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The AFP and Australian Neo-Colonial Commercial Exploitation in Timor and the Pacific

Categories: Afghanistan, Australian Federal Police, Corruption, Pacific Neighbours, RAMSI, Rule of Law

by: Bakchos
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AFP deploys to East Timor, AFP media release, Sunday, 28 May 2006

“The Australian Federal Police (AFP) can confirm a 45-member team will be deployed to East Timor tomorrow in support of the Australian Defence Force led effort to stabilise the country. The team will be in addition to a six-member AFP advisory group which arrived in Dili in the early hours of this morning. The AFP members will be assessing the current situation on the ground in East Timor and providing advice to the Australian Defence Force in relation to law and justice issues.

“The further 45 members will depart from Canberra and arrive in [East Timor] tomorrow to provide additional advisory capacity. This will bring the total number of AFP officers in East Timor to 57. The members will work closely with local and other international law enforcement agencies who may contribute to the stabilisation efforts.”

Timor-Leste, Current Deployments, Australian Federal Police website.

“Following unrest in Dili in April and May 2006, and at the invitation of the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL), the AFP deployed around 200 AFP and State/Territory members to Timor-Leste, to primarily assist with the restoration of law and order within the urban areas of Dili. UNMIT was part of a multi-national police presence formed to return stability to Timor-Leste as part of the International Security Force.”

The above mentioned sources, both of which emanate from the Australian Federal Police Media Service, show the Australian Government and the Australian Federal Police in a benign light. Is this benign view of Australia’s involvement in the affairs of our near neighbours shared by the rest of the world? Well, in short NO!

The following is based upon an English translation of an article which appeared in Portugal’s Expresso newspaper on 7 March 2011, citing information within a Wikileaks document:

Australia accused of interfering in Timor

American cables have revealed that the Portuguese secret service was accusing Australia of fomenting the disturbances in Timor-Leste in the spring of 2006.

Expresso has confirmed that an American embassy (in Lisbon) cable dated 2 June 2006 reporting on the events in Timor-Leste in the spring of 2006 affirms the Portuguese secret service accusing Australia of fomenting the tumult in the country during that time. Its basis was a conversation that took place days before with Jorge Silva Carvalho, then the Chief of Staff in the General Secretariat for the Information Service (SIRP).

“We even know what type of shoes the agitators wear and where they bought them from.”

The cable cited, explaining that it was in this manner that “this important pro-American contact of the embassy” insinuated:

“Australia had previously fomented the tumult there for its own interests.”

At the time the embassy sent various dispatches on the situation in Timor-Leste, which was shaken by an internal revolt that forced international intervention and the deployment of Portuguese soldiers from the National Republican Guard.

In all the meetings held with politicians, diplomats and the military the same information was being fed and it was all heading in the same direction: the need for intervention by an international force and the refusal to place Portuguese soldiers under the command of the Australians.

This position was so unanimous that the ambassador even spoke with his Australian counterpart to ascertain whether the two countries were in disagreement, which he denied. “We are not really in disagreement, but we do have different perspectives with regard to Timor-Leste,” the cable states.

It is however the Chief of Staff of the SIRP (who later would become the Director-General of the Strategic Defence Information Service – SIED) who openly criticized Australia’s role.

Hoffman writes:

Carvalho commented that Australia has not been playing a constructive role in Timor-Leste, underlining its motives as being driven by its geopolitical and commercial (in regard to petroleum) interests, whilst Portugal’s principal interest was to maintain stability.”

Mentioning the already cited words of Silva Carvalho that the official referred to:

“two dossiers – the negotiations of the maritime border demarcation between Timor-Leste and Australia and the negotiations on the border demarcations for the exploration of petroleum offshore Timor- as the scope in which Australia fomented agitation so as to exert pressure on the Timor-Leste government.”

Hoffman thought Silva Carvalho was “not just knowledgeable on intelligence matters, but also has good relations with the political parties across the whole spectrum” and comments that his analysis with regard to the situation in Timor-Leste was “dispassionate,” even in regard to his criticisms of Australia. He concludes by saying that “there is a genuine esteem by him for the former colony and a sense of responsibility for its welfare.”

As far as the American ambassador was concerned, “it is clear that reports from the intelligence service are being reflected in Portugal’s official stance in relation to any future political outcome as is clearly visible in the reluctance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs interlocutors to say anything specifically regarding Timorese leaders and instead to emphasize the importance for the Timorese themselves to find a solution for their own difficult political problems.”

Clearly the Portuguese Government doesn’t share the Australian Federal Police’s benign view of itself. In fact, the Portuguese Government has basically accused Australia of fermenting unrest in Timor-Leste to further its own commercial interests.

If Australia did generate unrest in Timor-Leste to further its own commercial interests, there were really only two Australian agencies operating there at the time who could have achieved this; the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Federal Police. My sources indicate that the integrity of the ADF is not in question in this matter. So who supplied the agitators with their shoes? You whistle and I’ll point in the direction of the only other Australian security agency operating in Timor-Leste at that time.

There have been significant tensions between Australia and the United Nations over the command and co-ordination of police training programs in Timor. The creation of the UN police (UNPOL) in 2007 was supposed to ease this problem. In January 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of Timor-Leste, the United Nations and Australia; UNPOL assumed responsibility for mentoring and phasing in of the Police Nacional Timor-Leste (PNTL), superseding the TLPDP program.

This extract of a press conference with Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Dili from 15 February 2008, in which Rudd responds to a question, makes for interesting reading in light of the above article from Expresso:

“…on the question on the AFP, of course they operate within the overall framework of UNPOL and the ADF of course will operate separately, but the overall mission statement here is clear and that is to work, to enhance the security of East Timor and to do so in response to the request of this democratically-elected government and independent state. Our job is to enhance security here but to do so always in partnership and response to the request of the government.”

Timor-Leste is not the only near neighbour of Australia that has experienced interference with the democratic process through the machinations of the Australian Federal Police.

On February 8, 2011 the Island Sun newspaper in an article headed; Australia Helping The Opposition To Topple NCRA Government: Top Secret Intelligence Report made a number allegations against the Australian Ambassador to Honiara and RAMSI. The most significant of the allegations made against Australia by the Island Sun was that:

A TOP secret intelligence report has pointed a finger at Australia as being the architect of the on-going Opposition move to topple Prime Minister Danny Philip’s Government, promising a $200,000 reward each to any Government MP who crosses the floor.

If this report is correct, what Australia is doing in the Solomon Islands amounts to nothing less than an act of aggression against the democratically elected government of one of our near neighbours. Is this something the people of Australia should condone? Is it something the world should condone? Surely the answer to both of these questions must be no!

One of the key objectives of RAMSI is to help foster the principle of ‘rule of law’ in our near neighbour states. Is attempting to topple a democratically elected government consistent with the fostering of the ‘rule of law’ in the Solomon Islands? I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the answer is no. It is more akin to is the colonial aspirations of the European Powers in the 19th Century.

In my article Corruption and racism in Australia, our eyes wide shut!, I spoke briefly about allegations of misconduct by the Australian Federal Police in Afghanistan, an issue I will have more to say about in a later post. For those of you who doubt their presence, the following press release should alleviate those doubts.

 Media Release: AFP role in Afghanistan enhanced

Release Date: Saturday, April 24 2010, 12:00 AM

Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Tony Negus today welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement on the enhancement of the AFP’s role in improving the capacity of police in Afghanistan.

“The AFP has been working closely with the Afghan National Police and the Australian Government on developing the AFP’s role in Afghanistan that will focus on the capacity development and training of the Afghan National Police,” Commissioner Negus said.

“This announcement demonstrates the importance of the AFP’s work with the Afghan National Police in Oruzgan Province and the additional deployment will enable the AFP to continue this important work in conjunction with our coalition partners.”


What the Australian Federal Police are doing around the Asia/Pacific region amounts to nothing more than international bullying. Corruption, racism, interfering with democratically elected governments are simply different manifestations of the same ailment, BULLYING!

In my experience, bullies are nothing more than gutless twats. This goes as much for the school yard bully as it does for those bullies who hide behind a blue uniform or a corrupt body politic.

A fish rots from the head down; so it is with a society. Is it any wonder that children such as Casey Heynes become the victims of school yard bullies when the message is reinforced by the governing powers that force and manipulation are acceptable behaviour?

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