Between Sharon and me, here are a few Postcards from Christmas Island where lettuces cost $18 and nothing is too good for Kevin's clients.
This is the "Front End" of the Visa Processing Factory. This point marks the end of the raw material stage, or the People Smuggling Operations, a $450M market created in 2008 by Kevin Rudd as part of his regional economic stimulus.
This hoist lifts the incoming asylum seekers on a barge. It has accepted handover of 45,000 people from People Smugglers since operations geared up in 2008. There have been substantial losses in throughput and not all the consignments end up at this extraction point. The beauty of the People Smugglers' Business Model established by The Rudd is that economic stimulus to regional criminal networks is provided for successful embarkations only. Their funding is not dependent on delivery to the input function at the Visa Processing Factory.
Here it is as the sun makes its way to the Middle East.
Various commemorative plaques dot the landscape on Christmas Island to mark the Island's history. This plaque is from an earlier time when the People Smugglers' Model looked like prospering. The business was closed down around then by an economic vandal called John Howard who simply could not engage regionally and had only slogans and no real solutions.
A few weeks before the catastrophe of the SIEV X, 438 prospective clients got picked up by the Wallenius Wilhelmsen merchant-ship MV Tampa after they too came to grief in the waters between Java and Christmas Island.
Here's what happened.
On Sunday, 26 August 2001 a call to shipping was broadcast at 12:48 Canberra time: "Subject: Distress Relay. A 35-metre Indonesian type vessel with 80 plus persons on board adrift in the vicinity of 09.32.5 south 104.44 east… vessel has SOS and HELP written on the roof. Vessels within 10 hours report best ETA and intentions to this station."
Captain Arne Rinnan, master of the MV Tampa responded to the mayday call: "We are on a voyage from Fremantle to Singapore via Sundra Straits. We have changed course and are headed for position of distress… Please advise further course of action. A Rinnan, Master."
After an hour of setting course for the vessel, Rinnan received a direction from RCC. This came after Australia's Naval Attache had visited Indonesian authorities in Jakarta. "Please note that Indonesian search and rescue authorities have accepted co-ordination of this incident."
During the rescue, Rinnan received a call from Jakarta advising him to disembark the passengers at the ferry port of Merak, Indonesia.
After a few hours steaming for Merak, a deputation of agressive persons entered the bridge and confronted Captain Rinnan and demanded to be taken to Christmas Island. A stand-off ensued and the MV Tampa was not given permission to enter Australian waters. There is no dock at Christmas Island and the nearest port was Merak. The asylum seeker boat had come to grief in the Indonesian SAR area and the rescue was under the control of Indonesian authorities.
By 29 August, as Arne Rinnan slowly tried to make way to Indonesia the asylum seekers noticed and again became agressive. Captain Rinnan then turned, declared an emergency and made way for Christmas Island.
The Howard Government sent Major Vance Khan's squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment with Colonel Gus Gilmore in charge to board and stop the ship. They stabilised the situation on board, then HMAS Manoora came and took the illegal entrants to Nauru.
Arne Rinnan took his cargo to Singapore, the people on Christmas Island went fishing and soon after that the boats stopped coming.
For a while Christmas Island operated a gambling resort for President Soeharto's children to come and play with lots of money. Tommy used to fly down a bit and stay. They don't come anymore since President Soeharto got the flick and Tommy went to gaol.
But the resort is still there, only now it houses people who are involved with our Visa Factory operations.
This is the area near the jetty at Flying Fish Cove
And here is HMAS Bathurst protecting our border from illegal immigration while contributing to The Rudd plan for just making everything better than it was under Mr Howard. You can see the smiling applicants on the poop deck, waiting for their barge to come in and bring them to the $10,000 welcome package +internet enabled plasma.
You saw the memorial for the SIEV X or the 10th asylum Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel earlier. The memorial plaque for 221st is in the foreground of the photo above.
Here it is closer up with its squished propeller.
Safety First is the mantra of the Labor Movement. Most factories proudly boast the "185 Accident Free Days" or something like that.
Christmas Island doesn't. It would be very busy changing the numbers a lot. Time flies when it's SIEV season and The Rudd economic stimulus payments are flowing.
Sometimes though the Building the Indonesian Wooden Boat Revolution in the Water results in a moment of lucidity when Blind Freddy can see the immorality.
That's when decent people make sure that others know what's going on.
John Richardson remembers. Anyone who was there remembers. Anyone who has met someone who was there remembers.
The waves were like this.
Here is some of the video recorded from an RAN vessel whose crew went to help.
a aa Here is what it looked like from shore. aa
SIEV 221 was only 2 and a half years ago. SIEV 800 will arrive soon unless The Rudd's scheme is stopped.
Christmas Island is a beautiful place and people should know it for scenes like this Postcard Shot by Sharon, and not the horror that Rudd's policies have brought us.