Lindt Café siege — my further observations (12 January 2015)

The Lindt Café Siege weighed heavily on my mind yesterday and I wrote about it here. It seems some of you were just as concerned — the page views reached almost 300 — by far the most read item on my website.

You’ll recall I expressed my concerns that I don’t believe all avenues and options were explored to secure the safety of the hostages. I feel that the Police eschewed peaceful methods to terminate the Lindt Café siege. I believe the Police paid scant concern to the health and welfare of the hostages.

Today, the media is providing additional information about the Lindt Café siege. While the official Police investigations are still underway, today’s information broadly supports my initial position:

  1. that the Police bungled the Lindt Café siege, and
  2. that the Police were intent on using deadly force to end the hostage crisis in the Lindt Café.

Lindt Café siege — bungled by Police intent on a shootout.

Police divided over strategy during Lindt café siege in Martin Place, Sydney

Tensions have emerged among police about the command strategy during the Lindt Café siege and a late decision that some officers believe put hostages at greater risk.

On the night of December 15, many hours into the siege, senior police drew up a “direct action” plan, under which they would storm the café and take Monis by surprise.

Such a strategy is high-stakes and likely to result in some casualties among hostages, but the tactical operations unit and other senior police had weighed up the risks of not going in, including changes in Monis’ demeanour and the prospect that he would start killing hostages if police did not act first.

Fairfax Media has learned there is some anger among police at the front line of the siege about the decision not to proceed with the direct action plan. Source: Sydney Morning Herald. The emphasis is mine.

There you have it. Some of the Police at the front line of the Lindt Café siege are “angry about the decision not to proceed with the direct action plan”. They wanted to go in guns blazing hours earlier. Seems like some of the boys wanted to play with their toys — despite the inherent danger to the hostages inside.

Café staff and customers — ordinary people — at the mercy of a gun-toting lunatic on the one side, and, gung-ho Police officers on the other. It’s becoming increasingly commonplace — people dead at the hands of the NSW Police. Do you want a Taser with your shake?

Was there any exploration of alternative options?

I wrote yesterday that the Police had no intentions in letting Muslim leaders try to talk Man Haron Monis to surrender from the Lindt Café siege. That was confirmed again today.

Police rejected the offers of many in the Muslim community to help them negotiate with the gunman. It is understood they would be loath to allow third parties, with no experience in hostage negotiations, to talk to a gunman – because they may be unable to control what they say or how the hostage taker might react.

Among those to offer their services were the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, but he was not called in – neither to help negotiate nor to advise police. Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Image: Floral tributes to the victims of the Lindt Café siege, Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)  Source: SBS

Image: Floral tributes to the victims of the Lindt Café siege, Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) Source: SBS

Perhaps the Grand Mufti’s religious arguments would have calmed Man Haron Monis down and have him surrender.

Perhaps Kayser Trad could have persuaded Man Haron Monis to stop and walk away from the Lindt Café siege.

Perhaps not. Neither Tori Johnson or Katrina Dawson will ever know because the Police refused to entertain the option. I find that to be appalling and outrageous — it makes me angry beyond words.

The Police fired twenty-five or more shots that morning at Lindt Café siege. Three people died. And four were injured. The Lindt Café siege hostage survivors will most likely suffer PTSD for the rest of their days. Sadly, it seems to be more providence than good management that Katrina Dawson was the sole victim of the Police bullets.

Do you remember back when the Lindt Café siege was happening? Do you recall NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione’s press briefings and comments to the media?

  • 5.33 pm – “in fact we’re not dealing directly with him”.
  • 6.07 pm “At this stage we do not have direct contact with the offender.”
  • 7.46 pm “At this stage we do not have direct contact with the offender.” Source: Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione – Sydney Morning Herald

Call me stupid, but, to peacefully resolve a dangerous hostage situation, like the Lindt Café siege, wouldn’t Police need to talk to the hostage taker?

Why weren’t the Police “in direct contact” with Man Haron Monis? Surely dialogue was required to secure the safety of the Lindt Café siege hostages? If the Police weren’t dealing directly with Man Haron Monis, who was? Was anybody trying to defuse the Lindt Café siege?

And if the Police weren’t dealing with Man Haron Monis what were they doing for seventeen hours? Were they just standing around ticking up overtime?

I don’t understand any of this at all. Did Scipione make the decisions involved in bungled Lindt Café siege directly? What role did he play? Was he even involved? If not — why not?

Lindt Cafe siege – Muslims feel “set up”

About 2pm on Monday, December 15, Rebecca Kay took a phone call from NSW Police Counter-Terrorism.

“And if they give him a flag he was going to exchange it for a hostage,” says Ms Kay, a convert to Islam who has become a prominent community member in western Sydney. Ms Kay believes she called as many as 50 people, but finding an IS flag – or anyone willing to admit they had one – proved no easy task.

And soon her contacts started asking: “Are we being set up?” “They were very suspicious,” she says. “Some accused me of being an informant.”

But she counselled that they should try to help. And the officer kept calling back, “three or four times over the next hour to see if I had got an Islamic State flag or not. There was a sense of urgency that I get it and that I take it down to Bankstown police station, and they were going to put it in a patrol car, with the lights [flashing], and bring it to the city.”

Ms Kay was one of several people contacted that afternoon, and she was only too willing to help. About 2am the next morning – about the time of the deadly final shoot out inside the Lindt café – NSW police searched the western Sydney home of one of the young men she had contacted. He had considered handing over his flag to Ms Kay but then thought, no, it was a trap.

“And so he then believed I did try to set him up,” she says.

The next morning, she was told, the Australian Federal Police raided the homes of another two men who had been contacted during the community’s urgent attempt to help save hostages.

“Obviously, they were listening to all our phone calls,” Ms Kay says. “I want to be able to have dealings with police … but when it gets thrown back in your face, it sets us back two steps.” Source: Rebecca Kay – Sydney Morning Herald

Here we have the NSW Police hounding Sydney’s Muslim community for an IS flag to help defuse the Lindt Café siege. Then later, the AFP “visiting” various members of the Muslim community in the wee small hours.

Does that sound fishy to you? It sure does to me. I’m not Albert Einstein but oddly, this does seem to reek of a set up.

What’s that legal term? Aaah, yes — entrapment. Does entrapment even exist any more since Brandis legislated so many of our civil liberties and privacy rights away? I don’t know.

Mike Baird and Andrew Scipione should resign

Image: Baird and Scipione talk about the Lindt Café siege in Martin Place. Source: ABC

Image: Baird and Scipione talk about the LIndt Café siege in Martin Place. Source: ABC

The NSW Police Commissioner reports to the NSW Premier. The same questions arise about Baird as they do about Scipione.

Did Baird directly make any of the decisions involved in the NSW Police handling of the Lindt Café siege?

What role did Baird  play — if any — in the NSW Police bungling of the Lindt Café siege? Was Baird even involved? If not — why not?

Surely Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, along with the other fifteen law-abiding, respectable citizens warranted the undivided attention of the Premier and the highest Police officer in NSW in securing their safe release?

I know I’d expect two of the most powerful men in the State to be on the case if me, my relatives, my friends — or innocent strangers — were in the hands of an armed deranged criminal.

If neither Baird nor Scipione were directly involved in Lindt Café siege decision-making — I’m sorry — that’s just not good enough.

Yesterday, I wrote about how Mike Baird’s government and the NSW courts had abrogated responsibility by not revoking the bail of Man Haron Monis.

I’m not talking about new bail laws. Or about reviewing and toughening up existing bail laws. By all accounts Man Haron Monis was well-known to the Police — State and Federal well before the Lindt Café siege. He was accused of numerous crimes, assaults, sexual crimes and inciting the murder of his ex-wife. Why was he on the streets?

Baird needs to take responsibility for the failure of the NSW Police and the NSW legal system regarding the tragically botched resolution of the Lindt Café siege.

Baird should resign. Scipione should resign. Simple. Three people would still be alive and fifteen others wouldn’t have to deal with the unmitigated trauma of a seventeen hour Lindt Café siege — had our legal system worked and the NSW Police done their job properly.

What part DID religion play in the Lindt Café siege?

For those who don’t know Andrew Scipione, he is a devout Baptist. According to Greg Hunt’s favourite source of information — Wikipedia — he goes to the Hillsong Church. As for Mike Baird — a devout Anglican — he studied theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a view to becoming an Anglican minister. Doesn’t Baird’s CV sound strikingly familiar?

Were these two “Christians” simply playing with the lives of the Lindt Café siege hostages to wage some neo-con Protestant 21st Century religious crusade against Muslims?

Why were Sydney’s Muslims woken from their beds at 02:00 by the AFP when they were trying to help the hostages? Were they being monitored by the Police?

If yes, why? The Lindt Café siege was the work of a deranged criminal, it was not a terrorist act. So why were Sydney’s Muslim’s being spied on? What on Earth is going on here?

I won’t forget the Lindt Café siege. And I wont move on. I can’t. I have plenty more questions. But — I want answers. For Tori and Katrina and the Lindt Café siege survivors. Don’t you?

Further Reading – Lindt Café siege

I’m not the only one who thinks this is strange. You can see what AsGrayAsGray has to say about Lindt Café siege here.

8 thoughts on “Lindt Café siege — my further observations (12 January 2015)

  1. Knew nothing about the flag search. No wonder people were suspicious; my first thought was to knock one up quick smart and do the swap. I obviously lack the brains and efficiency to aim for getting more than live hostages from the siege. Rebecca Kay is entitled to be furious at being compromised in that way, and for pity’s sake, if it’s legal to own an IS flag, what’s with the jackboot treatment?

    1. Yeah. I found it incredible. Fancy being woken up at 2AM by the AFP because you tried to help the hostages out? The country is going down the gurgler fast under Abbott. The sooner he’s voted out the better in my book.

  2. Dear Barón,
    thank you for another deeply moving tribute to and defence of those who lost their lives in the siege & to the survivors who will live with the trauma for ever.
    I can clearly see & feel the anger & passion you have with respect to the increasing unanswered questions surrounding the siege.
    I hope for you & as I’m sure for many others, the questions get answered.

    1. Thx Leia. Yes, there’s a lot of questions still to be answered.

      A new one has arisen today: why are is #ABCnews24 calling the Sydney Siege a terrorist attack, like that in France? Man Haron Monis was a mentally unstable criminal. He was not a terrorist with links to Al Qaeda or ISIS. So, it seems to me the ABC is intent on sensationalising and trying to grab ratings by linking it to France and Canada terrorist attacks.

      It makes my blood boil. The Lindt Cafe seige was tragic enough as it is without any embellishment by the ABC.

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