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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

The Current World Crisis:

A collection of statements on the recent terrorist attacks in the United States and President Bush’s subsequent ‘war on terrorism’.


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Up-Dated: Feb 16, 2002

NEW = Added to BACK DOOR Website since last Monday's Emailout


Feb 13 Prague Post: Human rights groups want limits on Czech arms to Indonesia  Article added Feb 16
“On his recent visit to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, Foreign Minister Jan Kavan praised the south Asian nation for its support of the United States and NATO following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He applauded Jakarta’s leaders for quickly condemning the unprecedented attacks, in which Islamic extremists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, leaving more than 3,000 dead. And he called Indonesia the Czech Republic’s “most reliable partner” and “a stabilizing factor” in the Asia-Pacific region. But Kavan’s visit was about more than diplomatic niceties. He was also seeking to boost trade with Jakarta and its powerful general staff, offering a wide range of military hardware, including L-39 training jets, machine guns and bulletproof vests." Michael Mainville, Staff Writer, The Prague Post

Feb 13 AFR: Megawati's stunt may haunt Howard  Comment and Analysis added Feb 13
"The surprise decision by the Indonesian Government to propose a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia for combating international terrorism is one of the cleverest diplomatic initiatives yet made in South-East Asia. ... The MOU is Jakarta’s response to pressure from the United States to clamp down harder on militant Islamists - Jemaah Islamiah, for example - who may have links with Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network. ... Before signing up, Canberra should have reflected on the moral value of an agreement with a government whose armed forces are better known for perpetrating, rather than preventing, acts of terror." Scott Burchill, lecturer, international relations, Deakin University’s School of Australian & International Studies

Feb 11 StratFor: Isolated Indonesia Eyes Australia for Support  Analysis added Feb 13
"Indonesia and Australia signed an anti-terrorism cooperation agreement Feb.  7. Though both countries have had relatively serious diplomatic problems with each other in the past, this new agreement will guarantee Indonesia a powerful regional ally as it is increasingly shunned by its Southeast Asian neighbors. ... Both sides pledged greater intelligence sharing, training and visits between officials ... The international war against terrorism has not helped Jakarta’s already strained links with its neighbors. Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines have all arrested Indonesian terrorist elements within their own borders while Jakarta has made no arrests of such forces." Stratfor Geopolitics Analysis

Until Mar 1 AI: Australia: Concerns Regarding Security Legislation  Urgent Action added Feb 12
"Amnesty International has concerns regarding the proposed “security legislation” to be introduced shortly into the Australian parliament. In the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, the Australian government indicated that it will pass “security legislation” based on the UK Terrorism Act 2000 and Anti-Crime and Security Act 2001. Among other things, the proposed legislation will give ASIO the power to arrest and detain people without legal representation, removes the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination, makes it an offence punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment to fail to answer questions, and creates a new offence of “terrorism”, under which terrorism is defined broadly. ... Immediate action is critical to block this Bill. Please send letters/faxes/email to your local Members of Parliament." Amnesty International

Dec 20 ETAN/IHRN: Rights groups condemn end run on military training restrictions  Release added Dec 31
"Counter-terrorism must not be used as an excuse to resume training for a military [Indonesian military (TNI)] which terrorizes its own people and continues to enjoy impunity for its scorched-earth campaign in East Timor ... The bill does not specify what will be taught in the program. There is no requirement preventing these funds from being used to train the Indonesian military, and we don’t think they should.” Kurt Biddle, Washington Coordinator, Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN)
“Until the Indonesian military and government comply with the very reasonable conditions in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, the US government should not be training Indonesian military personnel. These restrictions were put in place for a reason,” John M. Miller, spokesperson for East Timor Action Network (ETAN)

Dec 15 IPRD: Indonesia, ETimor & The Western Powers: A Case Study  Research paper added Dec 18
"Indonesia and East Timor are prime examples of how Western foreign policy actually systematically results in the violation of human rights, the support of terror, the creation of conflict and the sabotage of peace. Policy, it seems, is formulated primarily on the basis of achieving regional strategic and economic interests, with humanitarian principles being systematically sidelined. In this context, we must view Western claims to be harbingers of humanitarianism, leading a genuine war against terrorism, with much skepticism." Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and a Researcher at the Islamic Human Rights Commission

Nov 12 TETA: The eve of 10th anniversary of Santa Cruz massacre  Statements added Nov 12
"On Sept. 19, however, at the same time that the U.S. was preparing its retaliation attack, President Bush promised visiting Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri that, in return for Indonesian support for the U.S. attack, the U.S. would resume commercial sales of weapons to the Indonesian army and direct contact between U.S. and Indonesian military advisers. This was despite the fact that the Indonesian military has committed and continues to commit terrorist acts. We are opposed to both terrorism and military retaliation, and believe that perpetrators of terrorist acts should be punished according to international law. We are especially opposed to accepting or supporting terrorism under the guise of justifying “retaliation” against terrorism." Free East Timor! Japan Coalition; National Christian Council; Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace; Amnesty International Japan; Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan; Japan NGO Network for Indonesia; and Pacific Asia Resource Center

Nov 3 Age: Timor's Haunted Women  Article added Nov 7
" “They’re cruel! We don’t want Japanese soldiers back here!” she exclaims. She is one of around 1000 surviving East Timorese women who were used as sex slaves, or “comfort women”, by the Japanese military. They recently united with other South-East Asian women to demand an apology and compensation.  Unlike Germany, Japan has refused to pay reparations to its victims.
The upper house of the Japanese parliament on Monday approved a legal package to allow Japanese soldiers to serve abroad in support of the US-led anti-terrorist coalition, although it stipulated they would be non-combatants. The move is seen as also clearing the way for long-discussed postings to East Timor." Jill Jolliffe, Dili

Nov 1 Inglis: UN and Tokyo agree on dispatch of Japanese troops to ETimor  Article added Nov 7
"Over the past decade, however, what had long been considered the litmus test of the Government’s claims for the legality of the SDF, restriction on overseas dispatch of troops, has crumbled under timely pressure from the “international community”. While U.S. pressure to send troops to its wars in the Persian Gulf and now in Afghanistan has produced the quickest results -- witness the ease with which the Government this week enacted an anti-terrorism law that allows the SDF to take part, albeit in a rear echelon role, in an on-going war, the steady pressure from other governments and from United Nations officials to send SDF troops overseas to serve in United Nations peacekeeping missions, if less dramatic, is no less welcome by Tokyo. In the long term, the image of Japanese troops as humanitarian workers makes more effective PR for domestic consumption than that of the SDF as war-destined soldiers." Jean Inglis, member of the Japanese solidarity network

Oct 23 WPI: Indonesia at the Crossroads: U.S. Weapons Sales and Military Training  Report [75kb] added Oct 24
"As he [US President Bush] builds a coalition to fight terrorism, Bush is in danger of arming and training some of the Pacific region’s worst tools of terror—namely the Indonesian military. ... In December 1975, Indonesia invaded the new nation of East Timor, which had just declared itself independent from Portuguese colonizers. Within five years, more than 200,000 people, one-third of the pre-invasion population, had been killed, ... given the current instability [within Indonesia], it seems self evident that new shipments of weapons and military training from the United States [to Indonesia] would only pour gas on the raging fire of this 17,000-island archipelago." Frida Berrigan, author of this special report

Oct 20 Free East Timor! Japan Coalition writes to UNSG re international tribunal  Letter added Nov 13
"The recent attacks against the United States, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people, have been rightly condemned by the international community as acts of terrorism. The world has been united in its calls for the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to be identified and brought to justice; ... Just as the victims of the U.S. attacks deserve justice, so do the East Timorese. Terrorism, which is generally defined as the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective, is an accurate description of the sufferings inflicted on the East Timorese people by the Indonesian military during the 24 years of Indonesian occupation." Free East Timor! Japan Coalition

Oct 10 CSM: A Long Wait for Justice in East Timor  Article added Oct 11
"Pressure to try human rights cases against the Indonesian military ebbs amid counterterror push. ... with a war on global terrorism bringing potential US allies across Asia in from the cold, Indonesia’s commanders may never be held accountable. One sign of that thaw is the US government’s decision last month to resume low-level military ties with Indonesia, which had been suspended over the East Timor violence. The resumption of ties came as Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri met with President Bush to voice support for the US-led counterterror campaign. ... Given the push to cement links with moderate Islamic nations, opponents in Congress may find it hard to refuse further military cooperation with the world’s most populous Muslim country, despite its tarnished record." Simon Montlake, Jakarta, Indonesia

Oct 10 WSLS: New ASIO Powers Threaten Democratic Rights  Urgent Action added Oct 10
"New Powers: * ASIO to get powers of arrest and detention for up to 48 hours; * the removal of the right to silence when under questioning; * the creation of terrorist offences and related legislation violating the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. ... In the understandable fear generated since the September 11 attacks and with the climate of war, fundamental civil liberties are under threat. The [Australian] Federal Government, backed by Labor, has announced substantial new powers for Australia’s spy agency ASIO and is proposing anti-terrorism laws that could violate basic rights and freedoms. ... In Australia, support for the East Timorese’s independence movement could have been banned." Damien Lawson, Western Suburbs Legal Service, Melbourne, Australia

Oct 9 Age: US air strikes upset Gusmao  News added Oct 10
“World leaders and all the people around the world must fight against all the economic imbalances and social problems rather than using violence to respond to violence, ... That is something that makes the East Timorese very sad because we believe powerful nations could start the 21st century with new policies, a new understanding and new mechanisms in which all people can love each other ...  I would like to see the US and other countries seek another approach using all means but not violence.” East Timor’s independence leader Mr Jose “Xanana” Gusmao, at launch of the Melbourne Festival [Australia]

Oct 7 RA: Xanana on plight of refugees  News added Oct 10
"East Timorese Leader, Xanana Gusmao, says he hopes the acts of terrorism in the United States last month don’t make people insensitive to the plight of refugees. ... He says people have only to watch their television screen to see the suffering of tens-of-thousands of Afghani refugees, and there are many others suffering in other countries around the world. ... Besides the problem of going to the root causes, the people that are suffering need assistance." Radio Australia

Oct 1 FAETTA: Ramos-Horta Calls for an End to Poverty And Terrorism  Release added Oct 14
“I am saddened by, and strongly condemn, the attacks on mosques and Muslim believers, long time residents or citizens of Australia and US. A dastardly arsonist attack took place against a Mosque in Brisbane. ... As a Catholic I am proud to serve under a Muslim brother [Dr Mari Alkatiri, devout Muslim and head of government of ETimor], and I am even more proud that our people have accepted this as absolutely natural.” Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Jose Ramos-Horta

Sep 27 Ward: Response to open letter to Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta  Letter added Sep 27
"Dr. Ramos-Horta and had the opportunity to have more than one conversation with him about what had occurred. His letter to the International Herald Tribune seems to have hit some sensitivities and created a reaction or impression which was not intended. I can tell you this because I was the one who forwarded it to the IHT, and I spoke to him about it before it went. There is nothing in this letter inferring that a person, because they are Mulsim or Arab, is hateful or violent. I believe that anyone who has read Dr. Ramos-Horta’s work, heard him speak, or had contact with him would know that could not be further from his viewpoint." Mary Wald

Sep 26 Community.com: The Peacemakers Speak: Horta  Statement added Sep 27
"We all know Islam does not advocate violence. All religions today call for tolerance, justice, and compassion. We must resist the temptation to blame entire nations, religions, or peoples for the actions of a small number of political extremists. And if it develops that certain governments have supported the terrorist conspiracy, we should remember that these regimes hold power in their countries by terror and violence - they are not supported by the majority of their citizens or neighbors." Dr. José Ramos-Horta

Sep 25 ASIET: US War Drive and Racism: Stop the War Against the Third World  Statement added Sep 26
"Two of the greatest acts of terrorism in the 20th century: East Timor and Indonesia: ... In East Timor 200,000 people, or one third of the population died, as a result of the war against the East Timorese people by General Suharto’s army. General Suharto attacked East Timor one day after US President Gerald Ford and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Jakarta and gave the go ahead. ... In 1965 in Indonesia, the US helped organise the mass slaughter of more than ONE MILLION workers, peasants, students and women’s activists who were trying to free Indonesia from the exploitative grip of the West." Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET)

Sep 23 TAPOL: Statement on the Megawati-Bush Joint Statement  Added Sep 25
"Indonesia and the current world crisis On 19 September, President Megawati  Sukarnoputri went to Washington to meet President Bush for a state visit that had been agreed before the horrendous events in New York and Washington on 11 September when more than six thousand people of many nations met their deaths as the result of a heinous, terrorist attack. TAPOL joins in mourning those who were killed, while continuing to mourn the one million or more Indonesians who met their deaths as Suharto took power in 1965/1966. On that occasion, Washington gave unstinting support to Suharto and the Indonesian army to continue with this massacre and made no calls on the world community to fight terrorism - state terrorism - which might well have halted the massacre in its tracks. ... Megawati’s measured response shows that she knows full well that support for Washington in Indonesia is less than enthusiastic." TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign

Sep 22 ET Solidarity Activists in US: An Open Letter to Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta  Letter added Sep 22
"We believe your statement [IHT 9/13/01] responding to the recent terrorist attacks in the United States reflects dangerous stereotypes about the Middle East and serious misconceptions about the role of the United States there. At a time of crisis such as this, when the United States government is preparing to launch a war somewhere in the Middle East, ignore international law, and further militarize the world in the name of fighting terrorism, your statement is most regrettable. Your depiction of Arabs and Muslims as hateful and violent feeds into the negative stereotypes that are now allowing an alarming number of Americans to support their government’s rush to war, regardless of the civilian casualties that will result. ...  the kind of statement needed from a Nobel Peace Prize winner is one that emphasizes the need for the U.S. to respect international law, avoid war, and halt its militaristic and unilateral foreign policy. We hope that your future statements more accurately reflect your commitment to peace and justice." Matthew Jardine; John Roosa; Will Seaman; Ben Terrall; Mizue Aizeki; Amy Goodman; Roger Bowers; Tom Foley; Garrick Ruiz; Kristin Sundell; Joann Lo; Ravinder Bhatia; Cynthia Peters; Diane Farsetta; Max White; Peter Mao; Brad Simpson; Sara Smith

Sep 19 White House: U.S. and Indonesia Pledge Cooperation  Pledge added Oct 11
"... President George W. Bush and President Megawati Soekarnoputri today vowed to open a new era of bilateral cooperation based on shared democratic values and a common interest in promoting regional stability and prosperity. ... President Megawati condemned the barbaric and indiscriminate acts carried out against innocent civilians and pledged to cooperate with the international community in combatting terrorism. She underscored that terrorism also increasingly threatens Indonesia’s democracy and national security. The two Presidents agreed that their respective officials would soon discuss concrete ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism, in particular on capacity and institution building." Joint Statement Between U.S.A. and Republic of Indonesia

Sep 19 White House: U.S. and Indonesia on Terror and Tolerance  Statement added Oct 11
"President George W. Bush and President Megawati Soekarnoputri today condemned the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and pledged to strengthen existing cooperation in the global effort to combat international terrorism. ... As leader of the world’s largest Muslim population and third largest democracy, President Megawati joined President Bush in underlining the importance of differentiating between the religion of Islam and the acts of violent extremists." Joint Statement Between U.S.A. and Republic of Indonesia

Sep 18 FAETTA: JRH Address to Memorial Service  Speech added Sep 27
"The attacks against New York and the Pentagon killed also many Muslims and Arab-Americans, innocent victims like the rest of the casualties. In bringing the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice, we hope that there will be no more innocent victims. The cycle of violence must end. The tragedy that befell our brothers and sisters in America is already impacting on the lives of many Arabs and Muslims all over the world. Arab and Muslim Americans are now being labelled “enemies” and are harassed." Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Jose Ramos-Horta

Sep 13 IHT: The Tragedy That Has Engulfed America  Letter added Sep 22
"In East Timor’s long history of struggle, never once did it use violence against Indonesian civilians. We East Timorese did not even allow derogatory racial statements about the Indonesian people in our literature or rallies. Not one single Indonesian civilian was ever harmed in our 24-year struggle. We knew this was never a war against the civilians. ... My heart goes out to the American people. Stay the course. Our small nation of East Timor is with you." José Ramos-Horta, East Timor’s foreign minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate


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