|Subject: Systematic burning of evidence of Indon
crimes in E.Timor
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 20:37:53 EDT
Australian Broadcasting Corp. AM News Tuesday, September 7, 1999 8:15
Burning East Timor's records
COMPERE: East Timorese here in Australia are concerned that the sacking and the burning of Dili is an attempt to destroy historical records. Lyn Gallacher reports.
LYN GALLACHER: The President of the East Timor Relief Association, Abel Guterres, has been in contact as much as he can with his friends in East Timor, and the news he's hearing is alarming.
ABEL GUTERRES: I was just talking to one of my friends. All he was saying is that, 'We are under attack. We are under attack,' and then the phone went dead. And then early, very, very early this morning, about five o'clock, another phone call came and that all around Santa Cruz area, all the houses have been raided and people are all running all over the place. They don't know, families have been separated. The situation is really in absolute chaos and they beg for international help as quick as possible.
LYN GALLACHER: We heard that the Red Cross has pulled out and that 2,000 refugees were forced at gunpoint to march to the beach. Do you know what happened to them?
ABEL GUTERRES: Well this is part of the scenario of Indonesian military setting up to get as many East Timorese out of East Timor into West Timor and to use them as a hostage and force them to declare that they want to be part of Indonesia. And the other fear is that the could be all killed and then bodies thrown into the sea and so no one knows where, so that the bodies cannot be traced. And that has been the practice in the past and they will probably do the same thing this time so that the bodies cannot be traced.
LYN GALLACHER: Long term activist for Australians for a Free East Timor, Rob Wesley-Smith says that the actions of the military are pre-meditated and designed to eliminate traces of humanitarian crimes. He sees the sacking of Bishop Belo's residence as an attempt to rewrite history.
ROB WESLEY-SMITH: Bishop Belo would not have been attacked by East Timorese. These people that are doing the sacking are Indonesian military and they're doing this in a large measure to cover up the records of their atrocities over the last 24 years in East Timor anyway.
LYN GALLACHER: So you're suggesting that the attack on Bishop Belo was to destroy records?
ROB WESLEY-SMITH: Yes, and the same for the International Red Cross, that the church is a known historical, you know, they're the historians and they've got records. And the Indonesian military, one of the reasons they don't want to get out of East Timor is because they have killed 300,000 people in East Timor since the invasion in 1975 and there's a lot of bodies, lot of evidence there, a lot of crimes to be exposed.
COMPERE: Rob Wesley-Smith.