quarta-feira, março 14, 2007

East Timor - Man on the Run

ABC – Foreign Correspondent - Broadcast: 13/03/2007
[NOTA: O vídeo ainda não se encontra disponível online]

Reporter: Eric Campbell

Alfredo Reinado escaped capture by Australian forces in the hills of East Timor ten days ago. Five Timorese were killed in the assault.

Since then there’s been an intensive manhunt for Major Reinado, the former head of East Timor’s military police.

While Reinado has managed to elude the military, including Australia’s elite SAS, he’s been tracked down in the jungle by reporter Eric Campbell.

Reinado told Campbell that he had done nothing wrong. “I never want to shoot any Australian,” he said. “I defend myself because they are firing at us first.” He says he and his men will fight if they are surrounded again.

Reinado has been a fugitive since last August when he escaped from prison. He had been accused of attempted murder during the rioting which broke out in Dili last May.
Australian military negotiators spent months trying to persuade Reinado and his armed supporters to surrender.

But when Reinado’s forces took automatic weapons and ammunition from a border post last month the East Timor government, supported by President Xanana Gusmao, asked the Australian forces to capture the renegade officer.

President Gusmao has also spoken to Eric Campbell about the Reinado affair, dismissing his excuse that border police gave him weapons to protect the people from government-backed militias. “How can a soldier living outside the institution go to a police post and borrow the weapons?” he said. “If he went here to borrow some food from them, to borrow some pencil to write his plea, but borrow the weapons! What for? This is something we cannot accept.”
Australian Brigadier Mal Rerden says his forces are not giving up the chase. “We have to obviously locate him and we’re working very hard to do that and you know the nature of the terrain it’s very rugged.”

Campbell told Rerden that he had interviewed people in the village of Sasaneh who had accused Australian forces of tying them up and interrogating them.

Brigadier Rerden responded: “Our soldiers are highly trained. They’ve been conducting their operations in a very professional manner. They have a great deal of understanding of the need for sensitivity and respect for civilians when they’re conducting their operations.”


The Australian – March 14, 2007
Reinado will not give in to Diggers
Mark Dodd, Dili

East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has vowed never to surrender to Australian troops and says he will defend himself if fired upon.

"I don't never have a word of surrendering. I'll surrender to justice, not to any command, any force," he said in an ABC interview broadcast last night.

Asked if he would attack Australian soldiers if he were surrounded, he replied: "I never want to shoot any Australian."

But when challenged that he had fired at Australians earlier this month, Reinado said: "I defend myself because they are firing at us first."

The former commander of the country's military police unit faces treason charges for his involvement in last year's political violence, notably a gun battle with government soldiers on the outskirts of Dili that left five dead and 10 injured. President Xanana Gusmao has asked the Australian-led peacekeeping force in Dili to arrest him.

Tensions have heightened since March 4, when Australian soldiers attacked his base in the town of Same, killing five of his supporters.

The rebel leader said he was fighting the East Timorese Government because security forces had shot dead anti-government protesters during the chaos that rocked Dili last year.

"I have to get out there and stop them because this institution belongs to the people, to stand up to defend the people, not to kill the people," he said.

Reinado was once seen as an ally of Australia and his wife and children live in Perth.
He said he doubted whether the Australian public supported the military's attempts to capture him. "The Government was responsible, I don't believe people of Australia order this," he said.
The UN yesterday admitted holding talks with Reinado's lawyers after twice denying it was involved in negotiations to secure his surrender.

Asked on Sunday and on Monday whether Atul Khare, the head of the UN mission in East Timor, had been involved in talks with Reinado's lawyers about a possible deal, UN spokeswoman Allison Cooper said he had not.

But presented with evidence obtained by The Australian, the UN has now admitted holding talks with Benevides Correia Baros, president of the East Timor Lawyers Association, who is representing Reinado.

Ms Cooper said Mr Baros, in his capacity as Reinado's lawyer, met Mr Khare last week.
It is understood the Australian Defence Force is uneasy about any UN role involving Reinado.

The ADF regards the UN's admission that it has been involved in talks as a breach of an undertaking it gave to stay clear of dealings involving the country's most wanted man.

"A perception other parties are prepared to negotiate with Reinado could undermine the ongoing operation to secure his arrest," a Western diplomatic source in Dili said.
- Additional reporting; AAP

UN admits to talks with Major Reinado's lawyers

The Australian – March 14, 2007
Mark Dodd, Dili

The UN has admitted holding talks with the lawyers for East Timor army fugitive Alfredo Reinado after twice denying it was involved in negotiations to secure his surrender.

Asked on Sunday and on Monday whether Atul Khare, the head of the UN mission in East Timor, had been involved in talks with Major Reinado's lawyers about a possible deal, UN spokeswoman Allison Cooper said he had not.

But presented with evidence obtained by The Australian, the UN has now admitted holding talks with Benevides Correia Baros, president of the East Timor Lawyers Association, who is representing Reinado.

Reinado, an Australian-trained East Timorese army officer, was commander of the country's military police unit, but deserted last May. He is wanted for alleged involvement in political violence.

In a statement released late on Monday evening, Ms Cooper said Mr Baros, in his capacity as Major Reinado's lawyer, met Mr Khare last week. During the talks, the UN chief told Mr Baros that Major Reinado had to face justice.

"All actions taken by UNMIT (the UN Integrated Mission in Timor Leste) in relation to Alfredo Reinado have been consistent with its mandated task to support the Government of Timor Leste (East Timor) and all relevant institutions to consolidate stability," Ms Cooper said.
But it is understood the Australian Defence Force is uneasy about any UN role involving Major Reinado.

The ADF regards the UN's admission that it has been involved in talks as a breach of an undertaking it gave last week to stay clear of dealings involving the country's most wanted man.
Canberra, which is uneasy about the prospect of Australian troops becoming mired in East Timor's political problems, is believed to share the ADF's concerns about the UN action.
"A perception other parties are prepared to negotiate with Reinado could undermine the ongoing operation to secure his arrest," a Western diplomatic source in Dili said.

Last May, Major Reinado and 20 heavily armed military police fled into the hills in support of 590 soldiers who were protesting against alleged discrimination within the ranks of the East Timor Defence Force.

He faces treason charges for his involvement in last year's political violence, notably a gun battle with government soldiers on the outskirts of Dili that left five dead and 10 injured.

He was arrested last year but in late August led a breakout from Dili's Becora prison with 56 other inmates and has since been on the run.

Earlier this month, Major Reinado looted 25 automatic weapons, two-way radios and bullet-proof vests from two police border posts before retreating to the southern town of Same.
That led President Xanana Gusmao to ask the Australian-led peacekeeping force in Dili to make an arrest.

Indonesian authority arrests East Timorese border crossers

The Jakarta Post - Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Jakarta: Indonesian security officers arrested dozens of East Timorese who came across Indonesian territory following the worsening security problems in the newest Asian country.

MetroTV television station reported Wednesday that Indonesian troops tasked to guard the border between the two countries escorted the East Timorese back to their home country.
East Timor broke away from Indonesia in 1999 following a U.N.-sponsored independence ballot.

Some 1,000 Indonesian troops were placed along the border between the two countries, following worsening security conditions in the country.

Many fear that next month's presidential election could spark fresh violence in the country, which is tense amid an ongoing Australian military operation to capture a fugitive soldier linked to last year's unrest and outbreaks of gang violence.

East Timor extends voter registration over fears of violence

Dili, East Timor, March 14 (AP): Street violence and worries about renegade soldiers are disrupting preparations for next month's elections in East Timor - polls seen as crucial to the tiny nation's future - an official said Wednesday.

The voter registration deadline for the polls has been extended to Wednesday next week from Friday this week, said Faustino Cardoso Gomes, president of the National Electoral Commission.

Gomes said security concerns in parts of the capital, Dili, and in the south were a reason for the extension, along with higher-than-expected voter registration in some areas.
"There has been a problem in terms of security in some places," Gomes said in explaining the extension.

UN electoral officials recently pulled out of the southern town of Same because Australian troops there are hunting a band of rebel soldiers led by renegade Maj. Alfredo Reinado Reinado was a leader in last year's factional fighting among the military and police, which spilled into Dili's streets in violence that killed at least 37 people and sent about 155,000 fleeing to refugee camps.

International soldiers largely restored peace, but gang battles still often break out in Dili.
Election officials hope to ensure the April 9 presidential election and parliamentary elections later in the year are fair, so they do not trigger more violence in this fledgling democracy that endured a bloody separation from Indonesia in 1999.

Downer urges Reinado to surrender

ABC - Wednesday, March 14, 2007. 8:18am (AEDT)

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says Australian troops in East Timor will try to capture rebel leader Alfredo Reinado alive.

Major Reinado has told an ABC TV Foreign Correspondent crew, which tracked him down in a remote part of East Timor, he will not surrender.

Mr Downer says he hopes Major Reinado will change his mind but Australian troops will not be going after him with guns blazing.

"Obviously it's harder to capture someone on that basis but that's obviously what they're trying to do," he said. "They're right to do that - they only open fire on people in self defence. "They won't be sort of mounting assaults as on offensive with guns blazing."

Mr Downer says it would be better for everyone if Major Reinado surrendered.

"To be honest with you, as an observer of people, I think he looked hunted and exhausted looking at him on television," he said. "I think he would be much better off surrendering himself rather than trying to live day by day as a fugitive in the bush."

Notícias - 13 de Março de 2007 em português

Timor-Leste: Justiça, o pilar sob pressão

Pedro Rosa Mendes, da Agência Lusa Díli, 12 Mar (Lusa) - O sistema judicial timorense resistiu à crise profunda de 2006 mas pode ser paralisado em 2007 por falta de financiamento ou estagnar sob o aumento constante do número de processos, alertam operadores judiciais ouvidos pela Lusa.

"O sistema judicial está actualmente sobrecarregado, tentando responder às exigências de justiça", constata o relatório anual do Programa de Fortalecimento do Sistema de Justiça (PFSJ) enviado este fim-de-semana aos parceiros institucionais.

Portugal, a seguir à Austrália, é um dos principais doadores do PFSJ, que abrange áreas como a formação judiciária, a contratação de juízes, procuradores e defensores públicos, a tradução de legislação e edição de códigos (existe até uma aula semanal de Tetum Jurídico) ou o apoio ao sistema prisional.

Alguns dos projectos nucleares do programa estão entre as prioridades da Cooperação Portuguesa com Timor-Leste.

"A cooperação judicial é um dos programas mais importantes mas menos visíveis de Portugal em Timor-Leste, a par da consolidação da língua portuguesa", salientou Manuel Correia, presidente do Instituto Português de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento (IPAD), em declarações à Lusa no final de uma recente visita ao país.

O PFSJ é implementado pelo Programa das Nações Unidas para o Desenvolvimento (PNUD) desde Janeiro de 2006 e Noruega, Irlanda e Brasil secundam as doações da Austrália e de Portugal.

Compete ao PNUD a contratação de todos os recursos humanos do PFSJ.

O relatório anual do PFSJ alerta para o risco de o programa, definido com uma duração de três a cinco anos, ser interrompido em Agosto de 2007 se não for garantido um financiamento adicional de três milhões de dólares, "com cerca de um milhão em falta para 2007".

O PFSJ precisa, além disso, de sete milhões de dólares adicionais para processar os casos abertos ou por abrir por recomendação da Comissão de Inquérito aos acontecimentos de Abril e Maio de 2006.

Ana Graça, chefe de projecto, declarou à Lusa que o PFSB permitiu à justiça timorense responder à urgência resultante da própria crise, sem descurar os objectivos centrais do programa, "a consolidação institucional, criação de procedimentos, sistema de regulamentos, além da formação de operadores nacionais".

O julgamento do ex-ministro do Interior Rogério Lobato, condenado a sete anos de prisão por acórdão de 07 de Março, foi o episódio mais mediático de um sistema que "funciona" e que "sobreaqueceu mas aguentou a pressão" dos últimos meses, salienta Ana Graça.

Porém, tanto os efeitos directos da crise, em 2006, como a carga adicional de processos mediáticos e polémicos causaram danos, pressões e estrangulamentos para os quais o sistema judicial não estava preparado nem o PFSJ estava delineado.

"Ao fim de três anos, chegámos onde estamos e, se podemos dizer que 'não é muito' ao compararmos com os objectivos iniciais do programa, é preciso reconhecer que o PFSJ conseguiu criar regras que não existem por exemplo na função pública. Regras de mérito, de disciplina, de formação e de coordenação", salienta Ana Graça comentando o relatório anual.

Ana Graça e vários magistrados ouvidos pela Lusa são taxativos: "Sem os operadores internacionais, o sistema judicial timorense não teria ainda capacidade de tratar processos como o de Rogério Lobato".

"Todos os pilares do Estado timorense se desmoronaram na crise de 2006", recorda à Lusa um dos procuradores internacionais. "Ruiu a polícia, as Forças Armadas, ruiu o governo e por arrastamento o Parlamento. Timor, como Estado, sobreviveu com dois pilares: o Presidente e a justiça".

O mesmo procurador sublinha que "a interrupção do Estado esteve por um fio, se não fosse a insistência da continuação do PFSJ no terreno", mantendo a justiça em funcionamento.

Isso mesmo é referido no relatório anual, que aponta a decisão crucial de não evacuar pessoal essencial do PFSJ.

"Foi uma decisão conseguida à meia-noite da véspera em que todos os magistrados internacionais deviam partir para Darwin" (Austrália), nota o mesmo procurador.

Se a crise testou a resistência, independência e versatilidade do PFSJ, diz Ana Graça, também criou as condições que ameaçam bloquear o sistema.

"O ritmo de tomada de decisão tem vindo a aumentar mas também a entrada de processos tem aumentado", afirma a chefe de projecto.

"Um dos problemas sérios na máquina judicial são as notificações. Os tribunais têm dificuldade em julgar réus que não estejam em prisão", acrescenta Ana Graça.

"É muito difícil notificar alguém de quem se ignora a morada, ou que deixou a morada que tinha e agora está deslocado algures. Isso cria problemas graves de incumprimento de calendário judicial".

O aumento da criminalidade colocou os recursos humanos do PFSJ no limite, com os operadores judiciais a assegurar um leque de funções paralelas à "primeira linha da justiça" atribuído aos magistrados internacionais por razões de maior experiência e de menor vulnerabilidade.

Há cinco procuradores lusófonos, quatro juízes no Tribunal Distrital, três juízes no Tribunal de Recurso, seis oficiais de justiça, quatro defensores públicos, tradutores e intérpretes.

Os timorenses que exercem, até Junho de 2007, "estágio em casa própria", diz Ana Graça, são 27: onze juízes, nove procuradores e sete defensores.

"O nosso receio é que o esforço de formação que tem sido feito nestes anos passe para um plano secundário, perante a necessidade de o sistema assegurar uma justiça rápida", diz Ana Graça.

"Qualquer quadro de um Estado de direito não está preparado para uma situação de desordem pública", que é o desafio actual para as autoridades timorenses.



EFE - 13 de Março de 2007 - 01:28

Xanana Gusmão forma novo partido no Timor Leste
Gusmão pretende concorrer nas eleições para o Parlamento em Setembro

Díli - O presidente do Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmão, está dando os últimos passos para a fundação de um novo partido político, para disputar as eleições legislativas, após descartar sua candidatura à Presidência no dia 9 de abril.

Gusmão, até agora independente, anunciará a formação do Congresso Nacional da Reconstrução Timorense (CNRT) em 23 de março, quando começa a campanha das eleições para a Presidência do país, disse nesta terça-feira, 13, Antonio da Costa, futuro secretário-geral.

Ele acrescentou que o objetivo de Gusmão e do CNRT são as eleições para o Parlamento, previstas para antes de 15 de setembro.

Costa falou após uma cerimônia na Corte Suprema, que aprovou oficialmente a candidatura dos oito candidatos a presidente do Timor Leste. Os favoritos são o atual primeiro-ministro, José Ramos Horta, também independente, e Francisco Guterres, líder do Fretilin, partido majoritário no Parlamento, segundo uma enquete do jornal Suara Timor Lorosae.

Entrevistado nesta terça-feira pela Efe, Ramos Horta considerou positivo o novo rumo político de Gusmão, que ele viu como um bom sinal para a consolidação da democracia na ex-colônia portuguesa.

"É bom que nosso atual presidente não queira um segundo mandato presidencial e busque um posto no Parlamento ou no governo. É um bom sinal para nossa jovem democracia", disse Ramos Horta.

Caso vença as eleições e se torne o segundo presidente da história do país, Ramos Horta promete formar o novo governo com todos os partidos.

As eleições presidenciais são consideradas cruciais para que o Timor volte à estabilidade política depois da crise de meados de 2006, quando os protestos de um grupo de ex-militares deixaram o país à beira da guerra civil.


Timor-Leste: Avelino Coelho lança candidatura em língua bahasa indonésia

Díli, 13 Mar (Lusa) - Avelino Coelho, líder do Partido Socialista Timorense (PST), apresentou hoje oficialmente a sua candidatura à Presidência da República com um programa centrado na justiça social e redigido em língua bahasa indonésia.

A questão da língua oficial de Timor-Leste foi abordada diversas vezes por Avelino Coelho durante o discurso de uma hora que realizou perante os apoiantes e a imprensa e em que falou exclusivamente em tetum e em bahasa.

Questionado pela Lusa sobre uma possível alteração do artigo 2º da Constituição da República timorense, Avelino Coelho respondeu (em português) "não pretender nada como Presidente da República" sobre essa matéria.

"Não propus a revisão do artigo 2º", que estabelece que as duas línguas oficiais de Timor-Leste são o tetum e o português, disse. "O que proponho é aproveitar a disseminação dos vocábulos de português para enriquecer a língua tetum", acrescentou.

Avelino Coelho esclareceu que, mesmo sem competências executivas, o chefe de Estado pode "contribuir para atribuir ao tetum um papel mais activo na construção da identidade nacional", a par da "justiça que todos os timorenses procuram".

Justiça, "a bandeira do povo oprimido", foi o tema central do programa apresentado hoje por Avelino Coelho, deputado e membro do Conselho de Estado, assessor jurídico, fundador de várias publicações periódicas e colaborador regular da imprensa de Díli, além de membro activo do movimento cooperativo timorense.

Avelino Coelho sublinhou o "suprapartidarismo" da sua candidatura à chefia do Estado e explicou que o cargo de Presidente da República deve ser ocupado por alguém que "mude a mentalidade de liderança, sendo mandatário do povo".

A cerimónia de apresentação da candidatura "2" (Avelino Coelho é o segundo nos boletins de voto para as eleições de 9 de Abril) iniciou-se com dois temas tradicionais timorenses, entoados por cinco anciãos de lipa e turbante.

O programa distribuído em seguida, com o slogan "Acabar com a crise, Reconstruir o país, Melhorar as condições de vida", é integralmente redigido em bahasa indonésia, excepto a última página biográfica, em tetum.

A biografia termina com o ideal do candidato: "Construir uma sociedade sem classes, onde todos vivam em fraternidade, igualdade, justiça e paz".

Um dos adversários de Avelino Coelho a 09 de Abril, a candidata Lúcia Lobato, respondeu ao convite e esteve presente na cerimónia.

"Este programa é muito contraditório com o meu", nomeadamente na postura em relação à língua portuguesa, declarou no final Lúcia Lobato à Lusa.



Timor-Leste: Paredes apoia criação de centro de fabrico de móveis em Baucau

Lisboa, 12 Mar (Lusa) - A segunda maior cidade de Timor-Leste, Baucau, terá a partir da próxima semana uma fábrica de mobiliário, criada com o apoio das autoridades e empresários do município português de Paredes, e que será gerida pela Diocese local.

Celso Ferreira, presidente da Câmara de Paredes, no distrito do Porto, disse à Lusa que a fábrica vai contar com equipamento, avaliado em 600 mil euros, doado por perto de 28 empresários da região, onde estão concentrados cerca de dois terços da capacidade produtiva de móveis de Portugal.

"Estamos a falar de máquinas que ainda hoje são utilizadas [em Portugal], mas que algumas fábricas puderam dispensar, porque passaram a recorrer à robótica", disse à Lusa o autarca de Paredes, que lançou a ideia em 1998, depois de eleito.

Para Celso Ferreira, o Centro Tecnológico de Baucau - Paredes Rota dos Móveis, será "uma unidade industrial como há poucas em Portugal".

O Centro, que deverá ser inaugurado com a presença do presidente timorense, Xanana Gusmão, irá, nos primeiros dois anos, "pelo menos", dedicar-se à formação de perto de 100 trabalhadores por ano, "numa perspectiva industrial, não artesanal", fabricando mobiliário para as escolas e outros equipamentos da região.

A partir daí, adiantou o autarca, o centro alugará tempo de uso das máquinas aos que se quiserem lançar por conta própria no fabrico de móveis, em regime de cooperativa.

"No médio prazo, dentro de dois ou três anos, podem existir pequenos fabricantes de mobiliário que requisitem as máquinas em aluguer para montar o seu próprio negócio", afirmou Celso Ferreira, que parte hoje mesmo para Timor-Leste, para participar na inauguração, que terá lugar na próxima segunda-feira.

"A expectativa é de que, quando estiver a funcionar em pleno [o centro] termos ali umas centenas de profissionais, à imagem do que aconteceu em Paredes há 50 anos", adiantou.

Para ajudar à formação estão já em Baucau três técnicos portugueses, para já a expensas do município nortenho, mas o objectivo é que a prazo o projecto seja integrado e apoiado pela cooperação portuguesa.

Para Celso Ferreira, o interesse do projecto reside ainda no facto de Timor ser rico em madeiras exóticas - Teca, Pau Rosa e Pau Ferro - que actualmente, por falta de capacidade industrial, apenas são trabalhadas de forma artesanal.

O Centro Tecnológico de Baucau será inaugurado no próximo dia 19, segunda-feira.

De acordo com Celso Ferreira, a associação Rota dos Móveis já foi abordada por autoridades de outros países africanos lusófonos, que se escusa a identificar, tendo em vista desenvolver projectos semelhantes.

Mas, afirma, para que tal venha a acontecer, é necessário haver no terreno "um interlocutor que garanta o bom funcionamento", dado que o projecto "não passa só por mandar máquinas", mas torná-las disponíveis à comunidade.


Notícias - 13 de Março de 2007 em inglês

WSWS – 13 March 2007

Australian troops escalate repression in East Timor
By Patrick O’Connor, SEP candidate for Marrickville, NSW (Australia)

The Australian military shot dead five rebel soldiers in East Timor on March 4, during an operation supposedly aimed at capturing former major Alfredo Reinado. The deaths came just over a week after Australian soldiers killed two internally displaced refugees in East Timor’s capital, Dili. The mounting death toll, which comes amid heightened social unrest and growing anti-Australian sentiment, testifies to Canberra’s willingness to step up violence and repression in order to consolidate its neo-colonial occupation.

The Howard government secretly dispatched 100 SAS troops to East Timor on March 3. It remains unclear whether the East Timorese government authorised, or was even informed about, the troop build-up. The elite soldiers were supposedly sent to lead the Reinado operation, but Canberra has not explained why the 800 Australian and 120 New Zealand troops already stationed in the country were not sufficient to arrest the former military commander and his men. There is little doubt that Canberra has seized upon the raid on Reinado’s base as a means of strengthening its grip on East Timor by ramping up troop numbers.

The exact circumstances of the March 4 operation are unclear and many questions remain unanswered. In the middle of the night, scores of heavily armed Australian troops, backed by a platoon of New Zealand soldiers as well as two Black Hawk helicopters and three armoured personnel carriers, attacked Reinado’s base in the central mountain town of Same, south of Dili. Five of his supporters were killed in the ensuing battle, but Reinado and many others escaped into the jungle.

How the former major was able to escape has not been explained. The SAS troops had superior arms and equipment, including night-vision goggles. In the weeks leading up to the operation, Australian forces had extensive surveillance opportunities in Same and had blockaded Reinado’s base for six days before the raid.

Those few media reports that have described the operation raise more questions than they answer. On March 5, the Sydney Morning Herald reported: “The Australian-trained rebel [i.e. Reinado] knew they were coming and had sent at least six phone messages to journalists and diplomats. ‘We are on alert to take any kind of attack,’ he said shortly before the assault.” On March 8, Time stated: “Less than 30 minutes after the gun battle began, the Australians for reasons as yet unknown stopped firing and pulled back, allowing Reinado and his surviving men to escape through the thick rainforest on the western side of the hill.”

There is every possibility that the Australian forces never intended to capture Reinado. After all, the former major has played a highly valuable role for Canberra in the past. In May 2006, Reinado helped provide the necessary pretext for the deployment of Australian troops in East Timor.

The “major” is a highly dubious figure with close ties to the Australian military. He became a fugitive last May after he and his supporters deserted the army and attacked troops loyal to the government of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. The Howard government used the ensuing unrest as a pretext for dispatching hundreds of Australian troops to the impoverished country and forcing Alkatiri out of office. After the ABC’s “Four Corners” broadcast lurid and completely baseless allegations that Alkatiri had formed a hit squad to murder his opponents, he resigned on June 26 and was succeeded by Canberra’s favoured candidate, Jose Ramos-Horta.

Alkatiri’s crime, as far as the Howard government was concerned, was his attempt to counter Australia’s influence by securing the patronage of China, Portugal, and other rival powers. The Fretilin prime minister had also pressured the Howard government into issuing a number of limited, though significant, concessions on the division of Timor’s oil and gas revenues.

Reinado was feted at the time in the Australian press and, enjoying the patronage of President Gusmao, lived something of a charmed life in East Timor up until his arrest on weapons charges by Portuguese police on July 26. The house Reinado used to store the arms was directly opposite an Australian military base. In an episode which raised further questions regarding Canberra’s collusion, Reinado was somehow able to literally walk out of prison on August 30. He then continued his anti-government campaign from the mountains, accusing Ramos-Horta of being beholden to Fretilin.

Canberra prepares for Timorese elections

The killing of Reinado’s men sparked an immediate response, under conditions where tensions were already high following the fatal shootings of the two men in Dili on February 23. Reinado’s supporters in Dili fought running battles with the predominantly-Portuguese UN police, while gangs of young people armed with sticks and rocks in the capital chanted, “Down with Australia” and erected street barricades by burning car tyres.

A series of media reports has highlighted the level of anti-Australian sentiment among Dili’s criminal gangs, many of which have connections with right-wing anti-government forces tied to the Catholic Church and parliamentary opposition parties. On March 5, about 20 young people attacked the Dili Club, an Australian-owned restaurant and bar frequented by foreigners. Police also dispersed 500 protestors who attempted to demonstrate outside the fortified Australian embassy. The department of foreign affairs has since advised Australian “non-essential personnel” to evacuate the country.

The reasons are not hard to find. The Howard government’s military-led interventions into East Timor in 1999 and 2006 were never driven by “humanitarian” concerns for the country’s people. On the contrary, they were aimed at defending the economic and geo-strategic interests of the Australian ruling elite. Above all, Howard’s concern was to ensure that Australian corporations could continue their plunder of Timor’s multi-billion dollar oil and gas reserves by minimising the influence of rival powers, primarily Portugal and China.

Canberra has done nothing to improve the lives of ordinary East Timorese. Poverty and unemployment are endemic, and an estimated 100,000 people (out of a total population of one million) remain classified as “internally displaced”. Recent rice shortages have heightened fears of hunger and malnutrition. The appalling social conditions, combined with the occupying forces’ highly aggressive tactics, have stoked opposition to the Australian-led occupation, particularly among unemployed men in Dili and other urban centres.

Canberra’s response to the growing unrest has been to step up its repression. The killing of Reinado’s five men is undoubtedly meant as a warning, designed to terrorise the population into accepting the ongoing occupation of the tiny “independent” state. Australian forces now enjoy sweeping powers due to a directive issued by President Xanana Gusmao on March 6 authorising foreign police and soldiers to carry out searches and arrests without warrant and to break up any public meetings or gatherings.

Such measures will no doubt be utilised in the lead up to the presidential election scheduled for April 9 and the parliamentary elections due shortly after. Canberra has been conducting a series of behind-the-scenes manoeuvres aimed at securing a favourable outcome. Prime Minister Ramos-Horta has announced his candidacy for president, while President Gusmao intends to become prime minister. Gusmao is currently forging a new political party and hopes to oust Fretilin with the assistance of the existing right-wing opposition parties. The president has an established record of facilitating Australia’s interventions into East Timor, while Ramos-Horta has long standing ties with Canberra. Last month he secured the long-delayed parliamentary ratification of a deal allowing Australia to continue its exploitation of the “Greater Sunrise” oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

Great power rivalry

The presidential and parliamentary elections are being held amid intensifying great power rivalry in East Timor, with Canberra becoming increasingly concerned about the expanding economic and diplomatic influence of China.

“China has wooed East Timor’s leaders with all-expenses-paid trips to China, established tentative relations with East Timor’s army, including donating equipment such as tents and uniforms, and has paid for at least six army officers to be trained in China,” an article in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers reported last Saturday. The lengthy piece noted that PetroChina, “one of China’s largest state-owned energy companies”, has financed an oil and gas seismic study in East Timor, and also warned that China could eventually control East Timor’s sea lanes, potentially allowing Beijing to “isolate Australian territorial and military assets”.

The Howard government’s response has been to utilise military force and openly flout the principle of national sovereignty in order to secure Canberra’s dominant position. The recent killings mark a watershed and indicate that the Australian government is prepared to eliminate anyone standing in the way of its neo-colonial strategy, in East Timor and throughout the South Pacific.

The entire political and media establishment in Australia is complicit in the Howard government’s crimes. Despite the current New South Wales state election campaign and a federal election due later this year, none of the parliamentary parties—including Labor, Greens, and Democrats—have raised the East Timorese killings in the media or in parliament. Their silence again demonstrates their complete support for Australia’s occupation of East Timor. The middle class protest organisation Socialist Alliance likewise opposes the demand for the withdrawal of Australian forces, thereby becoming an accomplice of the Howard government’s intervention. The organisations which now make up the Socialist Alliance played a critical political role in facilitating Canberra’s initial military intervention in 1999, when they helped organise “troops in” rallies.

The Socialist Equality Party is the only party contesting the New South Wales election that has raised as a central demand the withdrawal of all Australian forces from East Timor and the South Pacific, as part of our principled opposition to Canberra’s neo-colonial aggression. The SEP opposes the ongoing theft of East Timor’s natural resources and demands the revision of every existing oil and gas deal in accordance with East Timor’s legitimate maritime boundaries. The tiny statelet must be fully compensated for revenue already stolen by Canberra and by Australian oil and gas companies. A massive aid program must also be initiated to lift the Timorese people out of poverty and provide them with decent health, education, and other essential social services.

The SEP calls upon the Australian working class to oppose the Howard government’s crimes in the region and to take up a political struggle against Canberra’s agenda of militarism and war. The working people of Australia and the impoverished masses of the Pacific share a common interest in opposing Canberra’s predatory activities in the region, which are inevitably being accompanied by a wholesale attack on democratic rights at home. We call on all workers, youth, and students to support the Socialist Equality Party and its campaign in the New South Wales state election, and to give serious consideration to joining its ranks.


Australian Financial Review - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Region needs cure not a sticky plaster

Robert McClelland [Robert McClelland is the Australian opposition spokesman on foreign affairs.]

The latest unrest in East Timor is a forceful reminder that the time has now well and truly come for Australia to review its strategy for dealing with failing states in the region.

In recent years we've witnessed a revolving door of military deployments to East Timor because the Howard government has failed to take effective measures to address the underlying social, economic and ethnic pressure that produces civil unrest. Instead it has opted for short-term "Band-Aid" military solutions that sooner or later unravel.

In 1999, Australia deployed about 5000 troops to East Timor as part of the successful Interfet mission. By early 2005, with the Australian troop commitment reduced to about 450 personnel, Australia opposed what would have been a 12-month extension of the UN mandate until May 2006. Shortly thereafter the core mission of the ADF ended. Australia's total commitment was pared back to about 30 defence personnel.

Then, in February last year, 400 East Timorese soldiers deserted their barracks, resulting in violence, destroyed homes and ruined businesses. Australia redeployed more than 1000 troops to deal with the deteriorating security situation and to enforce the rule of law. Many expert commentators were critical of Australia leaving in the first place.

Describing our military deployments as a revolving door reflects a misallocation of strategic priorities as our national security focus keeps on being drawn back to Iraq. Right when we were pulling troops out of Dili in 2005, the government was putting them into al-Muthanna province.

Today, there are about 800 ADF personnel in East Timor. The cost to date to Australian taxpayers for these security and policing operations is well in excess of $3 billion.

Despite this, East Timor remains a social and economic basket case. East Timor now has close to the lowest per capita income in the world. The average life expectancy is only 55.5 years and the adult literacy rate 50 per cent. An estimated 40 per cent of the population live below the poverty line and half the people lack safe drinking water.

Successful nation-building in East Timor and the other failing states in our region requires action far more long term and substantial than "Band-Aid" military interventions.

Violent protests, prowling street gangs or constant accusations of government corruption are occurring not just in Dili, but also in the capitals of the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Australia must be prepared to meet these regional security challenges with a much more sophisticated and long-term policy response. Almost total reliance on our armed forces, as impressive as they are, is not enough.

As a matter of urgency, we must undertake broad-scale nation-building within the failing states in our own backyard. For our own national security it is a job that must be done carefully and completely. There is no exit strategy here – this is where we live.


Associated Press - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ramos-Horta says toughest challenge ahead for new government

Dili, East Timor: Jose Ramos-Horta, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping East Timor obtain independence and is now running for president, vowed Tuesday to bring more prosperity to the crisis-wracked nation, but warned that progress would not be easy.

Ramos-Horta was installed as prime minister last year when the tiny country's first post-independence government collapsed following an army mutiny and street violence that killed 37 people and saw the return of peacekeeping troops.

He said in an interview with The Associated Press that grave problems remained, but "not to the extent that some pessimists paint - that this is a failing state or the country is in civil war."

"I think we avoided a civil war," he said.

He said the next five years are likely to be tougher than the first five years of independence "because of the crisis that we have had for almost the last 12 months."

"The people will be less forgiving because they've been waiting for more than five years now for the fruits of independence and ... there is a lot of disagreement with the leadership," he said.

East Timor broke free from 24 years of brutal Indonesian rule in 1999 following a U.N.-sponsored independence ballot. Vengeful Indonesian troops and militiamen killed hundreds of people and torched much of the nation's infrastructure before foreign troops arrived to restore order.

Ramos-Horta was the public face of the East Timorese resistance movement at the United Nations during the Indonesian occupation. He was foreign minister before becoming prime minister in July.

He said the next government would bring increased wealth to the country's 900,000 people, who remain among the poorest in Asia.

"Although we have much more money, we have to deliver much faster," he said, referring to an expected infusion of cash from offshore oil and gas reserves.

Some fear that next month's presidential election could spark fresh violence in the country, which is tense amid an ongoing Australian military operation to capture a fugitive soldier linked to last year's unrest and outbreaks of gang violence.


Agence France-Presse - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Timor fugitive will talk if manhunt halted: aide

A fugitive East Timor rebel being hunted by Australian troops is prepared to negotiate if the military operation against him is halted, one of his aides said Tuesday.

"If they want to enter a dialogue, it is easy. The operation has to stop," the aide, speaking to AFP under cover of anonymity, quoted Alfredo Reinado as saying.

The aide said Reinado was pleased that two bishops were recently appointed as mediators for any future dialogue.

"I am very happy," Reinado said, as quoted by the aide. "The church is an independent organ, and I trust them more that they will be able to take the dialogue forward."

Reinado has been a persistent problem for the government of East Timor, one of the world's newest and poorest independent nations.

It is due to hold a presidential poll next month and some fear Reinado may destabilise the vote.

He has been criticised over his role in violence last year that killed at least 37 people, displaced 150,000 and led to the deployment of international peacekeepers.

Australian troops surrounded Reinado's mountain base in late February and attacked it a few days later, killing four of his armed supporters.

But the renegade soldier eluded the offensive as well as a manhunt launched after the failed attack.

Reinado's base was located in Same, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the capital, Dili, and the aide said the rebel was sorry for the hardship the town's residents had suffered due to the military action.

"I am saddened and my heart cries over what has happened in Same, because innocent people have become the victims," he quoted Reinado as saying.

Reinado's supporters demonstrated in Dili and elsewhere after the military offensive, leading East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao to warn of a security crackdown in a televised address.

The president had given the international force the green light to capture Reinado after accusing him of stealing weapons from police posts on the border with neighbouring Indonesia, which occupied East Timor for 24 years.


ABC - Tuesday, March 13, 2007. 6:27pm (AEDT)

I don't want to shoot Australians, E Timor rebel leader says

The most wanted man in East Timor says he has no intention of harming any Australians, even though five of his supporters were killed in an Australian military raid on his hide-out almost two weeks ago.

Major Alfredo Reinado has been on the run since escaping from prison after taking up arms against the government of East Timor in a violent upheaval last year.

He has told a crew from ABC's Foreign Correspondent program, which found him after a two-day trek, that he has no intention of giving himself up to Australian special forces.

"Me, I don't never have a word of surrendering," he said. "I'll surrender to justice, not to anybody, not to any command or any force. I never want to shoot any Australian."

When questioned why he previously fired shots at them, Major Reinado responded, "I defend myself because they are firing at us first."

Major Reinado says he does not want to kill in retaliation.

"The Government was responsible, I don't believe people of Australia order[ed] this and if people of Australia [lost] a loved one, you asked your Government who order[ed] this," he said. "We never want to harm anyone, but we have a right to protect ourselves."


Agence France-Presse – March 13, 2007 07:19pm

Timorese rebel vows no surrender

Fugitive East Timorese rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado has vowed never to surrender to Australian soldiers and says he will defend himself if fired upon.

Using contacts based in the hills and jungles around Dili, a team from the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program found their way to Maj Reinado's hideout and interviewed the rebel leader.

Maj Reinado is wanted for leading a band of breakaway soldiers last April and May, when battles between rival security factions degenerated into violence across East Timor.

He was arrested but subsequently escaped and has been on the run ever since, most recently evading Australian efforts to capture him.

Tensions have heightened since March 4, when Australian soldiers attacked his base in the town of Same, killing five of his supporters.

In an interview broadcast on the ABC tonight, Maj Reinado vowed he would never surrender to Australian forces and would defend himself if attacked.

"I don't never have a word of surrendering. I'll surrender to justice, not to any command, any force," he said.

Asked if he would attack Australian soldiers if he were surrounded, Maj Reinado replied: "I never want to shoot any Australian".

When challenged that he had fired at Australians earlier this month, Maj Reinado said: "I defend myself because they are firing at us first".

The rebel leader said he was fighting the East Timorese Government because security forces had shot dead anti-government protesters during the chaos that rocked Dili last year.

"I have to get out there and stop them because this institution belongs to the people, to stand up to defend the people, not to kill the people," he said.

Maj Reinado was once seen as an ally of Australia, where his wife and children live.

He said he doubted whether the Australian public supported the military's attempts to capture him.

"The Government was responsible, I don't believe people of Australia order this," Maj Reinado said. "If people of Australia lost a loved one, you (would) ask your government who order this. We never want to hurt anyone but we have a right to protect ourselves."

The ABC program also reports accusations Australian forces were heavy-handed when they entered the village of Sasaneh searching for Maj Reinado, not long after the failed March 4 attempt to capture him.

"They broke furniture and they told people to put their hands up on their heads. Women and men," one villager said. "They're 10 times worse than Indonesia. The Australian military is no good. In 24 years of Indonesian occupation the Indonesians never did that to our village."

The Australian military has denied destroying any houses and says it has helped villagers repair "very minor damage" to some buildings.

Brigadier Mal Rerden, who commands Australian forces in East Timor, said he was confident his troops would be able to capture Maj Reinado. "We have to, obviously, locate him and we're working very hard to do that and, you know, the nature of the terrain is very rugged," he said. "But we have got very well trained, very well equipped and very well led soldiers involved in the operations and I've got great confidence in them."


AKI – 13 March 2007, 09:57 am

East Timor: Renegade Major Says He Will Talk With Government

Dili - Renegade Major Alfredo Alves Reinado is heading to Dili for talks with the government brokered by the Catholic Church. In an interview with AdnKronos International (AKI), the rebel soldier said he is in good health and that he was not injured during the Australian-led raid against him that killed five on 4 March. "I am wearing an Australian uniform and I am heading towards the capital (Dili) for talks facilitated by the Catholic Church. I am very close to Dili," Major Reinado told AKI via phone from an undisclosed location on Tuesday.

"I am in good health and in good spirit. The raid did not affect me," added the rebel, who blamed President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta for his associates’ death, rather than the Australian troops.

"I do not blame the Australian soldiers. I blame those who gave the orders to the soldiers," he said.

The Catholic Church's willingness to mediate was confirmed to AKI by Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva from the diocese of Dili. "The Church is ready to mediate in any dialogue between the government and Major Reinado, if both parties are happy for the Church to be involved," said the bishop, met previously.

However, the meeting is yet to be confirmed by the government.

In the meantime, Commander of the Australian-led International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier Malcolm Rerden, said the hunt for Major Reinado continues. "The ISF would stand firm and continue their military operation until Alfredo and his followers are captured," Brigadier Rerden told reporters in Dili on Tuesday.

"I am asking Alfredo to avoid further conflict, including the possibility that he may lose his life. He should therefore surrender, with his men, to the national police, the UN police and international forces so that he can go to court and face the charges against him," he added.

Reinado has been on the run since he escaped from jail in East Timor's capital Dili in August along with 50 other inmates. President Xanana Gusmao ordered his arrest after he was accused of raiding a police post and stealing 25 automatic weapons last month.

He had been arrested for his role in the violence that erupted in East Timor after the dismissal of approximately 600 soldiers, who were complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions last April.

Reinado had abandoned the army on joined them on 4 May, 2006.

The clashes left 37 people dead, forced 155,000 to flee their homes, brought down the government of former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, and resulted in Australian-led peacekeeping troops being deployed in the tiny Southeast Asian nation.


AAP – March 13, 2007 04:39pm

Aussie troops 'destroyed Timor homes'

Australia's image in East Timor has suffered further damage with accusations troops searching for fugitive rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado damaged village homes during a night-time raid.

A parish priest from Same, the scene of Australian troops' abortive attempt to capture Reinado on March 4, has protested over a raid four days later at the nearby hamlet of Serema.

Father David Alves Conceicao said villagers had been terrified by the arrival of four Black Hawk helicopters and a troop transport, apparently acting on information they were harbouring the fugitive major, who remains on the run.

"Houses were assaulted and people ordered out in the middle of the night for searches," Father Conceicao said.

"Poor farmers, old people. This is a peaceful population, and this is a problem that will not be resolved by force. If someone who was a friend to us uses force, it will provoke a reaction."

Both the church and local people claim that houses were destroyed during the March 8 raid.

Images of around 10 damaged houses were shown on East Timorese national television last night, and Social Democrat deputy Riak Leman protested in parliament yesterday.

Father Conceicao said the military operations in Same district were continuing on a daily basis.

"It's like living on a battlefield," he said.

Australian force commander Brigadier General Mal Rerden denied houses had been destroyed.

"Our operations in Same were conducted to minimise damage to the civilian population and protect it from Reinado and his group', he said. "There were no houses destroyed as a result of our actions or the helicopters."

Brigadier General Rerden said there had been some "very minor damage to a few houses" and that troops had returned to help villagers with repairs.

He repeated that the only option left to Reinado was surrender, describing him as a fugitive from justice.

"Those who directly support him are breaking the law," he said.

Reinado remains a fugitive and is reported to have a band of around 100 men with him, of whom half are armed. He is said to be wearing Australian army uniform.

Brig. Gen Rerden also gave new details of the initial operation against Reinado, during which Australian troops surrounded his stronghold in Same and killed five of his supporters, but could not stop the rebel leader from escaping.

Asked whether there had been a telephone contact with the fugitive before the operation, Brig. Gen Rerden said: "Reinado was given another opportunity to surrender by verbal contact.

"Until the last moment before the operation started verbal option was given for him to surrender."

Asked whether warning shots were fired before five Reinado associates were shot dead, Brig. Gen Rerden said they were "in a position where they posed an immediate lethal threat to my soldiers.

"The soldiers of the International Stabilisation Force had the right to defend themselves when their lives were threatened."


TIME – Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2007

The Raid that Went Wrong

By Rory Callinan

On paper it must have looked like an easy mission. In pursuit were more than 200 well-armed regular and special forces soldiers, with machine guns, tear gas and tracker dogs, and backed up by helicopters and armored personnel carriers. Their objective was to arrest Alfredo Reinado, the former East Timorese military police commander, and about 60 fellow deserters, armed only with assault rifles, who were holed up in a compound on a hilltop in Same village, some 50 km south of Dili.

But the hunters came up empty handed. Reinado and most of his men escaped (see Manhunt: The Raid on Reinado), leaving International Stabilization Force (ISF) troops fruitlessly scouring the heavily forested hills. Meanwhile, the attempt to capture the man many East Timorese see as a resistance hero triggered violent protests in Dili and a wave of hostility toward the ISF.

More than a week after the operation, ISF commanders still refuse to detail what happened, saying an investigation is underway. But one of the rebels who fled with Reinado claims that civilians were killed during the raid, that the rebels were fired on without warning, and that at least one had begged the soldiers not to shoot.

When TIME visited the scene of the raid—a run-down former administrator's House at Same, about 50km south of Dili, which the rebels took over on Feb. 26—Australian soldiers were still manning checkpoints on nearby access roads. Parts of the building's roof had been blown off, apparently by the downdraft from the two Black Hawk helicopters used in the raid, and there were bullet holes in some trees along nearby roads. Two boxes of medical supplies and a generator appeared to have been abandoned by the rebels.

On the weekend of March 10-11, TIME trekked into remote bush to meet with Reinado follower Nelson Galucho, who has been on the run since the raid. Galucho said that three days before the operation, ISF soldiers picked him up in the Emera district and took him to Dili, where he was questioned for two hours about Reinado's operations, weapons and number of followers, then flown back home. He says the soldiers later apologized for detaining him.

Surrounded by edgy bodyguards, Galucho gave his account of the abortive raid. He said his fellow rebel Deolindo Barros had been killed by Australian troops in one of the helicopters hovering over the rebel compound. "Deolindo saw the soldiers and called out don't shoot, but they shot him," Galucho said. "They did not call out a warning or anything." Galucho, whose brother Nikson was wounded in the raid (he is now in custody in Dili), also said three civilians were killed in the raid, but was unable to provide any details or evidence for this.

The ISF has said that five men were killed in the raid. Four were named followers of Reinado (see Manhunt: The Raid on Reinado). The name of the fifth man has not been released, but the ISF says his body was found in thick bush on a hillside near the compound.

Australian soldiers kept Barros' body for two days after the raid; when delivered to the makeshift morgue at Dili's Gido Valadares hospital, it bore the marks of an autopsy—an examination Barros' family say was carried out without their permission. Holes and marks on Barros' clothes suggested he had been wounded in the back of the neck, right buttock and chest. Barros' sister, Francesca da Cruz, speculates that he was hit from behind by bullets fired from a helicopter.

Barros was buried at the weekend in his mountaintop village of Houba, 100 km southeast of Dili. More than 500 people filed into his plain farm cottage to view Barros' body as it lay in an open coffin beneath photographs of him and Reinado. Barros' distraught widow wants the East Timorese and Australian governments to pay for her three children's education. Midway through the funeral, an ISF helicopter flew slowly overhead. Local youths called out, "F__k off, Aussie," but the majority of mourners said they did not hold Australia responsible for Barros' death. Some, however, said the ISF was allowing itself to be used as a tool of the East Timorese government.

Four days after the raid, some two dozen Australian special-forces soldiers blocked an intersection just south of Same and questioned people who passed. The group's commanding officer said they were "there to protect the safety of the people." Local residents said a group of Reinado's men had headed west towards the small mountain town of Alas, about 65 km southwest of Dili, and that troops had been scouring the rugged area on foot and by helicopter.

Galucho told TIME that Reinado was still in hiding but able to communicate with supporters. "He is very sad about what they [the ISF] have done, and the government should have had an open mind and not acted in a way that created a problem," Galucho said. He and the other rebels wanted to negotiate, he said, but would not do so while Australian forces were still in the country: "They may try and kill us, so why would we try and negotiate with them?"

A spokesman for the ISF, Squadron Leader Ivan Benitez, said, "Five armed East Timorese men were killed during the Same operation when they posed an immediate threat to ISF soldiers." He refused to provide any details about the mission or the circumstances of the deaths, or to comment on Galucho's allegation about civilian deaths. In addition to the current ISF investigation into the incident, a United Nations Police investigation is to begin within days.

Entre 60 a 80 novos elementos
Dois pelotões da GNR seguem na próxima semana para Timor-Leste
07.03.2007 - 18h01 Lusa

Dois pelotões da GNR deverão seguir na próxima semana para Timor-Leste, para reforçar o contingente militar português que já se encontra no país.

Segundo o tenente-coronel Costa Cabral, responsável pelo Departamento de Relações Públicas da GNR, aos perto de 150 elementos que se encontram actualmente em Timor-Leste vão juntar-se entre 60 a 80 novos elementos, que ficarão no mesmo aquartelamento.

"Os dois pelotões, que terão entre 60 a 80 elementos, vão juntar-se ao Sub-agrupamento Bravo, encontrando-se actualmente em fase de aprontamento", sublinhou Costa Cabral, adiantando que, em princípio, ficarão durante os próximos seis meses em Timor-Leste.

O sub-agrupamento Bravo está em Timor-Leste desde o início de Junho de 2006 e inclui, desde então, três elementos do Instituto Nacional de Emergência Médica (INEM).

A 22 de Fevereiro último, o Conselho de Segurança das Nações Unidas decidiu por unanimidade prorrogar por mais um ano, até 26 de Fevereiro de 2008, o mandato da Missão Integrada em Timor-Leste (UNMIT) e reforçar em 140 efectivos o contingente policial estacionado naquele país.

A proposta de prorrogação do mandato da UNMIT e do reforço policial foi apresentada ao Conselho de Segurança a 12 do mesmo mês, através do relatório enviado pelo secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki-moon.



‘Greater Sunrise’
Diário Económico, 07/03/07
Por: João Paulo Guerra

Reinado e Salsinha, uma parelha de ‘beques’ cuja actuação em Timor-Leste deu muito jeito quando se tratou de varrer de cena o ex-primeiro-ministro Mári Alkatiri, actuam agora fora de controlo.

Ou então, como já acontecia anteriormente, por controlo remoto. Certo é que os dois homens se transferiram, com armas e bagagens, da quadrilha de “soldados rebeldes” treinados na Austrália que contestava Alkatiri para o bando que agora ameaça o poder de Díli com a “guerrilha da selva” e, entretanto, vai semeando o terror nas aldeias e nos bairros suburbanos da cidade. Em Timor pode faltar tudo mas não faltam efectivos para este tipo de “milícias” que, no passado, serviram os generais javaneses.

Como sempre, as tropas australianas estão no terreno para ver as vistas e deixar andar. Deixaram na crise anterior degradar-se a situação que culminou com a demissão de Alkatiri, deixaram depois fugir Reinado da cadeia e agora deixaram-no escapar de uma operação de cerco em Same. Nem sequer parecem incomodar-se pela sua credibilidade e eficácia ser posta em causa por um grupo de marginais. Há interesses bem mais elevados em jogo.

E é assim que oito meses após a demissão de Mário Alkatiri, e a sua substituição por Ramos Horta, a crise, a violência e a instabilidade continuam a flagelar Timor-Leste. Parece que algum aprendiz de feiticeiro libertou forças que agora não sabe nem tem meios para controlar. E Timor dá cada vez mais a imagem de um “Estado falhado”. Agora, a questão que se põe é se um “Estado falhado” pode assinar acordos para dividir a receita dos recursos petrolíferos, como o campo ‘Greater Sunrise’, ou se, perante tanta instabilidade, será mais razoável que a Austrália fique com tudo.



Correio da Manhã, 2007-03-08 - 00:00:00

Timor-Leste: Recurso interposto de imediato
Ex-ministro Lobato condenado a 7 anos

Num momento em que Timor-Leste está envolvido numa grave crise desencadeada pela revolta do major Alfredo Reinado, o ex-ministro do Interior timorense Rogério Lobato foi ontem condenado a sete anos e seis meses de prisão por envolvimento na distribuição de armas a civis durante a crise de Abril de 2006. O colectivo de juízes presidido pelo português Ivo Rosa considerou Lobato responsável por quatro crimes de homicídio depois de dar como provado que distribuiu armas a vários grupos, entre eles o de Vicente da Conceição ‘Railós’, com a intenção de “eliminar líderes da oposição”.

O tribunal considerou ainda que não ficou provada a intenção do antigo ministro de “alterar o Estado de direito” através da acção do grupos armados. Lobato era acusado de 18 crimes de homicídio e 11 de homicídio na forma tentada e, apesar da sentença, vai continuar em prisão domiciliária, como durante o julgamento, uma vez que interpôs recurso, com efeito suspensivo imediato da sentença.

Recorde-se que o arguido foi ministro do Interior entre Fevereiro de 2006 e a crise, desencadeada pela revolta de um grupo de militares à qual se associou, em Maio, o major Alfredo Reinado e vinte polícias da força de intervenção sob o seu comando. A violência que se seguiu acabou por forçar a queda do executivo do primeiro-ministro Mari Alkatiri, ele também suspeito de implicação na distribuição de armas.

O acórdão do tribunal releva que um dos factores agravantes da pena aplicada a Lobato se prende com a “falta de arrependimento” do arguido e com o facto de desempenhar funções no governo “de um Estado democrático” aquando da crise social e política para a qual ele mesmo contribuiu.

Membro histórico da Fretilin, Lobato abandonou Timor antes da invasão indonésia e escapou para Angola. Segundo algumas fontes, foi nesse país acusado de tráfico de diamantes nos anos 1980, crime pelo qual terá cumprido dez anos de prisão.


Rogério Lobato, ex-titular da pasta do Interior no governo liderado por Mari Alkatiri, é um membro histórico da Fretilin, partido onde assume a vice-presidência. Aquando da declaração unilateral da independência de Timor, a 28 de Novembro de 1975, foi nomeado ministro da Defesa. Abandonou o território antes da invasão indonésia e exilou-se em Angola.


Dois pelotões da GNR deverão seguir na próxima semana para Timor-Leste, para reforçar o contingente militar português que já lá se encontra. Segundo o tenente-coronel Costa Cabral, das Relações Públicas da GNR, aos cerca de 150 elementos que se encontram actualmente em Timor vão juntar-se entre 60 a 80 novos elementos, que ficarão no mesmo aquartelamento. “Os dois pelotões, que terão entre 60 a 80 elementos, vão juntar-se ao subagrupamento Bravo, encontrando-se actualmente em fase de aprontamento”, sublinhou Costa Cabral, adiantando que, em princípio, ficarão durante os próximos seis meses no país. O subagrupamento Bravo está em Timor-Leste desde o início de Junho de 2006 e inclui, desde então, três elementos do Instituto Nacional de Emergência Médica.

A 22 de Fevereiro último, o Conselho de Segurança da ONU decidiu por unanimidade prorrogar por mais um ano, até 26 de Fevereiro de 2008, o mandato da Missão Integrada em Timor-Leste e reforçar em 140 efectivos o contingente policial estacionado no país.
F. J. Gonçalves com agências



Actualização - Condenação a sete anos e meio de prisão
Timor-Leste: juiz português dá lição de democracia a ex-ministro Lobato

07.03.2007 - 21h16 Adelino Gomes

“Em democracia, as contas acertam-se no local próprio", disse o juiz português Ivo Rosa, ao ler o acórdão que condenou, hoje, em Díli, o ex-ministro do Interior e actual vice-presidente da Fretilin, Rogério Lobato, a sete anos e seis meses de prisão, por autoria indirecta de quatro crimes de homicídio.

Ivo Rosa, que presidia a um colectivo de três juízes do Tribunal de Recurso de Timor-Leste, sublinhou a gravidade da acção de que Lobato ia acusado – distribuição de armas a civis com o objectivo de eliminar figuras da oposição e militares peticionários, em dissidência com a liderança das FDTL (Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste).

A entrega de armas a elementos de um denominado Grupo Secreto de Segurança da Fretilin, entre os quais um antigo guerrilheiro de nome Vicente “Railós” da Conceição, foi denunciada por este em entrevistas concedidas na região cafeeira de Liquiçá, sucessivamente, a repórteres do canal ABC da televisão australiana e aos enviados do PÚBLICO e do Expresso (edições de 10.6.2006).

Enquanto membro do Governo de um estado democrático, estes comportamentos “são inadmissíveis”, disse o juiz a Lobato, em nome do colectivo. Ao aplicar-lhe aquela pena, “o tribunal pretende que o arguido assuma o desvalor da sua conduta e também que isto sirva de exemplo para a comunidade em geral, sobretudo numa fase bastante conturbada que a sociedade timorense atravessa".

O acórdão dá especial importância à onda de violência em que o país vive mergulhado há quase um ano, dizendo que “não é com estes comportamentos e com estas formas de agir” que o Estado timorense lhe irá pôr cobro. "Certamente não é isso que o povo quer e não foi para isso que o povo lutou pela independência e pela instituição neste país de um Estado de direito democrático", concluiu o acórdão.

Rogério Lobato interpôs recurso de imediato, "e com efeito suspensivo", da pena. O ex-primeiro-ministro Mari Alkatiri - acusado por Railós, nas citadas entrevistas, de ter dado cobertura à iniciativa de Lobato, mas cujo processo foi arquivado pelas autoridades judiciais por falta de provas – esteve no tribunal a ouvir a sentença. No final, porém, escusou-se a comentar a condenação de Rogério Lobato, noticiou a Lusa.

Antes de Timor, Ivo Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa prestou serviço na 3ª Vara Criminal de Lisboa e no Tribunal Central de Instrução Criminal (TCIC), onde o seu nome esteve em evidência no julgamento de casos mediáticos de criminalidade financeira.

Perfil acidentado

Rogério Lobato já tinha sido demitido por Mari Alkatiri e já fora acusado de distribuir armas a civis quando a Fretilin o catapultou ao lugar de vice-presidente.

Irmão mais novo do antigo presidente timorense e líder da guerrilha, Nicolau Lobato, morto em combate no último dia do ano de 1978, na região de Maubisse, Rogério Lobato foi o fundador das Falintil e seu primeiro comandante e ministro da Defesa da efémera República Democrática de Timor-Leste (RDTL), proclamada em 28 de Novembro de 1975.

Quando ocorreu a invasão indonésia, em 7 de Dezembro desse ano, encontrava-se em missão no exterior, juntamente com outros dirigentes, como Mari Alkatiri, José Ramos-Horta, Abílio Araújo e Roque Rodrigues, que só puderam voltar a Timor após a retirada indonésia, 24 anos depois.

Nos anos 80 chegou a estar preso em Angola na sequência de um obscuro processo de denúncias de contrabando de diamantes, alegadamente destinados à resistência, vindo a ser destituído de todos os cargos na delegação externa da resistência.

Era conotado com o grupo de Abílio Araújo quando regressou a Timor-Leste no período de transição que se seguiu à retirada da Indonésia, em Outubro de 1999. Inicialmente foi acusado de instrumentalizar ex-guerrilheiros afastados das FDTL, como o comandante L 7, mas reaproximou-se dos seus antigos companheiros.

Apesar do presidente Xanana Gusmão ter pedido em público o seu afastamento, por “incompetência”, logo em Novembro de 2002, Mari Alkatiri manteve-o no Governo até Maio de 2006.


Reforço policial explica calma em Díli em dia de condenação de ex-ministro
Diário de Notícias, 08/03/07

Por: Armando Rafael

O ex-ministro do Interior timorense Rogério Lobato foi ontem condenado a sete anos e meio de prisão, tendo o tribunal de Díli considerado provado que mandou distribuir armas a civis com o objectivo de eliminar adversários políticos.

Factos que se reportam à crise que o país viveu há um ano e que levaram à substituição de Mari Alkatiri como primeiro-ministro, depois do Presidente Xanana Gusmão ter imposto a substituição dos ministros da Defesa, Roque Rodrigues, e do Interior, Rogério Lobato.

Uma crise que teve como pano de fundo a contestação dos 600 peticionários expulsos das forças armadas e que degenerou num conflito entre polícias e militares, com civis à mistura, levando as autoridades de Díli a solicitarem o apoio de Portugal, Austrália, Nova Zelândia e Malásia para ajudarem a normalizar a situação no país.

Condenado agora por quatro crimes de homicídio, Rogério Lobato, que já anunciou a intenção de recorrer, acabou por ser absolvido dos crime de peculato, de 14 homicídios e ainda de 11 tentativas de homicídio. Sem que a leitura desta sentença tivesse dado origem a quaisquer distúrbios na cidade, salvo dois pequenos incidentes registados logo de manhã, quando alguns populares atacaram dois armazéns nas zonas limítrofes da capital timorense.

O que, em termos práticos, significou que Díli viveu ontem um dos dias mais tranquilos das últimas semanas, quando se temia o oposto. Só que desta vez, e ao contrário do que tem sucedido, as Nações Unidas reforçaram o seu dispositivo policial na cidade, apoiados por elementos da polícia timorense. Numa altura em que os militares de Timor-Leste, comandados pelo brigadeiro-general Taur Matan Ruak, já começaram também a proteger os edifícios e os principais serviços públicos do país, como o primeiro-ministro Ramos- -Horta já tinha anunciado.

Nesta sentença, lida pelo juiz Ivo Rosa, o colectivo considerou o comportamento de Rogério Lobato muito grave, sublinhando que estava em causa um dos fundadores da resistência à ocupação indonésia, pelo que a sua atitude era inadmissível. "Em democracia, as contas acertam-se no local próprio."

Na origem dos factos imputados ao ex-ministro do Interior estão as acusações feitas pelo Comandante Railós, nome de guerra de Vicente da Conceição, um dos veteranos da resistência a quem Lobato mandou entregar armas para a constituição de supostos "esquadrões da morte".

Uma acusação desferida num programa da televisão australiana e que envolvia também Mari Alkatiri, mas que Railós acabou por deixar cair em tribunal, dando o dito por não dito, relativamente ao antigo primeiro-ministro e líder da Fretilin, o partido maioritário no país.

Alkatiri, que esteve presente na leitura da sentença, deixou o tribunal sem fazer declarações, tendo a noção de que tudo pode mudar muito rapidamente com a aproximação às presidenciais de 9 de Abril.

Sem que o major Alfredo Reinado seja detido, apesar da perseguição que os militares australianos lhe movem, e quando começam a surgir sinais de que algumas franjas da Fretilin se preparam para apoiar a candidatura de Ramos-Horta, em detrimento do candidato do partido: Francisco Guterres (Lu-Olo). Prova disso é o apoio que o ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros, José Luís Guterres, e que o antigo embaixador Jorge Teme deverão anunciar muito em breve.



Mulheres de Timor-Leste

Ontem, no Palácio Galveias, em Lisboa, Alfreda Fonseca e Teresa Patrício Gouveia apresentaram o livro SETE MULHERES DE TIMOR - FETO TIMOR NAIN HITU, de Teresa Amal, para comemorar o Dia Internacional da Mulher, uma iniciativa da Acção para a Justiça e Paz e da embaixada da República Democrática de Timor-Leste.

Num evento de amizade e solidariedade com aquele país tão belo quão martirizado ficámos a conhecer a vida de sete heroínas do povo maubere com a presença de algumas delas.

by Raimundo Narciso em http://puxapalavra.blogspot.com/


Timor/ONU: Uma em cada 500 pessoas em Díli já esteve detida

Uma em cada 500 pessoas em Díli esteve em algum momento detida pelas forças de segurança, declarou hoje o chefe da missão da ONU em Timor-Leste (UNMIT), que classificou os recentes incidents como «violência sem ideologia».

Atul Khare, representante especial do secretário-geral da ONU, informou que «nos últimos tempos» as forças de segurança efectuaram 400 detenções, o que significa que um em cada 500 residentes esteve sob detenção.

Os elementos relativos aos detidos estão a ser tratados no seu todo, numa base de dados, para se chegar a uma leitura de quem provoca as sucessivas ondas de violência na cidade, explicou Atul Khare.

O chefe da UNMIT, falando no encontro semanal com a imprensa, designou como «hooliganismo» os sucessivos incidentes e ataques registados em Díli.

«Entendendo por isso uma forma de violência sem convicções, sem ideologia e com o único fim de desestabilizar», sublinhou Atul Khare.

O vice-representante especial para a área da segurança, Eric Tan, informou que o número de armas da Polícia Nacional timorense que ainda não foi devolvida, depois da crise de 2006, é substancialmente inferior aos montantes iniciais.

«Em Setembro, havia 200 armas ou mais» em mãos desconhecidas, «agora são menos de 30 de que não se sabe o paradeiro», adiantou Eric Tan.

«Destas 30 armas, sabemos que algumas estão com o grupo do major Alfredo Reinado».
Na sequência dos incidentes de domingo e segunda-feira em Díli, e antecipando a leitura da sentença do ex-ministro do Interior Rogério Lobato, na quarta-feira, as forças de segurança na capital foram reforçadas com elementos das forças autónomas estacionadas em Bobonaro e em Baucau, adiantou o chefe da missão internacional.

Díli assiste também, desde há dois dias, à instalação de unidades das Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) para proteger instalações do Estado e empresas concessionárias de serviços públicos.

«Temos força suficiente para lidar com os criminosos e os malfeitores», declarou Atul Khare.

«Acredito na sensatez dos políticos deste país, que mostraram espírito de reconciliação, como demonstraram perante o desafio de Alfredo Reinado», acrescentou o chefe da UNMIT.

«Convém também dizer que a esmagadora maioria dos timorenses quer paz, estabilidade e desenvolvimento» para Timor-Leste.

Diário Digital/Lusa
08-03-2007 15:26:05



Timor-Leste nas mãos do petróleo

Público, 09/03/07
Por: Raquel Almeida Correia

Apesar de continuar a ser um dos países mais pobres do mundo, Timor-Leste tem conquistado alguma estabilidade económica, nos últimos anos. A conclusão é do Fundo Monetário Internacional (FMI), que aponta a adopção de políticas fiscais e financeiras mais rígidas como motor desta avolução positiva. Mas ainda há muito caminho para percorrer para o país sair do vermelho.

No relatório divulgado pelo FMI, a estagnação do Plano de Desenvolvimento Nacional e do programa Objectivos de Desenvolvimento do Milénio são os pontos mais críticos, a par do clima de violência que se instalou a partir de Abril do ano passado.

A fragilidade das instituições, a pobreza e a elevada taxa de desemprego também estão a jogar contra a ex-colónia portuguesa.

A grande oportunidade de viragem está na gestão cuidada das receitas do petróleo, que, de acordo com o organismo internacional, pode “transformar a economia” timorense. “Os recursos petrolíferos são essenciais para suportar o crescimento dos outros sectores da economia e reduzir os níveis de pobreza da população”, avança o FMI. Mas, para tal, é preciso que o governo poupe os recursos, controle as despesas, faça investimentos certeiros e ambientalmente responsáveis. Só assim a recuperação económica e social, adiada com a guerra civil, “será possível”, conclui o organismo.


Serviço da Timor Telecom contestado
Díli quer intervir nas telecomunicações

Diário de Notícias, 09/03/07
Por: Alexandre Machado

A Portugal Telecom, que detém 41% da Timor Telecom, pode ver a sua concessão naquele país asiático alterada, admitinto o governo liderado por Ramos-Horta reforçar a sua posição no capital da operadora. Isto porque considera que o nível do serviço prestado é insuficiente.

Num comunicado divulgado ontem, o primeiro-ministro de Timor-Leste, Ramos-Horta, socorrendo-se das conclusões de um relatório independente, diz que o quadro actual “estabelece obrigações limitadas e insuficientes relativamente à cobertura, quer geograficamente, quer quanto à população”. Os preços são uma das principais críticas de quem está em Timor-Leste. Só para dar um exemplo, a mensalidade de uma ligação à Internet a 64 kbps custa 500 dólares. Um professor timorense ganha cerca de 100 dólares.

A Timor Telecom tem actualmente 2500 clientes de rede fixa e 49 mil da rede móvel. Ou seja, menos de três em cada 100 timorenses têm telefone e Internet, com uma falha particular nas zonas rurais.

Segundo o governo de Timor-Leste, não é imposta qualquer obrigação de prestação de serviços de telecomunicações em zonas rurais e remotas. A Timor Telecom também não tem imposições ao nível da expansão da rede e da cobertura da população. “A comunidade merece melhor. O governo tem de agir”, declarou Ramos-Horta, em citação atribuída num comunicado do seu gabinete. O governo timorense vai agora conversar com a Rimor Telecom, não estando ainda marcada a reunião. Mas Ramos-Horta admite que a solução, no âmbito de um novo quadro de referência para o sector, pode passar pelo reforço do governo na empresa, ao mesmo tempo que avança com uma revisão do quadro fiscal. De lado também não está a liberalização das comunicações.

A Timor Telecom, citada pela Lusa, diz aguardar por propostas concretas, mas elogiou a iniciativa de se alterar o quadro fiscal.


14 de Março de 2007


Declaração do Primeiro-Ministro Dr. José Ramos-Horta:

“Logo que assumi a responsabilidade de chefiar o II Governo Constitucional pedi ao PNUD e ao FMI um estudo sobre uma possível reforma radical do sistema fiscal.

Após consultas alargadas e cuidadosa consideração, apresento hoje uma proposta para um novo sistema fiscal para Timor-Leste que é simplificado, a favor dos pobres e que incentiva o sector privado, o investimento estrangeiro e a criação de empregos. A minha proposta vai além das recomendações do FMI.

Quando tomei posse como Primeiro-Ministro, em 10 de Julho de 2006, disse que o governo que ia liderar tentaria servir os interesses dos pobres, seria um governo para os pobres, estaria na vanguarda da luta contra a pobreza.

Prometi usar o dinheiro disponível para dignificar o ser humano, dar-lhe esperança, dar-lhe alimento, roupa e um tecto.

A receita não petrolífera total do Estado representa menos de 5% da receita petrolífera, sendo os impostos indirectos sobre bens 1,19% desta última, o imposto de transacções 0,64%, os impostos sobre empresas 0,63%, as taxas de importação 0,59%, o imposto sobre rendimento pessoal 0,49%, as taxas de retenção 0,46% e a taxa de serviço apenas 0,36%.

Para quê, então, preocupações com a cobrança de uma receita tão diminuta? Gastamos mais, talvez, a tentar cobrar estas taxas e impostos do que o montante efectivamente arrecadado.
Com receitas de gás e petróleo superiores a $1.000 milhões de dólares norte-americanos, considero que uma forma de tentar estimular a economia será aumentar o rendimento disponível das famílias através de um sistema fiscal novo, melhor talhado para favorecer, nos anos vindouros, os objectivos do desenvolvimento de Timor-Leste e, simultaneamente, mais compatível com o ambiente globalizado em que as empresas se movem.

A minha convicção sobre as características de um novo sistema fiscal para o nosso país, leva-me a defender basicamente uma redução drástica e até a abolição pura e simples da maior parte dos impostos e taxas.

Fiz consultas, quer a nível oficial, quer a nível informal, com um vasto leque de peritos do Banco Mundial, do PNUD, com académicos. Encomendei ao FMI uma avaliação e propostas de um novo sistema fiscal para Timor-Leste. Nesse processo consolidei a minha opinião, levando-me a propor um novo sistema fiscal que é corajoso, racional e avançado.

É favorável aos pobres porque Timor-Leste tem receitas petrolíferas significativas, pelo que não tem de arrecadar receita a partir dos pobres ou das pequenas empresas.

É favorável ao desenvolvimento empresarial porque Timor-Leste tem de estimular o desenvolvimento de um sector privado forte. Isso implica estimular a criação de novas empresas nacionais e o estabelecimento no nosso país de empresas estrangeiras.

É simples porque Timor-Leste não deve absorver muitos recursos humanos qualificados na operação de uma máquina fiscal complexa ou no combate á evasão fiscal. O governo e o sector privado têm de se libertar do fardo que representa um sistema fiscal complexo.

Assim, solicitei à senhora Ministra do Plano e das Finanças que instrua os seus funcionários para elaborarem um projecto de novo sistema fiscal, ou procederem às necessárias alterações da legislação existente, baseando-se nas recomendações que a seguir apresento, por forma a ser levado ao Conselho de Ministros e subsequentemente apresentado ao Parlamento Nacional, que tem competência exclusiva em matéria de política fiscal.

1ª recomendação: Abolir as tarifas, o imposto de transacções e os impostos indirectos, tornando-nos num “país de comércio livre”.

Defendo esta medida porque Timor-Leste não arrecada grande receita de tarifas sobre os produtos importados e, no entanto, tais taxas representam um fardo administrativo. Na minha opinião, como critério geral, Timor-Leste deve eliminar as tarifas em todos os produtos importados.

Deverão considerar-se excepções no caso de importações “indesejáveis”, como sejam os casos de produtos prejudiciais ao ambiente ou para a saúde. Estes produtos indesejáveis devem ser claramente listados e submetidos a uma elevada tarifa alfandegária fixa.

Com a redução tarifária, deve ser tida em conta a necessidade de compensar alguns produtores locais, para que os produtores timorenses não fiquem prejudicados pelo custo inferior dos produtos importados que competem com produtos produzidos internamente.

2ª recomendação: Pessoas e empresas com rendimentos inferiores a $1.000 dólares mensais devem ser isentadas de imposto.

Esta medida cria um limiar de isenção de imposto para pessoas de baixos rendimentos. Isto é absolutamente razoável: não há motivo que justifique obrigar timorenses pobres a pagarem impostos.

3ª recomendação: Fixar um escalão único de 5-10% para os impostos sobre rendimentos individuais e empresariais.

Peritos prestigiados dizem-me que qualquer rendimento superior a $1.000 dólares norte-americanos deve ser sujeito a uma baixa taxa de imposto de 5-10%. Concordo com essas opiniões.

Penso que o Fundo Monetário Internacional (FMI) propõe uma taxa relativamente elevada de 15-20%, para não parecer encorajar a criação de “paraísos fiscais”. Mas considero também que Timor-Leste deve adoptar taxas abaixo dos 15-20%. Em princípio, poderia adoptar uma taxa 0 sem condicionar a despesa do Estado, uma vez que a receita do petróleo será mais do que suficiente. Mas há razões que aconselham a adoptar uma taxa superior a 0, tendo em conta um futuro em que Timor-Leste precise de receita adicional. Por isso, considero razoável uma taxa de 5 a 10%, nas presentes circunstâncias.

A razão porque defendo a mesma taxa base para o imposto sobre rendimentos pessoais e o imposto sobre rendimentos empresariais é o facto de ser não apenas razoável, mas também simples, e previnir tentativas de fuga aos impostos, através de transferências de rendimentos entre contas empresariais e pessoais.

4ª recomendação: Abolição da taxa de 1% sobre a facturação das empresas.

Esta taxa não arrecada grande receita e é um fardo administrativo. Deve ser abolida.

5ª recomendação: Simplificação dos incentivos fiscais para investidores estrangeiros.

Reduzindo significativamente o nível dos impostos, reduz-se significativamente a necessidade de incentivos destinados aos investidores estrangeiros, isto é, a taxa base muito baixa será incentivo bastante.

Os incentivos discricionários actualmente em vigor são complexos e desnecessários. Com taxas base inferiores a 15% não haverá necessidade de incentivos adicionais para as empresas.
6ª recomendação: Minimizar o recurso a medidas indirectas e temporárias.

Tem havido propostas para introduzir medidas temporárias de vários tipos. Tais medidas destinam-se ou a desencorajar actividades indesejáveis (por exemplo, tarifas para reduzir a importação de automóveis ou computadores) ou a encorajar actividades desejáveis (por exemplo, encorajar a contratação local de trabalhadores timorenses) ou a compensar certos grupos (por exemplo, a redução do preço da electricidade para instituições que acolhem desalojados).

Após ouvir especialistas, considero que tais objectivos devem ser prosseguidos com medidas de apoio “permanentes” e “directas”, em vez de medidas temporárias e indirectas.

Poderemos usar medidas directas, como sejam um pagamento único a pessoas deslocadas, em vez de medidas indirectas como a compensação através de redução do custo de serviços públicos. Devemos adoptar outras medidas permanentes, como sejam níveis de taxação fiscal baixos, em vez de períodos de três anos a taxa 0. As medidas permanentes geram estabilidade e previsibilidade, alimentando a confiança empresarial.

Medidas directas e permanentes são preferíveis por serem claras, focadas nos objectivos para que são criadas e menos susceptíveis de gerarem desperdício e corrupção.

Estas ideias para a reforma do sistema fiscal foram discutidas com o Presidente Xanana Gusmão e o ex-Primeiro-Ministro Mari Alkatiri. Ambos concordaram de uma forma geral com elas. Na verdade, o Dr Alkatiri disse-me numa conversa recente que, há dois anos, tinha querido uma revisão do sistema fiscal como esta.

Acredito que esta minha proposta de novo sistema fiscal é a proposta certa para Timor-Leste. É uma iniciativa que tomo por considerar ser essencial para o bem do nosso país.

A mantermos quaisquer taxas ou impostos, eles devem recair apenas sobre produtos ou actividades com risco ambiental ou de saúde pública.

Infelizmente, o curto período do meu mandato como Primeiro-Ministro, não me permite supervisionar a aplicação de um sistema de impostos como o que defendo – favorável aos pobres, favorável ao desenvolvimento das empresas, simplificado e, simultaneamente, corajoso, racional, e avançado em termos das necessidades futuras. Mas comprometo-me a lutar pela adopção destas medidas, na minha qualidade de simples cidadão ou em qualquer cargo que venha a desempenhar no futuro, porque acredito que são medidas necessárias e certas para Timor-Leste nesta fase do nosso desenvolvimento como nação.” – FIM.

Blog do Candidato Presidencial João Carrascalão



UN in secret talks with Reinado's lawyers

Mark Dodd, Dili
The Australian
March 13, 2007

THE UN has been involved in secret talks with lawyers representing army fugitive Alfredo Reinado despite having agreed with the EastTimor Government to stay out of any deal-making with the country'smost wanted man.

According to a senior UN source in Dili, the head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, met last week with the East Timor Lawyers Association president, Benivides Correia Barros, to discuss surrender terms for Reinado, who has been on the run forseveral weeks and is wanted over political violence last year.

Mr Barros, as a representative of the fugitive major, presented a memorandum written in perfect English seeking to negotiate surrender.

In exchange for a range of concessions, Reinado was willing to submitto justice, the UN source said. Another source confirmed the meeting.

The Australian understands Reinado's demands included provision of a house in the exclusive diplomatic suburb of Farol, round-the-clock security to be provided by New Zealand soldiers, military decorations commensurate with the rank of major and the dropping of anunspecified number of charges.

The Government is believed to have rejected the wish list and restated its demand that Reinado turn himself in and face justice before the court.

But the meeting with the UN is significant because it appears to bein breach of a pledge made last week to stay out of negotiations with Reinado following a presidential order for his arrest.

The UN had met Reinado during failed joint talks involving the Ramos Horta Government in December and January.

Reinado was surrounded by Australian troops and in the early hours of March 4

Australian special forces attempted to make an arrest.

Five armed Reinado supporters were shot dead during the operation andat least three others arrested. But Reinado and a small group ofarmed supporters managed to escape.

The Australian understands President Xanana Gusmao had requested Reinado should not be harmed during the operation.

As many East Timorese mourn the deaths, feelings in Dili are running high and expatriots fear the outpouring of grief by the family of slain rebel Deolindo Barros could create discontent across the country.

Reinado supporter Nelson Galucho said the rebel leader wanted to negotiate with Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta but feared he would be killed if he left his hideout.

Mr Galucho said the rebels would not attack international security forces but would respond if they came under fire.


Violence mars pre-poll Timor
Mark Dodd
March 12, 2007

GANG violence on the streets of Dili and rebel army major Alfredo Reinado remaining at large are destabilising conditions for East Timor's presidential elections, due in four weeks.

Vicious gang warfare that has displaced more than 60,000 people is being stoked by political rabble-rousers who want to crush Fretilin, the country's biggest political party, a senior party powerbroker and central committee member said yesterday.

In its first official response to the failed attempt by Australian special forces to capture Reinado, Fretilin said it had no desire to see the rebel killed. Reinado, a former commander of the country's military police and a major player in last year's political violence, is wanted for treason.
The search continues for the elusive rebel, embraced as a hero by many of the Dili gangs, after Australian soldiers failed to catch him last week following a six-day stand-off in the southern town of Same.

"There is no need to have more dead heroes than we already have. Fretilin want him (Reinado) alive. At least, it is in everyone's interests he lies low," Fretilin's Filomeno Aleixo told The Australian.

"These elections are very important to help us overcome the political crisis and restore democratic values. Things are not easy for Fretilin. The crisis has made us realise we are the main target by opponents wanting to make us look weak."

Security was at the top of the agenda at a weekend Fretilin party congress in Dili to discuss the April 9 presidential ballot, Mr Aleixo said.

The party was concerned by the security situation in Ermera district, where many of Reinado's supporters were based and had threatened Fretilin officials. Fretilin cadre intended to meet with youth groups and tell them not to be manipulated by self-serving politicians seeking to weaken the party that had delivered independence to East Timor.

Fretilin is the biggest and best organised of East Timor's political parties and holds 55 seats in the 88-seat Constituent Assembly.

But last year's political crisis revealed growing internal dissent at the leadership role of former prime minister Mari Alkatiri.

The Australian understands moves are under way to expel members of a rebel Fretilin reform group supporting Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta's presidential candidacy.

About 500,000 East Timorese - half the population - are eligible to vote for a new president from eight candidates. National parliamentary elections will follow although a date has yet to be set by President Xanana Gusmao.


Cavan Hogue: No escaping the burden of good intentions
The 'liberation' of East Timor is coming back to haunt us

March 12, 2007

ANY foreign policy is a compromise between what you want and what you can get, and any analysis must consider the alternatives. Most of the public emotion expended in Australia about East Timor has shown little concern for facts, logic or alternatives. Let's start at the beginning.

Although you would never guess it from reading Australian media reports, the history of East Timor did not begin with the Indonesian invasion in 1975. For 400 years, Portugal ran it as a penal colony and did nothing for the indigenous people. We hear much about how Australia should have done something about the Indonesian invasion because of our debt to the Timorese who supported Australian soldiers during World War II. Nobody, however, showed much concern for the Timorese when they were being oppressed by the brutal dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. Why not? Is European oppression more acceptable than Asian oppression?

Conspiracy theorists argue that Australia should have done something to stop the Indonesian invasion of East Timor because we were told in advance what would happen and-or because we let them believe we would not oppose it. Even if we were to accept this argument, it is not clear what it is Australia was supposed to do. Any suggested action must be put within the framework of the world as it was 30 years ago, not as it is today. Thirty years ago the Cold War was alive and well, and Australia was licking its wounds after the disaster that was Vietnam.

We are told that Australia should have put pressure on Indonesia. How? We could cut off our aid, in which case the Indonesians would have told us what to do with our aid and gone ahead regardless. We could have broken off diplomatic relations, in which case we would have had no influence in Indonesia and it would still have gone ahead with the invasion. We could have sent troops to fight with Fretilin in repelling the Indonesians. In other words, we could have got into another war in Asia, only this time in support of the communists.

In the unlikely event that the Australian public would have supported such action, the US would certainly have strongly opposed action by Australia to install a communist regime in Southeast Asia. We could have been more active in the UN, but the world took the same interest in East Timor that we take in Africa. Some even suggest that we could exercise "moral" pressure on a regime that they believe to have been immoral, whatever moral pressure might be.

Let's be clear about Fretilin: it was and remains a communist party based on Frelimo and other fraternal parties. Fretilin would have installed a communist dictatorship led by people such as Mari Alkatiri. Internal opponents would have been purged and there would have been massacres of those who supported APODETI or other non-communist parties. Private payback killings would have been widespread. Recent events have only confirmed the validity of this analysis.

The reason the Indonesians invaded was to prevent the establishment of an unstable, communist state that would have been a base for subversion in Indonesia. Even allowing for Indonesian paranoia about communists, this was not an unreasonable assumption.

The new government would have turned to China and the USSR for aid, technicians and political support. Would Australia really have been happy with an unstable, Soviet-backed communist state on its borders?

There was a significant body of Timorese opinion that favoured integration with Indonesia because it would have made them members of a serious country with the capacity to develop them economically. Portuguese cultural influence did not extend much outside Dili and Portuguese was spoken only by the elite, who are now using it as a tool to dominate the masses. The East Timorese also had close cultural, linguistic and racial ties with the West Timorese. The border was a classic colonial creation and the notion of a nation struggling for freedom is a myth. Recent events have highlighted the kinds of divisions that existed then and still exist.

The Indonesians, to their credit, put in schools and medical facilities and did more for ordinary Timorese in a few years than Portugal did in 400 years. It is these facilities that were destroyed 20 years later. Unfortunately, the Indonesian armed forces were not as competent as their civilian counterparts. Instead of winning hearts and minds they picked pockets and beat bodies. The incompetence, brutality and corruption of TNI, the Indonesian military, was the reason Timor did not become a province of Indonesia and why in the referendum Timorese voted against Indonesia.

Those who blame Australia for what happened in East Timor clearly suffer from a neocolonialist mentality combined with an unreal understanding of the power that Australia can exercise outside its borders. You can blame Portugal for a bad colonial record and a totally irresponsible act of decolonisation and you can blame the Suharto government for failing to control the activities of TNI and therefore failing to peacefully integrate East Timor, but the blame game doesn't solve the issue.

We now have a poor, backward and unstable entity on our doorstep, a state manifestly unable to look after itself. Political and tribal factionalism are rife. Ultimately, this is the fault and the problem of the Timorese; they voted for independence and they got it.

We are not their paternalistic keeper and we do not have a manifest destiny to solve all the problems of the region.

Like the Indonesians 30 years ago, however, we do not want an unstable entity off our shores that might serve as a base for actions contrary to Australian interests. Our methods and our behaviour may be different, but that is why we are there. There are no easy answers to this problem and we have not set ourselves an easy task.

Australian troops are acting on behalf of the Timorese Government against the rebel Alfredo Reinado. We see this action as supporting the legitimately elected democratic government but is that how the Timorese see it? We should not forget Talleyrand's advice that what matters in politics is not the truth but what people perceive to be the truth. Already there is evidence of some anti-Australian sentiment and there is a danger that we could find ourselves sucked into what the local people perceive as a civil war. So we may be damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Welcome to the quagmire.

Cavan Hogue, a former Australian ambassador with extensive diplomatic experience in Asia, is adjunct professor in the department of international communication at Macquarie University in Sydney.


Editorial - Jakarta Post

Unsavory Timor Leste

"You better go back to your country instead of making people (here) suffer," charged a youth in Dili.
In times past this verbal attack would have been directed at Indonesian soldiers. But eight years later such disdain is being hurled at the 'saviors' of East Timor -- Australian troops.
Such is the fickleness of the mob, the political vacillation of a discontented throng. A once great rebel leader turned president is denounced by his public and is set to be replaced by yet another icon plump with purposeless promise.

The honeymoon is over in Timor Leste. With the presidential election just a month away, Indonesia's young neighbor is on the verge of failing an important test of nationhood.

No state can ultimately persevere if it cannot install the rudiments of political conciliation and conflict resolution. While sending foreign soldiers may have been a necessary and "easy" option to quell the unrest that erupted in May, sending them has not of its own accord produced an uncomplicated or painless political process.

On the contrary, overdependence on foreign "intervention" has only widened the political fault lines that have emerged from bad governance, poor decision making and a lack of leadership from the presiding administration.

Senior members of the Timor Leste government are culpable in one way or another for failing to avert the crisis when it first emerged 10 months ago. Not least of those who should bear the blame is President Xanana Gusmao for failing to speak up when his voice and leadership were required to arrest a deteriorating situation. It was at this critical juncture in Timor Leste's history that Xanana displayed the same quality that made him such a great guerrilla leader: the ability to remain quietly in hiding.

The firing of Timorese troops last year has lead to divided loyalties. The only foreseeable solution the government seems to have is to urge Australian soldiers to "neutralize" a man who is quickly assuming the same revolutionary stature as Gusmao had in his guerrilla fighting days. How ironic.

But following such a strategy -- which the government seems to be doing -- places the Australian forces, under the guise of being "international" peacekeepers, as nothing more than mercenaries.

If Australian forces cannot effectively "dispose" of Alfredo Reinado within an acceptable timeframe, they will plunge themselves into their second quagmire, while still bogged down in Iraq .

The only differences with Iraq are that Reinado's supporters are not as sophisticated as the Iraqi insurgents and that this time Australian forces cannot ride on the coattails of their American allies.

Our friends down under certainly do not deserve such a predicament. There have been times when the presence of Australian forces have been a welcome respite -- the violence in East Timor in 1999 is a case in point. But to some, these recent developments may also be the cost of Canberra's eagerness to sheriff the porch beyond its front lawn.

Indonesia can only peer with sad anxiety at developments across the border. It was not asked to intervene. It was not consulted when others were called in to intervene. And neither should it seek to intervene unless the situation threatens the security of the bordering province of East Nusa Tenggara.

Hence President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's move to shut the border and gear up troops along the perimeter was an appropriate action which should be maintained. It is an act of brotherly love to prevent Reinado sneaking into Indonesia and securing the safety of Indonesians in the border vicinity.

Compared to the various challenges across the Indonesian archipelago, the scale of events in East Timor is trifling. Indonesia has other more pressing challenges to face on its own.
What's happening in Dili is a domestic issue which Indonesia should keep abreast of but not concern itself with.

Dili has to learn that the implications of being a sovereign state means resolving one's own family scuffles. It cannot keep looking for a sheriff (or deputy, as the case may be) to fight its battles.


Todas as traduções de inglês para português (e também de francês para português) são feitas pela Margarida, que conhecemos recentemente, mas que desde sempre nos ajuda.

Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!

Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006

"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "

Malai Azul. Lives in East Timor/Dili, speaks Portuguese and English.
This is my blogchalk: Timor, Timor-Leste, East Timor, Dili, Portuguese, English, Malai Azul, politica, situação, Xanana, Ramos-Horta, Alkatiri, Conflito, Crise, ISF, GNR, UNPOL, UNMIT, ONU, UN.