Conspiracies and Coverups

Deceit and Terrorism
Port Arthur Massacre
Andrew S. MacGregor

"Oh what tangled webs we weave,
When first we practise to deceive."
Sir Walter Scott.

Sunday 28th April 1996 at Port Arthur.

Most Australians are only vaguely aware of the events that occurred on this day. We have been told that a gunman armed with a Colt AR15 semi automatic rifle fired 29 rounds inside the Broad Arrow Café at Port Arthur, killing 20 and wounding another 12 of the approximately 60 people inside the café. It is also stated that the killer fired seventeen shots, killing twelve and wounding another five victims in the first fifteen seconds. Most of the dead were headshot, and the killer fired from the right hip, not from sighted shots.

The gunman then changed magazines and left the café carrying the Prince sports bag with his right arm through the carry straps, still firing the Colt AR15 until he changed firearms from the Colt AR15, to a Belgian FN assault rifle and continued his assault killing 4 and wounding 5 at the Port Arthur Historic Site carpark area.

The gunman then drove towards the tollbooth, where he murdered the Mikac mother and two children, and then at the tollbooth, stole the BMW after murdering the four occupants, and shooting at other cars and the occupants that came upon the scene.

The gunman then drove a short distance to the Port Arthur Service Station/General Store and kidnapped Glen Pears and murdered his companion, Zoe Hall. The gunman then drove north along the Arthur Highway and parked the BMW just off the highway outside the entrance to Seascape Cottage.

It is interesting to note that three minutes after the murder of Zoe Hall, the former Nubeena policeman, Constable Chris Iles, who was at the time stationed at the Sorell Police Station, attended at the Port Arthur Store and spoke to Jim Laycock and Kyle Spruce and then drove off in pursuit of the stolen BMW. However, Seascape is only approximately 4 kilometres from Port Arthur, and there are no side roads prior to Seascape, yet there is no mention of Constable Iles again.

The BMW was next reportedly seen by John Rooke, who saw the vehicle diverge across the Arthur Highway and park outside the Seascape Cottage, and then saw the gunman start shooting at passing traffic. The gunman shot at six different vehicles as they passed the Seascape driveway, seriously wounding two persons, Linda White and Mrs. Carol Williams, the wife of a Canadian Embassy Official, with others receiving lesser injuries, mainly from broken glass, before the gunman withdrew to the Seascape Cottage and prepared for the coming police siege.

A total of 35 dead and 22 injured for the whole incident, including Seascape Cottage.

On the following morning Martin Bryant was arrested naked, after he fled from a fiery Seascape Cottage, unarmed, dressed in black, and with his clothes alight. After he had fled the burning building, he vanished from view for a time, while he removed his burning clothing. This supposed gunman had left his armoury behind, saving himself from becoming another statistic.

What the media did not inform the Australian public was that ASIO had also arrived on the scene. The Tasmanian Police had requested assistance from the Victoria Police SOG (Special Operations Group, or within the job, Sons of God) to reinforce their own SOG squad. However there was no mention of any ASIO personnel being requested at the scene, but at 10.15 p.m. that Sunday night Australia's ASIO was despatched to Port Arthur (EMA Port Arthur Seminar Papers page 6). Furthermore, at the debriefing held at the Tasmania Police Academy at Rokeby on the 29th May 1996, ASIO was again in attendance (EMA Port Arthur Seminar Papers page 29).

This must raise the question of just what were ASIO doing within a State jurisdiction? Could the Port Arthur Massacre have been a 'terrorist attack'? The evidence as shown to the Australian public states otherwise and certainly during both the Hoddle Street and Queen Street massacres, there were no ASIO members collating information. Thus why were ASIO operatives called in from weekend leave, and despatched post-haste to Port Arthur? This is reinforced by the fact that the Victoria Police SOG were instructed that they were to take every means possible to apprehend the person inside Seascape Cottage alive, as that person was a possible terrorist. Is this belief that the person or persons responsible for the Port Arthur Massacre were possible terrorists, justification for the presence of ASIO?

In fact, the Port Arthur Massacre was indeed a 'Terrorist Attack' in every sense of the word, and it was almost bought undone by one Tasmania Police SOG member at the Seascape Cottage. However, to properly portray the events that occurred on the Tasman Peninsula on Sunday the 28th April 1996, one must start at the beginning.

There is sufficient evidence to show that Martin Bryant left his home in Clare Street, New Town at 9.47 a.m., and then proceeded to the Tasman Peninsula. This would place Bryant arriving at Seascape Cottage approximately 90 minutes later, had he not made all the different stops along the route, as he did on that particular morning. Thus there is no possibility that Martin Bryant was present at Seascape when three witnesses, being Andrew and Lyn Simmons who heard two shots emanating from Seascape at 10.40 a.m. and Douglas McCutcheon another near neighbour heard a series of shots at about the same time on that Sunday morning.

The two shots are important, as David Martin was found to have been shot twice, but there was no evidence to positively prove that Sally Martin had been shot, but rather died from a blow that fractured her skull. Then there was the blood on the hunting knife found in the 'Prince' sports bag that DNA tests confirmed as being that of David Martin. What becomes even more interesting was the fact that David Martin's body was found with a gag over his mouth. The presence of a gag strongly suggests that David Martin was not murdered immediately, but was bound and gagged prior to his being shot. Of course this raises the question as to how did David Martin subject himself to being tied and gagged by a single person? It takes two hands to perform such an act, and another two to operate a rifle. Then there was the body of Glen Pears which was found with two sets of handcuffs attached to the body.

We must now consider the only reported police constables on duty within an hour from the Tasman Peninsula, being Constable Gary Whittle from Dunalley, and Constable Paul Hyland from Nubeena. Both were called out, by radio from police headquarters in Hobart, to attend at Saltwater River in relation to a supposed heroin cache, and coincidentally arrived at that location just prior to 1.30 p.m. The heroin cache turned out to be jars of soap powder, and the person who had reported the find to police was not located. So who initiated this telephone call to police? It was not Martin Bryant, and police have been very coy in relation to how the only protection for the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas were lured to this remote area. Shortly after these police reported their presence at Saltwater River, the massacre at Port Arthur commenced.

With the initial call to the Tasmania Police via the emergency telephone number 000, logged in at 1.32 p.m. the police were alerted to something occurring at Port Arthur. Within minutes they received numerous calls giving them more details of what had been occurring at the Tasman Peninsula.

At this stage what the police had was a lone gunman creating absolute panic and mayhem in the area, and it was treated as such. At 1338 hours, Constables Whittle and Hyland who were still at the Saltwater River region were recalled poste haste, with Constable Whittle attending at the Port Arthur General Store, and Constable Hyland attending at the Fox and Hounds Hotel. Constable Hyland was informed that the gunman was at the Seascape Cottage, and so he headed in that direction, with Constable Whittle in support.

It takes 25 minutes to travel from Saltwater River to Port Arthur, but both policemen travelled back to the Nubeena Police Station for some unknown reason, and then split up, with Constable Whittle taking the most direct route to Port Arthur, and Constable Hyland taking the longer route via Taranna in an attempt to cut off any escape by the gunman at Port Arthur.

Upon arriving at Seascape, Constable Whittle secured the front gate, thus ensuring that the apparent lone gunman was trapped inside the buildings. Constable Hyland proceeded further up the Arthur Highway and set up a police roadblock to ensure that no further motorists entered the danger area. Whilst proceeding to set up this roadblock, Constable Hyland saw a naked dark-haired person within the grounds at Seascape enter the cottage. Constable Whittle also saw a naked person and states that it was a female.

Constable Hyland set up the roadblock in company with Sergeant Andrew Fogarty of the SOG, and shortly afterwards, Constable Whittle was joined by Constable Pat Allen of the TOG (Traffic Operations Group). With the arrival of Constable Allen, shots were fired in their direction, striking the bush above them, so both policemen took cover in the ditch at the side of the road.

In the meantime, the other police services had not been idle. Superintendent Barry Bennett was called in as Assistant Commissioner Luppo Prins initiated the SAC-PAV National Anti-Terrorist Plan that had been endorsed in November 1995. A police Major Incident Room was set up at Police Headquarters with Luppo Prins being the 'Commander', and a Police Forward Command Post at Taranna, where Superintendent Bennett was to be the 'Forward Commander'. The Police negotiation team under Sergeant Terry McCarthy was called in, and an initial team of three SOG members were flown in to Taranna to start operations to apprehend the lone gunman.

At 3.08 p.m. and again at 3.25 p.m., the girlfriend of Constable Hyland, Merrin Craig received two telephone calls at the Nubeena Police Station, taunting her and Mr Perks states that the first call referred specifically to 'Mr. Hyland'. This particular telephone call was made by "Jamie", the same person to whom the police negotiator spoke to for over 2 ˝ hours during the evening of the siege at Seascape. What this demonstrates is that "Jamie" knew Constable Hyland personally.

Witnesses have always stated that the first helicopter containing Paramedics Peter Stride and Warwick Allen to Port Arthur flew over the Seascape Cottage and was fired upon by the gunman. However, it was shortly after 5.00 p.m. that a Tasmania Police SOG marksman was able to position himself with a good view of the buildings at Seascape, and he saw a person on the roof of an adjoining building to the Seascape Cottage. Before this marksman could shoot the suspect on the roof, he needed positive identification that it was the gunman. The SOG marksman, via police radio communications, contacted Constable Pat Allen, in the ditch, by the roadside, and Allen offered to take a look from under the police car, and as soon as Constable Allen raised his head, a bullet was fired at him, which went through the front bumper bar of the police car.

This is where the excreta hit the fan. The SOG marksman was watching the suspect on the roof. This suspect did not fire the shot at Constable Allen. Had the shot come from the gunman on the roof, then the SOG marksman would have been able to shoot that particular gunman. This didn't happen. The shot came from within Seascape. There were now two gunmen at Seascape

The reaction by the Tasmania Police was immediate and justified. At 1715 hours, a call went to the Victoria Police requesting assistance for a Terrorist Attack. At 1719, the National Crisis Centre was notified. This call was answered by the PSCC (Protective Security Co-ordination Centre) providing transport and technical equipment for ASIO's Technical Surveillance Unit (TSU) that was attending. This was as per SAC-PAV's National Anti-Terrorist Plan that had been endorsed in November 1995. In fact, Port Arthur was seen as an excellent example of the coordination skills required to cope with any possible terrorist attack, and ensured that SAC-PAV was in command of the security of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

The Tasmanian Premier, Tony Rundle, and the Tasmanian Attorney General, Ray Groom were also informed and attended immediately to the Major Incident Room at Police Headquarters, along with other State Political leaders. Moves were made, as the victims at Port Arthur waited fearfully for the protection and support that should have been available to them was utilised elsewhere, and most Australians are not aware that it was six hours after the actual massacre that the Tasmania Police were finally permitted to arrive in sufficient numbers at Port Arthur.

However, at the Seascape Cottage, the various police resources under SAC-PAV control, and ASIO were in attendance, with the SOG wanting to get stuck in and do their job, but held back by their 'Commander' who required the terrorists to be taken alive if possible. That was not to be. All the police were able to arrest was Martin Bryant, burnt, confused and of no help to them whatsoever. The naked person or persons seems to have also vanished.

That the massacre was a terrorist attack becomes undeniable when in the aftermath, the number of moves and countermoves that had been made within government and bureaucratic circles before, during and after the event became apparent. These moves created one of the biggest cover-ups in Australia's history, and should be shown to all Australians so that they may judge for themselves, just who and what caused Australia's first Terrorist Attack, and the lies and deceit this terrorist attack created.

There is one final twist to this macabre story. There was only one exit door to that part of The Broad Arrow Café, known as the Gift Shop. This door was inoperative due to a faulty fire exit door lock. When the shooting started inside the Broad Arrow Café, several patrons headed for this exit door, but found that it wouldn't open. The two staff at the gift shop counter were already aware that the door was inoperative and all they could do was to hide behind the counter, and that was where they were slain.

Some patrons, when they realised their position, were able to hide their wives behind display stands and curtains, but were unable to save themselves, and these women watched in horror as the gunman shot their husbands whose last acts were to save their loved ones.

The problem of the inoperative door was a major Tasmanian Government problem for the Port Arthur Historic Site was and still is a Tasmanian Government Enterprise. Thus moves were taken to ensure that any blame that could have been laid on the faulty door was covered up, and every skerrick of fault was to be laid wholly upon the gunman. These moves, initiated by politicians and bureaucrats, though, were outside their arena. The moves entered into the 'judicial' arena, the last bastion of democracy.

It was the prime Minister's statement that now the perpetrator had been apprehended the need for an inquest should be ignored so as the survivors didn't have to relive the suffering and anguish of their experiences at Port Arthur. This has been a continued theme throughout the politician's defence of their actions in rebuffing every plea by the victims for a proper investigation into the massacre.

The Coroner has refused to hold an inquest on the basis that the primary facts of the various deaths are already known. In this stance, the Coroner has ignored section 28. 1(f) of the Coroners Act of 1995. The Attorney General, Ray Groom has supported the Coroner, citing the Coroners Act of 1957, which was repealed in 1995, when he was the premier of Tasmania.

We can now begin to understand the necessity for Martin Bryant to plead guilty, and all the various moves made to ensure this occurred has been documented. By these moves, all Australians have been denied justice, along with any knowledge of the events that transpired in what is now called the Port Arthur Massacre.

Consider also that Martin Bryant has been sentenced to life imprisonment without any form of a trial whatsoever. It is not the victims that are being protected, but corrupt bureaucracies. This is the reason for the coverup.

Thus there are two separate issues to be dealt with in understanding just what actually did occur during and after the Port Arthur massacre. These problems caused the McAlpine and the Woodland reports, followed by the Doyle report, which was so damaging to the Tasmanian Government that it was answered by the Bugg Report.

To evaluate the events at Port Arthur, I have used the reports from the Hobart Mercury. I have used the book, 'Suddenly One Sunday', written by Mike Bingham, a journalist from the Hobart Mercury. I have used the Court Documents, relating to the sentencing of Martin Bryant, The Doyle Report and the Bugg Report, and of course other media releases of information relevant to the events, as well as statements from actual witnesses that have come my way.

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Seven Part Series
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