LtGen Tyasno Sudarto
Head of military intelligence (Kepala BIA)
A former militia leader who fled overseas in April 1999, Tomas Goncalves, told Radio Hilversum (6 October 1999) that he had heard Tyasno's name at several meetings between militia leaders and military officers in early 1999. East Timor commander Tono Suratman and officers from the Kopassus intelligence organisation SGI told the militia leaders it was alright to kill, and that they were speaking in the name of Tyasno.
A senior East Timorese journalist told us in May 1999 that he believed BIA had been tasked to 'success' the direct ballot in East Timor, and that it was BIA officers, together with Kopassus, who were most active in running the militia operations. Tyasno may have been part of a 'black' operation that also involved MajGen Zacky Makarim and MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin, reporting to Tyasno. If so, the actual officer movements and assignments are not yet known.
On 19 February 1999 Tyasno joined Gen Wiranto and other senior officers to receive a delegation of angry pro-Indonesian East Timorese, led by Domingos Soares, who came to Jakarta asking for weapons. Wiranto said no weapons could be given them. He then visited Dili as part of a high-powered delegation on 20 April 1999, to meet with pro-Indonesian figures.
Tyasno was named in 2000 in connection with a US$2.2 million counterfeit money scandal. Retired intelligence officer Ismail Putera said Tyasno in July 1999 asked him, in the name of his commanding officer Gen Wiranto, to print the money and said it was meant to fund militias. 'Gen Tyasno told me that Gen Wiranto had picked BIA to run the counterfeit money operation to fund the (pro-Indonesia) East Timorese militias,' Ismail Putera said after the verdict. 'He (Tyasno) told me that the army could not afford to lose East Timor. He said I had to do this for the army,' Ismail said. Ismail Putera and his co-defendants were arrested in February 2000 and brought to court in August-September 2000.
It is not clear if there was a connection between this counterfeit scandal and another linking counterfeiter Soemaryono, also a military man, with army chief of staff Gen Subagyo.
An Australian newspaper reported that Tyasno had been sent a few days before the ballot to replace Zacky Makarim as security advisor to the Unamet liaison body P3TT. The move came in response to international pressure (following the visit of a US Congressional delegation led by Tom Harkin) about the role being played by Zacky. However, the report seems to have been in error, as Tyasno never arrived.
Just before the ballot, on 9 August 1999, Australian intelligence picked up a message by a senior officer in Tyasno's organisation detailing military support for protests against Unamet. It was sent by:
- Brig-Gen Arifuddin, AM (Arif Udin, Arifudin)
Arifuddin headed Directorate A/ (Domestic Politics) within BIA. The message said he had organised flags for a demonstration against Unamet, had prepared 5000 T-shirts and ordered 10,000 more.
Tyasno's name was among officers said to be plotting a coup against Habibie immediately after the ballot result was announced.
Tyasno Sudarto is a Central Javanese Christian born in 1948. He graduated from the Magelang Military Academy in 1970 and spent seven years in Kostrad. He is reported to have been a protégé of intelligence czar Benny Murdani and appears to have spent most of his career in intelligence positions, including a period as Defence Attaché in Paris. In 1995 he became head of Directorate C (military affairs) in the Armed Forces Intelligence Board (BIA), and the following year he served under Wiranto as Assistant for Planning to the Army Chief of Staff (Asrena Kasad).
Tyasno enjoyed close relations with both Suharto and Wiranto. Amid widespread rioting in April 1998 he was appointed to the sensitive position of military commander of Central Java. In January the following year Wiranto installed him as head of the Armed Forces Intelligence Board (BIA). This was seen by reformers as a step backwards.