Timor Tour of Duty

Nov 2nd, 2009, in News, by

A newly released film on East Timor in 1999 opens old wounds between Indonesia and Australia.

Premiering at the New York International Film Festival, October 22 to 29, is the Australian documentary Timor Tour of Duty which is said to “explosively” reveal the Indonesian military’s secret war against Australian and international soldiers in East Timor, after the new country voted to secede from Indonesia in 1999.


Trailer

The documentary features a re-creation of a firearm and grenade attack on Australian forces near the border with Indonesia on 14th June 2001, which many have suspected was carried out by TNI Special Forces, Kopassus, dressed up as East Timorese pro-integrationist militia. edenmagnet

Timor Tour of Duty

Timor Tour of Duty is directed and produced by Melbournian Sasha Uzunov, said to be a freelance photo journalist, blogger, and amateur film maker, and who himself served in the Australian army, doing two tours in East Timor (1999 and 2001). timortourofduty

Some of the, sometimes curious, press releases about the film:

Pete’s comrade, Scott Sherwin reveals they [returning Australian soldiers] were treated as outcasts by the Australian government because the true details about the firefight could have disrupted sensitive diplomatic relations with Indonesia.

Indonesia still remains a hotbed of anti-western sentiment as witnessed by terrorist bombings in recent times.

And

Sasha Uzunov, an Australian film maker and former soldier who served in East Timor believes that the United States was the “good guy” back in 1999 when it intervened in the tiny southeast Asian land of East Timor to avert genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military.

The film recently won a special commendation Platinum Reel Award from the 2009 Nevada Film Festival.


99 Comments on “Timor Tour of Duty”

  1. achmad Sudarsono says:

    ps – couple of typos – haven”t had my Teh Poci yet – should be (third para) upset AT injustice. and mostly Brown MEN (not me).n

  2. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Oigal,

    I thought you’d be busy challenging the local Bupati to fisticuffs over a pembantu’s honour.

    But sorry, you asked so many – which two questions ?

  3. Oigal says:

    Laugh..Help me? Hardly, you are pretty well compromised on this thread by your own wordsa as a supporter of the Brutality of Indonesian Occupation of East Timor as acceptable and understandable because other people have done nasty things because of …now this is sad..nuance and context.

    Indeed, I have already agreed that many people and governments need to hand their heads in shame at the support provided to the brutal regime at the time but by continually “zooming out” as you do, is only re-hashing the excuse for the absence of justice for a very particular instance of brutality that continues to this day in other regions.

    Your silly inferences of racist (aka brown men) and aboriginals is a sad attempt to muddy the waters. Stolen Generations no less (just as a matter of interest, name three?). However, if you want a list of simply astounding acts of brutality against the aboriginals and actions take both then and now, I am happy to help you deepen your incredibly shallow knowledge of the topic. If you are going to try and use the aboriginal issue for your own agenda at least have the common decency and respect to research some of the pivotal points (both good n bad) in recent aboriginal history instead of yet another free rider on their plight.

    Other than that topic is done, you have pointedly refused to explain what a “nuance” and “context” justified the slaughter after the referendum and pointedly failed to explain to what extent your current patron demands your support for the crocodiles. However, little more was expected.

  4. Oigal says:

    Oh Assmad,

    Back to the moronic insults, true crocodile stuff in the absence of substance both personal and factual. Must be very little crocs dream to grow up and be a bule pretending to be an Indonesian supporting the crocodiles against the rest. Mum must be proud 🙂

  5. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Oigal,

    Calm down, sunshine; we know you’re morally outraged; you don’t have to mentally relive the Interfet misssion. And yes, darling, we know the occupation was brutal without all the adjectives.

    What were the two questions ? Do you mean:

    1) Nuance and context in relation to East Timor ?

    2) Relative human development rates before and after occupation ?

  6. Oigal says:

    The reality is East Timor’s struggling with much nastier forces now than the Indonesian occupation.

    Pretty much sums up your position and althoiugh stunning in its (to be generous) misunderstanding of what occured directly after the referendum it makes things very clear..

    Sleep tight little one don’t let the nightmares wake you

  7. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hey, hang on, Oigy, big guy,

    You must have served in the Australian military while it had the first round of joint operations with the Indonesian military 1996 and before. Seems to me Australia was a stalwart support of Indonesia’s ET policy from 1975-1999.

    Seeing as many horrific abuses were happening at the time, did you write letters to the newspaper ? Did you join ETAN ? Did you help the East Timorese independence movement ?

    Why not ?

    Maybe you were just following orders ? (The Nuremberg defense).

    You’d think that an issue of such importance would mobilize right-minded Australian soldiers – unless of course they were restricted by laws, institutions and orders from their superiors.

    Maybe, in your case, inaction was just complicated and rich in nuance outsiders wouldn’t understand…

  8. Oigal says:

    Outrage ,,,nagh chuckling at you tho. It is interesting watching you squirm and wriggle in trying to defend what happened post referendum in ET. A position most reasonable people would call indefensible except for the most ardent and ignorant nationalist. For the pretend Indonesian who spends so much time pretending to be of the people (much to their horror as the last thing they need is yet another patronising bule) its bizarre watching you side with the crocs.

    Seems to me Australia was a stalwart support of Indonesia’s ET policy from 1975-1999.

    Indeed.. I already acknowledged that or have you forgotten already. Perhaps just another another distortion to try and regain some cred? In fact, that the occupation was supported by successive Australian Labor Parties is very handy to belt the Australian Left around the head with.

    Let’s see

    You are a supporter of the East Timor occupation with its inherent brutality.

    The excess of those in control should not be of concern as hey injustices against Aboriginals, Inca, Roman Galley Slaves, Vietnamese, Indians, Catholic Choir Boys, English Orphans to Australia, The Leper Knights of Acre (have I missed any yet) have yet to be fully resolved. But wait, now the excesses of post referendum can be explained by what Oigal was doing (or not doing) in 1996, my influence truly beyond anything I imagined.

    Do correct me if I am wrong but during directly from your posts the above seems pretty obvious..

    ETAN, (I do recommend some reading for you there, perhaps a modicum of empathy for the people you so casually dismiss as casualties of history may yet emerge)actually no, whilst it is a pretty good source of references, as an organisation a little bit too far to the left for my taste.

    Although up until the Santa Cruz Massacre, I do admit I had never realised the depth of oppression. Not a good thing, as I was living in Kupang at the time and should have been more aware perhaps.

    Now you are correct the lead up to the occupation and its implementation was complicated and had many fathers. However, to try and over lay that onto what happened after the referendum AS AN EXCUSE to what was plain and simple criminal behavior of the worst kind and nothing to do with geo politics is just a poor crocodile attempt to obfuscate a simple criminal issue.

    BTW, I know it must be frustrating for you that in the absence of real dialogue from you on this topic, people refuse to be drawn on your little red herrings. Life’s a bitch when you actually have to display more than a superficial knowledge of a topic and the ability to Google a cute phrase to order to appear well read (I am actually embarrassed that you had me fooled there for a little while, I actually thought you did have certain depth of knowledge although viewed from a weird perspective.

    Unfortunately a bunch of 90s university clichés and the ability to Google do not the scholar make).
    Gee..What does an Assmad do when the name calling and misdirection don’t hide the shallow depths to which it aspires?

    As for the questions, quit trying to avoid them…after all should be merely an expansion of your position.(quite the corner you have boxed yourself into tho) .

    Other than that topic is done, you have pointedly refused to explain what a “nuance” and “context” justified the slaughter after the referendum and pointedly failed to explain to what extent your current patron demands your support for the crocodiles. However, little more was expected….yawn…

  9. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Questions, sure, Oigal. As long as you answer the ones below.

    Let’s just clarify the debate:

    * Look, if there’s a solid case under international law, under the chain of command argument, or any other against Wiranto and other Indonesian generals, I say go for it. What happened in 1999 was in front of the world’s eyes. We don’t need to go over it. East Timor was razed, population displaced etc. That’s the legal case.

    So I can’t really answer your question, because I don’t think nuance and context justified what’s happened.

    * I’m saying as a ‘concerned Australian’ there’s great moral hypocrisy in all this outrage you’re showing as Australia – and its military – was part of the process that led up to the 1999 referendum.

    You served with the Australian military, you say, under the ‘noble profession of arms’ while the military was cooperating with the TNI, then ABRI.

    So apart from ratting out your old comrades in arms (remember Kopassus training in Australia)?

    – Why didn’t you resign your commission in disgust at what them Indons were doing to the East Timorese ? It wasn’t a secret.

    – Why as a noble Aussie digger didn’t you do more to help them in the years leading up to 1999 ? You could have joined ETAN, spoken out, or any number of things ?

    Could it be that the Indonesians were doing a nice little job for Australia keeping the area secure, free from communists, and keeping the seaways open for Australian exports ?

    And you stood by and let it happen.

  10. Oigal says:

    My My..we are getting personal now, touching a nerve perhaps there is a guilt gene in there someplace. Oh well, at least we are moving on from it’s Richard the Lion Heart and Tricky dicky’s fault, its actually all Oigal’s fault.

    Mmm… I am having trouble reconciling these two comments from you tho

    So I can’t really answer your question, because I don’t think nuance and context justified what’s happened.

    I’m saying the Timorese – and Indonesian soldiers – deserve more than a cowboy’s ‘n’ injuns view of history. (Of course, it’s so much more complicated when we’re dealing with Australian atrocities towards its own indigenous people). Perhaps only white man’s history is deserving of complexity and nuance

    Wasn’t that always my point, what happened after 1999 was pure criminal acts and nuance had nothing to do with anything in this case.

    Why didn’t you resign your commission in disgust at what them Indons were doing to the East Timorese ? It wasn’t a secret.

    Another little fib, up until Santa Cruz it pretty much was (shades of another province perhaps) with special permission required to enter any sensative area. Certainly to the average joe in the street.

    Could it be that the Indonesians were doing a nice little job for Australia keeping the area secure, free from communists, and keeping the seaways open for Australian exports ?

    You are still trying to confuse the criminal acts post 1999 with a much larger issue of Indonesian annexation of ET and they simply cannot be overlaid. Still so where are we now, its the Australians and Oigals fault…gee when do the guys that actually armed the militia and looked the otherway take their turn?

    I will leave with official statement from the senior commander at the time od the Santa Cruz Massacre.

    “The army cannot be underestimated. Finally we had to shoot them. Delinquents like these agitators must be shot, and they will be….”

    Nicely nuanced wouldn’t you agree.

  11. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Oigal,

    Well, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if the argument’s beyond you; they probably didn’t get past bayoneting Asians at infantry school.

    * I’d be the first to pop the Teh Poci if they put Wiranto and others on trial in a human rights court over the post referendum violence. Maybe even a little champagne (if it was from the same bottle Gareth Evans and Ali Alatas toasted with over the Timor Gap).

    * I just think for the likes of you – and Australia – it’d be the final step in a long process of conscience laundering. As you say, that’s besides the first point. But it’s an important one, because we’re talking about the record. I picked on your moral outrage because you read and hear it alot from Australia – a country that was an accomplice in the occupation of East Timor for 23 years (24? when was that letter sent).

    * Not a secret what was happening in East Timor ? C’mon, Oigster. Don’t pull that one. The Australian military had the best sigint available. And anyway – did you resign your commission in disgustover Santa Cruz, or did you hold on to that nice little pension and langauges scholarship ? A little extra combat pay, perhaps when you were righting wrongs in East Timor ?

    Besides, it wasn’t a secret that Suharto was a ruthless military strongman. And yet Australia still maintained an alliance, which you were part of as part of the “noble profession of arms.”

    * But here’s the crux of it:

    You are still trying to confuse the criminal acts post 1999 with a much larger issue of Indonesian annexation of ET and they simply cannot be overlaid. Still so where are we now, its the Australians and Oigals fault…gee when do the guys that actually armed the militia and looked the otherway take their turn?

    Rest my case, big guy. I think they’re very much overlaid. Very, very, very much overlaid and part of a single process. Oh, gee shucks, the Indonesian military ran rampage in East Timor – what a surprise. I was born yesterday. We’ve trained with them, trained them, spied on them with Sigint, shared intelligence, pitted academic resources to studying their history, focused satellites on Timor to study troop movements.

    But no, see, when Australia’s involved it’s more complicated . They cannot be overlaid ?

    Why not big guy ? Because the Australian defense elite supported the occupation of East Timor for 24 years ? Because the Australian army helped train Kopassus ? Because Oigal’s moral outrage might seem, um, a little bit silly ?

    Big guy, Oigster. That’s all fine. It’s fine if they put Wiranto and others on trial – it’s a step forward and alot of East Timorese will probably be popping their own Teh Poci.

    Others – about 80 percent of the population – will just be wondering how to get their goat/coffee/cassava to market and perhaps wondering why the Australians have such short memories.

    Finally, sorry there isn’t more referencing, Big Oigs. It’s a blog for Rhoma’s sake, not a thesis at ADFA.

    Drs. A. Sudarsono

  12. Oigal says:

    Seriously Assmad, if you wish to continue the personal attacks at least work with assumptions and acknowledge same

    * Not a secret what was happening in East Timor ? C’mon, Oigster. Don’t pull that one. The Australian military had the best sigint available

    Quite possibly, last I heard they did not routinely issue detailed briefs to all n sundry (go figure). True is I personally never really noticed anything until after Santa Cruz and I was a pretty regular visitor (albeit I was more interested in scuba diving than anything else..but I guess we can all be excused a certain callowness in youth. A certain ignorance comes with not expecting that a Military could possibly act that way with its own people).

    But you are right, its always someones elses fault…that way nothing has to change.

  13. Oigal says:

    There we have it, the crocodiles who issued the guns and go ahead to the Militia post 1999 have no case to answer..its all Oigals and the Australians fault (“much to the relief of Nixon, who must have been thinking gee whiz what else am I going to get the blame for”).

    Anyway enough time toying with ASSMAD..wheres the mad yanks?

  14. Oigal says:

    at infantry school

    – wrong not me

    A little extra combat pay, perhaps when you were righting wrongs in East Timor ?

    – wrong not me, not there

    did you resign your commission in disgustover Santa Cruz

    wrong again and time line way off..

    Gee not even close..at any time ..

  15. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Well at least he was truthful. ‘More interested in Scuba diving than anything else…’

    ‘I never noticed anything till after Santa Cruz…’ Pretty bad, Oigs. Maybe stick to bayonetting…

    True is I personally never really noticed anything until after Santa Cruz and I was a pretty regular visitor (albeit I was more interested in scuba diving than anything else..but I guess we can all be excused a certain callowness in youth.

  16. Oigal says:

    True enough we tend to be a bit self absorbed in our youth, some grow out of it some go on to become internet psuedo Indonesians. 🙂

  17. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    A Tale of Timor

    By. A. Sudarsono

    East Timor. 1990.

    Maria Esmeralda had raised four children from the proceeds from a little beachside fishing hut she ran with her husband, Joao. She served cold drinks, coconut and fruit juices, coca cola, tea and coffee to the Indonesian soldiers and their Australian guests who came in for breaks from scuba diving offshore. Joao was a fishermen, until that night he never came back.

    Today was a good day. The heat was gentle, eased by a light breeze that swept up into the earth-red hills behind her. Little Arlindo, 11, was playing on the beach, gathering shells. A group of divers was spending big, buying coffee, fish, rice, and coke.

    “Mama, mama,” said Arlindo.

    “Yes dear.”

    “Where’s my big sister, Mariana.”

    “You know she’s working at that place on the military base,”

    “But she always comes back angry, and sometimes with bruises.”

    “Shush now.”

    Arlindo was big enough to ask questions. Why did so many people disappear ? Where had his cousins gone ? Why were some of them friendly to the soldiers and why did some of them hate them so much ?

    “And what about my big brother Nuno.”

    “You know he’s gone, ‘Lindo.”

    Lindo had wanted to be a priest. He was active in Church groups. Then one night he had brought home a book from South America where people had risen up against the soldiers. He started speaking out in Church. One night he just didn’t come back.

    “And who’s that white man ?” said Arlindo.

    “He’s with the Indonesia,” said Maria.

    “Will he help us, Mama ?”

    “They call him ‘Big Guy,’ but he’s just here to Scuba Dive.”

    Every time a white face appeared a flurry of hope went through the village. The priests had talked of other parts of the world – of Latin America, of somewhere called Poland. Lindo was starting to wonder about his brother and ask questions.

    “Maybe the Australians will help, ‘Nino (little boy). We helped them many, many years ago. But they went away. Now they work with the soldiers. Don’t bother big guy – he’s having a good time.”

    Big Guy was a generous customer, buying fruit juice for his friends, fellow Australians and the Indonesian soldiers, including Colonel Wahyu.

    “But will they help us Mama,” said Lindo.

    “Shush now, – go and play.”

    1996. Graveyard, Dili.

    Maria Esmerelda looked down at the graves in front of her. Husband, three sons. Little Arlindo had kept asking question after question, specially after those Church classes.

    “What are human rights?”

    “I don’t know, ‘Nino.”

    “Do they have them in Australia?”

    “I dont’ know, Nino.”

    “Will they help us ? Will the Big Guy help us ?”

    “I don’t know, Nino — some of the Church people say they will.”

    It was too late now. There was no one to help at the stall. Neighbours had taken over her husband’s fishing rounds. All that came from the Church people were promises, promies, of help, of heaven, of redemption.

    She looked down at the grave and remembered Arlindo’s words: “will the Australians help us?”

    Too late. They went scuba diving instead.

  18. diego says:

    Great story achmad. But something’s missing. There’s a mention of church, priests, and kids. Maybe you can improve the story by making a link between those three words?

  19. Oigal says:

    As usual long on Bullsh*t short on facts, Actually for someone like yourself to claim an connection at all to the people, who let’s face it as per your statement were better off under the occupation (unless you were the 20% who disappeared for ever, then again time again you have proven suffering is merely grist for the poor trolls borat)…is enough to stomach churn the hardiest troll watcher 🙂

    Assmad, you made a fool of yourself on this thread with your support of the crocodiles with the sole defence the Incas had it bad too. Never did get around to telling who is your patron again, you must have one to take such an bizarre view. No amount of pretend story making is going to redeem you or amuse anyone. In fact reminds one of the Singing General who sang to the people of ET as his way of support for the people of ET. Difference between him and you at least he makes no bones about being a murdering crocodile. Its people like yourself falling over themselves to maintain the status quo and the crocs who owe the world an apology.

    Do let us know they day, your existence actually makes difference to anyone, anywhere 🙂 until then thanks for the minor amusement on an otherwise slow day (mmm..could a day be anything else but slow taking with AS).

  20. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    So Oigal,

    Did you resign your commission after Santa Cruz in disgust ?

    Why not ?

  21. Oigal says:

    YAWN…try as you might its not about me..unlike yourself no need to scream look at how clever I am and you time lines, places and everything else is all wrong 🙂 In fact you never really get much right do you.

    Now sshs real work to do

  22. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Oigal,

    Did you or didn’t you ? If not, why not ?

    I think readers would be pretty interested to know how you got into East Timor in the early 1990s (or earlier), if you were with the Australian military, and indeed if you had contact with the Indonesian military, or who gave you permission.

    Most importantly, I think people would be most interested to know how your compassion for the East Timorese was so great you managed to go Scuba Diving in the midst of an insurgency and rampant human rights abuses.

    Unless it’s, um, complicated.

  23. Oigal says:

    Laugh…none of your business..but for hell of it, my experiences in ET were as a civilian, you are the only one is seems fixated on this soldiering myth (oh and perhaps your croc patron)..get rejected as mentally unstable or something?

    Now my wayward troll, enough trying to distract from the issue at hand you have been exposed in the Jakarta post today no less. Is there like special course you crocs do in order to justify your misdeeds and inability to articulate a coherent position?

    “When faced with thwarting crisis, complicate and confuse to obfuscate the original problem. A cynical political maneuver manufactured to defuse public opinion, prevent broad coalitions.

    The shield of misdirection, the art of distraction.

    As effective in modern politics as it was in the age of Sun Tzu: “All warfare is based on deception.”

    Whether it be Indonesia’s Truth and Friendship Commission to redefine accountability for rights abuses in East Timor, or Sukarno’s anticolonialist rant of New Emerging Forces to mollify failed economic policies at home.

    Can’t bear the truth? ……

    When all seems lost, the final step is scapegoating.”

    Well seems you have used the play book all the way down to the scapegoating, so you are about done, exposed, weighted measured and found wanting.

  24. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Oigal,

    But didn’t you say in 2005 or 2006 you’d be in the military for 20 years ? Your Blog, which from memory was started in 2005 puts you at age 48. If you joined up age 18, that’d take you to age 38, in 1995. It still covers a lot of the era of alliance with Indonesia.

    You’ve been trying to paint me as defending the post-1999 violence, which I didn’t. I’m saying Australian moral rage over East Timor is deeply hypocritical seeing as it helped set up the situation. Its especially hypocritical coming from anyone who served with the Australian military from 1974-1999.

  25. Oigal says:

    Assmad nice try but we are passed the “When all seems lost, the final step is scapegoating.” stage.

    🙂 As I said, your time lines are all screwed up but if I thought for a moment you anything like a serious commentator I would honour you with an answer but in my book you are deserving of neither ( A minor point but most western militaries don’t interfere in domestic politics as unelected thugs a concept you perhaps have missed on your brief forays into sanity)

    You’ve been trying to paint me as defending the post-1999 violence, which I didn’t.

    mmm Your own statements would dispute your whining claims of misrepresentation

    I’m saying the Timorese – and Indonesian soldiers – deserve more than a cowboy’s ‘n’ injuns view of history. (Of course, it’s so much more complicated when we’re dealing with Australian atrocities towards its own indigenous people). Perhaps only white man’s history is deserving of complexity and nuance.

    The reality is East Timor’s struggling with much nastier forces now than the Indonesian occupation

    Although the mere thought that the mighty ASSMAD would dare complain about being misrepresented is highly amusing. Didn’t it write an article on how to lie and misrepresent other people on the internet once? Is that not one of its claims to fame? Why not enjoying it? I have to admit I am enjoying it quite a lot although your position as croc supporter has made it easy this time.

    As for a croc calling someone a hypocrite, one day you might do something good in your life and your opinion just might count for something but till now..your opinion is worth nothing more than a half arsed chuckle on a hot day.

  26. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Oigal,

    Well, ok, whatever makes you happy.

    Final salvo for now:

    * If the Indonesian generals can be prosecuted under international law, great. A step forward.

    * Australia is morally culpable in what happened in 1999 and the moral outrage of people like yourself is very problematic, if not hypocritical.

    Enjoy fisticuffs with the Bupati defending the pembantus honour.

  27. Oigal says:

    Thanks enjoyed watching the squirm. You can be sure I will be around the next time a pseudo Indonesian who claims to represent the greater Indonesian people if only to challenge a very problematic, if not hypocritical non entity and to pass a few frivolous hours.

  28. Oigal says:

    and for my final salvo..

    * If the Indonesian generals can be prosecuted under international law, great. A step forward.

    Actuallly that’s rubbish they are pissants in history and putting them on trial will only casue more bloodshed with misplaced nationalist morons running amok.

    What would be a fair greater step forward is when the outdated silly notions like you have been spouting “that it is not fair and its always someone elses fault” are put to rest and personal responsibility takes over.

    Even if every other country was egging them on, the oigal was running wild with the Inca’s and the leper knights of acre, it was some very nasty home grown people and no one else who chose the what path to travel and believed they could do so with nothing but silence from the masses. Perhaps times are achanging tho from the latest news…certainly not a good week to be a croc..

    see ya

  29. achmad Sudarsono says:

    Whoa, Whoa, Steady there, boy.

    Oigal, I don’t want to have to give you another bloody nose.

    We can get into this if you want, but if you’re willing to dismiss UN investigations, you’re getting way out of your depth. You’re going beyond international law and into philosophy. Trust me, pal, that ain’t your thing.

    Better off sticking to ranting about the local Bupati and injustices done to Pembantus.

  30. ngurah koriawan says:

    Pak guru ahmad

    teh poci is ready. well done pak guru, ibu pertiwi must be very proud of you.

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