Complexity

I spent most of the week thinking about how somebody — anybody — needed to start mapping relationships around the events of February.

And lo and behold thanks to an anonymous leaker on Wikileaks, we have access to the amazing mapping of relationships that investigators generated. Unfortunately we do not know what the timeframe for this data is.

One thing that immediately becomes apparent is that Alfredo, Salsinha and Paulo Remedios are were all important nodes in this social network. Some names are notorious and expected: Rai-los, Hercules, Angie Pires. Others less so! So much Googling to do, and so little time…

This mapping almost merits a special entry on Visual Complexity, a new favorite site of mine. Perhaps with a little programming help, investigators could visualize this information in an even more dramatic and dynamic fashion.

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The timing of a text

Two documents that prematurely saw the light of day.

(1): the signed (and promulgated) version of the midterm budget, which Ramos Horta claimed he had signed in case the Appeals Court decided in favor of the AMP government during his absence, to be published only if the Court allowed for the “extraordinary transfer” from the Petroleum Fund. It mysteriously made its way from his drawer to the Government press while Ramos Horta was in Manila. I suppose Ramos Horta is off the hook in a way, because the Appeals Court decided today to allow the bloated budget. This is a document that nearly all international observers (including the IMF and World Bank), opposition, and civil society came out against.

Hundreds of millions of dollars to be handed out in the form of cash transfers and subsidized rice.

A recent Chatham House report on oil dependency stated the blindingly obvious: that Timor has reached its “peak oil” income this year, and it is only downhill from here. Timor has less time than any other oil-dependent country to figure out how to live without oil;

(2): the autopsy report from the investigation of Alfredo’s death, which of course showed that they suffered burns around their bullet wounds that suggest he was shot at close range. The Australian got a hold of a copy earlier this week, much to the distress of the Prosecutor General and the team investigating events. Portuguese journalist Felícia Cabrita had already come to this conclusion in April. She insinuates that Alfredo was betrayed by FDTL Presidential guard Albino Assis and his right hand man Assanku (who was arrested in Indonesia in April).

Lampião

Alfredo. He has been gone for 6 months now.

There is something so powerful about a folk hero killed in his prime.

I was reminded yesterday of the story of Lampião, who was a hero/outlaw character in Ceará, northeastern Brazil, in the 1920s and 1930s.

Killed and beheaded by police seventy years ago this year, after a long run of banditry (and interviews with the media!), he still remains today an important figure in Brazilian culture.

He was the subject of a feature film, novela(s), an untold number of songs including Nação Zumbi and Chico Science’s “Sangue de Bairro”, poems, and now of course internet tributes.

On Youtube, we can “meet” Lampião, who seemed to understand the importance of film just like Alfredo.

Is Alfredo as great an icon as Lampião? What will remain of Alfredo in 2078?

Spook-y

I once had a nightmare about being pulled aside for questioning by some shadowy officials regarding my research in Timor. Paranoid?

My last trip in Timor, I was asked for a copy of my passport to buy a SIM card. And I was required to give a full address. I thought that was bit excessive.

I recently read in a Timorese publication that all Timor Telcom SIM cards must be registered. Unregistered cards will be illegal.

And now the law for the Intelligence Service, approved by the Council of Ministers, only now reaching us over the ETAN list serve. (Was it passed by parliament or considered a Decree Law?)

It would be interesting an analysis of this law. I am hardly qualified to comment. Who are the intelligence agents mentioned in the law? (It sounds as though they are already working for PNTL and FDTL.)

It does feel to me that Article 19 could be potentially used against whistleblowers, like those who have been loading Wikileaks with fascinating documents over the past weeks.

State secrecy shall apply to data and intelligence the dissemination of which is susceptible of causing damage to the unity and integrity of the State, to the defence of the democratic institutions provided for in the Constitution, to the free exercise of their respective functions by the organs of sovereignty, to the internal security, to national independence, and to preparations for military defence.

Perhaps the debate on the Defamation Law is more immediate… But it all seems related.

Who is keeping an eye on civil liberties in Timor?

The images of the students being arrested at UNTL with taped mouths was powerful. But there is much more at stake than the right to protest within 100m of the Parliament!