Timor and Bin Laden

In the aftermath of the London attacks, a handful of conservatives wondered aloud about the connection between Islamic terror and Timor’s “liberation”. Tim Blair: “Anti-war leftoids, who supported East Timor’s liberation, always seem to forget East Timor when blaming the West for Islamic terror.”

Wrong. Says who? Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and former ASIO chief Dennis Richardson.

First, Richardson, speaking at the Sydney Institute on Tuesday, 26 October 2004:

“In this context, I think bin Laden’s first known reference to East Timor in November 2001 was designed to strike a chord in South East Asia, especially Indonesia, and his subsequent references to Afghanistan and Iraq must be seen in terms of al-Qa’ida propaganda and recruitment purposes. That is not to diminish the significance of his references to East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, but to question whether our involvement in those countries is the central driver in al-Qa’ida’s targeting of Australia. Otherwise, how do you explain al-Qa’ida’s very real interest in Australia, and the targeting of us, before our involvement in those countries. It simply does not make sense.”

Downer on ABC Lateline on 16 March 2004:

TONY JONES: Let’s come to the issue what is Al Qaeda propaganda, as you put it, and what isn’t. First of all would you agree with the proposition that Australians were targeted in Bali because of their intervention in East Timor?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: No, I don’t think Australians were so much targeted as Westerners were targeted in Bali. We don’t have evidence that Australians themselves were targeted. We know that 88 Australians were killed. There were a large number of Australians in that nightclub and in Paddy’s Bar on that night. But I think this was an attack against Westerners generally because this was a bar that Westerners congregated in. I don’t think you can link it directly to the Timor issue.

If right-wing commentators have better intelligence than either man, produce it now. They don’t, of course, making their accusations all the more pathetic.

al-Qaeda is as opportunistic as those conservative commentators attempting to rewrite history. When the West was supporting Bin Laden against the Soviets during the 1980s, we heard no complaints from the usual suspects. Today, however, any excuse of absolving Western responsibility for Islamic terror is acceptable. History knows better than to trust these false idols.

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