GUEST SPEAKER LANCE COLLINS Great powers, history and the fate of small nations
POWERPOINT REPORT LOUISE BYRNE West Papua wins international diplomatic status in Melanesian Spearhead Group
SKYPE REPORT JACOB RUMBIAK, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration & Trade (FRWP) From the Pacific Island Forum in Port Moresby
SHORT FILM IZZY BROWN’S Survivor Story (1998 Biak Massacre)
DATE Sunday 13 September 2015
TIME 12 midday to 3pm (lunch 12 – 1pm, followed by our guest speaker, reports and film, Q&A).
ADDRESS Boardroom, Ground-level, Lifestyle Building, 838 Collins St, Docklands, Victoria
COST Waged – $5, Unwaged – donation
RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org (for catering)
PUBLIC TRANSPORT Collins Street Trams 11 and 48 to Stop D17 (down the hill from Southern Cross Train Station)
GUEST SPEAKER LANCE COLLINS
Lance comes from the bush, and has a deep love for the environment and a lot of respect for humanity. He has a deeply ingrained sense of what’s right and wrong, of what’s moral and ethical, and what should be done (Burnt by the Sun, Australian Story, ABC-TV, 25 July 2005)
LANCE COLLINS was educated at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and joined the Australian Army in 1979, where he graduated to the Intelligence Corps, was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1995, and in 1998 served with Headquarters 3rd US Army in Kuwait, during the crisis surrounding the withdrawal of UN weapons inspectors from Iraq. In 1999-2000 he was the senior intelligence officer for the International Force East Timor (INTERFET), a multinational peacekeeping force, led by Australia, to restore peace and security after the Indonesian government’s ‘scorched earth’ response to the East Timorese vote for independence on 30 August 1999. INTERFET was a six-month military operation to combat the Indonesian Government’s campaign of violence, looting and arson, and to oversee the withdrawal of the Indonesian Army and its militia midst the assassination of 1,400 civilians and transportation (to Kupang in West Timor) of another 271,000.
Colonel Collins emerged from East Timor as the central figure in a major controversy about Australia’s intelligence operations, alleging a culture of cover-up, bullying and recrimination within the Australian Defence Force. He claimed that on 20 December 1999, the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) intentionally turned off the Joint Intelligence Support System to his office (in East Timor). His allegations derived from long-standing concerns about the influence of a pro-Jakarta lobby in the DIO, and sparked a series of military and intelligence inquiries, reviews, and rebuttals. Australia’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security eventually concluded that Colonel Collins fundamental assertion was correct; and later announced that he had uncovered the officer who had deliberately turned off the vital intelligence link.
Since leaving the Australian Defence Force in 2005, Lance has co-authored (with former ASIS officer Warren Reed) Plunging Point: intelligence failures cover-ups and consequences (HarperCollins 2005), has almost completed a doctoral thesis at Deakin University, and has written a novel A Dowry for the Sultan (a story about a massacre averted in Manzikert in 1054 by a concerted weave of courage, justice, imagination, and love) which the DFAIT Office is launching in December 2015.
Lance is well versed in modern Indonesian history; the invasion, occupation, and liberation of East Timor; and the history and politics of the Middle East.