Subject: Indon general manipulated ETimor militia to back political aims

Indonesian general manipulated ETimor militia to back political aims

SYDNEY, Nov 24 (AFP) - Former Indonesian military chief General Wiranto orchestrated the post-referendum militia violence in East Timor to back his own political ambitions, an Australian magazine said Wednesday.

Citing secret military intelligence documents, The Bulletin portrayed Wiranto as "an intensely ambitious and ruthless military commander" who viewed events in East Timor as providing a stepping stone to his ultimate aim of ruling Indonesia.

The documents left no doubt that despite denials at the time by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer the Australian government was "fully aware of the duplicitous role" of the Indonesian military (the TNI).

But the magazine said the greater import of the secret Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) documents was their assessment of the likely future role of Wiranto.

Wiranto was also defence minister when the East Timor crisis flared in the aftermath of the UN-backed referendum on August 30 when the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence.

"Wiranto's strategy has been derailed by the defeat of Megawati Sukarnoputri's bid for the presidency," it said.

"The game plan was for him to be vice-president. That setback may well prove only temporary as the DIO's concerns come to pass."

One of the documents, prepared six weeks ago, warned of Wiranto's "resurgence" over the next five years, saying that this would likely be met with violence.

The report was the third this week revealing new evidence that violence was planned at the top level of the Indonesian military.

Another of the documents dated January 6, established that the terror campaign was planned as a military campaign originating in Jakarta.

It said the military recognised that violence against pro-referendum groups would attract international criticism and deflect this it decided to contract out its security responsibilities to the militia, "giving it a free hand in the use of force."

The reports coincide with the arrival in Australia of a United Nations commission appointed to investigate the numerous atrocities committed by the militias and the TNI in East Timor during September.

More than half its population of around 800,000 people were driven from their homes into refuge, deported to Indonesian West Timor or killed during a campaign of terror and destruction by the army-backed militias.

The five-member commission headed by Costa Rican jurist Sonia Picado was due to meet former UN mission in East Timor (UNAMET) head Ian Martin in the northern city of Darwin before travelling to Dili on Thursday.

Downer said the government had been aware of TNI complicity and had made 120 separate representations to Indonesia on its failure to live up to its obligations on East Timor this year.

He said Canberra was constantly unconvinced by assurances given by the Indonesians, and argued that everything the government did through the year on the crisis in East Timor had been appropriate and correct.

"We had a large number of sources of information, different analysts have written different things and put forward different ideas and advice," he said.

"I think our judgments were constantly good.

"But we never had confidence in the capacity of the Indonesian military to live up to their responsibilities and that is why the Australian government put the army together in Darwin, to be prepared to move into East Timor if we had to."


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