Sydney siege — my preliminary observations

The Sydney siege was very personal for me. As it was for all of us. Until now, information from the authorities has been scarce. I held off making this post on my website earlier, as I didn’t want to pre-emptively jump to wrong conclusions.

Cover up? I don’t know. However, almost a month later, some information on the events around the Sydney siege is finally being released to the public.

Media saturation of the Sydney Siege

I work in Sydney’s CBD. Like many Sydney-siders Martin Place is quite often the thoroughfare I choose to get about town. In fact, I walk past the Lindt Cafe frequently on my way to meetings, at lunch time, even after work if I catch a bus  to Uni.

I watched, as did the rest of the world, the Sydney Siege play out with the blanket coverage on our TV screens. It was non-stop on ABC. Most likely the other channels had the same uninterrupted coverage.

Unlike the Charlie Hebdo and associated Paris Shootings, the Sydney siege in the Lindt Cafe was not a terrorist motivated crisis. It was not inspired by a foetid reworking of religion to justify murder and mayhem.

The Sydney siege was disorganised and seemingly random in contrast to the calculated and planned #CharlieHebdo Paris shootings. In my view, the TV coverage of the Sydney siege was sensationalist media over-saturation. It may even have contributed to prolonging and complicating the Sydney siege.

Sure, provide updates as we all want to know what is being done to rescue the hostages, but I fear the media have blown their wad. Heaven help us if there really are terrorists plotting out there in suburbia. I hope the Sydney siege doesn’t inspire them to greater atrocities just to get their 15 minutes (and 17 hours) of fame.

Like you, I woke up to see continuous replays of the Police storming the Lindt Cafe — guns blazing — in the early hours of the morning. Many cops, many bullets. From what I witnessed on my TV, it was a shooting frenzy on the part of the Police.

At the conclusion of the siege, tragically, two of the hostages were dead. A Lindt Cafe worker and his customer. Now we are told that Katrina Dawson most likely fell victim to a Police bullet that ricochetted during, what looked to me like, uncontrolled firing of Police guns.

In the Police barrage, over 27 bullets were fired into the Lindt Cafe. To me, that’s insane. Call me stupid if you will, but I believe it’s a miracle more of the Sydney siege hostages weren’t killed by the Police.

Image: A sea of flowers covers Martin Place in memory of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson who lost their lives in the Sydney Siege -- Source: Sunday Express

Image: A sea of flowers covers Martin Place in memory of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson who lost their lives in the Sydney Siege. Source: Sunday Express UK

Tori — I’m filled with sorrow that you fell victim to a sick man with a gun on a day you simply showed up for work.

Katrina — I’m really saddened that a simple act of grabbing a morning coffee could have such devastating consequences for you, your family and friends.

Neither of you deserved what happened that day. Neither did the surviving hostages deserve such a traumatic and life changing experience. I’m incensed and outraged that you both lost your lives in the Sydney siege that day.

Think about it: a worker, and a customer died. Four others were injured. The surviving hostages are faced with a long recovery for the trauma of their experiences during the Sydney siege’s seventeen torturous hours.

There’s reports that Man Haron Monis was shot seven times — including two head-shots. He may have been a crazed killer, and he may have been a criminal, but to me, nobody deserves to end their life as a bullet riddled corpse.

While some people may dismiss the death of Man Monis as justified — he was a criminal. Man Monis should have been arrested, tried, convicted and gaoled. This is what civilised society does. To me, the whole handling of the Sydney siege is a massive blunder by Police.

I imagine the horror of the Sydney siege can easily be felt by all of us. While only some of us are workers — we are all customers. This makes the balls up by Police even more frightening. I hope they learned some lessons as even one hostage dead, or injured by the Police is one too many in my view.

I’m not the only one that thinks the Police handling of the Sydney siege was flawed. That morning, a ‘security expert’ was on the TV.  Unlike some TV experts who wouldn’t know their arse from their elbow, I found his commentary to be informative. I took a screenie and a quote and tweeted it out.

That tweet proved to be controversial and I had a UK cop get up me for “Police bashing”. I was not Police bashing at all. Nor am I anti-Police per se. The fact is, Man Haron Monis was a sick man with a gun. Ok bogans, have it your way — he was a crazed lunatic with a gun.

Did the Police want a shoot-out?

Why did the Police wait seventeen hours to run in guns blazing? We don’t know for sure what alternatives were explored by the Police, if any. I still don’t understand why more passive and less life threatening methods to gain control of the Lindt Cafe were not explored by the Police.

The Police owned the building for hours. Why couldn’t sleeping gas be pumped into the air-con? In the Paris Charlie Habdo terrorist attack, the French Police used stun grenades. Were stun grenades used in the Sydney siege? If not — why not?

Why weren’t Muslim community leaders permitted to talk to Man Monis during the Sydney siege? They offered. And were knocked back.

Muslim leader Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly believes “[he could have] entered the cafeteria [sic] and brought him out while holding his ear without any losses.”

Another Muslim leader, Kayser Trad says “I am confident he wouldn’t have shot me,” but the Police told him that Man Haron Monis did not want to speak to another Muslim.

Is this true? Did Man Haron Monis refuse to speak to another Muslim? We’ll never know as Man Haron Monis is now dead and unable to confirm the Police statement.

I don’t believe that every opportunity to avoid a shoot-out was employed by the Police. Viewing the live footage, the Police seemed to think they were in the gunfight at the OK Corral.

While its arguable that the life of Man Haron Monis may have been expendable — the lives and well-being of the hostages were not. I stand by my tweet that the Police operation was a failure.

What’s up with our Governments?

Man Haron Monis wanted to speak to Tony Abbott. Why, for heavens sake, did Abbott refuse to talk to the Man Haron Monis on the phone?

Didn’t he care? Was it beneath Abbott to try and help frightened people in this gruelling and harrowing situation? Couldn’t Abbott spare five minutes on the phone to speak to Man Haron Monis? Or was he too busy planning his next international junket?

This is a fatal flaw on Abbott and the PMO‘s part — I’ll never forgive you Tony Abbott: Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson deserved your intervention.

Update

As pointed out by a number of my esteemed Tweeple, Iran sought the extradition of Man Haron Monis (then known as Mohammad Hassan Manteqi) in 2000.

Given that Man Haron Monis applied for asylum, the Howard Government refused that request. It’s not surprising that the Australian Government refused Iran’s extradition request.

However, Had Morrison been the Mininster for Immigration back in the Howard Government, its fairly certain Man Haron Monis would have been shipped back quicksmart in an orange lifeboat.

Thanks for reminding me:     (I hope I haven’t missed anyone. If I have, my apologies)

Man Haron Monis should not have been out walking the streets with a gun that day.

What were the AFP and ASIO doing before that fatal day? It appears they were alerted to Man Haron Monis potential danger the week before.

Our Federal agencies have a lot to answer for. Man Haron Monis had been freely advertising on his website his perversely lunatic rantings which had isolated him even from his own community.

There was no need for these draconian surveillance laws changes, the monitoring of telephones, and the data retention in the Man Monis case.

The AFP were tipped off and the information was all out there in the open — on the internet — for even the dumbest or laziest clod to see. Via a web-browser for heaven’s sake.

For a fact, Man Haron Monis was well known to the State and Federal authorities. He faced a spate of charges.

It was alleged he was involved in the very public and distressing murder of his ex-wife, Noleen Pal. The allegations against Man Haron Monis relate to inciting his current wife to murder his ex-wife.

Droudis, from Belmore, is charged with the murder of 33-year-old Noleen Hayson Pal, who was stabbed and set alight in the stairwell of an apartment complex in western Sydney in April 2013. Monis, who was killed by police last week after a 16-hour siege in a Martin Place cafe, had been charged as an accessory to the murder of Pal, who was his former wife and the mother of two of his children. Source: Guardian Australia

Man Haron Monis dead ex-wife now has no justice as the alleged instigator of her murder is dead at the hands of the Police. I think that’s wrong and is a great injustice to that poor dead woman.

Why did Mike Baird’s courts release Man Haron Monis on bail despite him being accused of involvement in his wife’s very public murder in the first place? Why are assaults and murders of women by their male ex-partners bailable crimes?

Worst still: Man Haron Monis had lost an appeal the previous Friday. There’s speculation that this decision was the catalyst for the Lindt Cafe siege. Why wasn’t Man Haron Monis bail revoked on the Friday when his apeal failed?

If Man Haron Monis bail had been revoked, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson would both be alive today. Seventeen families wouldn’t be coping with the aftermath of a hostage crises. Sydney would not have lost its innocence. These are simple facts.

Mike Baird as Premier stood there in Martin Place with his “heavy heart” and his Government, like Tony Abbott’s, failed to protect two citizens from death. Abbott and Baird also failed to protect fifteen people from a traumatic hostage experience from which they most likely will never recover.

There are a lot of questions still to be answered in relation to the Sydney Siege. I’m watching and waiting.

Further Reading – Sydney Siege

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

5 thoughts on “Sydney siege — my preliminary observations

  1. Dear Barón,
    I wanted to comment before I partition my disk & it all goes to…
    I am in awe of your courage to say what is in your heart, to fearlessly challenge the status quo and to give a voice to those who have none.
    You have bravely questioned things when most would not dare.
    You are a credit to yourself and to those effected by the event.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. Hi. Thanks for that. I put amended both my posts and put a link back to you so people can read someone elses viewpoint. Cheers! @krONik

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