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#50844 - 04 May 07 11:35 Timor Hypocrisy
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
I realize this may be well beyond the attention span of most people. Nonetheless, I found this a very interesting tete-a-tete among two of Indonesia's most respected intellectuals. One of whom, however, loses all credibility henceforth in my eyes....


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Timor Leste 1999 or, how to sell lies
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Aboeprijadi Santoso, Amsterdam


The horrendous crimes committed in East Timor in 1999 continue to haunt Indonesia. Just as the third round of the Joint Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) was about to begin, the United Nations sent a message of disapproval about the CTF's idea of offering amnesty in exchange of the revealing of the truth by the perpetrators.

That was the reason the UN chose not to send the former head of UNAMET, Ian Martins, to testify before the commission; earlier, the UN has proposed that a commission of experts review the case. The sense of injustice and troubled conscience about the lies surrounding the matter has long been shared by victims, journalists and observers, who suffered or witnessed the carnage.

Asked about the meaning of the UN's letter, the CTF co-chairman, Benjamin Mangkoedilaga, said he respected the UN's position, but added that he considered the UN's official letter to reflect Martins' attitude, rather than the UN's as an institution. Yet, he expressed pride that the UN had responded to the CTF's invitation, and hoped the ex-UNAMET chief would reconsider his refusal to attend the hearing.

Benjamin's contradictory statement ("a UN letter", but representing a person, rather than the organization) is a conspicuous expression of uneasiness in addressing the question of accountability for the violence perpetrated by some of his country's institutions.

After all, Dili was sent back to "Year Zero" within a week, compared to Cambodia under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, when the same process was "achieved" within two years. It marked the end of Indonesia's decades-long illegal occupation of its tiny neighbor. About 1,400 victims were killed (including three journalists), hundreds of thousands persecuted and deported to the west, women raped, and the country's basic infrastructure destroyed as Indonesian troops prepared to leave the country.

A number of generals, officials and militiamen were indicted, yet all but one were released.

Impunity reigns. Now, almost a decade later, neither Indonesia nor Timor Leste wants to even touch the issue. Unlike in the recent past, the international community has decided to treat the matter as a bilateral affair between the two countries -- in marked contrast to the Bosnia-Hercegovina case in the 1990s, which led to U.S. bombing and the ongoing international tribunal on the ex-Yugoslavia, which prosecutes and punishes the authors and perpetrators of the violence.

In other words, the entire outcome is being dictated by geopolitics. Not justice, but the geopolitics of inequality in international relationships has decided to permit impunity, regardless of the victims. The CTF, too, is a product of this.

Worse still, the crimes of 1999 were artificially separated from the gross human rights violations that preceded them, despite the fact that the 1999 events could only occur as a result of a decades-long brutal military occupation.

The September mayhem obviously was just the tip of the iceberg. The great crimes of the 1970s -- the invasion, Matebian annihilation, Kraras killings, to mention but a few -- have been extensively described by no less than eight thousand East Timorese and published by the UN-commissioned CAVR.

Neither Jakarta, Dili nor the UN Security Council was willing to respond to the report, which could have opened the way toward some sort of internationally recognized tribunal. The geopolitical dictate has turned into a big-states conspiracy to avoid an international tribunal on East Timor.

Yet neither the UN nor, for that matter, Portugal, are innocent. The roots of the matter go back to the May 5 New York Agreement. Since the occupied country of East Timor was defined as one of a "non-self governing territory", all Indonesia had to do in 1999 was to return to the status-quo-ante.

This means that while Indonesia would have remained sovereign in East Timor, it would allow the UN to hold a "popular consultation" (an euphemism for a referendum) in order to resolve the final status of the territory.

As a result, the entire responsibility for the security was entrusted, not to a UN force, but to the Indonesian security apparatus, i.e., the Police, which was previously part of the armed forces (ABRI) and by then, certainly in East Timor, was under the command of the Army. All the UN and Portugal contributed was the Commission of Peace and Stability (KPS), which was to preside over the maintenance of peace and stability.

However, the reality in East Timor throughout May to September 1999 contradicted all aspects of this. The Army, in effect, instructed the Police to turned a blind eye to militia violence. I was able to leave Dili on Sept. 6, while the group of Indonesian observers I belonged to were forced to wander around the country to seek refuge while continuing to be under threat.

There were abundant witnesses to the killings and deportations by Army-sponsored militias, which were only made possible as extra troops and militiamen arrived Sept. 4, the day the UN announced the pro-independence victory.

Crucially, the members of the KPS, which was supposed to monitor the situation, had left the country even earlier. While UNAMET staff were held hostage, Benjamin, who was a KPS member, admitted that he left on Sept. 3, while other members and officials, including Djoko Soegijanto, B.N. Marbun, Koesparmono Irsan and Dino Pati Djalal, departed on Sept. 1. "What could we do? We were instructed by the military authorities to leave the country!" Benjamin honestly admitted.

How could the military order officials and journalists to leave Timor only a few days before the carnage started when they, at the same time, argued, as they always did, that the violence was a result of uncontrolled "civil war"?

In other words, it was all part of the plan and the game. And the game was from the outset shaped by political engineering, dubious assumptions and myths to justify the aggression, occupation and atrocities, which ranged from the mid-1975 attacks by "Timorese volunteers", a "civil war" among East Timorese that supposedly continued until 1999, and the many proclamations of integration by a tiny minority of pro-Jakarta Timorese, which culminated in the 1976 East Timor Integration Law.

These shameful lies also need to be looked at. While truth and friendship are necessary and important for both Indonesia and Timor Leste, a real friendship should not be based on lies to cover the truth and perpetuate the impunity.

The writer is a journalist with Radio Netherlands.

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Timor Leste, Indonesia and moral complexities

Franz Magnis-Suseno SJ, Jakarta
The Jakarta Post -- 3 May 2007


On Tuesday, Aboeprijadi Santoso exposed the moral hypocrisy surrounding the ongoing hearings of the Joint Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF). The facts he alluded to are above dispute. And his moral outrage seems only too appropriate. The writer concludes that "real friendship should not be based on lies to cover the truth and perpetuate the impunity".

But is it really that easy? When Indonesia and Timor Leste jointly established the CTF they certainly did it not merely for the sake of truth and friendship, but because of serious political considerations. And rightly so. Because, as the German philosopher Bernhard Sutor points out, the ethical quality of a political decision is not measured by pure moral principles, but by the improvement that realistically can be hoped to be achieved by it.

Both Indonesia's and Timor Leste's leaders recognized that the most important task they faced was not retribution for the terrible crimes committed by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999, but the establishment of normal, enduring, positive relations between the two countries.

East-Timorese leaders obviously realized what some morally outraged foreigners overlooked: That the cessation of Timor Leste was a traumatic event not only for Timor Leste, but also for Indonesia. For 24 years Indonesians had fought in East Timor "for the sake of the nation". The families of many thousand of fallen soldiers consoled themselves with the idea that they died for a noble cause. President B.J. Habibie's courageous, but completely unexpected offer of a referendum on independence for the East-Timorese took Indonesians, and of course the military, completely by surprise.

The result of the referendum shamed Indonesia severely. Additional shaming by exposing the crimes of Indonesia's military openly before the eyes of the world would have alienated it from Timor Leste for a long time and could have even resulted in a violent backlash (I remember a Balinese taxi driver telling me enthusiastically in September 1999 that he was ready to go to war against Australia).

On afterthought one wonders why the military did not use their East Timorese militias to sabotage the referendum, which would have been easy enough. Did they really believe that the East-Timorese would not vote for independence? Were they actually prepared to obey their president, although grudgingly and vengefully?

In fact, the execution of the referendum was not significantly obstructed. There were, in 1999, two waves of special violence, first in April and then the mayhem following the (premature) publication of the results of the referendum. Both seem to have been more the expression of fury and resentment (the dangerous mental state Indonesians call keki or dendam) than acts of insubordination.

I remember an East Timorese militia chief, I believe it was Enrico Guterres, saying on television about a week before the referendum, that, should a majority vote for independence, he would make sure that nothing of what was built during Indonesia's reign would remain standing. And this they did. The murderous devastation of large parts of Timor Leste was indeed an expression of the deep resentment felt by the Indonesian military.

But there is a point that has been completely ignored by the international community that is chastising Indonesia for dragging its feet on bringing the perpetrators of the post-referendum havoc to justice. Namely that since the Indonesian pull-out in 1999 there has been not a single serious instance of Indonesia or its military trying to make trouble for their eastern neighbor.

It would have been so easy. Remember how in 1975 Indonesia used a bloody, vicious civil war among the East Timorese -- tens of thousand East Timorese had fled into Indonesian territory -- for intervention? Less than eight years after becoming free from Indonesia there are, at this very moment, more than 20,000 East-Timorese living in refugee camps -- who, again, had to flee from their own brethren.

The acceptance of Timor Leste's independence after 1999, and the fact that Indonesia, including "black" Indonesian military, did not try to use Timor Leste's growing internal troubles to avenge themselves and to destabilize the country is a remarkable feat of responsibility.

The leaders of Timor Leste recognized this fact as of highest political importance for their country. They understood that the only thing absolutely not to do was make Indonesia, or Indonesia's military, or some of its most important members, lose face again.

Therefore they agreed to setting up the CTF in the present form. Lamenting the limited scope of the commission in the name of justice while overlooking the extremely delicate situation Indonesia and Timor Leste find themselves for me smacks of all too easy self-righteousness. Time is not yet right to open up all the abysses of inhumanity left behind by the Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste.

Coming to terms with the full truth of one's own history always needs time. Indonesia has not yet been able to face the full truth regarding of the happenings in 1965 and 1966, in 1998 (the Jakarta riots with the same number of deaths during three days as in Timor Leste in September 1999) and many other occasions. But this is in no way a privilege of Indonesia.

The Japanese still have not been able to acknowledge the terrible crimes they committed between 1930 and 1945 in East and Southeast Asia. The Chinese are silent on the abnormal degree of inhumanity under Mao-Zedong. In Cambodia the Khmer Rouge will probably never be brought to justice for their genocide on their own people.

Even in France, the people and government are still reluctant, more than 60 years after the fact, to acknowledge that many French willingly surrendered French Jews to the Germans. And Czechs and Poles -- who, indeed, suffered terribly under Nazi Germany -- are still not willing to acknowledge that, after the World War II, they committed atrocities during the expulsion of many millions of Germans.

Thus, the CTF may fall short of the demands of some moralists, but under prevailing conditions it is probably the maximum that could be achieved. By helping Indonesians to accept Timor Leste's existence it does both countries a real service.

The author, a Jesuit priest, is a professor at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta.
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#50847 - 04 May 07 12:13 Re: Timor Hypocrisy [Re: riccardo]
naga Offline
Member++

Registered: 18 Jan 07
Posts: 260
Loc: undisclosed location
i too, found FMS' "apology for all things evil" to be a complete load of schiess, but remember he's a bule who renounced his citizenship to become an Indo (he's a kraut), that green book can be rescinded on the whim of any offended bureaucrat, he's hardly gonna bight the hand that feeds him...

Santoso's was interesting, although nothing new, sometimes factually incorrect (i.e. 5 Aussie journos were murdered, not 3)...

The govt can't afford to lose any more face over this, don't expect an apology from any generals...
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#50881 - 04 May 07 14:23 Re: Timor Hypocrisy [Re: naga]
chewwyUK Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 14 Sep 06
Posts: 2392
Loc: Jakarta
My attention spam only lasted to the end of the first line ....
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Edited by Piss Salon
Edit Reason: taste

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#50896 - 04 May 07 14:55 Re: Timor Hypocrisy [Re: naga]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Quoting: naga

Santoso's was interesting, although nothing new, sometimes factually incorrect (i.e. 5 Aussie journos were murdered, not 3)...


Actually, he's entirely correct. He was referring to the 1999 troubles wherein Sander Thoenes, Bernardino Guterres and Agus Muliawan were all murdered by ABRI/TNI officers.

The Dutch Journo, Thoenes, worked for the Financial Times and his body was mutilated by two Army officers in Dili, just over 2 weeks after the vote was announced (Sept 23, 1999).

Guterres was an East Timorese radio journalist killed by Indonesian police on Aug. 26, 1999, just 3 days before the voting was to begin.

Muliawan was a Balinese journalist reporting for the Japanese news agency Asia Press. He was among a group of nine people massacred by Indonesian troops in the city of Com, East Timor. The group was on their way to Baucau to assess the area’s humanitarian needs. Their bodies were later found floating in a river near Los Palos on Sept. 26, 1999.

None of the Thoenes's perpetrators has been properly brought to justice. Thoenes's murderers have been identified and convicted in absentia at the Dili S.C.U., but Indonesia won't recognize that nor turn the men over. Quite the reverse, both men have received substantial promotions within the TNI.
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#50938 - 05 May 07 20:24 Re: Timor Hypocrisy [Re: riccardo]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Earlier Saturday (May 5) ex TNI Chief Wiranto met with so-called "Truth and Friendship Commission" and had the audacity to claim that ZERO human rights violations occurred in East Timor.

General Wiranto staunchly denied any gross human rights violations occurred in East Timor before and after its historic 1999 vote for independence.

Instead, he blamed the carnage on a long-running internal conflict inside East Timor.

Numerous investigations have found up to 1,500 people were murdered, hundreds of thousands of Timorese were forcibly deported and about 70 per cent of the nation's infrastructure totally demolished when militia groups -- trained, funded and under the direct command of the TNI -- rampaged along with TNI Army soldiers and Polri Brimob troops across East Timor before and after the historic vote in Sept 1999.



He GOES ON TO CLAIM -- and spit in the face of any human with a memory -- "It was not based on orders.

"This was not planned, this was just personal behaviour.

"This is just individual responsibility. The Indonesian military didn't take any sides."


In fact, United Nations Investigators, Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission, the Dili SCU court and numerous scholars have proven there was direct planning. Additionally, several witnesses (including two former militia leaders -- one of whom, Olivio, was murdered by the TNI in 2000) told the UN-ET CAVR of these exact plans. There were recorded meetings and internal TNI memos with detailed plans for the slaughter, demolition and deportation -- all with Wiranto's signature and voice. Not only planning, but the TNI directed it all and could have stopped it all with a single order.
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#51005 - 07 May 07 09:11 Re: Timor Hypocrisy [Re: riccardo]
naga Offline
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Registered: 18 Jan 07
Posts: 260
Loc: undisclosed location
"Actually, he's entirely correct. He was referring to the 1999 troubles wherein Sander Thoenes, Bernardino Guterres and Agus Muliawan were all murdered by ABRI/TNI officers"

fair enuff, thought he was referring to '75...
_________________________
"Keep on rockin' in the free world"

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#51382 - 12 May 07 16:20 Re: Timor Hypocrisy [Re: naga]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Congrats to my good friend Ramos-Horta on winning the ET Presidential Election

Hope that's a short enough soundbite for people to grasp
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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