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Subject: ETISC Discussion Papers
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 17:47:18 +0000
From: "ETISC" <>

Discussion Papers

East Timor International Support Centre (ETISC) encloses for your information six ETISC Discussion Papers. Other Background Briefings will become available in coming months. The papers originate from the need to give a voice to East Timorese and their supporters, at a time when the East Timorese situation has been come more fluid and therefore more prone to delivering outcomes which, while suiting the interests of the major players, are not in accord with the wishes of the 800,000 East Timorese inside East Timor.

ETISC Discussion Papers numbers 1 to 6 are:

1. Autonomy NO Why autonomy will not solve the East Timorese problem. It will make it worse.

2. Referendum - still waiting A referendum has never been held. An exposé of the Act of Integration (31 May 1976) and the Balibo Declaration (30 November 1975).

3. Special Status for East Timor? Indonesia will find it difficult to make East Timor an autonomous province with special status.

4. ABRI in East Timor Will they ever leave? No - not until independence

5. Balibo and Beyond Possible responses to the impending release of the International Commission of Jurists report about Balibo.

6. Indonesian migrants in East Timor Who are the migrants? What will they do if East Timor becomes independent?

For further information contact: Maria do Ceu Federer 61 8 8948 4458 Sonny Inbaraj 61 8 8985 5529

1. Autonomy - NO

Why autonomy will not solve the East Timor problem; it will make it worse There is an urgent need to argue the case, forcefully and internationally, that autonomy will not solve the East Timor problem. It will make it worse. Legal and emotional problems will remain. East Timor will remain an unsolved international and United Nations issue. NOW is the time to argue this case. Tomorrow will be too late. Here are 10 arguments against autonomy.

  • 1. Autonomy is clearly not what the people of East Timor want.
  • 2. Autonomy without self-determination is in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
  • 3. Violence is possible in an autonomous territory under Indonesia's control.
  • 4. The degree of autonomy granted by Indonesia may at a later stage be reduced by Indonesia. Will the world care?
  • 5. Indonesia has the capacity to strangle East Timor financially, even under a fully respected autonomy.
  • 6. Indonesia has the capacity to strangle East Timor militarily, even under a fully respected autonomy.
  • 7. Indonesia has the capacity to strangle East Timor judicially, even under a fully respected autonomy
  • 8. In an autonomous territory the East Timor church would be reduced in power. It would not be the voice of the people.
  • 9. An autonomous East Timor would have no right to Timor Gap oil.
  • 10. Autonomy may still allow Indonesians to migrate to East Timor.

ETISC has a 4 page document which expands upon all these points. It is available upon request.

2. REFERENDUM - STILL WAITING A referendum has never been held in East Timor. An exposé of the Act of Integration (31 May 1976) and the Balibo Declaration (30 November 1975)

Indonesia claims that the East Timorese have already expressed their desire to integrate into Indonesia. This is completely untrue. To justify its claim Indonesia points to two actions: a) The Balibo Declaration - November 30 1975 b) The Act of Integration - May 31 1976

East Timorese and their supporters urgently need to expose the inadequacy of these actions, as instruments which reasonably justify the conquest and occupation of East Timor (1975-1998). Listed below are certain facts which show that these two actions cannot be regarded as justification for integration.

1. Documents written by ABRI's "intelligence" The East Timorese signatories of both these documents state that they played no part in composing these documents. It is likely that signatories did not sight them until the moment of signing. The documents were written by Indonesians. One assumes that Intel composed them. The wording of paragraph 4 of the Balibo Declaration suggests Indonesian, and not East Timorese, authorship. "After having been separated from the strong ties of blood, identity, ethnic and moral culture with the people of Indonesia by the colonial power of Portugal for more than 400 years, we deem it is now the right moment for the people of Portuguese Timor to re-establish formally these strong ties with the Indonesian nation"

2. Documents signed under threats of punishment or death The signatories to both these documents signed them under the threat of death or other unspecified punishments. Evidence to this effect has been given by Guilherme Maria Gonçalves (Apodeti) in the case of the Balibo Declaration, and by Antonio Sarmento in the case of the Act of Integration.

3. The small number of signatories Four people signed the Balibo Declaration. Thirty-seven people (according to Indonesian sources), and twenty-eight people (according to other sources) signed the Act of Integration.

4. The unrepresentative nature of the signatories Balibo Declaration. This was signed by one representative from each of the four smallest parties in East Timor - UDT, Apodeti, Kota, and Partido Trabalhista. It was not signed by the fifth and largest party, namely Fretilin. Evidence that Fretilin more fully represented the wishes of the people of East Timor, and that UDT, Apodeti, Kota, Partido Trabalhista, did not represent the people is suggested by these facts: a) Fretilin had won the local elections in February and March 1975, scoring 55% of the votes. Apodeti polled extremely badly in spite of generous financial support from Jakarta. Kota and Partido Trabalhista did not exist. b) Fretilin had won the "civil war" and were the de facto government at the time of the Balibo Declaration. c) The Fretilin military held the powerful Indonesian army at bay for 3 years (1975-1978), suggesting that the East Timorese people supported Fretilin, rather than supporting UDT, Apodeti, Kota and Partido Trabalhista who were collaborating with the Indonesians.

Act of Integration. This was signed (31/5/76) only 6 months after the invasion, at a time when at least 80% of East Timor was under the control of Fretilin, and the territory was in a state of total war. Under such circumstances how could Indonesia test the will of the people? Indonesia said that a Popular Representative Assembly had been "elected so as to represent the wishes of the people of East Timor", and that "the process of election was democratic and free from any form of pressure". An election in the Fretilin controlled part of East Timor clearly could not, and did not, take place. Stories from signatories suggest that they were hastily conscripted in Dili, and did not represent anybody.

5. Secrecy surrounded the signing of both documents. There were no observers at the Balibo Declaration. Those attending were the four East Timorese signatories, and a number of ABRI personnel. The signing apparently took place in Bali, and not in Balibo, further adding to the secrecy of the occasion and pointing to the desire of the Indonesians to hide the truth.

Some 40 journalists were invited from Jakarta for the Act of Integration, in order to give validation to the occasion. However the event was stage managed, in order to cover up the coercion involved and the unrepresentative nature of the assembly. The secrecy is apparent in the following facts: a) The 40 journalists (both Indonesian and foreign) were flown at Indonesian government expense from Jakarta to Dili and back, in one day. They were allowed to stay in Dili for only three hours. b) The journalists were not allowed to leave the building where the signing ceremony took place. c) They were not allowed to speak to any of the signatories. d) The ceremony was held in Portuguese, but no interpreting or translation was provided.

PS. Tactics used on these two occasions indicate ABRI's methods: 1) They tell lies (eg Balibo, not Bali; an election was said to have been held when it wasn't). 2) They manipulate people and events 3) They use force (eg threats of death) 4) They work in secret, rather than openly 5) They work with puppets, who are in a minority, in opposition to the wishes of the majority.

3. SPECIAL STATUS FOR EAST TIMOR? Indonesia will find it difficult to make East Timor an autonomous province with special status There are two reasons why Indonesia will find it difficult to grant to East Timor an autonomy which represents powers which are different to, or more than, those held by Indonesia's 26 provinces.

1. ABRI's concept of Indonesia: the Archipelagic Concept. Wawasan Nusantara, or the Archipelagic Concept, was devised to give a sense of national, geographical and social unity to an array of islands which the Dutch had only regarded as a collection of different ethnic groups. This concept was incorporated into ABRI doctrine in 1969 and into national doctrine in 1973. It links all the islands of the archipelago, and all the sea between, into the Indonesian concept of "tanah air" (land and sea), in this way providing a metaphorical basis for treating the entire national territory as a single entity, and each part of the archipelago as having equal powers. This solidarity and uniformity of the Indonesian "land and sea" nation is deeply embedded in ABRI's psyche and doctrine. ABRI will not deviate from it unless forced. (Who by?)

2. History of Indonesia as a UNITARY state since 1945 The notion of the Unitary State (Negara kesatuan) implies that all power resides in one undivided republican government. It is the very opposite of a federal state which devolves powers to its constituent parts. The history of Indonesia has been the story of a constant centralising of power on Jakarta, and the emasculation of the powers and cultures of the "outer" islands. Within this centralised system no region has ever had special status. Three examples underline this pattern. (1) At the time of independence in 1949 the negotiated Indonesia-Dutch agreement was for a "United States of Indonesia" in which a number of states were federated in the one overarching USI. This lasted a mere 8 months before the Indonesians rejected the treaty, abrogated the USI and replaced it with the unitary Republic of Indonesia. (2) The Republic of the Southern Moluccas (RMS) was formed in 1950 by Ambonese people who felt that this was what the Dutch had promised them in 1949. Indonesia did not tolerate it. (3) Aceh and Yogya which had been given special status in the 1940s for special reasons (Aceh - to buy their loyalty, Yogya - to show gratitude for the Sultan's support for the Indonesians against the Dutch 1945 to 1949) never had any special powers devolved to them. It has always been a special status in name only. It is unlikely that Jakarta will ever devolve special powers that differentiate between different provinces. It has never been done before.

4. ABRI IN EAST TIMOR Will they ever leave? NO - not until East Timor is independent

1. Troop numbers in East Timor since 1975 Actual troop numbers in East Timor since 1975 are not known, but two patterns are apparent a) Indonesia has always claimed to have fewer troops in East Timor than actually are there. b) Indonesia has regularly said that it is reducing troop numbers in East Timor - for the sake of suggesting that there is no military problem - but at the same time has actually maintained troop numbers, or in fact increased them.

2. Troop numbers in East Timor now There are 30,000 to 40,000 Indonesian armed forces personnel in East Timor at the moment. This includes the army, police, airforce and a small number of naval personnel. It has been independently verified that there are 15,000 armed forces personnel in Dili alone (Dili population: 110,000). If the figure of 40,000 military is correct, and the total East Timor population of 800,000 is correct, then there is one military person for every 20 civilians! Do not believe the often quoted figure of 12,000 total ABRI in East Timor.

3. Current troop reductions a) It is said that 1,000 troops have left East Timor recently. We saw pictures of them on television, boarding troop carriers. However troops are leaving and arriving in East Timor every 3 months as part of the army's rotation of troops policy, so it is impossible to tell whether this is an actual reduction or whether fresh troops will replace them, as has been the case for years. ABRI never tell the truth about troop numbers (see point 1 above), so there is every reason to disbelieve this current claim. It is likely that ABRI will also give false figures to President Habibie and Ali Alatas. Who can ever know the actual numbers - except ABRI? b) Supposing there IS an actual reduction of 1,000 troops, this still only amounts to 1,000 out of 40,000 (or to be kind, 30,000). It must be stressed that the figure of 12,000 (probably promulgated by ABRI) is totally false. c) Simultaneously with the departure of 1,000 troops came the arrival in East Timor of 263 new army and police personnel. Is this in accord with the troop reduction claim? These personnel are said to consist of: 1) 155 army officers with specialities in health and mental counselling. Being positive, these officers may be treating people in Dili public hospital. If this is true ABRI will probably advertise this altruistic act. Being realistic the officers are probably going to treat ABRI' s own personnel in Dili military hospital. (Why not take the troops home and treat them in Java?). 2) 108 personnel from the police's special mobile brigade. These men are the SAS of the Indonesian police, the macho men who play it tough on the streets of Dili and Baucau. The riot police. d) In addition to these troops, 2,000 extra troops - battalion numbers 623, 501, and 613 - arrived at the small and secluded harbour of Com in eastern East Timor where fighting is still intense. This occurred at the same time as the 1,000 troops were leaving from Dili. This is a clear lesson that ABRI should never be believed.

4. Will Indonesia reduce ABRI troop numbers in the near future The following quote from the 5 August 1998 Press Conference of UN Secretary General at UN Headquarters will answer this question.

Question: The withdrawal of troops has begun in East Timor. At what point do you think you will be able to say that all the forces will be withdrawn?

Mr Alatas: Well, we have been talking in Indonesia about reduction of forces because, to a certain extent - like in all other regions of Indonesia - there may always be a residue of forces there, but in a much reduced form. This is what is happening now. The first reductions have taken place. They will continue gradually in stages and, of course, always taking into account the security conditions and the security needs of the region.

Clearly Indonesia intends that ABRI will remain firmly entrenched in East Timor during this current period of negotiations, AND, during all elections in East Timor. If East Timor is granted autonomy, as a special case - which is Indonesia's aim - ABRI will be there as the controlling force. Why? Because, as Ali Alatas said above, they need to "take into account the security conditions (in East Timor) and the security needs of the region". It is ABRI who will be the force behind any future elections; it is ABRI who will safeguard the future security of the autonomous province of East Timor! ABRI's two main weapons - force and bribery - will become entrenched in East Timor for all time.

One of East Timor's prime demands must be the TOTAL withdrawal of ABRI as a pre-condition for progress in negotiations.

5. BALIBO AND BEYOND Possible responses to the impending release of the International Commission of Jurists report about Balibo The Australian section of the International Commission of Jurists is apparently to publish a report in August, with the above title- Balibo and Beyond. It is likely to be revealing. What should be the response of the East Timorese and their supporters? Here are four possibilities.

1. Pressure should be put on Lt-Gen Yunus Yosfiah, the current Indonesian Information Minister, to resign. Major Yunus was in command of the troops who carried out the Balibo killings. As Information Minister he is in charge of all Indonesian media and publications (i.e. he's the State Censor), and deals in disinformation and all Indonesia's public lies. This would be a way of saying: "Indonesia needs to purge all former ABRI undesirables from the present "Reformasi Government".

2. Demands should be made that ALL Indonesian armed forces should be withdrawn from East Timor at least 6 months BEFORE the election of an interim and autonomous East Timorese government. ABRI is, institutionally, a secretive and dishonest organisation, therefore cannot be relied upon to be neutral and fair in any election. It has traditionally sided with one party - Apodeti.

3. Strong demands should be made that ABRI be de-politicised. This is the hub of Indonesia's problem - a terrorising army whose main enemy is its own people, whom it controls by political means. e.g. (1) 66% of ABRI are involved in political, NOT military affairs, (2) all nominations for the position of governor are strictly vetted by senior ABRI personnel. (In this regard the well-known expression is: Litsus, which = penelitian khusus, i.e. Special Investigation), (3) school-leavers in East Timor have to have a Litsus if they wish to go to university in Java, or enter the Public Service. A military dictatorship!

4. Australian Defence Forces Intelligence must be criticized and exposed for preventing the Australian government from FULLY informing the Australian and British journalists of the strong likelihood that they would be in danger of being killed. The Defence Signals Directorate (near Darwin and at Canberra) and the Defence Intelligence Organisation form the two wings of the Australian Defence Forces Intelligence. They not only had full knowledge of the Indonesian clandestine invasion, but were giving it support and intelligence. The DSD (Defence Signals Directorate) knowingly sacrificed these journalists. It was not that the Australian government was meekly following the Indonesian army initiative, but that the DSD was both actively advising ABRI and also telling the Australian Government what to do. This is why the truth will never be 100% exposed - until a former DSD operative writes a book. Attack the DSD and its secret anti-Australian role - NOW.

6. INDONESIAN MIGRANTS IN EAST TIMOR Who are the migrants? What will they do if East Timor becomes independent? How many Indonesian migrants have left East Timor since May 1998? Figures in the press have ranged from 15,000 to 50,000. Probably nobody knows. However the tendency is always to exaggerate. In past market burnings and so on, Buginese traders have left East Timor, but we do not know if they have returned later. The same applies to secondary school teachers, many of whom come from outside East Timor. A likely estimate is that 20,000 people have left in the past 3 months, and that they will not return.

1. Are more Indonesians likely to leave? Probably yes. With talk of elections, autonomy and troop withdrawals - whether true or not true - the Indonesians are likely to feel very jittery.

2. How many Indonesians are in East Timor altogether? Commonly quoted figures suggest that the current population of East Timor is 750,000 or 800,000. The percentage of Indonesians is quoted as either 10% or 20%. This means that the lowest figure for the Indonesian population in East Timor is 75,000, and the highest is 160,000. (I imagine that none of these figures or percentages includes the Indonesian armed forces).

3. Who actually are the migrants? a) Firstly, there are 30,000 to 40,000 armed forces personnel. This includes the army, the police, the airforce and a small number of naval personnel. These personnel are probably not included in the figures in section 3 above. It has been independently verified that there are 15,000 armed forces personnel in Dili alone. Do not believe the figure often quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and others, of 12,000 total ABRI in East Timor. If the figure of 40,000 military is correct, and the total East Timor population of 800,000 is correct, then there is one military person for every 20 civilians! Think of it!

b) A second group consists of Indonesian public servants who dominate nearly all the senior positions in the Government Service. This group also includes about 85% of the doctors in East Timor, 60% of the junior high school teachers and 95% of the senior high school teachers. If East Timor becomes independent or autonomous, then a large majority of these people will probably return to their former homes.

c) A third group consists of government-sponsored transmigrants. They come mainly from Bali, and to a lesser extent Java. It should be understood that this group is numerically small, and probably amount to only 5% of all Indonesians in East Timor. They work hard, usually in wet rice fields.

d) The fourth group consists of spontaneous migrants. Since the territory was opened up in 1989 these people have themselves shifted to East Timor in search of work. Some open restaurants, some are food vendors, some open market stalls, others come as contractors for government and private construction work, while many are unskilled and unemployed. This is the largest of the four groups. The biggest ethnic groups are Buginese, East Javanese, West Timorese and Ambonese. Many other groups are represented.

4. Where do the Indonesians live? They live in the defined transmigrant areas (small numbers), and in all the towns of East Timor. They are most prominent in Dili, which is where the public servants and spontaneous migrants congregate (see groups b. and d. above). By and large they are not conspicuous in villages.

5. What will they do if East Timor becomes independent? The military will leave (hopefully 100% of them, though beware lingerers masquerading as civilians), perhaps 80% of the public servants will leave, 20% of the transmigrants will leave (they have invested a lot in East Timor), and 80% of the spontaneous migrants will leave (the Tetun speaking West Timorese are the group most likely to stay). Remember there have been a number of mixed Timorese/non-Timorese marriages. Let us say that the remaining Indonesians will amount to between 15,000 and 30,000. If this is so, it means that there is a good chance that the problem will solve itself. Moreover, those that do stay will do so of their own free will, and will appreciate the new atmosphere in East Timor. (Note: This hopeful scenario will not apply if East Timor gets autonomy, as opposed to independence).

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