Subject: The Age: Timor Action Puts Officer In Firing Line

The Age [Melbourne] Sunday 9 January 2000

Timor action puts officer in firing line


An Australian Federal Police officer could face charges after revealing the truth about the bloodbath in East Timor to Australia's Parliament.

Detective Wayne Sievers is under investigation by the AFP internal affairs division for alleged "unauthorised disclosures of information" to the Federal Parliament's joint standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade.

On 22 November last year, Detective Sievers, who spent almost three months in Timor as a United Nations intelligence officer, told a meeting of the committee about a top-level conspiracy between Indonesian police and military chiefs to raze the territory after the expected victory of pro-independence forces in the 30August referendum.

He also tabled secret reports he had sent the UN - reports the Australian Government could have easily acquired through its embassy in New York - that predicted the violence that erupted immediately after the ballot.

In the two weeks following his appearance before the committee, the AFP contacted Detective Sievers and demanded he make no further comment about his experience in Timor. He was placed on stress leave and told he would be needed for a further interview, pending possible disciplinary action.

He refused to talk when approached at his Canberra home late last week, saying "I'm sorry, but I'm under instructions not to make any comment to the media."

Detective Sievers is not a conventional policeman. He ran for Parliament last year as a Democrat and established one of the first police gay-liaison units in Australia. He was one of only a handful of AFP officers chosen for UN duty in Timor, and five years ago won a National Medal of Service, one of the AFP's highest honors.

Detective Sievers arrived in Dili on 22 June and immediately began duty as an intelligence officer. According to colleagues, he threw parties to which he invited UN and aid-agency workers, local business people and officials - and members of the Indonesian military. From these gatherings, with intelligence skills gained through investigating drug kingpins, he picked up snippets of valuable information.

One of his first reports, on 30June, detailed a violent incident at Viqueque.

A despatch on 5 July identified a militia leader in Liquicia as also being an Indonesian army intelligence sergeant.

Another report, dated 7 July, tells of how intelligence officers found the business card of one Augustaviano Sojan, of the "Government of Indonesia, Taskforce on the Implementation of Popular Consultation", at the site of a militia disturbance.

But his most dramatic report came on 6 August. In it, he recounts details of an alleged 24 July meeting at the Dili military headquarters, attended by a Mr Suratman, an Indonesian military commander, and a Mr Silaen, a police commander. Also allegedly there were Mr Armindo Mariano Soares, head of the puppet East Timor assembly, and leaders of pro-Jakarta militias.

"The major decisions taken were done so in the recognition that the pro-integration side was unlikely to win the vote," Detective Sievers reported.

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