TRANSCRIPT: Exclusive SBS Report On Aid Funds for Militia
SBS Television [Australia] "Dateline" investigative report Wednesday February 16, 2000 8.30 pm Repeated Thursday February 17 12.30
This week, an exclusive report from Mark Davis on how Indonesian Government ministers used aid money to fund last year's campaign of terror in East Timor.
In his first report for SBS, Davis reveals that at least $Aus12 million earmarked for welfare and development, was channelled from the World Bank directly to the militias.
Mark Davis reports
In a forest West of Dili, Filomena Amaral is about to learn the details of how her husband, a village schoolteacher and church leader, was tortured and killed.
Filomena " Why was he killed? Was he a thief? Did he steal people's things or did he kill people like they killed him? No he died without fault."
Photographs of her husbands shattered bones are needed as evidence in the event that his killers are ever brought to trial.
The forensic team will piece together the final moments of her husband's life... but the real evidence concerning his death isn't buried here; It's buried in filing cabinets, government memos and bank records . Buried in the minds of elegant men in suits who incited approved of and paid for this executionand who, it would appear, are going to get away with murder...
Alatas "I don't know what you are talking about, because you are talking about things as if we are in the business of funding the militias.
Mark: Yes, exactly. Exactly
Which is not. Which is not. How can I talk about things which we did not do?"
A suspected militiaman has been found hiding in a house in Dili.
As the crowd grows it is probably the suspects good fortune that he is arrestedbut given the hundreds, possibly thousands of people that were killed here, there has been remarkably few arrests such as this.and all of them have been relatively minor figures.
There is now little doubt that if justice were to be served it would be Indonesian Generals being dragged from their houses todaybut even their involvement only tells half of the real story
The handiwork of the Indonesian Army is fairly plain to see and their involvement has been the focus of most inquiries to date. But were Indonesia's generals acting as rogue elements in East Timor or under orders? Were the war criminals in the government itself.
So far, Indonesian intelligence and Military figures have all stuck together in recounting their version of events in East Timor.but they never dreamt that this man would turn and give evidence against them.
Thomas Gonsalves was Indonesia's closest friend in East Timor for 24 years.
Gonsalves was the leader of the pro Indonesian forces that led the invasion of East Timor at Balibo in 1975. He is a veteran pro indonesian soldier, intelligence figure and politician. When the pro indonesian militia and intelligence groups were reactivated in 1998, Thomas accepted the army's invitation to take a leadership role. He was a natural choice.
Thomas "Oh, yes, many times since last year. I attended many meetings. Almost every week we had meetings."
Mark: That was with Suratman?
At two preliminary inquiries into Human rights abuses in East Timor Thomas's evidence has proved devastating to the Indonesian army but in this his first television interview he implicates not just generals but remarkably Senior ministers of the Indon government.
Thomas "I met with four of them. Generals Adam Damiri, Kiki Shyanakri, Amirud and the Minister for Transmigration, Hendro Priyono. The point they made was if we continued to defend the white and red flag, they were ready to provide any funds, and all sorts of guns and all the troops here could help us."
According to Thomas and others Hendro Priyono's enthusiasm to create and incite a militia force was so extreme that he even offered to don camouflage and fire the guns himselfbut in the end he just provided the money for others to do it
Thomas "We went to his office. That's when he told Governor Abilio's brother, Chiquito, the chief of the Transmigration Department in Timor, to devote the whole departmental budget for the use of the militias."
The implications of a government departments directly diverting money to militias are enormous - it exposes ministers to possible criminal prosecution and the State to massive compensation claims.
And as I was to learn Transmigration was by no means the only Department to contribute fundsand all of those contributions were recorded in some way by the bureaucracy
All the government buildings and most of the documents they contained have been destroyed by soldiers but the people who wrote those documents, copied them and filed them are still in Dili. but to date there's been little interest in finding the local bureaucrats who administered the flow of money from the government to the militias.
Xanana Gusmao and his CNRT leadership have been particularly singular in who they blame for the destruction of their country. The only accusations they make are against the Indonesian army. Xanana has said little that would implicate any Indonesian government figures with whom he is trying to re-establish relation.
Sebastion "We need to continue gathering evidence of the violence in East Timor. Whereas you, the President and CNRT are promoting reconciliation amongst the East Timorese."
Like many young people in East Timor, former student leader Sebastion Gutteres believes that the pursuit of reconciliation, of fence mending with the Indonesian government is clouding the search for the truth.
Sebastion "there is only interest in providing eye witness for the killings. But for searching for deeper evidence, documents, how they operated, no one is doing this.
Mark: and who was paying them.
Seb: yeah, who gave the orders, nothing so far has happened on this."
Both Sebastion and former Independence activist, Jose Apparitio had friends and relatives killed in the violence last year. They're been looking for answers of their own and they agree to help me follow the paper and money trail across Dili.
"these guys are civil servants, one from finance the other police" or "there going to get some documents"
The Department of Finance in Dili was the clearing house for all government funds that entered East Timor..
This building was destroyed and looted by Indonesian soldiersbut by a stroke of luck the upper floor didn't catch fire
As head of the budget section in the Department of Finance Jao Da Silva had intimate access to all departments in the public service. His job was to oversee and monitor where government money was going and from this room it was going to the miltias.
"With regard to the militia, my boss put me in charge of the money. Because they used to go to the Governor who'd have our boss tell us to get the money quickly for their activities."
Jao confirms money from the transmigration department was given to militia groups. But they weren't the only department to contribute for the "Socialisation of Autonomy" - a term which had become open code in the public service for propaganda and militia activities to ensure the victory of the pro indonesian autonomy groups at the upcoming referendum.
"All departments must donate. Transmigration, Agriculture, Forestry, all must give for the " socialisation of autonomy."
The intimate connections between ministries and the militias began in Jakarta in February 1999 at a dinner at the home of the Minister for Information, Yunus Yosfiah Thomas Gonsalves was thereand by coincidence so was I Thomas Mark in English: "Was that in Feb? I was there, standing outside!"
Thomas "He wouldn't want to see journalists. Yunus said that journalists should go to his office."
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