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Zahra (6), Fatima (7) and Eman (9) - the daughters of Sondos Ismail and Ahmed Alzalimi -  three of the 146 children who lost their lives when the vessel that has become known as SIEVX foundered in international waters en route to Christmas Island on 19 October 2001.
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Tam Long Responds

18 September 2002

Margo Kingston's Web Diary has a long article by Tam Long, responding to a piece written by several contributors to this site:

  • SIEV-X: Truth is out there
    Tam Long has done the SIEV-X debate a big favour. At last, a debate on the merits!

    There are three main aspects of the navy's behaviour which raise concerns. First, that Operation Relex Chief Admiral Geoffrey Smith swore falsely that the navy knew nothing about SIEV-X until after it sank. Second, that no investigation of any sort took place after the tragedy to see if something went wrong in surveillance, intelligence or co-ordination between navy, coastwatch and the rescue body - as indeed it did according to the evidence - raising concerns that it did not care about all those people dying, could have been infected by the government's demonisation of boat people, and did not do all it could to fulfil its duty to save lives at sea. Third, that the government stopped a key witness, Admiral Raydon Gates, from giving evidence. There is also the mystery of why Howard said at the time that SIEV-X sunk in Indonesian waters, contrary to contemporaneous reports from intelligence, and refuses point blank to reveal the source of his claim. In other words, if there is nothing to hide, why is so much hiding going on?

    The great bulk of commentators who say SIEV-X is a non-story heap personal abuse on those who think otherwise, imply or assert that noone has the right to raise any questions and leave it at that. Only Mike Carlton sought to address the issue of Smith's evidence, suggesting, after talks with Smith, that he denied prior knowledge of SIEV-X because he thought the intelligence reports on it were secret...

    All we've got from members of the navy, defence department and political hierarchy is outraged general protestations which are often downright misleading, just like they were on children overboard before and after the election. (See for example Exchange of correspondence at webdiary). Straw man stuff.

    But when whistleblower Tony Kevin stated his case in SIEV-X: mystery unsolved ( webdiary) Tam Long wrote a considered response in SIEV-X: Right of reply (webdiary). The women behind the SIEV-X website archive sievx, led by Marg Hutton, entered the debate in SIEV-X: The case for concern (webdiary)

    Tam Long has been through several drafts of his reply, and admits he wishes he could get the subject out of his head. I know what he means, but I'm glad he hasn't...[Complete article here]

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