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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06DILI220
2006-05-10 15:19:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Dili
Cable title:  

THE VIEW FROM THE WEST: MEETINGS WITH DISSIDENT MILITARY

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  ASEC  MARR  TT 
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VZCZCXRO0039
PP RUEHCHI RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHDT #0220/01 1301519
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101519Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2503
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0388
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHXX/GENEVA IO MISSIONS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0450
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0377
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0234
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0248
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0319
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0120
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 1824
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 DILI 000220 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
NSC FOR HOLLY MORROW
PACOM FOR JOC, POLAD, J5

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ASEC MARR TT
SUBJECT: THE VIEW FROM THE WEST: MEETINGS WITH DISSIDENT MILITARY
LEADERS

REF: DILI 218

DILI 00000220 001.2 OF 004


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 DILI 000220

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
NSC FOR HOLLY MORROW
PACOM FOR JOC, POLAD, J5

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ASEC MARR TT
SUBJECT: THE VIEW FROM THE WEST: MEETINGS WITH DISSIDENT MILITARY
LEADERS

REF: DILI 218

DILI 00000220 001.2 OF 004



1. (SBU) Summary: In addition to the ex-military "petitioners"
who led the April demonstration in Dili, there are a number of
dissident members of the national police (PNTL) and armed forces
(FDTL) who have gone AWOL and are currently located in
mountainous areas of western East Timor. Many, although
probably not most, of these dissident soldiers and police
officers are in one of two fairly small but well-organized
groups. The larger group was formed by Major Alfredo Reinado and
is located in Aileu. It is comprised primarily of military
police (MP) officers, although the MPs appear to be affiliated
or at least co-operating with PNTL units in Aileu. The smaller
group is headed by Major Marcos Tilman, a regular FDTL officer.
Both of these groups believe that Prime Minister Alkatiri lacks
the capability and credibility to lead the nation out of the
current crisis and are hoping that the President will resolve
the situation by dismissing the Prime Minister. On May 9
Emboffs met with Reinado and Tilman as well as with some of
their colleagues and supporters. This message explains the
origin and nature of these groups as well as what the groups and
their leaders told Emboffs about why they left for the mountains
and under what circumstances they are willing to return. End
Summary.

Who's Who Among the Armed Groups
-------------- --


2. (SBU) The AWOL military and police officers in the western
part of the country fall into three categories: Major Reinado's
group, Major Tilman's group, and miscellaneous others.

--- Reinado's group: Before he left for the mountains a week
ago, Major Alfredo Reinado was --- and officially he still is
--- the commander of FDTL's military police. He is the leader
of a group of approximately 20 MPs and at least 10 PNTL
officers. At least 6 of the PNTL officers are from the Police
Reserve Unit (PRU), whose original function was to deal with
armed groups crossing the border from Indonesia, and at least 4

are from the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR), an "elite" unit
charged with responding to civil disturbances and serious
violent crimes. The group is armed with M16s, FNC assault
rifles and side arms --- apparently these are military and/or
police weapons that the individual members carried with them
when they went to the mountains --- and they have several
military trucks and motorcycles. The group's food and fuel
stocks are limited. Reinado told Emboffs that his mission is to
protect civilians and that he will not return to Dili until
there has been a credible accounting of the "crimes" of April 28
and the criminals have been punished. (Note: Although
references to "crimes" during the weekend of April 28-30 are
generally construed to mean the mass killings allegedly
committed that weekend by FDTL soldiers commanded by Colonel
Lere, the deputy commander of FDTL, it appears that Major
Reinado has a somewhat different interpretation of this term.
See paragraph 8.) Reinado is adamant that his goals are
separate and distinct from those of the petitioners. He does
not fully trust General Taur Matan Ruak, the commander of FDTL,
although he speaks with him frequently by telephone. He does
not believe that the current Government (i.e. Prime Minister
Mari Alkatiri) has the capacity or intent to solve the current
crisis, and is placing his hopes on decisive action from the
President. Reinado's headquarters is in Aileu, in the mountains
about 90 minutes' drive due south of Dili. Everyone in Aileu
with whom Emboffs talked was strongly supportive of Major
Reinado, characterizing him as "keeping us safe," "protecting us
from Colonel Lere," and in similar terms.

--- Major Marcos Tilman was the Assistant Operations Officer
(J3) in FDTL. He and Major Tara Are leading a small group,
which includes at least 4 soldiers armed with M16s and sidearms.
The group also has strong linkages with several prominent
"veterans" --- i.e., former pro-independence guerrilla fighters
who for one reason or another did not become members of the
reconstituted FDTL after independence --- from Western

DILI 00000220 002.2 OF 004


districts. These include Dequa (Deker), Dudu, and Jili. While
Tilman's stated goals are (1) ending discrimination against
"loromonu" (people from the western part of East Timor), (2)
resolution of the ex-FDTL petitioners' complaints, and (3)
bringing to justice those responsible for the crimes allegedly
committed in Tasitolu, his primary concern appears to be the
security of his family and the ongoing political crisis.
Tilman's claims of full independence from the petitioners ring
hollow when he discusses their activities and objectives.
Tilman's group is based in Gleno, Ermera District, about 90
minutes' drive to the southwest of Dili.

--- AWOL Military and Police Officers: It is estimated that
there are at least 100 police and an unknown number of soldiers
who have gone AWOL and are staying with their families in the
districts. Many of these military and police personnel are armed
and have made contact with Reinado. In fact, Reinado claims
that more than twenty have asked to formally join his group but
he has not allowed them to do so because his "orders do not
include operations with regular police" (i.e., police officers
who are not members of the special units that sometimes conduct
joint operations with MPs). More than a dozen PNTL have returned
to Dili after being AWOL and have been allowed to return to work
as usual. Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato has announced that
there will be an investigation at a later date to determine if
any PNTL members should be punished. It is not clear how many
police officers and soldiers remain AWOL for political reasons
and how many are motivated by fear of retribution if they return
to Dili.

Reinado's Description of April 28
--------------

3. (SBU) Reinado told Emboffs that on April 28, shortly after
rioting had begun in Dili and Tasitolu, he accompanied Acting
FDTL Commander Colonel Lere to the home of Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri. Reinado waited outside while Lere went in to meet
privately with the Prime Minister. After the meeting, Lere told
Reinado that the Prime Minister had ordered him to "destroy
them all." Lere repeated this order over the radio and returned
to military HQ where he distributed weapons and ammunition to
FDTL personnel and, Reinado says, to some civilians. When
Reinado asked Lere for rules of engagement and mission
objectives, Lere reportedly scoffed at the idea and began to
speak in Makassae, a language common in the Baucau district of
eastern East Timor, home to Lere and most of the other FDTL
members who participated in the operation, but which Reinado and
others from Western districts could not understand. In order to
avoid participating in an operation that he believed was illegal
and ill-considered, Reinado suggested that the MPs should guard
the airport. Lere agreed, and Reinado and the other MPs
departed.

TMR's Response
--------------

4. (SBU) Reinado said that after Brigadier General Taur Matan
Ruak (TMR) returned to Dili, he called a meeting of senior FDTL
officers. He said that TMR was angry with Colonel Lere and asked
him pointedly for his written orders to intervene in a matter
that should have been handled by the police. Lere responded that
he had received a verbal order. TMR asked how many were dead
and who was killed. Lere replied that he did not know and he had
not yet investigated the matter. Reinado says TMR looked very
sad when he heard this, and that he paused and then said, "If it
is already buried, do not dig it up."

Reinado and TMR
--------------

5. (SBU) Reinado told Emboffs he is in contact with TMR and that
TMR initially told him that he had improperly taken FDTL weapons
and trucks. Reinado said that he disagreed with TMR's assessment
because he was continuing to serve as an MP by "protecting
victims" from the military and because he has written, open
ended orders from Colonel Lere to conduct joint operations with
the police to ensure stability and security. In response, TMR

DILI 00000220 003.2 OF 004


reportedly told Reinado to stay calm and control his men. In a
subsequent conversation TMR reportedly asked Reinado to return
to Dili to collect uniforms and fuel. Reinado declined because
he doubted TMR's sincerity and feared a trap by Colonel Lere.
TMR, he said, is not aware of everything that is going on in the
FDTL.


6. (SBU) Reinado claims that when he complained to TMR about
civilians allegedly armed by Colonel Maunana and reports of
non-uniformed military personnel carrying weapons, TMR issued a
written authorization to disarm --- and to kill if necessary ---
civilians or non-uniformed members of the military found to be
carrying weapons. Reinado claims to have this order and
volunteered to give Emboffs a copy, although he did not produce
one at the May 9 meeting.

Reinado's relationship with the Petitioners
-------------- --------------

7. (SBU) Reinado was adamant that his cause was completely
separate from that of the 595 petitioners. The Petitioners'
cause, he said, was weakened by what he saw as a growing linkage
to an opposition party intent on politicizing the cause. (Note:
This is a probable reference to the Democratic Party (PD), East
Timor's largest opposition party, whose President may indeed be
co-operating with the petitioners.) Major Reinado says he has
received a request from Lieutenant Salsinha, the leader of the
petitioners, to merge his group with Reinado's MPs. Reinado
says he has refused because of the fundamental difference in
their missions and causes. That said, Reinado does not deny
that his group has coordinated with the Petitioners and that at
least one member of his group has cooperated with a
representative of the Petitioners to raise money in Maliana.

Reinado's Motivation
--------------

8. (SBU) Reinado claims that his primary objective is to protect
the people in Aileu from the Military and that he is carrying
out a written order from Colonel Lere to conduct joint patrols
with the specialized police units (UIR and PRU) to protect
safety and stability. He denies being AWOL but says he will not
return to regular service until there has been accountability
for the "crimes" committed in Tasitolu. He acknowledges that
this could take a long time and hopes that a credible
investigation will be carried out, with international
participation, if possible. If such an investigation is carried
out, he said, he would volunteer to be the first witness. A
complete investigation is not enough, he added. The perpretators
must be brought to justice before he can return to regular
service. Despite the talk of crimes, Reinado was careful not to
assert that there were more than a handful of deaths during the
April 28 riots. The crimes to which he was referring, he
explained to Emboffs, were the execution of an illegal order for
the military to intervene in a matter that should have been
handled by the police and the way in which it was carried out,
including the distribution by Lere of military weapons to
civilians.


9. (SBU) Major Reinado told Emboffs he is also motivated by a
devotion to the military. Implicitly comparing himself to
President Gusmao and TMR, he said repeatedly that he wants his
"generation to compare with the generation of 1975" and that
just as it was the responsibility of the old generation to save
the nation in 1975, it was his generation's responsibility to
save the nation now.

Major Tilman's Group
--------------

10. (SBU) Major Tilman says his group has three primary goals:
(1) ending discrimination against "loromonu" (East Timorese from
the western part of the country); (2) resolution of the ex-FDTL
petitioners' complaints; and (3) bringing to justice those
responsible for the crimes in Tasitolu. Like Reinado, he claims
no personal knowledge of widespread atrocities committed by the
security forces in Tasitolu on April 28 and says that there is

DILI 00000220 004.2 OF 004


no confirmation that more people died than the five acknowledged
by the government. Because of persistent rumors that as many as
70 people were killed, he believes that a transparent
investigation should be conducted.


11. (SBU) According to Tilman, the government cannot resolve the
current crisis because it has a fundamental misunderstanding of
the real situation. For example, he said, the government thinks
that sacking 591 soldiers - more than one-third of the military
- is a small thing. Until the government can admit that view is
wrong, he said, it will be incapable of taking the steps needed
to heal the rift in Timorese society, and the longer the
government ignores these types of problems the worse they will
become. The best hope for quick resolution, he said, was for
"the President to act decisively."

Potential for Violence
--------------

12. (SBU) Tilman worries that the current situation could become
violent. The most important thing in the near term was to
control the increasingly impatient petitioners. While this group
does not have arms, he said, they still had the capacity to
commit violence. For this reason, he said, he had advised
Salsinha to divide the petitioners into smaller groups and to
send them to their home districts where they would be easier to
control and less likely to become disruptive. He also claims to
have persuaded Salsinha to forbid petitioners from joining the
recent demonstrations in Gleno that resulted in the death of one
police officer and the injury of several more.


13. (SBU) Comment: Before the current troubles began, Majors
Reinado and Tilman were widely regarded by the FDTL leadership
and by informed international observers as among the best and
the brightest of East Timor's future military leaders. Those
who have talked with them since their recent departure from
Dili, including Emboffs, believe that --- whatever the
advisability of their actions --- they are doing what they
sincerely believe is in the best interests of their country.
Emboffs also believe that neither Reinado nor Tilman will engage
in military action against the government unless they are
attacked or in other extreme circumstances, e.g. an attempted
coup d'etat by Lere or someone else. End comment.
REES