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]
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?
the United Nations passed many resolutions condemning the invasion and
occupation, it was unable to enforce them without the support of these
European countries continually abstained on these resolutions at the United
Nations, whilst continuing to sell arms to Indonesia.
reality is that arms and money were the two evils which allowed East Timor
to be bled dry of its people and its wealth.
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.
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.
reserves of oil, rubber and minerals, and the world's fifth largest population,
Indonesia was regarded as a key counterweight to Chinese influence in
sea routes and the deep sea submarine passage between the Indian and Pacific
Oceans, its strategic position was seen as vital to Western interests.
Nixon described it as "the greatest prize in South East Asia".
especially an ostensibly insignificant island in the South Pacific, was
going to jeopardise that prize.
WEST'S SECRET CABLES
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