Sign Petition to stop Widodo appointing Wiranto to Cabinet/Comment from AETFA SA

Sign ETAN’s petition: Tell President Jokowi indicted war criminal Wiranto is not fit to be Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.

For more information and to check out the East Timor (and Indonesia) Action Network (from the U.S) see:

It is very appropriate that Nicholas Koumjian, the Chief prosecutor for the UN Serious Crimes Unit in Timor Leste from 2003-2005, has written this article in the Jakarta Post (5.8.2016) about President Joko ( Jokowi) Widodo’s decision to appoint retired general Wiranto as the minister for security, political and legal affairs to replace another retired general, Luhut Panjaitan.
Many people will say “So what!” however, this action is equivalent to a post World War 2 German government appointing a Nazi war criminal to a senior posting. World leaders who claim they value democracy, human rights, social justice and the rule of law should be shouting loud condemnation at such an ill-advised decision.
Wiranto’s leadership of the fascist Indonesian army (TNI) in East Timor during 1999 led to the deaths of nearly 2000 more East Timorese and the destruction of 80% of the nation’s infrastructure. The TNI had already wiped out about a 1/3 of East Timor’s population in its brutal and barbaric 24 year illegal occupation of the tiny nation.
If a criminal like Wiranto had faced the Nuremberg Tribunal he might have served imprisonment for life sentence or been executed for his crimes. Instead, he is being rewarded by President Joko Widodo.  This decision is very controversial indeed because the President had promised a genuine inquiry into the crimes committed in 1965 during the CIA/TNI  brutal coup that smashed Indonesian democracy and ushered in the 33 year of brutal fascist rule of the Suharto dictatorship.
He also promised looking into human rights abuses in West Papua and appointed Luhut Panjaitan, another former senior TNI officer, to be responsible.This man has a cloud hanging over him because of human rights abuses that occurred in East Timor under his watch. 
President Joko must be advised that if he continues to make decisions like this, he will not be seen as being either genuine or serious about resolving the crimes of the TNI, attaining justice for its victims  or about improving the human rights of the West Papuan people and others who are forced to live under its jackboots.
Amnesty International is correct when it describes this move as an insult to international human rights. After all, Wiranto and many of his fellow generals have committed genocide and gross human rights abuses and the question has to be asked why world leaders who frequently promote the concepts of the rule of law and human rights are strangely silent about these war criminals?
It is to be hoped that when the new Indonesian minister for security, political and legal affairs  goes overseas to meet leaders of other nations that he will face extradition to the International Court of Justice. Of course, this is most unlikely as Indonesia is a client state of the US and most US allies would do nothing to criticise human rights crimes committed by the TNI as we have already seen.
Australians who care about human rights, the rule of law and fairness between nations should be questioning their federal politicians about why they are not speaking out against the Indonesian criminals. They might also demand that the Australian Government cease its continuing policy to steal oil and gas from Timor-Leste’s half of the Timor Sea in contravention of the UN Congress of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). After all, this is a violation of international law and Timor-Leste is the poorest nation in our region of the world.
Andrew (Andy) Alcock, Information Officer AETFA SA
Aug 7

Two Public Meetings: Timor-Leste on 15 May and West Papua on 19 May

Australia East Timor Friendship Association S. A. Inc.
invites you to two public meetings in May. Details below -
1.) PUBLIC MEETING on Sunday 15 May 2016 at 3pm


* AETFA Committee tribute to committee member Bill Fisher
(died 22 February 2016)

David Willis, Flinders University
- “Three Choices for Timor: Contending with small state geopolitics”

* Spokesperson from the East Timor Students Association of SA (t.b.c.)
- Latest developments in Timor-Leste

Followed by questions and discussion

TIME:    3 PM

DAY:      Sunday

DATE:    15 May 2016

VENUE:   FILEF Centre, 15 Lowe St Adelaide (Entrance at rear)
Drinks and nibbles provided

This public meeting will follow the AETFA SA AGM at 2pm

For more information contact:
Andrew (Andy) Alcock
Information Officer
Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA Inc
Email:       andyalcock@internode.on
Phone:   +61 8 83710480; 0457 827 014


2.)  Special Invitation

Come to the Public Forum

‘Breaking the Silence’

Hear West Papuan Leader:

Benny Wenda

 Benny Wenda

6.00 pm for 6.30 pm

Thursday 19 May 2016

Lecture Theatre Napier 102, (First Floor Napier Building)

University of Adelaide

North Terrace Campus

(download map at

Benny Wenda, who is currently exiled in Oxford, England:

�        is a West Papuan independence leader and an international lobbyist for the independence of West Papua

�        has acted as special representative of the Papuan people in the British Parliament, United Nations and European Parliament

�        was appointed in 2014 as the spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), a new organisation uniting the three main political organisations struggling for the independence of West Papua

�        has been nominated for the second year in a row for the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize, awarded annually by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for  those who have �done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses�.

Entry gold coin donation        For further info please contact:

Dave Arkins 8345-4480

Rosemary McKay 0433 101568

The forum is presented by Australia West Papua Association (SA) Inc. ; United Nations Association of Australia SA Division Inc.; Australian Institute of International Affairs, SA Branch;   Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Adelaide;   Australia East Timor Friendship Association, SA Inc.;  The Women�s International League for Peace and Freedom SA Branch;    Sister Janet Mead and The Romero Community


PROTEST RALLY: HANDS OFF EAST TIMOR’S OIL 21 March 12.30pm Parliament House steps

AUSTRALIA EAST TIMOR FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION SA and the national TIMOR SEA JUSTICE Campaign are sponsoring a protest rally to stop the Australian Government from ripping off $billions of East Timor’s oil and gas revenue by refusing to establish permanent maritime boundaries.

Demonstration Outside Australian embassy in Dili 23 February 2016

A large and angry demonstration was held outside the Australian Embassy in Dili on 23 February, against the Australian government’s refusal to negotiate a permanent international border with East Timor. (Sam King, Red Flag, 26/2/16)

By refusing to establish permanent maritime boundaries the Australian Government is short-changing East Timor out of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue. This deprives one of the world’s poorest nations of resources urgently needed for its development. As a sovereign nation, East Timor has consistently argued for permanent maritime boundaries and is legally entitled to have them.

According to international law the maritime boundaries between Australia and East Timor should be along the halfway line. Australia refuses to acknowledge this. Two months before East Timor’s official Independence, Australia withdrew from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – leaving East Timor with limited avenues to challenge Australia’s unilateral depletion of contested oilfields.

During subsequent negotiations over oil and gas revenues the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) fitted surveillance devices inside the Timorese cabinet room so it could spy on government negotiators. The resulting temporary treaty is highly unfair to East Timor.

Australia is ripping-off one of the poorest nations in Asia. It’s time we stand in solidarity with East Timor and demand that our own Government resubmits to the ICJ.

More info at: or facebook

The March 21 protest demands the Australian Government:
1. Resubmit to the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
2. Immediately open negotiations for a permanent maritime boundaries based on the median line principle.
3. Return all revenues taken unilaterally from the Timorese side of the halfway line.

Community Lottery – Buy tickets to Support Timor Leste

Visit the website:    Click on Buy Tickets. In the large green ‘Organisation’ box just begin to type in Australia East Timor Friendship Assoc. and click Go.
Minimum online purchase is $10 (5 tickets @$2ea)
Paper tickets available from AETFA from April 1. Early bird draw on online sales which closes on Mar 31. Online tickets also remain in draw till end of paper sales period. Double dip!!  $360,000 worth of prizes.


Turnbull’s Hypocrisy on Timor Leste Maritime Boundary

Statement from Australia East Timor Friendship Association:

Dear Friends

RE: ARTICLE BY TOM ALLARD – Malcolm Turnbull’s foreign policy hypocrisy on East Timor (Sydney Morning Herald January 25, 2016)

Below is an excellent article by Tom Allard that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 24.1.2016, which exposes the hypocrisy of the Australian Government on the issue of the maritime border between Timor-Leste and Australia.

It is very obvious that the change of the Coalition’s leadership means that there will be no change in Australia’s callous and hard-nosed attitude in refusing to accept the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) between Australia and Timor-Leste.

The article reports on a speech made in Washington DC by Australia’s new PM, Malcom Turnbull (see below). The speech was obviously intended to show support for US concern about China’s position on maritime boundaries in the South China Sea – being as ever compliant with US Military Industrial Complex policies and behaviours in the world.

In doing so, he chastised the US for not being a signatory to UNCLOS. This is rather rich coming from the leader of a nation that has signed the Convention but refuses to comply with it and refuses to recognise it in relation to Timor-Leste, the poorest nation in our region. What it means is that Australia gets the benefit of billions of dollars worth of oil and gas coming from Timor’s half of the Timor Sea and is taking this from a newly independent nation that was occupied for 24 years by the Indonesian military as it committed crimes against the people that were every bit as serious as those committed by the Nazis during World War 2.

Turnbull obviously pulled out all stops to impress his audience as he quoted Thucydides, the ancient Greek historian about the history of how the ambassadors of the Athens city state rebuffed the leaders of the island of Melos, who wished to remain neutral in a conflict that was engulfing the ancient Hellenic world.

All very eloquent and impressive. Or is it?

I think it is interesting how conservative politicians try to avert us from facing the truth and stop us from weighing up the ethics of dubious positions taken by them on current political issues by referring to events in ancient history. We have seen this before when politicians did not want to face the truth.

The hypocrisy is worse when it is recalled that Australia went along with Indonesia’s brutal occupation of Timor-Leste until after the 1999 independence referendum and that it recognises the UNCLOS maritime principle in its relations with NZ and the Solomon Islands.

One wonders if Turnbull and his colleagues believe that Timor-Leste has to be punished for its struggle to be independent. Certainly their position on this issue is a disgrace – especially given the brutality that the East Timorese suffered because they supported Australian soldiers during World War 2.

Sadly, the ALP is little better. It had two terms of government during which the Rudd/Gillard governments could have reversed this decision but didn’t. It was not an oversight as some might think because AETFA SA had lobbied with ALP MPs on this issue for some time.

Anyway, congratulations must go to Tom Allard for his excellent article and its analysis.

Those Australians who really do care about human rights, social justice and fairness between nations must all work together to change Coalition and ALP policy that sees us stealing valuable resources from a friendly people who have done much for Australia.

We helped change Australia’s shameful policy in attempting to stifle Timor-Leste’s just struggle for independence and we can help change yet another shameful and unfair policy towards our valiant World War 2 allies – the East Timorese.

In solidarity

Andrew (Andy) Alcock
Information Officer (AETFA SA)
Phone: 08 83710480; 0457 827014
Email: andyalcock@internode.on



Malcolm Turnbull’s foreign policy hypocrisy on East Timor

Tom Allard
Sydney Morning Herald January 25, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s keynote speech in Washington DC last week, the first serious articulation of his foreign affairs stance since becoming prime minister, gained plenty of plaudits on both sides of the Pacific.

Turnbull was insightful and eloquent, quoting the ancient Greek historian Thucydides as he traversed the great geopolitical challenges of our times.

He was also breathtakingly hypocritical.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was insightful and eloquent in Washington, as well as being breathtakingly hypocritical.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was insightful and eloquent in Washington, as well as being breathtakingly hypocritical.  Photo: Alex Ellinghauseh

Musing on the rise of China, its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and the resulting tensions with the United States and its allies, Turnbull made an impassioned plea for nation states to embrace the rules-based international order.

This order – based on the United Nations, multilateralism and respect for international law – was “possibly the biggest story of modern times”. It had, he intoned, “delivered the greatest run of peace and prosperity this planet has ever known”. “Differences should be resolved by international law,” he said, citing the deliberations in the Hague under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to settle a dispute between the Philippines and China over a 200 nautical mile portion of the South China Sea rich in oil and gas.

“We look forward, in the coming months, to learning the outcome of the tribunal’s deliberations.”

So far, so – apparently – uncontroversial.

Except that Australia itself does not adhere to international law when it comes to maritime boundary disputes.

In 2002, after negotiating a temporary boundary with the transitional administration in East Timor that hugely favoured Australia and placed the bulk of oil and gas reserves within its territory, Australia quietly withdrew from the jurisdiction of UNCLOS.

The reason was obvious. It had negotiated a deal with an impoverished, war-ravaged and fledgling state that was so unfair it would not stand up to challenge under international law.

If the boundary was drawn midway between East Timor and Australia – as is standard under international law – most of the oil and gas reserves would lie within Timor’s territory.

During later negotiations over sharing the oil and gas reserves – worth between $40 billion and $100 billion – Australia infamously bugged East Timor’s negotiating team. East Timor got a better deal but not anything approaching its rightful share.

East Timor is still fighting for a permanent, equidistant boundary and a better share of the oil and gas reserves. The Coalition government – despite being rebuked by the International Court of Justice for its espionage – is refusing to enter talks and won’t allow the independent arbiter in the UNCLOS Tribunal make a determination.

In his speech, Turnbull chipped the US for not ratifying UNCLOS. “Non-ratification diminishes American leadership where it is most needed.”

Australia may have ratified UNCLOS but it has cynically recused itself from being subject to its jurisdiction. Turnbull’s reproach of the US about “diminished leadership” applies equally to Australia.

Why would China, the US or any country heed Turnbull’s urgings for the potential explosive disputes in the South China Sea to be settled by international law when Australia won’t do likewise?

In his Washington speech, Turnbull quoted Book 5 of Thucydides history describing how the ambassadors of the powerful city state of Athens rebuffed the leaders of the island of Melos, who wished to remain neutral in the conflict engulfing the ancient Hellenic world.

The ambassadors told the Melians that “justice is to be found only as between equals in power. As for the rest, the strong do as they will and the weak suffer as they must”.

“Now, the international order, the rule of law,” observed Turnbull, “seeks to ensure that that is not so, that might is not right.”

Yet the ignoble treatment of East Timor since its independence means Australia is acting just like the Athenians.

For East Timor’s former president and prime minister Xanana Gusmao, Australia’s conduct recalls the British statesman Lord Palmerston’s famous maxim “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests”.

“This is the mindset of powerful nations when they deal with small countries like ours,” Gusmao said last year.

To be fair, it seems Turnbull has not focused on East Timor or the maritime boundary dispute since becoming prime minister. He has had plenty on his plate. He most likely unknowingly betrayed Australia’s foreign policy hypocrisy in Washington.

This year, he should switch his gaze to the near north. Turnbull has an opportunity to end Australia’s diplomatic double standard and begin a meaningful negotiation with East Timor’s government over the boundary.

This is in our national interest.

Australia’s credibility as an advocate of a rules-based global order is at stake. So, too, is East TImor’s future: its one productive oil and gas field will be all but exhausted in three years. Its sovereign wealth fund could run out in a decade

Without action, Australia may soon have a failed – and hostile – state as a neighbour

Read more:



The Information Officer of the Australia East Timor Association SA, Andrew Alcock, issued the following statement today:

“Forty years ago on 7 December 1975, the Indonesian military (TNI) carried out its illegal full scale invasion of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor.

This blatant attack followed 2 months of incursions and skirmishes that the TNI conducted in East Timor. During one such attack on the East Timorese town of Balibo on 16 October 1975, Indonesian soldiers murdered 5 Australian-based media workers, now known as the Balibo 5, who witnessed their entry into the town.

When the East Timorese could see that there would be no international assistance for them against Indonesia’s belligerent actions, they declared independence on on 28 November. Nine days later, the TNI moved in and from the first day its personnel carried out massacres of the civilian population. Roger East, another Australian journalist, was one of the victims of the early massacres.

The history of this period is one of great shame for Australians who believe in international justice because Australian leaders could have taken action to prevent the invasion. Instead, every Australian government during the 24 years of the brutal occupation of East Timor, aided and abetted the Suharto dictatorship and the TNI. Not only did Australia provide arms and military equipment, as did the US, France, Britain and Holland, it also acted as an apologist for the dictatorship when news of of the many massacres and human rights was revealed.

Recent revelations by Dr Clinton Fernandes of the University of NSW indicate just how far Australian leaders were prepared to go to help the Indonesian dictatorship cover up the real truth of what happened.

After the Santa Cruz Massacre in Dili on 12 November 1991, then Australian foreign minister, Gareth Evans, stated that this crime was an “aberration”! The 24 year illegal occupation of East Timor was, in fact, a series of many massacres and gross human rights abuses (aberrations?) which resulted in almost a third of the population being wiped out.

Australia’s betrayal of the East Timorese is particularly shameful because during World War 2, they gave great support to Australian commandos who were fighting the Japanese army there. After the Australians left, the Japanese military exacted a heavy revenge against the local people for supporting the Australians and carried out a series of mass murders. These resulted in the deaths of about 40,000 people. In addition, 30,000 people lost their lives because their villages were attacked or they were caught in between combatants.

During WW2, East Timor lost about 70,000 people out of a total population of half a million. In contrast, Australia lost 40,000 lives out of a population of 7 million.

After the final period of heightened TNI and militia violence in 1999 following the UN administered independence referendum, Australian leaders became “reluctant saviours” as Clinton Fernandes described it, and Australian soldiers played a very important role in the UN peace-keeping force, INTERFET, that entered East Timor and pushed the TNI out. The role of the Australian military was very much appreciated by the East Timorese people.

However, they are not so happy with our political leaders.

After Timor-Leste’s independence, our leaders decided to exert pressure on the newly independent nation to take oil and gas out of its half of the Timor Sea. The unfair agreement means that Australia, the wealthiest nation in our region, is taking billions of dollars worth of oil and gas from the poorest because it refuses to recognise the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Under this Convention, the mid way line between two countries represents the maritime boundary and each nation has the right to the resources in its half of the sea.

Australia recognises the UNCLOS principal for New Zealand and the Solomon Islands – so why not Timor-Leste?

After all that the people of Timor-Leste have suffered over many years and given their WW2 sacrifice, it is time for our leaders to behave fairly and recognise the UNCLOS principle so that our former allies can rebuild their shattered lives and their destroyed infrastructure.

We do not want Timor-Leste to be an economic failure.

If the Australian Government wants to contribute to stopping terrorism in our region, it should also stop all military aid and cooperation with the TNI until it pulls out of West Papua, which is still suffering brutal TNI rule after 53 years, and call for an international tribunal to deal with the TNI officers who have been responsible for the genocide and other war crimes in East Timor, West Papua, Indonesia and Acheh.

Our leaders can decide to be a positive force for peace, social justice, human rights and fairness in international relations or they can continue to be hard-nosed, unreasonable and unfair as they currently are.

We are currently not presenting a good image to the world – especially for a nation that prides itself on being fair-minded and on the side of the under dog. ”

Andrew (Andy) Alcock

Information Office

Phone: 61 8 83710480

0457 827 014



( AETFA SA was originally the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA until Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002

The Fires and Other Problems in Indonesia

Every year about 110,000 people die and others suffer from acute respiratory illnesses because of the fires started by the palm oil and timber corporations in Indonesia. In addition, much of its wildlife is affected and CO2 levels increase drastically. Contributing to the problem is the traditional slash/burn cultivation of Indonesian peasant farmers which is supposed to be illegal under Indonesian law..

Not all the victims are Indonesians because some people in neighbouring countries also suffer health effects from the fires

Since 2008, palm oil companies such as Wilmar International, a multimillion dollar agribusiness based in Singapore which owns the largest oil palm refinery operating in Indonesia, have been pressuring villagers to sell off their land. As a result, many villages – especially the indigenous people in Kalimantan (Borneo) and West Papua who have been self-sufficient until now because of their reliance on the forest are under threat. For centuries, these people have used the rain forests to collect food, medicine, rattan for weaving and other forest products.

The situation is made worse in West Papua because of the behaviour of the Indonesian military (TNI) which has brutally occupied this Melanesian nation since 1962.

Senior officers in the TNI along with the extremely wealthy civilians make fortunes out of this annual environmental catastrophe. The senior elite of the Indonesian military are not only mass murderers, but they are extremely corrupt as well. If Indonesia is a democracy as many in the pro Indonesian lobby tell us, why is this still continuing to happen?

The Guardian on 31.10.2015, carried an article by George Monbiot with the heading, Indonesia is burning, so why is the world looking away?

The think the answer to this question is not difficult to answer. The world has been looking away from many tragic events that have been occurring in the region which involve Indonesia for many decades .

The current situation in Indonesia is largely the creation of the US Military Industrial Complex (MIC) as it has many corporations operating there and in the Indonesian occupied nation of West Papua. In 1965, the CIA assisted the Indonesian Military (TNI) to oust the democratically elected government of President Suharto and install the mass-murdering dictator, Mahomed Suharto. His reign of terror continued for 33 years until 1998 because of the Asian economic crisis of that year. This period of brutality did not only affect Indonesians. The TNI also committed genocide and gross human rights violations in West Papua, Acheh, East Timor as well as many other parts of Indonesia besides Java, Sumatera and Bali which were mostly affected by the mass slaughter following the CIA/TNI coup.

Earlier in the 1960s, John Kennedy intervened in the decolonisation process being conducted by Holland in West Papua to give independence to its former colony. He wanted to curry favour with Indonesia whose military occupied West Papua in 1962. In addition, US geologists had discovered vast amounts of copper and gold there and the US MIC wanted these resources. As a result of the US intervention, West Papua was handed over to Indonesia. The fate of the West Papuans was sealed by the so called Act of Free Choice in 1969. The Suharto dictatorship carried out a very undemocratic independence vote to determine whether the West Papuans wanted to remain with Indonesia. This process was supposedly monitored by the UN, but, despite the fact that the TNI used a great deal of brutality and a large number of West Papuans were killed, threatened or disappeared, the UN monitoring team accepted the result.

The US mining giant Kennecott – McRohRan still makes huge profits out of West Papuan copper and gold.

Monbiot claims that in the year following the CIA/TNI coup that about a million people were slaughtered. I have met a number of politically progressive Indonesians who tell me that the number of victims was nearer 3 million. This was a crime every serious as those committed by the Nazis, but it occurred with the sanction of the US and its allies who frequently and hypocritically lecture other nations about democracy.

The TNI is still a very powerful influence in Indonesian politics today and this is the reason why Joko Widodo, elected as president in 2014, is having huge problems trying to make the republic democratic and to reduce pollution from the fires, corruption and human rights abuses. Before the election, he made promises to work to stop the brutality occurring against the West Papuans and to give them more autonomy. Earlier this year following a number of TNI killings of West Papuan civilians, Benny Wenda, the founder of the Free West Papua Campaign and a senior member of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, in an interview with the BBC said that he did not trust Joko Widodo and did not believe that he he will bring any positive change for his people.

The pro Indonesian lobby tells us that Indonesia is now a democratic nation. It is true that the Indonesian media has more freedom these days, but a true Indonesian democracy is a long way off. In last year’s presidential elections, Joko Widodo stood against two TNI generals – Wiranto and Prabowo Subianto. Both men are accused of human rights abuses – Wiranto in East Timor and Prabowo in East Timor, West Papua and Jakarta in 1998 when he directed Indonesian soldiers to conduct a brutal crackdown on protestors who wanted Suharto to be removed. Prabowo is a particularly odious character who is said to have been the architect of both the 1983 Kraras and the 1991 Santa Cruz Massacres in East Timor.

Joshua Oppenheimer, an American film-maker based in Copenhagen, has produced two documentaries about the mass murders that followed the 1965 coup. They are The Act of Killing, and The Look of Silence. In these documentaries he features older Indonesians who were involved in the 1965 massacres . These very sick and violent people even re-enacted how they brutally murdered their victims. They were obviously proud of their crimes and had no fear that they would face justice.

Since the fall of Suharto, the TNI has been involved in the 2001 poisoning of the West Papuan community leader, Theys Eluay and the 2007 poisoning of the Indonesian human rights activist, Munir Said Thalib.

When criminals who commit crimes like this can roam free at home and abroad, how can anyone claim that Indonesia is a full democracy?

This is all very interesting, you might say, but what does this have to do with the fires in Indonesia? Apart from their brutality, the TNI generals were exceedingly corrupt and have been responsible for Indonesia being one of the most corrupt nations on earth. The members of the Suharto family became multi billionaires out of resources purloined from the Indonesian people.

Generals were involved in many enterprises – regional airlines, mining, agriculture and much industrial and commercial activity.

They have been involved in the palm oil and timber (deforestation?) industries in a big way for a long time and these industries have made a great contribution to the Indonesian fires. After the trees have been uprooted, the land is cleared by mass burning.

It could also be mentioned that the generals were strongly involved in promoting the Green Revolution which promoted the use of new varieties of seeds for food plants that also required vast amounts of pesticides and fertilisers to survive. Poor Indonesian peasant farmers who were unable to afford the new seed varieties and the added costs of fertilisers and pesticides and who continued to use the old varieties were murdered by the military that was profiting from the new agriculture.

George Monbiot believes that people should boycott companies that make huge profits out of Indonesia’s palm oil industry. I agree but I think that we need to go further to stop the ongoing fires occurring in Indonesia. The world needs to deal with the corrupt and brutal military elite in Indonesia as well. Through the UN, member nations should be:

* banning all imports of palm oil and other agricultural products that involve mass burning

* sending an international team to Indonesia and other nations affected by the fires to assess their impact on human health and the environment and to assist the victims to
access compensation from those palm oil and timber corporations (eg Pepsi) that are profiting from the burning

* establishing an international tribunal to try all Indonesian officers responsible for mass corruption, genocide and human rights violations (this was done for Rwanda and the
former Yugoslavia)

* ceasing all forms of military cooperation with the TNI – aid, trade, joint exercises and training

* put bans on Indonesia until it withdraws the TNI from West Papua and pays full compensation to all its victims and those who have had
their houses and their lands confiscated by it

* supporting the UN to conduct an open and honest referendum of West Papuans so that they can determine their own future

The US and its supine allies, like Australia, are in a good position to take the strongest action, but are not inclined to do so. President Barack Obama spent some of his formative years in Indonesia and would know something of its very dark past, but has done nothing to stop US support for the TNI just as he has done nothing about the crimes committed by the Israeli “Defence” Force. Australian leaders just go along with the policies of the US MIC without question and this is the same for so many of the other US allies.

The long suffering peoples of Indonesia, West Papua, East Timor and Acheh are only going to get some justice and the Indonesian fires are not going to be stopped until effective measures are taken to bring the brutal and corrupt generals in the TNI to justice.

The world needs to be taking the above actions to force President Joko Widodo to take effective steps to stop the fires and to tackle those in the TNI who have been involved in the corruption that has led to this situation. He also needs to take action against those officers who have indulged in massive war crimes and human rights violations in the region,

Andrew (Andy) Alcock
Information Officer
Australia East Timor Friendship Association (South Australia) Inc

Australia West Papua Association (South Australia)

AETFA Media Statement: 40th Anniversary of the Murder of Balibo Five

The Information Officer of the Australia East Timor Association SA, Andrew Alcock, issued the following statement today (16.10.2015)

Friday, 16 October 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of a dreadful crime against humanity – the deaths of the “Balibo 5”, five Australian-based news workers.

They were:

* Greg Shackleton

* Tony Stewart

* Gary Cunningham

* Malcolm Rennie

* Brian Peters

These men were murdered by the Indonesian military (TNI) as they bravely reported on the illegal  incursion it was making into East Timor just weeks before before Indonesia began its full scale invasion of 7 December 1975.

And on the 8 December, Roger East, another Australian journalist, who initially went to Timor to investigate what had happened to the Balibo 5 and who decided to stay and report on the invasion, was also murdered by invading Indonesian soldiers.

Indonesian leaders have always maintained that the Balibo 5 were killed in crossfire. And during many years of the occupation. 

In 2007, a  NSW Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Brian Peters found that the journalists were murdered by Indonesian forces in what the court considered constituted a war crime.

On 9 September 2009, it was announced that the Australian Federal Police were launching a war crimes probe into the deaths of the Balibo 5.

Even though, the  2007 Inquiry was able to name Special Forces Captain Yunus Yosfiah as the TNI officer who ordered the murders of the men, the AFP concluded in 2014, that there was insufficient evidence to prove an offence had been committed. Many believe that there was political pressure put on the AFP to halt its investigation.

Yunus Yosfiah later became an Indonesian government minister.

Australians who believe in justice consider that a great wrong was done to the Balibo 5 and Roger East and that Australian Governments, instead of showing outrage at the crimes committed by the TNI, connived with the Indonesian dictatorship of General Suharto and the Indonesian administrations that have followed since to cover up what happened.

While what happened to the Australians was a blatant crime, AETFA SA believes that what happened to the people of East Timor was a far greater one. The 24 year illegal occupation of their country by Indonesia led to the wiping out of almost a third of the civilian population.

Shamefully for Australians, the record shows that Australia continued to aid and train the TNI throughout this time.

Australia partly absolved itself when the Australian military played a very important part in the UN INTERFET force that entered East Timor after the mass violence committed by the TNI and its militias following the 1999 independence referendum. However, Australian leaders could have played a much more decisive role to prevent the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor. After all, the East Timorese proved to be very loyal allies to Australia during World War 2 and suffered greatly for being so.

This 40th anniversary occurs at a time when TNI coup which was aided by the CIA and which saw at least a million Indonesians butchered. Since then, apart from the invasion of East Timor, the TNI has also been involved in genocide and crimes against humanity in West Papua, Acheh and parts of Indonesia itself.

None of the TNI officers involved in these crimes have ever been brought to justice even though they are considered to be as serious as those committed by the Nazis.

To many, the TNI has become the largest force for terrorism in our region.

As we commemorate, the deaths of the Balibo 5, Roger East, numerous West Papuans, East Timorese, Achehnese and Indonesians at the hands of the Indonesian military, many Australians are wondering why our governments still aid the Indonesian military and why western governments have not taken action to the alleged war criminals in its  ranks before an international tribunal to face justice. If Indonesia was truly democratic and supportive of human rights, it would have already taken action against these criminals.”      




( AETFA SA was originally the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA until Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002)

We Can’t Forget The Lessons Of Balibo/ Balibo 5 Honoured 40 Years On

We Can’t Forget The Lessons of Balibo

by Nick Xenophon and Clinton Fernandes               October 15, 2015
Six journalists were killed and it shouldn’t have been swept under the carpet.

5 Balibo

Forty years ago on Friday, five young men met their deaths in a small corner of a foreign field. Gary Cunningham, Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie, Greg Shackleton, and Anthony Stewart were journalists employed by Channels 7 and 9. They were murdered in cold blood by the Indonesian military on the morning of October 16, 1975, at Balibo, in what was then Portuguese Timor and is today East Timor.

Read more:



on Facebook


Balibo five honoured 40 years on

Oct 16, 2015
The New Daily and AAP

Family and journalists gather at dawn service in Canberra to mark anniversary of killings.

Six Australian journalists killed while reporting on the Indonesian invasion of East Timor have been honoured in Canberra.

The dawn service at the War Correspondents Memorial on Friday marked 40 years since their deaths.

No one has been brought to justice for their deaths.

The Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance used the 40th anniversary of the killings to launch the Balibo Five-Roger East Scholarship, which MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy says will fund travel, study and living expenses in Australia for East Timorese journalists.

Read more:


Dear friend of Timor-Leste

This email is to notify you of THREE coming events on the Timor-Leste solidarity calendar.


During 1975, before the invasion of East Timor by the Indonesian military, the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA was founded. It changed its name to the Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA in 2002 after East Timor became Independent.

2015 is also the 40th anniversary of the TNI murder of six Australian-based journalists (the Balibo 5 and Roger East), the Declaration of Independence of East Timor by FRETILIN and the Invasion. See ABC memorial for Roger East who was freelancing for the ABC when he was killed.

We especially welcome patrons, life members of the Association and those who have been involved in this proud history of solidarity with the struggle for East Timorese Independence and justice for many years.

Do come and celebrate and commemorate these anniversaries with us which are very significant  for Timor-Leste and AETFA SA.

26 SEPTEMBER  2015 (6.30 pm for 7pm)
STUMPS BISTRO (formerly Paradiso)
150 King William Rd, Hyde Park

An evening of Tapas delights and Live music

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER:    SHIRLEY SHACKLETON  (long time East Timor activist, author of the Walkley Award winning book, Circle of Silence)

Cost: full wage – $40, concession – $35
You can make payment through a bank. Our banking details are as follows:
BSB 105-900 Account: 952850740 (Bank SA)

Please send an email to: or phone (below) indicating that you have paid, and if you would like tickets posted to you or collected at the door.
RSVP 21 September 2015      
    For tickets, more info, please contact:
    Andy Alcock, Information Officer Phone:  08 83710480;  0457 827014          
    Email:    <>
    Bob Hanney, Secretary   Phone:    08 8344 3511    Email:      < >


2.) Please also support the following fundraiser:

Australia East Timor Friendship Association, SA Unions, the SA Working Women’s Centre & the APHEDA Union Aid Abroad Activist Group SA
                                          invite you to:

 See the film:

Wednesday 28 OCTOBER 2015       5.30pm: Drinks & Nibbles      6.30pm:  Film
   VENUE: CAPRI THEATRE 141 Goodwood Road, Goodwood SA 5034
   ADMISSION: Full Wage:  $20    Concession:  $15

   Tickets are available from:
    AETFA:      Andy Alcock: Phone: 83710480     Email:
    APHEDA:       Jan Schultz:     Phone: 8231 5532    Email:
    SA UNIONS:       Phone:  8279 2222    Email:
    SA WORKING WOMENS CENTRE:      Sandra Dann:  Phone:  8410 6499   Email:
     Please pass this invite along your networks. Hope to see you there!


Set in the 1950s, The Dressmaker is a bittersweet comedy about a glamorous young woman who returns, after many years in Europe, to her small home town in rural Australia in order to right some wrongs from the past. When Tilly (played by Kate Winslet) comes home, she not only reconciles with her ailing mother Molly (played by Judy Davis) but, with her sewing machine, and haute couture style, she transforms the women of the town in such a way that she gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. She also falls unexpectedly in love, which leads to her greatest loss and her most destructive deed.

Written and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker brings together a highly acclaimed cast and film-making team.
Stars: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis

See the trailer:
In September 2011, APHEDA Union Aid Abroad was proud to help launch the Working Women’s Centre Timor-Leste – the first dedicated service for women to better access their employment rights and combat gender violence in the workplace in Timor-Leste.
The South Australian Working Women’s Centre has played an important role in helping to establish this Centre and to give it ongoing support along with SA Unions and AETFA SA.
The Timor Leste Working Women’s Centre educates and advocates on behalf of Timorese working women, including vulnerable domestic workers,  free of charge.
Women of Timor-Leste have long held traditional roles in the home and many women are now seeking employment to help lift themselves and their families from chronic poverty. Timor-Leste is the poorest
country in our region due to the illegal occupation by the Indonesian military, which was responsible for wiping out almost 1/3rd of the population, committing gross human rights abuses and destroying 80% of the country’s infrastructure.
About two-thirds of adult women have never attended school and employment opportunities for those without a formal education are limited.
Most of the work available to women in Timor-Leste is characterised by ‘informal’ workplace arrangements. Jobs are paid cash in hand, without negotiation on fair wages or conditions, such as working hours and basic leave entitlements.
Income can vary from $US 35 – $US 130 per month. The basic wage is set at $US 115 per month.
In addition, women in informal work are unable to access existing or proposed Timorese social security schemes, and with an absence of occupational health and safety standards, some women are experiencing
bullying, violence, sexual harassment and other forms of coercion.
The  Centre needs our support so that it can continue to provide its excellent services to the working women of Timor Leste.

More details can be found on the APHEDA website:

Friday, 18 September 2015
Fundraiser for education projects in Timor-Leste and Philippines. Sponsored by the Cypriot Community.


                       Compared by the incomparable, amazing Quiz Master Edgar
A fund raiser for two vital projects:

  • Rise up San Vincente – Education, building and feeding programs for the CHILDREN of Leyte – Philippines.

  • Towards A Brighter Future – Children of Timor Leste – Education projects for CHILDREN of Timor-Leste.

When:           Friday, 18 September 2015
What time:   
6:30 pm
Cypriot Community Centre  (view map)
6 Barrpowell St

BYO or Delicious Greek BBQ and drinks available at reasonable prices

Tickets $15 per person – support 2 worthy projects
(Cash ONLY – no Card Facilities)
100% of money raised goes direct to the projects – no overheads

For further information contact -
Julie 0403 110 308 or Sara 0400 267 116

Kindly sponsored by the Cypriot Community


Yours in solidarity and justice
Bob Hanney
Secretary AETFA SA