Monthly Archives: February 2010

Chernobyl in the Amazon

Dear friends,

The final judgment is imminent after a long legal battle between oil
giant Chevron and brave indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon, who
are seeking redress for the multinational’s dumping of billions of
gallons of toxic waste in the rainforest.



If Chevron is forced to pay billions in damages, it’ll be a big step
forward in bringing the world’s polluters to account. Staring defeat in
the face, the oil giant has launched an aggressive last-ditch lobbying
campaign to derail the lawsuit.

But Chevron’s newly-appointed CEO, John Watson, knows his corporation’s
brand is under fire and is growing anxious about the risks of a public
shaming campaign — so let’s turn up the heat! Sign the petition calling
on Watson and Chevron to clean up their mess in Ecuador, and it will be
delivered to them, their shareholders and the US media — click below to
take action now:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/chevron_toxic_legacy/?vl

Over the years, civic action like this has helped to transform the
policies of some of the world’s biggest corporations. But most oil and
gas multinationals spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on
lobbying and PR to reshape climate and energy policies and deny their
environmental and human rights duties — and Chevron is one of the
biggest offenders.

>From 1964 to 1990, Chevron-owned Texaco deliberately dumped billions of
gallons of toxic waste from their oil fields in Ecuador’s Amazon — then
pulled out without properly cleaning up the pollution they caused.
Facing imminent defeat in the courts, Chevron has turned to legal
machinations, powerful public relations firms and lobbyists to
intimidate its critics into silence and avoid responsibility for the
massive environmental and human disaster it has triggered.

Chevron has repeatedly vowed to refuse to pay for a clean up even if
ordered to by the court, saying “We will fight this until hell freezes
over. And then we’ll fight it out on the ice.” Its latest strategy:
pushing the US government to bully Ecuador into burying the case.

We cannot sit back and watch Chevron make a mockery of justice like this
— let´s build a critical mass of support and help the rainforest
inhabitants win this round, in the court of public opinion and before
the law. Click here to sign the petition and help deliver a deafening
message personally to Chevron´s new chief executive John Watson:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/chevron_toxic_legacy/?vl

Citizens in Ecuador and around the world are joining efforts to stand up
to one of the biggest and dirtiest corporations in the world. If we win,
it’ll be another big step toward a future of corporate accountability,
human rights and environmental protection. Let’s add our voices and
spread the word today!

With hope and determination,

Luis, Paula, Benjamin, Pascal, Paul, Alice, Ricken, Graziela and the
whole Avaaz team

PS – This campaign is part of a larger effort by Amazon Watch,
Rainforest Action Network and other environmental and human rights
allies worldwide.

ChevronToxico, the website of Amazon Watch’s Clean Up Ecuador Campaign,
includes new video of affected Ecuadorians urging Chevron´s CEO to clean
up oil pollution:
http://chevrontoxico.com/

Wall Street Journal, “Chevron Plaintiffs Ask U.S. Court for Action”:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704363504575003153443151606.html

Politico, “Chevron’s lobbying campaign backfires”:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29560.html

The Huffington Post, “Chevron and cultural genocide in Ecuador”,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-kennedy/chevron-and-cultural-geno_b_346257.html

Los Angeles Times, “Oil, Ecuador and its people”:
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/28/opinion/ed-chevron28

“CRUDE. The Real Price of Oil””, Joe Berlinger´s award-winning
documentary film that chronicles the epic battle to hold oil giant
Chevron accountable for its systematic contamination of the Ecuadorian –
official website:
http://www.crudethemovie.com/

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Who founded this Secret group?

Dear all

Who founded this Secret group? Who gave the name to this secret group?
By José Manuel Fernandes
FRETILIN
PARLIAMENTARY BENCH

POLICY STATEMENT, DILI01 February 2010

Now start again some speculation on the media and in some newspapers in
East Timor that Rai Los was put on probation.

This action is to continue to make the” lie a truth”, in the Portuguese
language. This moment, they are already afraid therefore they want
repeating the scenarios of lie that created in 2006.

The questions are these? Who founded this secret group? Who gave the
name to this secret group? And who appointed Rai Los or Vicente da
Conceição as Commander of this secret group?

Let’s return to the past, the day of the trial of Comrade Rogeiro
Lobato, for so we can all understand and who is this secret group? So,
no need to live with these rumours, propaganda and remaining slaves of
these cheap speculations.

In full Court during the trial of Comrade Rogeiro Lobato, according to
Rai Los, as witness the Rai Los said the judge.”This secret group was
Rai Los himself who created and did grow and Railos and its members
chosen to each other, and that the Members have chosen Railos as
Commander of this secret group “!

We suggest our friends to ask to the Rai Los where Matthew Arakat is?
Why is that so far we have not found the faces of Matthew Arakat? Why
and who did the Arakat flee to Kupang, and not wanting to return to East
Timor to go to respond to Court? He is working in Aqua Mor Company , in
Kupang, leaving a place as an entrepreneur in East Timor, and is now
official or Manager for the company Aqua Mor in Kupang.

Why is speculating until now that this is a Fretilin secret group?
If it is anyway, as Commander of Fretilin secret group, why Rai los was
campaign director of the candidate Dr. José Ramos Horta, director the
campaign of Mr. Xanana Gusmão and of the CNRT in Liquiça during the
campaign Presidential and legislative in 2007? And also in the crisis
2006 All my friends are silence, all friends are disloyal do not want to
understand but only look for making up stories to denigrate the
Fretilin’s image.
We ask our friends not to follow in the same invader’s policy, for a
independent RDTL this policy of persecution and damage the image of
Fretilin was only in time of the occupation, not continue to be
prisoners Indonesian nostalgia.

Search also meets other facts that you have saved on archive. Rai Los
received weapons on the 10th of May and on the 19th of May this year
(2006) the Rai Los was under command of Xanana Gusmão and also Railos
and their men were hidden in Xanana house at Balibar.
That scenario is and who is the same? Open your eyes a little bit to see
well, and after all you may understand what these facts show, so each
one of us can take a right and logical conclusion in relation to this
secret group.

The question is, if Rai Los is a master of a secret group of Fretilin,
why Rai Los was elected as the campaign director for the candidate Dr.
José Ramos Horta, campaign director of Mr. Xanana Gusmão and CNRT in
Presidential and legislative elections in 2007? This can only happen in
East Timor! Let’s, each one of us, look for the answer to this small
question above.

AFP Fail to Establish Which Gun Shot Reinado

There’s a surprise then.

Lidia

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: *TEMPO SEMANAL* <tempo.semanal@gmail.com >
Date: 8 February 2010 18:24
Subject: [TEMPO SEMANAL] AFP Fail to Establish Which Gun Shot Reinado
To: east-timor@lists.riseup.net

Tempo Semanal accessed a highly protected Australian Federal Police (AFP) document today after an AFP officer attached to the Australian Embassy in Dili presented himself to the Dili District Court in relation to the attempted murder of President Jose Ramos Horta in February 2008.

The AFP report on its findings and investigation into the events surrounding the shooting of President Ramos Horta and the death of fugitive Major Alfredo Reinado was dated 28 April 2008. The Brisbane Office of the AFP was allocated responsibility for investigating potential offence in Australia or by Australians in relation to the shooting of President Jose Ramos Horta, the attack on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and the death of Major Reinado.

The AFP conducted computer forensic analysis of five (5) mobile SIM cards and three (3) mobile phone handsets located at the crime scene. The AFP did not go into detail but the second AFP forensic ballistic investigation/examination of the weapons, ammunition and spent bullets at the crime scene reveal much. Two (2) AFP officers deployed to Timor-Leste are Office Diggle and Officer Alex Caruna. The AFP fail in their mission to reach conclusive evidence.

“Their examination have not been able to establish which firearm type was used to shoot (and kill) Major Reinado”.

APSOC Statement On the Passing of

The Asia- Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) joins the world in mourning the passing of Viktor Kaisiepo, revered leader of the West Papuan struggle for self-determination and one of the world’s renowned indigenous people’s rights activist and leader. He may have joined his Creator and ancestors, but he left a lasting legacy of enduring passion, intelligence and resilience in the face of perhaps one of the most challenging human rights causes of our time—the struggle for the self-determination of West Papua and other voiceless, stateless and marginalized peoples.

While we mourn this great loss to the cause of human rights and social justice, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and the noble peoples whose seemingly forlorn causes he staunchly advanced till the end, we celebrate his life and continue to be inspired by his example. A number of us had the privilege to meet with him under various circumstances and recall only the fondest memories of a dedicated, politically astute and gifted activist hiding behind an amiable, serene and unassuming mien.

Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) remembers him as a fellow traveler several years ago who had the uncanny knack of espousing lonely causes such as the freedom of East Timor, and subsequently West Papua and other issues of self-determination. What made champions like Viktor stand their ground was their enduring belief in the justness of their struggles, their unwavering faith in our common humanity, and the relentless spirit of global solidarity.

The Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) will continue to carry on the legacy of Viktor Kasiepo and other heroes and martyrs of indigenous peoples’ causes. The struggle of the West Papuan people’s for self-determination should be carried forward from the margins to the mainstream, and from a forlorn corner to global attention that would eventually lead to the just resolution that it long-deserves.

This way, we honor Viktor Kaisiepo, his sacrifices and his noble deeds.

Rest well and Godspeed, Viktor!

*February 8, 2010

Background on Viktor Kaisiepo:

*Papuan human rights activist, *Viktor Kaisiepo*, passed away in his home town of Amersfoort, in the Netherlands, at the age of 61.

/Kaisiepo/ was a spokesperson for the /West Papua People’s Front/, which is a federation of Papuan organizations in the Netherlands. Kaisiepo was born in /Dutch New Guinea/. His family left for the Netherlands when Dutch New Guinea was handed over to /Indonesia/ in 1962. Kaisiepo’s father was a well-known activist for Papuan independence. Viktor Kaisiepo followed his father’s footsteps, and also became one of the most well regarded activists for Papuan independence.

Kaisiepo frequently lobbied the /United Nations/ to promote the rights of his people as well as the rights of other indigenous peoples. He devoted his life to the right to self-determination of the Indonesian province of /Papua/. Kaisiepo became a familiar face to the indigenous activists throughout theworld, representing the indigenous peoples of Papua at various international conferences. He was the Executive Director of the /Foundation Papua Lobby/, and a member of /Presidium Dewan Papua/ and represented the organization in Europe, the United States, and at the United Nations.

Since 2003, he served as a consultant to the /Word Bank Grants Facility for Indigenous Peoples/. He also co-founded and held positions in various NGOs, including: the /Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization (UNPO),/ an international organizations with 110 millions members whose aim is to achieve recognition and improvement for peoples through peaceful means; the /InternationalAlliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in the Tropical Forests/; the secretariat of /Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP);/ and served as a Human Rights Defender in 1985 for the United Nations.

Kaisiepo will be remembered as one of the most influential human rights activists.

/By Cindy Trinh
Impunity Watch Reporter
Oceania MANOKWARI, West Papua/

*********************************************************************

*Statement of Unrepresented Peoples’ Organisation (UNPO)
on the passing of Victor Kaisiepo*

On hearing of the demise of Mr. Victor Kaisiepo, the UNPO responded with great sadness. Mr. Kaisiepo was one of the founding members of the UNPO in 1991 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands and acted as the Assistant General Secretary for the Environment in the early 1990’s. Afterwards, he remained a highly regarded member of the UNPO Steering Committee for many years as well as a compassionate speaker at various UNPO events.

Hereby the UNPO offers its sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Kaisiepo and wants to assure them of the highest respect for him and his work.

While born in West Papua, his family left for the Netherlands when the territory was handed over to Indonesia in 1962, and Mr. Kaisiepo lived in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, until his death.

Victor Kaisiepo’s passing has left the West Papuan community in the Netherlands and in West Papua in mourning, as he was a renowned Papuan activist and spokesperson. He also functioned as European Representative of the Papuan Council of the Papuan Presidium (PDP) as well as International Representative of the Dewan Adat Papua (DAP), the Indigenous Papua Council. He partook in the international Papua Lobby, seeking to generate support for genuine dialogue between the Papuans and the government in Jakarta. Moreover, Mr Kaisiepo has lobbied at the United Nations to promote the rights of his people as well as the rights of other indigenous peoples.

Mr. Busdachin, current UNPO General Secretary, on behalf of all 54 members of UNPO pays his respects to this remarkable spokesperson and activist within the West Papuan community, as being one of the founding fathers of UNPO.

TL Groups write UN Security Council on Justice with international support

Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal
Secretariat: Fongtil, Caicoli, Dili, Timor-Leste
e-mail: lanarra.del@gmail.com

2 February 2010

Excellencies, Members of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations, New York, New York, 10017 USA

Hon. Ameerah Haq
Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Timor-Leste
Dear Members of the United Nations Security Council,

After 10 years in a climate of independence, we Timorese people
continue to endure long suffering related to the cases of serious
crimes that were committed during the Indonesian military occupation of
our country. This suffering will not end until there is an effective
judicial process to try the perpetrators of human rights violations
that resulted in the deaths of 100,000 – 180,000 Timorese during the
Indonesian occupation from 7 December 1975 until October 1999.

As citizens of a new country, we remain deeply hopeful that the United
Nations Security Council will maintain the principle of rejecting
impunity for all serious crimes and crimes against humanity. Therefore,
we believe that the members of the United Nations Security Council will
take concrete action to address the cases of serious crimes that
happened in our country during the Indonesian military occupation.
Also, we had great expectations when the United Nations, by means of
the mandate of UNTAET, established the Special Panels on Serious Crimes
to achieve accountability by prosecuting the perpetrators of many
serious crimes.

However, the current UNMIT mandate only includes investigation
processes but not prosecutions, and only covers serious crimes
committed in 1999. We are worried that this limited mandate will not
end the cycle of impunity in Timor-Leste. We are very concerned that if
impunity prevails in Timor-Leste it will nourish impunity in other
countries, and all of us who struggle for human rights will not
succeed. Therefore, if the United Nations fails to end impunity for
past crimes against humanity committed in Timor-Leste, there can be no
accountability for ongoing crimes, such as those committed during the
2006 crisis in our country.

We, citizens belonging to civil society organizations, individuals and
victims, still wait for sufficient and adequate action from Your
Excellencies. We need your good will to explore new possibilities for
prosecutions of unresolved serious crimes cases when you revise and
extend the UNMIT mandate.

We strongly believe in democracy and rule of law that the UN and its
members have robustly supported, and fear its demise if the phenomenon
of impunity continues to prevail in Timor-Leste. We are very conscious
that our state is still fragile. Timor-Leste alone is not strong enough
to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and serious
crimes, because most of them are protected by Indonesia. Likewise, the
courts in Indonesia do not have the political will to bring the
suspects involved in crimes in Timor-Leste during the occupation to
trial. Additionally, the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia
currently do not prioritize human rights, but give preference to
friendly bilateral intergovernmental relations.

The lack of attention to human rights violations undermines the
democratization process in Indonesia and respect for law in
Timor-Leste. It certainly has and continues to impede the considerable
efforts of the United Nations to end the cycle of impunity. Thus there
must be accountability for human rights violations.

Given this situation, we think it is best that the Security Council
discuss the recommendations of the Commission of Experts that visited
Timor-Leste and Indonesia in April and May 2005 to evaluate the justice
processes. There is no need for United Nations to waste more energy and
time waiting for insincere Indonesian trials that fail to effectively
prosecute perpetrators of these crimes, eventually freeing them all.
The United Nations has a responsibility to secure justice for crimes
against humanity and serious crimes committed in Timor-Leste that must
be addressed now. Specific recommendations to be included in the new
mandate of UNMIT: Establish a mechanism during the UNMIT mission which
will create an International Tribunal. Expand the mandate of the
Serious Crimes Investigation Team (SCIT) to include some of the most
grievous crimes committed prior to 1999, such as the 1975 invasion,
1983 Kraras Massacre, 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre, and others. Give SCIT
the authority and sufficient resources to prepare and publish formal
indictments for cases they have investigated. Sincerely,

Timor-Leste organizations
Community Development Interest (CDI)
FOKUPERS
Forum Tau Matan (FTM)
Front Mahasiswa Timor-Leste (FMTL)
HAK Association
Institute Edukasaun Popular (IEP)
Ita Ba Paz
Judicial Monitoring Program (JSMP)
Kdalak Solimutu Institute (KSI)
Klibur Solidaridade
Knua Buka Hatene (KBH)
Luta Hamutuk
Mata Dalan Institute (MDI)
National Program Associate – ICTJ – Timor-Leste
Organizasaun Popular Vitima da Guerra (OPVG)
Sekretariado Timor-Leste NGO Forum (Fongtil)
Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o
Hamutuk)

International groups who endorse this letter

Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
International Federation for East Timor (IFET)
Pedro Pinto Leite, IPJET-International Platform of Jurists for East
Timor (IPJET) Shulamith Koenig, People’s Movement for Human Rights
Learning (PDHRE)

Europe
Carmel Budiardjo, TAPOL, Promoting Human Rights, Peace and Democracy in
Indonesia (UK) Cristina Cruz, CIDAC (Portugal)
Gabriel Jonsson, Chairman, Swedish East Timor Committee
Koen J. de Jager, Foundation Pro Papua (The Netherlands)
Tibor van Staveren, Progressio (UK)
Watch Indonesia! – Working Group for Democracy, Human Rights and
Environmental Protection in Indonesia and East Timor, Berlin (Germany)

United States
Brian Keane, Director, Land is Life
Chuck Warpehoski, Co-Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and
Justice, Ann Arbor, Michigan Concerned Citizens for Peace, Honeoye, NY
David Hartsough, Director, PEACEWORKERS, San Francisco, CA
Diana Bohn, Co-Coordinator, Nicaragua Center for Community Action
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
Greg Stanton, President, Genocide Watch
Health Alliance International, Seattle
Jesse Lokahi Heiwa, Asia Pacific Action
Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action and Peace Action
Education Fund Michael Beer, Director, Nonviolence International
Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Portland, OR
Rev. John Chamberlin, National Coordinator, East Timor Religious
Outreach Rosemarie Pace, Director, Pax Christi Metro New York
Sharon Silber and Eileen Weiss, Co-directors, Jews Against Genocide
United for Justice with Peace
Vivek Ananthan, Volunteers for Intl Solidarity and Center for Creative
Activities William H. Slavick, coordinator, Pax Christi Maine

Canada
April Ingham, Executive Director, Pacific Peoples’ Partnership
Jess Agustin, Development and Peace

Asia
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) (Philippines)
Japan East Timor Coalition
Freddy Gamage, Friends of the Third World (FTW) (Sri Lanka)
Sr. Monica Nakamura ACI, The Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(Japan)
Indonesia
Bonar Tigor Naipospos, Solidarity Without Borders (Solidamor), Jakarta,
Indonesia Gustaf Dupe, Chairman, Association of Prison Ministries
Chairman, Law Enforcement Watch Secretary General, Jakarta Christian
Communication Forum Head, International Relationships, Institute of
Struggle for the Rehabilitation of the Political Victims of the New
Order Regime (LPR KROB) KontraS (Komisi Untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban
Tindak Kekerasan/ Commission for the “Disappeared” and Victims of
Violence) Winston Rondo, Director, CIS TIMOR Association Volunteers
Australia

Adam Breasley, Graduate Human Rights Student from Australian Catholic
University Australia-East Timor Association (AETA)
Dr Clinton Fernandes, Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in
East Timor Jefferson Lee (Special Project Officer ) – Australia-East
Timor Association (NSW) Justice for Palestine Matters, Sydney
Rob Wesley-Smith, convenor, Australia for a Free East Timor (AFFET),
Darwin Rosemary McKay, Chair, Australia East Timor Friendship
Association SA Inc Zelda Grimshaw, RMIT University

New Zealand
Maire Leadbeater, Spokesperson, Indonesia Human Rights Committee

FURTHER QUESTIONS RAISED IN EAST TIMOR “ASSASSINATION” TRIAL]

Dear all
FURTHER QUESTIONS RAISED IN EAST TIMOR “ASSASSINATION” TRIAL
By Patrick O’Connor – wsws – 30 January 2010

The ongoing trial of dual Australian and East Timorese citizen Angelita
Pires and 27 men on attempted murder and conspiracy charges relating to
an alleged dual assassination plot against East Timor’s President Jose
Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has raised further serious
questions about the murky affair. While numerous issues remain unclear,
the evidence so far presented—including forensic evidence such as
autopsy and ballistics reports, as well as witness testimonies—has
established that the official version of events is false.

On February 10, 2008, Alfredo Reinado—Pires’s partner and a former
military-police commander who was wanted on murder and weapons charges
relating to his mutinous activities in 2006—was with his ex-soldier
supporters in western East Timor. Reinado met briefly with Pires that
evening, and also held lengthy discussions with representatives of the
Movement for National Unity and Justice (MUNJ). The MUNJ had previously
functioned as the official go-between for Ramos-Horta, organising
meetings between Reinado and the president over the terms of Reinado’s
surrender and a presidential amnesty. During the night, Reinado and his
heavily armed men drove for several hours in two vehicles to Dili.

Ex-soldier Gastao Salsinha led one group toward Prime Minister Gusmao’s
house; Reinado led another to Ramos-Horta’s. After they arrived at dawn
on February 11—inexplicably undetected by Timorese security forces and
the nearly 1,000 Australian and New Zealand troops stationed in the
country—Reinado and one of his men, Leopoldino Exposto, were shot dead.
President Horta, returning from his morning walk, was subsequently shot
multiple times and nearly died before receiving emergency treatment.
Later in the morning, Gusmao’s vehicle was reportedly shot at but the
prime minister and his staff were unharmed.

Timorese state prosecutors insist that Reinado and his men—incited by
Pires—were responsible for an unsuccessful double assassination
attempt. However, the evidence presented during the trial, which has
been underway since last July, has instead been largely consistent with
the case argued by Pires’s Australian barrister Jon Tippett, QC. This
is that Reinado and his men were set up—they had been lured to Dili to
be murdered after being persuaded that they had a meeting for further
discussion with the president.

Leaked autopsy reports demonstrate that Reinado and his colleague
Leopoldino Exposto were shot dead from point-blank range—Reinado
through the eye, Exposto through the back of the head. The autopsies
directly contradict the testimony of Horta’s military guard, Francisco
Lino Marcal, that he shot both Reinado and Exposto—the former from a
distance of 30 to 40 metres and the latter from 15 to 20 metres.

Prosecutors have been accused of attempting to cover up these
contradictions by suppressing evidence. The court was told that
photographs of Reinado and Exposto’s autopsies did not exist—but images
from both autopsies were later leaked to the Timorese media. One of the
prosecutors, Felismino Cardoso Garcia, who had insisted that there were
no photographs, appears in many of the images standing beside medical
examiners over Reinado’s corpse.

The evidence of Horta’s military guard was also discredited with the
release of Australian Federal Police (AFP) ballistics reports. These
showed that the bullets recovered from the bodies of Reinado and
Exposto were not the same ones used in the standard military weapon
that Francisco Lino Marcal said he fired. Moreover, the bullets used to
kill Reinado were different to those found in Exposto, suggesting that
there were two shooters. Both weapons used in the execution-style
killings have disappeared, with the AFP unable to match the bullets to
any of the 30 firearms submitted by Ramos-Horta’s guard for forensic
examination.

The AFP reports included alternative explanations to the official
“coup” story. One noted that Reinado may have either “had a meeting
with the President but no one else at the presidential compound knew
about it”, or that “it was a successful trap to finally silence
Reinado”.

Further questions emerged in an article by the Australian’s Paul
Toohey, published shortly after the trial began last year. “A
confidential UN report has witnesses stating that Reinado and his men
were inside the President’s compound for at least 50 minutes before
they were shot,” he wrote. “During this time, none of the nine
civilians or the 13 soldiers that were present thought to notify
authorities. In fact, as the report notes, nine of Dr Ramos-Horta’s 13
guards mysteriously disappeared when Reinado turned up. More than ever,
it appears the official version of events is a cover-up. It now seems
possible that immediately after Reinado and Leopoldino were shot, the
rebels fled for the hills and were nowhere near the compound when an
unknown masked gunman shot Dr Ramos-Horta.”

Obvious questions remain unanswered. What was Reinado doing in
Ramos-Horta’s house for nearly an hour before he was shot? Why the
apparent attempt by the presidential guard to later testify that
shooting erupted as soon as Reinado and his men arrived? According to
an East Timorese internet news outlet, an Irish volunteer worker
staying at Ramos-Horta’s residence, Marie Claire, told the court she
heard the first shots at 6.50 a.m., but when later giving a statement
to police was asked to say that fighting erupted at 6.10 a.m. She three
times refused to sign a printed statement that had the incorrect time.

The Australian article also cast doubt on the alleged ambush of
Gusmao’s convoy: “A non-AFP intelligence report seen by the Australian
states that the only ‘visible shooter’ in the Gusmao roadside ambush
was wearing ‘civilian clothes, a sports jacket with a hood’. All the
rebels were wearing military fatigues.”

If the cited “confidential UN report” and “non-AFP intelligence report”
are accurate, Reinado’s men were responsible for neither Ramos-Horta’s
near-fatal shooting nor the alleged attack on Gusmao’s vehicle. Who
then was responsible—and what was the motive? Who stood to gain from
the elimination of Reinado and Ramos-Horta? Who has benefitted from the
so-called “double assassination”?

Australian media blackout

These are questions yet to be raised anywhere in the Australian press.
Toohey’s article in July last year was the last to note any of the
jarring contradictions in the official version of events. Since then a
media blackout has been imposed. After the first week’s proceedings, it
appears that not a single Australian journalist has attended the Pires
trial, with Timorese and Portuguese outlets providing the only
coverage. In November, the Qatar-based television news network Al
Jazeera broadcast a report, noting that the proceedings were “mired in
controversy, suspicion, and doubt about whether this was a genuine
assassination attempt, or in fact some kind of setup designed to rid
East Timor of its lingering rebel problem”.

The lack of interest on the part of the Australian media cannot be
explained by a lack of newsworthiness. The trial of an Australian
citizen for orchestrating an alleged coup d’état or double
assassination plot against the president and prime minister of a
neighbouring state ought to be, on any objective measure, a major story.

But if Reinado was set up, all the indications point to Canberra’s
closest ally in Dili—Prime Minister Gusmao—as the most likely culprit.
The former guerrilla independence leader and the right-wing cabal that
surrounds him had the most to gain by the death of both Reinado and
Ramos-Horta. Pursuing this line of investigation further raises the
question as to whether Australian forces in Timor acquiesced in the
plot—and whether foreign security forces were stood down on February 11
in order to permit Reinado and his men to reach the presidential
residence.

The Pires trial appears to be another instance in which the media
simply buries important stories that threaten to cut across the
economic and strategic interests of Australian imperialism in the
Pacific region. In this regard there are parallels with the official
silence on the failed frame-up of former Solomon Islands’ attorney
general Julian Moti on bogus rape charges. (See: “Australian government
frame-up of Julian Moti collapses as court throws out charges”)

Reinado’s dubious record as a “rebel” soldier was closely bound up with
the political calculations of the Australian government. Reinado was
trained by the Australian military in Canberra, before he mutinied in
May 2006. He joined the “petitioners”—a section of the military headed
by Salsinha and backed by Gusmao that instigated violent protests
against the elected Fretilin government of Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri. The petitioners’ campaign was seized upon by ex-Indonesian
militia forces, criminal gangs, right-wing opposition parties, the
Catholic Church—and the Australian government. . Canberra used the
unrest as a pretext to dispatch more than 1,000 troops. The ABC and
other Australian media outlets promoted lurid and baseless claims that
Alkatiri had armed death squads to assassinate his political opponents.
The prime minister’s real “crime” was that he had forced Canberra to
make unwelcome concessions on the carve up of the Timor Sea lucrative
oil and gas reserves, and had come to be regarded as too close to rival
powers Portugal and China.

In 2007, presidential and parliamentary elections took place under the
watch of the Australian military. Ramos-Horta was installed as
president, while Gusmao headed an unstable and disparate coalition
government resting upon the same political forces that were mobilised
against Alkatiri in 2006.

Reinado initially enjoyed the support of Gusmao and the Australian
forces. Despite being officially charged with murder relating to his
activities in the May 2006 crisis, the former major and his men were
able to move around East Timor’s rural western districts with effective
impunity. The situation changed, however, in late 2007 and early 2008.
Reinado released a widely circulated DVD in which he accused Gusmao of
orchestrating the 2006 crisis and threatened to reveal further details.
Its release triggered a major crisis for the Gusmao government.

In a cross-party meeting of MPs held on February 7, 2008, President
Ramos-Horta agreed with the opposition Fretilin’s demand that fresh
elections be called to resolve the political impasse. At the same time,
Ramos-Horta was finalising an amnesty deal he had personally negotiated
with Reinado in meetings held in remote jungle districts in western
East Timor. In return for his surrender and disarming, Reinado would be
pardoned for all his crimes.

Gusmao, therefore, faced the prospect of the former major returning to
Dili a free man, potentially revealing incriminating details of
behind-the-scenes events in 2006. At the same time, the prime minister
and his allies were threatened with losing office less than a year
after they came to power. It strains belief that Gusmao and the various
business and mafia elements aligned with his government would have
remained passive in the face of these threats. Similarly, there was
much at stake for the Australian government. Alkatiri’s return as prime
minister would have undone all of Canberra’s efforts over the previous
two years.

Moreover, the prosecution in the Pires trial is yet to establish a
credible motive as to why Reinado would attack Ramos-Horta—the one man
willing and able to grant him amnesty. It has emerged in the course of
proceedings that Reinado and the president had a meeting scheduled for
February 17 in the town of Gleno, south west of Dili. If Reinado had
really intended to kill or kidnap the president why did he not wait a
few days for Ramos-Horta to again travel in secret to the rebel force’s
stronghold? Why would he risk detection and confrontation with Timorese
security forces, UN police, and Australian and New Zealand soldiers by
driving through Dili?

MUNJ and Ramos-Horta’s guard

Reinado’s men have testified that they understood that a meeting had
been arranged with Ramos-Horta for the morning of February 11. This has
been corroborated by other witnesses.

How Reinado might have believed he had a meeting with Ramos-Horta is
unclear, although suspicion has fallen on the MUNJ, which before 2007
went by a different name—the National Front for Justice and Peace
(FNJP). The organisation was one of the most prominent of several gangs
based in Timor’s western districts that participated in the violent
anti-Fretilin government protests in 2006. Led by former Timorese
soldier Major Augusto “Tara” Araujo, the FNJP played a key role in
organising the initial protests by the “petitioners”. Even after
Alkatiri resigned, the group called demonstrations to demand the former
prime minister’s arrest. The FNJP appealed to Gusmao to assume
unconstitutional powers as a presidential dictator, demanding he
dissolve the government and shut down parliament.

At the beginning of 2007 the group insisted that scheduled presidential
and parliamentary elections be called off. One of their senior members,
Dili coordinator Vital Dos Santos, was nevertheless elected to
parliament as a candidate for the Democratic Party of Fernando “La
Sama” de Araujo. Several other MUNJ members also have close connections
with right-wing parties. Augusto “Tara” Araujo was last month reported
to have been proposed as a replacement for Mario Carrascalao as leader
of the Social Democratic Party. Another MUNJ leader, Augusto Junior
Trinidade, was employed in President Ramos-Horta’s office from mid-2007.

In 2006-2007 FNJP/MUNJ demanded that the pursuit of Reinado cease and
that his murder and weapons charges be dropped. Significantly, it
demanded the withdrawal of the Portuguese National Republican Guard
police force from East Timor, but said nothing about the Australian
military presence. Canberra’s overriding preoccupation has been to
sideline its rivals for influence in Dili, including the former
colonial power Portugal. In 2007 Ramos-Horta granted MUNJ official
status in his negotiations with Reinado; members of the group
subsequently received public monies and vehicles. Reinado and his men
reportedly used MUNJ four-wheel drives to travel to Dili on February
11, 2008.

The president has remained silent on these issues. In initial
statements after his release from hospital in 2008, Ramos-Horta was
clearly shaken by the attack. He was critical of the Australian
military’s failure to intercept Reinado, said he wanted to resign from
office, and revealed that he still feared for his life. It was not
clear whom he feared might attack him again, given that Reinado was
dead and his supporters were negotiating their surrender at the time.

Soon after, however, Ramos-Horta shifted his stance. He ceased raising
questions about how the attacks had happened, withdrew his support for
new elections, lined up with the public scapegoating of Pires for the
February 11 events, and indicated he would issue post-trial pardons for
Salsinha and his men. The president has refused to testify in court,
only issuing a written statement.

Gusmao has likewise decided to evade cross-examination. The prime
minister will not be questioned about the alleged attack on his
vehicle. The Australian intelligence report that the shooter was not
one of Reinado or Salsinha’s men has added significant weight to the
charge levelled by former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and other
political figures that the entire incident was staged. The obvious
implication is that Gusmao was seeking to cover up his own role in
events.

Gusmao’s Australian wife, Kirsty Sword, took the stand as a witness
last December. No Australian or western media covered her testimony.
Some East Timorese reports claimed that there were differences between
her testimony and her dramatic public statements at the time. She
described hiding her children under the family bed as armed rebels
raided her home on the morning of February 11. In court, Sword
reportedly claimed a loss of memory on certain details.

The unravelling of the official cover-up of the events of February 11
2008—in which the central figures of the East Timorese state were
involved—can only compound the country’s ongoing political turmoil.

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