Response to Kim McGrath’s “Drawing the Line” Image Credit: Maubisse, East Timor

Response to Kim McGrath’s “Drawing the Line”


Kim McGrath’s “Drawing the Line” (AFA9: Spy vs Spy) is a fair and balanced account of one of the most sordid episodes in the history of Australian foreign relations. It took place early this century due to the desperation of the Howard government; it occurred mostly to benefit a few of its corporate mates; it was immoral and illegal in its concept and execution; and it was not effectively exposed and addressed by subsequent Labor governments, with the Coalition sustaining the cover-up to this day.

The accusations run that Australia, one of the world’s richest countries, spied on one of the world’s poorest countries, Timor-Leste, to gain advantage in the Timor Sea boundary negotiations, where the spoils were extremely lucrative oil and gas reserves. Specifically, the Howard government authorised the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) to bug Timor-Leste’s federal ministerial offices, diverting crucial intelligence resources from the so-called “war on terror” (in which obvious failures occurred over the Bali bombings and at our Indonesian embassy), then carried it out under the shameful cover of an aid program and sought to use the information obtained to exploit Timor-Leste in the negotiations.

Friends, Allies and Enemies

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