Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Be Afraid - Media Welcomed To Dili By Death

The danger inherent in 'operation stabilise' was hammered home yesterday to the estimated 100 international news media who have accompanied the Australian/Thai led UN peace-keeping mission to East Timor.

But the first casualty was not one of the 2000+ heavily armed peace-keepers, he was a Dutch journalist reporting for the London based Financial Times newspaper.

In an on-camera interview broadcast by the BBC last night, the rider of the motorcycle taxi which carried Sander Thoenes to his death said he had been challenged by two men dressed in TNI - Indonesian Military - uniform. He had not stopped - because he wanted to save the journalist - but they then started shooting, he said.

Today Thoenes was found lying in the street in in Dili's Becora district an area thought to be a 'militia' controlled area. He had an ear missing and his blood covered note-book was beside him.

He went missing yesterday evening - day two of 'operation stabilise'. The UN mandated peace keeping force invited in by the Indonesian Government on September 12 after it apparently lost control of militia units and 'rogue elements' in the TNI inside East Timor.

Following the discovery of the body the commander of the peace-keeping mission Major General Peter Cosgrove warned - as refugees streamed back into the capital from the surrounding hills - that Dili was far from safe yet, and that their appeared to be a resurgence in 'militia' activity.

Whether he is equally concerned about 'rogue elements' in the TNI is a question as yet unanswered.

Late yesterday NZT details of the peace-keeping force's first apparent contact with what may have been a 'rogue' unit began to emerge.

Early this morning East Timor time - around 5.30am NZT - the peace-keepers 'rescued' two more journalists - a reporter and a photographer - from what one the rescued journalists later said looked like it was a TNI unit.

'They said they were East Timorese army' he told the BBC.

In initial reports the first real test of the peace-keeping operation it was descibed as being against a 'militia' unit who had taken the journalists prisoner.

The dead of the night rescue operation reportedly involved a crack army team working in the middle of the night with an armored personnel carrier in support.

Scoop's attempts to contact the official Australian Defence Force spokesman to clarify who exactly they believe they rescued the journalists from have so far been unsuccessful.

There were more signs of tension inside the Indonesian military on the ground in Dili today with the burning of a TNI barracks -- the second arson of an army barracks in two days.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>

Dunne Speaks: 25 Years Of MMP - And The Government Wants To Make It Harder For Small Parties
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the New Zealand’s first MMP election. Over the last quarter century, the MMP electoral system has led to our Parliament becoming more socially and ethnically diverse, more gender balanced, and to a wider spread of political opinion gaining representation. Or, as one of my former colleagues observed somewhat ruefully at the time, Parliament starting to look a little more like the rest of New Zealand... More>>

Eric Zuesse: China Says U.S.-China War Is Imminent

China has now publicly announced that, unless the United States Government will promptly remove from China’s Taiwan province the military forces that it recently sent there, China will soon send military forces into that province, because, not only did the U.S. secretly send “special operations forces” onto that island... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>