This boat is not SIEVX.
SIEVX was smaller & carried nearly 200 more passengers.
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SIEVX - Key New Evidence Released!
4 February 2003
by Marg Hutton & Tony Kevin
More than fifteen months after the SIEVX tragedy, sensational new
evidence has emerged today as a result of a Question on Notice to
DFAT by Senator Faulkner last November.
Faulkner's question to DFAT has elicited a copy of the priority, classified 'restricted' and 'contains sensitive information' cable that was sent from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on 23 October 2001, the day that Australia first heard about the disaster [p1, p2, p3, p4]. Being the main report to Ministers on the tragedy, this cable had an extraordinarily wide Ministerial and official listed
distribution in Canberra.
This distribution repays careful reading now, in the light of subsequent public statements by Ministers in 2001 and 2002, and evidence tendered by senior officials in the Senate Select Committee and elsewhere in 2002.
We know that this very cable was read out in the Prime Minister's People Smuggling Taskforce (PST) meeting on the afternoon of 23 October, and was the primary source for the PST summary minute of that day describing the sinking. (See Halton's evidence of 30 July 2002, CMI 2126-2140)
We are currently preparing a detailed and sustained analysis of this new published evidence, but here below is a brief summary of our immediate observations:
- Compare the cable [p1, p2, p3] with an article that appeared
in Indonesian Business news magazine the same day - 23 October
2001. This shows that the text of the
cable must have been shown by the Embassy to Indonesian
Business, as the magazine uses the same text almost
verbatim. It would appear that the embassy intention was to
disseminate a detailed authoritative account of the tragedy to
the media with as much speed and impact as possible . Was this done in
to maximise the deterrent objective of the sinking?
And the question must also be asked - why was it that Indonesian Business
Magazine was made privy to this 'restricted' Australian
Intelligence information, and yet the Australian public has
had to wait more than fifteen months to see it?
- In a chilling new item of public evidence, we note that the cable reports that a makeshift upper deck made of chipboard had been added on to the 19.5 X four metre boat. We believe that this was done not (as the cable disingenuously suggests) to 'enhance seaworthiness', but to provide more deck space to increase the possible number of people who could be crammed onto the boat. (No previous boat of this size had carried more than 230 passengers - SIEVX embarked with 421). This supports an hypothesis that SIEVX was intended to sink through gross overloading.
- Compare the rescue co-ordinates that SBS Dateline obtained from the Harbor Master at
Sunda Kelapa Port in Jakarta with the stated
sinking position as detailed in the cable:
'the exact position of vessel at the time of sinking is unknown,
but it is judged as no further south than 8 degrees south
latitude on a direct line from Sunda St. to Christmas Is.'
We had already plotted the rescue co-ordinates on the template of the RAAF surveillance map (see map). If one now plots a latitude line at 8 degrees south it is apparent that the sinking point proposed in the DFAT cable is similarly well to the south of Indonesian territorial waters and also well inside the Operation Relex surveillance zone.
The language of the cable strenuously tries to obfuscate where the boat sank. If it had sunk in Indonesian territorial waters, the cable would certainly have said so. For the cable to say that the boak sank 'within the Indonesian maritime search and rescue area of responsibility' (a meaningless comment as shown by our map - this nominal area extends to south of Christmas island), and 'no further south than 8 degrees', suggests that officials who drafted the cable knew all along that it sank in international waters and in the Operation Relex surveillance zone, but were trying to sanitise this unpalatable message.
This is the final nail in the coffin for the government cover
story that SIEVX sank in 'Indonesian waters' and further proof
that the Prime Minister repeatedly misled the Australian public
throughout the 2001 election campaign when he stated on talkback radio that the
vessel sank in 'Indonesian waters' contrary to his own embassy's cabled advice of 23 October 2001.
(see this article for
detailed links to Howard's quotes.)
- Note the reference to SIEVX radioing Abu Quassey an hour
into the voyage. The fact that the vessel had a radio and that
it was known to be used during the voyage indicates that DSD
may have picked up its transmission. Similarly DSD may have
also intercepted the rescue boat transmission to its owner
calling for advice on where to take the survivors.
- Note the large areas of black ink - what else is the government
trying to conceal from us in this key cable?
[For detailed analysis of this new evidence see