Letter: The Timor alert

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It was Australian government inaction over the murder of Margaret Wilson's cousin Malcolm Rennie (letter, 29 March), and the four newsmen murdered with him, that was understood by Indonesian generals as Western approval for genocide as a "solution" to the "problem" of East Timor.

Indonesia's top generals informed the Australian government on 13 October 1975 that some 3,200 Indonesian troops would invade East Timor from West Timor on 16 October. Some 800 of those troops would go in via Balibo, the Australian government was told. It was at Balibo, on 16 October, that Malcolm and the others were killed.

The Australian government's latest report on these deaths was published in February 1999. As Ms Wilson's letter says, that report is both "limited in scope and flawed in execution". Equally serious, that report ignores the fact that the Australian government was warned of the attack.

British failure to act, now, over these deaths risks further genocide in East Timor from its illegal occupiers.

HUGH DOWSON

United Nations Association Western Region

Bath

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