The Symposium was organised on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the “Estonia’s” last departure from Tallinn by the Estonian Relative Organisation ELA and by the Chairlady of this organisation, Helje Kaskel. It took place in the National Library where simultaneously an exhibition was shown concerning the endeavours of the various interested groups to bring light into the circumstances surrounding the sinking which was organised by Jutta Rabe and Kaj Holmberg.
The speakers were:
1. Edgar Savisaar: Estonian Minister for Economy and Communication. The audience was very surprised that the Minister participated although he just said a few words of welcome and wished the organisers success, however his presence upgraded the Symposium considerably.
2. Anders Björkman: He dismantled the JAIC Report in a relatively short time and explained in a way also understandable to laymen why the JAIC scenario was totally unacceptable. He was subsequently quoted in the Estonian media with his basic statement: The JAIC Report is wrong.
3. Gregg Bemis: He explained the results of the Diving Expedition in August 2000 and the subsequent examinations of the metal samples by the US-Institute which had doubtless proven that these samples had been affected by detonation. The US-scientist expressed the opinion that the BAM results had to be considered a joke, Gregg Bemis further explained that to his knowledge the detonations which had affected the above-mentioned steel sample did occur after the sinking. In this context see the photos on pages 104-106 and the respective comments. The orange cube was identified by explosive experts to have been an explosive device which did not explode, while on the opposite starboard side it did explode with corresponding damage – see pages 69-94.
4. Evelyn Sepp: The Member of the Estonian Parliament was appointed by this institution to investigate the transport of secret military equipment from Tallinn to Stockholm at the Estonia side. There were at that time practically no results and it is unknown whether this has changed in the meantime.
5. Lars Ångström: Member of the Swedish Parliament and also member of the Defense Council of the Parliament.
He explained among other things that :
(1) Already in October 1994 Swedish Navy divers had been down to the wreck, opened the bow door and pulled something out of the cardeck. During this operation the rails of the bow ramp were cut off – see in this context pages 882 ff. of our Report and Chapter 1.2.4 of this Update.
(2) The – unpublished – part of the Hirschfeldt Report – see Chapter 22.1 above – reveals that the secret military equipment which was partly sighted by Lennart Henriksson were parts of the nose radar of the Russian fighter plane SU-27.
(3) There have been substantial activities under water inside and in the surroundings of the “Estonia” between October and December 1994 as well as subsequently.
6. Sven Ánér: The Swedish journalist (Palme News) did explain his very conclusive investigation results about the Captain Avo Piht, who disappeared and the other missing crew members.
7. Bertil Calamnius: Chairman of the Swedish relatives’ group AgnEf. He spoke about the “The Estonia Affair – A grand deception”.
Subsequently Jutta Rabe summarized and compared the various sample examinations by the different institutes which all proven the explosion and that this was not disproven by the BAM. Thereafter the American journalist Christopher Bollyn compared the cover-up methods used by the governments in the “Estonia” case with those used after 9/11 in the United States.
During the subsequent discussion a former and now retired civil servant at the Interior Ministry during the years 1994/1995 took the microphone and apologised for having lied to the media when being questioned in relation to the “Estonia” sinking in those years. His name is Matti Oun and he explained subsequently, among other things, that the then Minister of Interior, Heikki Arike, had been informed quite early, i.e. some time after midnight of 28 September 1994 already, that the “Estonia” was in trouble. The information came from the ESCO radio watch (on 24-hour standby) having been called by the “Estonia” and from where the information was passed to the management and further to the Ministry. Shortly afterwards it was decided that the Head of the Estonian Intelligence Services should fly to the “Estonia” position and have a look at the vessel. Subsequently the ferry was found on her side.* This was around 01.30 hours according to several survivors who at about this time heard the noise of a propeller plane circling above them for some time and which then disappeared.
* This is also reported in the Andi Meister book – “The Unfinished Logbook”.