News report from Western Australian newspapers.
I had posted this news under another heading and I later couldnt find the thread. So thinking that I must of placed it in the wrong spot ( I dont think the thread could have been deleted without letting meknow of the reason why) I enter it once more. Seems more relevant under this thread:
Gentleman and Ladies
I do not live in Canakkale. So I rely greatly on info supplied by subscribers to this and other forums, which I find are immensely beneficial and informative.
However, today I became aware of a report , properly titled " Australian senate Finance and Public Administration reference Committee :Inquiry into matters relating to Gallipoli peninsula", by Senator John Watson and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells", which I found disturbing, given the fact that all information I have obtained from here and other site are "correct", on good will....I await an answer.
This report basically stated that the allegations regarding the roadworks (which we all know were raised a couple of months ago by one of the members- all over the media-, whom I considered, was led to believe to be an expert) were a bunch of lies, perpetrated to gain financial benefit as well as journalistic benefit. Now, I will only be content with "cut-copying" of parts of report that disturbed me greatly; shattered my confidence in the info I received on this platform (and I am only an amateur researcher). No offense is intended and I expect some satisfying answers as a junior member. Now I must stress here that this particular report was written in response to a majority report...
The Report fails to adequately and correctly reflect the overwhelming bulk of the written and oral evidence given to the Committee and instead relies on conflicting evidence from Mr Sellars that is beyond his area of expertise, is often baseless and invariably at odds with the evidence of other learned persons giving evidence before this Committee. Mr Sellars, a self-styled historian and journalist (who conceded he has no formal qualifications in history or archaeology) was the source of the media allegations regarding the discovery of alleged human remains and bones during roadworks undertaken by the Turkish authorities. Mr Sellars makes serial appearances around ANZAC Day and tellingly, conceded in evidence that he has financially benefited from his sensationalised media assertions."
" Turkey and Australia share a history in Gallipoli. Over the years, goodwill has prevailed and there has been a very positive relationship to date. It would be a very disturbing if the politicisation of this issue caused damage to the relationship between Australia and Turkey. Accordingly, it is important that we rise above the issue and address the facts before this Committee, rather than the hyperbole and innuendo, to
ensure that the goodwill, positive relationship and cooperation with the Turkish Government continue."
Minister Downer reported to the House as follows on 14 March 2005:163 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which operates in the Gallipoli area, advised her that they inspected the area thoroughly before and during the roadworks and found no evidence of remains. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission also advised that they thought it very unlikely that any human remains would be found, because the area was thoroughly searched for remains in the 1920s and any remains found then were interred in local cemeteries. Given the sensational allegations made by Mr Sellars, Ambassador Dunn spoke with Mr Sellars during her visit. It is interesting to note that Mr Sellars was unable to produce the two bone fragments that he alleged to have photographed. Minister Downer relayed to the House on 14 March 2005 the information provided by Mr Sellars to Ambassador Dunn:164 A man called Bill Sellars, who is an Australian who lives in the area and has an intense interest in the preservation of Gallipoli, has told our ambassador that of two bone fragments that he had photographed one had disappeared and he could not relocate the other. In response, Ambassador Dunn also requested Mr Sellars to advise Australian authorities and of course, the CWGC of any further alleged finds:165 The Ambassador has asked him to advise us and of course the Commonwealth War Graves Commission if he does find any further remains, in particular so those remains can be treated respectfully and in the appropriate way. It is interesting to note that on the one hand Mr Sellars holds himself out to be a person allegedly versed in history and understanding of military heritage, but on the other hand, demonstrates a rather cavalier and inappropriate attitude in relation to the care and attention of remains which he alleged were human. One would have thought at the very least, he would have promptly contacted the CWGC and informed them of the find so that the find could have been verified and the bones interred in an appropriate and respectful manner by appropriately qualified archaeologists. Instead, 163 Cited in Submission 4, Attachment C 164 Cited in Submission 4, Attachment C 165 Cited in Submission 4, Attachment B 130 it would appear that Mr Sellars opted instead to parade his alleged find through sensationalised media avenues . here and abroad. The Majority Report states that both articles noted Mr Sellars' claims that the roadworks must have dug up human remains as many Australians and Turks were hastily buried on the beach and Cliffside . not that bones were dug up but a mere hypothesis that the roadworks "must have" dug up remains. Again, sensationalism not based on solid facts, but on a mere hypothesis from an unqualified amateur archaeologist. Again, Mr Sellars' testimony regarding the bones he allegedly dug up is questionable. In short, he asserts that because he has allegedly found bones in the past, then the roadworks must have "dug up remains this time". The following extract from his testimony demonstrates the lack of credibility of this witness:92 Senator Fierravanti-Wells.We do not have a copy of that but it would be useful if you could provide a copy of it as well. In the article in the Age of 6 March 2005, you are quoted as saying that the roadworks must have also unearthed human remains. You were not sure about that, were you? Mr Sellars.I was positively sure, because I had seen human remains before that time. Senator Fierravanti-Wells.From the way it is attributed to you, it does not seem clear. Mr Sellars.It may not be. Senator Watson.It was your story.Mr Sellars.but I can assure you that I have seen human remains prior to 6 March. Senator Fierravanti-Wells.You say, .I am always finding bones from soldiers that were buried.. 92 Committee Hansard, pp 19-21 107 Mr Sellars.Is that in a story by-lined by Mr Russell Skelton or by me? I think I heard Senator Watson saying, .It was your story.. Senator Fierravanti-Wells .I did not say it was your story, Mr Sellars. I am just saying that there are comments. Mr Sellars.Does my name appear. Chair.Order! We can only have one speaker at a time, please. Senator Fierravanti-Wells .I do not wish to pursue it. Mr Sellars, the article quotes you as saying, .I am always finding bones from soldiers that were buried there in the first few days of battle to get ashore.. So what is your basis for asserting that you are so sure that they were all there from the first few days? You told me before that you do not have archaeological qualifications so how can you make that sort of assertion? Mr Sellars.Probabaly the assertion could be made.not as an archaeologist but in some ways as a historian.that that area was only fought over extensively on the first day of the campaign. There was extensive shelling of the area.as I have also written in another article.throughout the campaign, rom the morning of the landing until the final evacuation of the ANZAC beachhead in December. So, yes, the case is that I have often found human remains in that area. Senator Fierravanti-Wells .Thank you, Mr Sellars. Mr Sellars.That story was not by me. I would not have quoted myself in my own story, so it was written by another journalist. Senator Fierravanti-Wells .I did say that, but they do quote you in inverted commas.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells .Are you saying that you have been misquoted?
Mr Sellars.In reference to this story, no, I have not. I can think of one other story in which I was misquoted, yes. The journalist later acknowledged that he had not accurately reflected my comments.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells .In this case, Mr Sellars, you agree with me that you have not been misquoted?
Mr Sellars.I do not believe that I have. I have not got the exact story in front of me. It was some time back. There is a high probability that there are human remains in that area which may well have come from the initial day.s fighting.
Alternatively, they may have been generated through casualties from indirect artillery fire later in the campaign or from erosion of the battlefields bringing debris down over the last 90 years. Senator Fierravanti-Wells .But you are not sure, Mr Sellars and that is very clear from the comments that were made by and attributed to you. So you are not really sure, are you?
Mr Sellars.No. Not to the extent of.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells .Thank you.
On 12 March 2005, Mr Sellars himself authorised articles in the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun, which allegedly produced photographs of: 93 what appear to be leg and hip bones at the road construction site. The articles claimed that the photographs refuted statements by the Australian and Turkish Governments that no human remains have been dug up at Gallipoli. We refute the veracity of these assertions and indeed, the Inquiry was offered no proof of the authenticity of any of the photographs including when the photographs were allegedly taken, by whom and where they were taken. The Committee heard evidence from Mr Sellars concerning his comments on the unearthing of bone fragments. Mr Sellars alleges that on 1 March 2005, Fairfax journalist Russell Skelton, Turkish tourism operator Ilhami Gezici and his wife Bernina, and 'a number of other people' were all present when the bones were found.94 Mr Sellars subsequently identified these other people as his wife, Ms Serpil Karacan Sellars, and a tour guide with 'Hassle Free' tour agency named Baris.95 Interestingly, no evidence was proffered by any of these five people that supported Mr Sellars' allegations.
It is particularly important to note that Mr Sellars alleges Mr Skelton was present at the time when the bones were allegedly found. However, in his articles of 10 April 2005 in the Sun Herald and in the Sunday Age, or in his article of 17 April 2005 in the Sunday Age Mr Skelton does not disclose that he was present when the bones were allegedly found. Given this was the key complaint in the articles, it would not be unreasonable to assume that if Mr Skelton had indeed witnessed so important an event as the alleged discovery of human bones, he would have specifically and deliberately stated this in his articles? We believe this casts some doubt on the circumstances of 93 B. Sellars, 'Photos reveal truth of ANZAC remains', Daily Telegraph, 12 March 2005, p.5; B.
Sellars, 'Gallipoli's bones of contention', Herald Sun, 12 March 2005, p.4
94 Committee Hansard, p.18
95 Mr Sellars explained that 'Baris' was working with Mr Skelton as a translator and guide.
(Correspondence, 26 June 2005)
109 the alleged finding of bones and at the very least, calls for further corroboration of Mr Sellars' claim that Mr Skelton was present when human remains where discovered. In his opening statement, Mr Sellars told the Inquiry that in mid-March 2005, the Australian Ambassador to Turkey, HE Ms Jean Dunn, had discussed these allegations with him. Mr Sellars asserted that he explained to the Ambassador that one of the bones had been removed soon after he, Mr Skelton, and the others present had found it at the site. The Inquiry was told however, that Turkish employees of the company carrying out the roadworks had removed the bone fragment.96 This seems a curious turn of events that, having made allegations of finding bone fragments, the alleged find mysteriously disappears. Mr Sellars held himself out to be a "writer and historian".97 It is surprising that, for someone who professes to have such a love and respect for the Gallipoli Peninsula, he is remarkably ignorant of the proper way of dealing with the finding of bones. He stated that: 98 I live on this peninsula because I choose to do so and I have the greatest respect for all the soldiers of all nations who served and fell here. My concern, as a mark of respect to the men and indeed some women of all nations who were involved in this campaign, is to preserve the battlefield in the best way that it can be using best management practices and causing the least amount of damage to this site that is of great historical and heritage importance to the people of our country and, in particular, the people of Turkey and New Zealand. Notwithstanding this, it is clear from his own evidence that Mr Sellars was not aware of the proper process for the discovery, identification and disposal of human remains. He sought advice "many years ago and have since acted on that advice."99 There are a number of troubling features and inconsistencies about Mr Sellars' evidence on this point: • his clear lack of knowledge of the proper procedure for dealing with human remains; • his failure to acquaint himself with the proper procedures given his comment that he is "always finding bones from soldiers that were buried there in the first few days of battle to get ashore";100 • given his self-styled expertise as a "writer and historian",101 one would assume that he would not only have made an effort to contact the CWGC and appraise 96 Committee Hansard, p.4
97 Committee Hansard, p.2
98 Committee Hansard, p.23
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