The Next Oil Grab: East Timor

June 29th, 2006 - by admin

BlueGreen Earth Forum – 2006-06-29 23:54:02

=(June 24, 2006) — Any pretence of unbiased reporting about the East Timor coup seems to have gone completely out of the window in the mainstream media. It’s obvious the Australian govenment and media have got their threatened payback against the Alkatiri led government over the negotiation on Timor Sea oil. The East Timorese are not even going to be allowed the small gains they have achieved in the oil rights issue.

Classic divide and conquer techniques have been used to magnify the slight ethnic differences between the Loro Sia (easterners) and Loro Mono (westerners) by the Australian trained leader of 600 army deserters Major Alfredo Reinado who has whipped up a dispute about promotion into the ethnic cleansing of Dili.

The Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is hounded with one unproven allegation after another while the Foreign/Defence Minister Ramos Horta, the Australians favourite, hob nobs with the army deserters who started the troubles in April. Meanwhile President Xanana Gusmao, who is supposed to uphold the constitution, is having cosy chats on the phone with the deserters leader Major Alfredo Reinardo behind the back of the Prime Minister.

Xanana and Ramos Horta have already claimed the scalps (in one case almost literally) of two of their main political opponents Interior Minister, Rogerio Tiago Lobato, and Defence Minister Roque Rodrigues now they are trying again for Alkatiri.

In what seems a completely one sided version of the last two months events, missing is the attempt on Alkatiri at a press conference by a mob of thirty machete wielding thugs. The murder of six relatives of Rogerio Lobato which appeared to be the start of the second wave of violence at the end of May also is being written out of history. All the emphasis is on the killing of nine police officers who were supporting the deserters and had disarmed under UN protection after a gun battle.

While not pretending this incident was anything but deplorable it seems it was in revenge for the killing of some F-FDTL (loyal to government) soldiers, who were returning from collecting their pay, by the deserters and an ambush by the deserters in Becora that had killed another F-FDTL soldier. One of the people involved at Becora, according to journalist David O’Shea, was Major Reinardo.

The reporting of who the victims are is also very skewed, whilst there has been violence by both sides of the community by far the majority of refugees seem to be people from Los Palos, Baucau and Viqueque according to the UN.

Along with a confusing series of rumours over the last 24 hours about Xanana asking for Alkairi’s resignation the opposition have also sunk to the most basic racism. At a demonstration yesterday they were handing out fliers linking Alkatiri, a Muslim in the mostly Roman Catholic country and a descendent of Yemeni immigrants, with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“We hate Mari Alkatiri. He is (a) descendent of bin Laden and he is (b) terrorist and communist,” the flier said, also describing him as a “murderer” and “not pure Timorese.” Although no one explained how you can be in al-Qaeda (an organisation originally set up to fight communists) and be a communist at the same time!

It looks as though the final push to get rid of Alkatiri is going on today.

• See Tyneside East Timor Solidarity at / global community, ecological, environmental and social reportage, opinion and analysis + news, views and facts