Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 22 August 2007

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list (info@etan.org) have been removed.]

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

UNMIT – MEDIA MONITORING

"UNMIT assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the articles or for the accuracy of their translations. The selection of the articles and their content do not indicate support or endorsement by UNMIT express or implied whatsoever. UNMIT shall not be responsible for any consequence resulting from the publication of, or from the reliance on, such articles and translations."

National Media Reports

Misusing state’s fund, needs investigation

The member of the national parliament from CNRT, Cicílio Caminha Freitas has called on the government to investigate the fund for medical treatment for Rogerio Lobato in Malaysia.

“In the plenary session I propose that this matter needs to be investigated,” said Mr. Freitas on Tuesday (21/8) in his office.

According to Mr. Freitas, the former Prime Minister and former ministers of justice, finance, and health need to be questioned on this issue. (STL)

Alfredo is ready to submit himself to the justice

President José Ramos-Horta reportedly met Alfredo Reinado Alves in Ermera district, to convince Reinado to submit himself to the justice when the process of dialogue concludes.

According to the president, Reinado declared him that he wants to solve this problem, because there has not been a solution for one year.

President Horta added that he understands the situation of Alfredo Reinado and his followers who abandoned F-FDTL.

“I went there to show that I want to solve the problem peacefully and that Reinado has made many efforts to collaborate with this state in solving the situation,” said President Horta on Tuesday (21/8) in LABEH’s office Kampung Baru Comoro, Dili.

The President said that he has asked government to create a task force to solve the problem. (STL and DN)

Unconstitutional government: Timorese is asked to solve it constitutionally

The Madrid Club, comprised of the Former Prime Minister of Latvia, the Former President of Philippines, Fidel Ramos, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jenny Shipley and the former President of Mauritius, Cassam Ateem have called upon the Timorese people to live calm and avoid violence to solve problems constitutionally, if the president’s decision of appointing the Alliance to form the new government is unconstitutional.

“We, together with the leaders of Timor-Leste, appeal to all people to calm and respect the law and orders,” said Club Madrid through its press letter issued last week.

The Madrid Club said that President José Ramos-Horta has made the decision to appoint the Alliance led by Xanana Gusmão and any rejection to that decision should be voiced within the court, not through violence on the streets. (TP)

MPs congratulate the Alliance government

The members of the national parliament from the National Unity Party (PUN) through a plenary session on Tuesday (21/8) have endorsed the Alliance government led by the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão.

However, Fretilin’s members are maintaining that the Alliance government is illegitimate because it is unconstitutional. (STL)

Atul Khare: holding government is not to govern

At a meeting held by NGO FONGTIL on Tuesday (21/8) in Caicoli, Dili the SRSG, Mr. Atul Khare stated that the people who form the government are there to serve the needs of all Timorese people.

Mr. Khare said that the power within a democracy comes from knowing how to be responsible and serve the people.

According to Mr. Khare the current government is represents all organs, the opposition and civil societies together in the process of development. (STL)

Alkatiri and Lu-Olo, asking temporal substitution

The Fretilin parliamentary members have submitted a letter for temporary substitution for the positions held by Mari Alkatiri and Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo.

The mandate of Mr. Alkatiri is temporarily delegated to Fretilin’s member Elizario Ferreira and Mr. Lu-Olo is temporarily delegated to Mr. Joaquim Amaral. (TP)

Arsenio Bano: PSD, along for the ride of ASDT

The Vice President of Fretilin party, Arsenio Paixão Bano on Tuesday (21/8) said that Fretilin has right to claim victory because it got more votes than other political parties such as CNRT, PSD/ASDT, PD, PUN, UNDERTIM and KOTA/PPT. (DN)

ISF commander, inform the security situation to Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Commander of International Stabilization Forces (ISF), John Hutcheson on Tuesday (21/8) held a meeting with Minister of Foreigner Affairs, Zacarias Albano da Costa to inform regarding security matters and in incident in Tasi Tolu.

Speaking to the journalists after meeting, Mr. Hutcheson said that he has informed about the incident in Bercoli and Tasi Tolu to the minister.

“The incident in Tasi Tolu involved a vehicle colliding with a motorbike rider and the incident is being investigated. (DN)

UNPOL, PNTL and F-FDTL are constantly in coordination

The UNMIT spokesperson Ms. Allison Cooper said that UNPol, PNTL and ISF always coordinate each other to maintain security situation in the country.

Speaking to journalist on Tuesday (21/8) Ms. Cooper said that police are coordinating with the ISF to prevent incidents across the country to avoid burning houses and destroying properties.

“The coordination between the security forces remains constant to prevent incidents of violence that occurred in Dili and the eastern districts in the recent weeks, said Ms. Cooper. (DN)

International Media Reports

Aussies 'had better go home': Alkatiri ups the stakes in East Timor Tuesday, August 21 2007 @ 07:16 AM PDT Contributed by: WorkerFreedom Views: 44

The leader of East Timor's largest political party has denounced the Australian troops occupying his country, saying 'they had better go home because they are not neutral'. Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of the Fretilin party, made his call after Australian troops waded into an anti-government protest held in a village near the East Timorese capital Dili yesterday. The Aussies provoked fury by ripping down two Fretilin flags and wiping their backsides with them. Fretilin led the fight against both the Portuguese and the Indonesian occupations of East Timor, and its flag is seen by many Timorese as a symbol of national independence.

The leader of East Timor's largest political party has denounced the Australian troops occupying his country, saying 'they had better go home because they are not neutral'.

Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of the Fretilin party, made his call after Australian troops waded into an anti-government protest held in a village near the East Timorese capital Dili yesterday. The Aussies provoked fury by ripping down two Fretilin flags and wiping their backsides with them. Fretilin led the fight against both the Portuguese and the Indonesian occupations of East Timor, and its flag is seen by many Timorese as a symbol of national independence. Fretilin vice-President Arsenio Bano backed up Alkatiri’s statement, saying that the actions of the troops reflected the 'cultural insensitivity and arrogance [that] typifies Australian military operations in the Pacific region'.

Yesterday's incident came amidst continuing protests against an Australian-backed government that is widely seen as illegitimate. Although it won the largest number of seats in parliamentary elections held last month, Fretilin was snubbed by East Timor's pro-Australian President Jose Ramos-Horta, who invited his close political ally Xanana Gusmao to form a government. Gusmao and Horta's National Congress for Timorese Reconciliation party won only 22% of the vote in the elections, and Gusmao's inauguration as Prime Minister on August the 8th sparked big protests in Dili and in the eastern towns of Baucau and Viqueque.

When the Australian and New Zealand troops and police who comprise the majority of the UN-sponsored 'International Stabilization Force' tried to shut the protests down rioting broke out. Vehicles carrying Anzacs were stoned, and buildings associated with the UN, the Australian government, and the CNRT were burnt. Ambushers fired shots at a convoy of UN vehicles on a road south of Baucau. In some places criminal gangs joined in the riots, attacking civilians and churches and looting shops. In Baucau, a gang broke into a convent and raped several girls. The government and its Anzac allies have used the criminals as an excuse to launch a campaign of repression against their political opponents. In the four days after Gusmao's inauguration as Prime Minister, the International Stabilization Force fired more than two hundred rounds of tear gas at protesters. Dozens of peaceful protesters were arrested for offences like 'blocking the road'.

Comparing protesters to the pro-Indonesian militia that killed hundreds of East Timorese in 1999, Horta and Gusmao have warned that civil servants who take to the streets could lose their jobs. Such a threat carries great weight, in a country where 50% of the population is unemployed and the public sector offers the best hope of well-paid work. The new government has also tried to discourage protesters by insisting that they must apply for a permit to march through public streets a full twenty-one days in advance.

Anzac troops and police have often been accused of using their muscle to interfere in the politics of East Timor. Fretilin complained about Australian harassment of its election workers and candidates during the elections earlier this year, and in February big protests broke out in Dili after Australian soldiers killed two youths who had been demonstrating against the destruction of a refugee camp near the city's airport.

Alkatiri was Prime Minister of East Timor until the middle of last year, when he was forced to resign by the Anzac force that had arrived in his country in the aftermath of rioting that killed thirty-seven people. Alkatiri and other Fretilin leaders have argued that the Australian government stirred up the riots, and then used Anzac troops to force him to relinquish power in favor of Horta.

The left-wing journalist and long-time observer of East Timor John Pilger has backed Alkatiri's claims. Pilger believes that the Howard government wanted a government in Dili which would agree to greater Australian control over the rich oil and gas reserves under the seas off Timor. Alkatiri had angered Canberra and its ally in Washington by playing hardball over the oil reserves, refusing to support Bush's 'War of Terror', and bringing Cuban medics to East Timor. Horta, by contrast, is an outspoken supporter of the invasion of Iraq who calls John Howard a personal friend and has taken a conciliatory attitude in negotiations over oil.

Alkatiri has also found support for his complaints amongst the leaders of some of East Timor's neighbors. Last week, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare accused Australia of interfering in East Timor's politics, and warned that it was trying similar tricks in his country. The Solomon Islands is saddled with its own Anzac occupation, and its new, independent-minded Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare has expressed his solidarity with Alkatiri.

Despite his hatred of the Howard government, Alkatiri has never before called so directly for the withdrawal of Australian forces from East Timor. An astute and often cynical political player, he has feared angering those parts of Fretilin who had hoped the occupation could be made to work in the party's interests. Alkatiri's new boldness and the ongoing protests suggest that the mood in Fretilin has turned decisively against accommodation with the occupiers of East Timor. Together, the illegitimate government in Dili and the Anzac troops that support it have alienated large numbers of Timorese. Arsenio Bano summed up the feelings of many when he said yesterday that the Australian government 'has had one overriding aim ­ the removal of the democratically elected Fretilin government and its replacement with the illegitimate government of Gusmao'. The ongoing protests in East Timor should be a wake-up call to New Zealanders. Most Kiwis oppose the Howard government and the neo-colonial occupation it is helping George Bush maintain in Iraq, but few realize that their army and police force is helping prop up a similar occupation in East Timor. Kiwi troops and cops operate under Australian control in East Timor, and are supporting a government which is deeply unpopular. It is not surprising, then, that they are being targeted alongside the Australians. They should be withdrawn before they get sucked further into the escalating conflict between Australian imperialism and the East Timorese people.

Gareth enjoys Timor role By CLARISA COLLIS [] 22 August 2007 The Mail Times

HORSHAM soldier Lance-Corporal Gareth Lane is playing his part to restore peace in war-torn East Timor.

Lance-Corporal Lane is among 1100 Australian Defence Force personnel stationed in Timor Leste as part of the Federal Government's Operation Astute.

A member of the Bendigo-based 15th Transport Section, Lane is providing transport services to ANZAC Battle Group for the International Stabilization Force in Timor Leste.

Corporal Lane said he had been enjoying his second tour of duty after joining the army in 1992.

"As part of the transport section we are responsible for re-supplying the operating bases with supplies throughout Timor," he said.

"It provides a great opportunity to travel around the country and experience the Timorese way of life.

"Seeing the difference we are making makes my time here worthwhile and it's nice to be part of something that is helping others.

"Being here during the recent Prime Minister visit and Tour de Force were also great," he said.

Television news footage of Lance Corporal Lane shaking hands with Prime Minister John Howard came as a surprise to his Horsham-based parents Rosemary and Deral Lane.

"My husband Deral was in the backyard and I called out to him: `Gareth was just in the kitchen shaking hands with the Prime Minister'," Mrs. Lane said.

"It was just gorgeous. I nearly had a tear in my eye.

"We miss him very much and we think the world of him, like all our kids. I just want him home safely," she said.

Mrs. Lane said her maternal instincts compelled her to worry about her son.

"Last week there was a news flash that indicated Australian soldiers had been attacked in East Timor," she said.

"It was only hand fighting with stones, but it does give you a horrifying feeling in the stomach."

Mrs. Lane said the Horsham family man hoped to return to his wife Tami and two children, Dein, 11 and Paige, 4, before his birthday on October 14. Tami Lane said she was initially apprehensive about Gareth departing for a second tour in Timor, but veteran army members visiting the Horsham army base changed her mind on Anzac Day earlier this year. Tami said some of the veterans had expressed regrets in not receiving the opportunity to serve overseas for their country.

"After that I told him to go if he got the opportunity because there's so many people that never get to do this for their country," she said.

She said Dein and Paige were thrilled to receive Timorese gifts in the mail from their father.

Among the gifts were two photographs signed by Prime Minister John Howard last week.

The Lanes will celebrate Gareth's return with a surprise birthday home- coming before departing on a family holiday.

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)

`UNMIT MEDIA MONITORING www.unmit.org 


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