According to Xanana, the Australian government’s record is tainted because of its support for the integration of Timor Leste with Indonesia. Australia must not forget its past record in supporting Indonesia’s illegal occupation of Timor Leste during twenty four years.
The Prime Minister said that he is concerned for the safety for the ex-intelligence member who has became a witness for the spying case which the government of Australia had done against the Timor Leste negotiating team thought planting of listening devices in 2004.
Therefore he has written to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to ask the Prime Minister of Australia to ensure the safety of the ex-member of ASIS.
The former resistance leader also described the Australian government as “arrogant” and “dumb”, and he asked that the young people holding protests to behave in a disciplined way, “so that we can continue to project a good image in the international community”.
Speaking to the media at Nicolau Lobato Airport the Prime Minister said:
“There are many countries teaching us democracy but it is difficult. That is why in Bali I said in often in large, rich and developed countries they make us sign up to conventions, telling us you have to follow it and you have to be like this. They give us human rights conventions, conventions for this or that, even if we say we don’t have that they say, you must, you must sign it quickly but over in Europe they also many problems”.
“The problem with international conventions is that some read it the papers the do the same, these are the so-called really developed countries teaching us telling us that if we follow these conventions then they can set a good example to us. If they set examples to us, it makes us (turn to China). I put a big question saying “what is this democracy for?”
Laughing derisively, the Prime Minister described Australia as “a very big country, such a rich, country.” Gesturing with his hands, and the tip of his fingernail, he showed how “Timor Leste could fit inside Australia like a grain of sand dropped on a beach. That is why we don’t accept that they used military intelligence to explore a country yet to stand on its own, to explore our weakness and unpreparedness.”
Timor Leste is a nation which experienced many different problems after the referendum, and the people still face all sorts of problems since we achieved independence. “That is why,” Xanana said “with all this we cannot allow a very big country to use its military intelligence to exploit us…I am not saying we were dumb but we were ignorant and unprepared and we were naïve.”
The Prime Minister of Timor Leste also explained that journalist had questioned him about the surveillance but he tried dodging the questions and his reply was to “wait and see”.
“It is best to listen, sometimes you ask, and I don’t say anything, and not mention this again. Because although we are small, and a undeveloped country and we so many problems but we have an identity that we are also human, as they would say in Manatuto, we are human too?
“So this was mentioned before lightly, and in the end we found someone that can forward with information. This process took time it did not appeared instantly, no; we studied it, looked at it and studied it, look at it, sought advice”.
“We consulted the top international law professors,not just any ones, but the top ones. They are worldly known and they said that these were the best and we should take it to court. So then we prepared everything, we consulted here and there, I wrote a letter to the Australian Government proposing a meeting to sit together and talk about it. Because that a good thing to do. You have done wrong. But, oh no, the Australian Government denied it. For his part, the Prime Minister said “you don’t have evidence, this is what happened, etc, etc… I said, because we have it that is why we are here and I am writing to you.”
‘After they sent a special envoy and we argued. They sent someone else, and others met Minister Alfredo Pires and other officials. For them they think that “who do you think you are? No we don’t want that, no, no… then they sent a Minister to meet me. I said to that Minister, I have told your Prime Minister that we don’t need heroes. There is a problem, but for us, our principles are that we continue to have good relations with Australia but we have a problem and we must sit and solve it, and not let it affect things. Because the people of Timor Leste are not an irrational people, we don’t behave like other countries where they burn and walk on your flag. No, these people are well-mannered and we must continue to show the world that although we are small, we are a smart people.
Smart does not mean we have PhDs and that not is why we are smart. Our elderly, men and women in the villages don’t know how to read that is not why they are smart.”
“And so because the [Australian government] did not want to set and talk, I wrote to them again and said okay, I have said many times that if you don’t want to sit and talk then the road to the courts in The Hague is a long one. That is why I wrote to tell them that if they refused to sit and talk and for us to solve it amicably then we sent it there (to the courts). But they also prepared their team. For arbitration it is needed three people, we give one of ours they give one of theirs then the two will chose one other to be the head. All is going well.”
“In the beginning we did not want to let this news out,” the Prime Minister said. Pointing at the journalists present, he laughed and said “Many of you had asked me but I said no. It was the Australian government who brought it out first, they brought it out first but they did not say much, they only said that we were not so good.”
“So everything was only completed two days ago on the 5th, to go and speak like we normally do but we were told that we needed to follow a procedure, a procedure to take them to court, and they told us what else may be needed.”
“Our concern is now our witness. We already know that our witness cannot be present; they (courts) will not believe us they will say that we made it up. That is why on the 5th we asked the Courts to caution Australia to protect our witness so that if he is needed then he can fly there and give his testimony. That was on the 5th two days ago.”
Xanana accused Australia of arrogance, and an attitude of “we are bigger than you, we are richer and we are smarter, show us.” “But instead,” he continued, “they showed their stupidity by breaking into the house of our lawyer and stealing all things related to this case. They took our witness for investigation. So if a poor fellow like me is to analyse it I would say: what are you, scared? Or are you ashamed? Do you have a problem? You had denied before why is it that now there is this problem?”
“What is even worse is that the Attorney General who ordered the case to go to court did all these things and said this is because national security.” With an air of derision, poking his tongue out Xanana asked “wow … are we supposed to be invading Australia?” We are supposed to put a bomb and send it, or put them in a plane and drop it on Australia? Wow… the Australian government has forgotten, has forgotten since the invasion until now.” He added “they have forgotten everything. Australia has forgotten that they were like [crossed fingers] with Indonesia, collaborating with Indonesia, that is why they remained silent about the Australian journalists killed in Balibo. They knew but they remained silent about it.” Showing a picture of Indonesian and Australian Foreign Ministers, Ali Alatas and Gareth Evans, flying over our Bayu Undan and toasting each other with champagne, he added: “Our treasures divided between them saying you take 50% and I will take 50%. Sharing our assets while killing us.”
“That is what they are afraid and they talk about security, security reasons and national security, I am totally amazed. That is why I say to be that smart sometimes it can be dumb.”
“That is why these people continue to show maturity and integrity.”
“Now they have confiscated our witness’s passport, if asked in The Hague for his testimony he cannot leave the country. That is arrogance, arrogance saying you (Timor Leste) so small what do you want? That is a lack of morals, a lack of ethics. It is the first time that I hear that they use military intelligence to monitor a problem that is to do with business. That is democracy for you.” Pointing a finger to his chest, Xanana continued “Since they are a big country, a rich country they want to show that they continue to dominate the smaller ones, and so to intimidate.”
“Some of you may remember that I have toured the whole of Timor to discuss the Strategic Plan, I have always said in same places, some people are spies, I knew and I said spies (mata-mata). So now I say, that I am shouting at Australia maybe I will be afraid to go to Australia because they may kill me. All these things. (Xanana concerned with his situation).”
“But I must say that I am afraid. I am very concerned about our witness. If they ask what will I say? I could say that he was eliminated in another place, people do that. They took the witness, destroyed his mobile and no one is responsible. We only have him, if they take him away, what can we do then? So what is Australia scared of? Australia has denied any wrongdoing but why is it scared? Security reasons? So because of security reasons do we take our F-FDTL to ambush them? With our two little navy boats we are going to shoot at each other in the high seas?”
“I feel happy. I feel happy because sometimes we talk and talk and they say wah! Now we tell you, now we are standing up, it’s really arrogant! But no, it is not arrogance. Just showing them that we can also think with our brains, but they say that we are arrogant. Their (Australia’s) arrogance is what they say; you (TL) are so small that we can continue to keep you down.”
Pointing to both shoulders, Xanana said ‘That is what I said when I toured the whole country, 500 hundred years of Portugal weighing on the left shoulder, twenty-four years of Indonesia weighing on the right shoulder, for as long as I live no one will sit on my head.”
“I will simply ask that we express our displeasure or unhappiness with civility. Not to go and destroy or to insult. Together let us show that these people are a smart people. I don’t want people insulting each other; we must show that Timorese people are smart. If he is not happy then he will only protest in front like now.”
Asked if it could have bad impact if the Australia government does not allow our witness to go and testify, Xanana replied: ‘Impossible. The [Australians] have played a trick saying by destroying the mobile phone, losing it etc etc… the impact is that we will not be able to argue our case. But the case is still on, and I have already giving a statement asking Prime Minister Tony Abbot to give security/protection. Security so that nothing can happen to him (witness). When his phone was destroyed we had suspicions. I don’t think it will have a negative impact, unless his other mobile is destroyed or that he goes and have something to eat in some place then all of a sudden he has a bad stomach ache, aah! That is what the rascals in intelligence traditionally do.”
“That is why I have issued a statement to asking Prime Minsiter Tony Abbot to please ensure the safety, the physical safety of the witness.