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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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A Grassy Knoll Gathers No Moss

22 September 2002

An interesting debate is developing around the SIEVX Affair in the Canberra Times online 'Your Say' forum.

Today, Belinda Moss keeps the debate alive by taking three contributors to to task for what she perceives as 'fibs, exaggerations, paranoid suspicions and red herrings':

    Once again all hands from "" have rallied in another attempt to repel criticism of their fixated views over responsibility for the sinking of SIEV X (and the Tampa incident, and the supposed complete callous villainy of everyone involved in enforcing Australia's immigration laws or serving in the federal police and armed forces).

    In their time-honoured fashion we are once again subjected to a mix of red herrings seasoned with abuse, claims of martyrdom and large doses of subjectivity, and spiced throughout with arrogance, condescension and unconscious irony.

    As befits a former aide to former Australian Democrat Senator, John Coulter (the worst Democrat leader in that party's history - something of a real accomplishment when you think about the competition), Marilyn Shepherd's idea of an impartial judicial inquiry into SIEV X (Your Say, 20 September) is one headed by Justice Marcus Einfeld. What next Marilyn, an inquiry into ABC bias by Joan Kirner and Phillip Adams?

    Margaret Hutton (Your Say, same day) provides a more balanced response for once but ruins it at the death knell by inviting her critics to contribute to her "" online forum. Margaret omits to mention that postings appear to be heavily censored and, despite pious declarations that abusive language will not be tolerated, critics of Tony Kevin and his small band of acolytes are routinely traduced in a condescending and insulting fashion.

    Mary Dagmar Davies (Your Say, 19 September) contributes another of her no doubt well meaning but dotty streams of consciousness. Mary, have you ever stopped to consider how your naval officer father would have reacted to your participation in a group so seemingly dedicated to cowardly attacks on the navy? How do you think he would have appreciated being routinely slandered as belonging to an organisation supposedly capable of callously murdering those aboard SIEV X but being unable to defend himself against such calumnies? How do you think he would feel to face critics who perpetually ignore accepted standards of debate, courtesy and honour?

    The unnecessary deaths aboard SIEV X were a great tragedy and those really responsible should be punished. By all means let us have a judicial inquiry into the circumstances although I personally favour a Royal Commission.

    But are Tony Kevin and his small band of red herring specialists really prepared to accept the probable inquiry finding that SIEV X sank through no real fault on Australia's part. Are you really prepared to face up to your supposed "evidence" of an Australian conspiracy being proved to be irrelevant, false, misconstrued or deliberately twisted by your apparent negative views of the Howard government?

    Please ladies, can we have some real facts on germane issues and not constant resort to fibs, exaggerations, paranoid suspicions and red herrings?

    Does it really matter as to why and how SIEV X sank what Howard, Ruddock or Admiral Tom Cobley might have said or meant to say about where it sank, particularly in the days the first confused reports of the sinking spread around the Australian bureaucracy? Have none of you ever worked in a bureaucracy and experienced first hand the far from ideal information flows about even the simplest matters?

    Marilyn, Margaret and Mary, please play the ball not the players. You should also join the same game under the long accepted rules on the same field. This would greatly assist in producing a result and it would be far less confusing for the referee and the home spectators. As this is really an international match though, the visiting spectators from overseas would not be happy about the long overdue attention.

[For this site's response to Belinda Moss, see our front page of 23 September
Also see our front page of 5 October, revealing 'Belinda Moss' as a false identity.]

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