Tags: indonesian militias

21 Apr 2004, Comments (0)

It’s about oil: Again

Author: Helen

Can nations be selfish? Bloody oath they can!*

I remember someone saying that seeing Rumsfeld or Bush on the TV made them want to chuck a pillow at it. I think she was being much too nice. Next time I see Alexander Downer on the TV, I’ll be sorely tempted to shoot the thing, Elvis style. It’s just lucky for everyone I don’t own a firearm.

On Monday afternoon in Dili, a crucial meeting began. It is the second in a series to discuss the demarcation of a permanent seabed boundary between Australia and East Timor. This apparently simple matter is complicated by a great deal of history, politics, economic interests, legal disagreements, commercial rivalries and diplomatic manoeuvres. At times it even looks like threatening the relationships between the two countries.

In a nutshell, we (that’s Australia, as presented to the world by our wonderful representatives) want to manipulate the seabed boundary so we get the lions’ share of the oil and gas reserves.

The people of East Timor fought with Australian soldiers in World war II, many of them losing their lives in the process. In the 1980s and 90s we looked away as Indonesian militias intimidated and attacked the Timorese population. It took a major bloodbath in 1999 for the Federal government to reluctantly go in and help (compare and contrast their defence of the US “preemptive Strike” policy on the basis that the Iraqi population was suffering under Saddam Hussein).

Yet a smug, overprivileged Australian is seen bullying the Timorese to get an 82-18 share – that’s in favour of Australia – of the Greater Sunrise oil and Gas reserves. Here’s a transcript of Downer monstering the East Timorese PM Mari Alkatiri in 2003.

And they’re doing it again in 2004.