|Subject: Obs: Secret papers reveal Timor pledge as
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:27:28 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
The Sunday Observer [Guardian, UK] Sunday June 13, 1999
Secret papers reveal Timor pledge as sham
John Aglionby, Jakarta
Indonesia is covertly breaking its promise to the United Nations to guarantee a free and fair referendum in East Timor. It is both running a campaign to persuade people not to vote for independence and funding paramilitary groups that are bringing a reign of terror to the territory.
Documents obtained by The Observer reveal that the Governor of East Timor, Abilio Soares, has approved the diversion of £3 million meant for 'social safety net' programmes to 'activities to publicise the special autonomy package as widely as possible.'
The East Timorese are due to vote on their future on 8 August under a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia and Portugal, the territory's former colonial master. They will choose either 'special autonomy' under Indonesian sovereignty or independence.
Jakarta promised UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan a free and fair ballot. But the documents detailing the covert operations, dated after the agreement was signed, prove Indonesia is doing the exact opposite.
The operations Soares authorised include financing 'security guards' run by one of the region's most ruthless paramilitary commanders, Eurico Guterres, and helping pro-integration groups whose members are active paramilitaries.
The publicity drive is to be linked to food distribution and home improvement schemes. But only 25 per cent of the money has been allocated to helping the people of what is one of the most destitute areas in South-East Asia.
Much of the rest is likely to be siphoned off by corrupt officials. A quarter of the allocation for each of the 13 districts is to pay for 'expenditure by officials that has been used for needs to supply the autonomy programme and other needs that are directly connected with activities to publicise autonomy'.
One analyst who saw the documents said: 'This is so vague it is basically a licence for those involved to take whatever money they want.'
Western diplomats were not surprised when they were told about the operation. 'We've suspected for a long time that this sort of thing has been going on. But this is the first documentary proof of it,' one said.