The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Roger East and the Balibo Five: a long official silence > Comments

Roger East and the Balibo Five: a long official silence : Comments

By Adam Henry, published 7/8/2009

There are some Australian citizens who knew virtually from the very beginning what had happened at Balibo in East Timor.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All
'Balibo' shows on Sunday night at the Brisbane International Film Festival ahead of general release next Thursday. http://www.stgeorgebiff.com.au/Festival/Films/FilmDetails.aspx?id=278 This article gives another layer of meaning to some of the veiled comments Anthony Lapaglia made to Fran Kelly on Radio National this morning. Lapaglia was one of the producers and played Roger East. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast/stories/2009/2648658.htm

I'm looking forward to it.
Posted by Baxter Sin, Friday, 7 August 2009 11:12:34 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
A good article highlighting a constant issue for Australian intelligence officials and politicians.

Politicians and senior national security officials consciously weigh up whether Australians should be:
- warned, warned-off or evacuated OR
- whether intelligence methods should passively record oncoming danger allowing Australians to be hurt or killed.

As Adam says secrecy is based on the Claim that protection of collection methods, such as DSD sigint, automatically justify blocking publication to scholars and journalists - even decades after the events. Official Histories frequently sift and dilute information from secret archives but will we be waiting for 20 years? for an Official History of 1970s-90s East Timor Conflicts.

While Secrecy is protected by laws it is partly based on minimising political damage to a government or prospects of a governing political party.

So no purported knowledge of intelligence collected means no political responsibility. No reponsibility is aided by Secrecy and Clearance laws (Restricted up to Top Secret).

In the changeable electoral climate of 1975 both sides of politics did not wish to make Australia's bipartisan foreign policy direction (OK for Indonesia to invade...) over East Timor obvious to voters. Denying all and being unaccountable might just get one or other party into power.

It was much easier for our paid political representatives to say the invasion and death of the Balibo Five just happened and that Australia had no intelligence about their deaths.

We the public almost always donít know what intelligence has been collected so we donít know who should have warned us or who misjudged a situation.

What to do? I suggest reading the websites of a much more liberal (if distorted) national media - the US - then attempt to find Australian sources to corroborate the US information on Australia, Indonesia and East Timor.

For example here is a September 12, 1999 US NBC article http://www.fas.org/irp/news/1999/09/990912-310730.htm :

ďAs the East Timor crisis has heated up, the United States has been using electronic intelligence gathered nearby in Australia and New Zealand, two nations in a spying alliance officially known as the UKUSA treaty...Ē

Pete
http://gentleseas.blogspot.com/
Posted by plantagenet, Friday, 7 August 2009 11:46:33 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I am so sick of the Balbo Five.

If they had been a bunch of engineers, we would not of heard about them for 29 years.

But no, they were a bunch of journalists, having a damn silly "Boys Own" type adventure, so they must be something special. Well to other journalists perhaps, but to most of us, just damn fools who thought a press card would protect them.

It didn't. Get over it.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 7 August 2009 10:42:10 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
At the time of the "Balibo" affair the Australian Government was in a state of unravelling with motor cars hiding behind Yarralumla as was the government of Timor Leste.
Posted by Vioetbou, Saturday, 8 August 2009 7:29:46 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
It's not a question of whether the government and/or Australian intelligence knew or didn't know about the Balibo-5. They knew. Simple as that.

And we've always known that they knew. And they've always known that we've always known that they knew. Heck ... it's given as standard factual information in high school history textbooks. It was also made into a TV movie just a few years after the event.

What's all the mystery?

Ditto ... the bureaucratised genocide committed by Suharto on 600,000 to 1 million Indonesian left-wingers in 1966, many of whom were just village union spokespersons. It's an open secret that the fake 'left-wing coup' that sparked the genocide, as well as the genocide itself, was known to the British, US and Australian intelligence services and military (quite possibly even aided and abetted by them as well), and was committed with the deliberate intention of wiping the Indonesian Communist Party (world's 3rd largest after the USSR and China) from the face of the earth.

Despite his recurring tendency to commit mass murder on his own citizens, Suharto was the darling of the West for opening resource-rich Indonesia up to the foreign exploitation his predecessor would not allow. Not only did he get to die peacefully with a billion or two in the bank, no Western government or intelligence service was ever allowed to cross him off their Christmas card list.
Posted by SJF, Sunday, 9 August 2009 1:38:34 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy