"The Shooting of (Jose Ramos) Horta"

Comments by Robert Wesley-Smith.

Editors Note: On Wednesday, 16 April, 2008 SBS Dateline broadcast a program titled “The Shooting of Horta” where Video Journalist Mark Davis travelled to East Timor and reported on the aftermath of the near fatal shooting of President Jose Ramos Horta.

A long time East Timor activist, Robert Wesley-Smith, made the following comment on the circumstances surrounding the events depicted in Davis’s report. Wesley-Smith was unable to get his opinion published.

BushTelegraph, as a publisher of last resort, posts his comments here:

“What is amazing in all the events since Feb 11th is the focus on Angelita Pires, as though she is the only one to blame for the shooting of the President. Why is it that the entire media seems to be ignoring this brilliant research and filming by Mark Davis and Jose Antonio Belo? Why is it that this classic manifestation of the macho society in East Timor is playing out without proper scrutiny and coverage? Are people scared? Why is it that a man who admits having planned to have her killed is not pulled in and charged?

Well the East Timor Government hasn’t totally ignored it as it is pulling Jose Belo in for questioning tomorrow Tuesday. It wil be interesting to see what they feel is legitimate to ask this courageous journalist and resistance hero, and how insistent they will be. Could it be that they feel the current ongoing conspiracy against Angelita has been exposed by the Dateline program? Jose will be getting support from sbs and also the IFJ.

I have not seen it reported that Angelita Pires was taken in for questioning today just as she was trying to provide her family with an authority to check the repeated allegations by President Horta that she had $800,000 stashed in a C’wealth Bank a/c in Darwin. Perhaps by monitoring her phone they decided to act before she could send this authority – what have they to hide? The irony is that whilst Horta has told the whole world, and even threatened to go to the Security Council for some imagined investigation into this bank a/c, the Bank will no doubt refuse to provide access to the immediate family on the grounds of “privacy”. Wanna bet? What a sick joke!

Horta is currently obsessed with this issue and publicly blaming Pires, (who had refused an offer to work with him). The Prosecutor General also makes public comments about her yet pretends he can’t make public comments when it suits him. Is this a modern day witch hunt and farce, or what? It is time for the Australian Government to stand up for the rights of this citizen.

It would be better for the President to explain what he knows of events of 10 February 2008, and what orders he gave to MUNJ to go to Ermera to say to Alfredo. There is a cover up going on here.

It is time for the President, as I tried to advise privately last week, to exit centre stage and leave the job to LaSama for another 2 months until he gets his mental physical and emotional faculties back in full. He should also stop grandstanding on this issue, as he knows full well, having lectured within the law faculty of UNSW, that publicly interfering and prejudicing a criminal investigation is improper and unacceptable, and in Australia could lead to charges of interfering with the course of justice.

It is also timely to comment that in all the allegations against Angelita Pires which I have seen, and on which the worst connotations are put by some journalists, there is nothing nil zilch which has any substance in indicating that she planned either the meeting with Horta or any attempt to assassinate him. Lets face it, there WAS NO PLAN to assassinate him, he was shot only after the leader Alfredo was shot dead by ambush, by a scared leaderless young man with a big gun – who shouldn’t have been there but who followed limited orders or explanations by Alfedo. So how can Pires be blamed for a plan which didn’t exist? Salsinha said that on Dateline.

There is no evidence she drank alcohol with Alfredo or gave him drugs, in fact the opposite is evident. If they exchanged messages, well, they were confidantes and lovers. Perhaps Alfredo got angry on hearing news from MUNJ about what seemed to him to be a betrayal, perhaps Angelita was warning him over the months to watch out for treachery. The fact she called him Dragon King was a private matter but made public via releases from phone intercepts and a program of demonising her to somehow suggest that that too is evidence of a conspiracy to kill Horta. Excuse me! Credibility is being stretched here.

I make no judgement about information yet to be released, but on evidence so far she has committed no crime, and may indeed be seen to have been assisting the authorities in getting a peaceful resolution to the Alfredo business. Indeed perhaps that’s all that could be inferred from today’s questioning as she has just been released to go home. I hope its before the curfew or she would get arrested again. So where are the media in reporting this, or do they just fly over with Horta and report his every utterance and then come home and forget?

Rob Wesley-Smith


(yes I have known Angelita since she was 9 years old. This does not scramble my brain in looking at this witchhunt. Many key players in this Tragedy have known Angelita in Dili, so they should be careful they are not acting from prejudice, and making her life impossible or in danger.)”

16 thoughts on “"The Shooting of (Jose Ramos) Horta"

  1. If one’s financial information is protected by Privacy laws (in Australia), than HOW would authorities in Timor Leste know whether she has or hasn’t got the money in CBA, Darwin? How would they know how much she has? Or that she has any at all. And if she did, why does that immediately imply guilt? What if she’d won lottery, compensation, settlement or something like that? What would it prove even if she does have money in a bank? The fact that she is being accused by implication, and this is not necesarrily factually based or proven – is fishy.

  2. Seven Marched

    Unfurl the banner,
    Move onto the street,
    Only Seven,
    But seven marched
    It was a time of rage
    Rage forgotten
    People forgotten

    Students had been there
    Seen the people mass
    Their eyes were alight
    Hundreds of years of poverty
    The shackles broken
    Independence the banner
    Revolution so near
    Our own Cuba, our own Castro
    Our own Guevara

    Posters banners to all unions
    Australia’s Union of Students last act
    A last call.
    Workers Students Unite!
    Solidarity across the sea.
    Darwin’s wharf unions were firm.
    The tyrant must be stopped,
    Black ban this country,
    Stop our country’s folly
    Whitlam’s last, Fraser’s first
    Not for Oil, Diplomacy, Security

    But we were not organised
    Most students had gone home,
    Christmas holidays were near.
    It was only spontaneous action.
    Only seven there
    Why not the street?

    The monster would invade a small country
    Eat its people
    Let us take this Brisbane Street
    Just for a moment
    For the people of East Timor.

    Unfurl the banner
    Onto the street
    Only seven
    But seven marched
    For a people’s freedom.

    from The 1992 Left Directory
    East Timor Burning &
    Latin Amercia: 500 years of Resistance
    Published by Leftpress
    Edited by Lachlan Hurse

  3. Rob,

    ‘Why have Jose Ramos Horta and Xanana Gusmao failed in the past to
    prosecute the TNI and their militia, but now, spend much time calling for the prosecution of personal enemies?’

    Ian Curr

  4. In my view Horta has clearly made a political judgement about how much he can press Indonesia and still have them as friends.

    Clearly ETimor is between a rock and a hard place.

    Australia has stolen much of their oil and gas, and also supported the Indon(esian) illegal and brutal occupation for over 20 years, and supplies from Australia cost much much more than from Indonesia.

    Like it or not, many E(ast) Timorese speak Indonesian and can easily travel to Kupang etc.

    Australia, under Howard/Downer, cut funding from any Timorese NGOs which in anyway criticised Australian policies, it has been mean with the number of scholarships it provides for studying in Australia, instead of dozens, if that, it MUST be hundreds, especially for teacher training, technocrats etc.

    We hope the new Rudd government can remedy this, but so far has not responded.

    There are 5,000 students studying in Indonesia I believe, at the families’ cost, and about 800 in Cuba largely funded by the Cuban government.

    So Horta sees it as essential to cowtow as required to Indonesia.

    He is a ‘Diplomat’, and you know Diplomats are trained to go overseas to lie for their country, but during the resistance years he did an exceptionally effective job for his country.

    He now says whatever seems appropriate on a given day and in a given place. I don’t know if it burns him up inside, or its just the way it is given his high office in East Timor and his own pretensions. Clearly he must have a preferred position but the inconsistencies make it hard to know his true views now.

    Xanana has clearly suffered from years in the field Resistance and seeing atrocities, and maybe even having to order unpalatable killings at times due to their circumstances, like how can they detain a traitor who if they let go can alert the Indoensian military to cause even more sufferings and death – Sophie’s Choice sort of thing. It seems to me he intervened to save people many times, but still he has this stuff on his conscience.

    So he is into forgiving his enemies.

    He is also pragmatic like Horta re Indonesia.

    But I don’t think he has properly thought through the effect that unilaterally giving IMPUNITY to all the enemies has on the innocents who see justice denied.

    Their own mental health is affected by seeing their aggressors go free.

    ALL INGOs who supported East Timor during the struggle do not agree with this impunity stuff, and have made this plain several times, but Horta and Xanana follow their own course. I’m not sure where Alkatiri fits into this but he has clearly been pragmatic too if less enthusiastically.

    In the end the consequences of this policy has been that only Timorese criminals petty or otherwise bear the brunt of the judicial system.

    In Horta’s case the issues re Angelita appear to have added invective for personal reasons, and I know he invited her to work for him but she declined …

    The judicial system itself is barely functional, and underresourced and inexperienced.

    I have berated and suggested on this many times over the years, including formalising use of traditional senior decision makers to assist in clearing judicial backlogs.

    Blanket forgiveness is to me a poor attempt.

    Horta and Alkatiri go back a long way with Rogerio Lobato, brother of first PM and revered Nicolau Lobato.

    I would say Horta is doing a deal with Alkatiri to free Rogerio in exchange for Fretilin support on other issues.

    For me it just suggests that Alkatiri was really in bed with Rogerio over the criminal acts he was convicted of. Rogerio has been a ‘problem’ for over 3 decades, it would be better for East Timor if he was in an overseas gaol to cool his heels.

    The E(ast) T(imorese) Government has not asked for an international inquiry into the events surrounding the shooting of the President, nor enacted the recommendations of the UN inquiry into events of May 2006.

    Further Alkatiri never released the findings of the Inquiry into events surrounding the was it Nov 2003 riots during which Hello Mister supermarket was burned and Alaktiri’s own house was burned. WHY?

    Because too many friends/colleagues/elites were involved each time. Unless we get an objective competent independent well resourced judicial system I doubt we will have resolution to the problems of East Timor’s developing independence.

    I don’t know anyone who feels anything but depression on the announcement that Rogerio will be pardoned.

    I have other views on these issues as well, that unless steps are taken to look at the whole picture of the ecology of the nation in a physical sense as well as political, or sort out the problems of dispossession or land tenure, to stop the land eroding into the rivers and sea, then it won’t be able to feed itself, to improve its health, to be respected to attract visitors etc etc inside a reasonable and urgent time frame.

    It seems that politics interferes with clear understandings and action on these issues which all need to be dealt with at the same time, not sequentially.

    Anyway, I might be out on a few points but these are my current (and long held) views.

    Rob Wesley-Smith

  5. Meet Naldo Rei author of “Resistance; a Childhood Fighting for Freedom in East Timor.”

    This Thursday 8th May
    6pm for a 6.30 start at

    193 Boundary Street, West End Q 4101
    Tel: 3846 3422 Fax: 3846 3331

    This is now a free event.

    Avid Reader and UQP are delighted to invite you to the launch of “Resistance” by Naldo Rei.

    The book will be launched by Mr Estanislau Da Silva, former Prime Minister of Timor Leste.

    If you have an interest in world politics, social change or East Timor this will be a fascinating opportunity to hear a first hand account from a man who has spend a lifetime fighting for freedom.

    Please RSVP to books@avidreader.com.au or Ph 3846 3422 to reserve your place

  6. The book launch attracted a good crowd of about 50 people who witnessed the introduction of the author by Stanislau da Silva, a FRETILIN leader.

    It may have surprised some in the audience that FRETILIN stands for ‘Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor.’ S. da Silva initially trained as a mechanical engineer, but ended up an agricultural scientist, having studied in Portugal from the early 1970s. He was a member of an anti-fascist student group in Lisbon when the Indonesian military invaded his country in 1975. Not surprising that he spent the long years till independence in exile. He help set up and run the radio free FRETILIN in the Northern Territory for which he was arrested and jailed briefly. As Da Silva was not an Australian resident, he had to operate the radio underground and spent six months in bush of the Northern Territory in radio contact with the FRETILIN leadership in Timor-Leste. After his trial he was released and went to Mozambique (with a number of others from the FRETILIN leadership).

    On the back verandah of AVID books Da Silva introduced Naldo Rei as a future leader of FRETILIN to the evening sounds of a noisy truck and rattling chains of a carport door next door.

    Rei, born in 1975, had fought against Indonesian military occupation since the age of 9. After capture and imprisonment in Indonesia, Rei fled to Australia. His flight from Indonesia was financed by the SEARCH foundation. This is a curious acronym for ‘Social Education and Research Concerning Humanity’ which acquired (is ‘stole’ too harsh a words) its funds from the many workers who had supported and buily up the Communist Party of Australia.

    Rei trained in Australia as a journalist. A strange choice in a way, to come to a politically conservative country with an alien culture and language whose Labor Party government preferred from the outset Indonesian military occupation. Whitlam accepted advice that an independent Timor Leste should not be preferred. It seems his advisors were working under the now mad but then plausible assumption that FRETILIN’s leaders were a bunch of crazy Marxists. To some, that is.

    Rei spoke of his links to the land and spirit of his country and he described internment of his murdered father and his father’s comrades in a mass grave at the hands of the the military [TNI]. He read out this introduction to his story, firstly in his own language, then in Tetum, and finally in English:

    I am by myself, a little boy squatting outside the cave where we are in hiding, looking up at the surrounding hama trees, their roots fiercely grabbing the earth, their trunks as solid as the ancestors … East Timor has become a land of martyrs and warriors, growing like hama trees in the soil of resistance, and the stones and earth are the shoulders on which we stand. I am proud of those who give their lives for our land and people, and fight to defend our rights. Can I become like them, I ask myself, and follow in their footsteps?

    He said that the aid money given by the Australian Government is a fraud, that most of it does mot reach the people of Timor Leste. Someone in the audience agreed saying less than 5% of the total aid ends up in target countries.

    He described how the Australian government had stolen the oil in the Timor Sea.

    Then why come here to live and study? Perhaps to understand the beast?

    The audience followed his speech with a number of polite questions about his personal account of the struggle for independence.

    Brian Laver, from AHIMSA house in West End, then asked a political question about the conflict in the leadership of East Timor. Laver may have been trying to soothe his respondent by referring to the obvious conflict in the leadership as ‘murky’.

    Simply, he asked for an explanation of what was happening in Timor.

    Rei replied ‘I am a journalist NOT a politician.’

    By his response, Rei replied almost confounded the introduction given by his FRETILIN superior, da Silva, who had anointed him in the intro as ‘our future leader’.

    The audience then laughed in sympathy with Naldo Rei.

    By implication, the AVID readers were amused at the ‘impertinence’ of Laver for having asked such a question. Or am being too harsh. Perhaps the amusement was merely sympathy, or preference, for the young rebel from exotic jungles over the grey-bearded local revolutionary whose main claim to fame was that he almost became the President of the University of Queensland Union on an anti-war, libertarian ticket in the midst of the fervour for war in South East Asia.

    Laver’s question deserved a better answer.

    To do him justice, Rei added that made the legitimate point that many outsiders are trying to tell East Timorese what to do, but that they, and they alone, will resolve their own conflicts.

    As I left, a companion said that she was much impressed by Rei and that she had never heard anyone speak like he had. I did not get a chance to ask if it was his gentle manner and soft intensity, often to be found in Melanesian people.

    Not surprisingly, the Avid Reader sold many books on the night and interestingly nearly all sold were bought by women.

    In an age of entertainment, where politics must amuse, are the only readers left, women?

    Ian Curr
    May 2009

  7. Timorese Foreign Minister in Cuba

    Hundreds of Cuban professionals are currently working in Timor Leste
    Timorese Foreign Minister to Cuba.

    Timor Leste’s Foreign Minister, Zacarias Albano da Costa, is to arrive in the Cuban capital today, to foster links between both nations.

    The also foreign business and cooperation minister will come invited by his Cuban counterpart Felipe Perez Roque, with whom he will hold official talks.

    Albano da Costa’s agenda will also include meeting with other Cuban leaders, and visiting sites of economic, social and cultural interest.

    Nearly 269 Cuban medical professionals and advisors of a literacy campaign are currently working in Timor Leste.

    About 698 Timorese scholarship holders are studying medicine in Cuba, while another 148 do so in their country with Cuban assistance.

    Reference: http://www.trabajadores.cu/news/visita-canciller-de-timor-leste-a-pinar-del-rio

  8. Press Release 12th May
    by Antonio Pires and Rob Wesley-Smith
    brother and family friend respectively of Angelita Pires
    “Free Angelita”

    It is now 3 months and over 12 weeks since the President of Timor Leste tragically was shot.

    Since then no motive or rationale has been found for this crime, except that a confrontation plan known only by Alfredo Reinado led to these tragic events. We note that the scenario and questions posed by the sbs Dateline program have been studiously avoided by both media and the Timor Leste officials.

    Despite the arrest of the remaining wanted ‘rebels’ on 29th April, or very nearly 2 weeks ago, and a second round of questioning of Angelita Pires, no public statement has been made to clarify the situation, there is no clarification of any alleged joint bank account in Darwin, and no charges have been laid against Angelita Pires.

    So virtually the whole opprobium of this matter has been publicly laid on this one single female, who coincidentally in this macho Timor society is considered to be exceptionally ‘attractive looking’. This is utterly outrageous. The one thing we do know about her is that she loved Alfredo and has suffered personal grievous loss along with the public humiliation and defamation. So far, she been perscecuted by the Political authorities but cleared by the Judicicary. So is she indeed the Lindy Chamberlain of 2008? So far, yes!

    We now demand the following immediate actions of the Timor Leste Government:

    * she be cleared of the investigation,
    * her bank accounts be restored back to her,
    * her computer be restored back to her,
    * her mobile phones restored back to her, and
    * her passport restored back to her.

    * a statement of sincere apology be issued by both President Horta and Prosecutor General Monteiro Longuinhos for their inappropriate defamation,
    * and negotiations begin for reasonable financial compensation to be paid by each of them and the state.

    Failing the above, we ask the Australian and the NorthernnTerritory governments to lodge an official complaint about the mistreatment of one of their citizens, and to withhold all further aid payments and ‘withdraw the Ambassador for consultations’ until Angelita is either charged or exonerated.

    Antonio Pires, brother of Angelita, and for their Mum Maria
    0409 492 340

    Rob Wesley-Smith, family friend and convenor ‘affet’
    0419 807175
    02 44651299 at present

  9. This story is testimony of the brutality and human rights violations suffered by the Timorese people (at the hands of) the Indonesia dictatorship.

    Through the story we realise how hard life was for those Timorese people whose stood up against the dictatorship. Such is the case of Naldo Rei and his family.

    Also, we can see that the Indonesia Gestapo used the same methods of torture as the Latin American dictatorships (in) Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Guantánamo Bay etc.

    This is because the ‘trainer’ was the same: the American (military).

    Another political fact (that) comes out from this story is the complicity of the Labor Party governments of Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating.

    Also the Liberal coalition with Malcom Fraser did the same, they ignored the suffering of the Timorese people and didn’t condemn the human rights violations committed by the Indonesia dictatorship.

    History will judge these weak politicians who failed to exercise their power and save the lives of the many who suffer(ed) prison or torture or (who had) been condemned to death.

    The Australian governments didn’t take any action in support (of) the Timor(ese) political movement because American and Indonesia governments labelled them as “communist” and because the Australian Labor and the Liberal Parties were aligned ideologically with American governments.

    As Naldo Rei said in his book “Resistance”, the Australian government applied political discrimination against Timorese refugees, delayed and refused their application for visas in Australia.

    However, when George Bush put John Howard in charge of the region as “deputy sheriff”, the Australian government intervened because they saw the opportunity to get the exploitation of the Timorese rich oil reserve.

    As a consequence of the Australian political and military involve(ment) in the (East) Timor affair, the Timorese political parties have departed from Marxist ideology and (have) scrapped from their constitution marxist-leninist principles (of socialism).

    In summary, one can say that the struggle for independence against the annexation by Indonesia of the Timor and its people was successful because (of) the political determination, courage and strength of people like Naldo Rei.

    Marcial Parada,
    May 2008

    [Editors Note: Marcial Parada is the author of “Vuelo Lan Chile” the story of political refugees from the Chilean Dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
    I have made some minor text and grammatical changes to this review at the request of the author whose first language is Spanish. The Spanish Version is above]

  10. Comentario del libro

    RESISTENCIA una niñez de lucha por Timor del Este
    Escrito por Naldo Rei

    Esta historia es un espantoso testimonio de la brutalidad y violación de los derechos humanos sufrido por el pueblo de Timor del Este por parte del gobierno dictatorial de Indonesia. A través de la historia nos podemos dar cuenta como fue de difícil la vida para aquellos timoreses que se levantaron en contra de la dictadura, que es el caso de Naldo Rei y su familia. Tambien podemos ver que la Gestapo indonesia usaba los mismos métodos de tortura que las dictaduras latinoamericanas (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil. Bahía Guantánamo etc) y esto porque el intructor fue el mismo: Estados Unidos.

    Otro hecho político que se evidencia en esta historia es la complicidad de los gobiernos Laboristas de Gough Whitlam y Paul Keating y tambien el gobierno Liberal de Malcom Fraser que ignoraron el sufrimiento del pueblo de Timor del Este y no condenaron la violación de los derechos humanos cometida por la dictadura de Indonesia, la historia juzgará a estos políticos débiles que no usaron su poder para salvar a tantos timoreses que sufrían prisión y tortura o que habían sido condenados a muerte.

    El gobierno australiano no realizó ninguna acción de apoyo al movimiento político de Timor del Este porque Estados Unidos e Indonesia habían definido a este movimiento como “comunista” y los partidos Laborista y Liberal estaban alineados con Estados Unidos. El gobierno australiano así como dice Naldo Rei en su libro aplicó discriminación política en contra de los refugiados de Timor del Este, demorando y rechazando la petición de visa de muchos de ellos. Sin embargo cuando George Bush “nombró” a John Howard “sheriff” de la región, el gobierno australiano intervino porque vieron la oportunidad de conseguir la explotación de las ricas reservas de petróleo de Timor del Este.

    Como consecuencia de la intervención política y militar de Australia en Timor del Este, el partido de la izquierda de Timor del Este se alejó del Marxismo, eliminando de sus estatutos los principios marxistas-leninistas. En resumen uno puede decir que la lucha por la independencia y contra la anexión por Indonesia, del pueblo de Timor del Este tuvo éxito por la determinación política, el coraje y la fuerza de luchadores como Naldo Rei.

    Marcial Parada

    Marcial Parada es el autor de un libro, Vuelo Lan Chile — breve historia de un grupo de inmigrantes chilenos.

    Este libro es una breve historia de treinta y una familias chilenas que abandonaron su país escapando de las injusticias y la violación de los derchos humanos. see http://bushtelegraph.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/vuelo-lan-chile/

  11. Inpex submits $19.6bn floating LNG plan
    Wire services.

    Japan’s Inpex has submitted a proposal to build a $19.6 billion floating liquefied natural gas plant in Indonesia, a senior energy watchdog official said today.

    Inpex later confirmed news of the proposed plant but declined to give details such as costs.

    “It’s true that we have submitted the plan to Indonesian authorities to develop the field,”

    said Kazuya Honda, spokesman at Inpex to Reuters.

    Honda said Inpex had submitted the plan during the final week of May, but gave no further details.

    Inpex estimates there are more than 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in its Abadi field in the Timor Sea, potentially one of Indonesia’s biggest fields.

    If confirmed, it would make the project the second-biggest new gas field after the Tangguh project in Papua, which has combined reserves of 14.4 trillion cubic feet.

    “Inpex has submitted the development plan for the Abadi field. A floating LNG plant is proposed. There will be one LNG train to be built with a capacity of 4.5 million tonnes a year,”

    — chairman of gas regulator BPMIGAS Priyono told Reuters.

    “The cost for the plant is around $19.6 billion. However, BPMIGAS now is evaluating the proposal and the government will decide whether to approve it,”

    — he said.

    Priyono said he expected the plant will be finished in 2016.

    Indonesia is pushing oil and gas companies to accelerate exploration and production, given flagging production from its own ageing fields, and in order to avoid expensive imports.

    The Japanese company is currently the sole operator of the Abadi gas field in the Masela block in eastern Indonesia.

    In January, Indonesia warned Inpex that it had to submit plans for the field in May, or risk losing its contract.

    However, based on its exploration rights, the Inpex contract runs until November this year.

    Charles Scheiner
    La’o Hamutuk
    (The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis)
    P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste (East Timor)
    Telephone: +670-3325013 or +670-734-0965 mobile
    email: cscheiner@igc.org website: http://www.laohamutuk.org skype: cscheiner
    East_timor_discussion mailing list
    East_timor_discussion mailing list

    Comment by Rob Wesley-Smith, Darwin.

    The NT Govt is very actively courting Inpex to come to Darwin from its field in NW Australia.

    It means a very long undersea pipeline, twice as long as that from Bayu Undan.

    But its gas reserves are double that of Greater Sunrise, so its huge. If it comes this will establish Darwin as a major player in the gas market.

    The site for an lng plant would be back along Middle Arm peninsula, on the end of which is the Wickham Point, and the Conoco Phillips lng plant with the gas pipeline from Bayu Undan coming in up the harbour, and a long wharf out to deeper water for the 300m long lng tankers to berth at.

    Now Darwin Harbour is a great and protected harbour, with huge mangrove edges etc, though in fact the main channel is restricted and not very deep for big ships, so until Wickham Point was developed it was fairly pristine except for the main port and city.

    Wickham Point is a rocky ‘island’ at the end of the Middle Arm Peninsula, which projects out to the geographical centre of the harbour.

    The ‘island’ was surrounded by mangrove or mudflats or seas, and entirely by sea at high tide, so it has even developed some slight unique flaura and fauna, or was heading that way.

    The pristine values of the harbour are thus pretty centrally stuffed already. Small boats are severely limited around that area as well as when a massive carrier is coming in or going out.

    It is also more difficult for large ships which would have to pass in the channel or wait until the lng carrier is moored before coming past to the main new industrial port.

    (Actually they will not be allowed to pass in the channel but this will cause delays and frustrations hence enhanced accident potential, and also restricted port options, especially as the loaded tankers will need a high tide or an outgoing high tide to get out).

    We do at times have strong winds including cyclones, and such boats have high windage and are difficult to control up close in those conditions. A loaded ore carrier meeting a drifting gas tanker could make a big mess.

    If Inpex develops its plant in Darwin Harbour, there will be another wharf even closer to the main industrial port, and twice as many massive tanker ships again.

    The channel will probably have to be dredged too. The risk of accidents, or the inability of other ships and boats to use the harbour, will be even worse, much worse. The greenhouse gases release will be massive, from Bayu Undan its already massive enough, and all within a few km of Darwin CBD. The risk of massive accidents is also dangerous, and there have been 2 big gas accidents recently, in WA and over your way.

    The Top End of the NT also has this massive role in multinational defence exercises, such as is going on right now, with hundreds of aircraft from many nations.

    There is a huge US ship parked just off the shipping lane away from Darwin side which is not allowed to berth at a wharf. Why?

    Standard reason will be that it is either nuclear powered or has nuclear weapons on board. (No media interest).

    It unloads weapons or missiles etc for this annual exercise called PitchBlack, cos we hear little about its details I suppose. Its a big PR spin for the military, and Darwin has become a military town.

    Another aspect of Inpex coming so far is that it cuts across the breeding grounds of Minke and other whales.

    These poor bastards get hunted for their meat by the Japanese whalers in their feeding grounds near Antartica, then after the survivors swim thousands of km up to warmer safer waters they now run the gauntlet of all the industrial noises and shipping associated with oil exploration and development which interferes with their reproduction. No media cover on this point either.

    There was an announcement of a Helium plant to be built next to the ConocoPhillips site at Wickham Point.

    I am assured there is very little Helium in most of the gas deposits around, including Bayu Undan, but there is a lot of Helium in Greater Sunrise. Is this a pointer to the GS gas coming to Wickham Point?

    I suspect so. No one is going to build a huge lng plant and facilities in an unstable country which can’t even feed itself, but secretly dealt some of its best arable land to an Indonesian company for 50/100 years to grow fuel, with little perceived benefit to East Timor, and a justice system that is going backwards.

    There is of course at Wickham Point an area of land ready to receive another gas ‘train’, and approvals are in place, so this could be built at twice the size of the current train to process the Greater Sunrise gas.

    Our NT government like most has no idea how to have a stable and prosperous society without the stimulus of growth, and it would be seen as a failure not to achieve growth.

    With global warming we need a little more education on the need to stop population growth etc this is a bit too hard for these dills.

    I have to apologise, Charlie, for not responding to appeals for comments on regulations and other matters to do with oil and gas and East Timor.

    Thanks to LaoHamutuk for keeping a watching and lobbying brief on such matters.

    I find it too tough to keep up fully with these issues at present, and one must fight not to succumb to despair as the ETG and its President trash various principles and concepts of human rights and justice, as they pardon their mates who have grown rich mysteriously under their jurisdiction, and allow impunity to reign almost unabated except for smaller criminals and for a friend of mine since she was 9 years old, a woman, noted to be a beautiful woman, who fell in love with Alfredo Reinado, and who has been viciously defamed repeatedly without one scintilla of evidence of any criminal behaviour being brought forward in 4 months.

    Must say though that the Hak Assocn HRs Update report, which mysteriously arrived next to your email, gives one the hope from society that means we must keep going, and there is some hope for the ordinary people, though I’d like to see some of those groups mentioned have the guts to standup for Angelita’s rights.

    There is an Australian Friendships Groups conference in Dili next week, 18-20th (June 08 ), in new Foreign Affairs bldg, would be good to see HRs and development issues raised there.

    Horta is due Darwin 24th (June) for big ABC seminar, if he comes he might confront the issues of the treatment of Darwin girl Angelita Pires.

    Meanwhile …

    Rob Wesley-Smith

  12. Rob Wesley-Smith says:

    Abadi is in Indonesian waters not far to the east of East Timor.

    So Inpex has two large projects, neither really involving East Timor.

    What happens with Greater Sunrise is the big issues for East Timor at present.

    But smaller potential finds closer to East Timor, or on land, could be used directly to generate power or for cooking to save the forests from being trashed for firewood.

  13. Press Statement by Rob Wesley-Smith, Sunday 22nd [June 08], Australians for a Free and Fair East Timor (affet) landline 61 8 89832113 mob 0419 807175 rwesley@ozemail.com.au<

    East Timor's once respected Nobel Peace Laureate, diplomatic leader and President, has once again attempted to defame Darwin East Timorese woman Angelita Pires. However under questioning from Darwin media Friday 20th he stumbled:

    * Dr Ramos Horta conceded that Ms Pires was not “directly involved in the violence''.
    * Dr Ramos Horta said he “didn't have a clue'' about claims that up to $1 million had been deposited in a Darwin bank account in her name. He also explained why he thought it had taken so long to press charges.
    * “Prosecution takes a long time, to be prudent. So there is no travesty of justice,'' he said.

    OK, so no bank account, a sensationalist story that reverberated around the world to engender bias against Angelita. She wasn't 'directly involved'. And to be prudent, you don't have the President of a nation repeatedly slagging off a citizen who after 4 months has not been charged with anything – Why? – because there is nothing to charge her with! So that IS a 'travesty of justice' (his words).


    However in any half-decent legal system Dr Horta himself would be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. This case is not unusual, as he has demonstrated contempt for the justice system by pardoning criminals including mass murderer of nuns, Joni Marques; his long term colleague and convicted criminal Rogerio Lobato, (Horta is his young son's Godfather); his continued promotion of Roque R despite the UN recommendation he be charged with arms offences; and he demonstrated contempt for the comprehensive CAVR process and report by instituting the fake TFC expensive fraudulent process, the report of which is being delayed so it can be further sanitised by the Indonesian military.

    However the big problem for Horta and any prosecution is this:

    1. Horta apparently says Angelita influenced Alfredo to go down to Horta's house.

    2. What for? Despite Horta still saying the incident was a 'failed assassination attempt', no one else believes that. The only person ambushed and assassinated was Alfredo himself (and his sidekick). Alfredo apparently was not carrying weapons in his hands. He did however do a criminal home invasion.

    3. Horta has yet to explain why people from his office on 10th Feb arrived at Alfredo's as Angelita left, and then Alfredo apparently used that car to travel to Dili; or why on that day, of all days, his relief guard happened to arrive one hour early.

    4. If Alfredo was going to face Horta and sort new information out face to face, and Angelita influenced that, (according to Horta), then wasn't she, on that basis, trying to advance getting resolution by talking?

    5. The difficulty for Horta and the prosecution is that they have no evidence Angelita (a) could determine Alfredo's mind or actions for him, or (b) that she ever advocated violent action. In fact the evidence available is quite the opposite.

    6. Bingo! No case to answer. The 'evidence' is baseless rumour and bias. Dismissed for lack of credible evidence, yr honour!

    Rob Wesley-Smith
    afffet spokesperson

    Other points:
    * Angelita has not been 'hosting functions'. That is a blatant lie. She was being shouted a meal by her lawyer on the beachfront when seen by Horta who ordered his bodyguards to take her photo. Was that for intimidation or titillation? Is eating now illegal too? She depends on gifts to be able to eat as her bank acounts are frozen, (including the ones that don't exist). She is under great stress, and of course she lost her love on Feb 11th. Where is the justice and mercy here?

    * We are asking the Aust Embassy to ask the Brazilians to keep her lawyer on hand as she has offered. So far it appears this simple request is too much to ask. We will visit dfat Darwin today to make the point.

    * UNHRC: This leads to self-serving claims Horta is being supported by Australia to be the next UN Human Rights Commissioner. The above, and his support for the invasion of Iraq, shows that in the last few years he has not understood or respected human rights, and far from being a UN HRs boss, he needs a long holiday, away from the media, to get body and mind healthy. This was the advice of the Darwin Hospital Director who said he would need 6 months, and mine to his minders before he left Darwin. Then his undoubted skills, insights and courage can be used correctly.

    * RaiKetak 18th June ruminated: "(A lot has been said about Ramos Horta’s beatification of himself upon his return to Timor, and to be honest, after a couple of laughs, it is not that interesting a topic.)"

    * Jim Dunn's reports:

    16th Feb: "As I understand it, Reinado had responded positively to a settlement proposal, in which he would face the court and then possibly benefit from some kind of amnesty. But Horta would have faced opposition to such an arrangement, especially from Fretilin leaders, one of whom had faced the court and was then sentenced to seven years in prison for lesser crimes than those Alfredo had been charged with. Also, in East Timor behind such legal processes lurks haunting memories of the impunity enjoyed by Indonesian military commanders responsible for far more serious crimes than any committed by Timorese. Horta’s plan offered the rebel major his best hope for reconciliation, and probably for a new career as a political leader.

    Why then was the President shot? Had he become impatient for action? Did he fear that he was being led into a trap? Or, following an encounter with ISF troops near Gleno a week or so earlier, had he come to demand a formal cantonment arrangement, like the one enjoyed by Falintil troops under UNTAET? It has also been reported that the amnesty being offered to the rebel petitioners threatened to diminish his following, and erode his authority. The events on 11 February have not been very well reported by our media, most of whom have embraced the conclusion that it was an assassination and coup attempt#. I don’t believe either of these outcomes was intended. In the first place, Reinado simply could not have carried out a coup. He had insufficient forces at this disposal, and the operation he launched would not have been able to achieve that result. And why would Reinado try to kill his chief conciliator, his hope for a future as an accepted national leader? So what really did happen? It appears to have been a botched attempt by Reinado to corner, maybe temporarily kidnap, the President, and extract some more concessions from him."

    * Anniversary coming up.
    This an event Horta often has remarked upon in public. On Friday 4th July 2008 we will note the 30th anniversary of the almost famous "Burn the Dog" demonstration in Raintree Park in Darwin. The biggest crowd in memory rolled up to see a dog napalmed to show what was happening unremarked upon by the world as Indonesian armed forces napalmed innocent East Timorese in the Matebian mountains using recently US supplied Bronco OV10 ground attack aircraft dropping napalm made by Dow but probably supplied as part of Australia's supply no longer needed against innocent Vietnamese.

    Rob Wesley-Smith
    (known Horta since 1974, Angelita since 1976)

  14. from The Sydney Morning Herald

    Dili investigator called to Canberra as evidence of execution mounts

    Lindsay Murdoch in Darwin September 4, 2008

    EAST TIMOR’S top prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, is flying to Canberra to be briefed on the investigation into the February 11 dawn attacks in Dili.
    Australian Federal Police forensic investigators have deciphered telephone calls that the rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado, made before he was shot dead at the home of East Timor’s President, Jose Ramos-Horta.

    The investigation led by Mr Monteiro is at a critical impasse. Evidence gathered over the past seven months suggests Reinado may have been set up for execution in a conspiracy that includes at least one of his trusted lieutenants.

    Mr Ramos-Horta has confirmed that the man who shot him twice in the back was not Marcelo Caetano, one of Reinado’s men, as had been widely reported.

    The AFP investigated telephone conversations Reinado had shortly before the attacks with a Timorese-born Jakarta gangster, Hercules Rozario Marcal. The telephone taken from Reinado’s body had a listing for “Hercul”.

    Hercules, who has denied any involvement in the attacks, last month received approval to develop businesses in Dili.

    The AFP has also investigated 47 telephone calls Reinado made to or received from Australia.

    Potentially explosive developments in the investigation have been kept secret in East Timor, where Reinado was a cult hero.

    Authorities fear an outbreak of violence if it becomes known that Reinado was not responsible for shooting the popular president, who received emergency surgery in Darwin.

    The official version of events is that Reinado led rebels to the homes of Mr Ramos-Horta and the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, to either assassinate or kidnap them as part of an attempted coup.

    Political figures in Dili have dismissed recent media speculation in Australia that Reinado and Mr Ramos-Horta had reached an impasse in negotiations at a meeting they held in the mountain village of Maubisse on January 13. The speculation was based on a tape recording of part of the meeting.

    The Herald revealed four days after the attacks that during the meeting Mr Ramos-Horta offered to include Reinado in an amnesty to be announced on May 20, the anniversary of East Timor’s independence.

    “A deal was essentially done,” said Joao Goncalves, the Minister for Economic Development, who was present at the meeting.

    The Government in Dili is facing increasing pressure to establish an international inquiry into the attacks as Mr Monteiro has delayed for several months the completion of his investigation.

    Jose Teixeira, a spokesman for Fretilin, the Opposition, said any further delay in setting up an international inquiry “ignores the wishes of Timorese who want to know the truth behind the attacks”.

    Mr Monteiro has denied seeing an autopsy report that was first published on the website Wikileaks purportedly showing that Reinado was shot at almost point-blank range.


    ETAN welcomes your support. For more info: http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm

    John M. Miller Internet: fbp@igc.org
    National Coordinator
    East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
    PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
    Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
    Skype: john.m.miller
    Web site: http://www.etan.org

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