Home TV Guide Soap and Drama Gameshows Entertainment Lifestyle Sport News Weather Kids Region
death of a nation (blank space)
east timor map
watch the film
the 1975 invasion
western complicity
the santa cruz massacre
winds of change
east timor today
related sites

us complicity uk complicity australian complicity portuguese indifference

bishop belo
Bishop Belo

"Please, I beg you, do not sustain longer a conflict which without British arms sales to Indonesia could never have been sustained for so long."
[Bishop Belo to Tony Blair]

"Why, they ask?" were the haunting words of Australian journalist Greg Shackleton in his final report before being murdered.

Why was it that the combined might of the US, British, Australian and Portuguese governments could do nothing to help the East Timorese?

Although the United Nations passed many resolutions condemning the invasion and occupation, it was unable to enforce them without the support of these powers.

The Western European countries continually abstained on these resolutions at the United Nations, whilst continuing to sell arms to Indonesia.

The harsh reality is that arms and money were the two evils which allowed East Timor to be bled dry of its people and its wealth.

Since the Second World War, the arms trade has played an increasingly significant role in the economies of the 'older' industrialised countries of Western Europe, the former Soviet Union and the United States.

As the industrial power of East Asian states has grown, so has the threat they pose to the economies of the West.

The arms trade is one of the few areas where the Western powers, with their vast military budgets and control over access to military technology, have been able to retain a leading position in the world market.

With rich reserves of oil, rubber and minerals, and the world's fifth largest population, Indonesia was regarded as a key counterweight to Chinese influence in the region.

Controlling sea routes and the deep sea submarine passage between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, its strategic position was seen as vital to Western interests.

President Nixon described it as "the greatest prize in South East Asia".

Nothing, especially an ostensibly insignificant island in the South Pacific, was going to jeopardise that prize.

Pilger on the intercepted secret diplomatic messages sent by US, British and Australian representatives in Indonesia to their respective governments.

Jose Ramos Horta on the hypocrisy of Western governments

home burma vietnam east timor iraq australia the media forums pilger in print contact credits