Jose Belo (left) and Commander David Alex (right) (Photo: John Martinkus)

In 1995, as I squatted for days in a hole in the jungle of East Timor with 12 men hiding from Indonesian troops patrolling nearby, the whispered conversations between the Falintil Guerrillas and myself turned to oil. We had plenty of time to talk, admittedly very quietly to not alert the Indonesians of our presence -- they sometimes came so close we could hear their boots in the undergrowth. The issue of the Timor Gap treaty came up. They were having a bit of a go at the foreigner in their midst, whom they were then protecting with their lives so I could get a story. A story at the time I wasn’t even sure I could sell.