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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06DILI279
2006-05-31 15:15:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Dili
Cable title:  

EMBOFFS INTERVIEW NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSIONER IN HIDING

Tags:  PGOV MARR PHUM TT CU CH 
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OO RUEHCHI RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHDT #0279/01 1511515
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FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2602
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0467
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHXX/GENEVA IO MISSIONS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0535
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0457
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0305
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0319
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0396
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0191
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 1927
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000279 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
NSC FOR HOLLY MORROW
USPACOM FOR JOC AND POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 5/31/2016
TAGS: PGOV MARR PHUM TT CU CH
SUBJECT: EMBOFFS INTERVIEW NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSIONER IN HIDING

DILI 00000279 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: Grover Joseph Rees, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy
Dili, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C) Summary: Vice Interior Minister Alcino Barris, Police
Commissioner Paulo Martins and dozens of police officers from
all branches have reassembled the national police (PNTL)
hierarchy at an orphanage in the hills overlooking Dili. The
group has been disarmed by the Australian Defense Forces (ADF)
and is operating under the direction of the President. Martins,
who has not been seen publicly for several weeks, said he fled
Dili after being warned of a plot on his life by Interior
Minister Rogerio Lobato. He expects the police to be reinstated
soon by the Australian Defense Forces (ADF), reports that
military (FDTL) patrols in Dili were more extensive than had
been admitted by the government, and like many Timorese views
the current crisis in part through the prism of ethnic and
regional rivalries. He reports that Minister Lobato is deeply
suspicious of the United States and believes East Timor's
security forces should rely on the governments of China and Cuba
for training. End Summary.



2. (C) Emboffs met with Police Commissioner Paulo Martins at a
remote site in the hills overlooking Dili on May 29. Martins'
headquarters is at an orphanage near the President's house in
Balibar, in the hills above Dili. Martins wore shorts,
flip-flops, and a customized police shirt adorned with someone
else's name. Approximately 50 police officers appeared to be
staying at the site. While en route, Emboffs also met briefly
with Vice Interior Minister Alcino Barris and Deputy Police
Commissioner Ismael Babo.



3. (C) Martins, who has not been seen publicly since April 22,
said that despite his absence from the public eye, he is still
the PNTL Commissioner and answers to the President through Vice
Minister of the Interior Alcino Barris. Most PNTL District
Commanders remain loyal to him and the President, he said,
particularly those in the western districts. In addition,
several hundred police officers were standing by in Dili waiting
for his return so they can resume their duties. Martins
believes that his men will play an important role in assisting
ADF with its operations, but he did not yet know precisely what
that role would be.



4. (C) Martins told Emboffs the situation in the country had
deteriorated to the point that many Timorese felt that they
could only trust members of their own ethnic group. Although he
claimed to be critical of this view, he frequently implied that
senior military officials and some formerly respected members of
the police force could not be trusted because they were
Lorosa'e, or easterners.

Why he Fled Dili



5. (C) The Police Commissioner said he fled to the hills after
receiving warnings via SMS (cell phone text messages) that
Lobato planned to have him killed. These fears were confirmed,
he said, when he received an SMS (which he showed to emboffs)
from Lobato asking him to meet to discuss a surprise trip to
Portugal, followed quickly by another SMS warning him that the
plan to kill him would be carried out at the proposed meeting.
Martins, who had been actively avoiding Lobato for nearly a
week, decided that the situation was too dangerous for him in
Dili and chose to flee to the orphanage and put himself under
the protection of the President. He believes his life is still
in danger and will not travel to Dili without an armed escort.



6. (C) Martins' distaste for the Minister of the Interior is
well known. During the meeting he described Lobato as a "stupid"
man with the "brain of a terrorist". He said Lobato wanted to
have him killed for many reasons, including his persistent
efforts to block the politicization of the police and for
documenting and, in some cases, circumventing Lobato's improper

DILI 00000279 002.2 OF 003


attempts to arm civilians. Lobato, he said, was particularly
incensed that Martins changed unit assignments immediately prior
to the Fretilin congress, dulling Lobato's efforts to use
members of the police to keep dissident Fretilin members in
line.



7. (C) Martins said Lobato improperly provided police weapons
and uniforms to Fretilin supporters throughout the country, but
especially in Dili and in the Western districts. Some of the
weapons were requisitioned directly from the armory but in other
cases Lobato improperly took them from active police units. In
once case, he said, Lobato ordered Border Patrol Commander
Antonio de Cruz to give him 17 assault rifles and in another he
took rifles from the Baucau Police Task Force and Rapid
Intervention Unit (UIR). Martins documented the improper
weapons transfers, gave the information to Foreign Minister Jose
Ramos Horta, and also reported the matter to Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri. Several persons who received the uniforms and weapons
have turned themselves in to the President and will be revealed
publicly "at the appropriate time".

Martins on the Petitioners



8. (C) Martins presented a new spin on the deployment of the
military to put down the riot in Tasitolu on April 28 and 29.
According to Martins, General Taur Matan Ruak (TMR) expelled the
"petitioners" from FDTL without following the correct procedures
or preparing an official notice of dismissal. TMR knew that
President would not support his decision, so he and his men,
Col. Lere in particular, told the Prime Minister repeatedly that
the petitioners were planning a coup and that he must meet the
threat with military action. Alkatiri, whom Martins described as
always prepared to believe people were after him, was easily
convinced and, after the petitioner-led demonstration in front
of his office turned violent, was determined to crush the
petitioners. When the order came for the FDTL to intervene,
Martins said, the military knew it was coming and was already
prepared.

Statements on the Dissident Military



9. (C) Martins denies rumors that he supported the dissident
military groups such as the one led by Maj. Alfredo Reinado. On
the contrary, he said, he had specifically refused a request
from Maj. Marcos Tilman to deploy a detachment from the Police
Reserve Unit (URP) to protect him in Gleno. Martins claims to
have interviewed several of Maj. Reinado's men who were present
when the first shots were fired in Fatuahi on May 23, and he
believes Reinado ordered his men to fire first.

Military Patrols in Dili



10. (C) On the evening of May 23, Martins said, he attended a
meeting that included Prime Minister Alkatiri, Minister of
Defense Rodrigues, Minister of the Interior Lobato, and General
Taur Matan Ruak. At the meeting it was decided that the Police
and the Military should divide the responsibility for patrolling
Dili between them. The military had already commenced operations
in Dili, he said, but there had been several near misses between
the police and FDTL. The organizations formally divided the city
into military and police sectors. This was contrary to
assurances by Alkatiri and other Government leaders that FDTL
patrols in Dili consisted only of the participation of military
police officers (MPs) in joint patrols with PNTL officers.

On Lobato, China, and Cuba



11. (C) According to Martins, Rogerio Lobato accuses the U.S. of
conspiring with the petitioners and the Catholic Church. He
believes that Timor should rely more heavily on the governments
of China and Cuba for military training. He quoted Lobato as
having said that the Cubans are most willing to provide as many
military advisors as required and, if necessary, to have them
pose as doctors so as not to arouse suspicion. Martins remains
deeply angry with the Cubans because two of the doctors in Gleno

DILI 00000279 003.2 OF 003


allegedly refused to provide medical care to a police officer
who had been wounded by the military.
REES