Speaking on ABC Radio last week, former head of the Department of Prime Minister’s legal section, Ian Cunliffe told Geraldine Doogue that both Australia and East Timor have been robbed of more than $3billion in revenue from the helium extracted in the Timor Sea.
That deal is the subject of international hearings into Australia’s bugging of East Timor offices during negotiations designed to give Australia a negotiating advantage. Cunliffe said that it has not been widely reported that the contract was changed, without the knowledge of either government, by persons unknown, to give the helium to the exploration companies Woodside and Conoco-Phillips.
Former ACT Attorney General, Bernard Collaery and witness K, who were taking the Australian Government to court in the Hague, are both being prosecuted under the Intelligence Services Act and legally prevented from releasing the evidence they have about the contract. Helium has been classed as a “fully imported critical defence commodity” since 1945.
Cunliffe speculates that the unusual charges against Collaery and Witness K may be designed to protect those responsible for the changes to the contract that have cost the Australian taxpayer billions of dollars and weakened our national security.
This story has echoes of the “granting” of WestPapua to Indonesia by the international community in 1969 What the Indonesian, Dutch and Australian governments did not know at the time the deal with Indonesia was set up was that the US government had allowed US oil companies the exclusive rights to the richest source of sweet crude oil in the region as well as the rights to the world’s largest gold mine.
So the death of over 600.000 Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian military with the silent complicity of the Australian government has been bought by billions of dollars going straight into the pockets of these mega-corporations.