East Timor

Australian government and Labor Party back prosecution of whistleblower who revealed Timor bugging

By Mike Head, 15 September 2018

There is a bipartisan attempt to cover up and protect the operations of the Australian intelligence agencies.

East Timorese government sworn in, instability escalates

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 July 2018

The new government confronts an escalating political and economic crisis, exacerbated by rising geo-political tensions and the efforts of the US and its allies to counter China’s influence.

Gas profits and China fears drive Australia-Timor boundary treaty

By Mike Head, 13 March 2018

There were concerns in both Canberra and Washington that Australia’s refusal to abide by international law was opening the door for China to acquire greater influence.

Australian government agrees to negotiate East Timor maritime border

By Patrick Kelly, 11 January 2017

The announcement represents a significant tactical shift by Australian imperialism.

International court dismisses Australian challenge over Timor Sea border dispute

By Patrick Kelly, 28 September 2016

The judgement marks another exposure of Canberra’s contempt for international law and its rank hypocrisy over the resolution of maritime disputes.

Australian government dismisses international law in The Hague over Timorese oil theft

By Patrick Kelly, 8 September 2016

While demanding Beijing abides by a recent South China Sea ruling, Canberra has rejected the court’s jurisdiction in its disputes with East Timor in the Timor Sea.

Large protests in East Timor over ongoing Australian oil theft

By Patrick Kelly, 26 March 2016

The demonstration was among the largest in East Timor since the former Portuguese colony and Indonesian territory received formal independence in 2002.

East Timorese government promotes new “free trade zone”

By John Lucas, 27 February 2015

Former bitter rivals within the Timorese ruling elite have come together on the basis of establishing the country as a cheap labour platform.

East Timorese prime minister resigns, “national unity” government formed

By Patrick Kelly, 10 February 2015

Previously bitter enemies within the ruling elite have now closed ranks, attempting to shore up their common class interests.

Melbourne public meeting examines role of Australian imperialism in East Timor

By our reporters, 8 May 2014

The “Justice at Sea” meeting discussed Canberra’s latest moves to retain its grip over the vast oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

International court permits Australian seizure of Timor’s documents

By Mike Head, 6 March 2014

The ruling protects Australian spying operations in the Asia-Pacific and undermines East Timor’s legal challenge to an energy treaty with Australia.

East Timorese prime minister announces resignation plan

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 January 2014

Xanana Gusmão’s entire political life is bound up with various manoeuvres with different imperialist powers.

Australian government defends seizure of East Timor’s documents

By Mike Head, 23 January 2014

Brazenly turning reality on its head, Australia’s legal team at the International Court of Justice issued inflammatory accusations against East Timor.

East Timor takes Australia to International Court of Justice over ASIO raids

By Patrick O’Connor, 23 December 2013

East Timor has asked the court to rule that the seizure of legal documents by Australia’s spy agency violated the country’s sovereignty and breached international law.

More whistleblowers emerge in Australia’s Timor spying scandal

By Mike Head, 7 December 2013

The Abbott government is intensifying the drive to shut down East Timor’s legal case and prevent further public exposure of the surveillance network.

East Timorese government prepares legal case over Australian spying

By Patrick O’Connor, 29 November 2013

Evidence of espionage will form part of Timor’s efforts to revise a treaty sanctioning Australia’s unlawful claim to lucrative oil and gas revenues.

Espionage, blackmail and oil—Australian neo-colonialism in East Timor

By Patrick O’Connor—SEP candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 3 June 2013

For decades, successive governments have engaged in sordid manoeuvres to secure the Timor Sea energy bonanza for Australian corporations.

East Timorese election bolsters ruling party

By Mariano Cardoso, 27 July 2012

Gusmao’s CNRT nearly secured an absolute majority of parliamentary seats and plans to form a coalition government with two smaller parties.

Ten years on, the myths of East Timor independence stand exposed

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 May 2012

The tiny island state remains subject to the diktats of the IMF and World Bank and the intrigues of rival powers vying for regional influence.

Former military chief wins East Timor’s presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 April 2012

Taur Matan Ruak, the former head of the East Timorese armed forces, was clearly the Australian government’s preferred choice.

Second round required in East Timorese presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 March 2012

The two highest vote winners will contest the second round—former military chief Taur Matan Ruak and Fretilin’s Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres.

East Timor to hold presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 March 2012

Canberra is no doubt doing everything it can to ensure a pro-Australian administration.

WikiLeaks’ cables reveal:

Portugal’s intelligence chief accused Australia of “fomenting unrest” in East Timor

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 April 2011

The Australian government, then led by John Howard, targeted Alkatiri because of his perceived alignment with rival powers, especially Portugal and China.

East Timor: Alleged 2008 “coup” plotter accuses Prime Minister Gusmao of political manipulation

By Patrick O’Connor, 6 January 2011

Gastao Salsinha, one of the leading participants in the so-called “coup” attempt in East Timor on February 11, 2008, has spoken out against Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in an interview with Dili newspaper Tempo Seminal.

The strange end of the 2008 “coup” affair

East Timorese president frees men jailed over alleged assassination attempts

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 October 2010

East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta pardoned the men convicted over a supposed double assassination attempt in 2008 targeting himself and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

“Alarm bells” ring for Australian government over deepening China-East Timor ties

By Patrick O’Connor, 27 August 2010

The Australian cited unnamed senior diplomatic analysts who said that “China’s foray into what has been traditionally regarded as ‘Australia’s sphere of interest’ had set alarm bells ringing in Canberra.”

Australia-East Timor conflict intensifies over Greater Sunrise gas project

By Mike Head, 9 June 2010

A bitter dispute between Australia and East Timor over a giant gas and oil project in the Timor Sea has worsened.

Acquittal in East Timor marks collapse of official “coup” story

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 March 2010

A court last week acquitted dual East Timorese-Australian citizen Angelita Pires of all charges relating to an alleged assassination plot in 2008, in which President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot.

Australian military vehicle responsible for elderly woman’s death in East Timor

By Patrick O’Connor, 13 February 2010

The death of Gracinda da Costa in an apparent road accident involving an Australian military vehicle has highlighted the blanket immunity enjoyed by the intervention force in East Timor.

Further questions raised in East Timor “assassination” trial

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 January 2010

An ongoing trial relating to the alleged failed assassination of East Timor’s president and prime minister has raised further serious questions about the murky affair.

Australian imperialism, the 1999 East Timor intervention and the pseudo-left

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 November 2009

September marked the tenth anniversary of the Australian-led military intervention into East Timor. It is also a decade since a layer of pseudo “left” groups organised “troops in” demonstrations—performing a vital service for the Howard government and the Australian ruling elite.

Ten years since East Timor’s independence vote

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 August 2009

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the referendum that saw nearly 80 percent of the East Timorese people vote to secede from Indonesia and become a separate nation-state.

East Timor: Trials begin over 2008 Horta-Gusmao “assassination attempt”

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 July 2009

Initial court proceedings in East Timor have underscored the numerous unanswered contradictions and far-reaching political interests involved in the events of February 11, 2008.

East Timorese prosecutors charge 28 people over 2008 “coup attempt”

By Patrick O’Connor, 19 March 2009

A serious investigation into the instigators of the February 11 events would begin with the question Cui bono?—who benefits? An inquiry along these lines would immediately look at the roles of Prime Minister Gusmao and the Australian government.

East Timor journalist faces jail over corruption allegations

By Peter Byrne, 6 March 2009

In violation of basic democratic rights, the East Timorese government is using a penal code imposed by the former Indonesian military regime to charge a journalist with criminal defamation.

East Timor: Political tensions mount over Greater Sunrise gas pipeline

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 December 2008

A long-standing dispute over the route of a proposed oil and gas pipeline and the location of a refinery has triggered further turmoil in the unstable coalition government in East Timor.

East Timor: Political crisis deepens as divisions in police force re-emerge

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 October 2008

The apparent re-emergence of regional divisions within the East Timorese police force is one more sign of the crisis swirling around the country's unstable coalition government headed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

East Timor: Leaked autopsy report shows alleged “coup” leader Reinado shot at point-blank range

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 September 2008

Two leaked autopsy reports—which have been published in full on the Wikileaks web site—definitively refute the official version of the events of February 11 in East Timor, according to which former major Alfredo Reinado had engaged in a shoot-out with President Jose Ramos Horta’s security forces while attempting to storm the president’s residence.

Indonesian and Timorese leaders join hands to sanctify 1999 atrocities

By Mike Head, 26 July 2008

In a particularly disgusting ceremony on the island of Bali on July 15, Indonesian President Susilo Banbang Yudhoyono was embraced by his East Timorese counterpart, José Ramos-Horta and Timorese prime minister Xanana Gusmão after the two governments took delivery of a report whitewashing the atrocities carried out by the Indonesian regime in 1999.

East Timor: Xanana Gusmao’s coalition government in crisis

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 June 2008

The Social Democratic Association of Timor (ASDT) formally withdrew from Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s government last month, leaving the coalition administration on the verge of collapse. Fretilin, the largest parliamentary party, has called on President Jose Ramos-Horta to call early elections or simply dissolve the government and ask the opposition to form a new coalition.

East Timor: Rice rations for internal refugees cut off

By Will Fulgenzi, 15 May 2008

Tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees, known as internally displaced persons, are threatened with starvation as international relief agencies cease provision of food aid to camps in the nation’s capital, Dili. Last month the World Food Program (WFP), a UN agency, cut off its regular rice rations to the refugee centres. In February the organisation had reduced the per-person monthly rice ration from eight to four kilograms.

East Timor: Plot thickens as leader of alleged “coup” attempt surrenders

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 May 2008

Gastao Salsinha, the alleged co-leader of what was labelled an assassination or coup attempt against President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta on February 11, surrendered to authorities in Dili on Tuesday. Salsinha is specifically accused of attacking Gusmao’s vehicle after former major Alfredo Reinado was shot dead by soldiers at Ramos-Horta’s residence. The former army lieutenant denies these allegations and insists that neither he nor Reinado tried to orchestrate a coup or assassination.

East Timor: Former PM Alkatiri claims alleged assassination attempt on Xanana Gusmao was faked

By Patrick O’Connor, 8 April 2008

Mari Alkatiri, former East Timorese prime minister and current general secretary of the Fretilin opposition party, has alleged that the reported assassination attempt on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on February 11 was a fake. In an interview with the Portuguese News Network, he claimed that Fretilin has photographs showing that the vehicle, which supposedly came under fire, initially only had two bullet holes but later appeared in public with 16. Alkatiri also raised a number of serious questions regarding the related shooting of President Jose Ramos-Horta and the killing of rebel major Alfredo Reinado.

East Timorese government steps up repression in aftermath of alleged “coup attempt”

By Patrick O’Connor, 1 March 2008

East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has seized upon the crisis sparked by the February 11 wounding of President Jose Ramos-Horta and killing of former major Alfredo Reinado to enforce a number of repressive measures aimed at consolidating his unstable government. A spokesperson for Gusmao’s government announced on Monday that the “state of siege”—which involves a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and a ban on demonstrations and unauthorised meetings—has been extended to March 23. More than 200 people have already been arrested, mostly for violating the curfew, although opposition parliamentarians and journalists have also been targeted.

East Timor: Official “assassination” claims collapse

By Mike Head, 19 February 2008

After just one week, the official version of the February 11 events in East Timor—that army rebel Alfredo Reinado, attempted a “coup” and “double assassination” against President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao—is in tatters. As Australian journalist Paul Toohey noted last Saturday, “virtually no one in East Timor believes it [the assassination plot]”.

A very strange “coup attempt” in East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 13 February 2008

Nothing is clear about Monday’s events in the East Timorese capital of Dili, in which rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado was shot dead and the country’s president Jose Ramos-Horta was seriously injured, with gunshot wounds to his chest and stomach. The least likely explanation, however, is the official one by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who immediately claimed that an attempted coup had been thwarted. He then called for Australian military and political support and imposed a state of emergency and curfew.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao accused of instigating 2006 political crisis in East Timor

By Patrick O’Connor, 22 January 2008

Former East Timorese major Alfredo Reinado has accused Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao of directly instigating the 2006 military mutiny, which triggered the political and social unrest that forced more than 100,000 people—10 percent of the population—to flee their homes. The violence was seized upon by Canberra as the pretext for dispatching an Australian-led military intervention and muscling former Fretilin prime minister Mari Alkatiri out of office.

Australian troops carry out provocations against East Timor’s Fretilin

By Richard Phillips, 27 August 2007

Australian troops occupying East Timor vandalised and stole Fretilin flags from two villages in the country’s eastern districts of Baucau and Viqueque last week. The arrogant and crude provocation is part of the Australian government’s ongoing attempts to intimidate opponents of the recent appointment of Xanana Gusmao as East Timorese prime minister.

A regime made in Australia

Gusmao appointed East Timor’s prime minister

By Richard Phillips, 10 August 2007

Angry rioting and protests erupted in East Timor this week after President Jose Ramos-Horta appointed Xanana Gusmao as prime minister. Gusmao’s 12-member cabinet includes Jose Luis Guterres as deputy prime minister. Guterres challenged former Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri for the leadership of Fretilin last year and now heads a breakaway faction from the organisation.

East Timor: Despite winning election, Fretilin likely to be ousted

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 July 2007

East Timor’s ruling party, Fretilin, won the parliamentary election held on June 30 with 29 percent of the national vote. Despite the result, however, three rival parties announced last Friday they will form a coalition government headed by former President Xanana Gusmao and his National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor’s (CNRT). The Australian government is no doubt exerting major behind-the-scenes pressure to ensure Fretilin is ousted.

East Timor’s election held under shadow of Australian military

By Mike Head, 30 June 2007

Today’s parliamentary elections in East Timor are being conducted amid continuing Australian interference and pressure to secure the defeat of the Fretilin government, which has been in office since formal independence was declared in the former Indonesian territory in 2002.

East Timor: Ramos-Horta wins presidential election

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 May 2007

Jose Ramos-Horta has claimed victory in East Timor’s presidential election after recording 69 percent of the vote in last Wednesday’s run-off ballot. Fretilin’s Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres—the leading candidate in the first round of voting held last month—polled just 31 percent. Unsurprisingly, the Australian government and the media hailed the result as a victory for democracy in East Timor. The vote, however, marked another stage in Canberra’s year-long drive for “regime change” in the resource-rich country.

East Timor: final round of presidential elections

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 May 2007

The second and final round of voting in the East Timorese presidential election is being held today amid allegations that Australian troops have been carrying out provocations. On May 6, Fretilin candidate Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres released a press statement condemning Australian troops’ disruption of two Fretilin rallies, one in the capital Dili on May 5 and another in the central town of Ainaro on May 3. Helicopters landed close to the rallies and heavily armed troops moved among the crowds.

East Timor: Hunt for “rebel” military leader called off

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 April 2007

East Timorese presidential candidate and current prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, announced on Tuesday that he was calling off the pursuit by Australian soldiers of “rebel” military leader Alfredo Reinado. The former major is wanted for attempted murder and illegal firearms possession, charges relating to his mutiny and attacks on government forces in May last year. Reinado, who has close links with the Australian military and President Xanana Gusmao, played a significant role in Canberra’s campaign last year to unseat former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. The decision to suspend the pursuit and negotiate terms for a voluntary surrender raises further questions about Reinado’s provocative record.

Uncertain East Timorese presidential election outcome foreshadows further instability

By Patrick O’Connor, 13 April 2007

In the first round of East Timor’s presidential election on Monday, Fretilin candidate Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres received the highest vote, with 28.8 percent of the total, according to preliminary results. Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, who stood as an independent, won 22.6 percent support, ahead of six other candidates, including the Democratic Party’s Fernando “La Sama” de Araujo who received 18.5 percent. Because no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off ballot between Guterres and Ramos-Horta is scheduled for May 8.

Two East Timorese protestors killed by Australian troops

By Patrick O’Connor and SEP candidate for Marrickville in the NSW election (Australia), 2 March 2007

The killing of two East Timorese men by the Australian military on February 23 at a refugee camp near the Dili airport points to the real motivation behind the Howard government’s East Timor intervention.

Fabricated charges dropped against East Timor’s former prime minister

By Peter Symonds, 26 February 2007

The decision earlier this month by East Timor’s prosecutors to drop all charges against former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri barely rated a mention in the Australian, let alone international, media. This was in sharp contrast to the extraordinary campaign of vilification conducted last May and June to justify Australia’s military intervention in East Timor and to force Alkatiri’s resignation.

East Timor left to flounder in poverty and unemployment

By Chris Johnson, 28 September 2006

A great deal of hypocrisy surrounded the UN debate on East Timor last month. As Australia and its rivals jockeyed for position in a new UN mission in Dili, all expressed their concerns for the well-being of the East Timorese. Nothing demonstrates the complete indifference of the “international community” for the plight of the local population so much as the deepening social crisis in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Australian government’s role in ousting East Timor’s prime minister Alkatiri

By Peter Symonds, 20 September 2006

Over the past three weeks, a series of media reports has confirmed that the Australian military intervention into East Timor in May was not a humanitarian operation aimed at preventing violence and protecting the East Timorese people. It was part of a political campaign to oust East Timor Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and install a government more amenable to Canberra’s demands.

Australian government insists on independent military presence in East Timor

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 5 September 2006

Political tensions have once again resurfaced in East Timor, as Canberra, in the wake of its military intervention in May, seeks to consolidate Australian influence in Dili against its rivals, particularly the former colonial power Portugal.

Australian government ignores growing social disaster in East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 10 August 2006

The events of the last month have confirmed that the Australian military intervention in East Timor was never motivated by the slightest concern for the East Timorese people. Having put troops on the ground, ousted Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and installed Jose Ramos-Horta in his place, the Howard government has achieved its immediate objectives and moved on to next business.

How Australia orchestrated “regime change” in East Timor

Part 3

By Peter Symonds, 29 July 2006

This is the conclusion of a three-part article on Australia’s recent military intervention in East Timor. Part one was published on July 27, part two on July 28.

How Australia orchestrated “regime change” in East Timor

Part 2

By Peter Symonds, 28 July 2006

This is the second of a three-part article on Australia’s recent military intervention in East Timor. Part one was published on July 27.

How Australia orchestrated “regime change” in East Timor

Part 1

By Peter Symonds, 27 July 2006

This is the first of a three-part article on Australia’s recent military intervention in East Timor. Part two and three will be published on July 28 and 29, respectively.

Public meetings oppose Australia’s intervention into East Timor

By Laura Tiernan, 21 July 2006

The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site held public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne during the past week opposing the Howard government’s military intervention in East Timor and calling for the immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from the tiny half-island. SEP national secretary Nick Beams, a member of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS addressed audiences in both capital cities.

Australian imperialism, East Timor and the role of the DSP

By Nick Beams, 21 July 2006

Below we are publishing the report delivered by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, to public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne on July 11 and 18, 2006, entitled “The truth about East Timor: Why Australia’s military intervention should be opposed”. (See Public meetings oppose Australia's intervention into East Timor).

Australia installs its man in East Timor: Jose Ramos-Horta

By Peter Symonds, 12 July 2006

In what amounts to the culmination of an Australian neo-colonial putsch, Jose Ramos-Horta was formally sworn in as East Timor’s new prime minister on Monday. He replaces Mari Alkatiri, who was pressured to resign on June 26, following an extraordinary campaign of vilification in the Australian and international media, including trumped-up charges that he approved the formation of a “hit squad” to murder political opponents.

Australia continues push for control in East Timor

By Mike Head, 7 July 2006

Having secured the resignation of East Timor Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri last week, the Howard government is continuing its thinly veiled efforts, both internally and internationally, to install a compliant administration and establish Australian domination over a planned UN military and police force.

Australian-led campaign pressures East Timorese prime minister to resign

By Peter Symonds, 27 June 2006

East Timor’s Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri resigned yesterday amid an unrelenting campaign backed by the Australian government and media for his ousting. His announcement came less than 24 hours after a meeting of the ruling Fretilin party had refused to bow to demands by President Xanana Gusmao to sack the “illegal leadership” of Alkatiri and party president Francisco “Lu-Olu” Guterres. Gusmao had theatrically threatened to resign if his demands were not carried out, but backed away over the weekend.

World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party public meetings

The truth about East Timor: Why Australia’s intervention should be opposed

21 June 2006

The WSWS and Socialist Equality Party unequivocally oppose the Howard government’s military intervention into East Timor and demand the immediate withdrawal of all Australian troops and police from the tiny island state.

Australian government presses ahead with plans to dominate East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 20 June 2006

Having established an army of occupation in East Timor, the Australian government is engaged in ongoing political warfare on several fronts to ensure its predominance over the half-island. In the United Nations, Australian diplomats are pressing to ensure that Canberra retains control over any new UN mission. As part of this offensive, the Australian media is conducting an unrelenting campaign against Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who is regarded as too close to rival Portugal and thus an obstacle to Australian interests.

UN-backed report indicts Indonesia, Australia and US for Timor atrocities

By Mike Head, 13 June 2006

Despite its limited framework (see: “Incriminating documents looted in East Timor”), the report of the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) made a series of damning findings against Indonesia, the US and Australia.

Incriminating documents looted in East Timor

By Mike Head, 13 June 2006

Amid lurid reports in the Australian and international media about the ransacking and burning taking place in the East Timorese capital of Dili, some key looting has gone virtually unreported. On at least two occasions, offices storing incriminating documents, including evidence of atrocities carried out by Indonesian forces between 1975 and 1999, and Australian complicity with them, have been raided without any intervention from UN or Australian forces.

New Zealand joins Australia’s military occupation of East Timor

By John Braddock, 8 June 2006

The New Zealand Labour government last month dispatched nearly 200 troops to support the Australian-led military occupation of East Timor. Underlining the close Australian and New Zealand collaboration in neo-colonial exercises throughout the region, the contingent includes soldiers who were deployed in the initial 1999 intervention in East Timor, some who had recently served in the Solomon Islands, and a group of military police just returned from Afghanistan.

Australian foreign minister unveils plans for the colonial occupation of East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 7 June 2006

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer visited East Timor last weekend and laid out the broad outlines of Canberra’s plans to establish a long-term colonial-style occupation of the country. Downer arrived in Dili on Saturday amid continuing looting and violence by rival street gangs, despite the presence of an Australian-led force of more than 2,000 troops and police.

Australia, Timor and oil: the record

By Mike Head, 6 June 2006

In all the Australian media coverage of the Howard government’s latest armed intervention in East Timor, the words “oil” and “gas” are hardly mentioned. Yet control over the vast reserves beneath the Timor Sea—now valued at more than $30 billion due to rising world oil and natural gas prices—lies at the heart of the dispatch of troops and police.

The looting of East Timor’s Serious Crimes Unit

6 June 2006

The following contribution was sent to the World Socialist Web Site on May 31 by a former United Nations official in East Timor concerned about the ransacking of East Timor’s Serious Crimes Unit on May 30. The unit was established by the UN to investigate acts of violence carried out in 1999 by the Indonesian military and pro-Indonesian militia both before and after the UN-sponsored referendum on independence.

Australia continues its unrelenting campaign for “regime change” in East Timor

By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2006

Just over a week after its first troops landed in East Timor, the Australian government is conducting an unrelenting and barely disguised campaign of “regime change” in Dili. Two senior East Timorese ministers resigned on Thursday as part of a compromise deal brokered in a tense, two-day meeting of the country’s consultative Council of State. Nevertheless, the drumbeat continues from Canberra and in the Australian media for “an end to the political crisis”—in other words, for Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to step aside.

A correction on East Timor

1 June 2006

In the article “Why Australia wants a regime change in East Timor”, posted on May 30, the following paragraph appeared:

Why Australia wants “regime change” in East Timor

By Nick Beams, 30 May 2006

If one were to believe the official version, the intervention of Australian troops into East Timor is driven by the purest motives. They are there simply to restore peace and stability after the collapse of government authority. But this political fiction has been increasingly exposed by events of the past few days as the power struggle which sparked the crisis comes to the surface.

Australian military occupation of East Timor proceeds “full steam ahead”

By Peter Symonds, 27 May 2006

As Australian troops pour into East Timor and take control of the capital Dili, the neo-colonial character of the operation is becoming increasingly evident. Under the pretext of preventing civil war and helping the Timorese people, Australian imperialism has moved to reassert its dominance in East Timor, to install a compliant regime and to protect its economic and strategic interests.

Australian troops deployed to occupy East Timor

By James Cogan, 25 May 2006

In a blatant act of neo-colonialism, the Howard government is sending up to 1,300 Australian troops to re-occupy East Timor. Special Air Service commandos are already in the capital Dili and advance units of infantry are expected to deploy by air and join them this evening. The main force, consisting of more infantry and armoured vehicles, is aboard warships which have been hovering in Australia’s northern waters for the past two weeks, awaiting orders. They will arrive within 48 to 72 hours.

Australia continues to pressure East Timor on oil and gas

By John Roberts, 14 October 2004

Another round of talks between Australian and East Timorese officials over the disputed oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea concluded on September 30 without any agreement. The two sides left Darwin in northern Australia formally agreeing only to meet again some time after the October 9 Australian elections.

Australia pushes ahead with grab for Timor oil and gas

By John Roberts, 30 April 2004

At the latest border talks between East Timor and Australia held in Dili on April 19-22, Canberra reaffirmed its determination to flout international law and keep control of the lion’s share of the oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. Ignoring growing protests in East Timor and internationally, Australian representatives made no concessions to the demands of the East Timorese leadership for a greater share of the resources.

East Timor calls on Australia to stop exploiting disputed oil field

By John Roberts, 13 February 2004

Long-running disagreements between Australia and East Timor over their maritime border and therefore control of Timor Sea oil and gas erupted again late last year, focusing on revenues from the Laminaria-Corallina fields. East Timor’s Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta both accused Canberra of taking royalties that rightly belonged to Dili.

Australian government blackmails East Timor into ratifying oil and gas deal

By Rick Kelly, 12 March 2003

The long standing plan of the Australian government to maintain control of East Timor’s oil and gas reserves reached its dénouement late last week, as the East Timorese approved the International Unitisation Agreement (IUA) after a systematic campaign of threats and intimidation from Australia. The East Timorese ceded 79.9 percent of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field to Australia, worth an estimated $50 billion, after the Howard government threatened to withhold ratification of the Timor Sea Treaty (TST), the royalties from which are desperately needed by the tiny, impoverished nation.

Australia bullies East Timor over oil and gas

By John Ward and Peter Symonds, 7 February 2003

The Australian government is deliberately delaying the signing of an agreement with East Timor, known as the Timor Sea Treaty, as a means of blackmailing the small, newly independent country into conceding a greater share of off-shore oil and gas reserves to Canberra.

Following student protests in Dili:

UN and East Timor government push for tougher police measures

By John Ward and Peter Symonds, 20 December 2002

In the wake of violent protests in the capital of Dili on December 4, the East Timorese government, backed by UN officials, has attempted to deflect attention from the country’s mounting social tensions by blaming politically-motivated “provocateurs”. Backed by the UN, Portugal and Australia, it has called for measures to bolster the police in preparation for further unrest.

Social discontent boils over in East Timor protests

By John Ward and Peter Symonds, 6 December 2002

At least two people have been killed and more than 20 injured in clashes with police and soldiers during two days of protests and rioting by students and unemployed youth in the East Timorese capital of Dili. The situation remains tense after the government imposed an overnight curfew on Wednesday and called for UN troops to help police guard key buildings and patrol the city’s streets. Most shops and businesses, as well as the university and high schools, were closed yesterday.

Australia bullies "independent" East Timor over oil and gas

By Mike Head, 30 May 2002

Even as East Timor was declared to be the world’s newest independent nation on May 20, a bitter conflict was underway behind the scenes over Australia’s insistence on retaining the lion’s share of the tiny territory’s only substantial natural resource—the huge oil and natural gas deposits beneath the Timor Sea between the two countries.

East Timor’s "independence": illusion and reality

By Mike Head and Linda Tenenbaum, 18 May 2002

Just after midnight on May 20, the tiny enclave of East Timor will be proclaimed the first newly independent country of the 21st century. Amid official celebrations in the capital Dili, UN secretary general Kofi Annan will formally hand power over to President-elect Xanana Gusmao and declare the territory’s 800,000 people liberated.

Leaked spy intercepts prove Australian complicity in Timor massacre

By Mike Head, 25 March 2002

Documents leaked from one of Australia’s premier military intelligence agencies have further exposed the dirty lie behind the Howard government’s ongoing armed intervention in East Timor. They demonstrate that throughout 1999 Prime Minister John Howard’s cabinet knew that Indonesian cabinet ministers and senior generals were orchestrating militia killings across East Timor, but kept this information from the Timorese and Australian people.

US approved 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor

By Frank Gaglioti, 19 December 2001

Previously secret documents published by the National Security Archive at George Washington University prove that the United States government gave the green light for the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which resulted in the deaths of some 200,000 Timorese people over the ensuing quarter century.

Hand-picked cabinet in East Timor

By Frank Gaglioti, 3 October 2001

The United Nations administrator in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, swore in a new cabinet on September 20, following recent elections. While the world’s media hailed it as the territory’s “first truly democratic government,” De Mello selected the entire ministry, based on his own preferences rather than the poll results, and still retains ultimate authority.

East Timor election reveals disaffection with Fretilin

By Frank Gaglioti, 12 September 2001

In the leadup to the United Nations-conducted ballot in East Timor on August 30 to elect a Constituent Assembly, the UN, the international media and leaders of Fretilin, the former independence movement, all predicted that Fretilin would win by a landslide—perhaps taking as much as 90 percent of the vote.

A highly-orchestrated election in East Timor

By Frank Gaglioti and Mike Head, 30 August 2001

Even before a single vote was cast in today’s United Nations-organised election of a constituent assembly in East Timor, the local and international media had declared the result to be a foregone conclusion. Fretilin, the former independence front that has worked closely with the UN administration since Indonesia’s withdrawal from the territory two years ago, was “expected to sweep to power” according to media reports.

UN imposes tight control over East Timor elections

By Frank Gaglioti and Mike Head, 18 July 2001

Approved political parties began campaigning this week in East Timor for the election of a constituent assembly on August 30. UN and Timorese officials along with the international media have hailed the ballot as a further step towards democracy and independence, and a vindication of the Australian-led UN military intervention in 1999 that seized control of the half island from Indonesia and pro-Indonesian militia.

New Timor Gap treaty secures Australian control of oil and gas projects

By Mike Head, 11 July 2001

The ceremony was not as spectacular as in 1989, but two Australian government ministers still led a champagne toast when they signed a new Timor Gap oil and gas treaty with East Timorese representatives last week. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer held his glass aloft alongside East Timor’s economic affairs spokesman Mari Alkatiri in scenes reminiscent of just over a decade ago, when one of Downer’s predecessors, Gareth Evans, celebrated the original treaty with leaders of the Indonesian military regime.

Australia refuses to relinquish control over Timor Sea oil and gas

By Mike Head, 26 April 2001

Less than two years after sending 4,000 troops to East Timor on the pretext of defending its population from pro-Indonesia militia, the Australian government is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with East Timor's UN administration for control over an estimated $US20 billion worth of natural gas and light oil deposits beneath the Timor Sea.

Australia and Portugal to set up an East Timorese army

By Mike Head, 7 December 2000

Australia and Portugal will finance and supervise the setting up of an East Timorese army, underscoring the proposed new state's reliance on the capitalist powers.