Identical drummers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
by Mary W Maxwell
It takes time to absorb all that was said in the last few days at Gumshoe, both in articles and comments. Let’s do a retrospective. More importantly, let’s push further (in the comments below, your turn) as to trying to fathom what this all means.
Every day I am astonished by the state of mind of the (apparent) majority of Australians. One friend said to me in an email “I used to be proud to be an Aussie.” Seriously, how can it be that folks don’t see what’s going on? Are they really willing to yield Australian culture to the tricks of Rupert Murdoch?
Yesterday I went to my bank in Adelaide to buy a draft in Canadian dollars, to the tune of $800. The teller asked me what it is for. I said “I won’t say.’ She then tried to tell me it was necessary for me to cough up the information. Finally she went to her boss, then came back and gave me the desired draft without further fuss.
I have bought many a foreign draft, and no one ever gave a hoot what it was for. So what’s the deal? Is it that, because of Muslims, we have to be more aware of foreign transactions?
Nonsense. We all know that Monis was in thick with government persons – just based on the fact that Immigration Department let him in knowing he was a bad ’un. Or just based on ABC’s having featured him as an “ayatollah,” no less, on their Religion Report.
Degrade, Degrade, Degrade
The fuss over my Canadian money seems to me to be just part of the overall degradation of people. Having to “own up” to my financial sin (whatever it purportedly was) is one small humiliation. All the humiliations add up.
I imagine a principal strategy is the attempt to make us think of ONE ANOTHER as baddies. (Yes, folks you have to take off your shoes at the airport because others, even dressed in nice business suits, may be shoe bombers.) Yes, you have to tell the bank why you are spending money.
We shouldn’t put up with this. Probably the way to fight it – which is very time-consuming and nerve-wracking – is to dig your heels in at every turn. Granted, in many cases you can’t insist on your rights. Parents who insist on not vaccinating their babies may find themselves unable to pay the rent.
Is there a more aggressive option?
Rock of Ages
Back to the Lindt Café and our last four essays. Namely: Mal Hughes’ on Monis’ peculiar shotgun, Dee McLachlan’s on “all the world’s a stage,” mine on the Jordan Library, and mine on Fiona’s announcement of the toilet visit. That one led to Dee choosing a photo of broken glass, which has opened a new topic.
Commenter Ned pointed out that you can’t just shuffle down Martin Place and pick up the odd rock. So right away we are speculating – perhaps correctly – that someone is trying to “send a message” about the Sydney siege. (The rock-throwing took place in 2015, only a few months after the siege.)
Not a bad idea. Sort of like talking in code. At GumshoeNews we are musing that think it may be police, angry at how the media portrayed the “impossibility” of police snipers shooting – pardon my language — “the cunt.” (That was the Shield Bearer’s name for Monis, as stated in the Inquest hearing before my very ears.)
So we must ask, why is it necessary to talk in code? Because there is no one to turn to who will let you talk normal.
Everybody is scared. And everybody practices the human habit of imitating what those around them are saying. (Remember the legend where everyone said “Yes, the Emperor is wearing clothes. Wow, such embroidery!”)
Epistemology Is Not Dead Yet
There used to be a subdivision of philosophy called Epistemology. It was the study of knowledge and how it gets acquired. It has almost died out thanks to developments in neuroscience. You can do lab work to find how the brain gathers and processes information.
Still, there’s many a puzzle as to how “society” thinks. How does cultural change occur? I think it has largely occurred in recent times by sheer direction from On High. That is, a hidden group with nefarious plans.
Consider the aforementioned little humiliations that give a person a different self-image than she used to have. This then disposes her to giving in to the boss. She no longer senses her importance and her autonomy. Dignity got scrubbed with no one ever debating it.
When it was announced that the drummers for the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony had to practice all day without leaving their position on stage, I didn’t know whether to think that was good or bad. Naturally as a Westerner I don’t like that kind of obedience, although I can see that it is an effective way for a group to turn out a group product.
This article is only a catch-up on the previous ones. But at this point I see a unifying theme. Namely, the Inquest legal professionals, including the coroner, Magistrate Michael Barnes, have seemingly set their faces against taking any stance that is critical of “the narrative.”
That is, they have not done what ordinary citizen Mal Hughes has done – attempt to question the evidence of Monis’ shooting of Tori.
They have not done what alternative media editor Dee McLachlan has done – shout “Foul” over the claim that negotiations “failed” when clearly they were studiously avoided.
The Inquest has also not done what gallerista Mary Maxwell has done: yell that the Fiona tale (of the toilet trip) can’t be true, and claim that something is very rotten in the state of Denmark when the hearings fail to mention the proximity of the Jordan Library to the café, for police access to the terrorist.
The Inquest has not done what Commenters to Gumshoe have done (notably AJ Kierath and Ned) – jumped on the rock-throwing episode by Luke Martin as a significant message about the ability of a bullet to get through the Lindt Café’s glass windows.
How Did the Inquest Groupthink Come About?
There’s unanimity in the thinking of the Inquest staff. (Note: I’m not referring to the “string section” – lawyers who represent the parties. They do not have an obligation to the public to get the whole story right.) How did Inquest groupthink come about? I mean why haven’t they noticed the things Mal, Dee, Mary, AJ, and Ned noticed?
There are two possibilities we can eliminate. One is that the legal minds are not sharp enough. Defo not true – they can hairsplit to a most impressive degree. In fact on any issue that I addressed in the 35 parts of my Lindt Café Inquest series, Sophie Callan or Jason Downing could have done a ten-times better job, without even trying.
The other possibility we can eliminate is that the staff was honouring a taboo on questioning evidence presented as against the backdrop of what the community wanted. In one instance – regarding the superior competence of the “SAS,” they flouted the taboo.
Thus we saw Counsel Assisting the Inquest Jeremy Gormly, SC, reaching out to the public, and especially to persons with insider knowledge of the SAS. He openly asked them to come forward with information as to how the siege may have been ended more satisfactorily had the military played a role.
Come to think of it, I don’t think there was ever an open hearing about the true, authorized role of the military. As far as I can read the law (the anti-terrorism provisions), the moment Monis said “Australia is under attack,” the Defence Force had every right to “interfere.”
I really don’t know how the groupthink came about. Certainly it betrays the spirit of an inquest. After all, an inquest is an inquiry into what happened in any unusual death case.
Paging Boni Judicis
The following appears in the Author’s Foreword to my new book Inquest: Siege in Sydney:
Is it all right for the coroner to expand his bailiwick? Yes. One of the maxims of law is Boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem. “A good judge enlarges his jurisdiction” – not in the geographical sense but in the sense of subject matter. I think that maxim means: he should do whatever is possible within his authority to achieve his proper ends.
The Lindt Café Inquest website lists the Inquest’s “core values underpinning the work of the Coroner’s Court.” Under the heading “Commitment to the community,” we see “Be proactive wherever possible; Be responsible; Innovate to improve services.”
Heck, that’s boni judicis city!
May the staff please come to their senses before it’s too late. This whole Inquest business is becoming, in my opinion, a tragedy.
The Amirah Droudis trial is similar: it does not ask the questions that a second-year law student would ask. It appears to be doing the bidding of our overlords.
The goal of both that trial and the Inquest seems to be to support the media-style story of the madman who ran a siege – a story that we at Gumshoe have now thoroughly debunked.
It is very un-Australian to fail to apply the law.
— Mary W Maxwell is a disgruntled something-or-other. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org