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They did intend to right a very large wrong, and apply the legal system to hold the wrong do-ers to account. However, when the people you’re attempting to bring to justice are the former members of the Australian Government, the rule of Law begins to bend in unexpected ways; while a history many have tried to keep buried becomes exposed with every deceitful step.
Reluctant Saviour: Australia’s Secret War on East Timor is the real story of East Timor and the involvement of the Australian Government.
It covers the beginning of Australia’s relationship with the small nation, through the Portuguese withdrawal and Indonesian invasion, the 25 years of genocide followed by the vote for Independence in August 1999. It is here in our story that a critical 48 hours in the UN compound, while surrounded by Indonesian Militia, made all the difference for the Timorese and changed the course of history.
Following the arrival of INTERFET, a UN led peace-keeping force, Timor started on a rocky pathway toward self governance. We examine Australia’s relationship with East Timor, from 1942 up to present day and we ask ourselves – are we really friend, or foe?
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Please consider making a donation toward this film. You can donate via the Documentary Australia Foundation for full Tax Deductibility.
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Show your support for Bernard Collaery and Witness K with this classic black T-shirt. Lacking any glitz or glam, the powerful statement shows your solidarity with the actions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery, and is an amazing conversation piece. Seems not enough Australian’s know who Witness K or Bernard Collaery are, so wear your shirt to the most crowded place you can and answer everyones question – “Who is Witness K?”.
Shirts are printed one at a time, and are not mass produced. We can customise your message if you prefer. Funds from shirts go directly to support the ongoing film production of the ‘Reluctant Saviour’ documentary.
[also available in white with black lettering]
If you are in Australia, you can make a direct deposit into the operating account for the film
BSB: 124 001
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East Timor wants independence. By September 1999, Indonesia’s illegal occupation of East Timor hangs in the balance.
In a desperate attempt to convince the world the UN democratic vote for independence was invalid, elements of the Indonesian military try to hold on using murder, rape and deportation.
The UN compound in Dili is the last foreign presence in the country, and they are under siege. Outside their gates, East Timor’s dream of independence slips away.
It is up to 2000 refugees, 200 UN staff, and 20 journalists to hold the line and tell the world what is happening.
In Canberra, Prime Minister John Howard and his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer are trapped in a nightmare of their own making.
Australia was the only country in the world to officially recognize Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor, which allowed a 24 year genocide, second only to the holocaust, to be committed against the Timorese.
In return Australia has made a deal with Indonesia for oil and gas worth 40 billion dollars.
Resources that belong to an independent East Timor.
Howard and Downer watch, as the Government’s oil for blood deal is drowned by the voices of hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets demanding an armed force to rescue East Timor.
Twenty years later, the secret trial of an Australian spy known as Witness K and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery, reveals how Australia (again) cheated the Timorese out of their rightful share of oil and gas in the Timor Sea.
Witness K’s revelations about the bugging of the Timorese negotiating team in 2004 has ruined his career. Bernard Collaery decides to fight the charges and will soon face an unprecedented secret trial by jury. To the Timorese they are national heroes.
To Australia’s Deep State, whose shadowy hand falls across the Timor story, they are traitors and criminals.
Who are these men? What crime did they commit?
Who decides Australia’s National Interest?
Support RELUCTANT SAVIOUR: Australia’s secret war on East Timor….to find out!
ESTIMATED COMPLETION – JUNE 2023
Director/Producer – Gil Scrine | Executive Producer – Peter Cronau | Executive Producer – Trish Lake
Executive Producer – Judith Ehrlich | Cinematographer – Randall Wood | Editor – Scott Walton
Associate Producer – Emma Sargent