Mr Sutiyoso, a retired army lieutenant-general, he knew A LOT OF SECRET IN east timor

 Hamish McDonald: Whitlam ‘duped’ by Indonesia


THE inquest into the 1975 killing of five newsmen in Balibo has exploded into a diplomatic row, with a senior Indonesian politician storming out of Australia and Canberra facing a recommendation to prosecute for war crimes.

After the issue received widespread coverage in Indonesia, a chanting crowd of several hundred people, some holding signs including “F— off Australia”, gathered outside the embassy in Jakarta yesterday to protest against the treatment given to the city’s governor, Sutiyoso, during his visit to Australia.

Mr Sutiyoso, a retired army lieutenant-general, cut short an official tour of NSW on Tuesday night after police requested he testify about his role in the special forces attack in Balibo on October 16 in which the television newsmen died.

Indonesia is considering retaliating against Australia’s “unacceptable action” in attempting to force Mr Sutiyoso to testify, said the Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirayuda.

After meeting Mr Sutiyoso, Mr Wirayuda summoned the Australian ambassador, Bill Farmer, to his office last night to deliver a direct protest and demand further explanation. He said the “unpleasant incident” was performed by Australian police and their conduct was unacceptable.

Hamish McDonald: Whitlam ‘duped’ by Indonesia

IN JUST over four hours, a Sydney QC yesterday demolished three decades of claims by Australian politicians and officials about their prowess in handling relations with Indonesia.

Mark Tedeschi, the senior Crown counsel assisting the inquest into the Balibo killing of five newsmen in 1975, portrayed then prime minister Gough Whitlam and his officials as dupes falling into a successful Indonesian effort to compromise them.

When five Australian TV newsmen were deliberately killed, Canberra was caught up in its own subterfuges, unable to confront the truth in its official inquiries.

And the inquest, he pointed out, has shown up gaps in Australia’s intelligence archives, with seven intercepts of Indonesian military signals relating to Balibo evidently lost, misplaced or destroyed – though no sign of any conspiracy to withhold intelligence from the government.

In his closing submission to the pathbreaking NSW inquest, Mr Tedeschi outlined talks between the Whitlam and Soeharto governments over 1974-75, during which the Indonesians formed the view that as long as any military action in then Portuguese Timor was “deniable”, Canberra would not criticise them strongly.

From September 30 up until just before the October 16 attack, an influential Indonesian, Harry Tjan (Silalahi), in the intelligence-linked Centre for Strategic and International Studies, gave increasingly detailed advance briefings about it to the Australian embassy.

“If the aim of the Indonesians in providing this precise military information to the Australian Government was to compromise the Australian Government’s response to an invasion, it can only be said that it succeeded, and spectacularly so,” Mr Tedeschi said. “In fact, no Australian criticisms of what was essentially an Indonesian invasion followed the attack on Balibo.”

Not once did any Australian official say anything in public or private to suggest that Canberra knew the journalists had been killed by Indonesian soldiers. Instead they pursued a “bizarre charade” of asking the Indonesian military to query its Timorese allies.

1 Comment

  1. my radical judgement by roysianipar said,

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