Pay­ing smug­glers

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

HERE are the chrono­log­i­cal facts about the ‘peo­ple smug­gler pay­ment’ saga, which the po­lice chief of West Ti­mor, Gen­eral En­dang, has de­scribed as a “sui­cide mis­sion.”

The boat was in­ter­cepted by Aus­tralian Cus­toms in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters north of Aus­tralia around May 17. Aus­tralian author­i­ties left the ves­sel to its fate when they as­cer­tained it was head­ing to New Zealand.

Four or five days later, the boat was re-in­ter­cepted by an Aus­tralian Cus­toms and naval ship, sup­pos­edly be­cause it was un­sea­wor­thy, and was towed for four days to Green­hill Is­land, off north­ern Aus­tralia.

The refugees were then taken back out to sea and trans­ferred onto two small wooden boats, pro­vided by the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment, and stocked with lim­ited fuel and sup­plies.

The crew were paid more than $US30,000 to head back to Rote Is­land, west of In­done­sian West Ti­mor.

One boat crammed with 71 peo­ple ran out of fuel, the other ves­sel crashed onto reefs.

Refugees had to swim for up to 90 min­utes to reach the small Landu is­land, where the alert was raised and a res­cue op­er­a­tion or­gan­ised. The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment de­nounces peo­ple smug­glers as “crim­i­nal scum” and “hu­man filth.” On the other hand Aus­tralian author­i­ties have no com­punc­tion about pay­ing them. Fur­ther, the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment loudly de­nounces China as a threat to free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion while it en­gages in acts of piracy in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters. Mean­while, the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment is about to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to strip cit­i­zens of their cit­i­zen­ship by min­is­te­rial de­cree rather than process of law. This makes dire read­ing for the Aus­tralian peo­ple. It is the top of the slip­pery slope of the elite’s con­trol of the work­ing peo­ple by min­is­te­rial de­cree – “dis­please the gov­ern­ment and it will re­voke fun­da­men­tal rights.” Di­eter Moeckel Won­bah

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