Subject: Nine Network: secret military and intelligence ties bind Jakarta and Canberra.
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 17:40:16 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <> (includes links to photo gallery and other material including full transcript). After this week (May30) the story will be permanently in the archives which can be accessed via the sarch button.

Australia's Nine Network's Sunday Program May 30, 1999

Cover Story

East Timor on the brink Reporter: Ross Coulthart Producer: Nick Farrow

Counting down the last dangerous days before East Timor votes on whether to stay in Indonesia's embrace, Sunday this week exposes secret military and intelligence ties which bind Jakarta and Canberra.

Reporter Ross Coulthart uncovers startling evidence of the extent of controversial jungle warfare training between the Australian SAS Regiment and the notorious Indonesian Kopassus special forces — the elite Indonesian regiment linked to many human rights abuses.

Sunday details an exercise involving SAS troopers where an East Timorese pro-independence guerilla was forced to teach jungle warfare and ambush tactics to Kopassus and SAS soldiers.

Liquica Massacre victims
This is a relationship the Australian Defence Force is deeply reluctant to talk about.

It ended disastrously. Two SAS men were badly injured in a Timorese guerilla "ambush" and needed emergency helicopter evacuation. Sunday interviews a pro-independence Fretilin member who testifies how he was one of the prisoners forced to take part in this exercise.

This is a relationship the Australian Defence Force is deeply reluctant to talk about. Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Sunday seeking details on the Indonesian soldiers Australia trains were refused by Defence.

Liquica victim
Sunday reveals why the Indonesian military will not readily quit East Timor.

But in Dili, Coulthart discovers another link: proof that Australia’s ultra-secret Defence Intelligence Organisation has visited the operational headquarters of Indonesia’s frontline in East Timor. Previously, our government has confirmed intelligence links only at the level of BAKIN, Indonesia’s national intelligence agency.

The question is, if an Australian intelligence officer was allowed in to Indonesia's most sensitive operational military headquarters, what intelligence, if any, is Australia providing in return?

In an exclusive interview, East Timor's military commander, Colonel Tono Suratman, calmly predicts a vote against autonomy will trigger bloodshed worse than in 1975.

Sunday also shows why the Indonesian military will not readily quit East Timor. The program screens exclusive pictures of an illegal operation run by senior military officers where plundered sandalwood trees — a species now almost extinct — are pulverised to extract the fabulously valuable aromatic oil for export.

Photographic Gallery

As part of our coverage of this story, some never-before-seen photographs are provided online. Whilst on assignment in East Timor, reporter Ross Coulthart photographed the portraits of each of the Indonesian Commanders in East Timor - they hung in a sequence on the walls of Colonel Suratman's headquarters. Click here for those photographs.

Coulthart and producer, Nick Farrow, also photographed a peace march held by nuns in the streets of Dili on their recent journey, noting that several "rag tag" militia men watched on from a jeep. Click here for those photographs.

Farrow also photographed Ross Coulthart whilst he met with and spoke to Colonel Suratman - Click here.

This story asks whether Indonesia and Australia may have closer intelligence links than previously thought. Coulthart and Farrow noticed a crest in Suratman's headquarters which suggests this. It is from the Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation. Click here to see the crest.

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