• March 23, 2019

There is an element of deja vu with the use of Ronaldsway by Hawk trainers from RAF Valley to train pilots from despotic regimes in that we’ve been here before. It’s kind of ‘training murderers r us’!

Someone asked me earlier today why Celtic League was not pressing the Manx government on the Saudi Air Force training and the answer is because they have demonstrated in the past their indifference over the suffering of others inflicted by aircrew trained by the RAF for overseas air forces.

In the 1990s we pressed them on the training of Indonesian aircrew – that country was a customer for the BAE Hawk trainer.

Indonesia at that time was run by a military regime and had invaded and occupied East Timor illegally. The IOM Department of Transport at the time said the could not identify if foreign aircrew were using Manx facilities so rather than end the arrangement per se they looked away.

East Timor was eventually liberated and now enjoys independence but not before years of bombing and ‘counterinsurgency terror’ by the Indonesians and their air force killed thousands of innocent people. Many of those air crew trained with our help!

In addition to the Timor issue there was a more pressing reason why Indonesia and its aspiring pilots should have been persona non grata for Mann. A Manx resident Winnie Rennie was campaigning at the time over the murder by Indonesia of her son Malcolm one of five journalists working for Australian TV murdered during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and immortalised in the movie ‘Balibo’.

Is the few pounds the Manx government make worth it for the misery that is inflicted? Money no matter how dirty or bloody is welcome here it seems.

Image: Scottish born Malcolm Rennie (top right one of the Balibo Five) his mother Winnie a Manx resident was campaigning for justice over his murder by Indonesia while the IOM hosted Indonesian personal training at RAF Valley in the 1980/90s.

Note: Some items on this campaign work can be found at the (old) news archive on the Celtic League main website. Other material on our (2000-2010) Yahoo news archive is not open access unfortunately.

Bernard Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary
Celtic League

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