From Dr Peter Carey

Sir: The British government's outrage at the European Court's judgment on the Gibraltar killings, and its declared commitment to combating terrorism worldwide, are hard to reconcile with its record of support for state terrorism elsewhere in the world.

Twenty years ago this year, the former Portuguese colony of East Timor was brutally invaded by the Indonesian military, who have been directly responsible for the death of perhaps as many as a third of the pre-1975 population of 700,000.

Yet, in that same period, Britain has become Indonesia's principal foreign arms supplier, providing a range of sophisticated weapons (including British Aerospace Hawk ground-attack aircraft) which have been used against East Timorese civilians. Training has also been provided in Britain for Indonesian officers from both army and paramilitary (Brimob Mobile Brigade) police units, some of which have subsequently seen service in East Timor and have been responsible for gross human rights abuses.

Following the Indonesian invasion, Britain voted for two Security Council regulations calling for the immediate withdrawal of all Indonesian troops and the holding of a popular referendum on the future of the former Portuguese territory. The fact that to this day neither of these demands have been acceded to by Jakarta is largely the responsibility of Indonesia's Western "friends", like Britain, who have been knowing accomplices in its terror regime. In this day and age, is the only honour left that of thieves?

Yours sincerely

Peter Carey

Fellow and Tutor in

Modern History

Trinity College, Oxford

Comments