Monis given plenty of media attention. Why?
by Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB
On the day the so-called siege happened, I was disgusted with the government here in Australia. I was also furious that the prime minister, Tony Abbott, went on ABC radio to say “I can think of nothing more terrifying and distressing than to be caught up in such a situation.”
Who ever heard of a leader creating additional fear in the population by saying something like that? I proceeded to post an article at an American alternative website, Rumor Mill News, giving it the title “Terrorists, My Arse.”
As far as I recall, the main thing that told me Monis was not a spontaneous terrorist was that very message from Tony Abbott. In my opinion, the prime minister should have said something more along the lines of:
“We don’t want people around the country to panic. This is a lone man, an apparently disturbed man, and the NSW will deal with it. Meanwhile, just as a precaution, we have evacuated the area.”
I feel very awkward to be seen trying to give advice on a national matter. Nevertheless, as I don’t see anyone in the legal field questioning the official Sydney-siege story, I’ll attempt to do so.
Note: the National Security Committee at that time of the siege was comprised of six persons whom I have yet to see acting like caring leaders. Namely:
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister, Warren Truss, Deputy Prime Minister, Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister, George Brandis, Attorney-General, Joe Hockey, Treasurer, and David Johnston, Defence Minister.
There’s nothing like the formality of a court to persuade you that something earnest is happening. At first I had the impression that the Inquest was wonderfully diligent. The questions asked of witnesses seemed very intelligent and fair.
Too bad it wasn’t live-streamed (as is the current Royal Commission). Then Aussies could feel engaged in it and make an evaluation.
I shall now list six shortcomings of the Inquest (which is winding down soon).
- Entrapment was not investigated or even alluded to at all.
As published last week, a couple in Canada, convicted of plotting to blow up a government building, has been found innocent by Justice Catherine Bruce. But for her insight, all Canadians would assume the man and woman were “politically motivated.” In fact it was entrapment; they were drug addicts set up by authorities to do an Islamic terror thing.
The NSW Inquest can still raise such questions. Maybe they had better do so if only to get it clearly onto the record that the Monis case was NOT one of entrapment. (Otherwise you will have the Mary Maxwells of this world causing unnecessary angst by hinting from the sidelines that it was entrapment.)
- “Inexplicable” things about Monis were “explained away” by pop psychology.
When he called himself an ayatollah, that was explained away (by the Inquest) as indicative of his grandiosity. When he wrote to the families of soldiers it was explained (by the Inquest) that he just did not see the pain he caused – due apparently to his lack of empathy.
Why not consider – at least consider – that the ayatollah gig was scripted for him in order to impress the broader Australian public that we were really dealing with a high-end Muslim, not a silly little creep.
Why not look into the letters – such as by asking how he got the addresses of the parents – and be skeptical that anyone would try to create justice in the Middle East (Monis’ stated intention) by going after dead soldiers instead of living soldiers. Wouldn’t you yourself have opted to write an open letter to the military?
Note: it is expressly the job of the coroner to analyze the three deaths that occurred at Lindt Café. Why explain away traits of Monis that seem very strange indeed? Where is the legal authority for an inquest to “dispose” of “inexplicable” issues in such a cavalier fashion?
- The death of Noleen Pal was unjustifiably skirted over.
I quote a statement made early in the Inquest’s proceedings:
On May 25, 2015, in the Opening Address for Biographical Segment, Counsel Assisting the Inquest, Ms Sophie Callan, said (at Paragraph 304):
“The relevance of Ms Pal’s murder to this inquest is discrete. And as Mr Gormly has already said, we are concerned to ensure that the pending prosecution is not prejudiced.”
I am not sure what ‘discrete’ means, but the public has been told many times by media that Monis was somehow involved in the killing of his ex-wife. Why the big concern now with not prejudicing Amirah Droudis’ murder trial?
We want to have Monis’ participation in a murder sorted out for this Inquest. It certainly bears on his apparent guilt for the murder of Tori Johnson. “Once a murderer always a murderer.”
When Monis was charged with being an accessory to the death of his ex-wife, were any particulars listed? If so, they are public and could be mentioned at this Inquest. (If they were, I have not located them.)
Personally when I heard that the murder of Noleen involved her being stabbed and set on fire in a public place (a stairwell) it all sounded like something ordinary citizens could not pull off. Wouldn’t the screams bring police and did Amirah hope to get away with it?
As mentioned in Part 10 of this series of articles, the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s report stated that on April 16, 2014:
“[Monis] requests that the Parramatta Local Court investigate his allegation that NSW Police Force and ASIO are involved in the murder of his former partner. The request is denied.”
It is not possible to let that go uninvestigated.
- Defense Force connections were virtually suppressed.
I was startled to read this, on the Inquests’s website:
“the ADF had built a mock-up of the Lindt Cafe at Holsworthy Army Base to trial and rehearse forced entry. It offered the facility to the NSW Police for training, although as we have heard in evidence that offer could not be taken up on the night.” [Emphasis added]
That’s in Paragraph 9 of a Statement by Jeremy Gormly, SC, Counsel Assisting, regarding Commonwealth Australian Defence Force issues.
Paragraph 8 mentioned the sources of this information. These included “evidence from Air Chief Marshal Binskin to a Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee Estimates hearing on 25 February 2015” (“and others”). Perhaps the legislators also failed to gasp? I am gasping.
We also know that in 2013 the ADF conducted an exercise less than 100 meters from the Lindt Café. Would it be asking too much for the Inquest to delve into this matter? I realize that to do so smacks of the coroner being suspicious of government – but there comes a time when that is the essence of the law.
- The Inquest has not pursued the question: Exactly who ordered the stand-down?
Several times in the course of the witness testimony that I attended, the lawyers quizzing the cops seemed to pushing in the direction of getting them to say their hands were tied by higher ups.
Although they weren’t vehement in their reply, most cops did indicate that they thought Monis’ threats constituted a proper ‘trigger’ for action by them. They seemed at least vaguely disappointed and puzzled that an attack on the gunman was not proceeding in the way their training would cause them to expect.
At this point what the Inquest should have done, but did not do, was doggedly pursue the question: Who made the decisions?
Those of us who accept much of “conspiracy theory” (such as of 9-11) are all too familiar with stand-downs. Here is an example concerning Paris, reported by retired University of Ottawa Economics Professor Michel Chossudovsky, at globalresearch.ca:
“[The police] were instructed according to their rules of engagement not to intervene, not to come to the rescue of the people inside the Bataclan nightclub or those in the street in front of the Bataclan. 89 people were killed, more than 100 wounded. ”
If some citizens are going to suspect a stand-down (a sinister stand-down), the coroner, if he thinks there was no stand-down, should get all the facts on record to persuade us that nothing sinister happened.
I ask: is Australia immune to chicanery such as appears to have occurred in France?
Possibly all the quizzing about “ignored triggers” is going to lead to a recommendation at the end of the inquest that the state police are incompetent and more power should be handed over to the military. That would be awful.
- There was no challenge to the police ballistics report
In Part 9 of this series I reported that a wound ballistics expert, Lucas Van der Walt, informed the Inquest that it was easy enough to sort out the fact that Monis died from police bullets, Katrina Dawson died from fragments of police bullets, and Tori Johnson died from pellets from Monis’ shotgun.
Skeptical comments were made to my Part 9 article and also to Part 13, and as quoted in Part 16.
I cannot offer any insight on guns myself, but it appears that the Inquest should have seen more cross-examination of the ballistics expert, particularly about the shooting of Tori Johnson. (If Monis didn’t do it, that would be shocking.)
It looked to me that Lucas Van der Walt “capitulated” to a challenge, admitting that his results could have other interpretation, but the lawyers dropped the ball at that stage.
And in regard to the death of Katrina Dawson, Coroner Michael Barnes said, his Statement of March 20, 2016, Paragraph 10:
(“A)n eminent experienced interstate emergency medicine specialist, Professor Tony Brown, reviewed the medical care given to Katrina Dawson by the paramedics and the clinicians at the RPAH. He described it as “copy book perfect”.
Similarly, that specialist has given reasons why the decision to take Katrina and the other wounded hostages to the RPAH rather than the closer Sydney Hospital was entirely correct.
Accordingly, at this stage it is not proposed that the specialist will be called to give oral evidence – it is anticipated his opinions will be accepted.”
I can see why the Dawson family would not want any pulling apart of the autopsy findings. However, if there were things happening that night that we are so far not aware of, it may prove regrettable, even to the families, that the official story was not more vigorously questioned.
In the earliest hours of media reporting after “the storming of the café,” it was said that Katrina died of a heart attack. Early reports are often later found to be the truest ones.
The Inquest is not over yet.
— Mary W Maxwell is co-author with Dee McLachlan of Port Arthur; Enough Is Enough
Photo credit: resources2.news.com.au