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
70 < < Boycott CONTENTS Translate Links Events Books HOME Genocide > > Foot 72
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.
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.
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.
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
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.]
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.
October 12, 1999 -- PAGE 13
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.
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