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