Letter: Why should Labour be true to East Timor? It wasn't last time aroun

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Indonesia's occupation forces in East Timor have launched another "final" offensive, we hear. If Hugh O'Shaughnessy is right ("Arms and aid to Indonesia - it's business as usual", 13 July), the illegal occupation will continue to retain British government support.

Should we be surprised? In December 1975, a Labour government refused to condemn the invasion in the United Nations General Assembly - contrary to the Early Day Motion signed by over 100 Labour MPs, including Robin Cook. In 1978, as Indonesian genocide in East Timor approached its peak, Britain's Lib/Lab pact government endorsed the first British Aerospace Hawk contract with Indonesia.

As relatives of British newsmen who died in East Timor, we plead with Robin Cook to end arms exports to Indonesia. Our loved ones died in October 1975. We were told that their deaths were accidental. We know, now, that they were murdered by forces under Indonesian officers and that their deaths were the first act in a genocidal campaign that remained hidden from us until recently. Instead of being assisted by the British government we were lied to repeatedly.

We urge support for Ann Clwyd's House of Commons Early Day Motion number 201, "Arms Exports to Indonesia" which calls upon the Government to stop the export of all military, police and security equipment to Indonesia. It also calls for the withdrawal of invitations approved by the Conservative government for the three very senior Indonesian military officers to attend the UK arms fair this September, which Mr O'Shaughnessy highlights.

Maureen Tolfree

(sister of Australia's C9 cameraman Brian Peters), Bristol

Wilhelmina Rennie

(mother of C9 reporter Malcolm Rennie)

Ramsey, Isle of Man

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