Subject: New Matilda - back and forth on Martinkus article

The alleged letter by senior police officer Abilio Mesquita (Abilio Mausoko) from Becora prison, presented as 'new evidence' against President Gusmao by John Martinkus is a demonstrably false document which was in mass circulation in Dili some time ago. I was given a copy by an amused Dili resident.

The way it has been presented to Australians in New Matilda as a credible document is a serious matter, however, which could cost further Timorese lives.

Similarly, the earlier Gusmao documents written to Alfredo Reinado were simply asking him to behave himself and return to barracks--nothing sinister there.

Sadly, John Martinkus's recent writing on East Timor has been unworthy of the man who wrote 'A Dirty Little War'.

And please, New Matilda, be more responsible.

Jill Jolliffe



Posted - 20/09/2006 : 16:44:49

The document has been in circulation in Dili and was given to me by several sources. An audio tape of Mesquita making a similar statement is also in circulation. This document is one more piece of information in what is still a very murky string of events that led to the current crisis. As some of these uncomfortable details come out and reveal that the recent violence in Dili was being manipulated, and still is being manipulated, some people are not going to want that information to see the light of day. However presenting a simplified version of what is going on in Dili is not going to benefit anybody either, least of all, the East Timorese.

John Martinkus



Posted - 20/09/2006 : 20:11:43

Hi Jill,

You suggest that the document in question is 'a demonstrably false document'. How exactly? I would like to know more than on the basis of assertion.

In regard to the previous letter (from Gusmao to Reinado), it is certainly a matter of interpretation on its own, but, combined with the many other factors, including such as who was paying whose bills, what motivation the president had to engineer a coup vs the motivation of Alkatiri, et al, the interpretation John has suggested seems certainly to be the more likely one.

You say also, such irresponsibility could 'cost further timorese lives'. Being a reporter who has had personal experience in the region (you, not me), I would like to ask you to elaborate on this.


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