Subject: Wiranto book "reveals the truth" behind E Timor's traumatic breakaway

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Agence France-Presse April 11, 2002

Wiranto "reveals the truth" behind East Timor's traumatic breakaway

Indonesia's powerful former military chief, General Wiranto, has published a book giving his version of East Timor's bloody 1999 breakaway, as he campaigns to clear himself of responsibility for the orgy of killing and destruction.

The launch, at a luxury hotel on Wednesday night, was attended by a parade of generals, including two facing trial in a new human rights court over the violence, plus serving and former ministers.

A total of 18 military, police, militia and civilian officials -- but not Wiranto himself -- will eventually face trial for gross human rights violations.

Wiranto, testifying as a witness in one trial last week, said he was proud of his men's efforts to provide security for the United Nations-sponsored independence ballot, in what he dubbed a "Mission Impossible".

Wiranto spoke of the difficulty of keeping the peace between supporters and opponents of independence.

But he was not asked about widespread international accusations that the Indonesian military and senior Jakarta officials actually organised and directed the violence by pro-Jakarta militias against independence supporters.

The militiamen waged a campaign of intimidation before the August 1999 vote and a "scorched earth" campaign of revenge afterwards. Between 600 and 2,000 people were killed and 80 percent of the territory's infrastructure was destroyed.

Wiranto, 55, was accused by two separate inquiries in early 2000 of responsibility for the violence because he failed, as then-armed forces commander, to prevent it. State prosecutors declined to charge him but he was sacked fom his post as top security minister.

The 350-page book is entitled: "Farewell to East Timor: The Struggle to Uncover the Truth - The Way it Was, According To a Man Named Wiranto".

It purports to reveal the untold story about East Timor, through Wiranto's experiences during his military service in the territory.

An unsigned foreword states: "Hopefully, by revealing the truth through this book, the human rights trial currently under way will not be a continuation of the hate and revenge which has raged in East Timor.

"Instead, it will be a corridor for the achievement of justice, harmony and genuine peace."

Wiranto writes that the book is his answer to accusations against him and his military colleagues.

"There are many rumours about the image of our security forces already far from the truth, and there are strong indications that (our image) was manipulated for political commodity or for other targets for the interests of certain parties," he says in the prologue.

Wiranto writes that "hopefully through this book, all misunderstandings and opinions concerning the negative image of our security forces in delivering the ballot in East Timor can be clarified".

The general says it had long been his goal during his military career to "stop the enmity and hostilities in East Timor".

At the launch were Major General Adam Dimiri and Brigadier General Tono Suratman, the two top military commanders in East Timor at the time and the most senior officers to be charged over the violence, and the then-military intelligence chief, Major General Zacky Anwar Makarim.

Last month the Sydney Morning Herald published intercepts of secret communications between Indonesian officers involved in what it called a shadowy campaign to thwart independence.

It said these appear to show that Wiranto was "a fall guy, in terms of political, if not legal, responsibility".

The paper said Feisal Tanjung, then then-top security minister, played a "pivotal role" in the militia campaign against independence supporters.


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