Subject: Proof that Indonesian Army Directed Timor Slaughter
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 02:53:41 EDT

The Independent [London] Monday, September 20, 1999 -front page, day's top news- [note: some glitch in paper's online edition leaves out bylines]


TWO-WAY RADIO conversations intercepted by foreign observers in East Timor in the days around the self-determination vote of 30 August reveal the part played by the special forces unit of the Indonesian army - the Kopassus - in the terror unleashed in the territory by the anti- independence militia.

The tapes, collected and transcribed by workers with the International Federation for East Timor (Ifet), an organisation that sent observers to monitor the vote, also expose how its personnel, as well as East Timorese civilians, were identified by Kopassus as targets for militia violence. The text begins with the Kopassus order regarding Ifet workers: "Those white people... should be put in the river."

While there have been multiple second-hand reports to the United Nations and to human rights investigators of links between the militia and the military, these transcripts, passed to The Independent, offer clear, documented evidence of the command-and-obey relationship between Kopassus and the gangs.

The documents will reinforce what the world already knows about the culpability of the Indonesian military in the carnage in East Timor.

They will also embarrass those governments that for years have helped to train Kopassus recruits, including those of Britain, Australia and the United States. The same governments are now assisting the multinational force being deployed to restore order in East Timor.

The Australian-led force, expected to total 8,000 personnel from more than 20 countries, was expected to arrive this morning after its commander, Major-General Peter Cosgrove, held successful talks on deployment with the Indonesian military (TNI).

Indonesia's military commander in East Timor, Major-General Kiki Syahnakri, said last night he expected to hand over control of the territory within a few days. But the contents of the transcript only serve to reinforce anxieties about the reception the force will get.

The following are parts of a transcription of an exchange on 1 September - one day after the ballot - between a Kopassus officer and militia commanders via FM radios. The discussion incorporates several place names inside East Timor and concerns staff of Ifet trying to flee Same, a town south of Dili. (Some of the names of the different militia gangs and their commanders have been excised here for simplicity.)

"Kopassus: `Those white people ... should be put in the river.' Militia (passing the order to other militiamen): `If they want to leave, pull them out, kill them and put them in the river.' Kopassus: `They need to be stopped. The car needs to be stopped.' Militia: `It will be done.' Kopassus: `If they go to Ainaro, they should send people to close the road there ... the green Kijang [jeep] with the big tyre in the back.'"

The conversation turns briefly to town leaders also trying to escape Same for Dili before focusing again on the Ifet people. "Militia: `I'll wipe them out, all of them. Nobody gets to get out, especially if the white guys want to go. Hold the car, let them walk.' Another militia voice: `I'll eat them up.' Kopassus: `Nobody gets to go out. Hold the car. If they want to go to Dili. Then hold the car. If they want to walk, that's their business. Hold the car. No, send it back.' Militia voice: `I'll make the stop there.' Third militia voice: `Better to send them up to Dadina [a settlement in the mountains with a militia command post] and we'll put them in the river of Kara Ulu.'" (The Ifet people, in the end, did not attempt this journey out of Same.)

The transcript, which covers nine pages, was made by an Ifet staff member, although Ifet itself, which needed to maintain neutrality in the ballot process, had no formal policy of intercepting militia communications. Covering nine pages, the document is now being passed to several governments by that person, who is no longer in the region, to help to provide evidence of Kopassus collusion in the violence.

The following are instructions from a Kopassus commander to the militia, intercepted three days before the ballot on 27 August. In it, he explains the importance of drawing out the pro-independence side to commit violence first, before they do. Thus they hoped to appear blameless to the outside world. "We can't be the first ones to start it. We have to be on stand- by so that we won't get a bad mark from Unamet (the UN mission in East Timor). But if we're not the first ones and fight back, then we're on stand-by. But if they fish for it, then we will use a hard hand. There is no other way out. That's how it will be."

The Kopassus voice goes on: "It is better we wait for the result of the announcement [of the ballot]. It is better we wait for the result of the an- nouncement. Whether we win or lose, that's when we'll react."

Also captured are orders from a militia leader to his followers on a strategy of intimidation for voting day:

"I'm asking all members of Ablai [a militia gang] to be placed in pairs to watch those who are voting, to observe them, organise them, monitor them, and all the happenings of the popular consultations." .


Indonesian military commander to militia: "It is better we wait for the result of the announcement [of the ballot]. Whether we win or lose, that's when we'll react."

Indonesian military: "Those white people [election observers]... should be put in the river." Militia (passing the order to other militiamen): "If they want to leave, pull them out [of their car], kill them and put them in the river."

Militia voice: "I'll wipe them out, all of them. Nobody gets to get out [of the town of Same]. Hold the car, let them walk." Another militia voice: "I'll eat them up."

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