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16 October - 5 Australians murdered in Timor

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16 October - 5 Australians murdered in Timor

Unread postby Max ADU » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:32 pm

Today in Australian History
16th October 1975


Murder of 5 Australians and the cover-up
The Balibo Five was
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a group of journalists for Australian television networks based in the town of Balibo in East Timor (then Portuguese Timor).

They were deliberately killed by Indonesian special force soldiers on 16 October 1975 during Indonesian incursions prior to the invasion.

The official Indonesian version is that the men were killed by cross-fire during the battle for the town.

The group comprised
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two Australians, reporter Greg Shackleton, 29, and sound recordist Tony Stewart, 21; a New Zealander, Gary Cunningham, 27, cameraman for HSV-7 (Seven Network) in Melbourne.

Also two Britons, cameraman Brian Peters, 24, and reporter Malcolm Rennie, 29, both working for TCN-9 (Nine Network) in Sydney.

To insure their safety and not be considered a military target the group filmed painting an Australian flag and the word 'AUSTRALIA' on the wall of a house in the town square..

Hiding the truth of the killings.
Yunus Yosfiah, former Minister for Information in the Habibie Government in Indonesia was accused of having led the 1975 attack in Balibo.

An eyewitness account described seeing the five men before they were killed.
"At this point Indonesian Army Captain Yunus Yosfiah and his team shot the journalists who were unarmed with their hands in the air ... I saw them shoot. A lot of them were firing. They fired towards the white people."

According to evidence presented,
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the fifth Balibo victim hid by locking himself in a bathroom but was stabbed in the back with a special forces knife when he emerged.

The Indonesian government reported the group was killed in a cross-fire between the two opposing forces. and the Australian government accepted.

There was also allegations that the journalists' bodies were dressed post-mortem into military uniforms and posed with weapons to make them appear to have taken an active part in the fighting.

To hide the murders of the group, their bodies were burnt.

Another Australian killed while finding the truth
Roger East, 50, an
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Australian AAP-Reuters journalist, travelled to East Timor to investigate the deaths of the Balibo five.

At that time East Timor was under de facto rule of the Fretilin administration as the Portuguese governor had retreated to the island of Atauro and was refusing to return to the capital Dili.

It was becoming obvious a full-scale invasion by Indonesia was imminent, when East attempted to flee for safety.

On the day of the invasion, on 7 December 1975, Roger East was captured in Dili by the Indonesian military.

Eyewitnesses later reported that he was brought with many other prisoners to the Dili waterfront and executed by firing squad, along with scores of others.

East body was disposed of by throwing him in the ocean.

Launching War crimes investigation
On 9 September 2009, it was announced that the Australian Federal Police were launching a war crimes probe into the deaths of the Balibo Five.
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