01 March 2010

Defence academic Clinton Fernandes criticises Australian WWII efforts in East Timor as "anything but gallant"

24 Feb 2010 Are We Really East Timor's Heroes? By Clinton Fernandes - Why do Australians cling to the belief that we have protected East Timor? Clinton Fernandes examines the first Australian intervention in what was then Portuguese Timor

Australia conducted two military interventions in East Timor during the 20th century and both have been falsely reconstructed into myths that vary sharply from the historical record. Our intervention in September 1999 against a rampaging Indonesian military has since been painted as a remarkable example of the Australian government exercising its so-called "responsibility to protect" the people of East Timor. In truth, the Howard government worked assiduously to prevent international intervention in East Timor until the bitter end.

But an earlier intervention by Australian forces has also gone down in history as a gallant effort when in fact it was anything but. When Australian forces landed in what was then known as Portuguese Timor in December 1941 it is widely assumed to have been in order to expel Japanese forces from the territory. In fact, Japan had no forces in Portuguese Timor, as Australian policy-makers knew at the time. Read the full article here on New Matilda.
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