Companion to East Timor - Leaflets from Campaign for an Independent East Timor, South Australia (CIET) 1

Leaflets from Campaign for an Independent East Timor, South Australia (CIET)

These pages contains several leaflets produced and/or distributed by the Campaign for an Independent East Timor, South Australia (CIET). They are only a sample of CIET's work, which was only one of a number of solidarity groups involved. This page gives a sense of the work of activists, who contributed to a continuum of resistance that was the real agent of social and political change. Their work is ignored by most historians. Groups like CIET took on the difficult yet enormously valuable task of pursuing justice. They confronted governments, politicians and others opposed to justice. Today also, instead of campaigning for justice for East Timor, politicians and civil society groups prefer to support economic development, aid, charity and other uncontroversial ways of dealing with East Timor.

Leaflets 1989 - 1994 (below)

Leaflets 1995 - 1996

Leaflets 1997 and later

1989 - 1994

At the end of 1988, Indonesia's President Suharto visited East Timor and announced that it would be opened to foreign visitors. The next year, the renowned Australian activist Shirley Shackleton, widow of the slain journalist Greg Shackleton, was one of many who visited the territory. She confronted Indonesian General Benny Murdani in the dining room of Dili's Hotel Turismo during the Pope's 1989 visit to the territory. This leaflet advertises her talk on her return. CIET held events to commemorate the anniversary of the invasion (7th December). Shirley Shackleton's book, The Circle of Silence: A Personal Testimony Before, During and After Balibo won the 2010 Walkley Book Award.

This media statement was released soon after the historic 27 September 1990 meeting, arranged in secret, between the Australian lawyer and solidarity activist Robert Domm and Xanana Gusmao, the leader of the resistance. Domm's visit was no stroke of luck; it was a well-coordinated operation involving Australian solidarity activists, the clandestine resistance in the towns of East Timor, and the clandestine resistance in Indonesia. Domm's connection to East Timor predated the Indonesian invasion – he had been a merchant seaman who visited Dili often in the early 1970s. His interview was the first occasion that any outsider had contacted members of the armed resistance since the loss of the illegal radio more than a decade before. It was a significant publicity coup for the independence campaign, shattering the Indonesian claim that the East Timorese resistance had no support among the population.

These press clippings from the CIET archive refer to the contrasting international responses to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. The international coalition to liberate Kuwait was watched closely on television by the East Timorese, who immediately drew parallels to the need for their own national liberation. The clippings also warn of the crackdown inside East Timor after Robert Domm's interview with Xanana Gusmao. They discuss Indonesia's ratification of the Timor Gap Treaty, signed by  Australia's foreign minister Gareth Evans and his Indonesian counterpart Ali Alatas in order to exploit East Timor's energy resources. The images of Evans and Alatas clinking champagne glasses on an aircraft flying over the Timor Sea became an iconic one, used widely in subsequent years to criticize Australian foreign policy. Evans dismissed concerns about Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor, saying that 'the world is a pretty unfair place… littered over the course of the decades and the centuries with examples of acquisitions by force which have proved to be, for whatever reason, irreversible.'

CIET sample letter to Bob Hawke.

CIET leaflet contrasting Bob Hawke's rhetoric with his actions.

This is an example of CIET's reaction to the Santa Cruz massacre of 12th November 1991. Gareth Evans had described the massacre as 'an aberration, not an act of state policy,' and that there were grounds for the international community to be "somewhat critical" of Indonesia but there was 'no case to be "supremely critical.'

Front of CIET leaflet advertising a "way forward' conference in mid-1992.

Back of CIET leaflet advertising a "way forward' conference in mid-1992. One of the speakers, Simon Philpott, later served as a UN accredited observer of the 1999 general election in Indonesia and of the independence referendum in East Timor, also in 1999. Note the absence of advertised speakers from the major political parties.

Leaflet produced after the 1993 trial of Xanana Gusmao, who was captured in Dili on 20th November 1992.

Same as above: produced after the 1993 trial of Xanana Gusmao, who was captured in Dili on 20th November 1992.

This CIET leaflet refers to a 1992 US law deleting all funding for a program (known as International Military Education and Training – IMET) in which the US trained the Indonesian military. It was the first time the US had ever refused military assistance to Indonesia since Suharto came to power. The US-based East Timor Action Network was heavily involved in securing the passage of the bill. Two months after the passage of the bill, Bill Clinton won the US presidential elections. The new administration was compelled to work within the newly-established parameters. It therefore banned the sale of small and light arms, riot-control equipment, helicopter-mounted weaponry and armoured personnel carriers to Indonesia.

This leaflet refers to Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's visit to Ireland in September 1993. The East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign (ETISC) ensured that Keating was badgered about East Timor throughout his visit. At Keating's speech to the combined houses of the Irish Assembly, several members from all parties wore white carnations in support of the East Timor. Paul Keating's speechwriter, Don Watson, makes no mention of this highly embarrassing episode in his account of the Keating years. See D. Watson, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart. (Sydney: Knopf, 2002:420-3).

Activism around the time of the second anniversary of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre, and FRETILIN's 1975 declaration of independence.

Leaflet advertising a protest to coincide with the anniversary of the Indonesian invasion.

Reverse of leaflet advertising a protest to coincide with the anniversary of the Indonesian invasion. Note that Dr Andrew McNaughtan's name is spelt incorrectly here, and that he was a medical practitioner rather than an academic. The leaflet also criticises the claim made by Richard Woolcott that supporters of Indonesian democracy and of East Timor were "anti-Indonesian" and "racist" (R. Woolcott, Myths and Realities In Our Approach to Indonesia, The Sydney Papers, Winter 1992, p.81)

This part of the leaflet calls for solidarity with Mau Hunu, (real name Antonio Manuel Gomes da Costa), who replaced Xanana Gusmao and was in turn captured on 3 April 1993.

This leaflet refers to the Asia Pacific East Timor Conference held in Manila from 13 May to 4 June 1994. It was attended by five hundred Filipinos and 51 international participants. The convenors resisted moves to ban the conference. The Philippines government was able to prevent several prominent East Timorese leaders in exile from attending it. Many activists flew in to the Philippines even though they knew they would be deported; the media were present at the airport to cover the deportations.

The other side of the above leaflet.

John Pilger and David Munro entered occupied East Timor in 1993, resulting in "Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy", a powerful film that contributed to the world's knowledge of the Indonesian occupation. This CIET leaflet refers to John Pilger's film and to his account of a second massacre immediately after Santa Cruz.

More calls for solidarity with Gusmao and Mau Hunu, and a cartoon by Peter Nicholson, whose cartoons also appear on this site.

The court sentenced him to life imprisonment on 21 May 1993. Gusmao was held in a prison in Semarang.

This leaflet discusses the reduction in Gusmao's sentence from life imprisonment to 20 years in prison. A presidential decree to that effect was signed on 10 August 1993. Trying to associate himself with the reduction, Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans flew to Indonesia on 11 August, briefing reporters that he was there to lobby for an early grant of presidential clemency to Xanana. The reduction was announced publicly on 13 August.

Among other things, this leaflet discusses the courageous work of Indonesian civil society groups. Though small in number, Indonesian NGOs such as Infight, LPHAM (Lembaga Pembela Hak-hak Asasi Manusia, the Institute for the Defense of Human Rights) and Hidup Baru (New Life) joined East Timorese protestors and were themselves arrested and interrogated. A team of lawyers from the Indonesian Association of Advocates and the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation formed the Joint Committee for East Timor in order to coordinate the legal defence of two East Timorese students, Joao Freitas da Camara and Fernando de Araujo, who were charged with subversion and subsidiary criminal offences. Although the lawyers were subjected to obstruction and intimidation, they represented the defendants with courage and distinction.

Calls for cards of support to be sent to imprisoned East Timorese leaders. All this cost money, of course, and CIET and other groups were always under severe financial pressure – unlike their well-funded opponents in government, the media, and think-tanks.

This leaflet refers to Marsinah, a 25-year-old worker at a watch factory (PT Catur Putra Surya). In May 1993, she joined 14 other workers in a meeting with the management of the factory in order to discuss a wage dispute. The local military headquarters summoned her co-workers and forced them to sign letters of resignation. Marsinah went to the headquarters in order to inquire about her friends. She was found dead three days later in a shack near a rice field. Her corpse showed signs of torture and rape. Despite intimidation from the military, some newspapers in East Java and local NGOs publicized her case, which made its way to the International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva.

This leaflet asks why Keating, who stated he was proud of his Catholic heritage, was supporting the Suharto regime that oppressed the many East Timorese who were Catholic.

More discussion of John Pilger's Death of a Nation.

Discussion of Senator Gareth Evans' search for a safe seat in the House of Representatives after the 1993 election.

Details of how to pressure Gareth Evans over East Timor in the context of his search for a safe seat in the House of Representatives after the 1993 election.

Australian activist Jim Aubrey later stood against Gareth Evans in the House of Representatives in the 1996 election. This is the first page of a CIET leaflet about his campaign.

Second page of a CIET leaflet about Jim Aubrey's election campaign.

This leaflet draws attention to the Indonesian pro-democracy movement's links with East Timorese freedom campaigners.

Reference to Labor Senator Robert Ray's claim that Indonesia's human rights performance was improving – in an attempt to reduce public opposition to exercises with the Indonesian military.

Reference to a spectacular display of strategic non-violent action at the November 1994 APEC summit in Jakarta.

In November 1994, a number of East Timorese arrived in taxis outside the US Embassy in Jakarta. They climbed over the 2.6 meter railings and jumped into the embassy compound before security guards positioned outside could stop them. Once inside, they unfurled banners and chanted 'Free East Timor.' Dozens of riot police from the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) arrived soon afterwards and surrounded the embassy. A stand-off began in full view of the international media, and the cause of East Timor was dramatically reasserted onto the international agenda.

Leaflets 1989 - 1994 (above)

Leaflets 1995 - 1996

Leaflets 1997 and later