BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor
KOPASSUS (the Indonesian military special forces) & Tim Alfa militia:
A collection of major reports, articles and news relating to the Indonesian military special forces responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in East Timor.
“These forces [Kopassus] are “legendary for their cruelty,” Benedict Anderson observes: in East Timor they “became the pioneer and exemplar for every kind of atrocity,” including systematic rapes, tortures and executions, and organization of hooded gangsters.” Noam Chomsky

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Up-Dated: Feb 13, 2002
NEW = Added to BACK DOOR Website since last Monday’s Emailout


Feb 12 Asia Times: Indonesia-Australia: Shaking hands with clenched fists Analysis added Feb 13
“Signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on counterterrorism with a country so internally inconsistent and fragile, while at the same time expecting solid and sustainable outcomes, will hardly keep Australia-Indonesia relations at a “realistic” level. … the bilateral MoU includes the provision for the training and education of Indonesian officials. Could not that training and education also be used against Acehnese and West Papuan secessionists? Australia once before crossed over this line of aiding the Indonesian internal security apparatus when it allowed its Special Air Service (SAS) to train and exercise with Indonesia’s special forces, Kopussus. Kopussus used the knowledge gained by their joint training with the SAS against many local anti-Javanese insurgents, including the East Timorese, much to the embarrassment of the Australian government and the outrage of Australian and international human-rights groups.” Purnendra Jain, professor, Center for Asian Studies, Adelaide University & John Bruni, adjunct lecturer, Politics Department, Adelaide University, Australia

Feb 10 SunHerald: Snub Kopassus News added Feb 13
“The Indonesian Army now admits its brutal special forces unit, Kopassus, was involved in the recent murder of West Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay but Prime Minister John Howard appears to have opened the door for Australian SAS troops to again train Kopassus. … At the time, the Nine Network’s Sunday program revealed details of a joint SAS/Kopassus training exercise in which captured East Timorese independence fighters were forced to act as targets. The Australian public did not support this sort of training.” Sun Herald (Sydney)

Jan 30/31 Free East Timor Japan Coalition letter to UNSG Letter added Feb 1
“Regarding East Timor Serious Crimes Unit and the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court, we welcome your emphasis on the need for further assistance. However, we are at the same time disappointed by your positive reference to the “Los Palos case,” as in the judgement passed in this case on 11 December 2001, Indonesian Kopassus (special forces) lieutenant Sayful Anwar was not tried, because Indonesia did not reply to UNTAET’s extradiction appeal. This also shows that Indonesia is not serious about bringing those responsible to justice, and that, for the East Timorese judicial system to function to achieve due justice, international pressure on Indonesia, not words of encouragement, is necessary.” Free East Timor! Japan Coalition

Jul 30 JSMP: Los Palos trial enters second stage News from ETimor added Aug 1
“During the cross examination, the militia members have testified to their strong links with KOPASSUS, the Indonesian special forces, ever since Team Alpha was established in the mid 1980s. One of the accused also confirmed that he had been paid 75 000 rupiah per month for being a militia member. The same accused confirmed that the militia had been informed by KOPASSUS of the “Operation Cleansing”, the first step in which was to kill everyone who voted for independence, the second step to destroy all buildings in East Timor made by Indonesians.” Judicial System Monitoring Programme news service

Jul 13 JSMP: Team Alpha militia members testify to Kopassus links News from ETimor added July 14
“In the first trial involving crimes against humanity being heard by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court, several Team Alpha militia members have testified this week to their strong links with KOPASSUS, the Indonesian military special forces. They confirmed that as militia members they were trained and armed by KOPASSUS to fight FALINTIL.” Judicial System Monitoring Programme news service

Jun 14 CSUCS: Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 – East Timor Chapter Report added June 25
“Past Child Recruitment and Deployment: The Indonesian armed forces provided pro-integration militias – particularly KOPASSUS special forces – with training, arms and funding. “The first time they took me from my house we had to rape a woman and then kill anything we could find like animals and people. They ordered us to rape. We did this together. Everyday we were taken by them by car to burn houses, kill animals and harass people … They screamed and shouted when they had killed people and showed off their machetes covered in blood and said ‘Eat the People’.” Former Militia Child Soldier, 16 years old.” Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

May 9 GLW: UN lets Indonesian military off the hook Article with comments from BACK DOOR updated May 16
“The UN’s response to a report written by James Dunn, a former Australian consul to East Timor and a prominent writer and analyst on East Timor, and leaked to the media two weeks ago, was also very telling. Dunn’s report sheeted blame for the killings, destruction and mass deportation of East Timorese to the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), particularly Kopassus officers who organised and led covert operations in East Timor some months before the independence ballot.” Vanya Tanaja

Major Report Apr 30 KPP HAM’s Secret Report on Crimes Against Humanity in ETimor Link to full text added May 3
“39. After President Habibie launched the two options, these old militia groups were revived and supported in order to achieve victory for Autonomy. Besides this, military units for young people were supported, which according to Udayana Military Region Commander Major-General Adam R. Damiri in his report to the Minister Coordinating the Fields of Political and Security were “Pro-integration groups driven by young people to establish patriotic organisations. According to various reports, these young people were members of Gada Paksi (Young Guard Establishing Integration), which was recruited, trained and funded by the TNI, especially Kopassus, in 1994-1995. Eurico Gueterres, the leader of the Aitarak militia, and the leaders of the BMP militia in Dili were figures in the Gada Paksi. These militia groups were later recruited into the Integration Fighting Force with its Commander Joao Tavares and deputy Eurico Gueterres and head of staff Herminio da Costa da Silva. …
110. Around 10.10 the Aitarak leadership Eurico Gutteres (P:3) was present, in a Kijang driven by a member of Kopassus {Special Forces Command]. …
IV.13 The murder of the church group at Los Palos 25 September 1999 (E:152):
Based on statements that were able to be collected, it is known that on 25 September 1999 an attack took place on a church group that was journeying to Baucau, by the Tim Alfa militia group (P:637) consisting of Joni Marques (P:783), Joao da Costa (P:785), Manuel da Costa (P:786), and Amilio da Costa (P:791).
In its investigation visit to East Timor, the Investigative Commission met with the suspects who were suspected of carrying out executions outside the process of law, in the Interfet detention centre in Dili, and obtained a direct statement from Joni Marques (B:797). The Investigative Committee also obtained statements that the militia group Tim Alfa had been formed and trained by a Kopassus unit. Based on the testimony of a perpetrator to the Investigative Commission, the involvement of a member of a Kopassus unit who had ordered the killing was stated.
There were nine victims of the mass killings: Agus Mulyawan (K:780), Indonesian journalist; Celeste de Carvalho (K:773), Head Sister; Erminia Cazzaniga (K:779), nun; Erminia Rudy Barreto (K:&&&); Fernando dos Santos (K:774); Jacinto F. Xavier (K:775); a youth of 13 (K:782); Titi Sandora Lopez (K:781); Valerioda Conceicao (K:776). …
The involvement of the civilian and military apparatuses including the police cooperated with the pro-integration militia groups in crimes against humanity. This represented abuse of power and authority and resulted in the involvement of military institutions as well as civil agencies. To be more specific, the evidence shows officials in the civil and military institutions, including the police, that are thought to have been involved, comprised, although were not limited to the following names: …
17. Commandant of Company, B-Battalion 744: a Kopassus Officer/SGI BKO Korem Dili: Captain Tatang”
Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM)

Major Report Apr 25 Suppressed UN report on East Timor destruction Link to full text of report added Apr 30
” … 14. Militia violence against supporters of independence began early in 1999, and in earnest in April when Operasi Sapu jagad (Operation Clean Sweep) was launched. However, the main thrust of the violence occurred between 4th September, when the results of the plebiscite were announced in Dili, and the end of September, when the INTERFET force was able to restore security to the central and eastern sectors of East Timor. This operation of massive destruction, ransacking and deportation was also devised by the TNI when it was realised that the plebiscite was likely to go against integration. Accordingly, in July the TNI began developing Operasi Wiradharma, the evacuation of East Timor, an operation which apparently also used the code-name, Guntur. The plan, which was devised at least two months before it was launched, was commanded by TNI Kopassus officers, with Major Generals Zakky Anwar Makarim and Adam Damiri playing key command roles. According to informed sources in Jakarta, it was planned to deport most of East Timor’s population to West Timor, from where they would later be dispersed to other parts of the archipelago. The planners seemed to believe that the violence would persuade the MPR, the Indonesian Parliament, to reject the outcome of the ballot. The operation began in the immediate aftermath of the announcing of the results of the plebiscite, and was focused on the deportation of a large part of the population of East Timor, the destruction of most houses and buildings, and on a campaign of terror against the staff of UNAMET, foreign journalists and other foreigners present in East Timor at that time. …
V. The Role of the Indonesian Military, the Formation of the Militia and the campaign of Terror: …
18. It is against this background that the setting up of the militia and the way it resorted to brutal tactics need to be considered. The origins of Timorese para-military units have already been examined. The militia as it existed in 1999, and as an extension of the para-military force Halilintar, go back to the eighties when East Timorese para-military units were again formed, specifically to involve the local population in operations not only against Falintil, the armed resistance, but against the growing phenomenon of passive resistance. The best known of these early units was Team Alpha (Tim Alfa) which, with Team Saka (Tim Saka), was formed in 1986 in the eastern sector of East Timor by a Kopassus officer, Captain Luhud Pandjaitan, reportedly acting on orders from his commander, then Colonel Prabowo. Team Alpha’s members were trained and paid, and their operations against pro-independence elements organised, by Indonesian military officers. Another significant move was the setting up of the Gada Paksi (Gadu Penegak Integrasi—Guards to Uphold Integration) in 1994, also reportedly by Prabowo. The Gada Paksi was conceived as a way of mobilizing young pro-integration activists. …
VIII. The Major Killings and their Characteristics: …
e. Lautem/Lospalos
36. The eastern districts of East Timor did not suffer the same level of violence, and several villages, among them Uatolari and Viqueque, virtually escaping destruction by the militia. Individual acts of violence or killing did begin early, however. On 17 March 1999 Mariano Soares, a prominent citizen of Triloka village disappeared, and is believed to have been killed. A week later another Timorese was killed by TNI troops in the Baucau district. On 17 April members of Team Alpha killed Virgilio de Sousa, a prominent independence supporter in his home in Bauro Village in Los Palos. In August, in the eve of the plebiscite Los Palos village chief, Verissimo Quintas was brutally killed by local militia, following an attack on his house.
37. The worst period for the Los Palos/Baucau occurred well after the plebiscite. On 12 September four Timorese were killed, reportedly by TNI troops, at the Lospalos Military sub-district command, and on the same day 5 persons were said to have been killed at Baucau by Battalion 745 troops. The worst massacre in the area occurred on 25 September, five days after INTERFET troops landed at Dili. Team Alpa members killed and mutilated nine people, including nuns and deacons and an Indonesian journalist, on the road between Los Palos and Baucau. The bodies were placed in their vehicle which was then pushed into the Luro River. Team Alpha operated under the control of Kopassus officers, and the local TNI commander. According to the KPP HAM report a member of Kopassus was implicated in the ordering of this killing. …
Annex A: Senior Indonesian Military Officers who should be Investigated in Relation to Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor: …
14. Lieutenant Colonel Sudrajat AS
1998-99 Commander Kodim 1629 (Lautem, Lospalos)
Comments: Commander of the district in which Team Alpha was active, and has been accused of having supplied weapons to the militia.
Assessment: According to the KPP HAM list he is one of the officers implicated in the events of 1999, and his role should therefore be investigated. …
Annex B: Select Chronology: …
September 25: Massacre in Lautem area when Team Alpha militia ambush vehicle carrying nuns, brothers and an Indonesian journalist. Nine person are killed and their bodies mutilated. … ”
Australian diplomat James Dunn, an independent consultant to the Chief Prosecutor for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor’s (UNTAET)

Mar 12 Age: Burchill: Not guilty on Timor? Explain this then Article
“Why did Australia have to train Kopassus officers, widely known for their brutality and disregard for basic human rights? Closer ties between Australia’s armed forces and Indonesia’s (TNI), in the form of joint training exercises and the secretly negotiated 1995 Australia-Indonesia Security Agreement, clearly gave Australia no influence whatsoever over the behavior of TNI in 1999, when they and their militia proxies razed East Timor.” Scott Burchill, lecturer, international relations, Deakin University

Nov 1999 NI: Make your own militia Chronology added May 24
“How the military did it and who knew:
July 1998: Ausaid worker Lansell Taudevin tells Australian embassy officials that the Indonesian army is forming and arming militia gangs. Around 5,000 West Timorese (ethnically identical to East Timorese, though Muslim rather than Roman Catholic) are recruited into militias by the Indonesian army. More recruits are brought in from Java.
4 November 1998: 400 élite troops from Indonesia’s notorious Kopassus Group 4 unit – trained to track down and eliminate political dissidents – arrive in the port of Atapupu. … ” new internationalist

Sept 27 1999 Noam Chomsky: East Timor Retrospective – An overview and lessons
“Terror and destruction began early in the year. The TNI forces responsible have been described as “rogue elements” in the West, a questionable judgment. There is good reason to accept Bishop Belo’s assignment of direct responsibility to commanding General Wiranto in Jakarta. It appears that the militias have been managed by elite units of Kopassus, the “crack special forces unit” that had “been training regularly with US and Australian forces until their behaviour became too much of an embarrassment for their foreign friends,” veteran Asia correspondent David Jenkins reports. These forces are “legendary for their cruelty,” Benedict Anderson observes: in East Timor they “became the pioneer and exemplar for every kind of atrocity,” including systematic rapes, tortures and executions, and organization of hooded gangsters. They adopted the tactics of the U.S. Phoenix program in South Vietnam that killed tens of thousands of peasants and much of the indigenous South Vietnamese leadership, Jenkins writes, as well as “the tactics employed by the Contras” in Nicaragua, following lessons taught by their CIA mentors. The state terrorists were “not simply going after the most radical pro-independence people but going after the moderates, the people who have influence in their community.” “It’s Phoenix,” a well-placed source in Jakarta reported: the aim is “to terrorise everyone” — the NGOs, the Red Cross, the UN, the journalists.” Noam Chomsky

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity – A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal – A collection of recent reports, articles and news [section on East Timor’s Judicial System]

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