Benefits of brown-nosing

Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of Murdoch’s Australian, rewrites history again today. Long known for defending the Indonesian military and the Australian intelligence community over the 1975 invasion of East Timor – claiming in his paper that then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was “innocent” of charges he knew about the Indonesian invasion of Timor when subsequently released documents proved that he in fact was fully aware and condoned it – Sheridan has never been one to avoid the opportunity to get up close and personal with the likes of Henry Kissinger (the war criminal still slavishly published by the Australian) and Indonesian Generals, as historian Scott Burchill explains:

“The Australian’s foreign editor once wrote – both in an article for his paper and again in a book – about how honoured and excited he was to be invited to dinner with General Benny Murdani during a trip to Indonesia. Murdani, who cheated a war crimes tribunal by recently dying, was one of the Indonesian military’s worst monsters – responsible for heinous human rights violations in East Timor during the 1970s, including operational responsibility for the murder of the journalists later known as the Balibo Five.”

Today, Murdoch’s propagandist offers his insights into the failures of Australia’s intelligence community, but begins with this seemingly benign introduction:

“A rogue section of the Indonesian military wants to set up a bogus indigenous militia outfit to snuff out independence movements in West Papua…This scenario is wholly fictional, not least because the modern Indonesian Government doesn’t act that way.”

Wholly fictional, Greg? Perhaps you should read a little more widely. Take this SBS Dateline report from March this year, detailing evidence of human rights abuses in West Papua, allegedly committed by the Indonesian military and militias supported by them. Killings, the burning of houses and charges of genocide are just some of the atrocities uncovered.

Furthermore, the report alleged, “that the Indonesian military has siphoned off special autonomy funding set up for West Papua, some of which originates from international donors…funds meant for humanitarian purposes have been diverted and used by the military in its campaign of violence and ethnic cleansing in the Highlands.”

Acknowledging any of this would undoubtedly upset Sheridan’s contacts in the Indonesian military and government as well as the Australian equivalents, an unacceptable situation for somebody long mothered on the propaganda tit.

Sounds like someone else we know…

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