Eyewitness account of an Anzac war crime in East Timor

by Scott Hamilton

Anzac troops are commiting human rights abuses, and the East Timorese want them to go home.

After the recent article I wrote comparing the occupations of Iraq and East Timor appeared on indymedia.org.nz and the Aussie website Labor Tribune, I received a number of angry e mails accusing me of exaggerating the 'problems' in East Timor and taking an 'ultra-left' position by opposing the presence of Anzac troops there.

One of these messages claimed that the occupation was supported by East Timorese 'from across the political spectrum'; another insisted that Australian and New Zealand troops were 'there to help' the East Timorese.

This sort of ignorance is not entirely surprising, because the big anti-occupation protests that have shaken East Timor over the past month have been under-reported, even in the media of the activist left. The huge demonstrations which followed the shooting of three refugee protesters by Aussie troops on February the 23rd, and the bloody raid that killed five opponents of the occupation south of Dili on March the 4th, have been characterised by much of the mainstream media as mere 'mob violence', and further evidence of the need for Anzac forces to occupy and 'stabilise' East Timor.

The widespread misrepresentation of the events of the past month make the following document, which was composed up by 'Internally Displaced Persons' resident at a camp outside Dili, invaluable. The refugees' statement was written in the aftermath of the deadly Anzac attack on the camp on February the 23rd, and it moves from a vivid description of a series of human rights abuses to a clear call for Anzac forces to leave East Timor.



Anonymous said...

What a hypocrite you are!

You condemn others for ignorance, misrepresentations and distortions of the truth in relation to East Timor and in the very same breath you commit the same transgression yourself!

See your reference to "the bloody raid that killed five opponents of the occupation". Anyone who has half a clue about what was going on in East Timor at the time knows full well that the rebels led by Major Reinado and their dispute with the East Timorese army had nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called occupation (an "occupation" that was, in fact, invited by the East Timorese leadership and not unilaterally imposed by the Australians). Their complaint was against the government and the military for discrimination against westerners in promotions in the defence force and opposition to the arming of civilians from the east of the country and other internal political problems in East Timor.

The Australian troops should not have been involved in the pursuit of the rebels and the shooting of 5 rebels was a grave mistake. But it was done at the behest of the East Timor government itself and was, again, not a unilateral action taken by the Australian military.

If the Australian troops had not gone to East Timor in 2006, the country would have become nothing more than a pile of bloody corpses.

Anonymous said...

Look at the pile of corpses that the Australian settler state is based and founded on, you are the hypocrite

Anonymous said...

the writer of this post is a complete moron. he clearly was not involved in timor 2006 so he is looking in as an biased spectator with a pre-concieved idea. i was in this actual photo that he used to demonstrate "human rights violations". the ignorant individual obviously came nowhere close to finding out what had just happened and clearly didn't care. the inividual on the ground had just threatened the group of us with a machete a few seconds ealrier and was being arrested. the photo is a great indication of how some motivated idiot with an opinion can broadcast his paranoid ideas to a gullible public.