Bernard Collaery and Witness K didn’t set out to become martyrs.
They did intend to right a very large wrong, and apply the legal system to hold the wrong do-ers to account. However, when the people you’re attempting to bring to justice are the former members of the Australian Government, the rule of Law begins to bend in unexpected ways; while a history many have tried to keep buried becomes exposed with every deceitful step.
Reluctant Saviour: Australia’s Secret War on East Timor is the real story of East Timor and the involvement of the Australian Government.
It covers the beginning of Australia’s relationship with the small nation, through the Portuguese withdrawal and Indonesian invasion, the 25 years of genocide followed by the vote for Independence in August 1999. It is here in our story that a critical 48 hours in the UN compound, while surrounded by Indonesian Militia, made all the difference for the Timorese and changed the course of history.
Following the arrival of INTERFET, a UN led peace-keeping force, Timor started on a rocky pathway toward self governance. We examine Australia’s relationship with East Timor, from 1942 up to present day and we ask ourselves – are we really friend, or foe?
By 1999, Indonesia’s 24-year brutal occupation of East Timor is coming to an end, yet Indonesia will not give up. By early September, the UN compound in Dili is under siege and the last chance for independence is slipping away. For Australia, billions in oil and gas is at stake. Twenty years later, the in-camera trial of two Australian's threatens to reveal Australia’s darkest secret - the cover-up of a genocide second only to the Holocaust and an illegal grab for the spoils of war.