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?
(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.)”