Business must be condemned -- East Timor

AMID all the recent commentaries in The Australian about East Timor, there has been one significant omission -- the role of Australian business in supporting the murderous regime in Jakarta.

  Much of the blame for maintaining the longevity and legitimacy of the Suharto regime rests with those companies that chose to operate in Indonesia during the 1980s and 1990s.  Without their support, the regime would not have lasted as long as it has. The IMF has long recognised Indonesia to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

  Greed in business often overrides ethical considerations, as was the case for the many companies that lent tacit support to the Nazi regime before World War II.  Saddam Hussein could not have prospered and initiated the Gulf war without the assistance of British, American and French companies.

24 -- THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN  September 11-12, 1999 -- 24
"Business must be condemned"
"East Timor betrayed"
Nick Forster, John Barr, Jean Jenkins, Stuart Buss

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  Without this support, corrupt dictatorships could not prosper and thrive.  Many Australian businessmen ought to be hanging their heads in shame at present. The events unfolding in East Timor are as much the result of their activities as those of Australian politicians. -- Nick Forster, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA, letter in The Weekend Australian, September 11-12, 1999, p 24.

JUST before the phone lines went down in Dili a good friend of mine pleaded: "When are the Australians coming?"  That was Tuesday.  My friend, the minister of Hosana [? Hosanna] Church in Dili has fled.  Maybe he is dead.  Who knows?

  On Thursday, I had a long discussion with a member of the Protestant Church in West Timor:  "It's genocide in East Time," he said.  "They are killing people who have fled into the bush ... they are finishing East Timor off."

  Like most Australians I weep for East Timor.  But I am not prepared to say it's all over.  We have to do whatever we can to let this nation live.  Australia cannot forfeit such a responsibility. The forces of violence, terror and death must not have the last say.  -- The Reverend John Barr, Uniting Church in Australia, Sydney, letter in The Weekend Australian, September 11-12, 1999, p 24.

INDIVIDUALS in the UNAMET [United Nations] compound in Dili have shown moral fibre and courage, putting to shame our Government's lack of resolve and action.  They have disobeyed orders to leave, choosing to stay and protect East Timorese refugees.  These UN workers, journalists and others have actually put the safety of defenceless East Timorese above all else.

  In the final analysis, this is what democracy is all about.  It is about the freedom and safety -- the human rights -- of individual citizens.  --  Jean A. Jenkins, [former Democrat Senator], Karrinyup, WA, letter in The Weekend Australian, September 11-12, 1999, p 24.

  I trust events in East Timor have put an end to any idea of Gareth Evans' elevation to the UN secretary-generalship.  I remember with revulsion the photograph of Evans and Ali Alatas sipping champagne while flying above the Timor Gap, celebrating the treaty they had just signed in which they helped seal the fate of the East Timorese. -- Stuart Buss, Cloverdale, WA, letter in The Weekend Australian, September 11-12, 1999, p 24.
Danger for our troops -- East Timor noose

Our troops would be putting their heads into a noose if they go to East Timor as a peace force under present conditions.

Unless the governments of Japan, Britain, U.S., Australia and New Zealand all announce they will cease arming and financing the Indonesian military, and stop sending them nuclear material, why should the Indonesian leaders believe their oratory?

WANNEROO TIMES, September 21, 1999 -- PAGE 13
"Danger for our troops"

John Massam

If the forces behind the scenes at the United Nations can't even make a decision that Indonesia must remove all its military and militias, and return all the East Timorese they have kidnapped, why would the generals respect the U.N.?

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley and others think the Howard government is too slow at sending the troops, so let them volunteer to go in the front row of the first contingent, and stay until East Timor is saved.  --  John Massam, September 15, 1999, e-mailed to Community Newspapers, Post (Subiaco, WA), The Australian, West Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Sunday Times (Perth).  [A person made a threatening telephone call to the Massam household after 6pm on 24 September 1999, objecting to criticism of Britain allegedly in the letter published in the Wanneroo Times, and threatening to blow the house up if anything like that happened again.]

Both parties have hurt Timor

Right now we need national unity to back the U.N. troops in East Timor, but Labor's Kim Beazley is backing part of the outburst by Paul Keating.

WANNEROO TIMES, October 12, 1999 -- PAGE 13
"Both parties have hurt Timor"

John Massam

  Both major political groupings have behaved discreditably in the 24 years of East Timor's agony, but while our troops are on duty we ought to avoid bitterness, unless we use it to expose those who arm the dictators. -- John Massam, Greenwood, letter in Wanneroo Times, October 12, 1999, p 13.

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. ***

  The Australian Prime Minister's address to the nation, on the eve of the departure from Darwin of a multinational peacekeeping force, on Sunday September 19 1999 is at:
Useful Links about the Arms trade are at: timor.htm.   Also note:  Australian Campaign Against the Arms Trade (ACAAT), PO Box 1017, Aitkenvale, Qld, 4814, Australia.  Contact: David Johnson, phone: +61-77-891-664, fax: +61-77-891-664, e-mail:
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