[TimorLesteStudies] JAPE article by Tim Anderson - Timor Leste: the second Australian intervention

Jennifer Drysdale jenster at cres10.anu.edu.au
Mon Mar 5 15:03:32 EST 2007

Enquiries: T.Anderson at econ.usyd.edu.au

>Timor Leste: the second Australian intervention
>By Tim Anderson
>published in Journal of Australian Political Economy, No. 58, December 2006
>“We did not expect that the elected leader of a 
>party with an overwhelming mandate could be 
>forced to stand down in this way in a democracy” 
>- Fretilin press release, 26 June 2006
>Two stories are in circulation over the second 
>Australian intervention in Timor Leste (East 
>Timor). The first has it that the small, 
>newly-independent country, beset with leadership 
>and ethnic divisions, and led by an arrogant and 
>even despotic Prime Minister, out of touch with 
>the people, called once again on Australian 
>assistance to avoid collapse into a ‘failed 
>state’. The second maintains that the losing 
>leadership faction, in a struggle for control of 
>the senior ranks of the army, initiated a coup, 
>then drew on the support an Australian oligarchy 
>that had distanced itself from Timor Leste’s 
>ruling party and the then Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri.
>How these competing stories are understood has 
>important implications for the future Australian 
>relationship with Timor Leste, and for the 
>possibilities of independent development in the 
>new nation. In the reading of these stories 
>there are important lessons for Australians over 
>their capacity to act as internationalists, 
>developing friendly and supportive neighbouring 
>relations, or as neo-colonialists, attempting to 
>dominate the development of a client state.
>Naturally, the historical context of the 
>relationship, the post-independence policy 
>direction and the main elements of the 2006 
>crisis need to be understood, before attempting 
>to look at the future challenges. So this 
>article will begin by examining the postcolonial 
>tensions in the relationship between Australia 
>and Timor Leste, and some of the country’s post 
>independence achievements, before analysing the 
>main elements of the 2006 crisis and the 
>arguments over the intervention. Finally the 
>development of a broader ‘Australian elite 
>consensus’ (before and after the crisis) over 
>the future of Timor Leste will be discussed, 
>pointing to some of the challenges for both countries.
>The postcolonial tensions
>In the face of Australian demands, three areas 
>of tension developed between the Australian 
>elite and the newly independent state. First, 
>the Australian demand for privileged access to 
>resources, in particular oil and gas, confronted 
>an East Timorese determination to reclaim and 
>assert sovereignty over these resources. Second, 
>the systematic Australian (and World Bank) 
>obstruction of the building of public economic 
>institutions (in the name of privatisation and 
>open markets) has been resented and sidestepped 
>by the Fretilin-led government. Third, the 
>Australian desire for ‘strategic denial’ of 
>other significant powers in the region has been 
>frustrated by Timor Leste’s diversification of 
>its foreign relationships, particularly the 
>restoration of ties with the former colonial 
>power Portugal and the building of a new relationship with China.
>The oil and gas negotiations are the best known 
>source of tension between the Alkatiri and the 
>Howard governments. Even before Timor Leste’s 
>independence day, on 20 May 2002, Canberra had 
>moved to head off a possible legal challenge to 
>its oil and gas claims. The Howard Government 
>proclaimed itself “generous” (SBS Insight 2002) 
>for offering to convert the 50-50 royalty share 
>deal it had done with Indonesia  - in relation 
>to a designated Joint Petroleum Development Area 
>(JPDA) - to an 80-20 share in favour of Timor 
>Leste. Nevertheless, East Timorese negotiators 
>managed to shift this to a 90-10 deal, which was 
>set to be signed off at independence day. Yet 
>several weeks before independence, the Howard 
>government unilaterally withdrew from 
>International Court of Justice (ICJ) 
>jurisdiction over maritime boundary disputes, 
>under the United Nations Convention on the Law 
>of the Sea (UNCLOS). UN-appointed negotiator 
>Peter Galbraith, who worked for Timor Leste in 
>the transition period, said he was “shocked” by 
>the Australian withdrawal, because “Australia 
>has been one of those countries that has stood 
>up for international law” (SBS Insight 2002).
>The significance of Australian withdrawal was 
>not in the 90-10 deal, but in the question of 
>maritime boundaries, and the second round of 
>negotiations over the Greater Sunrise gas field, 
>only 20% of which lay inside the JPDA. Timor 
>Leste claimed that, under UNCLOS, it owned all 
>of Greater Sunrise. The Australian government 
>said that there was no more talking to be done, 
>and that it would not open maritime boundary 
>talks as this would raise similar boundary 
>problems with Indonesia. Total revenues from the 
>Greater Sunrise field were estimated, over the 
>life of the project, to be $38 billion, of which 
>Australia was claiming $30 billion (McKee 2002). 
>This amount dwarfed all the aid money Australia 
>had put into Timor Leste (Anderson 2003: 123), 
>and even a modest change in share could mean 
>billions of dollars for basic infrastructure in 
>the poor and underdeveloped country.
> From this seemingly intractable starting 
> position began a long series of difficult 
> talks. In the course of these, Prime Minister 
> Alkatiri was reported to have been lectured by 
> Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander 
> Downer, “You can demand that forever for all I 
> care 
 Let me give you a tutorial in politics ­ 
> not a chance” (Economist 2003). Alkatiri 
> persisted, at some cost to the balance he had 
> tried to develop between appeasing the big 
> powers and maintaining a degree of economic 
> independence. The East Timorese intransigence 
> over Greater Sunrise was rebuffed by the 
> Australian Government and also by ‘realist’ 
> academics such as Alan Dupont (a former 
> diplomat), who muttered vague threats over the 
> consequences of such ‘aggressive’ bargaining:
>“There’s a line beyond which no government can 
>go and I think the East Timorese are in danger 
>of actually now crossing over that line, if they 
>pursue too aggressively the claim to renegotiate 
>the maritime border and get a greater share of 
>the resource cake. 
 the East Timorese have to 
>be careful they don’t alienate the Australian 
>government, and even Australian popular opinion” (SBS Insight 2002).
>Aware of such threats, Timor Leste’s Foreign 
>Minister Jose Ramos Horta had been more cautious 
>than Alkatiri over oil and gas. In 2001, when 
>asked whether he wanted to renegotiate maritime 
>boundaries with Australia, Ramos Horta replied, 
>“I hesitate to say yes or no .. It’s not an 
>issue that East Timor can negotiate 
>unilaterally” (Far Eastern Economic Review 
>2001). In 2002, while admitting he had not 
>discussed the matter fully with his Prime 
>Minister or his Cabinet, Ramos Horta suggested a 
>possible “gas-for-security” deal with Australia 
>(Dodd 2002). This came to nothing. In 2003 Ramos 
>Horta was said to have “reassured investors that 
>Timor is happy with the treaty on sharing the 
>Timor Sea’s oil wealth with Australia, despite 
>claims by a cabinet colleague [Jose Teixeira] 
>last month that it was unfair” (Australian 
>Financial Review 2003). Ramos Horta said 
>Australia’s attitude in the oil dispute was “very natural” (Banham 2003).
>Yet many East Timorese felt they were being 
>robbed. For example, from 2000 onwards, 
>Australia extracted several hundred million 
>dollars in revenues from the Laminaria-Corallina 
>field which, like Greater Sunrise, lay just 
>outside the JPDA. However this field was 
>expected to deliver such revenue for only a few 
>years. The table below shows an estimate of 
>Australian revenues, none of which were shared 
>with Timor Leste. The field is much closer to 
>Timor Leste than Australia and, according to 
>UNCLOS maritime boundary principles, a maritime 
>boundary should be at the mid-point between the 
>two countries. Timor Leste should have taken all the revenue, but it took none.
>Table 1: Estimated tax paid to Australia on Laminaria-Coralina
>         1999    2000    2001    2002    2003    2004    2005
>US$ million     16      346     277     214     172     133     136
>Source: calculations by La’o Hamutuk 2006
>Despite Ramos Horta’s soothing diplomacy, 
>Alkatiri had not relented on Greater Sunrise, 
>and in 2004 matters came to a head, with 
>President Xanana Gusmão joining Alkatiri 
>(despite their political rivalry) in a series of 
>public pleas over the oil and gas dispute. In 
>April, Alkatiri said the oil and gas issue was 
>“a matter of life and death” for his country 
>(ABC Radio 2004). In the Portuguese newspaper 
>Publico, Xanana accused the Australian 
>government of the theft of Timor Leste’s assets:
>"It's a disgrace 
 [Australia is] using all the 
>dirty tactics it can 
 They steal from us and 
>then they hold conferences about transparency, 
 We're creating a wave of noisy 
>protest so that the world can see what's going on.” (ETAN 2004).
>This was a shift in diplomatic tactics. Ramos 
>Horta and the opposition parties joined in. In 
>Australia, a public campaign  helped push 
>opposition leader Mark Latham into declaring the 
>renegotiation of the oil deal Labor policy, and 
>thus an election issue for 2004 (Burton 2004). 
>Pressure was being turned up on the Howard 
>government. But in June Alkatiri declared the 
>discussions with Australia “hopeless” (Alkatiri 
>2004), and proceeded to call for new tenders on 
>oil and gas exploration rights, and for building 
>refinery capacity. Apart from the royalty share, 
>refining of gas had become a sensitive issue. 
>Australia had pushed hard to send all the 
>Greater Sunrise gas to a Darwin-based liquid 
>natural gas (LNG) refinery which, apart from 
>company profits, would create 1,500 jobs in the 
>construction phase and 100 jobs when in 
>operation (SBS Insight 2002). This pulled the 
>Labor government of the Northern Territory into 
>the Howard government’s strategy. Competition from Timor Leste was unwelcome.
>Ramos Horta’s son, Loro, later observed that 
>Alkatiri’s dealings with PetroChina would 
>attract the “ire” of both the US and Australia 
>(Horta 2006). In fact, by September 2005, 
>PetroChina and a Norwegian partner (GGS - Geo 
>Global Services) had been awarded the first of 
>the new contracts and, by late 2005, PetroChina 
>had begun talks to build refinery capacity in 
>Timor Leste (Petroleum Economist 2006). Alkatiri 
>sought assurances from Australia that it would 
>not block the construction of a gas pipeline to 
>Timor for gas from Greater Sunrise. While 
>Alkatiri said he had no “immediate” plans to set 
>up a national (public) oil company (Dow Jones 
>2005), in August-September of 2005 his 
>government began to auction a number of 
>exploration rights ‘blocks’, both inside and 
>outside the shared JPDA. Initial interest was 
>expressed by Australia’s Woodside Petroleum, but 
>also by Malaysia’s Petronas, Norway’s Statoil, 
>Kuwait’s KUFPEC and China’s PetroChina (Wilkinson 2005).
>By the beginning of 2006, the pressure appeared 
>to have worked. In January Foreign Minister 
>Alexander Downer announced that Australia had 
>agreed to “share equally” the royalties from the 
>Greater Sunrise field. As part of this deal, 
>Timor Leste would agree to suspend for 50 years 
>their claims for fixed maritime boundaries. 
>Downer estimated that the shift in royalty 
>shares (from 18:82 to 50:50) would mean an 
>additional $4 billion in revenue for Timor Leste 
>(Petromin 2006a). Earlier estimates suggested 
>that a 50:50 split could amount to an extra $11 
>billion (McKee 2002). The ‘realists’ had been 
>proved wrong, on revenue outcomes; but perhaps 
>they were to be proved right over the 
>consequences of ‘alienating the Australian government’?
>Alkatiri’s government continued its 
>diversification of oil contracts, right up to 
>the May crisis. Exploration contracts were 
>awarded to Italy’s ENI and India’s Reliance 
>Group in May (Petromin 2006b). The Government 
>also opened an office of its new company Ta Fui 
>Oil in Macau, to further its relationship with 
>PetroChina (UNMISET 2006a). President Xanana had 
>been involved in developing the country’s 
>Chinese connection, announcing PetroChina’s 
>first inland operations, while on a visit to 
>Japan (AFP 2004). He was on the verge of an 
>official visit to China in late May (Macauhub 2006), when the crisis broke.
>An important second level of aggravation in the 
>Timor Leste-Australia relationship had been the 
>Australian (and World Bank) obstruction of the 
>building of public economic institutions in the 
>new country. In the transition period 
>(1999-2002) the East Timorese leadership 
>requested the use of aid moneys to rehabilitate 
>rice fields, build grain silos and public 
>abattoirs. These requests were flatly denied. 
>The World Bank had been made trustee of the aid, 
>before independence. Australian aid (AusAID) 
>projects were similarly focussed on ‘corporate 
>welfare’ (Aid/Watch 2005) and privatisation, and 
>thus hostile to the building of public economic institutions.
>For example, the initial World Bank Agriculture 
>Rehabilitation Project rejected East Timorese 
>proposals for public sector involvement in “the 
>provision of research, extension and input 
>supply services” because, it was claimed, “such 
>public sector involvement has not proved 
>successful elsewhere; and the anticipated 
>government ... would not be able to afford such 
>a burden”. For these reasons the World Bank team 
>demanded that the publicly funded Pilot 
>Agricultural Service Centres must be privatised 
>(World Bank 2000: 14). Australia backed this 
>argument, despite the fact that its own 
>scientific and industrial research group, the 
>C.S.I.R.O., had provided public services to 
>Australian agriculture over many decades. The 
>World Bank noted that its rejection of the silo 
>and abattoir request was “possibly 
>controversial” and that “some members of UNTAET 
>and East Timorese counterparts may not 
>appreciate the lack of public sector ... 
>structures and activities, and may not support 
>the Project” (World Bank 2000: 21).  Indeed, 
>this was a fundamentally anti-democratic move, 
>deliberately excluding East Timorese voices.
>A strategy document on agricultural policy 
>(compiled for the IDA by World Bank and 
>Australian officials) similarly suggested that 
>'the principle [of agricultural development] 
>should be public financing and private delivery 
>of most of those services'. Although it was said 
>that projects should be “participatory in 
>design, selection and implementation”, the document demanded that:
>the government should not own revenue generating 
>enterprises, such as meat slaughterhouses, 
>warehouse facilities, grain storage facilities, 
>tractor pools or rural service centres. 
>Government participation in these and similar 
>activities would be costly and would inhibit 
>private entrepreneurship (IDA 2000: 3-4).
>‘Participation’ and exclusion were woven 
>smoothly together. A few years later, 
>Agriculture Minister Estanislau da Silva 
>observed that, while agriculture had been 
>neglected during the Indonesian period and 
>facilities had been destroyed, the foreign 
>controllers of the transitional regime 
>(1999-2002) “did little” to help agriculture in the country (da Silva 2005).
>Faced with this, Alkatiri’s government built 
>public grain silos with FAO assistance, and 
>promoted domestic rice production with Japanese 
>assistance (MAAF 2005: 18, 40-41). One 
>international program consistent with this 
>policy did secure some Australian support. The 
>Australian Centre for International Agricultural 
>Research (ACIAR) was a partner in the Seeds for 
>Life program, aimed at rehabilitating East 
>Timor's domestic crops. This program tested a 
>range of crops (such as cassava, potatoes, maize 
>and rice) for the suitability in East Timor's 
>conditions (Palmer 2002; ACIAR 2006). However, 
>the AusAID and World Bank preference for 
>‘corporate welfare’ and privatisation schemes, 
>often at odd with East Timorese priorities, 
>helps explain why the Alkatiri government sought 
>to diversify its trade, aid and investment partners.
>Timor Leste also developed a substantial 
>collaboration with Cuba, a move which 
>effectively marginalised Australian aid and 
>influence in yet another critical area of 
>development. The US Ambassador, Grover Rees, 
>opposed the Cuban connection. He also gave some 
>support to church-led protests against the 
>Alkatiri Government in 2005 (Grupu Estudu 
>Maubere 2006; Horta 2006). These protests were 
>at plans to make religious education voluntary 
>in schools. Certainly the Catholic Church has 
>become an important opponent of Alkatiri and the 
>Fretilin Government, and the US clearly has 
>enormous influence on the Howard Government. 
>However, Loro Horta probably overstated the 
>matter when he suggested that Alkatiri’s 
>collaboration with Cuba represented the 
>construction of “a foreign policy overtly 
>confrontational to the West” (Horta 2006). The 
>Cuban connection did undermine some Australian 
>influence. On matters of alignment with “The 
>West” Loro’s father, Jose Ramos Horta, was the 
>only minister to support the US-led invasion of 
>Iraq (Ramos-Horta 2005), and he repeatedly and 
>publicly supported this war. His diplomatic 
>instincts seem to have made him keen to 
>ingratiate himself with the big powers. Alkatiri 
>and  Xanana spoke out against the war (Rood 2003).
>By 2006, therefore, the Alkatiri government had 
>forced the Howard Government into a humiliating 
>back down over revenues from Greater Sunrise, 
>had pursued an independent agricultural policy 
>(prioritising domestic crops) and had 
>marginalised Australian health assistance. Not 
>only this, there were new players in the oil and 
>gas business. China, in particular, had been 
>made a partner in new exploration, and in the 
>building of gas refining capacity. These moves 
>competed with Australian corporate interests. As 
>part of the diversification in strategic 
>partners, China had been joined by Norway, 
>Italy, India and Cuba. This did not sit well 
>with the pretensions of an Australian Government 
>which had proclaimed itself a ‘deputy sheriff’ 
>of the US in this region, with supposed special 
>hegemonic responsibility (Brenchley 1999: 22-24).
>Some post-independence achievements
>Despite references to Timor Leste as a potential 
>‘failed state’ (Sydney Morning Herald 2006), the 
>country can boast some modest achievements since 
>independence. First amongst these was the 
>construction of public institutions, a 
>constitution, parliament and the coordination of 
>basic services. All this has been in an 
>environment of post-traumatic stress. Wresting 
>back control of at least some of its natural 
>resources from a bullying neighbour has been 
>difficult, but has shown some resilience and 
>maturity of leadership. The prudent use of 
>limited resources - both in containing demands 
>for debt and suggested ‘rapid development’, as 
>well as the management of oil revenues - has 
>been notable. One central element of cautious 
>fiscal policy was the establishment of a Timor 
>Leste Petroleum Fund Act, to invest royalties 
>and ensure long term dividends from these funds 
>(Timor Sea Office 2006). Significantly, a focus 
>on public institutions and human resource 
>development has so far avoided a collapse into 
>the privatisation, corruption and waste that 
>characterises many developing countries under 
>neoliberal tutelage. A group of young East Timorese say that:
>“The government of the independent state of RDTL 
>[República Democrática de Timor-Leste ­ the 
>official name] through the leadership of Prime 
>Minister Mari Alkatiri has strived to turn 
>Timor-Leste into a country truly independent by 
>making its decisions based on the people's 
>interest” (Grupu Estudu Maubere 2006).
>They observe that, despite the constraints, the 
>Alkatiri administration opposed privatisation 
>pressures (eg. over power), avoided debt, 
>provided access to health and education and 
>developed some infrastructure for domestic 
>agriculture  (Grupu Estudu Maubere 2006). 
>Alkatiri maintained the popular ‘debt free’ 
>start for the country, though there have been 
>plans to borrow from the Kuwait Fund, to support 
>a national energy grid (Asia Source 2006).
>According to the UNDP, income and income poverty 
>figures for TL are unimpressive. The country 
>experienced a serious economic recession when 
>the UN and aid caravan left Dili in 2002-2003. 
>Growth rates of 13 to 16% in 2000-01 collapsed 
>to minus 6% over 2002-03 (UNDP 2006: 82). The UN 
>and the aid industry had, of course, taken most 
>of the aid money in their passing. However, and 
>importantly for a poor, developing country, 
>there was some significant capability 
>development. Adult literacy rose from 40.4% in 
>1999 to 50.1% in 2004, with higher secondary 
>enrolments rising from 37% to 46.5%. Such 
>improvements are typically not reflected in 
>income poverty figures. Gross school enrolments 
>increased from  59% in 1999 to 66% in 2004. 
>Infant mortality was static (mainly due to a 
>lack of skilled birth assistants) but under-5 
>mortality continued to decline (UNDP 2006: 10, 80, 81).
>There have been serious pressures on 
>infrastructure in Dili, and substantial youth 
>unemployment. The large unemployed and young 
>urban population added to the strains that built 
>up around the Gusmao-Alkatiri rivalry, which I 
>will discuss in the next section. However, a 
>central focus on unemployment in Timor Leste 
>would miss some important developmental 
>realities. Rural development and a genuine 
>national network of services remain fundamental, 
>as they affect the great majority of people and 
>can work to slow the tide of migration to the 
>capital. Of course, the UN and aid industry 
>presence created a ‘bubble economy’ which was 
>unsustainable, fuelled inflation and aggravated 
>urbanisation. This urbanisation continued 
>post-2002. Because rural development remains 
>central, some attention should be paid to the 
>Alkatiri administration’s achievements in 
>support of domestic agriculture and national health.
>There had been dependence on rice imports, and a 
>limited capacity to pay for them. Before oil and 
>gas, the major export had been coffee, but 
>revenue from coffee was minimal - about six 
>million dollars per year (ADB 2005). A lot of 
>maize is grown, but rice is now the preferred 
>staple of the East Timorese population. However 
>local rice production in 2001-02 was only 37% of 
>the 78,000 tonnes demanded. Most imports had 
>come from Vietnam (57%) followed by Indonesia 
>(35%) and Thailand (8%) (World Bank 2002: 
>43-44). Yet the Alkatiri administration 
>maintained a focus on rice production. The UNDP 
>tells us that domestic rice production was 
>37,000 tonnes in 1998 but 65,000 tonnes in 2004. 
>This increase was mainly due to increased land 
>under cultivation, rather than productivity 
>improvement. This has meant less dependence on 
>imported rice, an important concern for a 
>country with a history of famines. However the 
>2006 crisis again disrupted domestic supply. 
>Table 2 below shows the modest but important 
>consolidation of staple food production, after 1998.
>Table 2: Staple food production, Timor Leste, 1998-2004
>         1996    1998    2001    2004
>Rice (tonnes)   52,607  36,848  53,845  65,433
>   Wetland rice area (ha)        17,418  12,054  na      19,800
>   Dryland rice area (ha)        2,266   1,772   na      4,321
>Maize (tonnes)  106,616 58,931  69,000  70,175
>Cassava (tonnes)        53,781  32,092  55,845  41,525
>Roots & tubers (tonnes) 44,000  38,000  40,000  43,000
>Source: UNDP 2006: 84
>Agricultural policy emphasised consolidating and 
>improving domestic food production. Practical 
>measures include support for small farmers 
>(improved seed supplies, home gardening, 
>livestock development measures), some expansion 
>of irrigated rice areas and diversified cash 
>crop development, as well as home gardening and 
>permaculture of fruit and vegetables (MAAF 2005: 
>18-22). Infrastructure and other support would 
>be through modest extension services, unsecured 
>microcredit, feeder roads and possible marketing 
>support (MAAF 2005: 24-28). Food reserves, in 
>case of “harvest failures or disruptions in 
>supply” would underwrite this food grain policy 
>(MAAF 2005: 18-20, 32), rather the ‘buffer fund’ 
>which was irresponsibly suggested by the World 
>Bank (World Bank 2000: 21; IDA 2000: 3-4; World Bank 2002: 47-51).
>The most significant development in health has 
>been the collaboration with Cuba, which began in 
>2004. Cuba has the best health system in Latin 
>America and the largest bilateral medical aid 
>program in the world. This collaboration at 
>first involved 20 Cuban doctors, plus 50 East 
>Timorese students sent to Cuba to study 
>medicine, on scholarships fully funded by the 
>Cuban government. After a visit to Havana in 
>December 2005, Alkatiri managed to increase the 
>commitment to almost 300 doctors and 600 
>scholarship places (Granma 2005: 1). This was an 
>extraordinary program given that, as at 2006, 
>there were less than 50 doctors in Timor Leste. 
>Cuban doctors are an affordable and well 
>organised resource. They earn a monthly salary 
>of only around US$200, plus housing and some 
>other allowances. As local observers note, this 
>is “only a fraction [of] the salaries of doctors 
>from other countries who are contracted to work 
>in Timor-Leste” (Grupu Estudu Maubere 2006).
>The Cuban program is now centrally important for 
>health services, capacity building and 
>organisation of the national health system. By 
>June 2006 the Health Ministry under Dr Rui Maria 
>de Araujo, emphasising primary health care and 
>free access, had 65 Community Health Centres 
>(each with one or two doctors and 6 to 10 nurses 
>or midwives) and 175 health posts (each with one 
>or two nurses and/or midwives) (PMCTLG 2006). 
>Although doctor training is carried out in Cuba, 
>the Cubans are contributing to building up local 
>training capacity. One year nursing diplomas (in 
>exchange for a three year contract to work in a 
>remote health post) are offered through the 
>National Institute of Health. In the middle of 
>the crisis, in June, the Dili District Health 
>Service was able to set up 19 centres, running 
>24-hour services for the many internally 
>displaced persons. The government noted that the 
>“220 Cuban doctors and 30 Cuban health 
>technicians” were at the centre of its capacity 
>to mobilise such resources (PMCTLG 2006). The 
>country’s ambition of a fully coordinated 
>national health system was developing strongly.
>The second intervention
>Australia’s 1999 and 2006 military interventions 
>were in one respect similar: they were both 
>requested by the East Timorese leadership. 
>However the second intervention (reluctantly 
>supported by Alkatiri) saw partisan engagement 
>in a leadership struggle, with Australian 
>commentators, troops and government providing at 
>least passive support for the coup plotters. 
>Prominent Australian media commentators and 
>heads of aid organisations blamed Alkatiri for 
>the crisis, and demanded his removal from power. 
>In the first two months of its presence in Timor 
>Leste, the Australian military did nothing to 
>disarm the coup plotters, and little to stop the 
>young looters and arsonists. The Howard 
>administration claimed it was simply acting at 
>the request of the Timor Leste government. 
>However, most of the unrest and all of the armed 
>coup attempt had been aimed at deposing the 
>Prime Minister. After Alkatiri had been forced 
>to resign, Howard told reporters: "We have done 
>our job and have been very effective” (Murdoch 
>2006). Such partisan engagement, however, would 
>not have been possible without a genuine 
>internal leadership conflict. Some detail of 
>this conflict, and some detail of the crisis and 
>second intervention, seem necessary background 
>before resuming the broader narrative.
>The central political dilemma was the 
>estrangement of President Xanana Gusmão from the 
>ruling party, Fretilin. Xanana left Fretilin in 
>the 1980s, at first seeking to dissociate the 
>guerrilla army Falantil from Fretilin, then 
>helping form a national coalition (the CNRM, 
>later CNRT) in the late 1990s. After the split 
>from Indonesia, the UN encouraged the 
>dissolution of this coalition and the formation 
>of electoral parties, prior to the 2001 
>elections, for what became a joint constituent 
>assembly and national parliament. Fretilin won a 
>clear majority of 55 out of 88 seats. Without a 
>clear political base, Xanana sought to withdraw 
>from politics, but was persuaded to stand for 
>the Presidential elections in 2002, against 
>Xavier do Amaral of the ASDT. With his personal 
>popularity and the backing of Fretilin he won 
>easily. But the constituent assembly had made 
>the Presidency a largely titular position. The 
>Parliament and its executive were created to 
>exercise substantial power. This structure set 
>the post-independence framework for the rivalry 
>between President Xanana and the Fretilin 
>General Secretary and Prime Minister, Mari 
>Alkatiri. Xanana had popularity but no political 
>base or real executive power. His voice in East 
>Timorese politics had been diminished. 
>Apparently he was counting on ongoing personal 
>loyalty from the army; yet the army leadership 
>was increasingly Fretilin (or government) 
>loyalist. This was not an open problem, so long 
>as there was not a serious fracture between the 
>President and the Fretilin-dominated Government. 
>Xanana had supported the Government’s struggle 
>over oil, its efforts to rebuild domestic 
>agriculture and the building of national 
>institutions. However, his main preoccupation 
>was reconciliation as a means of sustaining 
>national security. He made the point, more than 
>once, that international military intervention 
>and assistance was unsustainable, and had to be 
>replaced by good relations with Timor Leste’s 
>big and powerful neighbours (Gusmão 2002). To 
>this end he had opposed the demands for war 
>crimes trials, and had literally embraced the 
>Indonesian generals who had directed the death 
>squads in his country. If this had helped mend 
>bridges with Indonesia, it had also obstructed 
>the struggle for justice, post-1999. Further, it 
>identified Xanana with militia elements, who had 
>been supported the Indonesian military (TNI). 
>The reconciliation focus had also encouraged a 
>culture of impunity, which would have 
>consequences for the 2006 crisis. Xanana was 
>clearly seen by some as the big man who could pardon all sins.
>Alkatiri, on the other hand, had been the 
>country’s chief development strategist. While 
>there had been some private disparagement of his 
>Muslim background (in a largely Catholic 
>country) and his long period in exile, none of 
>this had stood in the way of his gaining respect 
>as a key leader of the country’s independence 
>movement. The economic nationalism, fiscal 
>conservatism and tough mindedness he 
>demonstrated as Prime Minister enhanced this 
>respect, within Fretilin. He had been criticised 
>for arrogance and lack of consultation and, 
>while he had engendered particular aggravation 
>with Australia over the oil dispute, he had 
>always acted within his entitlements. His fiscal 
>management had even drawn praise from the 
>US-controlled World Bank (AFP 2006a). There were 
>no substantial public attacks on Alkatiri, from 
>outside the country, prior to the crisis.
>It was the desertion of several hundred soldiers 
>from the army (FNTL) in February that eventually 
>led to the 2006 crisis. These soldiers were then 
>dismissed for desertion by the head of the army, 
>Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak, with the 
>backing of Prime Minister Alkatiri. Though this 
>mass desertion has been portrayed as 
>representing an ‘east-west’ ethnic tension, Jose 
>Ramos Horta, as interim Defence Minister, told 
>the Jakarta Post that while the police had been 
>“very factionalised”, the army was “very 
>disciplined” and that of the 600 that had 
>deserted and had been sacked, “were mostly from 
>the east”, while 200 of those remaining in the 
>force “are from western regions like Liquica” 
>(in Nurbaiti 2006a). Nevertheless, it seems that 
>promotions had fallen to many easterners who had 
>been more closely identified with the 
>resistance, and had been refused to others 
>because of questions either over their loyalty 
>to Fretilin or because of their links to some 
>western communities with pro-Indonesian militia 
>links. Many of these communities were the people 
>Xanana had been trying to include. So an 
>important factor in the army conflict was the 
>perception that Xanana could represent the 
>ambitions of the disaffected soldiers, against 
>the wishes of the government and the army 
>hierarchy. For his part, Xanana clearly held an 
>intense bitterness at the country’s main 
>independence party, a bitterness which came out 
>in a 22 June speech, after the crisis broke.
>“[their] old ideology is no longer suitable .. a 
>small group of people, who lived abroad, want to 
>replicate the attitudes we witnessed from 1975 
>to 1978 
 In 2006, Fretilin wants to stage a 
>coup to kill democracy 
 I had to take Falantil 
>[the guerrilla army] out of the party ... I left 
>Fretilin to liberate our land and all our people 
 I did not kill Fretilin and I continue to 
>respect Fretilin .. if I were to return to 
>Fretilin, Lu-Olo would never be Chairperson” (Gusmão 2006).
>This emotional tirade emphasised Xanana’s 
>personal role, belittled others (including 
>guerrilla leader and Fretilin loyalist Lu’Olo) 
>and exposed his own mixed feelings about 
>Fretilin, the country’s main independence movement.
>Xanana became a magnet for dissatisfaction, and 
>a foment around the President had been going on 
>for some time as, according to Martinkus (2006), 
>there had been two attempts at a coup, prior to 
>May 2006. The axis against the Fretilin-led 
>government included figures in the hierarchy of 
>the Catholic Church and middle ranking army 
>officers, who pledged exclusive loyalty to the 
>President. After the Church-backed 2005 
>demonstrations against Alkatiri, army chief Taur 
>Matan Ruak had been approached to lead a coup, 
>but had refused. Then early in 2006 he and 
>Lt-Col Falur Rate Laek were approached by “two 
>prominent East Timorese leaders and two foreign 
>nationals” to lead a coup. Both had refused and 
>had reported the incident. Alkatiri knew of 
>these coup attempts, but he refused to implicate 
>Xanana (Martinkus 2006). However the May crisis 
>was seen by the Fretilin Government as a 
>development of these earlier coup attempts.
>Accounts of the April-May conflict have proved 
>controversial, and this account is mainly drawn 
>from the United Nations Secretary General’s 
>August 8 report to the Security Council. On 24 
>April the 594 soldiers (‘the petitioners’) who 
>had been dismissed from the army began four days 
>of “generally peaceful” demonstrations in Dili. 
>On 27 April PM Alkatiri agreed to the  demand 
>for a commission of inquiry into their 
>complaints. However on 28 April some in the 
>ongoing demonstration attacked government 
>buildings, seriously injuring one police officer 
>and damaging property. The government called in 
>the army and in the ensuing confrontation five 
>people were killed and more than 40 injured. A 
>first wave of internally displaced persons 
>sought refuge in churches, UN offices and public buildings.
>On 3 May Major Alfredo Reinado left his post 
>with two others, and on 8 May a group of 500 
>surrounded government offices in Gleno and 
>attacked two police officers of eastern origin, 
>killing one who had been persuaded to disarm by 
>an officer of western origin. This was said to 
>have “exacerbated” east-west tensions in the 
>police  (Secretary General 2006). On 11 May the 
>Australian government positioned two war ships, 
>the Kanimbla and the Manoora, close to Timor 
>Leste, though there had not yet been any request for assistance (ABC 2006a).
>In this tense climate Fretilin held its National 
>Congress, over 17-19 May, overwhelmingly 
>re-electing Mari Alkatiri and Lu-Olo as 
>Secretary General and President, by a show of 
>hands.  On 23 May Reinado came down from Aileu 
>to lead an attack on the army in Dili, causing 
>an exchange “that resulted in deaths on both 
>sides”. The next day, the army headquarters at 
>Tacitolu was attacked by a group “reportedly 
>consisting of petitioners, PNTL [police] 
>officers and civilians”. This operation included 
>an attack on the house of Brigadier-General Taur 
>Matan Ruak, and lasted several hours. Several 
>were killed. After this, a number of eastern 
>origin police abandoned their posts and took 
>refuge at the army training centre at Metinaro. 
>On 25 May, members of the army, along with some 
>police and civilians, counter-attacked the 
>police national and Dili headquarters. UN 
>training staff negotiated “an agreement” for 
>these police to leave, unarmed; however some 
>soldiers opened fire on them, killing eight 
>police officers and injuring more than 25, 
>including two UN advisers. The following day, 
>“incoming international forces” secured the 
>airport and other facilities, and began an 
>occupation of Dili (Secretary General 2006).
>The attempted coup had sparked wider violence, 
>some of which was opportunistic and some 
>politically motivated. A mother and five 
>children, closely related to Interior Minister 
>Rogerio Lobato, were killed in one house fire. 
>It seems that they were targeted for their 
>family connections (ABC 2006b). Many other 
>houses were burned, in a manner similar to the 
>1999 militia destruction. Thousands more sought 
>refuge. Families both ‘east’ and west’ were 
>affected, but more ‘easterners’ seemed to be 
>targeted. East Timorese people were shocked by 
>the unprecedented rise of what was presented as a regional, ethnic divide.
>On receiving a joint invitation from Xanana, 
>Ramos Horta and Alkatiri, the Howard Government 
>had sent in Australian troops. Immediately, 
>prominent Australian voices began to blame 
>Alkatiri for the crisis, and shortly after to 
>demand his removal. His responsibility, it was 
>generally said, stemmed from the unwise 
>dismissal of a large group of soldiers. 
>Criticisms widened to observe that he was a 
>Muslim and was supposed to have given 
>preferential contracts and jobs to his relatives 
>(Cave 2006). It was said that he was arrogant 
>and out of touch. Yet there was no significant 
>Australian condemnation of the renegade soldiers 
>who had taken up arms against their own 
>government. Xanana escaped criticism for not 
>denouncing the renegade soldiers and gangs who 
>were acting in his name. However some observed 
>the foreign connections of Reinado’s wife, who 
>worked for the U.S. Embassy, with the Peace Corps (Loro Horta 2006).
>Paul Kelly - prominent Australian journalist and 
>member of the Jakarta lobby, which had opposed 
>independence for Timor Leste ­ asserted on 28 
>May that it was “questionable” that Alkatiri had 
>any future political role in his own country 
>(Kelly 2006a). The following day Tim Costello ­ 
>CEO of World Vision, one of Australia’s largest 
>aid organisations ­ suggested ‘regime change’, and named a new Prime Minister:
>“I suspect a government of national unity, where 
>Xanana may think about sacking the Prime 
>Minister Alkatiri, inviting the opposition into 
>a government of national unity, probably under 
>somebody like Ramos Horta” (Costello 2006)
>On 31 May Kelly spelt out the Australian elite view, with great clarity:
>“Australia's intervention in East Timor 
>both military and political 
 Australia is 
>operating as a regional power or a potential 
>hegemon that shapes security and political 
 Australia's obvious preference is for 
>the removal of Alkatiri as Prime Minister and a 
>political victory for Gusmão and Ramos Horta 
>The Howard Government was told before the 
>Fretilin congress 10 days ago that Dili's 
>ambassador to the US, Jose Luis Guterres, had 
>the numbers to depose Alkatiri. But such 
>predictions were dashed 
 [if Alkatiri were to 
>survive, politically] the political poison 
>within East Timor's politics would only 
>intensify, with Alkatiri sure to take an even 
>greater set against Australia.” (Kelly 2006b)
>Encouraged by these strong comments, Xanana’s 
>Australian wife, Kirsty Sword-Gusmão, joined in: 
>“We certainly support calls for his resignation” 
>(in Ong and Dodd 2006). A few days later, Greg 
>Sheridan entrenched the attack on Alkatiri: “If 
>Alkatiri remains Prime Minister of East Timor, 
>this is a shocking indictment of Australian 
>impotence” (Sheridan 2006). Expressing 
>frustration that Alkatiri appeared to be surviving the crisis, Kelly added:
>“The chief difficulty has been on display all 
>week. Australia underwrites police and military 
>security in East Timor yet it cannot dictate the 
>domestic political outcomes on which any 
>enduring stabilisation of the country depends. 
>We have responsibility without power” (Kelly 2006c).
>In face of this onslaught, Prime Minister Howard 
>made few overt remarks against the Alkatiri 
>government. An Australian consensus had been 
>laid out. All that was required was for the East Timorese to comply.
>Yet there was no real reason for Alkatiri to 
>step down, and he retained strong support from 
>Fretilin. The Australian ‘elite consensus’ on 
>Alkatiri needed something extra. Leader of the 
>largest opposition party Fernando ‘Lasama’ 
>Araujo claimed that he had been targeted by 
>Alkatiri, particularly after his house was 
>burned down, during the crisis (Siapno 2006). 
>However he had been previously investigated for 
>defamation, and Ramos Horta’s office had accused 
>him of “instigating unrest” (Santos 2006). At 
>one stage during the crisis Fernando moved to 
>occupy the parliament, attempting to lock other 
>MPs out. His Democratic Party (PD) gained seven 
>seats in the 2001 elections and by 2006 was 
>reported to have eight seats (Lusa 2006a). But 
>on 10 June an ABC television team had 
>interviewed a group of armed men on the farm of 
>another opposition leader, Mario Carascalao. 
>They claimed that Alkatiri had hired them as a 
>‘hit squad’, to assassinate political opponents 
>(Jackson 2006b). This story was later run in the 
>Australian documentary television program, Four 
>Corners. Xanana delivered a video copy of the 
>program with a letter demanding Alkatiri’s 
>resignation. In the ensuing storm of publicity, 
>and weakened by the crisis and the presence of 
>foreign troops, independent Timor Leste’s first 
>Prime Minister resigned, on the 26th of June.
>A little analysis shows serious problems with 
>the ‘hit squad’ story. It conflated two claims. 
>The first claim seems well established: that 
>some government departments distributed weapons 
>to irregular forces after the coup attempt 
>began, and as the police force disintegrated. 
>This could be understood as a measure to 
>maintain security, and for self-defence.  The 
>second claim from the men interviewed by the ABC 
>team - that they received arms from Alkatiri for 
>political assassinations ­ lacked credibility 
>from the start. The interview was backed by 
>opposition figures, and the main character 
>Vicente “Railos” da Conceição, was a dismissed 
>army officer who had been involved in Reinado’s 
>23-24 May attacks on the army. The ABC team had 
>been told of this involvement (Jackson 2006a). 
>Although Railos had been a Fretilin delegate, 
>from Liquica, his subsequent collaboration with 
>Reinado, against government loyalists, make it 
>unbelievable that he would be entrusted by 
>government leaders to assassinate opposition 
>figures. In any case, his evidence would be 
>tainted by his links to the coup plotters. Even 
>The Australian, which had led the campaign to 
>remove Alkatiri, questioned the role of Railos 
>(Dodd and Fitzpatrick 2006). The ‘hit squad’ 
>story had been a political ‘coup de grace’ for 
>Alkatiri, but it had no future as a criminal 
>prosecution. The UN Commission’s report on the 
>crisis, released in October 2006, said it “does 
>not accept” that Alkatiri “gave instructions” to 
>the Railos group to “eliminate” his political 
>opponents, but it suggested  “further 
>investigations” to determine his possible 
>knowledge of arms distribution to civilians (UN 2006 p.40).
>Meanwhile, others were escaping prosecution. 
>Well into the crisis, and in opposition to the 
>expressed views of Army Commander Taur Matan 
>Ruak, Xanana continued to insist that Alfredo 
>Reinado was not a danger, and that he was acting 
>“to ensure the safety of the population” 
>(UNMISET 2006b). Even in mid June, after the 
>attacks on the army at Tacitolu, Xanana insisted 
>Reinado was “not a rebel", but rather he “went 
>to the mountain 
 to avoid a conflict” (Nurbaiti 
>2006b; AFP 2006b). The Australian armed forces, 
>obligingly, did not move against Reinado when 
>they landed. In fact, Reinado expressed his 
>pleasure at the Australians arrival (Banham 
>2006). Nor did chief prosecutor Longhuinos 
>Monteiro move against either Reinado or Railos. 
>Xanana would now begin to say that 
>“reconciliation required justice over recent 
>wrongdoing” (da Fonseca 2006), but this was 
>clearly aimed at Alkatiri, not Reinado.
>However on 26 July, after the expiration of an 
>amnesty on weapons possession, a Portuguese 
>police unit uncovered an arms cache held by 
>Reinado, and international forces arrested him. 
>The Attorney General’s office indicted Reinado 
>for “conspiracy and attempted revolution” (LUSA 
>2006b), then for attempted murder. The 
>Portuguese media noted this as an embarrassment 
>for Xanana, given the support he had afforded 
>the mutineer (Diario de Noticias 2006). In 
>August, the Judicial System Monitoring Program 
>criticised the Prosecutor General’s “apparent 
>failure to date” to investigate Railos, and the 
>delay in investigating Reinado. The JSMP said it 
>believed the Prosecutor General’s office “played 
>no role in the [Reinado] arrest” (TLDSN 2006b). 
>In other words, the political impartiality of 
>judicial processes was in serious question, and 
>linked to the favouritism of President 
>Xanana.  The UN Commission’s report on the 
>crisis found “no evidence” that Xanana 
>authorised Reinado and others to carry out armed 
>attacks but it did find that Xanana “did not 
>consult and cooperate” with the army command, 
>thus “increasing tensions between the President 
>and the army” (UN 2006: pp.30, 63).
>In the wake of Alkatiri’s forced resignation, 
>and with the necessary approval of Fretilin, 
>Xanana appointed Jose Ramos Horta as the interim 
>Prime Minister, pending the 2007 elections. The 
>President said those elections were “the 
>appropriate means to resolve the conflicts 
>peacefully, and to overcome the crisis” (da 
>Fonseca 2006). This, to some extent, pacified 
>the Australian voices, though it did not seem 
>that Ramos Horta’s elevation would lead to any 
>immediate policy change. In the past he had said 
>he would like more “privileges” for foreign 
>investors (Ramos Horta 2003) and, more recently, 
>that he would like to “fast track” investments 
>with World Bank help (Fitzpatrick 2006); but he 
>was also committed to the new oil and gas deals, 
>and influenced by Alkatiri’s fiscal conservatism 
>and diversification strategy. Further, Fretilin 
>had not been sidelined and Alkatiri was still its Secretary-General.
>An Australian ‘elite consensus’
>With some background on the domestic aspects of 
>the crisis, we can return to discussion of an 
>‘elite consensus’ in Australia. What Edward Said 
>(1993) termed a “powerful, ideological, cultural 
>consensus” forms a necessary part of a 
>neocolonial project, to back military and 
>economic power. The pre-crisis consensus in 
>Australia had been limited to those groups 
>(media, finance, mining, government) with direct 
>interests in managing the neighbouring country 
>and its resources.  It focussed on the classical 
>colonial demands for privileged access to 
>natural resources, an obstruction of public 
>economic institutions and ‘strategic denial’ of 
>potential rivals. A second stage of this 
>consensus, elaborating the project, drew in a 
>wider intellectual elite (including aid 
>managers, academics and journalists), with 
>paternal interest in the new responsibilities. 
>This consensus grasped deeper into the roots of 
>Timor Leste’s political institutions and 
>included demands for: the ‘reform’ or fracturing 
>of Fretilin, marginalisation or abolition of the 
>army (FNTL), and the inclusion of English as an 
>official language of the country. Most of this 
>had little basis within Timor Leste.
>The ‘reform of Fretilin’ demand sought to link 
>up with internal forces. First of these was 
>Xanana’s estrangement from Fretilin; second was 
>a small group of disaffected members who had 
>unsuccessfully sought to challenge the Fretilin 
>leadership; and third were the opposition 
>parties. For its part, the crisis must have 
>demonstrated to Fretilin that it needed to 
>rebuild in the new circumstances, to offer 
>participatory opportunities, especially for the 
>younger generation. This, however, was not the 
>Australian elite’s idea of ‘reform’. According 
>to Rupert Murdoch’s journalists at The 
>Australian, a ‘democratic’ Timor Leste was 
>equated with one that was pro-Australia. There 
>was not much room for Fretilin views
>“Gusmão and Ramos Horta are pro-Australian and 
>cognisant of working with Canberra. By contrast, 
>the Howard Government sees Alkatiri as a 
>1970s-style pro-Marxist anti-capitalist 
>suspicious of democratic practice” (Kelly 2006b).
>Alkatiri’s policies had been anything but 
>doctrinaire, but this did not stop Cold War 
>style attacks. Mark Aarons, in The Australian, 
>warned over the dangers of Alkatiri’s “faction”, 
>suggesting East Timorese must: “remove the 
>stultifying control of political, civic and 
>economic life by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's 
>dominant faction within Fretilin” (Aarons 2006). 
>Professor James Cotton, of the Australian 
>Defence Force Academy, another fierce critic of 
>Alkatiri, predicted that the country’s party 
>system “appears set to fracture” (Cotton 2006). 
>Lawyers John Dowd and Bernard Collaery (who had 
>been advisers to Xanana) even suggested that the 
>Fretilin government had never been elected: “The 
>only person elected in East Timor is the 
>President Xanana Gusmão. There has been no 
>democratically elected government”, said Dowd 
>(Sunday 2006). This was a reference to the 
>August 2001 elections, which were initially for 
>a Constituent Assembly but also functioned (as 
>voters understood) for the country’s first 
>democratic government. Dowd was trying to 
>elevate Xanana and undermine the legitimacy of 
>Alkatiri and the elected parliament. The 
>partisan nature of these attacks illustrates the 
>danger of an ongoing Australian occupation.
>Marginalisation or abolition of the country’s 
>army (FNTL) was the second new demand, coming 
>from sources close to Canberra and the 
>Australian Defence Force (ADF). Yet there was no 
>such demand within Timor Leste. The crisis and 
>attempted coup had indeed centred around 
>attempts to seize control of the army, but as 
>the independent armed force (Falantil, now FNTL) 
>was a powerful part of East Timorese history and 
>identity. Falantil-FNTL was a defining pubic 
>institution of the new state, and no serious 
>political party in Timor Leste would suggest its 
>abolition. In large part because of this, an 
>independent army was seen as an obstacle to 
>Australian tutelage and influence. Cotton (2006) 
>suggested that the “deep divisions” in the army 
>“made it unlikely that a viable military can be 
>reconstructed”. Yet, even after the 600 
>dismissals, and the rebellion of the Reinado and 
>Railos groups, Ramos Horta had noted the 
>discipline of the bulk of the army, and the army 
>command (Nurbaiti 2006a). Whatever the 
>management problems of the army, it was the 
>police that collapsed, not the army. Yet in 
>Australia academic Damien Kingsbury bluntly 
>asserted the army was “an expensive and 
>politically divisive institution within the 
>state, and quite frankly it needs to be gotten 
>rid of.” (in Hazzan 2006). At a public seminar 
>in Canberra to discuss the crisis, retired 
>Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Lowry spoke of the 
>struggles he had observed over the army, during 
>his time as a security adviser in 2002-03. His 
>2003 recommendation to the Alkatiri Government 
>that the Falantil veterans in the army be 
>pensioned off was rejected. He claims that the 
>army and defence ministry is dysfunctional and 
>should be disbanded or changed into “police 
>support and disaster alleviation” function 
>(Lowry 2006).  Cotton bluntly asserted that “the 
>wrong people” were in government and that “if we 
>cannot have a say in who is in charge in East 
>Timor, we should withdraw our troops” (in Boyle 
>2006). The Australian elite consensus was feeding itself.
>The third new Australian demand, that English be 
>officially recognised, emerged from several 
>years of Australian frustration with the 
>adoption of both Tetum (the national dialect) 
>and Portuguese as joint official 
>languages.  This reflected a frustration of 
>Australian governmental and aid industry people 
>at the problems of communications in a small 
>country with several languages not their own. 
>Small countries are always cursed by language, 
>in that their educated classes have to learn 
>several languages. On the other hand, 
>Australians are notoriously lazy at learning 
>other languages. This discomfort was elevated 
>into a public policy argument. Kingsbury 
>asserted that “national unity” can only be 
>achieved by the East Timorese “settling on one 
>language and embarking on a major literacy 
>campaign in that language” (Kingsbury 2006). 
>This simple, reductionist view ignores the 
>varying historical processes that shape the 
>national institutions and languages of many 
>countries. One cannot understand why, for 
>example, India, Canada, South Africa and Papua 
>New Guinea have adopted their multiple national 
>languages without reference to their particular 
>histories. Canberra academic George Quinn, in a 
>scathing attack on Timor Leste’s institutions, 
>called both for the abolition of the army and 
>“the scaling down of the Portuguese language policy” (Quinn 2006).
>There had indeed been an debate within Timor 
>Leste over language, but it was not so much over 
>English, as over the place of Indonesian and 
>Tetum. It was indeed the case that few East 
>Timorese in 2001 (when the constitution was 
>created) spoke Portuguese, and this seemed to 
>privilege the older generation. However the 
>younger generation had been educated in 
>Indonesian, and most higher education had been 
>in Indonesian colleges and universities which, 
>after 1999, were no longer accessible. Tetum, a 
>genuine national language, was only in its 
>beginning stages as a written language. Yet a 
>significant proportion of Tetum (perhaps as much 
>as a third) comes from Portuguese, which is of 
>course a world language. It is therefore 
>somewhat easier for Tetum speakers to learn than 
>English. Portuguese also maintains the country’s 
>connections with the Lusophone world (Portugal, 
>Brazil and others). So Portuguese was a rational 
>choice but, more importantly, it was a choice 
>made by East Timorese people, through their 
>constituent assembly. This is a fundamental matter of self-determination.
>At a practical level, there is hardly hostility 
>to the teaching of English in Timor Leste, as 
>many people wish to learn this important world 
>language. But that is a different issue to 
>insisting that Timor Leste’s Constitution be 
>changed, for Australian convenience. Those who 
>feel this way might best look at the very low 
>level of tertiary scholarships offered by 
>Australia to East Timorese students: twenty per 
>year in the transitional period, and only eight 
>per year in 2006 (AusAID 2006). This compares 
>unfavourably with the six hundred medical 
>scholarships offered by Cuba, over three years. 
>In addition, Cuba provides one year’s language 
>training, so students can master their language 
>of instruction (Spanish). Australia offers no 
>such scholarship extension for English training, 
>rather it requires that all tertiary students 
>“have an English language proficiency of at 
>least 5.5 in IELTS” (AusAID 2006) before they can enter the country.
>Concluding comments
>Australia’s second intervention in Timor Leste 
>came after a period of aggravation in which the 
>independent nation faced down Australian elite 
>demands for privileged access to the country’s 
>natural resources, Australian and World Bank 
>obstruction of public economic institutions 
>(including support for domestic agriculture) and 
>Australian irritation at diversification of the 
>country’s strategic partners. Most of the 
>hostility was aimed at Prime Minister Mari 
>Alkatiri, the chief development strategist. Some 
>modest but important achievements were made in 
>the first few years after independence, notably 
>the construction of national institutions, 
>reclaiming natural resources from a greedy 
>neighbour, prudent management of finances, the 
>consolidation of domestic agriculture and staple 
>food production, and development of human 
>capital through expansion in education and in the health system.
>However internal rivalry expressed through a 
>struggle over the leadership of the army, and 
>revolving around a President alienated from the 
>dominant party, sparked a coup attempt in May 
>2006. When the military coup failed, a partisan 
>Australian intervention, including a powerful 
>and partisan media, forced the resignation of 
>Alkatiri. Evidence does not support the notion 
>of a benign or independent Australian assistance 
>role. The interim government appears more 
>‘Australian friendly’, but relations between the 
>Howard Government and Fretilin have been 
>seriously damaged. At the same time there are a 
>new raft of Australian demands, an ‘Australian 
>consensus’ that Timor Leste’s main party be 
>‘reformed’, that its national army be sidelined 
>or abolished and that the country adopt English 
>as a national language. These new demands (seen 
>as necessary for a more energetic and sustained 
>Australian intervention) are elaborations of an 
>Australian ‘elite consensus’, the cultural 
>product of a primary elite (media, mining, 
>finance, government) with direct interests in 
>resource and strategic control, and a secondary 
>elite (aid managers, academics, journalists) 
>which has associated itself with the 
>paternalistic project. However the demands 
>represent a dangerous escalation of neo-colonial 
>pressures, compromising to East Timorese 
>independence and corrosive of normal domestic 
>politics. Such pressures will encourage 
>disaffected groups to align themselves with the 
>neo-colonial power, to avoid engagement in 
>‘normal’ politics. These groups may well be 
>encouraged to play ‘the Australian card’, as 
>pro-Indonesian militia groups did under a previous occupation.
>Aarons, Mark (2006) ‘Mark Aarons: Marxist 
>leaders have failed, The Australian, May 29, 
>ABC (2006a) ‘Navy on Standby for E. Timor 
>deployment’, ABC Online, 12 May, online: 
>ABC (2006b) ‘Mother and children found dead in 
>East Timor’, ABC Online ­ AM, 27 May, online: 
>ABC Radio (2004) ‘East Timor turns up pressure 
>over boundary negotiations, 19 April
>ABC News Online (2006) ‘UN force to takeover 
>from Aust military in E Timor’, 26 August, 
>online: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200608/s1725020.htm
>ACIAR (2006) 'Seeds of Life - East Timor', 
>Projects CIM/2000/160 and CIM/2003/014, 
>Australian Centre for International Agricultural 
>Research, online: http://www.aciar.gov.au/web.nsf/doc/ARIG-6GF253
>ADB 2005, 'Asian Development Outlook 2004: 
>economics trends and prospects in developing 
>Asia', Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, 
>online: http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/ADO/2004/etm.asp.
>AFP (2004) ‘East Timor turns to China for energy 
>exploration’, 13 Dec 2004 at ETAN, selected 
>postings, http://www.etan.org/et2004/december/13-19/13etturn.htm
>AFP (2006a) ‘Wolfowitz hails East Timor's 
>management of energy revenues’, April 10, online 
>at ETAN: http://www.etan.org/et2006/april/08/09oil.htm
>AFP (2006b) ‘ETimor's Gusmão says Reinado not a 
>rebel’, AFP. 17 June, online: 
>AID/Watch 2005, 'Australian Aid: the Boomerang 
>Effect', February, Online: 
>Alkatiri, Mari (2004) ‘Nation Building in 
>Timor-Leste’, Keynote Presentation by 
>Timor-Leste Prime Minister Dr Mari Alkatiri, Timor Sea Office, SEAAOC June
>Anderson, Tim (2003) 'Aid, Trade and Oil: 
>Australia's Second Betrayal of East Timor', 
>Journal of Australian Political Economy, Issue 52, December
>Asia Source (2006) Asia Source Interview with 
>Jose Ramos Horta, March 20, online: 
>AusAID (2004) East Timor: Country program, 
>online: www.audaid.gov.au/country/country?.cfmCountryId=911
>AusAID (2006) East Timor: Australian Development 
>Scholarships, Information for intakes commencing 
>2007, online: http://www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar/profiles/etimor.pdf
>Australian Financial Review (2003) ‘Ramos Horta 
>pours oil on troubled treaty waters’, July 16
>Banham, Cynthia (2003) ‘Fair play demanded in 
>oil talks’, Sydney Morning Herald, December 11
>Banham, Cynthia (2006) ‘Army's cause without a 
>rebel’, Sydney Morning Herald, May 27, online: 
>Barker, Anne (2006) ‘Rogerio Lobato faces 
>charges over alleged hit squad’, ABC Radio, The 
>World Today, 21 June, online: 
>Boyle, Peter (2006) “Bungled bullying in East 
>Timor”’, Green Left Weekly, 14 June, online: 
>Brencheley, Fred (1999) 'The Howard Defence 
>Doctrine', The Bulletin, 28 September, 22-24
>Burton, Bob (2004) ‘Hopes rise for East Timor 
>oil deal’, IPS, September 27, 2004
>Cave, Peter (2006) ‘Pressure mounts on Alkatiri to quit’, ABC - AM - 30 May
>Costello, Tim (2006) ‘Mounting pressure on East 
>Timor PM to resign’, ABC ­ PM, Monday, 29 May
>Cotton, James (2006) ‘Restoring order in Timor 
>Leste: the challenges for the Ramos-Horta 
>government’, Asian Analysis, ASEAN Focus Group, 
>Australian National University, August, online: 
>da Fonseca, Lirio (2006) ‘Timor PM says no 
>excuses for inertia in new cabinet,’ Reuters 14 
>July, online: 
>da Silva, Estanislau (2005) Talk by Estanislau 
>da Silva, Timor Leste Minister for Agriculture, 
>at the Cooperating with Timor-Leste Conference, 
>Victoria University, Melbourne, 17 June
>Diario de Noticias (2006) ‘Detenção de major 
>embaraça Xanana’, 26 July, online: 
>Dodd, Mark and Stephen Fitzpatrick (2006) 
>‘Conspiracy theory haunts East Timor’, The Australian, 15 July
>Dodd, Tim (2002) ‘Timor offers gas-for-security 
>deal’, Australian Financial Review, July 31
>Dow Jones (2005) ‘E Timor PM: no immediate plans 
>to set up National Oil Co’, 2 September, from 
>Republica Democratica de Timor Leste, Oil, Gas 
>and Energy Directorate, Ministry of Natural 
>Resources, press articles, http://www.timor-leste.gov.tl/emrd/pressarticle.htm
>Economist, The (2003) ‘A squabble over oil’, 
>March 13, in ETAN news, online at: 
>ETAN (2004) ‘East Timor president rebukes 
>Australia over oil dispute’, April 27, online: 
>Far Eastern Economic Review (2001) Interview: 
>Jose Ramos Horta, September 13, 2001
>Fitzpatrick, Stephen (2006) ‘Horta to drive new 
>gas deal’, The Australian , 11 July 2006
>Granma (2005) Fidel anuncia ampliación de la 
>colaboración con Timor Leste’, La Habana, 14 de diciembre
>Grupu Estudu Maubere (2006) A People’s State 
>Against A Capitalist’s State, May 24th 2006, now 
>published at Maubere Digital Army: 
>Guardian, The (2006) ‘East Timor: Its all about 
>oil ­ once again’, 23 May 
>Gusmão, Xanana (2002) Speech to international 
>solidarity activists, Dili, 21 May
>Gusmão, Xanana (2006) ‘Message by H.E. the 
>President of the Republic’, 22 June, online at: 
>Hassan, Toni (2006) ‘Timor needs to get rid of 
>its army: analyst’ ABC ­ The World Today, 30 
>May, online: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2006/s1650931.htm
>Horta, Loro (2006) ‘As East Timor Burns’, Asia Times, May 27
>IDA 2000, Agriculture in East Timor: a Strategy 
>for Rehabilitation and Development, 
>International Development Association /World Bank mission report, Dili, May.
>Jackson, Liz (2006a) ‘Claims E Timor's PM 
>recruited secret security force’, ABC 
>Television, Lateline, 8 June, online: 
>Jackson, Elizabeth (2006b) ‘E Timor Prime 
>Minister denies new 'hit squad' claims’, ABC 
>Radio, AM, 10 June, online: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1660023.htm
>Johnson, Ed (2006) East Timor Rebel Leader Says 
>He Will Defend Himself, Bloomberg, 7 
>JSMP (2006a) ‘East Timor prosecutor criticised 
>for failure to investigate rebels’, Judicial 
>System Monitoring Program, Dili, Media Release, August 9
>JSMP (2006b) Progress to Date in the Cases of 
>Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri, Judicial 
>System Monitoring Programme, Dili, September, 
>online: http://www.jsmp.minihub.org/Language_English/index_english.html
>Kelly, Paul (2006a) ‘East Timor 'experiment' has 
>failed’, ABC Insiders, Broadcast 28 May
>Kelly, Paul (2006b) ‘A display of power’, The Australian, May 31
>Kelly, Paul (2006c) ‘A weightier role in Dili’, The Australian, June 3
>Kingsbury, Damien (2006) ‘Timor-Leste’s way 
>forward: state and nation building’, Development 
>Network, working paper, online: 
>La’o Hamutuk (2006) ‘How much oil money has 
>Australia stolen from East Timor already?
>A look at Laminaria-Corallina’, January, 
>LUSA (2006a) ‘East Timor: Anti-FRETILIN 
>protestors to seize parliament, says opposition 
>chief’, 22 June, online: 
>LUSA (2006b) ‘East Timor: Dissident army officer 
>detained for illegal arms possession’, 26 July, 
>online: http://www.etan.org/et2006/july/29/26disden.htm
>MAAF 2005, National Food Security Policy for 
>Timor Leste, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry 
>and Fisheries, draft for comments, Dili, 7 June.
>Macauhub (2006) ‘East Timor President Xanana 
>Gusmão pays official  visit to China’, 19 May,
> From UNMISET Daily Media Review, 
> http://www.unmiset.org/UNMISETWebSite.nsf/v0002?OpenView
>Martinkus, John (2006) An attempted coup in East 
>Timor?’, World Press, June 25, online: www.worldpress.org/Asia/2391.cfm
>McKee, Geoffrey (2002) 'Impact of an Exclusive 
>Economic Zone Delimitation on East Timor's 
>Petroleum Revenue', paper for Timor Sea 
>Petroleum Seminar, Dili, March 23, G.A. McKee 
>and Associates PL, Oil and Gas Project Development Services, Sydney
>Murdoch, Lindsay (2006) Australia to cut forces in Timor, The Age, July 19
>Nurbaiti, Ati (2006a) ‘Timor Leste’s police are 
>very factionalised’, Interview with Jose Ramos 
>Horta [then Defence Minister as well as Foreign 
>Affairs Minister], Jakarta Post, 16 June
>Nurbaiti, Ati (2006b) ‘Cloud of uncertainty 
>shrouds Timor Leste’, Jakarta Post, 21 June, 
>Ong, Tracy and Mark Dodd (2006) ‘Alkatiri has to 
>go, says the first lady’, The Australian, May 31
>Palmer, Brian (2002) 'Rebuilding East Timor', 
>interview, ABC Radio National, 3 & 5 August
>Planning Commission (2002) National Development Plan, Dili [East Timor], May.
>Petroleum Economist (2006) ‘News in brief’, January
>Petromin (2006a) ‘Australia, East Timor sign oil 
>treaty’, PetroMin OnLine Oil & Gas News, 
>Refining, Gas Processing and Petrochemical 
>Business Magazine, 16 January, 
>Petromin (2006b) ‘East Timor awards exploration 
>contracts to ENI, Reliance’, PetroMin OnLine Oil 
>& Gas News, Refining, Gas Processing and 
>Petrochemical Business Magazine, 23 May, 
>PMCTLG (2006) ‘Health workers rise to challenge 
>of social crisis in Timor Leste’, Prime Minister 
>and Cabinet: Timor-Leste Government, media 
>release, 22 June, online at: www.pm.gov.tp/22june06.htm
>Quinn, George (2006) ‘The Necessity for a New 
>Pragmatism in East Timor’, New Matilda, 7 July, 
>online: http://www.newmatilda.com/policytoolkit/policydetail.asp?PolicyID=441
>Ramos Horta, Jose (2003) ‘Timor's PM Under Siege’, SBS Dateline, 17 September
>Ramos-Horta, Jose (2005) ‘U.S. Soldiers Are The 
>Real Heroes In Iraq’, Asian Wall Street Journal, October 17
>Rogerio (2006) comments on George Quinn’s 
>article, New Matilda, 21 July, online: 
>Rood, David (2003) Conflict divides Timor's leaders, The Age, April 3, 2003
>Said, Edward (1993) ‘Culture and Imperialism’, 
>speech at York University, Toronto, February 10, 
>Santos, Chris (2006) Update on the situation as 
>of today, May 10, media release, Cabinet Office 
>of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and 
>Cooperation, online: 
>SBS Insight (2002) ‘The limits of generosity’, August 1
>Secretary General (2006) ‘Report of the 
>Secretary General on Timor Leste pursuant to 
>Security Council Resolution 1690 (2006)’, United 
>Nations Security Council, 8 August s/2006/628
>Sheridan, Greg (2006) ‘Throw troops at Pacific 
>failures’, The Australian, June 03, 2006
>Siapno, Jacqueline (2006) ‘We had a house in 
>Dili’, 1 June, Austral Policy Forum 06-17A, 
>RMIT, online: http://www.nautilus.org/~rmit/forum-reports/0617a-siapno.html
>Sipress, Alan (2006) ‘In E. Timor, an Optimistic 
>Enterprise Turns to Ashes’, Washington Post, 2 
>June, A13, online at: 
>Sunday (2006) ‘East Timor crisis’, Reporter 
>:Thea Dikeos, June 4, online: 
>Sunday Telegraph (2006) ‘Australia 'should lead 
>E Timor mission'’, August 10, online: 
>Sydney Morning Herald (2006) ‘Nelson warns 
>against Timor becoming failed state’, 4 June, 
>Timor Sea Office (2006) Facts Sheets ­ Revenue 
>Management, http://www.timorseaoffice.gov.tp/revmngtfacts.htm
>TLDSN (2006a) ‘Court victory for Alkatiri and 
>Fretilin’, media release, 14 August, Timor Leste 
>Democratic Support Network, Sydney [this media 
>release includes a précis of the Court of Appeal judgment]
>TLDSN (2006b) ‘East Timor prosecutor criticised 
>for failure to investigate rebels’, media 
>release, Timor-Leste Democratic Support Network, 
>11 August, online: http://timorleste.livejournal.com/
>UNDP (2006) The Path out of Poverty: Timor Leste 
>Human Development Report 2006, United Nations 
>Development Programme, 
>United Nations (2006) ‘Report of the United 
>Nations Independent Special Commission of 
>Inquiry for Timor-Leste’, 2 October, 
>UNMISET (2006a) ‘East Timor Company to sell oil 
>in Macau’, Macau Hub, from Daily Media Review, 
>United Nations Mission in East Timor, 22 March, 
>UNMISET (2006b) ‘President Xanana Gusmão: “Major 
>Alfredo left to clam down the situation”’, 
>National Media Reports, United Nations Mission 
>in East Timor, 13-15 May, online: 
>Wilkinson, Rick (2005) ‘Timor Leste launches 
>first offshore bid round’, Oil and Gas Journal, 
>18 August, from Republica Democratica de Timor 
>Leste, Oil, Gas and Energy Directorate, Ministry 
>of Natural Resources, press articles, 
>World Bank 2000, Project Appraisal Document on a 
>Proposed Trust Fund for East Timor Grant in the 
>Amount of US$6.8 Million Equivalent and a Second 
>Grant of US$11.4 Million to East Timor for an 
>Agriculture Rehabilitation Project, Rural 
>Development and Natural Resources Sector Unit, 
>Papua New Guinea/Pacific Islands Country Unit, 
>East Asia and Pacific Region, Report No: 20439-TP, June 14.

More information about the Easttimorstudies mailing list