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John Passant

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September 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Is Gough Whitlam a war criminal?

Thirty four years after Indonesian troops murdered the Balibo Five in the lead up to the invasion of  East Timor, the Australian Federal Police are now investigating to see if anyone can be charged with war crimes.

Why now, after 34 years? 

Let me indulge is some pure speculation.

Is it an an accident that this announcement was made one week after Mick Keelty retired as Commissioner of the AFP? Or that the investigation began on 20 August, just two weeks before he retired?

Could there be a faction in the Australian Government who want the whole matter suppressed to keep Indonesia on side and to  prevent any possible Australian Government complicity in the invasion being aired?

Is there another faction, now that the Indonesian elections are over, who want to show Indonesia we are top dog in the region?

This latter faction presumably thinks there will be no successful prosecution or that it will at worst only implicate those Indonesians who pulled the trigger or directly gave the order to do so.

They know it will not investigate those who ordered the invasion or who, like then Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam or US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, gave the green light to the Indonesian dictator Suharto for the invasion and slaughter of hundreds of thousands.

In November 2007 New South Wales Deputy Coroner Dorelle Pinch found that the Balibo Five were deliberately killed while trying to surrender to Indonesian forces.

This contradicts over 30 years of deliberate lies from successive Australian Government that they were killed in crossfire.

Pinch named those surviving Indonesian military members possibly linked to the deaths as  Christoforus da Silva and Captain Yunus Yosfiah, the former Indonesian Communications Minister.

The Deputy Coroner called on the former Governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, then on a visit to Australia, to give evidence but he refused and left the country immediately.  The Federal and State Governments issued profuse apologies to Indonesia.

At one stage Sutiyoso was being mooted as a possible Vice-Presidential candidate in the recent Indonesian elections.

These are the men who may have killed the Balibo Five or given the direct orders to do so. 

So it is right that they be investigated and, if enough evidence exists, that they be charged with war crimes.

What about those still alive who gave the order for the invasion or participated in its development and implementation?  Will they be investigated?

And what about those like Gough Whitlam and Henry Kissinger who gave the green light to the Indonesians for their invasion and the consequences of that invasion, the mass murder of 200,000 East Timorese over the ensuing 25 years?

Will they too be investigated for possible war crimes, or complicity in war crimes? For crimes against humanity?

The answer is no.  The Australian bourgeoisie won’t investigate one of its own for doing its dirty work in the name of ‘realpolitik.’ 

As John Pilger says in The New Statesman in a review of the fictitious film Balibo:

A holocaust happened in East Timor, and it tells us more about rapacious western power, its propaganda and true aims, than even current colonial adventures. The historical record is unambiguous that the US, Britain and Australia conspired to accept such a scale of bloodshed as the price of securing south-east Asia’s “greatest prize” with its “hoard of natural resources”.

He goes on to say:

Australian intelligence had known 12 hours in advance that the journalists in Balibo faced imminent death, and the government did nothing. Intercepted at the Australian spy base Defence Signals Directorate near Darwin, which supplies US and British intelligence, the warning was suppressed so that it would not expose the western governments’ part in the conspiracy to invade, or the official lie that the journalists had been killed in “crossfire”.

There will be no justice for the Balibo Five until the AFP investigation into war crimes includes the likes of Whitlam and Kissinger.


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