SIEV X denial unconvincing
11 October 2002
Ambassador Smith categorically denies that any agency represented in Australia's Indonesian Embassy and any official of the embassy had any part in the sinking of SIEV X (Letters, October 4).
Given the history of government information and testimony on this subject, the denial would be more credible if the ambassador identified the agencies on behalf of which it is made.
The denial would also have more credibility if the ambassador had given an indication of the basis upon which it is made or at least some indication of the nature of the investigation or other inquiry made before making it.
The ambassador also denies that any official of the embassy engaged in activities to disable or attempt to disable any vessel on which potential illegal immigrants were embarked. The reader is left wondering why this second denial is made on behalf of officials of the embassy but not on behalf of agencies represented at the embassy.
The wording of this denial also leaves unclear whether officials and agencies, or agents of officials and agencies, might have been involved in any activity to disable or attempt to disable any vessel on which potential illegal immigrants were not yet embarked at the time of the attempt(s) but which were later used by potential illegal immigrants; or which might have been used by potential illegal immigrants if the vessel(s) had not been disabled.