Paul Cleary. Allen &
Unwin, 2007. 336 pages, $29.95. Reviewed by Vannessa Hearman.]

This is a story about how Australia bullied East Timor out of its
rightful share of oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Paul
Cleary, a journalist for the Australian newspaper, was a media
adviser with the Timor Sea Office during the bilateral negotiations.
The negotiations are set in the context of East Timor’s political
history and its difficulties in the post-independence period. This
allows the reader to gain a fuller picture of why the negotiations
were crucial and how this country has been denied its resources and
its freedom over and over again. Cleary has combined political
history and some development theory with eyewitness accounts of the
negotiations and some lessons in maritime law.

The close connections between the state and business are amply
demonstrated in this book. Australian imperialism worked hard at
helping secure the interests of businesses like Woodside Petroleum to
access the Timor Sea resources, by collaborating to secure a deal to
exploit the Greater Sunrise field and to reject Timorese requests
that the pipeline be built to East Timor, rather than to Darwin.
Bullying and dirty tactics, in the name of the “national interest”,
are all legitimate. These included accessing the communications of
those who were working in the Timor Sea Office, as well as the more
despicable act of withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2002, to avoid
international adjudication of the dispute.

Cleary gives us an account of the personalities involved. In contrast
to the voluminous coverage given elsewhere to people like Xanana
Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta, information about other political
leaders in East Timor can be scant and Cleary has provided a picture
of several of East Timor’s political leaders who are not as
well-known and perhaps not as loved by Western media commentators.
These include Fretilin secretary general and then- prime minister
Mari Alkatiri; lead negotiator and former Brisbane lawyer Jose
Teixeira, and son of independence fighter Nicolau Lobato, Jose Lobato
Goncalves who was wrested from his mother’s arms just before she was
executed in 1975.

The stories of many Timorese are remarkable indeed, a story of
struggle, sometimes of diasporic dispersement and of survival in such
recent times. Many on the other side of the negotiating table,
diplomats and oil men would probably not be able to boast of such
tales however. The book contrasts the Australian officials’ words and
actions to those of Australian civil society, particularly
philanthropist businessperson Ian Melrose and the Timor Sea Justice
Campaign in Melbourne.

Spending large parts of his time in East Timor, Cleary struggles
somewhat in portraying the events and the excitement of the campaign
for oil justice in Australia, and does not capture adequately the
underlying dynamics driving the campaign. People demonstrated outside
government buildings in many cities and came to wintry halls in
far-flung parts of Melbourne to hear about and participate in the
campaign. The Timorese civil society also ran a determined campaign
against Australian officialdom, which resulted in some of these
organisations losing Australian government funding for criticising
Australian government policy on the Timor Sea.

Cleary has tried to reflect on the social and political realities of
post-independence East Timor and how fighting the Australian
government for four years impacted on the government’s ability to run
the country. He outlines the intention of safeguarding the income
from the Timor Sea through the Petroleum Fund, but he also criticises
the government for not spending enough in the economy, thus driving
the economy into the ground. He documents the corruption, collusion
and nepotism plaguing the early years of the Fretilin-led government.

The outcome of the 2005 negotiations, an agreement on 50% revenue
from the Greater Sunrise oil field was, as Cleary has demonstrated, a
vast improvement on what the Australian government was offering in
2001. In return, no maritime boundary discussions were to be held for 50 years.

When contemplating this, one is left with a distinct bitter taste in
the mouth, reflecting on Australia’s dirty tactics to force East
Timor to accept a large compromise like this and then to brand the
country as “not very well-governed”, as Australian troops landed in
Dili in 2006 to “restore order” following unrest.

For a well-written and informative account of yet another act of
bastardry by Canberra, read this book, because the struggle continues.

etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan

Advertisements

east timor conflic

Green Left Weekly

Behind the conflict in East Timor

Tony Iltis

17 August 2007

On August 6, East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta appointed his
predecessor, Xanana Gusmao, prime minister and asked him to form a
government without Fretilin, the largest party in the parliament
elected on June 30. Despite the constitutional legitimacy of this
being unclear, Gusmao’s government was sworn in on August 8. Since
Ramos Horta’s decision there have been outbreaks of rioting and
arson, as well as protests that were tear-gassed by UN police and the
Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF).

Fretilin won 29% of the vote — a drop of 28% from 2001 — giving
them 21 seats in the 65-seat parliament while Gusmao’s National
Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) won 24% of the vote and
18 seats. The CNRT has formed a coalition with two other parties,
giving Gusmao’s new government a comfortable majority in parliament.
However, Fretilin has argued that under the constitution the party
that won the largest number of seats should have been asked to
attempt to form a government first. Given that a Fretilin government
would have been unable to win a parliamentary confidence vote, the
final outcome would have been the same.

The Western media, in particular that of Australia, has portrayed the
disorder as the organised work of “Fretilin mobs”. However, Fretilin
leaders have been touring the country urging calm. The unrest cannot
be explained by the constitutional wrangling: it can only be
understood in the context of the internal divisions, and growing
suspicion towards Australia, created by the ousting of Fretilin prime
minister Mari Alkatiri in June 2006 and his replacement with
then-foreign minister Ramos Horta. This coup left 37 dead, 150,000
internally displaced people and was the pretext for the deployment of
the ISF. The past fortnight’s disturbances have created another 4000
internally displaced people. Alkatiri has accused Australia of being
behind his overthrow. At the time, Australian politicians and media
played a significant role in pushing since-discredited allegations
blaming Alkatiri for the violence unleashed by a mutiny in the
security forces led by officers Alfredo Renaido and Vicente Rai Los
da Conceicao. Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for
Alkatiri’s resignation.

“There’s a very strong sense amongst lot of people, not just Fretilin
supporters, that Australia has been intervening in [East Timor’s]
political process”, Tim Anderson, senior lecturer in political
economy at Sydney University, told Green Left Weekly. This sentiment
was evident on July 26, when Howard, on a one-day visit to East Timor
to spend his birthday with the Australian troops, provoked
demonstrations demanding the troops’ withdrawal by commenting that he
expected Gusmao to be the next prime minister.

According to Anderson, the ISF troops were involved in petty
harassment of Fretilin’s election campaign, “stopping people on the
way to rallies and confiscating banners”, while the Australian media
made “constant attacks aimed at de-legitimising Fretilin”. Similar
allegations were made during the presidential election campaign in
May, when Ramos Horta defeated Fretilin’s Francisco Guterres Lu’Olo.

The events of 2006 created both polarisation on partisan lines and
disillusionment with the entire political establishment. “The
popularity of Fretilin was damaged but that of Xanana Gusmao more
so”, Anderson argued, pointing out that Gusmao had won 80% of the
vote in the 2001 presidential elections.

“He is seen as having used violence to undermine the first democratic
government — trust in that man has been seriously undermined.”
Particularly damaging were his links with Reinado, even after the
latter had “killed army officers.”

Anderson pointed to an “asymmetry and partisan nature” on the part of
the ISF, which devoted its energy to “preventing Fretilin rallies
while ignoring violence in Dili” mainly directed against communities
in which Fretilin had a high level of support. This extended to the
way in which those involved in the coup were dealt with. While former
justice minister Rogario Lobato was imprisoned for distributing arms
to civilians, “he didn’t kill people, while Rai Los, who did, was on
the staff of Ramos Horta’s presidential election campaign”.

Rai Los remains unpunished. During the parliamentary elections he was
working for Gusmao’s campaign. The Australian-trained Reinado was
arrested after the 2006 events but escaped from custody shortly after
while the ISF were apparently looking the other way. “Australia made
half-hearted attempts at catching him but the Xanana/Ramos Horta camp
encouraged them to back off”, said Anderson. The July 20 Sydney
Morning Herald reported that the hunt for Reinado had been officially
called off.

The Catholic Church has also been accused of playing a partisan role
in the elections. “The church was very strongly identified with the
2006 coup … The church hierarchy is anti-Fretilin”, Anderson said,
explaining that this began in 2005 when the Fretilin government tried
to make religious education voluntary in schools. The church
organised a demonstration against the proposal with logistical
support from the US embassy.

Anderson argued that the hostility towards Fretilin from Australia
and other Western powers reflected that, while its progressiveness
should not be overstated, “the first post-independence government had
some important achievements”.

He said that one of these was winning a fairer share of the Timor Sea
oil and gas reserves than Australia would have liked. Australia has
been pushing for the Timor Sea gas-fields’ LPG refinery to be built
in Darwin, but the Fretilin government insisted that it should be in
East Timor. “This will be a test for the new government”, Anderson argued.

“[The Fretilin government] also followed an independent agricultural
policy: expanding rice production, in opposition to the demand of the
World Bank and Australia. They’ve increased production from one third
to two thirds of domestic needs.” He added that both major Australian
parties were opposed on principal to poor countries becoming
self-sufficient in food crops because it undermined the export
potential of Australian agribusiness.

Other achievements include abolishing school fees and introducing
free meals for primary students. Anderson said the government’s most
significant achievement was having “the fastest growing health
program in the region. With Cuban help, they have increased the
number of doctors in the country from 45 to 250 doctors. There are
currently 300 Cuban health workers in East Timor and 700 East
Timorese medical students studying in Cuba. The Cubans have also been
running a literacy program, because they believe you can’t have
health without education.”

He added that the new government was reviewing this program because
of the hostility it aroused from the US, the Catholic Church and
Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer. The number of East
Timorese medical scholarships in Cuba could be increased to 1000. In
a glaring contrast, there have never been more than 20 East Timorese
students on scholarships in Australia. This number has since been
reduced to 8 “because of the oil and gas dispute”, Anderson said.

Green Left Weekly

Behind the conflict in East Timor

Tony Iltis

17 August 2007

On August 6, East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta appointed his
predecessor, Xanana Gusmao, prime minister and asked him to form a
government without Fretilin, the largest party in the parliament
elected on June 30. Despite the constitutional legitimacy of this
being unclear, Gusmao’s government was sworn in on August 8. Since
Ramos Horta’s decision there have been outbreaks of rioting and
arson, as well as protests that were tear-gassed by UN police and the
Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF).

Fretilin won 29% of the vote — a drop of 28% from 2001 — giving
them 21 seats in the 65-seat parliament while Gusmao’s National
Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) won 24% of the vote and
18 seats. The CNRT has formed a coalition with two other parties,
giving Gusmao’s new government a comfortable majority in parliament.
However, Fretilin has argued that under the constitution the party
that won the largest number of seats should have been asked to
attempt to form a government first. Given that a Fretilin government
would have been unable to win a parliamentary confidence vote, the
final outcome would have been the same.

The Western media, in particular that of Australia, has portrayed the
disorder as the organised work of “Fretilin mobs”. However, Fretilin
leaders have been touring the country urging calm. The unrest cannot
be explained by the constitutional wrangling: it can only be
understood in the context of the internal divisions, and growing
suspicion towards Australia, created by the ousting of Fretilin prime
minister Mari Alkatiri in June 2006 and his replacement with
then-foreign minister Ramos Horta. This coup left 37 dead, 150,000
internally displaced people and was the pretext for the deployment of
the ISF. The past fortnight’s disturbances have created another 4000
internally displaced people. Alkatiri has accused Australia of being
behind his overthrow. At the time, Australian politicians and media
played a significant role in pushing since-discredited allegations
blaming Alkatiri for the violence unleashed by a mutiny in the
security forces led by officers Alfredo Renaido and Vicente Rai Los
da Conceicao. Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for
Alkatiri’s resignation.

“There’s a very strong sense amongst lot of people, not just Fretilin
supporters, that Australia has been intervening in [East Timor’s]
political process”, Tim Anderson, senior lecturer in political
economy at Sydney University, told Green Left Weekly. This sentiment
was evident on July 26, when Howard, on a one-day visit to East Timor
to spend his birthday with the Australian troops, provoked
demonstrations demanding the troops’ withdrawal by commenting that he
expected Gusmao to be the next prime minister.

According to Anderson, the ISF troops were involved in petty
harassment of Fretilin’s election campaign, “stopping people on the
way to rallies and confiscating banners”, while the Australian media
made “constant attacks aimed at de-legitimising Fretilin”. Similar
allegations were made during the presidential election campaign in
May, when Ramos Horta defeated Fretilin’s Francisco Guterres Lu’Olo.

The events of 2006 created both polarisation on partisan lines and
disillusionment with the entire political establishment. “The
popularity of Fretilin was damaged but that of Xanana Gusmao more
so”, Anderson argued, pointing out that Gusmao had won 80% of the
vote in the 2001 presidential elections.

“He is seen as having used violence to undermine the first democratic
government — trust in that man has been seriously undermined.”
Particularly damaging were his links with Reinado, even after the
latter had “killed army officers.”

Anderson pointed to an “asymmetry and partisan nature” on the part of
the ISF, which devoted its energy to “preventing Fretilin rallies
while ignoring violence in Dili” mainly directed against communities
in which Fretilin had a high level of support. This extended to the
way in which those involved in the coup were dealt with. While former
justice minister Rogario Lobato was imprisoned for distributing arms
to civilians, “he didn’t kill people, while Rai Los, who did, was on
the staff of Ramos Horta’s presidential election campaign”.

Rai Los remains unpunished. During the parliamentary elections he was
working for Gusmao’s campaign. The Australian-trained Reinado was
arrested after the 2006 events but escaped from custody shortly after
while the ISF were apparently looking the other way. “Australia made
half-hearted attempts at catching him but the Xanana/Ramos Horta camp
encouraged them to back off”, said Anderson. The July 20 Sydney
Morning Herald reported that the hunt for Reinado had been officially
called off.

The Catholic Church has also been accused of playing a partisan role
in the elections. “The church was very strongly identified with the
2006 coup … The church hierarchy is anti-Fretilin”, Anderson said,
explaining that this began in 2005 when the Fretilin government tried
to make religious education voluntary in schools. The church
organised a demonstration against the proposal with logistical
support from the US embassy.

Anderson argued that the hostility towards Fretilin from Australia
and other Western powers reflected that, while its progressiveness
should not be overstated, “the first post-independence government had
some important achievements”.

He said that one of these was winning a fairer share of the Timor Sea
oil and gas reserves than Australia would have liked. Australia has
been pushing for the Timor Sea gas-fields’ LPG refinery to be built
in Darwin, but the Fretilin government insisted that it should be in
East Timor. “This will be a test for the new government”, Anderson argued.

“[The Fretilin government] also followed an independent agricultural
policy: expanding rice production, in opposition to the demand of the
World Bank and Australia. They’ve increased production from one third
to two thirds of domestic needs.” He added that both major Australian
parties were opposed on principal to poor countries becoming
self-sufficient in food crops because it undermined the export
potential of Australian agribusiness.

Other achievements include abolishing school fees and introducing
free meals for primary students. Anderson said the government’s most
significant achievement was having “the fastest growing health
program in the region. With Cuban help, they have increased the
number of doctors in the country from 45 to 250 doctors. There are
currently 300 Cuban health workers in East Timor and 700 East
Timorese medical students studying in Cuba. The Cubans have also been
running a literacy program, because they believe you can’t have
health without education.”

He added that the new government was reviewing this program because
of the hostility it aroused from the US, the Catholic Church and
Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer. The number of East
Timorese medical scholarships in Cuba could be increased to 1000. In
a glaring contrast, there have never been more than 20 East Timorese
students on scholarships in Australia. This number has since been
reduced to 8 “because of the oil and gas dispute”, Anderson said.

Everyone can find Reinardo except the Ausies!!

The Moment – Man on the Run

Time Magazine [South Pacific Ed.]

Issue Dated August 27, 2007

By Rory Callinan

East Timorese rebel Alfredo Reinado lashes out against Australian troops.

With supporters of the ousted Fretilin party rampaging through the streets, setting homes ablaze and attacking U.N. vehicles, the most urgent priority for East Timor’s new government is restoring stability. Yet while the authorities focus on the Fretilin violence, another potential threat continues to lurk in the country’s central mountains.

After hunting former military police commander Alfredo Reinado for months, the Australian-led International Stabilization Force was recently called off the chase by President José Ramos-Horta. But speaking with TIME near his mountain redoubt, Reinado says the change of government has not changed his stance. He is still at war, he says, with Dili and with the ISF.

Clad in Australian Army battledress, toting a machine gun and surrounded by armed bodyguards, Reinado says he will never lay down his weapons: “Why? Who does this [gun] belong to? It doesn’t belong to Xanana [Gusmão, the new Prime Minister] or Horta. It belongs to the people of this country.” Besides, he adds, many others have illicit weapons. “What do they do about those people?”

Reinado’s original beef was with the Fretilin government, which he accused of ill-treating people from the country’s west. Now he says he has a new score to settle, arising from a March raid by dozens of Australian special-forces troops on his former hideout at Same, 110 km south of Dili. Reinado, who escaped the raid along with most of his men, claims the troops shot one of his armed supporters dead while he was asking for a parley, killed two unarmed civilians, and broke the necks of two wounded men. “The way they do operation is like we are animals or enemy,” he says. “They come to teach us about the Geneva Convention. They are the ones that don’t respect it.”

The Australian Defence Force says it is investigating Reinado’s claims but will not comment on them until the after-action report on the Same raid is complete. Reinado, who believes he is still being hunted, wants the Australians to leave East Timor. “Australia cannot be an impartial force in this country,” he says. If ISF troops attack his men, he warns, they will fight back. “Then it will be worse,” he says. “Day after day [the Australians] will have loss of life.”

Behind the conflict in East Timor

Tony Iltis

17 August 2007

On August 6, East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta appointed his predecessor, Xanana Gusmao, prime minister and asked him to form a government without Fretilin, the largest party in the parliament elected on June 30. Despite the constitutional legitimacy of this being unclear, Gusmao’s government was sworn in on August 8. Since Ramos Horta’s decision there have been outbreaks of rioting and arson, as well as protests that were tear-gassed by UN police and the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF).

Fretilin won 29% of the vote — a drop of 28% from 2001 — giving them 21 seats in the 65-seat parliament while Gusmao’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) won 24% of the vote and 18 seats. The CNRT has formed a coalition with two other parties, giving Gusmao’s new government a comfortable majority in parliament. However, Fretilin has argued that under the constitution the party that won the largest number of seats should have been asked to attempt to form a government first. Given that a Fretilin government would have been unable to win a parliamentary confidence vote, the final outcome would have been the same.

The Western media, in particular that of Australia, has portrayed the disorder as the organised work of “Fretilin mobs”. However, Fretilin leaders have been touring the country urging calm. The unrest cannot be explained by the constitutional wrangling: it can only be understood in the context of the internal divisions, and growing suspicion towards Australia, created by the ousting of Fretilin prime minister Mari Alkatiri in June 2006 and his replacement with then-foreign minister Ramos Horta. This coup left 37 dead, 150,000 internally displaced people and was the pretext for the deployment of the ISF. The past fortnight’s disturbances have created another 4000 internally displaced people. Alkatiri has accused Australia of being behind his overthrow. At the time, Australian politicians and media played a significant role in pushing since-discredited allegations blaming Alkatiri for the violence unleashed by a mutiny in the security forces led by officers Alfredo Renaido and Vicente Rai Los da Conceicao. Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for Alkatiri’s resignation.

“There’s a very strong sense amongst lot of people, not just Fretilin supporters, that Australia has been intervening in [East Timor’s] political process”, Tim Anderson, senior lecturer in political economy at Sydney University, told Green Left Weekly. This sentiment was evident on July 26, when Howard, on a one-day visit to East Timor to spend his birthday with the Australian troops, provoked demonstrations demanding the troops’ withdrawal by commenting that he expected Gusmao to be the next prime minister.

According to Anderson, the ISF troops were involved in petty harassment of Fretilin’s election campaign, “stopping people on the way to rallies and confiscating banners”, while the Australian media made “constant attacks aimed at de-legitimising Fretilin”. Similar allegations were made during the presidential election campaign in May, when Ramos Horta defeated Fretilin’s Francisco Guterres Lu’Olo.

The events of 2006 created both polarisation on partisan lines and disillusionment with the entire political establishment. “The popularity of Fretilin was damaged but that of Xanana Gusmao more so”, Anderson argued, pointing out that Gusmao had won 80% of the vote in the 2001 presidential elections.

“He is seen as having used violence to undermine the first democratic government — trust in that man has been seriously undermined.” Particularly damaging were his links with Reinado, even after the latter had “killed army officers.”

Anderson pointed to an “asymmetry and partisan nature” on the part of the ISF, which devoted its energy to “preventing Fretilin rallies while ignoring violence in Dili” mainly directed against communities in which Fretilin had a high level of support. This extended to the way in which those involved in the coup were dealt with. While former justice minister Rogario Lobato was imprisoned for distributing arms to civilians, “he didn’t kill people, while Rai Los, who did, was on the staff of Ramos Horta’s presidential election campaign”.

Rai Los remains unpunished. During the parliamentary elections he was working for Gusmao’s campaign. The Australian-trained Reinado was arrested after the 2006 events but escaped from custody shortly after while the ISF were apparently looking the other way. “Australia made half-hearted attempts at catching him but the Xanana/Ramos Horta camp encouraged them to back off”, said Anderson. The July 20 Sydney Morning Herald reported that the hunt for Reinado had been officially called off.

The Catholic Church has also been accused of playing a partisan role in the elections. “The church was very strongly identified with the 2006 coup … The church hierarchy is anti-Fretilin”, Anderson said, explaining that this began in 2005 when the Fretilin government tried to make religious education voluntary in schools. The church organised a demonstration against the proposal with logistical support from the US embassy.

Anderson argued that the hostility towards Fretilin from Australia and other Western powers reflected that, while its progressiveness should not be overstated, “the first post-independence government had some important achievements”.

He said that one of these was winning a fairer share of the Timor Sea oil and gas reserves than Australia would have liked. Australia has been pushing for the Timor Sea gas-fields’ LPG refinery to be built in Darwin, but the Fretilin government insisted that it should be in East Timor. “This will be a test for the new government”, Anderson argued.

“[The Fretilin government] also followed an independent agricultural policy: expanding rice production, in opposition to the demand of the World Bank and Australia. They’ve increased production from one third to two thirds of domestic needs.” He added that both major Australian parties were opposed on principal to poor countries becoming self-sufficient in food crops because it undermined the export potential of Australian agribusiness.

Other achievements include abolishing school fees and introducing free meals for primary students. Anderson said the government’s most significant achievement was having “the fastest growing health program in the region. With Cuban help, they have increased the number of doctors in the country from 45 to 250 doctors. There are currently 300 Cuban health workers in East Timor and 700 East Timorese medical students studying in Cuba. The Cubans have also been running a literacy program, because they believe you can’t have health without education.”

He added that the new government was reviewing this program because of the hostility it aroused from the US, the Catholic Church and Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer. The number of East Timorese medical scholarships in Cuba could be increased to 1000. In a glaring contrast, there have never been more than 20 East Timorese students on scholarships in Australia. This number has since been reduced to 8 “because of the oil and gas dispute”, Anderson said.

—————————————————-

Oil Shakedown

Australia: International oil thief

Green Left Weekly – August 22, 2007

[Shakedown: Australia’s grab for Timor oil. By Paul Cleary. Allen & Unwin, 2007. 336 pages, $29.95. Reviewed by Vannessa Hearman.]

This is a story about how Australia bullied East Timor out of its rightful share of oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Paul Cleary, a journalist for the Australian newspaper, was a media adviser with the Timor Sea Office during the bilateral negotiations. The negotiations are set in the context of East Timor’s political history and its difficulties in the post-independence period. This allows the reader to gain a fuller picture of why the negotiations were crucial and how this country has been denied its resources and its freedom over and over again. Cleary has combined political history and some development theory with eyewitness accounts of the negotiations and some lessons in maritime law.

The close connections between the state and business are amply demonstrated in this book. Australian imperialism worked hard at helping secure the interests of businesses like Woodside Petroleum to access the Timor Sea resources, by collaborating to secure a deal to exploit the Greater Sunrise field and to reject Timorese requests that the pipeline be built to East Timor, rather than to Darwin. Bullying and dirty tactics, in the name of the “national interest”, are all legitimate. These included accessing the communications of those who were working in the Timor Sea Office, as well as the more despicable act of withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2002, to avoid international adjudication of the dispute.

Cleary gives us an account of the personalities involved. In contrast to the voluminous coverage given elsewhere to people like Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta, information about other political leaders in East Timor can be scant and Cleary has provided a picture of several of East Timor’s political leaders who are not as well-known and perhaps not as loved by Western media commentators. These include Fretilin secretary general and then- prime minister Mari Alkatiri; lead negotiator and former Brisbane lawyer Jose Teixeira, and son of independence fighter Nicolau Lobato, Jose Lobato Goncalves who was wrested from his mother’s arms just before she was executed in 1975.

The stories of many Timorese are remarkable indeed, a story of struggle, sometimes of diasporic dispersement and of survival in such recent times. Many on the other side of the negotiating table, diplomats and oil men would probably not be able to boast of such tales however. The book contrasts the Australian officials’ words and actions to those of Australian civil society, particularly philanthropist businessperson Ian Melrose and the Timor Sea Justice Campaign in Melbourne.

Spending large parts of his time in East Timor, Cleary struggles somewhat in portraying the events and the excitement of the campaign for oil justice in Australia, and does not capture adequately the underlying dynamics driving the campaign. People demonstrated outside government buildings in many cities and came to wintry halls in far-flung parts of Melbourne to hear about and participate in the campaign. The Timorese civil society also ran a determined campaign against Australian officialdom, which resulted in some of these organisations losing Australian government funding for criticising Australian government policy on the Timor Sea.

Cleary has tried to reflect on the social and political realities of post-independence East Timor and how fighting the Australian government for four years impacted on the government’s ability to run the country. He outlines the intention of safeguarding the income from the Timor Sea through the Petroleum Fund, but he also criticises the government for not spending enough in the economy, thus driving the economy into the ground. He documents the corruption, collusion and nepotism plaguing the early years of the Fretilin-led government.

The outcome of the 2005 negotiations, an agreement on 50% revenue from the Greater Sunrise oil field was, as Cleary has demonstrated, a vast improvement on what the Australian government was offering in 2001. In return, no maritime boundary discussions were to be held for 50 years.

When contemplating this, one is left with a distinct bitter taste in the mouth, reflecting on Australia’s dirty tactics to force East Timor to accept a large compromise like this and then to brand the country as “not very well-governed”, as Australian troops landed in Dili in 2006 to “restore order” following unrest.

For a well-written and informative account of yet another act of bastardry by Canberra, read this book, because the struggle continues.

etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan

New Unrest Flares in T-L

The market in the town of Metinaro was extended last year by easterners forced out of
Dili, looks like IDP’s, probably Fretelin members are once more being
attacked.

Ermera is in the western not the eastern region of Timor-Leste, but like to lay a bet that the two people killed were Fretilin members.

Pleased the fire at Comoro roundabout was brought under control quickly, this is were IDP’s are living, they were attacked constantly in 2006,
looks like this 2007 is going to be no different.

Lidia Tyneside East Timor Solidarity
—– Original Message —–
From: “ETAN”
To:
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:57 PM
Subject: UN: New Unrest Flares in T-L

> NEW UNREST FLARES IN TIMOR-LESTE, UN POLICE REPORTS
>
> New York, Aug 23 2007 12:00PM
>
> Fighting involving 100 to 300 people armed with machetes, steel darts
> and bows broke out in Timor-Leste today, almost completely destroying
> a market in the town of Metinaro in the latest violence following
> inconclusive elections two months ago, the United Nations Police ( http://www.unmiset.org/unmisetwebsite.nsf/MainFrame-EN.htm?OpenFrameset”>UNPOL)
> reported today.
>
> Latest reports indicate that trouble flared up again in the afternoon
> and 10 houses and a motorcycle were set on fire. The police and the
> fire brigade are in attendance. Three people were arrested. The
> International Stabilization Force (ISF) and other police units rushed
> to the scene, east of Dili, the capital.
>
> Two people were also reported to have been killed in a confrontation
> in Ermera, another eastern region of the small South-East Asian
> country that the UN helped shepherd to independence from Indonesia in
> 2002, but no further details were available, UNPOL said.
>
> In Dili, UNPOL attended to eight incidents, firing tear gas to
> control the crowds and arresting six people. Large groups engaged in
> sporadic fighting in the vicinity of Surik Mas and Bairo Pite.
>
> Separately, a fire was also reported near the Comoro roundabout,
> which was extinguished with only minor damage. A small fight near
> Bebonuk primary school was also brought under control by police.
>
> Timor-Leste has been shaken by unrest after the formation of a new
> government following the June elections, which failed to produce a
> single outright winner.
>
> The UN enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles in the country
> last year after violence attributed to differences between eastern
> and western regions killed at least 37 people and forced 155,000
> others, 15 per cent of the population, to flee their homes.
>
> 2007-08-23 00:00:00.000
>
>

No justice as Reinardo dictates terms

This is bizarre, a man who deserted and caused violence in 2006, possibly killing some Timorese citizens is now going to have dialogue with the new President Horta.

No Justice, No peace, no wonder the youth of Timor Leste take up arms, guess they think if perpetrators of crimes and violence on such a large scale as Reinado get away with it why not them.

Lidia

lidia.tindle@googlemail.com

—– Original Message —– From: “ETAN”
To:
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 11:15 PM
Subject: AFP: East Timor president meets fugitive military rebel

>
>
> East Timor president meets fugitive military rebel
>
> GENEVA (AFP) – East Timor’s President Jose Ramos Horta met the leader
> of a rebellious military faction, Alfredo Reinado, last weekend at
> the start of an attempt to end unrest in the country, Swiss-based
> mediators said Wednesday.
>
> “At the meeting, both sides expressed support for a dialogue process
> with the aim of settling their differences peacefully and ending the
> armed confrontation,” the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva
> said in a statement.
>
> It called the meeting in Ermera district, southwest of the capital
> Dili, “a positive move towards the start of a genuine dialogue process.”
>
> In June, Ramos-Horta ordered that a massive manhunt for Reinado, a
> former member of the military police, be called off in a bid to start
> a dialogue.
>
> However, troops from the Australian-led International Stabilisation
> Force (ISF) later surrounded Reinado’s position in Same district.
>
> The incident prompted the former major to ask them to withdraw so he
> could “give up his arms,” his lawyer Benevides Barros Correia told
> AFP on July 13.
>
> Factional fighting among security forces left at least 37 people dead
> in April and May 2006 and forced international peacekeepers to be
> despatched to restore calm.
>
> Reinado was arrested on charges of illegal weapons distribution,
> desertion and attempted murder following the unrest, but later
> escaped from jail with more than 50 other inmates.
>
> There have been sporadic attacks on police and UN peacekeepers since then.
>
> The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue said it had been asked by
> Timor’s President and by Reinado to carry on mediating along with
> another group.
>
>
>
> etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan
>
> ETAN welcomes your financial support. For more info:
> http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm
>
> John M. Miller Internet: fbp@igc.org
> National Coordinator
> East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
> PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
> Phone: (718)596-7668 Fax: (718)222-4097
> Mobile phone: (917)690-4391 Skype: john.m.miller
> Web site: http://www.etan.org
>
> Send a blank e-mail message to info@etan.org to find out
> how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet
>
> etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan
>
>

——————————————————————————–

[This message was distributed via the east-timor news list. For info on how to subscribe send a blank e-mail to info@etan.org. To support ETAN see http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm ]

[This message was distributed via the east-timor news list. For info on how to subscribe send a blank e-mail to info@etan.org. To support ETAN see http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm ]