Replying to Jose was Re: East Timor was Re:"They found absolutely nothing"

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Sat Oct 16 00:57:26 MDT 1999

>This is an extremely odd post. Surely, you don't concede that there is ANY
>level of killing or genocide that would have justified the demand of the
>Timorese Independence Movement for UN intervention? I thought it was a
>matter of absolute, bedrock principle.

Hi Jose,

Now you found my post 'odd'.  Well I must confess that I found your habit
of calling the Australians 'blue helmets' rather odd too.  You are seeing
the same images from East Timor that I am no doubt.  Have you noticed many
blue helmets around?  The UN is not in East Timor.  The Australian Army is.
That is a somewhat different matter, is it not?

I have written copiously about the impact on Australia of our sending
troops in. You have ignored all this. I don't blame you.  You live
somewhere else.  However I do blame the DSP and their proxy.  They have
remained silent about the result of supporting the Australian Army.  I have
said that the militarization of Australian society has reversed the gains
of the Anti-Vietnam war movement.  That made the sending of Australian
troops abroad a political impossibility.  Al this has been reversed. But
take my word for it click on some of the local Murdoch papers here and you
will see that what I have said is true.

Now yesterday I turned on the evening news and I was confronted with the
spectacle of Xanana Gusmao sitting proudly in  the chamber of the
Australian Parliament.  That little scum bag Prime Minister Johnny Howard
talked about the honor it was to have Gusmao sitting among them.  The far
right leader of the Labor Party got up and joined in the congratulations.

What was I supposed to make of all this?  Gusmao called for troops.  You
say he had a right to do this. Perhaps, but I too have a right and that is
to oppose the militarization of this country.  And also I have a right to
oppose the cuts in welfare and education that will follow because Gusmao
called for troops.

Let me be clear here. I support the rights of the East Timorese to their
independence.  But I am not a bourgeois nationalist. I reserve the right to
be critical of the likes of Horta, and Gusmao.  Still If the Australian
Army was an army of liberation I would support them going to the aid of
Falantil. But they are not in East Timor to liberate the people of East
Timor.  I know that you understand this.  I have given up hoping that the
DSP and their proxy do.

Let me try Lou's patience and repeat what I said before.  The killings
could have been stopped with a word from the USA.  The Australian troops
are there as part of the increased militarization of this country.  As the
DSP pointed out in an August edition of Green Left Weekly the 1997 Defence
plan of the Australian Govt called for increased military spending and for
a policy of committing Australian troops abroad. The DSP called for
opposition to this and for a total cut in Defence spending. They
conveniently forgot about these essentially correct positions when they
screamed for the troops to go in. BTW I have not heard anything from them
or their proxy with regard to how you can eliminate military spending and
also send in the troops.

Now Jared has put in what I think is a measured post about the media
reporting of the atrocities in East Timor.  I have actually read your post
on the though I follow the Chomsky-Herman model outlined in Manufacturing
Consent.  However it makes the typically anarchist mistake of denying the
relative autonomy of the state and that puts it in the crude but good category.

In earlier posts I paid a great deal of attention to the silence of the
Australian media in 75-8 and contrasted that with the huge coverage in Sept
99. As far as I am aware neither yourself nor the DSP and their proxy have
replied to my basic point, which is that the change in coverage is a direct
result of the change in government policy towards Indonesia and East Timor.

My point here is that the Government wants moral outrage over East Timor
and they are very prepared to manipulate the truth to get it. This morning
for instance they even revisited the murder in 1975 of five Australian
media workers.  This event has been covered up for years by successive
Australian governments.  Lo and behold we are now told that they were
killed by Indonesians soldiers.  This is of course the truth but why are
the bastards telling us that now?  This is the kind of question I have been
trying to teach my students to ask.  Perhaps the DSP and their proxy might
try and think about it as well.

Now finally about the missing 200, 000.  Other reports put this at 250,000.
Who knows?  There was massive displacement and the systematic burning of
villages. All of it is to be condemned and I have repeatedly done so.  But
let me say it again, there is some evidence, though it is too early to be
definite, that the bourgeois media has lied to us and exaggerated the
deaths. Now Norm has asked me would the resistance lie about the killings.
The simple answer to that is of course they would.  But that does not mean
that I think they are lying. The point of disagreement with myself and the
likes of Horta and Gusmao is over their current attitude towards the
Australian military.

The reason why the DSP and their proxy get burned up about my post on the
reporting of the killings is because if it is established that reports of
the killing were deliberately exaggerated it could prove that  when they
called for Australian troops to go in they were pushing an open door. They
were in fact entering an alliance with a bourgeois army and a bourgeois
government.  A fundamental error I would have thought for a revolutionary
Marxist organisation. That to use your phrase is bedrock for me.



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