Home "Terrorism" “Permission denied. This has to happen”

“Permission denied. This has to happen”


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By Dee McLachlan

This is stuff of a John le Carré novel.

Take yourself back to April 28, 1996 — the day of the  massacre in Tasmania. On that Sunday afternoon, two local cops — Constables Garry Whittle and Pat Allen were instructed to appear outside “Seascape Cottage” — a bed-and-breakfast place not far from the Port Arthur Historic Site. Earlier that day a gunman had killed many people in a café.

Constables Whittle and Allen had taken cover in the roadside ditch, as “the” gunman was shooting wildly around them from the vicinity of the Seascape cottage. Garry Whittle, in his debriefing notes, describes “a female running around the back yard naked. Yelling and screaming,” pursued by a gunman.

In an attempt to halt the gunman’s actions and save the life of this naked person (never identified, but possibly Noelene “Sally” Martin), the constables used their radio. At 1630 hours (4.30pm) they twice they appealed to their superior, We have the Port Arthur gunman in sight.  Permission to shoot.”

Permission was denied.

Secrets from a CB [citizen-band] Radio

On the 30 April 2016, Stewart Beattie (author of  A Gunsmith’s Notebook for Port Arthur) relayed in writing to Terry Shultz, details of a meeting with the late Tony Catlin from the Yass district (NSW).

For some time before April 1996, Catlin had enjoyed a close friendship with a then serving member of the Australian Federal Police (AFP).  Although Catlin’s AFP friend was not deployed to the Tasman Peninsula, he attended ‘a critical debriefing’ shortly after April 29 1996.

Beattie writes:

“Via a third party, Tony Catlin requested a meeting, in which he would willing participate if the meeting was conducted in a ‘discreet, public area, and not in any dwelling’.  Some weeks later we met late one afternoon… among the headstones of Wagga Wagga Lawn Cemetery.  There Tony Catlin told me (what) he had learned directly from his shocked Federal Policeman friend.

“At the time Tasmania Police operated an open channel type CB Radio system, and monitoring those transmissions were SES and Fire Brigade volunteers.  Several of those personnel heard a senior police officer respond (to the request to shoot): ‘Permission denied this has to happen.’ The above radio transmission (RT) incident was confirmed earlier in the investigation of the massacre by several volunteer firemen from the Peninsula.”

After the debrief meeting, Catlin’s AFP friend witnessed two of his close colleagues, who had heard the CB radio transmission, hand in written resignations to their superior, which took effect immediately.

Some Officers Did Not Want To Let The People Down

Owing to the 20th anniversary of PAM (Port Arthur massacre), radio stations seemed to welcome persons who could reminisce. On a broadcast by ABC Riverina FM105, was the former police constable from Tasmania, Pat J Allen. He was the constable with Whittle in the ditch, and had a few choice words to share.

The following is from the Breakfast with Anne Delaney show, as transcribed by Stewart Beattie. It commenced at 9.24am on Thursday, 28 April 2016. Pat Allen speaks to an unidentified female ABC reporter:

Allen: … gunman had driven away with a hostage from a service station and killed a female in a car there.

ABCPat Allen prepared to reverse his police car towards the cottage [Seascape] where Martin Bryant was holed-up, with, it was alleged, three hostages. 

Allen: As I was finishing a U-turn….ahh um, shots started coming across…

ABCHe bailed out and joined another officer [Garry Whittle] in a leech-ridden ditch where they were forced to stay for the next eight (8) hours as bullets kicked around them.  

Allen: You could see them crack’n-off in the bush behind, ahh um, you could hear them being fired, when they were coming in your direction, and you could hear, see them, skip on the road sometimes or you’d see umm strike on the road or definitely dirt from the other side of the bank…

ABCFrustration mounted as the hours ticked by.

Allen: We followed what we were supposed to do.  But it doesn’t make you feel any better about yourself.  It does make you wonder if ahh, especially in particular the last hostage was executed while we were cowering in the ditch.  That’s a big thing to live with.

ABC: So that is the way it happened?

Allen: Yes.  Absolutely.

ABCPat Allen took six (6) months off The Job after the massacre.

Allen: I just turned into a different person.  Shocking.  Just angry …all the time.

One can hardly imagine what some police officers have gone through for the last 20 years, knowing what they know. We can only wonder how many other cops in Tasmania are unhappy as to how the facts of the case have been presented.

The Shooter’s Accuracy Record

The police statements, and that “anniversary” radio interview with Constable Allen, create a dilemma as to the accuracy of the gunman’s shooting skill.

I find it strange that, at the Broad Arrow Café, the “shooter” shot with absolute precision – reportedly killing 12 people (most in the head) and injuring others — in just 15 SECONDS, yet, when he was holed up at the Seascape, the ‘shooter’ shoots all AROUND his police targets — for HOURS on end.

This suggests that someone did not want to kill any cops, but just prevent Allen and Whittle from doing what they would otherwise do – try to save the lives of the (alleged) hostages. It also seems that there were more people in the cottage doing the shootings and creating all this ruckus.

From the police statements it appears a siege at the Seascape cottages was RELENTLESS. All describe screaming, numerous windows being broken out, with constant, but random, shooting. They reported a variety of weapons, of different calibers, being used — from different locations. This constant firing forced the police be in cover all the time.

“Well I’m looking forward to my helicopter ride, man”

Such a siege makes puzzling the calm and polite voice of Jamie (alleged to be Martin Bryant) during his many protracted phone discussions that evening with a police negotiator. The negotiator, Terry McCarthy, was speaking from an office in Hobart.

‘Jamie’ talks about how much he is looking forward to his helicopter ride. That, according to McCarthy, was the deal Jamie was trying to arrange; he would “escape” by helicopter – to Adelaide! It all sounds ridiculous if you read the entire transcript. He even mentions that if the helicopter has only two seats, he might hold Sally on his lap.

In sentencing Martin Bryant to life imprisonment, Chief Justice William Cox said that the accused had already killed both Sally and David Martin in the morning on his way to Broad Arrow. I quote that November 22, 1996 court document: “he shot both of them dead and continued on to Port Arthur.”

Amazingly, Jamie talks about the holiday atmosphere and his love for helicopters:

McCarthy: How’s things going in there mate?

Jamie: Fine couldn’t be better just like on a Hawaiian holiday.

McCarthy: Hawaiian holiday?

Jamie: Yes that’s correct sir.

McCarthy: Oh, sorry I don’t understand what you mean by that.

Jamie: Uh I don’t know myself, no.

McCarthy: You’ve. You’re still firing a few er er…  odd shots out the…

Jamie: Well I’m looking forward to my helicopter ride man. When are you gonna to tee up this helicopter ride?

The police statements refer to “shots constantly being discharged from the house.” But, inside the house, in the middle of the chat with the negotiator, Jamie says he has to hang up so he can attend to feeding the “hostages.”

Jamie: these people have got um salad and some bacon in the fridge

McCarthy: Right

Jamie: and eggs I’m gonna fry up some bacon and eggs for them

McCarthy: Uh uh.

Jamie: Uh that’s all they seem to have in the that I can find that’s nutritious.

And later, Jamie seems concerned that Rick get home to Melbourne.

Jamie: Well the chap that I’ve got here um Rick he’s got um he’s from Melbourne so ah um I mean you could drop Rick off but … [then later] yeah but Rick wants to he Rick had twenty past oh 7 o’clock flight home you see tonight…  [and later] with his wife and um I mean Rick has to get back to Melbourne.

During the phone conversation, one can hear a “CRACK” sound, that sound like gunshots. If so, this means that Bryant is on the phone, while a shooter is taking pot-shots at – or around — the police in the ditch. The deduction is: The person doing the shooting is someone other than Martin Bryant!

Note: in the court transcript, the gunshot sounds occur more than 20 times, and are written as “COUGH.”

seascapeAerial view of Seascape

It Was “Wendy and Colleagues” Alone on Duty

Another odd thing about that day, and which the mainstream media is always careful not to mention, was the utterly incongruous fact that despite this being Australia’s most violent incident, police were not sent quickly to the Broad Arrow Café at the Port Arthur Historic Site (PAHS).

Wendy Scurr recounts what happened from the time of the 1.30 pm shootings until 7.30 pm. In her statement, Wendy Scurr says, “It was after 7.30pm when we were advised that the police had finally arrived at the Site.”

Except for one unarmed female police constable, Wendy and other employees of PAHS were left there, unprotected, to look after many terrified customers.

Television and radio stations were keen to honor the recent anniversary with reminisces from those who could tell a story — but Wendy Scurr is never among the invited guests.

Why Did It Take So Long To Get Help?

Ten seniors managers of the Port Arthur Historic Site had been sent to a “conference” in Swansea, which is just over 2 hours north of Port Arthur Historical Site (PAHS).


Statement: Robyn Cooper — Manager, Visitor Services:

“At 11.00 a.m. that day, (10) Managers and Supervisors, left the Site on their way to a conference at Swansea. This was the first time in my twenty years, that I am aware of, where all Senior Management had been involved in a conference/training session away from the Port Arthur Historic Site which required an overnight stay, Sunday through to Monday.”

When these managers were informed of the massacre, they raced back from in Swansea, arriving at PAHS at 4 pm.

So why couldn’t police get there earlier than that? The Hobart police station is a lot closer than Swansea (see map).


Traumatized tourists were made to wait 6 hours before getting relief. Moreover, at 5.30 pm, shots were again heard at the PAHS!

There has been no investigation of the identity of the naked woman, why Jamie was frying up eggs, or any explanation of the CB transmission message, “Permission denied. This has to happen.”

Catlin and Beattie’s meeting among the headstones in Wagga Wagga is the stuff of a John le Carré novel. But this is not fiction.

The ominous words  “Permission denied. This must happen” brought vividly to my mind the picture of Dick Cheney on 9-11 and his stand-down order. Transport Secretary Norman Minetta explicitly told the 9-11 Commission – under oath – that when a plane was observed heading toward the Pentagon, Vice President Cheney forbade a young assistant to mess with the arrangement that was in place.

Pat Allen said on radio, “I just turned into a different person.  Shocking.  Just angry …all the time.” Australia was turned into a different country — and we need to know what actually happened.

Twenty years of mainstream media spin is enough on Port Arthur.


  1. “In sentencing Martin Bryant to life imprisonment, Chief Justice William Cox said that the accused had already killed both Sally and David Martin in the morning on his way to Broad Arrow. I quote that November 22, 1996 court document: “he shot both of them dead and continued on to Port Arthur.”

    The pathology report for Sally Martin was that she died of blunt trauma to her skull. She was later shot, but was already dead at that time. It appears that she was run down and ‘subdued’ by a heavy blow to her head and then dragged back inside Seascape.

    CJ Cox’s prattle from the bench isn’t supported by the evidence – but then the whole case is like that.

    • Terry, Jahar Tsarnaev’s case in Boston is just like that, too. Prosecutor’s lie and judges lie. I read about such court behavior years ago, from the late Sherman Skolnick (Ahead of the Parade) and Eustace Mullins (The Rape of Justice). So it did not just come about with the new terrorism angle.

      We shall have to deal with it. We have let “them” destroy many things but we can’t let them destroy the workings of the law or we are all screwed to the nth degree. Are we meant to return to cave-man days?

      A million thanks to Stewart Beattie for the new disclosure. I am not sure if he meant that the two AFP friends who resigned did so out of unwillingness to play dirty ball. If so, they go into the Hall of Fame, too. We ought to do more about encouraging the good guys.

      I consider today, which happens to be Martin Bryant’s 49th birthday, to mark a real turn-around in the case. Thanks to Dee, too, for staying focused.

      You know I mean focused on the media.

    • Dee commented on the shooter’s accuracy record. From the transcript of the siege tape it is obvious that there is a night vision scope being used within Seascape. (It was also obvious to the Police around Seascape!)

      There were some 200-250 shots fired from Seascape and not one Policeman was hit, not even by a ricochet or bullet fragment.

      Some people might put that ‘lack of accuracy’ down to the dark of night, however night vision scopes, especially with thermal imaging can be very accurate. Here’s a short clip of a feral pig hunt being done at night –

      If the killer wanted to shoot the police – he could have done it.

      • Absolutely Terry, The cops would initially have presented as vulnerable targets… climbing in and out of cars. Even for a semi-skilled marksman it should have been easy. It seems so obvious that the general public were the “targets”. And the cops had to be kept at bay. Having a look at the surrounds, there are houses, beach embankments, ditches… but there is little detail as to how they encircled the one building.

        • “The cops had to be kept at bay.”
          Do any lawsuits suggest themselves in this sceanrio, never mind the statute of limitations problem?

          By the way, Tamerlan’s family had a Massachusetts statute of lim of April 19 to file a wrongful death suit. They missed it. But does not the time start to toll on the day that citizens find out what was really going on? No way has the FBI yet ‘fessed up to killing a healthy Tamerlan while in custody.

          Speaking of Mother’s Day….

  2. I have raking brain of how to come up with a simple message to challenge what happened and the most powerful one is to get Martin Bryant to walk through what happened at the Broad Arm Cafe to talk through the crime scene, he will not be able to do that as he didn’t do it, our challenge is if you want to put the conspiracy theory bed prove he can do this, as should have been done by the police as it is standard practice, l am not a word smith around that theme, and challenge every media and politician the country

    • How does that differ from all other attempts to get the legal profession to follow the law in Bryant’s case? Please say how you think we would get a hold of the prisoner in order that he walk thru a no-longer-existing cafe, or a no-longer-existing Seascape.
      How do we even get to contact him? I saw on the website of Tasmanian Prison Service that all prisoners are entitled to get mail (as long as it does not contain a forbidden item). So I have written to him and will await a reply. And Cherri Bonney actually knocked on the door at Risdon Prison.
      Martin is at least in a better posion than Jahar in the US who actually is forbidden to receive contacts.
      Possibly Martin no longer has his marbles. A while back the Mom stated “Poor Martin, when I visit him he does not say a word.” Maybe there are doctors who would offer us a guess as to what could have caused that.
      If they want to meet me in the cemetery I am ready.

  3. Dee’s article is somewhat disturbing, so I sent the reference to the article to Mr. Derryn Hinch for his consideration .
    As Mr. Hinch knows more about the official account, one would take it, then he may be able to assist in this discussion and rebutt any errors or misconceptions.
    The election has been announced and if he be a Senate candidate in Victoria one must assume that he would have some concern that there are reported anomalies in the official version of PA.
    Pity Mr. Willisee is not running, then there may be another who would have the time to take an interest in the matter.

    • Do you remember John Avery producing the detailed “kid’s” sketches — allegedly drawn by Bryant of the cafe and site (in the Willesee program). He said Bryant had mapped out every kill.
      I wonder if Avery has another set of sketches explaining “Jamie’s” movements around the Seascape cottages.

    • B. Antcliffe…

      Derryn Hinch has been approached by Dr. Keith Allan Noble & states that he believes the official story of the PAM & that he found the Sunday Night presentation ‘compelling’….He certainly appears to be not interested in the true facts….

  4. A very disturbing report on some alleged events at PA, that I was not aware of.
    Therefore I sent a link to the article to M. Derryn Hinch who is acquainted with the PA tragedy.
    If he be Senate contender, no doubt he will put to rest matters raised by Dee’s article.
    This is my second attempt at commenting on this.
    I presume some error on my part and do not wonder if ‘permission; ‘was denied’.

  5. Hi Dee,
    Where do I find a full transcript of the Seascape phone conversations/negotiations please? During all my research I have never come across a full transcript….Thank you.

  6. Just to mention I have wished Carlene a happy mothers day, and wishing her the very best in the future. Considering the pain this lady goes through, its all I could offer at this point. However I’m still working with her. Martin turned 49 Sat gone, I pray Carlene at least got to visit him. Lets Pray for Martin’s release, to think of another 20 years in Risdon for Martin, is unforgiveable.

  7. This is the most recent PAM-focused article so if it’s OK, I wish to share some observations and ask some questions.
    PAM survivors Peter and Pauline Grenfell were recently interviewed by the ABC. They are not in the list of witnesses and their statements Keith Noble goes through and analyses in his book. I find this frustrating since they may be the only witnesses who aren’t in his book at all except for one passing mention, and who happens to be interviewed by the ABC? Not Wendy Scurr or any other survivors whose testimony is at odds with the official account, but the Grenfells.
    Why is this so?
    I am sure there’s some sort of tactical reason why these people’s statements have not been dissected in the book.
    I am also sure that future editions of Keith’s book will include a run-down on their statements.
    However, it’s very frustrating. It’s like the ABC picked them specifically because their testimony has not yet been either destroyed or placed in context by alternative media. The ABC may even have been specifically thinking about Keith Noble’s book.
    Does Keith or anyone else have any thoughts on the Grenfells? Of course it is always possible the ABC have put words into their mouths.
    What do people make of the interview itself? I haven’t seen it but I have read this brief article http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-11/port-arthur-survivors-break-their-silence/7314008
    in which a number of specifics are mention including that the Grenfells saw at least two cars leave PAHS (apart from the Volvo) as they were fleeing along Jetty Road. That would be one thing we could discuss about the Grenfells’ interview.
    In the same page I linked to, the ABC also interviewed the dodgy-as-anything NSW cop Justin Noble. Keith gives a very good analysis of the testimony of this man. Most likely the ABC felt the need to pad out the number of survivors as far as possible,. Witnesses or people with some close connection to the PAM who support the official narrative and whose credibility hasn’t yet been demolished in alternative media, are thin on the ground and beggars can’t be choosers.
    Thanks Keith for your fabulous work and the team here for theirs, too.

    • From loveoflife – “The gunman then left the carpark, in the Volvo, driving towards the tollbooth, where
      he saw Nanette Mikac with her two young daughters. The gunman stopped the car and when Nanette Mikac approached the car with her two daughters, he shot them with the AR15.”

      So the Grenfells witnessed Mikacs going to the car.

      But then what did the gunman do? I thought he left the volvo there?

      • The shooter got back into the Volvo & drove to the tollbooth where he met up with the BMW & its four occupants, subsequently shooting the four dead….

      • Apparently the ‘script’ called for taking a hostage, probably a woman. The killer stopped, got out and told Mikac to get on her knees three times – “On your knees, on your knees, on your knees.

        Initially he wasn’t there to kill her, but to take her prisoner. The two little girls probably complicated things too much and he killed them all.

        I’m not entirely sure what happened at the tollbooth, there seems to have been an argument (which seems a bit odd). Perhaps he was again trying to take a hostage. Anyway, he killed them and took the BMW.

        He later tried taking Zoe Hall prisoner in front of the General Store, but she went hysterical so her boyfriend Glen Pears got out of the white Toyota and volunteered to be the hostage. After putting Pears in the BMW’s boot, he walked back and shot Hall three times through the door.

        • Terry.. The BMW occupants are believed to have been part of the plan & were waiting for the gunman (the 2nd one?) at the tollgates….Two of them actually sat in the back of the Volvo with the gunman….

        • AJ, yes, there are some conflicting reports regarding what happened at the tollbooth. I remain uncommitted as to what may have happened, a Royal Commission could clarify the events.

          The killer was obviously a professional and they may have lost some control over him. For example, when Bryant was on the phone and the killer shot from the upstairs window the first time, they should have got in his face and told him to get clearance before firing. As it was, they let him continue to shoot during the siege while Bryant was on the phone.

          In regards to his professionalism, it stands out like the proverbial dog’s testicles. The first mistake was choosing someone that shot right-handed instead of left. He also understood central nervous system (CNS) hits. A person can be shot through the heart and still have enough oxygen left in his brain to remain conscious for 10-15 seconds – that’s a long time to deal with an enraged person. A head/neck shot is immediate incapacity.

          Another thing that stood out was changing his magazine at 29 rounds. That is a military technique where a tracer round is put into the next to the last position in the magazine. When the shooter sees the tracer he knows he has to change magazines. This allows the shooter to quickly re-load without having to stop and re-chamber a round – the last round from the magazine is in the chamber. If he had changed magazines at 25-28 rounds, I might have bought it, but at 29 rounds it just stands out.

          I already referred to telling Mrs. Mikac to get on her knees, that is common technique for taking prisoners.

          All of these things point to an experienced professional doing the killing and not an inexperienced left-handed mental retard.

    • Heather, thank you for this cogent comment:
      “Witnesses or people with some close connection to the PAM who support the official narrative and whose credibility hasn’t yet been demolished in alternative media, are thin on the ground and beggars [the ABC] can’t be choosers.”

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