Timor Leste is a small island nation of 1.3 million people to the north of Australia that was subject to Portuguese colonial rule from 1702 until 1975.
In that year the military dictatorship was overthrown and the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) seized power and declared independence.
Nine days later Indonesia’s military dictatorship invaded and incorporated the territory. A bloody war between Indonesia and Fretelen continued which resulted in 200,000 deaths among the Timorese.
New Zealand and Australia never criticized Indonesia or supported the independence struggle.
The Labour Party-led governments in Australia and New Zealand supported the Indonesian invasion.
For the next two decades years, they opposed the independence movement despite the genocide being committed by Indonesia.
After the end of the Suharto dictatorship, an UN-supervised referendum was held on independence with the vote in favour.
Indondonesian-backed militias fought a violent campaign to maintain Indonesian rule. The UN asserted its control with military forces supplied by Australia and New Zealand among others.
Fretilin won the elections overwhelmingly and established an independent government.
Australia then immediately put in process a secret campaign, including the use of spies and bugging government offices, to deprive this desperately poor, newly independent nation of as much of the oil and gas resources that existed in the waters between the two countries as possible.
The Australia–East Timor spying scandal began in 2004 when the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) clandestinely planted covert listening devices in a room adjacent to the East Timor (Timor-Leste) Prime Minister’s Office at Dili, to obtain information in order to ensure Australia held the upper hand in negotiations with East Timor over the rich oil and gas fields in the Timor Gap. Even though the East Timor government was unaware of the espionage operation undertaken by Australia, negotiations were hostile. The first Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, bluntly accused the Howard Government of plundering the oil and gas in the Timor Sea, stating:
“Timor-Leste loses $1 million a day due to Australia’s unlawful exploitation of resources in the disputed area. Timor-Leste cannot be deprived of its rights or territory because of a crime.”
A settlement on the issue wasn’t finally reached until 2018 after the public humiliation Australia suffered.
The wealthy capitalist countries like Australia and New Zealand – led by the US, have plotted and waged war on poor and developing country after country to impose their domination so they can exploit the labour and raw materials they contain. NZ uses its military and spy services to serve that empire and its interests.
As the NZ Herald reports:
New Zealand is spying indiscriminately on its allies in the Pacific region and sharing the information with the US and the other “Five Eyes” alliance states, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The secret papers, published by the New Zealand Herald, show that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) collects phone calls and internet communications in bulk in the region at its Waihopai Station intercept facility in the South Island.
The regional surveillance conducted from the base covers Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. New Caledonia and French Polynesia, both French overseas territories, are also among the listed countries. Although Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu are named, much of their data is now transmitted via undersea cable links that are not susceptible to Waihopai’s intercept satellites.
When these countries ask China for trade and security assistance, its seems to me to be a natural and necessary step of self-protection against their so-called democratic “friends and allies.”