by Dee McLachlan
All aspects of the way the police acted during the Lind Café siege point to a “staged performance.”
At this website I have repeatedly shown how the appropriate military persons were stood down during the 9-11 attacks in New York. The same occurred during the Port Arthur massacre of 1996.
My article “Permission denied; this has to happen” describes that day at the Seascape Cottage where a hostage situation was (allegedly) in progress. Tasmanian constables had the gunman in their sights but were not allowed to shoot him! Several personnel, including volunteer firemen, heard a senior police officer on the radio respond to the request to shoot: ‘Permission denied; this has to happen.’
Now we ask: What happened at the Lindt Cafe on 15-16 December 2014?
The “Terrorist” Siege at Martin Place
Mary W Maxwell has produced an excellent 34-part series here on Gumshoe on the Lindt Café siege (#21 by Mal Hughes), and is coming out with a book called Inquest in a few weeks. She attended some of the Inquest hearings and has carefully dissected many elements of that 2014 “event.” In my opinion her outline reveals how the Inquest avoided matters of major importance.
In this article I’ll discuss 4 parts of the siege that make no sense to me as a “real world” event.
The mainstream media, updated by the police, were broadcasting a dramatic story that on the surface seemed logical — but the detail tells another tale.
Four peculiar aspects of the events of that day are: lack of any negotiation with the gunman, omission of any attempt to free the hostages, a deliberate attempt to keep tensions high, and a decision to avoid opportunities to disable the terrorist.
All of that smacks of a stand-down. This is a vital point!
- Preventing Negotiations with The Hostage Taker
Rule #1 in a hostage crisis: Talk to the hostage taker. Rule broken.
ABC reported on 15 December 2015, that:
“Commissioner Scipione confirmed police were negotiating with the gunman and were focused on resolving the stand-off as safely as possible.”
How did this blatant LIE surface onto the ABC?
An ABC report (22/7/2016) entitled, “…Police ‘missed opportunities’ to engage with Man Haron Monis,” said:
“Expert negotiators have told the inquest into the Lindt Cafe siege that New South Wales police negotiators missed a number of opportunities to engage with gunman Man Haron Monis.”
That’s ridiculous – how could there be 17 hours of missed opportunities?
“International hostage negotiators Dr Andrew Brown and Chief Superintendent Kerrin Smith said negotiators never made any inroads…
“Ms Smith, who has trained forces in Iraq, said it was concerning negotiators failed to make direct contact with Monis, and different tactics should have been employed rather than trying to engage through the hostages.”
No, they were NOT trying to engage through the hostages.
The hostages were trying to reach police but were mostly ignored. The police could have called the number on the café’s website — or return-called one of the hostage’s mobiles and asked: “Please pass the phone to the gunman.”
According to Inquest testimony, Selina Win Pe was desperately trying to facilitate contact around 9.30pm but was ignored. Also, several people on the outside had asked for a chance to talk to Monis. Muslims offered to ask the Grand Mufti to intervene. Good idea? That would show up Monis’ claims to be acting on behalf of Islam, right? But this idea was shelved.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, at the Inquest, said they did not take up offers from Muslim community leaders to help in negotiations as they did not want to “put hostages’ lives in the hands of ‘amateurs’.”
But, Ms Burn, there were NO NEGOTIATIONS to help with.
The media and the Assistant Police Commissioner were giving us a different story — announcing that negotiations were in process. (I remember seeing a video of a press conference where Ms Burn was implying that they were in negotiations — but can no longer find it.)
Was this incompetence? IMPOSSIBLE! The non-negotiation tactic had to be deliberate.
- Lack of Effort to Free the Hostages
Rule #2 in a hostage crisis: Try to free the hostages. Rule broken.
No action was taken to bargain for, or free, any hostages.
You would think attempts would have been made to establish communication — then build a rapport, so as to start bargaining with food or things (flags) for the release of hostages. “We are trying to locate an ISIS flag. Could take some time. But is everyone all right? Is anyone hurt?”
Apparently Monis offered a hostage for a flag.
Solicitor Michael Klooster had been a customer in the Lindt cafe that morning (15 December, 2014) when Man Haron Monis called out to him. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, three months earlier Mr Klooster had acted on behalf of Monis during two Family Law Court hearings.
Now (shotgun-ready) Monis suggest they discuss appealing the decision over a coffee. But Kloosters, who says Monis was “intelligent,” has to be in court, so leaves.
After returning home, Mr Kloosters puts two and two together and calls the federal police at 2.17pm with an offer to negotiate. Reply: “No, thank you.”
At no point does it appear that the police were attempting to free hostages — even though NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, on TV said “…rest assured, we are doing all we can to set you free.” A lie. They were ignoring them.
- Keeping Tensions High and Monis’ Name Secret
Rule #3 in a hostage crisis. Create calm and play the incident down to improve chances for a better outcome. Rule broken.
Panic and tension lead to bad outcomes. It is a known fact that there are three especially dangerous periods during a hostage crisis.
The first is the initial 15-45 minutes when there is confusion and panic, the second is during the release or escape of hostages, and the third is when tactical assault teams rush in to end the crisis.
Negotiation strategies yield the greatest success in resolving a hostage crisis; tactical assault carries the highest casualty rate.
So why did the police choose the most dangerous option over the safest option?
To create theatre?
Think of how this tension affected the forces on the ground — escalating the danger. And were these troops told it was (letter-writing) Monis? If not, why not?
And why did the police deliberately keep Monis’s name from the public? To create more theatre?
Interestingly, Monis had famously worn “religious” or clerical robes for Family Court matters or when attracting publicity — but on the day of the siege he wore a baseball cap and jeans. Was this a wardrobe malfunction — or was it designed to conceal his identity for as long as possible?
The Commander of the Terrorism Intelligence Unit (TIU) admitted “Monis emerged as the most likely suspect by mid-afternoon.” And Detective Senior Constable Melanie Staples, who had previously known Monis (from the murder case involving Amirah Droudis), recognised him around 12:00 noon. She alerted senior detectives in State Crime Command.
(Ah, was Prime Minister Tony Abbott ever told that this was the “cleric” who chained himself to the courthouse stairs?)
But the police (and media) deliberately suppressed his name until most citizens had gone to bed for the night. This would keep folks thinking of the worst case terrorist-scenario — allowing the drama of this “terrorist” event to be all theatre.
- Not Scanning the Stronghold for Opportunities
Rule #4 in a hostage crisis. Watch what’s happening, for the off-moment when you could disable the gunman. Rule broken.
The Lindt Cafe is a veritable “fish tank” with glass on all sides. No hostage taker in their right mind would choose such a vulnerable location. Monis was either not in his right mind — or the location was chosen for him.
Why was it chosen? It was right next to a news station — Channel 7. And there are windows everywhere for all the world to see. Common sense tells us that the “fish tank” with three entry points, held by a lone gunman, could have been breached in order to distract and disable the gunman.
Having read Mary Maxwell’s article about her recent inspection of the lift lobby (didn’t the Inquest personnel ever go to inspect it?) I would like to know:
When did police enter Jordan Library to gain view in the lobby?
Why did we not see any signs of Intel gathering over the 17 hours?
Why did they wait for dark, when darkness would make targeting more difficult?
Why did they not call a locksmith to open the fire / service door on the street?
Snipers officially had Monis in their sights through the windows from an upstairs location in the Westpac bank, but why weren’t snipers placed in the lift lobby?
There seems to have been absolutely NO attempt to distract Monis — or create a DECOY to allow an entry.
The only officer to attempt to gain Intel was Senior Constable Paul Withers.
“The highway patrol officer had just sped towards Martin Place from Walsh Bay — an incident regarding a man being held at gunpoint and three bombs around the city was broadcast across his police radio.” [SMH]
Taking cover behind the marble column, he communicated with hostage Marcia Mikhael. She confirmed there was only one gunman, and then Withers was called back. (Obviously he wasn’t in the plan.)
Police looked super fierce and combat-like on all the news reports that were broadcast worldwide, but they were well back almost all the time.
On the surface this may look like timidity or incompetence. But the facts seem to point to deliberate non-interference — a WAITING strategy.
Were they waiting for one of the fish to die in the fish tank?
You would imagine that the police would have attempted to establish audio and visual surveillance. What about sticking a small camera with chewing gum on one of the windows, or in the French doors of the Jordan Library?
Seven months ago I wrote at Gumshoe:
“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.”
Ten hours to set up a live feed?
They could have asked any savvy kid on the street to do it 20 minutes. Or pop along to Harvey Norman and get a couple of remote (night vision) wireless security cameras, then flip open a laptop.
Maybe these people should all be fired.
I can’t help thinking that the four “broken rules” of a hostage situation lead to the conclusion that the Lindt Cafe siege was all theatre — a staged affair.