Companion to East Timor - Leaflets from Campaign for an Independent East Timor, South Australia (CIET) 3

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

Leaflets 1989 - 1994

Leaflets 1995 - 1996

Leaflets 1997 and later (below)

1997 and later


The Indonesian authorities were keen to display the 'normality' of East Timor during the nation-wide elections of 29 May 1997. The resistance had other ideas. From his prison cell in Indonesia, Xanana Gusmao ordered the resistance to organize a boycott of the elections in East Timor. Accordingly, clandestine activists in Dili and Falintil forces under the command of David Alex launched a number of election-related attacks in May 1997. On 25 June 1997, in a village named Caibada Wai-Ma'a, the task force captured David Alex along with five others. Considerable confusion, suspicion and misinformation accompanied this capture, leaving a legacy of suspicion that has never been erased.


Australian activists also organised a network in support of a number of East Timorese who were seeking asylum. The Sanctuary Network consisted of more than 8000 individuals, as well as a large number of organizations, all of whom pledged to defy Australian law by hiding these asylum seekers if their bids were rejected. As Christian activist Ciaron O'Reilly put it, 'We basically said to the government that you should offer these people sanctuary and if you fail to do so then we will break the law and hide these people out.' Activists prepared a secret list of safe houses and other support services. They were fully aware of the legal implications – a penalty of six months imprisonment for obstructing immigration procedures. Nevertheless, they took the view that if there was a large enough network, it would be politically harder for the government to arrest everyone. The sanctuary network was explicit about its aim – to raise the political cost of the Australian government's policy. According to a scholarly account, the network 'gained support from many other religious congregations (predominantly those of women) and then from as many as ten thousand Catholic laity'


More on the Sanctuary Network.


Action by CIET on 17 July 1997, the anniversary of Indonesia's formal integration of East Timor as its 27th province.


Commemoration mass after the rally outside the Indonesian Consulate on 17 July 1997, the anniversary of Indonesia's formal integration of East Timor as its 27th province.


CIET criticises John Howard for his opposition to East Timorese independence.


CIET rally on 17 August, the anniversary of Indonesia's independence from the Netherlands.


CIET-organised public meeting during the Asian Financial Crisis.


A report of a public meeting, with a moving description of the reaction of a young student, Robyn Francis.


CIET leaflet after B.J. Habibie succeeded Suharto as President of Indonesia.


CIET commentary on developments after B.J. Habibie succeeded Suharto as President of Indonesia.


CIET leaflet in the lead-up to the federal election, which was scheduled for 3 October 1998. Labor's spokesperson on foreign affairs, Laurie Brereton had fractured the bipartisan consensus by changing Labor's policy on East Timor. Thus, in the lead-up to the federal election, there was a clear policy difference between the government and the opposition on the question of self-determination for East Timor.


CIET advertises a public talk by Dr Philip Dorling, policy adviser to Laure Brereton. Dorling and Brereton took on almost the entire old guard of policy defenders by communicating directly to the ALP rank-and-file and the Australian public.


CIET commentary after Alexander Downer publicly rejected the need for peacekeepers. Emerging from a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, Downer had said, 'We hope that there won't be a need for a peacekeeping force because if you need a peacekeeping force, you need a peace to keep and peace first has to be negotiated and we hope that when the peace is negotiated it will be a peaceful peace that might require a peacekeeping force.'


CIET advertises a public meeting about East Timor.


CIET commentary on the Indonesian military's terror campaign using 'militia' proxies. From early February 1999, there were clear signs that the Indonesian military had begun using militias to unleash terror on the civilian populace. Australia's Defence Intelligence Organisation reported the first killings by pro-integrationist militias, noting that they were proxies for the military: '[the military] recognises that using force against pro-referendum groups will continue to attract international criticism. So using force against the referendum movement looks likely to continue to be subcontracted. However, in an interview with ABC Radio on 5 February 1999, Alexander Downer said that the government could not confirm reports that the Indonesian military were arming militias in East Timor: 'The Indonesian military are denying this … It's obviously very hard for us to verify one way or another.'


CIET vigil after the referendum ballot. The Howard government implemented Operation Spitfire in order to evacuate foreign witnesses, meaning that the Indonesian military could carry out its campaign of terror with impunity.


CIET leaflet advertising a rally calling for troops to be sent in. Long-term peace activists were active participants in this and other rallies, realising that this was the only way to prevent mass murder.


CIET continues with its efforts to protect East Timor. The Indonesian military had deployed assassination squads to hunt down and kill the leadership of the independence movement. Australian signals intelligence transcripts, leaked in 2002, showed that these squads were given cover names like KIPER-9. The original KIPER was a group of Indonesian citizens who wanted to ensure a free and fair ballot, and who had therefore decided to monitor it themselves. Known as Komite Independen Pemantau Pemungutan Suara, or Independent Committee for Direct Ballot Monitoring, KIPER was one of many citizens' groups that monitored the ballot. By giving its assassination squads names like KIPER-9, the Indonesian military was continuing its strategy of plausible denial.


CIET information leaflet urging ongoing boycott action.


First page of an undated leaflet advertising a book by Mark Aarons and Robert Domm.


Second page of an undated leaflet advertising a book by Mark Aarons and Robert Domm.


Undated CIET leaflet calling for a boycott on Bali tourism.


Undated petition organised by Senator Vicki Bourne, distributed by CIET.


A story about Andy Alcock, a key CIET activist. Note also the story on the left about Shirley Shackleton.


Union action endorsed by the ACTU, which states, "We urge every trade unionist in Australia to get behind this campaign."


Union action endorsed by the ACTU, which states, "We urge every trade unionist in Australia to get behind this campaign." See this extract from Reluctant Saviour describing some union action in Sydney during 1999.

Leaflets 1989 - 1994

Leaflets 1995 - 1996

Leaflets 1997 and later (above)