OFFICIAL MARTIN BRYANT STORY
PROVED AN IMPOSSIBLE LIE



At 8 p.m. on 28 April 1996, less than seven hours after the mass murder at Port Arthur, Martin Bryant’s mother Carleen was suddenly taken to Tasmanian Police Headquarters in Hobart. Unknown to Carleen, in another part of headquarters at exactly the same time, police negotiators were allegedly engaged in a long conversation with a man at Seascape they later claimed was her son. Despite being Martin Bryant’s closest relative, at no time was Carleen asked to identify his voice, and she has never been allowed access to the telephone tape. Hard evidence suggests that a senior police officer ruthlessly ordered Carleen Bryant’s forced visit to headquarters that evening, in order to later "authenticate" the impossible premature police identification of her only son, Martin Bryant.

Copyright Joe Vialls, 16 June 1999, All Rights Reserved 45 Merlin Drive, Carine, Western Australia 6020



Police and security services have standard procedures for every situation they are likely to encounter, especially sensitive situations where armed offenders and hostages are involved. Though the prime objective of any hostage negotiation team is obviously to "win", i.e. resolve the crisis without anyone getting hurt, there are standard techniques used throughout, aimed at giving the active negotiator an edge as quickly as possible.

One of the most important is obtaining a positive identification of the offender, enabling agencies to swiftly locate enough background details to provide an insight into his behaviour, and time to contact relatives for assistance where necessary. As every trained negotiator in the world knows, an emotional hostage-taker is likely to respond far more positively to the pleas of a close relative than to a complete stranger.

As a mother Carleen Bryant would have been ideal in this role, the person most able to pacify her son and ask him to lay down his arms. However, Carleen could only achieve this if the suspect at Seascape was really her son. If police believed the voice on the phone from Seascape was that of Martin Bryant, why did the senior officer who ordered Carleen’s interrogation deliberately isolate her away from the radio room? Sadly, there are no innocent answers to this critical question.

Police were very short of personnel that Sunday, and the three experienced plain-clothes officers involved in Carleen Bryant’s transportation and interrogation that day should have already been at Port Arthur. So exactly who was the shadowy senior officer responsible for holding back these three experienced officers, then ordering them to take Mrs Bryant to headquarters, where she was swiftly isolated and used so effectively to cement the official story of the day? Only an open Royal Commission can provide these and other essential answers.

Media reports distorted truth.

Few people in Australia and overseas realise that Tasmanian reporters were told within six hours of the mass murder that the "lone-nut" responsible was a man called Martin Bryant, then holed up at Seascape, and in the rush of excitement that followed they completely forgot to ask where this impossibly accurate information came from. Diligent independent investigation revealed most never gave it a second though, either at the time or over the years that followed. As one senior accredited reporter tried to explain:

"There’s nothing suspicious about that. Mr Martin, the son of the Seascape owners, told police he thought it might be Bryant because he’s heard about the man with long blonde hair and the yellow Volvo, and Martin Bryant had apparently threatened his parents over a farm purchase some years earlier."

Times DO NOT add up

However, it was not until about 8.30 p.m., when details of the vehicle’s registration came through, that police finally knew the identity of the person they were dealing with."

Next we have "Martin Bryant’s passport had also been found in the Volvo abandoned by the toll booth... "No it had not, at least not at the time the official story claims. The only police present at Port Arthur at 6.30 p.m. were the two young police women taken off the beat in Hobart, and possibly an Inspector Warren of later Bryant interrogation fame, Coroner Ian Matterson and his team of forensic examiners did not arrive at the crime scene(s) until much later.

As Ian Matterson recalls "On arrival at the Police Forward Command post set up at Taranna we were advised that the Port Arthur historic site had still not been rendered safe for entry by our team and we waited until 7.30 p.m. before we received the all clear" ... "On site at 8.05 p.m.

Coroner Matterson then started an examination of each crime scene, starting with the bus park below the Broad Arrow Cafe, then the Broad Arrow Cafe itself, followed by the scene at which the Mikac family died, before eventually arriving at the tollbooth and the yellow Volvo. Though Ian Matterson does not provide a precise chronology for this period, it is reasonable to assume he spend at least thirty minutes at each crime scene, meaning he reached the Volvo around 9.40 p.m. at the earliest. He notes "On a road hump near the toll gate and beside a yellow Volvo lay an adult male. Inside the open boot of the Volvo could be seen firearms and a small white gun shooting target that appeared to have been used." So the earliest that Martin Bryant’s passport could have been found was 9.40 p.m., three hours later than claimed in the official story.

Let us be generous and assume that either Matterson or Warren fossicked around in the Volvo and found Martin Bryant’s passport at 9.40 p.m. That was exactly one hour and forty minutes AFTER Martin’s mother, Carleen Bryant, was frog marched to police headquarters in Hobart.

Because of Carleen Bryant’s inexplicable treatment that night, we are forced to assume that the as-yet unidentified senior officer at headquarters decided to hold these three experienced officers back for use as her escorts and interrogator, but how could he possibly have known in advance this would be necessary? Obviously he did know, and dispatched his three plain-clothes men to Mrs Bryant’s house in Hobart nearly two hours before Martin’s passport could possibly have been discovered in the Volvo at Port Arthur.

Carleen was completely isolated from the radio room, and at 8 p.m. was "bombarded with questions about Martin’s big house in Newtown and his trips overseas." The officer went on to ask whether her son owned a yellow Volvo with roof racks, which she said he did. He then asked whether it had a surfboard on top. Carleen responded "I don’t know". This activity outside the direct chain of command then provided "corroborative evidence" that Martin Bryant was the shooter at Seascape,

This then forms the last part of the official story: "However, it was not until about 8.30 p.m., when details of the vehicle’s registration came through, that police finally knew the identity of the person they were dealing with." The registration details did not "come through" as seductively suggested by the official story, but were already deep inside the Tasmanian Police Headquarters building itself, unwittingly provided in person for the three plain-clothes officers at 8.30 p.m. by Martin Bryant’s trusting mother.

Puzzled, I asked "At that time, had police broadcast any appeals over the radio for information on men with long blonde hair and yellow Volvo cars?" There was a short pause "No, actual details were kept to the minimum" he replied. "Did Mr Martin tell you [the media] that he’d given police this information?" A longer pause, "No, we saw him standing outside police headquarters and thought it was him."

"Well then, did the police tell you [the media] that Mr Martin had provided headquarters with this information?" A pencil could be heard tapping on the desk at the other end of the telephone line. "No they didn’t in fact. Until then the only suspect on the police white board in operations was an aboriginal, who apparently wanted a helicopter ride to South Australia. Martin Bryant’s name was added to the white board later." These media claims were all unsubstantiated rubbish. The Bryant family sold their seaside shack near Port Arthur nearly four years earlier and Martin Bryant’s last visit was more than two years before the shooting, at which time he had short instead of long blonde hair, and drove a Honda not a Volvo. Mr Martin Jr. did visit headquarters on 28 April but not about Martin Bryant. As police media liaison officer Geoff Easton writes "A young man called at the Public Inquiries counter and asked for me. He was to tell me he was a relative of the Martins, the owners of Seascape, and that he had a cache of weapons stored there, and, in his own words, ‘Shitloads of ammo mate!’"

Planted identification?

Wherever the "instant" identification came from during that afternoon it was not from Mr Martin Jr., nor anyone at Port Arthur. Nobody at the historic site could have provided the identification because not one of the staff or survivors had been interviewed by police, and were still in fear of their lives. Though two police SOGs [groups of armed policemen] were dispatched from Hobart at 3.57 p.m. and 4.04 p.m. respectively, they never reached Port Arthur. As Chief Executive Craig Coombs notes "At this stage, about 5.30 p.m., the day was drawing to a close. We were assured there was a group of SOGs arriving by helicopter" ... "I commandeered 3 four wheel drive vehicles and had them ready to transport the SOGs to secure the [Port Arthur] Site. Driving the vehicles to the edge of the oval, we waited for the helicopter to arrive. The helicopter contained two young policewomen who had come off the beat in Hobart."

Understandably in the circumstances, the two young policewomen off the beat in Hobart did not conduct group or individual interviews. This gaping black hole in the evidence did nothing to deter other reporters hell bent on reinforcing the "official" story. In a book which brazenly uses unproven anecdotal evidence to demonise Bryant, its author tries to explain this impossible identification by claiming "Around 6.30 p.m. a call to Hobart headquarters from a member of the public in Hobart suggested that a man called Martin Bryant could be the man holed up in Seascape because he had an obsession about the owners, David and Sally Martin." He continues "Martin Bryant’s passport had also been found in the Volvo abandoned beside the tollbooth at the entrance to the historic site. However, it was not until about 8.30 p.m., when details of the vehicle’s registration came through, that police finally knew the identity of the person they were dealing with."

Again this media claim was unsubstantiated rubbish, predictably similar in parts to the rubbish provided for the author by accredited senior reporters, but this time with the imaginative additions of a passport and vehicle registration. We will now prove point by point that the official story of the day was a fairy tale, a creative lie designed to protect members of the police and others who would otherwise be terminally embarrassed by their access to impossible quantities of accurate information about Martin Bryant at an impossible time, and face prosecution as a result.

A REAL terrorist incident.

The claim "a member of the public in Hobart suggested that a man called Martin Bryant could be the person..." has already been partly dealt with, but further explanation is necessary to destroy it completely. At the time of this alleged call Tasmanian Police Headquarters was in uproar, with officers solely concerned about how many shooters were involved, and at how many locations. This is proved by Assistant Commissioner Luppo Prins, who writes "The Police command structure for management of the Port Arthur incident was essentially along the lines of a SACPAV terrorist incident." Forget the word "essentially". At that time and until the next morning police operated rigidly along these lines to contain the real terrorist incident they were facing, including interaction with the Crisis Policy Centre in Canberra, briefings for the duty Federal Minister and Prime Minister, and the deployment on Tasmanian territory of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation’s Technical Surveillance Unit. Though there were doubtlessly many calls to headquarters from the public about Jack Smith, Harry Evans, Tom Spratt or Martin Bryant being the likely culprits, police would have filed the lot for examination at a later date. Dozens of excited members of the public call at the height of nearly every major emergency, but unless a caller offers hard evidence directly related to the crime scene, all calls are filed until much later because police are far too busy with the current operation, especially when that operation is of the full-blown SACPAV terrorist variety. To even suggest the two words "Martin Bryant" would have caused officers to suddenly stop in their tracks and say, "Of course, it must be young Martin from Newtown!" is both absurd and operationally impossible.

Next we have "Martin Bryant’s passport had also been found in the Volvo abandoned by the toll booth... "No it had not, at least not at the time the official story claims. The only police present at Port Arthur at 6.30 p.m. were the two young police women taken off the beat in Hobart, and possibly an Inspector Warren of later Bryant interrogation fame, though it is unclear how Warren could have reached Port Arthur when the heavily-armed SOGs could not. At 6.30 p.m. all police, staff and survivors were hiding, and no one was poking around in the dark interior of a yellow Volvo surrounded by dead bodies. Coroner Ian Matterson and his team of forensic examiners did not arrive at the crime scene(s) until much later. As Ian Matterson recalls "On arrival at the Police Forward Command post set up at Taranna we were advised that the Port Arthur historic site had still not been rendered safe for entry by our team and we waited until 7.30 p.m. before we received the all clear" ... "On site at 8.05 p.m. I conversed with Inspector John Warren, the officer in charge of the major crime scene.

Having assessed no person had, at that stage, been apprehended and charged with any offence arising from the deaths on the historic site, I advised I would take over the area as a coronial site with the operation to be conducted in tandem with his major crime investigation."

Coroner Matterson then started an examination of each crime scene, starting with the bus park below the Broad Arrow Cafe, then the Broad Arrow Cafe itself, followed by the scene at which the Mikac family died, before eventually arriving at the tollbooth and the yellow Volvo. Though Ian Matterson does not provide a precise chronology for this period, it is reasonable to assume he spend at least thirty minutes at each crime scene, meaning he reached the Volvo around 9.40 p.m. at the earliest. He notes "On a road hump near the toll gate and beside a yellow Volvo lay an adult male. Inside the open boot of the Volvo could be seen firearms and a small white gun shooting target that appeared to have been used." So the earliest that Martin Bryant’s passport could have been found was 9.40 p.m., three hours later than claimed in the official story.

Even this discovery time may be premature, because Matterson continues "Attempts by police photographers, ballistic experts, investigators and the forensic pathologist to commence their investigation were hampered by a lack of suitable light. Whilst there was an urgent need to commence the investigation and remove all the bodies, it was agreed the need to ensure a precise investigation of the highest standard of both bodies and exhibits made it imperative to wait until first light the following morning." A single dark blue passport is a small low-visibility object, which would normally take a very long time to find under a hefty pile of firearms, targets and ammunition.

Let us be generous and assume that either Matterson or Warren fossicked around in the Volvo and found Martin Bryant’s passport at 9.40 p.m. That was exactly one hour and forty minutes AFTER Martin’s mother, Carleen Bryant, was frog marched to police headquarters in Hobart by two burly plain-clothes officers and interrogated by a third, all of whom should have been down at Port Arthur investigating the worst mass murder in Tasmanian history. Remember that the Tasmanian Police Service was stretched to the limit, evidenced by it sending two inexperienced young policewomen off the Hobart beat down to Port Arthur, to protect hundreds of terrified survivors still in fear of their lives.

Because of Carleen Bryant’s inexplicable treatment that night, we are forced to assume that the as-yet unidentified senior officer at headquarters decided to hold these three experienced officers back for use as her escorts and interrogator, but how could he possibly have known in advance this would be necessary? Obviously he did know, and dispatched his three plain-clothes men to Mrs Bryant’s house in Hobart nearly two hours before Martin’s passport could possibly have been discovered in the Volvo at Port Arthur.

Based on known standard procedures used by all police forces when faced with a SACPAV terrorist emergency, the senior officer in question was certainly not in the operations centre, i.e. the direct line of communication from main switchboard to radio room etc., because all activities in these areas are strictly controlled for the duration of the emergency, with no opportunity at all to subvert proceedings. Carleen was completely isolated from the radio room, and at 8 p.m. was "bombarded with questions about Martin’s big house in Newtown and his trips overseas." The officer went on to ask whether her son owned a yellow Volvo with roof racks, which she said he did. He then asked whether it had a surfboard on top. Carleen responded "I don’t know".

This activity outside the direct chain of command then provided "corroborative evidence" that Martin Bryant was the shooter at Seascape, corroborative evidence that could later be used to blur over fatal errors in the grossly premature and thus impossible timing of his initial identification. This then forms the last part of the official story: "However, it was not until about 8.30 p.m., when details of the vehicle’s registration came through, that police finally knew the identity of the person they were dealing with." The registration details did not "come through" as seductively suggested by the official story, but were already deep inside the Tasmanian Police Headquarters building itself, unwittingly provided in person for the three plain-clothes officers at 8.30 p.m. by Martin Bryant’s trusting mother.

That Carleen Bryant was kept strictly outside the official chain of command is proved by the fact that direct identification of her son could have been established in a few seconds, simply by her listening to the conversation then in progress between police negotiators in the radio room and the suspect at Seascape. If it was Martin she would have been able to provide direct identification immediately, and quite possibly have talked him out of the building, thereby greatly minimising risks to others. The use of close relatives for exactly this purpose by police and other negotiators has already been explained. Therefore the only valid reason for keeping Carleen outside the chain of command was that someone either knew or suspected the man on the telephone was not her son, and had no intention of allowing her to discover this. Carleen herself reinforces this view when commenting on the person used by police to "identify" the voice on the telephone from Seascape: "he hadn’t spoken to Martin since he [Martin] was twelve years old and would not know what his voice sounded like anyway." It is perfectly reasonable to claim that the impossibly early "positive identification" of Martin Bryant was leaked to the media by the same senior officer responsible for setting Carleen Bryant up at police headquarters later the same day, a sequence that must have required a lot of advance planning.

What will remain unclear until a Royal Commission examines all the evidence, is how the senior police insider became involved in this atrocity in the first place. Was he unwittingly tricked into a series of reckless acts by the group directly responsible, or was he in a vulnerable position and open to blackmail? Alternatively, he may have been a witting player who actively assisted with the chain of events for his own ideological reasons. Obscure but more likely is another ploy, one that has been used before on covert operations. The insider may have been sucked in by a proposed plan of action which appealed to his patriotism or sense of duty, and only found out too late that the plan had gone much further than he had agreed, thereby compromising him and ensuring his permanent silence.

In the case of the premeditated murder of Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in London during April 1984, a senior officer foolishly allowed himself to be influenced by powerful outsiders, members of the secretive private "club" to which he belonged, who suggested a limited operation in which Fletcher’s bare legs would only be lightly peppered with shrapnel, producing a bit of blood for the TV cameras and generating sufficient public outrage to have the nasty Libyans deported from Britain for ever. When instead of being lightly peppered with shrapnel, Yvonne Fletcher was almost cut in half by a high velocity assault bullet fired from an American multinational building, the compromised senior officer understandably felt quite unable to approach his Commissioner and confess "It wasn’t supposed to go that far..." From start to finish at Port Arthur and Seascape, all information provided for the media was filtered by Tasmanian Police Headquarters in Hobart. In addition, by mid-afternoon an air exclusion zone was in place to prevent media aerial photography, and the police forward command post at Taranna actively stopped all members of the media from approaching any of the crime scenes.

Police were in total control of the flow of information at all times, and it would be futile at this late stage for officials to claim that some mysterious civilian outsider burgled police headquarters, scribbled Martin Bryant’s name on the operations white board, then ordered two sworn police officers to drive across Hobart to fetch Carleen Bryant. The hard facts prove that this sequence of events could only have been planned and executed successfully by a senior officer with direct access to police headquarters’ facilities and personnel. Three years after the event, the official story is now proven a fairy tale, an impossible myth, so how did most Australians and the rest of the world fail to spot the gross errors? The answer lies in the same sort of clumsy sleight-of-hand that inexperienced magicians use when cutting their professional teeth at children’s birthday parties.



(Remember me telling you about my first suspicians when the Sunday Telegraph printed this photo of Bryant only days after the incident?
enhanced photo They highlighted his eyes to make him look crazy and were never reprimanded for this flagrant disreguard for the due process of law which elliminated any line up identification process. To my knowledge it has never been done before. People in this country are usually concidered innocent until proven guilty....not so with Martin Bryant.....Ned)



Story Continues......

Though a photograph of Martin Bryant was printed in the Tasmanian newspaper on the morning of 29 April, with no explanation of how the newspaper miraculously obtained such a recent photograph of him in time for the newspaper’s deadline, the photo was not shown in mainland Australian or international newspapers until the morning of 30 April, a full 24 hours later. So by the time 99% of us saw the famous picture of Martin Bryant with his artificially-enhanced staring blue eyes, he had already stumbled out of Seascape, been arrested and formally identified, and was receiving treatment for third-degree burns in the Royal Hobart Hospital. Nothing suspicious about that is there?

In light of this, why the frantic haste to put Martin Bryant in the frame when the facts prove he would certainly have been positively identified at Seascape early the next day at the latest, dead or alive? At first glance it seems a dangerous and unnecessary risk, but in operational terms it was essential. Any small group "operating behind the lines" is terribly vulnerable to accidental discovery and capture, an unacceptable risk that can be greatly reduced by prearranging a decoy incident designed to distract the attention of the enemy, thereby enabling the small group to escape detection. An example of this was a four-man special forces group in the Middle East tasked with the assassination of an especially brutal terrorist leader, who was unfortunately surrounded by about two hundred of his own armed men. So the SF group waited until nightfall and placed explosive charges at a nearby fuel tanker and more distant ammunition dump. First they blew the fuel tanker by radio detonator, then 30 seconds later the ammunition dump. Terrorists started running frantically towards these "obvious" attackers, while the four-man SF group quietly moved in behind them and killed the boss. By the time the terrorists returned and discovered their boss had two small holes in his head, the group was already more than ten miles away.

Martin Bryant was an obvious decoy, allowing the professional group time to extract safely before anyone got suspicious. Of critical importance here is the fact that decoys must be used at the time of the operation, not 24 hours later, hence the need for Bryant’s "instant" identification at Seascape. We already know that intellectually impaired Martin Bryant was in no way responsible for the shooting at Port Arthur and elsewhere that day, during which some of the best combat shooters in the world used only 64 bullets to kill 35 people, wound 22 more, and cripple two cars. The first 19 victims in the Broad Arrow Cafe each died from a single 5.56-mm bullet to the head all fired in less than 20 seconds from the right hip of a fast-moving combat shooter.

As experts including former Vietnam military commander Brigadier Ted Serong, and SAS counter-terrorist shooters agree, this awesome display of combat marksmanship was an impossible feat for Martin Bryant, who had no shooting or military experience at all. The fact that we missed the critical errors at the time does not absolve us from shared responsibility for Martin Bryant’s plight today. We simply cannot sweep it all under the carpet and try to forget that an innocent man is in prison for a crime he could not have committed, nor the fact that taxpayers might still be employing an accessory to mass murder at Tasmanian Police Headquarters. It was we the Australian people who unwittingly allowed corrupt officials and the media to pull the wool over our eyes, and it is only we the Australian people who have enough collective power to right those wrongs. Our objectives must be to secure Martin Bryant’s release, and ensure the conviction of the unknown senior police officer. To achieve these objectives we must first force an appeal on behalf of intellectually impaired Martin Bryant, and a Royal Commission into the Tasmanian Police Service. This will not happen all by itself, so get off your backside, grab the nearest pen and start writing to your Member of Parliament.

Not tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. Do it now. Martin Bryant has already been in prison far too long, and needs to go back to his mum for a home-cooked meal.

"Journalists say a thing that they know isn’t true, in the hope that if they keep saying it long enough it will be true." Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

The author is an independent investigator with thirty years direct experience of international military and oilfield operations


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LACK OF FORENSIC AT PORT ARTHUR



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