You are invited to the launch of Bernard Collaery’s revealing book:

Oil Under Troubled Water: Australia’s Timor Sea Intrigue

Day: Monday

Time: 6:00 PM

Date: 16 March 2020

Venue: Adelaide University Club

Level 4 Union House, Harry Medlin Room, Adelaide SA 5000

(See link at bottom of page for map of location)

A conversation with the author Bernard Collaery and SA Senator Rex Patrick.

Please book on https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=614718

Presented by Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA Inc, MUP, and Imprints Booksellers

Australia East Timor Friendship Association South Australia Inc

                                    AETFA-SA, PO BOX 240, GOODWOOD South Australia 5034 Australia

www.aetfa.org.au                                        Secretary: bobhanney48@gmail.com

Dear Friends & supporters of Timor-Leste

The AETFA SA Inc Committee highly recommends this event to you.

Most of you would already be aware of Bernard Collaery’s role with that of Witness K in greatly assisting Timor-Leste in gaining an international maritime border in the Timor Sea, overturning the very unfair CMATS (Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Seaarrangement forced on it by the Howard government and gaining greater access to its resources in the Timor Sea.

Included with this invitation is an article by Bernard Keane in Crikey which reveals more of the disgraceful role that the US and Australia played during the 24 years of Indonesian genocide and human rights abuses in East Timor starting with the murder of the Balibo 5. There is another one that AETFA SA was asked to write for the Search Foundation.

Bernard Collaery and Witness K are Australians that we can be truly proud of. They do not deserve the persecution that is being perpetrated by the Morrison Government as they helped win justice for our WW2 allies – they did not undermine Australia’s security.

Please contact your federal politicians and call on them to demand that the charges against these courageous men be dropped.

And  – of course – please attend the book launch and ask friends and family to do the same.


Andy Alcock                                                                                                                                     Information Officer                                                                                                     AETFA SA Inc                                                                                                                Phone:    61 8 83710480                                                                                                                      0457 827 014

AETFA SA – 44 YEARS OF SOLIDARITY WITH TIMOR-LESTE FOR INDEPENDENCE & JUSTICE                                                                                                                                   (AETFA SA was originally the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA until Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002

Were our spies compromised by Balibo? New book reveals more sordid history                                                                                                                                              BERNARD KEANE

For decades, Australia’s intelligence services have denied having any foreknowledge that the Balibo Five were at risk from Indonesian forces.

Intelligence services ostensibly only learnt shortly afterwards that the five — journalists working in then-Portuguese Timor in October 1975, reporting on secret Indonesian military activity — had been murdered by Indonesian special forces.

But Oil Under Troubled Water, a new book by Bernard Collaery, presents a strong case that Australian spies knew that Indonesia regarded the journalists as a “hurdle to be got over” before Indonesian military preparations could ramp up ahead of its December 1975 invasion, beginning a quarter-century occupation of the province.

In Oil Under Troubled Water, Collaery — currently being prosecuted by the Morrison government along with a former ASIS officer Witness K for revealing ASIS’ illegal bugging operation against Timor-Leste — explores the history of Australia’s relationship with what is now Timor-Leste.

A key revelation of the books is that Timor-Leste has been deprived of billions of dollars in resource revenue as a result of the deliberate hiding of the discovery of significant helium deposits in petrochemical reserves beneath the Timor Sea from both Timor-Leste and the United Nations.

Remarkably, Australia itself has also lost access to this strategic asset by allowing American multinational ConocoPhillips to take control of the helium.

Collaery has also unearthed documents that contradict the longstanding official line on what the Australian government knew about the Balibo Five — Greg Shackleton, Tony Stewart, Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie and Gary Cunningham — in the lead up to the Suharto regime’s invasion of Portugese Timor in December 1975.

A sixth journalist, Australian Roger East, was murdered by Indonesian forces while investigating the disappearance of the five.

Collaery shows British ambassador to Indonesia Sir John Ford reported to London in September 1975 about clandestine Indonesian military activity in Portugese Timor ahead of its planned invasion:

The only limitation on clandestine activity now appears to be its exposure. The Indonesians are clearly worried about this. According to the Australians, president Suharto told general Yoga, the head of Bakin [the then-named Indonesian intelligence agency] that he would not agree, for the present, to step up clandestine activities beyond their present level. A particular hurdle to be got over is a plane load of journalists and politicians who are due to visit Timor, apparently at Fretilin request, to investigate allegations of Indonesian intervention.

The Suharto regime had a history of heavy suppression of journalists inside its own borders and in West Papua; “getting over the hurdle” could have had only one meaning.

But this “sensitive” information obtained by an Australian agency — Collaery believes it must be ASIS — via a “top level liaison” with Bakin apparently wasn’t sufficient for the agency to alert the then-Whitlam government or to raise concerns about the ramifications of Ford’s phrase “getting over the hurdle”.

The Whitlam government at that stage was about to become embroiled in a life-or-death constitutional struggle, and Gough Whitlam was about to dismiss ASIS head Bill Robertson.

The Ford letter also sits poorly with the finding of inspector-general of intelligence and security Bill Blick’s 2002 review of allegations.

Blick found that another agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, did not have “intelligence material that could have alerted the government to the possibility of harm to the newsmen” and that “intelligence material was passed rapidly to government and there was no holding back or suppression of data by the agencies tasked with providing such material”.

The deniability of any foreknowledge or role of either Australian intelligence agencies or the Whitlam government itself in Indonesia’s destabilisation and invasion of Portugese Timor has been a staple of the official narrative around the murders of the Balibo Five — one that has united intelligence establishment figures and Whitlam apologists alike.

The British government has also come under pressure from the families of the two British journalists of the Balibo Five to explain what it knew ahead of and after the killings.

Collaery raises a wider question if the John Ford letter is correct. We’ve known since 1999, when the intelligence archive of Soviet defector Vasili Mitrokhin became available, that Yuri Andropov’s KGB had succeeded in tapping the communications of Henry Kissinger, who in 1975 was president Gerald Ford’s secretary of state and who accompanied the US president to Jakarta to meet with Suharto on the eve of the invasion.

It was at that meeting that Ford effectively greenlighted the invasion by telling Suharto “we will understand and not press you on the issue”.

Kissinger’s only concerns were that the invasion not commence until Ford had left the country, and that US weapons not be linked to the invasion.

Given Australia-US intelligence sharing, Kissinger is also likely to have been aware of Indonesia’s clandestine military activities in the lead-up to the invasion and the “hurdle to be got over”, via Australian sources.

As a result, the KGB may also have been aware that, effectively, ASIS or another Australian intelligence agency had had the opportunity to intervene before the murders of the Balibo Five, but refrained from doing so.

Was such information — which would have proved deeply embarrassing both to agencies and to Indonesia — ever used by the Soviets as leverage against Australian intelligence agents?

It’s another sordid moment in the long history of Australia’s neo-colonialist treatment of the people of Timor, driven by an obsession with exploiting its petrochemical resources.


 WITNESS K & BERNARD COLLAERY                                                                                                   -TWO HEROIC AUSTRALIANS BEING VICTIMISED BY THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT         Andy Alcock                                                                                                                              Information Officer                                                                                                                                     AEFTA SA Inc (Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA)

The Morrison Government is trying to imprison Witness K and Bernard Collaery – the two Australians who helped Timor-Leste to achieve justice in the Timor Sea.They are accused of breaching Australia’s  Intelligence Services Act 2001.

The action smacks of being a vendetta and and payback against these two men whose actions contributed substantially to the important win for Timor-Leste which is the poorest nation in SE Asia and which suffered 24 years of fascist terror at the hands of the Indonesian military (TNI).

In 2004, after Timor-Leste had gained its independence, Australian leaders sat down with the Timorese leaders to negotiate over the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.

Alexander Downer – the then Australian foreign minister – had already withdrawn Australia from the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in a clear move to stop the acceptance of the usual principle of there being a maritime border midway between the coasts of Australia and Timor-Leste and to prevent the new nation from having full access to its resources in the Timor Sea.

To further Australia’s intention to rip off the shattered nation, Downer issued orders for ASIS (Australian Security Intelligence Service) to bug Timor-Leste government meeting rooms to give Australian negotiators an advantage over the East Timorese during talks. Australian leaders then bullied the East Timorese leaders to accept an extremely unfair deal that denied them a maritime border and access to much of their resources – known as CMATS (Certain Maritime Agreements in the Timor Sea).

Witness K was part of the ASIS spy team that carried out this action and he later considered that what Australia had done was both illegal and immoral as the spying had nothing whatsoever to do with Australia’s security, but was about a commercial interest for Australia and the oil corporations. The action involved skullduggery against a nation that had been a loyal ally during WW2 and whom Australia had betrayed during the TNI occupation. Witness K reported his concerns to senior security officials in private.

Later, when the leaders of Timor-Leste became aware of Australia’s actions, they approached the International Permanent Court of Arbitration (IPCA) in The Hague to seek to have the CMATS deal overturned. Bernard Collaery  was one of the key legal advisers to the Timorese government and he also agreed to represent Witness K

Despite attempts by former Australian attorney general – George Brandis – to pervert the course of justice in the IPCA by raiding Witness K’s home and Bernard Collaery’s office to seize pertinent documents, the East Timorese had an important win. In March 2018, the IPCA ruled that there should be a border equidistant between the two nations giving them much greater access to their oil and gas resources. Former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and the former president of the Timor-Leste council ministers Agio Pereira signed the final agreement

Despite this, Australia is holding a sum of about $8 billion raised from resources  in Timor-Leste’s half of the Timor Sea. This money is urgently needed for development and humanitarian programs to assist the people who have suffered greatly because of the TNI occupation..

Ir should also be noted that the federal ALP leadership refused to take a stand on the issue of the international court case and did nothing when in office to reverse what the LNP had done. Further, it is currently mostly silent about the rights of Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

Meanwhile, the cases against the two men who courageously did the fair thing continues.  They are being tried as separate cases as Collaery has pleaded not guilty and Witness K has pleaded guilty. They are occurring under a cloud of secrecy in order to maintain the fiction that the issue is all about security and to make it difficult for supporters to be at hearings. The two have even been denied full access to their lawyers!

Just recently, the Melbourne University Press published a book written by Bernard Collaery about this sordid history – OIL UNDER TROUBLED WATER Australia’s Timor Sea Intrigue  [MUP]. This will be an important expose of the dirty tactics employed by Australian leaders against the East Timorese. This will be an excellent read as Collaery is a world renowned lawyer and he has a great sense of humour.

Oil Under Troubled WaterBernard Collaery




ACT OF NO CHOICE Film and Speakers

You are invited to see David Bradbury’s film……………….
a film about the fraudulent and brutal Act of Free Choice conducted by the Indonesian military in West Papua in 1969
…..and be involved in a public discussion about the West Papuan genocide occurring on our doorstep
– led by
*    David Bradbury    – internationally acclaimed Australian film maker
*    Veronica Koman  – an Indonesian human rights lawyer
DATE:           WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL 2020
Doors open 5.30pm. Time of film (watch this space)
VENUE:         CAPRI THEATRE  141 Goodwood Rd, Goodwood SA
TICKETS:        $20 full waged $15 (concession)
available from:
Dave Arkins
Phone:    08 83454480
Email:     info@awpaadelaide.com

Donald Barnes
Phone:    08 83593109
0429 997 169
Email:    dbarnes@adam.com.au

Andy Alcock
Phone:    61 8 83710480
0457 827 014
Email:     andyalcock@internode.on.net

*  drinks and nibbles will be available at 5.30 pm
* proceeds will go to the independence campaign for West Papua and funding for the film
Organised by the Australian West Papua Association & the Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA
Endorsed by the Australian Institute of International Affairs, the Romero Company, the SA May day Collective

David is an Australian film maker who began his career in 1972 as an ABC radio journalist and who has produced 21 documentary films including many that address difficult international political issues. and highlight the plight of those affected.He has won many international film festival prizes, received five Australian Film Industry awards and two Academy Award nominations.
David’s first film was Frontline – the story of Australian war film maker Neil Davis. Some of his other well known films include Public Enemy Number One  (about Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett), A Hard Rain (about Australia’s anti nuclear movement), Nicaragua – No Pasaran (about the US undermining of the Nicaraguan government) Jabiluka (about the Mirrar people’s struggle against the Jabiluka uranium mine and Chile Hasta Cuando (about the fall of Allende’s government in Chile).
The Act of No Choice tells the tragic story of West Papua and how Indonesia gained control of the country. It is based on present day interviews with Hugh Lunn who was Reuter’s Indonesian correspondent in 1969 and went to West Papua to cover the Act of Free Choice
Lunn reflects on the referendum and how Australia’s nearest neighbours were in effect sold into modern day slavery. The process was organised by the Indonesian military (TNI) and totally undemocratic.
Only 1025 Papuans participated in the ‘vote’ which involved the raising of hands indicating a preference for Indonesian rile over independence. This often occurred in the presence of TNI personnel. Dire consequences awaited those who refused or objected.
According to Lunn, UN observers turned a blind eye and the outcome was supported by the US, UK, France and Australia.

At the heart of this annexation was  West Papua’s vast deposits of gold, copper  and oil West Papua was effectively handed to Indonesia to be exploited by foreign multi national mining companies.
To this day West Papuans are treated as ‘primitives’ in their own country: raped, murdered, tortured and sentenced to 15 years for raising their independence flag, the Morning Star.
For a more detailed overview of David’s films, see:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZEmgq3tu0A
Veronica Koman is an Indonesian human rights lawyer who focuses on West Papua issues.
Her clients include West Papuans charged with treason for peacefully demanding their right to self-determination
Because of her courageous work,Veronika is now wanted by the Indonesian police on political charges which has forced her to live in exile.
Working for human rights in Indonesia where much of the political life is controlled by the country’s brutal military (TNI) is a very risky occupation.
She was awarded the 2019 Sir Ronald Wilson Human Rights Award.


BOOK REVIEW by Andy Alcock:

SCORCHED EARTH – Peacekeeping in Timor during a campaign of death and destruction  by Tammy Pemper

This book which tells the story of the great contribution of the UN police peacekeepers in the achievement of independence for East Timor is long overdue.

Peter Watt – a former SA police officer and the hero of the story – rang me in July 2019 to see if our East Timor solidarity group in SA (the Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA or AETFA SA) would be interested in promoting the book as we were having a celebration for the twentieth anniversary of the UN coordinated independence referendum in East Timor which occurred on the 30 August 1999.

Of course, we were very interested because we knew the problems that were faced by the UN CIVPOL (civil police) as they were expected to keep the peace for some time before, during and after the referendum while they were unarmed and the Indonesian military (TNI)  and their Timorese militias were armed and running riot. Their targets were any East Timorese who were known to be working for the UN and supporters and promoters of East Timor’s independence from Indonesia

The book is written by Tammy Pemper, Peter’s wife and herself a former UN police peacekeeper in East Timor, so the book is also a romance. Having said that, the book shows clearly the incredibly difficult and the life threatening role that the peace-keepers played during the exercise.

Sixty Australian police officers working under the auspices of the AFP participated in the the UN CIVPOL police force for the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) for the referendum. They were part of an international force of 271 police personnel from 27 countries that were deployed to UNAMET.

Their role was to liaise between the Indonesian military (TNI) and the East Timorese resistance (FALINTIL) and provide advice to the Indonesian Police (POLRI).

Peter was sent to Gleno, a town established by the Indonesians during their 24 year illegal and very brutal occupation of the tiny nation. This is a town that means a lot to AETFA SA members because in 2002 just before the independence celebrations, seven members of the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA (CIET SA) – the forerunner of AETFA SA, visited the town on a day that Xanana Gusmao – the  former resistance (FALINTIL) supreme commander and later the president, PM and a minister of the independent Timorese government visited the town in a UN helicopter.

This was a joyous occasion. People were in an exuberant mood and wanted to get a glimpse of their hero. However, everywhere we went, we could still see the damage that had been wreaked by the TNI and its militias.

We had a guitar that we donated to the principal and staff of the Konis Santana Memorial High School in Gleno which had also had some of its science block devastated by the TNI and the pro-integration militias. And the damage was still visible.

Scorched Earth gives great detail of what Peter and the other UN police peacekeepers had to face in Gleno and other places before, during and after the referendum.

The whole situation was very confronting as many of the militia members were supercharged on drugs and consequently had a great blood lust. And the TNI and POLRI, which were given the responsibility for the security of the UN administrative and police staff, were mostly unhelpful or urging on the militias.

At the AETFA SA’s celebration on 30 August 2019, one of the speakers was Gizela Moniz da Silva, a tertiary Timorese student who is currently studying in Adelaide. Gizela was a small girl 20 years ago following the referendum and she gave a harrowing description of what it was like dodging the bullets and the machetes of the TNI and its militias. She also added a tragic note of how one of the kids she was attempting to escape with was wounded and tragically died because he could not get to a hospital in time because of militias blocking the road. Her account was very moving and there were a few tears – hers and others. This was the most poignant part of the evening and gave those listening some idea of what the East Timorese and the UN staff and police had to endure.

According to James Dunn, the former Australian consul to East Timor and the author of two books on Timor, who worked with the UN, told me that the militias and the TNI were responsible for approximately another 2000 deaths during the lead up to and after the Referendum. The TNI had already wiped out about a third of the East Timorese population – over 200,000 according to Amnesty International and the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR).

In one very confronting situation, Peter even had a loaded firearm pointed at his head. One US police officer was shot and wounded.

As Gil Scrine, the Australian documentary film maker – currently making the film Reluctant Saviour about Australia’s involvement in the situation in East Timor at the time – has said: “Anyone familiar with the previous 24 years of Indonesian occupation knew this was an act of faith beyond all reason. The very people assigned this protective role had perpetrated a genocide in East Timor second only to the Holocaust in the blood-soaked twentieth Century.”

The Australia PM and Foreign Minister of the time would have been well aware of the situation as Australian security agencies had been monitoring the brutal actions of the TNI for the entire time they occupied East Timor. Yet knowing about the atrocities committed, they still sent the UN police peacekeepers in to do an almost an impossible task.

We should also remember that when the post referendum violence took off, most foreigners left. However, a group of about 80 UN personnel remained. These people showed such incredible courage to assist the positive outcome for the East Timorese and their courage should never be forgotten. Sadly, a recent ABC documentary on the UN peacekeeping in East Timor after the referendum does not give adequate tribute to the very valuable role the UN police played.

This book provides this missing piece of the history of that struggle and is a tribute to the courage and endurance of all those who assisted the East Timorese gain their independence under great adversity.

Andy Alcock, Information Officer, Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA is a founding member of CIET SA (Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA) in 1975 which became AETFA SA after formal Independence in 2002.

If you are interested in purchasing Scorched Earth please contact AETFA SA:                           E: bobhanney48@gmail.com  (Secretary)     Ph: 08 83710480  (Andy Alcock)


Australia East Timor Friendship Association South Australia Inc

www.aetfa.org.au Secretary: bobhanney48@gmail.com PHONE: 08 8344 3511

AETFA SA Inc invites you to an event to celebrate


– a crucial event in the liberation of Timor-Leste

TIME: 6 PM for 6.30 PM


DATE: 30 AUGUST 2019


COST: $20

Snack foods will be served and drinks will be available at the bar

There will also be an option to stay for dinner afterwards (at your own cost)

– RSVP by 26 August please!

Please contact:

Andy Alcock

Information Officer

Email: andyalcock@internode.on.net

Phone: +61 8 83710480

0457 827 014

Donald barnes


Email: barnes@adam.com.au

Phone: +61 8 83593109

0429 997 169


(AETFA SA was originally the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA until Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002)


Car parks
15,Halifax St.
3 min walking to pub
$4 for 3 hours
Covered. 2m height limit
On south side close to corner. Across from the King’s Head pub.

11 Wright St
3 min walking to pub
$15 for 2 1/2hours
Uncovered. 18 spaces.
On the corner of John and Wright Streets
John Street is behind the King’s Head

On-street parks available but probably hard to get.

City South stop Opposite the pub

98 and 99 circle line buses stop across the road on Halifax St
Other buses may also run down here.