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<nettime> East Timor Digest (planned genocide, economic interest)
nettimes_digestive_system on Wed, 22 Sep 1999 02:39:41 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> East Timor Digest (planned genocide, economic interest)

South China Morning Post
Thursday, September 16, 1999

Revealed: the plot to crush Timor


The political cleansing of East Timor was planned as early as February,
one of the militia leaders present at a meeting which hatched the deadly
plot has revealed. 

Tomas Goncalves, 54, the former head of the 400-strong PPPI (Peace Force
and Defender of Integration) militia said the killings had been agreed at
a meeting on February 16 in the East Timorese capital, Dili. He said the
talks were organised by the head of the SGI, the secret intelligence
organisation of the military's Kopassus special forces. 

The head, Lieutenant-Colonel Yahyat Sudrajad, called for the killing of
pro-independence movement leaders, their children and even their
grandchildren, Mr Goncalves said. Not a single member of their families
was to be left alive, the colonel told the meeting.

Mr Goncalves said that also present were the heads of other militias
covering the 12 regions of East Timor, including Eurico Guterres, of the
Aitarak militia, and Joao Tavares of Besi Merah Putih.

According to Mr Goncalves, the colonel said many soldiers had died in East
Timor and that it would be difficult for troops to leave the enclave
because if they did, they would lose face. They were determined not to
abandon their supporters in the territory. 

The meeting came after President Bacharuddin Habibie announced on January
27 that he might consider independence for East Timor.

On February 11, a day after resistance leader Xanana Gusmao was moved from
jail to house arrest, Mr Habibie said East Timor's future could be decided
by the end of the year. Mr Goncalves said: "The agenda for the meeting
included funding and arming of the militias, food and other supplies."

His revelations leave no doubt about the connection between Jakarta and
the militias, or about the direct line of command.

Mr Goncalves said Colonel Sudrajad had received orders before the meeting
from regional military commander Colonel Tono Suratman, who was answerable
to General Adam Daimiri in command of Bali, East Timor and West Timor.
General Daimiri in turn answered to General Zacky Anwar in Jakarta,
himself the former head of Kabia, Indonesia's national intelligence body.

The meeting set the hour for the start of the political cleansing as
midnight on May 1. However, on February 17, the following day, the
militias began to kill throughout East Timor, launching attacks in
Maliana, Atabai, Kailako and elsewhere. The survivors fled to churches and
priests' houses for protection.

On March 26, Governor of East Timor Abilio Soares gave orders at a
meeting, again attended by Mr Goncalves, that the priests and nuns should
be killed.

Mr Goncalves said: "I could not stand it. I told them I have no problem
fighting the [pro-independence] guerillas, but as a Catholic I could not
kill priests and nuns and attack the Church."

Because of his stand, Mr Goncalves came under suspicion. He fled Jakarta
on April 18 and is now in Macau.

Violence worsened dramatically in East Timor after the result of the
UN-organised ballot was announced on September 4, showing support for

Hundreds, possibly thousands of people were killed by the militias,
encouraged or helped by troops. 

Government and military spokesmen were unavailable for comment last night. 



By George J. Aditjondro

Sydney Morning Herald May 8, 1999

THE fighting between the Indonesian-backed pro-integration militias and
supporters of independence in East Timor cannot be understood fully
without taking into account the substantial holdings in the province of
the former Indonesian president Soeharto and his family. 

These interests include 564,867 hectares of land. They are holdings that
CNRT, the umbrella organisation of the East Timorese resistance movement,
has made clear it would seize if Timor becomes an independent state. The
Soeharto landholdings stretch from the western border to the eastern tip
of East Timor and include 50,000 hectares of timber plantations allocated
to Bob Hasan, one of the Soeharto family's business operators, and tens of
thousands of hectares of sugarcan plantations on the southern coast
controlled by Soeharto's children. 

The best marble deposits in Timor, at Manatuto, are owned by Siti
Hardiyanti Rukmana, Soeharto's eldest daughter, who also has a monopoly
over coffee production and export from East Timor, through a company of
hers in Dili.  These Soeharto interests are closely intertwined with the
business interests of generals who had served under Soeharto during the
invasion and annexation of East Timor, and other military operations. 

Batara Indra, an Indonesian conglomerate backed by retired generals Benny
Moerdani and Dading Kalbuadi, who co-ordinated the operation that led to
the killings of five Australian-based journalists at Balibo in 1975,
controls the sandalwood forests of East Timor and the production and
export of sandalwood oil.  Batara Indra also exports Buddhist statues to
Taiwan and Catholic statues to Italy, made from East Timorese sandalwood
or marble.  Most of the hotels and the only cinema in Dili are owned by
Batara Indra.

The large construction firms in Dili, involved in all major infrastructure
projects - including building the irrigation canals and ditches for
Indonesian "trans- migrants" - either belong to Moerdani's Batara Indra
Group, or to the Anak Liambau Group of the Jakarta-appointed Governor of
East Timor, Jose Abilio Soares.  The Governor's family is also closely
involved with the Soeharto family's businesses. Gil Alves, a
brother-in-law of Governor Abilio, operates the alcohol sticker monopoly
of Soeharto's grandson, Ari Haryo Wibowo, also known as Ari Sigit. Alves
is also involved in a drinking water company, Aquamor, and a textile
company, PT Dilitex, that are closely linked with Siti Hedijanti Harijadi,
Soeharto's middle daughter who is married to the sacked General Prabowo
Subianto.  Looking at the leading figures of the pro-integration forces in
East Timor, it is not difficult to find their links to the Soeharto family
or to their own property interests in the province. 

Top of the list is Governor Abilio, once a protege of Prabowo when the
latter was still head of the Indonesian Army's special force, Kopassus. 
Basilio Araujo, the spokeperson of the pro-integration forces, is also the
deputy head of the provincial investment board, the body that decides who
is allowed to invest in East Timor.

Even the current army commander of East Timor, Colonel Tono Suratman, has
Soeharto connections. His family are the co-owners of a pearling company,
PT Kima Surya Lestari Mutiara, with Prabowo's wife. This company has pearl
diving operations offshore from Flores and Lombok, west of Timor.  Due to
its high-level connections, this Suratman-Prabowo joint venture was
allowed to operate within the boundaries of the Komodo National Park, in
Flores, without even paying any royalties to the Nusa Tenggara Timur
province, where the park is located.  The entire top brass of the
Indonesian Army and civilian bureaucracy in East Timor are closely
interlinked with Soeharto's former inner circle, which has in turn been
taken over by his successor, B.J. Habibie.  Even the Indonesian Armed
Forces commander, General Wiranto, has Soeharto connections, since all the
army charities which are now under his patronage are co-shareholders of
many of the Soeharto family's timber concessions and telecommunication
companies. The Soeharto family's interests in East Timor may be small
compared with their holdings in the rest of Indonesia, but their holdings
in East Timor include the three onshore oil wells that were discovered in
the '60s - the Suai Loro in Covalima, Aliambata in Vikeke, and Pualaca in

And between those three wells lie vast untapped oil reserves.  The
Soeharto family has also made preparations to venture into the Timor Sea
oil reserves. Last year, it set up a new oil company in Perth, Genindo
Western Petroleum Propriety Limited. The company is headed by Bambang
Trihatmodjo, Soeharto's middle son.  Bambang and younger brother Tommy
also own two Singapore-based oil and gas tanker fleets that operate in the
seas between Indonesia and north-east Asia. 

No doubt they would be eager to be involved in a similar trade between the
Timor Gap and those same Asian customers.  Bambang is also co-owner of PT
Elnusa, which is involved in building base camps for the oil companies and
related petrochemical industries in Timor. 

Tommy, in addition to his tanker fleet, has his own air charter company
which has been waiting to take advantage of the wealth that will flow from
the Timor Gap, where three wells - Elang, Kakatua, and Kakatua North -
have been producing 33,000 barrels of oil per day since July last year.
And many of the Soeharto clan business partners in Indonesia's oil and gas
fields, such as Mobil Oil, are also active in the Timor Sea, which could
lead them into further joint ventures in this part of the world.  This is
why the Jakarta oligarchy - with the strong support from their East
Timorese collaborators - are so keen on undermining a free and fair vote
to determine East Timor's future political status. 

Behind the militia tactics in East Timor there is a strategy to partition
East Timor into a western half that supports continued links with
Indonesia and an eastern part that would be allowed to become independent.
Such a partition would roughly follow the lines of the "oil-rich" and
"oil-poor" parts of East Timor.  An alternative strategy would allow the
entire territory to obtain its political independence, as long as the
landholdings of the Soeharto family and their East Timorese collaborators
were to be respected by an independent East Timor state, and not be seized
by the new government or by the rightful traditional landowners. 

Dr George J. Aditjondro is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology and
Anthropology at the University of Newcastle. His new book, Is Oil Thicker
than Blood? A Study of Oil Companies' Interests and Western Complicity in
Indonesia's Annexation of East Timor will be published by Nova Science in
the US this month. 

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