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09/09/2009

Les Forces Spéciales Indonésiennes responsables de la mort de Roger East et des 5 journalistes à Balibo - 1975 - East Timor

On December 7, 1975 Indonesia secretly - but with the complicity of the Western powers including the US, the UK, and Australia - invaded the small nation of East Timor. Two Australian television crews attempting to document the invasion were murdered.

In 1993, with the Indonesian army still occupying the country, John Pilger and his crew including director David Munro, slipped into East Timor and made this film. In the intervening 18 years, an estimated 200,000 East Timorese - 1/3 of the population - had been slaughtered by the Indonesian military. The C.I.A. has described it as one of the worst mass-murders of the 20th century.

Pilger tells the story using clandestine footage of the countryside, internment camps and even Fretlin guerillas, as well as interviews with Timorese exiles, including Jose Ramos Horta and Jose Gusmao, and Australian, British, and Indonesian diplomats.

Nixon had called Indonesia the "greatest prize in southeast Asia" because of its oil reserves and other natural resources. Even though Indonesia had no historic or legal claim to East Timor, it was convenient for diplomats to declare that East Timor, just gaining its independence from Portugal, would not be a viable state.

However the lie was given to this argument when Australia and Indonesia signed the Timor Gap Oil Treaty and carved up the huge oil and gas reserves in the seabed off East Timor.

None of the politicians from that period - President Ford, Henry Kissinger, Daniel Moynihan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Gough Whitlam - has clean hands. The Indonesian military used US and British planes to bombard the island, while the defense ministers proclaimed ignorance.

As Pilger gets an Austrlian diplomat to admit, East Timor was considered "expendable."

But no one watching the massacre in the Dili cemetery can excuse the geopolitical machinations that led to this genocide.

About the Balibo House and Trust.

Brian Raymond Peters, in the company of fellow journalists Gary James Cunningham, Malcolm Harvie Rennie, Gregory John Shackleton and Anthony John Stewart, collectively known as “the Balibo Five”, died at Balibo in Timor- Leste on 16 October 1975 from wounds sustained when he was shot and/or stabbed deliberately, and not in the heat of battle, by members of the Indonesian Special Forces, including Christoforus da Silva and Captain Yunus Yosfiah on the orders of Captain Yosfiah, to prevent him from revealing that Indonesian Special Forces had participated in the attack on Balibo. There is strong circumstantial evidence that those orders emanated from the Head of the Indonesian Special Forces, Major-General Benny Murdani to Colonel Dading Kalbuadi, Special Forces Group Commander in Timor, and then to Captain Yosfiah.

Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Tony Stewart, Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters were deliberately murdered because they were reporting events that the Indonesian military wanted to keep secret.

Roger East, another Australian journalist who travelled to East Timor to report on the fate of the Balibó Five, was shot on the wharf in Dili on 8th December 1975, as part of a mass execution of civilians.

They weren’t the only ones to die. In the ensuing conflict and the 24 years of Indonesian occupation, it has been estimated that over 200,000 East Timorese died. This included Falintil soldiers and civilians from the village of Balibó and the surrounding Bobanaro district.

The house where the journalists stayed, referred to as the Balibo Flag House, and now known as the Balibo Community Learning Centre, is dedicated to them.

 

AFP launches Balibo war crimes probe

Fresh investigation: Balibo Five member Brian Peters

Fresh investigation: Balibo Five member Brian Peters (AAP: Dean Lewins)

PM - Monday, 4 June , 2007  18:34:00

Reporter: Anne Barker

MARK BANNERMAN: As the Balibo Five inquest winds up there are calls for another coronial inquiry into a sixth Australian-based journalist who was murdered in East Timor in late 1975.

The sixth journalist is 29-year-old Darwin based newsman Roger East. He's become the forgotten man in the Balibo saga that has dragged on for more than three decades.

His death has always been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the Balibo five, yet there are claims that he was deliberately murdered by the Indonesian military.

As Anne Barker reports, the Northern Territory coroner is now under pressure to launch an inquest into East's death.

ANNE BARKER: Roger East was living in Darwin in the months before Indonesia invaded East Timor in late 1975.

When five Australian journalists were killed at Balibo in October that year, he quit his job to set himself up as a freelance reporter in Dili and over the next few weeks he filed regular despatches to the outside world, including several, now very muffled, reports to the ABC.

ROGER EAST: Hello Jim, well everything's settling down here so it seems. I'm quite happy. Quite happy with the team and I think I'm in a very peaceful island.

I have made arrangements I'm up to the border, where the five (inaudible) or what appears to be a little bit of fire fighting. I'm going up there either Sunday or Monday.

ANNE BARKER: One of East's closest friends in Darwin was Ken White, then a journalist at the Northern Territory News.

It was Ken White who drove him to the airport the day he left for Dili and he remembers Roger East's last words to him were "he'd do his damnedest to find out what had happened to the Balibo five".

KEN WHITE: Well he was very anxious to go to Balibo and find out the truth about the murders of the five Australian journalists. And he said to me look I'm gonna buy a new pair of boots and I'll walk there if it's necessary.

ANNE BARKER: But Roger East never made it to Balibo and far from unravelling the mystery of the Balibo five, he too suffered the same fate

On December the 8th he was shot dead on Dili's waterfront, apparently by Indonesian forces, who'd invaded East Timor the day before.

Ken White says he learnt of East's murder from a Fretilin soldier, or guerrilla.

KEN WHITE: Apparently the soldier did see his body opposite the Turismo Hotel. His wrists had been bound my wire and he was riddled with bullets.

ANNE BARKER: And so according to all those eyewitness accounts, who was responsible for his death?

KEN WHITE: Oh the Indonesians. Indonesian soldiers.

One report that I did get was that Roger kept crying out I'm an Australian journalist, I'm an Australian journalist but it didn't make any difference. They just shot him.

ANNE BARKER: In the 32 years since there's never been an official inquiry into Roger East's death.

His murder has been largely overshadowed by the continuing controversy surrounding the Balibo five.

But in the wake of the Balibo inquest in Sydney, Ken White and others are demanding justice for Roger East.

The long-time Darwin activist Rob Wesley-Smith has written to the Northern Territory coroner calling for a full inquest.

ROB WESLEY-SMITH: We need to ask people to come forward who saw him being shot or who saw his body on the beach. Or whoever it was who dragged it up and buried it. These people are probably still out there or their relatives and we need this kind of information now.

ANNE BARKER: What could the NT Coroner achieve though if he were to hold an inquest now? Wouldn't it just come up with the same stonewalling and denials from Indonesia that we've had during the Balibo inquest in Sydney?

ROB WESLEY-SMITH: Well the Balibo inquest has been absolutely fascinating and a lot of information has come out, which more than probably we expected. And I think the same sort of thing could happen with the Roger East inquiry.

ANNE BARKER: The NT Coroner Greg Cavanaugh hasn't ruled out an inquest, saying he'll carry out his statutory duty to investigate Roger East's death if he has the jurisdiction to do so

MARK BANNERMAN: Anne Barker reporting.


(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters sans frontières salue le travail admirable de l'officier judiciaire australienne Dorelle Pinch qui vient de prouver que l'armée indonésienne était impliquée dans l'assassinat de cinq journalistes britanniques, néo-zélandais et australiens en octobre 1975 au Timor oriental. Le rapport montre très clairement que les reporters ont été éliminés car ils étaient les témoins gênants de l'implication des Indonésiens dans l'invasion du Timor.

"L'enquête détaillée et courageuse menée par Dorelle Pinch démontre que des militaires indonésiens, notamment l'ancien capitaine Yunus Yosfiah, sont des criminels de guerre. Il est déplorable que les autorités de Jakarta aient traité avec mépris l'enquête australienne. Nous demandons au prochain chef du gouvernement australien de tout mettre en oeuvre pour que la justice de son pays puisse juger les assassins et leurs commanditaires. Cette enquête a fait la lumière sur tous les aspects de ce quintuple crime, plus de trente ans après les faits. Il est maintenant temps que la justice soit rendue", a affirmé l'organisation.

L'armée indonésienne a toujours refusé de sanctionner ses militaires responsables de l'assassinat de plusieurs autres journalistes étrangers, notamment l'Australien Roger East et le Néerlandais Sander Thoenes, au Timor.

Le 16 novembre 2007, l'officier judiciaire Dorelle Pinch a rendu publiques les conclusions de son enquête sur la mort du cameraman britannique Brian Peters le 16 octobre 1975 à Balibo, au Timor oriental, et de quatre autres journalistes : le reporter australien Greg Shacketon, l'ingénieur du son australien Tony Stewart, le cameraman néo-zélandais Gary Cunningham et le reporter britannique Malcolm Rennie. Elle demande au gouvernement de Canberra d'engager une procédure judiciaire pour "crimes de guerre" contre des militaires indonésiens.

Après six semaines d'enquête, le rapport relate très précisément les circonstances dans lesquelles les journalistes ont été arrêtés puis exécutés par des militaires indonésiens. Les reporters avaient filmé le début de l'invasion indonésienne du Timor. "Les journalistes n'étaient pas des victimes accidentelles prises dans les combats, mais ils ont été capturés, puis tués délibérément bien qu'ils aient annoncé leur identité", a indiqué la juge.

L'enquête a permis de prouver que les officiers Yunus Yosfiah et Christoforus da Silva avaient exécuté les ordres du général major Benny Murdani, chef des forces spéciales indonésiennes.

Dorelle Pinch a également démontré comment les gouvernements australien, britannique et néo-zélandais ont couvert l'assassinat des cinq journalistes, en acceptant la version indonésienne et en refusant de dévoiler certaines informations.

Un porte-parole du ministère indonésien des Affaires étrangères a déclaré à la presse que cette enquête n'allait pas modifier la position de son pays: "Cette cour a une portée très limitée et cette décision ne changera rien."

De leur côté, les familles des journalistes ont vivement salué le travail de la cour de Sydney. "Je ne pensais pas que ce moment arriverait", a affirmé Maureen Tolfree, la soeur de Brian Peters. Plusieurs proches des victimes ont salué la demande de la juge que les gouvernements australien et indonésien agissent de concert pour que les restes des journalistes sont identifiés et enterrés en Australie.

Dorelle Pinch a entendu plusieurs dizaines de témoins, notamment d'anciens ministres, ambassadeurs, membres des services secrets et l'ancien Premier ministre australien Gough Whitlam. Mais les anciens militaires indonésiens, tels que Yunus Yosfiah, ont refusé de se présenter devant la cour.

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