Escaping from the Lindt Cafe
By Dee McLachlan
Yesterday the Herald Sun reported, “Lindt Siege Police Were ‘Flying Blind’,” and in the Daily Telegraph, “Lindt inquest: Police ‘couldn’t see Lindt Cafe during siege’.” (9/5/16) To quote:
“POLICE making the crucial decisions about the management of the Lindt Cafe siege had no vision from the scene — not even via TV sets…
“It wasn’t until about 8pm, 10 hours after the siege began, that a portable monitor was set up at the forward command post showing a live feed from a camera inside the Channel Seven building immediately opposite the Martin Place cafe, the inquest has been told today.” [my emphasis]
Incredible, absurd, preposterous, far-fetched, inconceivable — which synonym for UNBELIEVABLE do you prefer for what the commander of the Sydney siege said yesterday?
This is how events unfolded:
8.33am, December 15: Man Haron Monis enters the Lindt Cafe on Martin Place
9.15am: Monis tells a waitress he wants to speak to the manager. Manager Tori Johnson speaks to Monis, then says to another employee, “I need you to go get my keys from the office and lock the doors…”
9.20-30am: Monis has 18 hostages gets a waitress to hold an Islamic type flag to the window.
9.44am: Johnson (at the request of Monis) places 000 call and says Australia is under attack by Islamic State.
9.45am: Morning Show co-host Kylie Gillies said she saw the situation unfold “LIVE ON AIR” from about 9.45am (link here).
9.46am: Police acknowledge the incident.
9.51am: Police arrive at the scene. An officer talks to someone inside through the glass door.
9:52am: Tactical operations unit acknowledges the emergency.
10.07am: Tactical operations unit arrives.
Throughout the day, Australia watches the drama unfold on television.
3.35pm: ESCAPE – Three people – one staff member and two others – seen running from cafe.
4.58pm: ESCAPE – A further two Lindt cafe staff escape, making a desperate sprint from the fire exit.
7.30: Three snipers want to shoot Monis. The Daily Telegraph reports “Police sniper pleaded, Let me kill gunman Man Monis now“
8.00pm: 10+ hours later, the command centre finally sets up a TV monitor – and gets vision of the siege. “The Superintendent in charge of the command centre for most of the daylight hours on December 15, 2014, said they had no access at the FOC to any vision.” (They are at and near Channel 7)
2.03 – 2.10am, December 16: ESCAPE – Six hostages make a run for it.
2.14.00am: Monis makes Mr Johnson kneel on the cafe floor and shoots him. Police enter. Moments later, Katrina Dawson is wounded — resulting in her death. [I assembled the above timeline from various sources]
Note: In the Herald Sun article, it says that the Superintendent “did not even see the five hostages escape during the daylight hours and was later told about them,” but, “direct vision of the cafe during the day had not been pivotal but it would have been valuable.”
The lack of vision was blamed on technical difficulties.
Surely, our police cannot be this incompetent. Billions are spent on security, but we are unable to hook up vision?
Was this another “This has to happen” incident?