Monthly Archives: January 2008

Brazil, East Timor sign deals on education, football

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:39:05 GMT
DPA

Brasilia – Brazil and East Timor signed several bilateral deals Wednesday, including the extension until 2010 of a programme whereby Brazilian teachers will help train colleagues in the fellow- Portuguese-speaking country. The agreements were signed in Brasilia, in the framework of a visit by East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“Our initiatives have a direct impact on the quality of life of the people of East Timor,” Lula said in a press conference.

“The idea is to offer instruments so that men and women (in East Timor) can shape their own destinies,” Lula said.

The Brazilian president explained that the South American country – the winner of a record five editions of the World Cup – will from March train football coaches in Portuguese-speaking countries like East Timor.

The two presidents also agreed to cooperate on cultural matters including exchanges for artists and seminars on audiovisuals.

Ramos Horta, on his first visit to Brazil, said the main challenge for his government is the fight against violence and poverty.

“We have to conquer investors. Now, we have the responsibility to combat poverty,” the East Timorese president said.

Ramos Horta referred to Lula as an “older brother,” and announced the creation of an East Timorese diplomatic mission in Brasilia.

Brazil’s president to visit East Timor

Last Updated 31/01/2008, 16:02:16

Brazil’s president, Lula da Silva, says he is planning a trip this year to East Timor, Indonesia and Vietnam, most likely in June.

He announced the planned voyage after receiving the Timorese president, Jose Ramos Horta, for an official lunch in Brasilia.

President Lula says his trip to East Timor will be preceded by visits by Brazilian ministers, and would be focused on an education cooperation program under which 50 Brazilian professors are training Timorese teachers.

He says Brazil has deep ties with East Timor, and Brazil has long been interested in East Timor’s liberation.

President Lula says his country now has an obligation to contribute to seeing East Timor consolidate its total sovereignty.

Both countries were once Portuguese colonies.

Suharto, the model killer, and his friends in high places

28 Jan 2008

In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger says the death of General Suharto, the former dictator of Indonesia, is an opportunity to review the role of this “model” for high crimes in the modern era – from Indonesia, to Chile, to Vietnam – and the powerful friends who ensured he would never suffer the fate of Saddam Hussein.

In my film ‘Death of a Nation’, there is a sequence filmed on board an Australian aircraft flying over the island of Timor. A party is in progress, and two men in suits are toasting each other in champagne. This is an historically unique moment, says one of them, that is truly uniquely historical. This is Gareth Evans, Australia’s foreign minister. The other man is Ali Alatas, principal mouthpiece of the Indonesian dictator, General Suharto. It is 1989, and the two are making a grotesquely symbolic flight to celebrate the signing of a treaty that allowed Australia and the international oil and gas companies to exploit the seabed off East Timor, then illegally and viciously occupied by Suharto. The prize, according to Evans, was zillions of dollars.

Beneath them lay a land of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses in tiers on the hillsides. Filming clandestinely in East Timor, I would walk into the scrub and there were the crosses. They littered the earth and crowded the eye. In 1993, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Australian Parliament reported that at least 200,000 had died under Indonesias occupation: almost a third of the population. And yet East Timors horror, which was foretold and nurtured by the US, Britain and Australia, was actually a sequel. No single American action in the period after 1945, wrote the historian Gabriel Kolko, was as bloodthirsty as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate the massacre. He was referring to Suhartos seizure of power in 1965-6, which caused the violent deaths of up to a million people.

To understand the significance of Suharto, who died on Sunday, is to look beneath the surface of the current world order: the so-called global economy and the ruthless cynicism of those who run it. Suharto was our model mass murderer “our” is used here advisedly. One of our very best and most valuable friends, Thatcher called him, speaking for the West. For three decades, the Australian, US and British governments worked tirelessly to minimise the crimes of Suhartos gestapo, known as Kopassus, who were trained by the Australian SAS and the British army and who gunned down people with British-supplied Heckler and Koch machine guns from British-supplied Tactica riot control vehicles. Prevented by Congress from supplying arms direct, US administrations from Gerald Ford to Bill Clinton, provided logistic support through the back door and commercial preferences.

In one year, the British Department of Trade provided almost a billion pounds worth of so-called soft loans, which allowed Suharto buy Hawk fighter-bombers. The British taxpayer paid the bill for aircraft that dive-bombed East Timorese villages, and the arms industry reaped the profits. However, the Australians distinguished themselves as the most obsequious. In an infamous cable to Canberra, Richard Woolcott, Australia�s ambassador to Jakarta, who had been forewarned about Suharto�s invasion of East Timor, wrote: �What Indonesia now looks to from Australia �is some understanding of their attitude and possible action to assist public understanding in Australia…�

Covering up Suharto�s crimes became a career for those like Woolcott, while �understanding� the mass murderer came in buckets. This left an indelible stain on the reformist government of Gough Whitlam following the cold-blooded killing of two Australian TV crews by Suharto�s troops during the invasion of East Timor. �We know your people love you,� Bob Hawke told the dictator. His successor, Paul Keating, famously regarded the tyrant as a father figure. When Indonesian troops slaughtered at least 200 people in the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, East Timor, and Australian mourners planted crosses outside the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, foreign minister Gareth Evans ordered them destroyed. To Evans, ever-effusive in his support for the regime, the massacre was merely an �aberration�. This was the view of much of the Australian press, especially that controlled by Rupert Murdoch, whose local retainer, Paul Kelly, led a group of leading newspaper editors to Jakarta, fawn before the dictator.

Here lies a clue as to why Suharto, unlike Saddam Hussein, died not on the gallows but surrounded by the finest medical team his secret billions could buy. Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, describes the terror of Suharto�s takeover of Indonesia in 1965-6 as �the model operation� for the American-backed coup that got rid of Salvador Allende in Chile seven years later. �The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,� he wrote, �[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.� The US embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a �zap list� of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. Roland Challis, the BBC�s south east Asia correspondent at the time, told me how the British government was secretly involved in this slaughter. �British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so they could take part in the terrible holocaust,� he said. �I and other correspondents were unaware of this at the time… There was a deal, you see.�

The deal was that Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called �the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia�. In November 1967, the greatest prize was handed out at a remarkable three-day conference sponsored by the Time-Life Corporation in Geneva. Led by David Rockefeller, all the corporate giants were represented: the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British American Tobacco, Siemens and US Steel and many others. Across the table sat Suharto�s US-trained economists who agreed to the corporate takeover of their country, sector by sector. The Freeport company got a mountain of copper in West Papua. A US/ European consortium got the nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia�s bauxite. America, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra. When the plunder was complete, President Lyndon Johnson sent his congratulations on �a magnificent story of opportunity seen and promise awakened�. Thirty years later, with the genocide in East Timor also complete, the World Bank described the Suharto dictatorship as a �model pupil�.

Shortly before he died, I interviewed Alan Clark, who under Thatcher was Britain�s minister responsible for supplying Suharto with most of his weapons. I asked him, �Did it bother you personally that you were causing such mayhem and human suffering?�

�No, not in the slightest,� he replied. �It never entered my head.�

�I ask the question because I read you are a vegetarian and are seriously concerned about the way animals are killed.�

�Yeah?�

�Doesn�t that concern extend to humans?�

�Curiously not.�

La Nina National Emergency Situation Timor Leste

Press Release by Rob Wesley-Smith Affet Darwin 28th January 08

61 8 89832113 0419 807175 rwesley@ozemail.com.au

The Disaster Operations Centre of the Timor Leste Government has issued an urgent situation report, stating that the country has experienced destructive impact from monsoonal storms producing high winds, floods and landslides over the Christmas and New Year period. Initial reports indicate that significant impact occurred in 11 of 13 districts in Timor-Leste with damage to public and private infrastructure and agriculture.

The impact over the past month, developing impact of locusts and the forecast of further extreme wet season weather early February are of great concern for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste with meetings to identify what resources are required to manage present and developing humanitarian, recovery and risk reduction needs effectively.

The present climatic conditions durring this La Niña event are challenging Timor-Lesteâ™s resources.

Unfortunately the impact of the Wet weather is exacerbated by years of neglect and bad practice.

1. For various reasons most people rely on firewood for cooking, resulting in great pressure on the woodlands. Excessive population increase makes this worse.

2. The people love to burn every leaf in sight on the ground, rather than promote natural mulching.

3. There is no adequate program of environment rehabilitation, which along with the above factors would encourage rain to soak into the soil, instead of rushing off into rapidly flooding rivers which damage bridges and land and agriculture and even deposit silt onto reefs.

Both the Timor Leste Government and the UN must urgently address prevention rather than dealing with the aftermath on these matters which will otherwise only get worse. Education, laws, and imaginative action are needed, not just talk, and this issue needs the mountainous nation’s highest priority.

Rob Wesley-Smith BRurSc

Australians for a Free East Timor

Darwin

AMP government cannot defend the state – FRETILIN

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÃRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Rua dos Mártires da Pátria, Comoro, Dili, Timor-Leste,

Dili, 24 January 2008

FRETILIN says: “AMP Government cannot defend the State.”

Timor Leste’s largest political party FRETILIN today accused the “AMP” government

of failing totally in its responsibility to defend and strengthen the key state institutions of

an independent Timor-Leste.

Speaking at a press conference today in Dili, FRETILIN Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri said that over

the last few weeks there have been many more examples of the Gusmão government behaving

illegitimately and irresponsibly.

“We see examples almost daily of illegal and unconstitutional decisions, especially in the way public

money is being spent and public assets are being used,” said Mr. Alkatiri.

“Last week, thousands of hectares of Timor-Leste’s scarce agricultural land was handed over to a foreign

investor to grow sugar cane, without consulting local communities and with no reference to any overall

plan for agricultural land use and development.”

Mr Alkatiri continued: “Tendering processes are not transparent. Ministers are acting without taking

advice from their own Directors. Instead of working through our Timorese Public Service, task forces

are set up, increasing dependence on foreign advisers.”

FRETILIN’s President Lu’Olo reinforced Mr Alkatiri’s statement. “The undermining of the justice

sector is obvious,” said Lu’Olo. “Reinado remains free even though he is accused of the most serious

crimes against the State. The security forces cannot provide security and defend the rule of law because

different institutions issue different instructions. The IDPs will never return home if there is no security.”

FRETILIN is also demanding investigation of other examples of maladministration, including the

dismissal or downgrading of public servants without due process; inappropriate public service selection;

excessive expenditure by government members on their own security; overseas trips taken without any

clear program; and attacks on freedom of the press and the institution of parliament.

“The parliament is a key institution in a democracy,” said Mr. Lu’Olo. “The AMP government treats it

with no respect, using its majority to force matters through without proper discussion, breaking the

Parliament’s own rules. The Budget was approved without any transparency about the process of

execution.”

Mr Alkatiri concluded: “Timor-Leste is in danger of becoming a failed state. FRETILIN has clear

proposals to stop this. We put forward a proposal to the UN Secretary General, to use high-level

Commissions which include FRETILIN representation to investigate and resolve the problems in key

including Security, Justice, Reinado & the petitioners, the IDPs, and Reform of the Public

Administration, PNTL and F-FFDTL.”

For further information, contact Arsenio Bano 7339416

SEARCH Foundation

Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St,

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Australia

Ph: 02 9211 4164; Fax: 02 9211 1407

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MATCH IT!

Prime Minister of Australia
Mr Kevin Rudd, MHR
Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600
25 January 2008
Dear Prime Minister
Match It! – Australian and Cuban education assistance to Timor Leste
We the following academics, writers, organisations and NGO workers observe these
developments, on education assistance to Timor Leste:
• over 2002-2007 the number of University scholarships offered by the Australian
Government to students from Timor Leste declined from 20 per year to 8 per year
• over 2003-2006 the number of medical training scholarships offered by the Government
of Cuba to students from Timor Leste increased from 50 to 1,000
There are currently 800 students from Timor Leste studying medicine with the Cubans. This
makes it probably the biggest aid program in medical training, per capita, in the world. Adult
literacy training in Timor Leste is now also dominated by the Cubans.
So far there have been two Australian reactions (government, media, NGO) to Cuban programs in
‘our’ region. One was to ignore, snipe at or seek to undermine the Cubans, as perceived
‘competitors’. The other is to respond with a generosity that matches them. We urge your
government to strengthen this latter path and match the Cuban scholarship offer.
Cuban health and education programs are recognised and commended by the World Health
Organisation and U.N.E.S.C.O.. But Australia also has great capacity to share through its schools,
universities and teachers. There is a great deal of goodwill in our country towards the East
Timorese, despite the damage done by the oil and gas dispute and the recent crisis.
We urge your government to begin a large scale public education program for the East Timorese,
matching the Cuban offer of 1,000 scholarships, in areas in which we have great capacity, such as
teacher training. We emphasise that the measure of support should be through the extent of
human capacity building, not through a dollar sum.
The ordinary people of East Timor deserve nothing less from a rich and powerful neighbour that
has so often let them down.
Yours sincerely
Dr Tim Anderson, Political Economy, University of Sydney
John Pilger, filmmaker and author
Professor Frank Stilwell, Political Economy, University of Sydney
Pat Anderson, Board Chairperson, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health
Dr Ben Bartlett, Leader PHC Program, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health
Dr Meredith Burgmann, Former President of the NSW Legislative Council

US: rejects providing uniform to Alfredo

The Ambassador of the United States of America in Timor-Leste Hans Klemm rejected the rumour that the recent US Ambassador in Timor-Leste was providing military uniforms to Alfredo Reinado and his group.

“The uniform might be the same as the uniform worn by the US military, especially the marine corps, but this is just a coincidence,” said Ambassador Hans on Tuesday (22/1) in a press conference in Farol, Dili.

Ambassador Hans asked the media to show a strong commitment to the truth and report responsibly. (DN)

Bishop Basilio is surprised by the presence of the ISF in Baucau

Bishop Basilio Nascimento from Baucau Diocese said that he is surprised with the presence of the International Security Forces (ISF) who are walking around Baucau district.

“I am surprised when in see soldiers walking around. There was no helicopter in Baucau when the nation was in crisis. Now all is calm, there are Australian helicopters flying around us.

I get no explanation from the government, political parties or the NP why there are Australian soldiers all around in the country. Previously, they were only in Dili. I don’t know who decided this,” said Bishop Basilio on Friday (18/1) in Baucau. (TP)