Protest for East Timor

Issue 

Protest for East Timor

By Jon Lamb

ADELAIDE — A noisy and vibrant crowd protested against military aid to Indonesia outside the Australian Defence Force Recruiting office here on March 17. The action was organised by Resistance, Aksi — Indonesia Solidarity Action and Campaign for an Independent East Timor (CIET).

Speakers called for the suspension of all military cooperation with the Indonesian military, including the current exercises with Indonesian troops from the Indonesian Army Strategic Command (KOSTRAD). These exercises are the first of several prior to the Kangaroo 95 war games to be held near Darwin in August.

Adelaide was also visited during the week by Indonesian General Sintong Panjaitan, who was commander of the Eastern Region, which takes in East Timor, during the Dili massacre in 1991. Panjaitan last year fled the United States to escape a court judgment of US$14 million against him won by Helen Todd, the mother of Kamal Bamadhaj, one of those murdered in the massacre.

Defence Force statements claimed Panjaitan was visiting to purchase "humanitarian aid" such as water purifiers for East Timor. Stan Thompson from Aksi told Green Left Weekly, "The best form of humanitarian aid that Indonesia could offer would be to withdraw its military forces and allow the East Timorese the right of self-determination".

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