Situation in Sydney
December 14, 2014 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Global news sources are reporting a what appears to be a hostage taking at the Lindt Chocolate Café in Martin Place, Sydney, also home to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

New South Wales Police are sending out updates over Twitter. News agencies are reporting that the prime minister will shortly address the nation.

Sydney's Channel 7 news, whose officers are located close to the café, have broadcast a number of disturbing images. People, apparently hostages, have been photographed standing at the windows of the café. Some have been seen holding a black flag reminiscent of those used by certain Islamist militant organisations. Meanwhile, a man has been seen inside the building wearing a black bandanna with white writing, also suggestive of Islamist militancy to some.

The image of the flag deserves some further comment, as it has immediately coloured the coverage of the story. Although the image of the full flag is not shown, the part of the design that we can see appears to be similar to the very bottom of some calligraphic representations of the Shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith. Similar flags have been used, in recent years, by Islamist militant groups.

This is a developing situation with much unverified information and rumour. Mefites might wish to keep in mind (Metafilter's own) Alex Goldman's Breaking News Consumer's Handbook, published last year by the radio show On the Media last year.
posted by Dreadnought (329 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best wishes/prayers/hopes for people in Sydney today.

Channel 7 just relayed a statement from Lindt that there could be 50 people in the building. But it's unclear how many of those are just under lockdown and how many are involved in the hostage situation.
posted by sbutler at 5:44 PM on December 14, 2014


There are no words. Best wishes for a safe and speedy resolution.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


ABC News live on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvzpSvyyZis
posted by slater at 6:00 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Perhaps related. "A man has been arrested in Sydney on alleged terrorism offences as part of ongoing investigations into plans for an attack on Australian soil, police said Monday. The 25-year-old was seized as part of "continuing investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat". He was reportedly arrested as he left a prayer hall, with police due to hold a press conference later Monday with more details."
posted by stbalbach at 6:01 PM on December 14, 2014


This is pretty horrible. Abbot's statement was pretty even keeled.
posted by humanfont at 6:02 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


As always, the Guardian is a well-curated resource of updated information.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm a block away from the Lindt cafe. All of office buildings in the area are in lockdown, including mine. They are being gradually evacuated.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:10 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Perhaps related. "A man has been arrested in Sydney on alleged terrorism offences as part of ongoing investigations into plans for an attack on Australian soil, police said Monday. The 25-year-old was seized as part of "continuing investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat". He was reportedly arrested as he left a prayer hall, with police due to hold a press conference later Monday with more details."

Please don't speculate, it's not helpful.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:10 PM on December 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


I hope there's a positive resolution.

But beyond that, what can you say? Speculating on breaking news is a fool's errand.
posted by Thing at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Here is all of the confirmed information, care of the Guardian.
Customers and staff at Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, Sydney, were taken hostage at about 9.45am. There are varying reports on the number of hostages but four have been sighted in camera footage. They were made to stand up against the windows with their hands raised.

There is at least one gunman.

A black flag with white writing was put in the window of the cafe. It is not an Islamic State flag. The flag appears to bear the Shahada, an Islamic creed which reads: “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” It can be a benign symbol and appears across the Islamic world, including on the Saudi Arabian flag. But it has also been embraced by jihadi groups such as Jabhat Al-Nusra, an al-Qaida affiliate currently fighting in Syria.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:13 PM on December 14, 2014


My office is 2 blocks away. We're glued to the TV, effectively on lockdown.
posted by web-goddess at 6:13 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


My wife's cousin is in lockdown too. He's in Park St, so a long way away from the incident. This seems like an over-reaction to me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:15 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


This seems like an over-reaction to me.

It's risk management. Better to eliminate risks where you can. If it's an over reaction, so be it. Better that than the alternative.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:20 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


ABC News live on Youtube:

Just seconding this. Non-Australians, if you wanna follow this live, I recommend ignoring every Australian news outlet except the ABC and maybe the Guardian.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this whole thing is resolved with no lives lost.
posted by retrograde at 6:22 PM on December 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


I work in MP, but down near Pitt St, outside the cordon. We're not locked down, but not a lot of work is getting done as you might imagine.
posted by um at 6:22 PM on December 14, 2014


It seems to me that anyone in a locked down office is safe. Basically, it's highly unlikely anyone is at risk unless they happen to be hostages.

Of course, part of the media are being extremely unhelpful. Local idiot shock jock Ray Hadley of 2GB radio has been spouting tremendous torrents of bullshit all morning, including the entirely made up (and incorrect) claims that there have been police raids in Lakemba (a suburb with a high Muslim population), that there are explosive devices planted all over the city. This of course is based on absolutely nothing. He's also claimed that he's received a call from inside the cafe, off air. This is also unverified.

When this is over, I hope he pays for his ridiculous scaremongering.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:23 PM on December 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


Regarding the lockdown, the same kind of thing happened in Ottawa in October when a gunman killed an unarmed soldier and then charged into the Parliament Buildings a few hundred meters away. Lockdown extended several blocks around the incident which was right in the heart of the Capital district.

Hope it all ends well.
posted by salishsea at 6:24 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Please don't speculate, it's not helpful.

Yeah, ABC News 24 had a very ill advised interview with some north American "expert" making wild claims about connections with all sorts of ideas and groups. With no basis in anything. The contrast between that interview and the one that followed with a member of the Federal Police calmly asserting that we don't have enough information to form any conclusions would have been amusing in any other context.

Those of you on lockdown, hope you get safely away. I really really hope this ends peacefully, all to say really.
posted by arha at 6:24 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]




Police have cleared the area of media, no doubt in part so that people inside the cafe are not tipped off about police operations around the cafe. And yet CNN interviewed a man by phone who described the exact number and configuration of officers around the cafe. This seems pretty irresponsible.

Stay safe everyone.
posted by drnick at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2014


I guess I don't know what else is going on in the world, maybe there really is nothing of note just at the moment, but I kind of wish someone could say "there's nothing new to report right now, we're going to cross to . There will be a press conference at 11:30 and we'll return for that, or if any further events unfold". Instead of these endless interviews and replays of interviews that are little more than one step removed from vox-pops. I understand the fixation, I'm just not sure feeding it is helpful.
posted by adamt at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


An individual inside the cafe has just called an Australian radio show on 2GB. With instructions to call back in 10 minutes for a statement from the hostage taker.
posted by humanfont at 6:31 PM on December 14, 2014


BBC has live coverage here.
posted by deborah at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2014


An individual inside the cafe has just called an Australian radio show on 2GB. With instructions to call back in 10 minutes for a statement from the hostage taker.

This is the third time that Ray Hadley has made that claim. Take with a large pinch of salt.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


don't uber's prices change algorithmically based on demand?
posted by dilaudid at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


A friend in Brisbane posted on her FB that a Muslim woman sitting next to her on the train took off her hijab upon hearing the news. The friend offered to walk along with her; the woman cried, hugged, and went off alone.

(It's sad that my first thought upon hearing the news was "thank God I'm out of bridging visa limbo because my Muslim-passport application would be the first to go.")
posted by divabat at 6:33 PM on December 14, 2014 [38 favorites]


We are being evac'd. I'll get back online when I get of the CBD and get home.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:37 PM on December 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


don't uber's prices change algorithmically based on demand?

Yes, but Uber made a deal with NYC to cap this in emergency situations. Apparently they don't have a similar deal with Sydney.
posted by olinerd at 6:38 PM on December 14, 2014


don't uber's prices change algorithmically based on demand?

The Guardian said “Uber has a deal in New York to cap their surge pricing duing emergencies but it does not seem the same agreement is in place in Australia.”
posted by traveler_ at 6:38 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Widespread lockdown seems like an overreaction to me too. "Better safe than sorry" should not be taken to extremes.
posted by uosuaq at 6:39 PM on December 14, 2014


Are people not in the cafe in danger? (referring to Uber and the "emergency situation")
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:40 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Australian state police forces tend to lock down entire cities when somebody reports a branch in a tree, so this massive overreaction is not atypical.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:41 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile my cowpunching/NRA member relatives are making me want to delete Facebook with their comments news. Thank you Metafilter for being a voice of calm in this shitstorm.
posted by humanfont at 6:42 PM on December 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


When this is over, I hope he pays for his ridiculous scaremongering.

Like Jones paid for the Cronulla riots
posted by mattoxic at 6:42 PM on December 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Are people not in the cafe in danger? (referring to Uber and the "emergency situation")

Not based on any valid info we have, but obviously there's speculation that it could turn into more than just hostages and a guy with a gun. Police have evacuated and/or locked down (with plans to evacuate) the surrounding area and they've asked people to stay out of the CBD if they're not already there. This is probably as much for their own ability to operate as it is safety (plus keeping the media away), but there are still so many unknowns about the motivations/details/etc of these guys, I think they're trying to stay on the safe side.
posted by olinerd at 6:43 PM on December 14, 2014


Are people not in the cafe in danger?

Yeah, I think there's been a miscommunication here. The people in a cafe are definitely in danger.

But at this point, there is no evidence at all that anyone else is in harm's way, and anyone who says otherwise is either making it up or a damned liar.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:44 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Best case scenario: John Abbott fucks a pig
posted by Flashman at 6:44 PM on December 14, 2014 [33 favorites]


When this is over, I hope he pays for his ridiculous scaremongering.

Like Jones paid for the Cronulla riots


Yeah, you're probably right. But I can still hope.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:44 PM on December 14, 2014


Helpful, as always with these things: the On the Media (NPR) Breaking News Consumer's Handbook.

On Twitter, @acarvin of the new venture reported.ly (on Medium) is live-tweeting. Seems at least as good as the live blog on the SMH.

It's News Seven (or whatever the shorthand is), but I was pleased to find that my new FireTV Stick has a CBSN app, and they're just running that Australian news feed instead of filtering through a US newsroom. For cord-cutters with the right combination of devices, anyway.
posted by dhartung at 6:45 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think the lockdown is in part because the person was observed to have a backpack, which presumably might contain explosives. There was also just an unconfirmed report on BBC in an interview with a member of the public at the location with regard to other backpacks at the cafe. Caution would seem reasonable.
posted by drnick at 6:46 PM on December 14, 2014


Isn't the torture report more of an American thing?
posted by divabat at 6:46 PM on December 14, 2014


What freaking better could happen to take the air out of the torture report.

Uh. What? Lots and lots of things. Something in the US, for one. Or, a report which had said that torture had produced good results. There's no reasonable way to turn this into a "FALSE FLAG!!!" without a whole boatload of question-begging.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Isn't the torture report more of an American thing?

not if you're David Hicks or Mandu Habib
posted by mattoxic at 6:48 PM on December 14, 2014


Isn't the torture report more of an American thing?
Well, yes, it was more of an American thing, certainly. But lots of countries were complicit, Australia included, to various degrees.
posted by Flunkie at 6:53 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Best case scenario: John Abbott fucks a pig

For those not in the know, this is a reference to an incredible UK science fiction TV show called "Black Mirror". The episodes are Twilight-Zone in style (each episode is a self-contained story). Also, knowing this isn't terribly spoilery (the plot point that involves this sort of thing is revealed early on in the episode).

/derail.
posted by el io at 6:53 PM on December 14, 2014 [27 favorites]


CNN lives for this stuff. For a while longer anyway. An hour straight of a non-live shot of the cafe and endless stupid repetitions of the three or four facts interspersed with blather.

First time I'd watched my TV in weeks. It's back off now. Noise. Nothing but inane noise. It makes you stupid just to listen to it.

Good luck to the hostages. But we do not need a breathless blow by blow account every time some nut pulls this shit in a first world city. Talk about giving them exactly what they want.
/rant
posted by spitbull at 6:56 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Let's find out who the people are in the building before we assume things about who the people are in the building. Basic shit.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2014


Well, cbd pubs are still open. I'm going for a drink.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:01 PM on December 14, 2014 [24 favorites]


On TV news, it's *always* time to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:02 PM on December 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm following one of the Twitter feeds now. Half and half split between "updates" and Uber's "surge pricing. Recommended reading from upthread on the breaking news guide is helpful. Keep in mind that first reports are usually problematic.

Peace and safety heartfelt from here....
posted by datawrangler at 7:02 PM on December 14, 2014


Mike Baird, NSW Premier:

"We are being tested today in Sydney. The police are being tested, the public is being tested, but whatever the test we will face it head-on and we will remain a civil, democratic society."

Good speech. Calm and to the point.
posted by Georgina at 7:03 PM on December 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


Ray Hadley's attempt to manufacture some relevance for himself by manoeuvring his ugly puss into the frame is beyond disgusting.
posted by Wolof at 7:04 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dear lord, Hockey is going ahead with the mid year budget update right now live. That has to be up there with releasing stuff on Christmas Day to avoid scrutiny.
posted by drnick at 7:07 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm watching the NSW Police Commissioner, who is a smart, to-the-point sort and inspires a lot of confidence. Mike Baird, the Premier, is of the same party as the national PM Abbott -- the Liberals, which is in Australian terms the center-right party.
posted by dhartung at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2014


Wolof - you sound surprised

spitbull this might be marginally better

http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/
posted by mattoxic at 7:12 PM on December 14, 2014


FWIW it appears that Uber's surge pricing will be eaten by the company, paid out to drivers and not charged to riders.
posted by msbutah at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Public transport is functioning fine. The roads are blessedly empty so things are actually better than usual. Who needs Uber?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:38 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


keep calm and don't speculate . Our media, Hadley in particular but the others more generally, have covered themselves in something today, and it's not glory.
posted by smoke at 7:45 PM on December 14, 2014


Public transport is functioning fine.

Yeah, but thanks to the stupid speculations about bombs, everyone I know currently in the CBD is too scared to use it.
posted by lollusc at 7:49 PM on December 14, 2014


Incidentally, I got totally sprung by my boss while I was walking into the pub after our office was evac'd. But she gave me an approving nod, so I think it's all good.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:50 PM on December 14, 2014 [26 favorites]


Dear lord, Hockey is going ahead with the mid year budget update right now live. That has to be up there with releasing stuff on Christmas Day to avoid scrutiny.

While it's certainly politically convenient for Hockey to release the MYEFO today, the fact is, this is what the people who pull these kinds of stunts want. They want a massive, out of proportion response. They want everyone to stop what they're doing and stare. They want the government to come to a standstill. Fuck that. I'm not scared. Release MYEFO like you promised and get on with the fucking job.

If this was a any other guy holding some people hostage, without a scary black flag in the window, we wouldn't have this sort of coverage, and we wouldn't have people demanding the Federal Government put all their plans on hold until it's sorted out.
posted by Jimbob at 7:52 PM on December 14, 2014 [16 favorites]


I would note that the only reason these events are "distracting" from MYEFO is because every shitty news network in the country has spent hours reporting...nothing. Over and over, in cycles. With occasional misinformation for extra spice. Because they are all obsessed with needing to be the first to be onto the breaking news when it happens. There's no need for that, and it's indicative of the useless state of the Australian media. You don't need 24-hour live coverage of cops pointing guns down a street. You don't need to call up every half-arsed "terrorism expert" and drag them infront of a camera to speculate. Go and report on MYEFO. I swear, if anything happens, you can tell us about that afterwards.
posted by Jimbob at 7:56 PM on December 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Very valid points, Jimbob, I totally get that and agree with you to some extent. But this is a really important budget update given what has happened over the last 6 months and it might have been good to delay a few hours to give it the air and discussion it needs since the media can't see anything but Martin Place at the moment. I doubt it would be seen as a great victory for whoever is behind this to have a budget update given a few hours later.
posted by drnick at 8:18 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I doubt it would be seen as a great victory for whoever is behind this to have a budget update given a few hours later.

I'm sure it wasn't in their plans, but I would see it as a great failure of our national resilience if we let a local hostage situation dictate the operations of the federal government. What else will we let Hockey delay the MYEFO release for? A train crash? A bad storm?
posted by Jimbob at 8:22 PM on December 14, 2014


Well, I'm now at home reading Metafilter, watching Buffy, and eating cheese on toast, instead of at work trying not to scream out loud at the Government's latest legislative atrocity.

The terrorists have only won if they were particularly worried about my high stress levels.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:31 PM on December 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


I got totally sprung by my boss while I was walking into the pub after our office was evac'd.

It's really important to preserve our values and way of life when they're under threat. Drink on, mate.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:32 PM on December 14, 2014 [24 favorites]


Public transport is functioning fine.

Oh, yeah... like Sydney-fine.
posted by pompomtom at 8:33 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Some hostages released.
posted by Jimbob at 8:38 PM on December 14, 2014


And now drunk people have turned up to heckle.
At a siege.
C'mon Australia.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 8:39 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah... like Sydney-fine.

No, like a real city with actual urban planning. Apparently, the cops are asking people to stay clear, so the roads are mostly empty.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:39 PM on December 14, 2014


It's really important to preserve our values and way of life when they're under threat. Drink on, mate.
...
And now drunk people have turned up to heckle.
posted by mattoxic at 8:41 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


And now drunk people have turned up to heckle.
At a siege.
C'mon Australia.


I can think of worse ways to respond to terrorism.
posted by TedW at 8:47 PM on December 14, 2014 [18 favorites]


So it looks like the three that got out, gave the gunman the slip, judging by the way they skidded out of there.
posted by unliteral at 8:50 PM on December 14, 2014


I'd say the gunman's not going to like that.
posted by unliteral at 8:51 PM on December 14, 2014


Daily Telegraph doesn't disappoint in the hyperbole contest.
posted by kisch mokusch at 8:57 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


ABC News 24 commentator expressing extreme concern for the poor, poor office workers locked down in their climate controlled offices, with their usual access to communications, internet, water, kitchens, toilets. Some of them have been unable to leave their offices for six whole hours. Some of them might have had to skip lunch! The horror, the horror.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:58 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Police spokesperson (Catherine Burn, Deputy Commissioner - Specialist Operations): Police negotiators have made contact with the gunman. Motivations still not known at this time. It would not been good to speculate.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:01 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Police spokesperson: The information that I have is that no one has been harmed or injured at this point.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:03 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


That is amazing and wonderful news.
posted by smoke at 9:15 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hey where is the most up-to-date info regarding this? I'm on mobile so text would work best. I just found out about this happening.
posted by gucci mane at 9:32 PM on December 14, 2014


Hey where is the most up-to-date info regarding this? I'm on mobile so text would work best. I just found out about this happening.

The Guardian liveblog is the best that I've found.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:34 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


All I can think whenever I hear about stuff like this now, is how the racists are going to latch on to it. This is already terrorism by Arabs to a lot of people, with no real info. Ugh.
posted by emptythought at 9:35 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm still holding out hope that the whole "Terrorists with a Political Agenda" thing is a false-flag, and what's really going on is a chocolate-heisting homage to Die Hard.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2014


reddit has a live thread, the tech they introduced during the Ukrainian conflict.

As for my tip earlier about CBSN, they were on Ten when I came back from an errand, and then abruptly switched to Nine, and then a "We'll be right back" message (which you see on that service quite a bit). Dunno rights issues or what. In any case TV seems really pointless in something like this where there is rarely anything new to report.
posted by dhartung at 9:41 PM on December 14, 2014


All I can think whenever I hear about stuff like this now, is how the racists are going to latch on to it. This is already terrorism by Arabs to a lot of people, with no real info. Ugh.

The 'Australian Defence League' have already turned up to rant and have been told to can it by Police. Of course the media have indulged them.
posted by Neale at 9:43 PM on December 14, 2014


All I can think whenever I hear about stuff like this now, is how the racists are going to latch on to it. This is already terrorism by Arabs to a lot of people, with no real info. Ugh.

QFT. Such nonsense emerged on Facebook from "friends" within an hour of this awful news breaking. (Scare-quoting "friends" because it's at times like these, you really figure out who is worth having in your life.)
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2014


This has shown me how addicted I am to the 24 hour news cycle. I was at St. Leonards train station, and a little boy was squealing about, trying to climb into the giant oval pool in the plaza. All I could do was hit the refresh button on my phone, over and over.
posted by Quilford at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2014


The Guardian has a nice slapdown of the Telegraph's bullshit front page:
Sydney’s the Daily Telegraph have released a special afternoon edition as the siege continues. It has a wrap around cover posted below.

The Daily Telegraph is a tabloid, so an excitable tone is to be expected. Though I do note some errors on the front page. “IS takes 13 hostages”. I assume the paper states Islamic State because of the flag with Arabic writing hostages were forced to hold up in the window. It has been established the flag is not Islamic State but bears the Shahada, an Islamic creed which reads: “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” It can be a benign symbol and appears across the Islamic world, including on the Saudi Arabian flag. But it has also been embraced by jihadi groups such as Jabhat Al-Nusra, an al-Qaida affiliate currently fighting in Syria.

“13 hostages”. It still has not been established how many hostages are in the cafe. Reports have varied between 8 and 50 and the closest to an official confirmation has been the deputy NSW Commissioner, Catherine Burn, saying it is less than 30.

“Death cult” is the prime minister’s favoured moniker for Islamic State.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, the premier, Mike Baird, and the NSW police commissioner and deputy commissioner have all said a motive for the siege is yet to be established though authorities are on an alert similar to a terror attack.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also I hate that the Daily Telegraph rushed off a stupid 3pm edition with one of their specialty stupid front covers in order to sensationalise the whole thing. Bugger off, you twats.
posted by Quilford at 9:59 PM on December 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


5 people out thus far, 3 men and then 2 women a couple of minutes ago. Maybe there will be a peaceful resolution for this.

*crosses fingers*
posted by Neale at 10:03 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I had the pleasure of visiting Sydney 10 years ago.

Be safe Aussies!
posted by brujita at 10:04 PM on December 14, 2014


Some of them might have had to skip lunch!
This bodes ill for the charity chips and chocolate bars box.
posted by mattoxic at 10:33 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Crowds growing near the siege site
posted by Quilford at 10:36 PM on December 14, 2014


Those people taking selfies 100m away from the siege site... Damn.
posted by WalkingAround at 10:51 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Per The Gradient:
Channel 10 is the third media outlet saying they have been contacted by hostages in the Lindt cafe. The hostages said the offender has two demands:
1. They want to speak with Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott.
2. They want an Isis flag brought to the cafe
Seems to me that someone didn't plan this very carefully.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:54 PM on December 14, 2014 [12 favorites]


It sort of sounds like they thought they had an ISIS flag, but have become aware, via the media, that they have the wrong flag. One black flag with Arabic writing on it can look like another.
posted by drnick at 11:00 PM on December 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Joe in Australia, it is apparently near impossible to get hold of an Isis flag, so maybe not.
posted by arha at 11:03 PM on December 14, 2014


Now I'm starting to wonder if this doesn't have anything to do with ISIS at all, more a bunch of pranksters that want to frame ISIS or Muslims.
posted by divabat at 11:07 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


2. They want an Isis flag brought to the cafe

Seems like every time there's a major event criminal event like this, you can count on certain fringe element to cry "false flag operation", but is this time the perpetrator has literally brought the wrong flag?

It's like it's gone all Dog Day Afternoon... "Fuck man, fuck. They're saying on the news this is a Shahada. No one's going to take me seriously now!"

I only hope their apparent amateurishness ultimately means surrender, and not panicked killing.
posted by adamt at 11:09 PM on December 14, 2014 [11 favorites]


You don't "get hold of an ISIS flag", it's not like there is a factory in China churning them out. You have to make it yourself.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


One would assume even a black flag operation would have the sense to make the right black flags.
posted by fullerine at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


Now I'm starting to wonder if this doesn't have anything to do with ISIS at all, more a bunch of pranksters that want to frame ISIS or Muslims.

It seems to me that the kind of Sydney resident willing to dedicate their lives to ISIS are unlikely to be the best and the brightest. They're holding a chocolate shop hostage, for crying out loud. This clearly isn't the A team.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:12 PM on December 14, 2014 [25 favorites]


And sadly, all I can think of is Hans Gruber asking for the release of people from Golden Dawn. "I read about them in Time magazine."

It's Christmas, Theo. It's the time of miracles. Hoping that everyone is safe in this situation.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:13 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


You have to make it yourself.

Oh my gosh. He's like an eviler Martha Stewart. "And here's one I prepared earlier."
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:14 PM on December 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I mean, what was the plan, here?

"ONCE WE CONTROL THE INFIDELS' ECLAIR SUPPLY, THE RISE OF THE CALIPHATE WILL BE ASSURED!"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:14 PM on December 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


If he is realising he has the wrong flag because of social media then his demands may very well make Flashman's best case scenario a tiny bit more likely.
posted by fullerine at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2014


Well, the Swiss. Goodness knows what they've been up to.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: my theory is that they're not even Muslim or interested in ISIS. (My conspiracy theory is that this is a frame job by anti-Muslims.)
posted by divabat at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: my theory is that they're not even Muslim or interested in ISIS. (My conspiracy theory is that this is a frame job by anti-Muslims.)

It's depressing how plausible that is.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:19 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Probably chose the chocolate shop because it's across the street from channel 7's studios
posted by Greener Backyards at 11:22 PM on December 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Whoever does this is not going to walk away a free person. They're suicidal or crazy. Also, you would think that we would have heard something if they had associates on the outside. So it's one or more crazy people, without much of a plan or good preparation. I have no idea what the precise nature of their craziness is, but I presume a false-flag operation that ends with "and then they capture us and interrogate us and I keep saying Allah Akbar! so they think I'm a Muslim" would be too stupid even for a crazy person.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:22 PM on December 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Eh, I dunno. If your goal is to get a heap of media attention very quickly you could do worse than holding up a cafe across the road from Channel 7.

ETA, jinx.
posted by arha at 11:22 PM on December 14, 2014


You have to make it yourself.

Yeah, so now my youtube viewing history includes instructions on creating a terrorist flag.

Sigh.
posted by el io at 11:23 PM on December 14, 2014 [27 favorites]


my theory is that they're not even Muslim or interested in ISIS. (My conspiracy theory is that this is a frame job by anti-Muslims.)

This kind of speculation is as baseless as any other kind. On what grounds can we condemn one, while indulging in the other?
posted by mylittlepoppet at 12:08 AM on December 15, 2014 [14 favorites]


Click a link, become a terrorist.
posted by telstar at 12:24 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


This kind of speculation is as baseless as any other kind. On what grounds can we condemn one, while indulging in the other?

Yes, that's a fair point.

For my part, I've clearly gone too far down the rabbit hole on this, so I'll step away for a while.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:25 AM on December 15, 2014


Likewise.
posted by divabat at 12:27 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


My husband used to work in Martin Place. Now he's on Darling Harbour thank god. Scary times, you can feel the tension in the city.
posted by Jubey at 12:51 AM on December 15, 2014


Huh. The bit I quoted from Teh Guardian above has been amended:
Channel 10 is the third media outlet saying they have been contacted by hostages in the Lindt cafe. Police have specifically requested media outlets not reveal the content of the conversations. The other two outlets are 2GB radio and News Corp Australia.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:03 AM on December 15, 2014



#illridewithyou: Twitter sprouts anti-Islamophobia campaign
ANTI-ISLAMIC sentiment has flooded social media in the wake of the Sydney siege, but there is a campaign gathering steam that will restore your faith in humanity.

A Twitter movement, #illridewithyou, has sprouted with everyday Australians offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims, or give them a lift to work tomorrow, in order to keep them safe.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:10 AM on December 15, 2014 [29 favorites]


Well, at least I got to say a few rude words about Ray Hadley. There are health benefits to doing this.
posted by Wolof at 1:12 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hate these press conferences

"I will not be going into operational details"

*cue 50 questions about operational details*
posted by fullerine at 1:26 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, on the upside, it's been a good way to cull my FB friends list. Those unfriended so far today include the people posting "Abbott will do anything to not release budget figures, think about it people, it's too coincidental!" (but with worse spelling and grammar... and perhaps a tinfoil hat), and "it's sad about this thing in Sydney, but more importantly, has anyone noticed that our country town has minimal Christmas decorations?".
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:36 AM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


The thing that's gotten me is the #illridewithyou hashtag for people in religious clothing scared to go on public transport. This makes me so happy. I would join in if I used public transport.
posted by jonathanstrange at 1:41 AM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm rather surprised that there is a *gun*man to be honest. My understanding of firearms law in Australia is that getting one is more than a bit difficult. Black market prices for repeating longarms are crazy high as well apparently. Most AQ-related terrorists don't bother with hostages either, they'll just outright detonate a suicide bomb (which can at least me made with relative ease with legally available substances). We're definitely looking at a strange case here in many respects.
posted by longbaugh at 1:44 AM on December 15, 2014


Malibustacey - surely if Mudgee is in adequately decorated the terrorists have won!
posted by bystander at 1:55 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well the Mr Rabbit was just on the television telling everyone that they should be proud of everyone. That was nice I thought - not blaming Labor.
posted by mattoxic at 2:06 AM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm rather surprised that there is a *gun*man to be honest. My understanding of firearms law in Australia is that getting one is more than a bit difficult.

I think that's part of why there is so much media attention on this. Gun crime in the CBD is actually quite unusual.

In the last year (September 2013-14), there were 13 robberies with firearms in the City of Sydney local government area (ie the CBD), according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. It looks like none of those resulted in shootings. By comparison, there were 132 robberies with other kinds of weapons.

There were only 4 homicides in the City of Sydney area last year. I know at least two of those were the result of street fist fights. I can't track down the other 2, but a cursory Google search reveals no media about CBD gun deaths (or injuries).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:38 AM on December 15, 2014


There's always a black market.
posted by h00py at 2:45 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


The #illridewithyou hashtag is reportedly the "number one trending" one worldwide. As an Australian, I'm a bit uncomfortable with successes that don't come via New Zealand, but I guess you take what you can get.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:55 AM on December 15, 2014 [24 favorites]


Malibustacey - surely if Mudgee is in adequately decorated the terrorists have won!
posted by bystander

Well, bystander, they haven't seen the Christmas tree in my lounge room window.

The terrorists haven't won until they pry the ridiculous amount of startlingly bright blue and white lights (including the strand that plays muzac-style Jingle Bells) from my cold dead hands!
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:18 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


The situation reeks of a person who has not thought through their actions. Screwup with a flag, firearm & hostages rather than suicide bomb, long drawn out siege etc. I'd hope that given these are highly uncharacteristic of AQ tactics that what we're seeing here is a fucking idiot who has done something incredibly stupid but can be talked out of it. They need to shut down any local internet/wifi/3G service so he can't communicate with outside sources who may give him the shove he needs to turn it lethal.

My hopes are with a peaceful resolution. Good luck to all nearby and keep safe.
posted by longbaugh at 3:25 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the news organisations are the real terrorists. What else is continuous coverage but a deliberate attempt to stir up terror? This whole situation is making me sick. All sides, everything (except #illridewithyou).
posted by h00py at 3:26 AM on December 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


I basically found out about this when a friend of mine posted on Facebook offering to ride with anyone who wanted it. Awesome person, someone I'm proud to know. Nothing at all like the fucks I stopped following months ago after their rants about how halal certification was impinging on their freedoms.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:22 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


There is a video making its rounds on twitter that appears to be one of the hostages reading demands. Among the demands is for a real ISIS flag and that it be clearly stated this is an attack by Islamic State. The hostage taker brought the wrong flag.

It makes me lean towards thinking the hostage taker is an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit.
posted by humanfont at 4:39 AM on December 15, 2014


I think the news organisations are the real terrorists.

QFT.
posted by spitbull at 4:41 AM on December 15, 2014


Also, yes this hostage taker appears to be a fucking idiot, which is both good and bad. If he's "only" armed with a pump action shotgun and there are ten or so folks left, I'd say the cops are very likely to be able to take him down if he starts shooting before he kills more than a couple of hostages. That would be horrific, to be sure, but this guy hardly seems like a pro-grade AQ/ISIS operative of the sort we see in so many other attacks.

My guess is they are trying to wait out his energy level. Eventually he's going to nod off for the 10 seconds it takes to blow his head off.
posted by spitbull at 4:43 AM on December 15, 2014


I think the news organisations are the real terrorists. What else is continuous coverage but a deliberate attempt to stir up terror?
That seems a bit unfair. I'm interested in knowing what is happening minute by minute. I'm close by.
Are you accusing all the news teams that are covering this of wanting some sort of tragedy to cover. A lot of the reporters I hear covering this are hoping for a peaceful resolution, including the police. Give them the benefit of the doubt please (does not include Ray Hadley, obviously).
posted by unliteral at 4:45 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


And finally, why is the news so much like a Monty Python sketch these days?

Comrade, you BROUGHT THE WRONG FUCKING FLAG!

The sketch writes itself from there on.
posted by spitbull at 4:47 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


That would be horrific, to be sure, but this guy hardly seems like a pro-grade AQ/ISIS operative of the sort we see in so many other attacks.

Most terrorists are surprisingly unprofessional. Unfortunately, stupid people can still be insanely dangerous, if not even more dangerous than smarter people. Four Lions was based on quite a bit of real life research.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:48 AM on December 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'd say the cops are very likely to be able to take him down if he starts shooting before he kills more than a couple of hostages.
In one of the more absurd interviews conducted by Channel 7 earlier today with a 'previously hostaged person', the guy said, "if there are enough of them they could overpower the guy, they may lose a few, but most of them would survive". YOU FIRST BUDDY.
posted by unliteral at 4:53 AM on December 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


One horrifically stupid dickhead does not an Islamic State Australia is Doomed movement make, regardless of what the news wants people to think. I'd be happy with updates of things that have actually happened, not the continuous regurgitation of the same footage and references to twitter.
posted by h00py at 4:54 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eventually he's going to nod off for the 10 seconds it takes to blow his head off.

In Australia, we really don't blow anybody's head off. Even if you perpetrate one of the worst single-person massacres in history, we're going to do our best to bring you in alive.

The police have been saying since the beginning that their number one priority is resolving this situation peacefully. Everything they've said, all the press conferences they've given, and the careful ways they've worded their responses (they're not even using the word "hostages") appears to back up that claim. I have hope in my heart that this will end with no bloodshed.
posted by Georgina at 4:54 AM on December 15, 2014 [11 favorites]


Oh, I'm all for bringing him in alive, and admire that about Aussie law enforcement. In the US the cops would be drawing lots for who gets the kill shot.

I don't think this guy being unprepared says anything at all about the threat from ISIS. I just think the signs point to someone who, while very, very dangerous, can be outsmarted.
posted by spitbull at 5:00 AM on December 15, 2014


However, it is just not true that Oz cops don't shoot terrorist suspects. It happened two months ago.
posted by spitbull at 5:01 AM on December 15, 2014


It makes me lean towards thinking the hostage taker is an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit.

Yea, i still wonder about and suspect this. And the crappiest part is i bet even if it's later exposed as this, a lot of the damage will already have been done.

I'm not really speculating here in the traditional sense because i don't want this to be true. It just seems increasingly plausible to me, though.
posted by emptythought at 5:14 AM on December 15, 2014


spitbull: "However, it is just not true that Oz cops don't shoot terrorist suspects. It happened two months ago."
A cop shot a guy that was actively, repeatedly stabbing him and his colleague.
posted by brokkr at 5:21 AM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


My thoughts are with the people who are being held hostage. More than anything else I hope this is resolved without bloodshed.
posted by h00py at 5:27 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Was one of his demands seriously for an IS flag? Like, he needs Australia to remedy his flag error? My prayers are with the hostages and I know this is serious, but great shitting Christ, this man is an utter cock.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:37 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Comment deleted "Hostage videos have leaked but won't play on the news for obvious reasons"; let's not link to this stuff at this point when it seems that police are asking people not to publish them. There'll be time later, once it's determined that nobody / operations, etc. could be endangered by spreading that info. Thanks. ]
posted by taz at 5:37 AM on December 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


Several hostage videos have leaked and are floating around out there (don't post them here though, the mods aren't cool with it) - very hard to get a read on how the hostages are holding up, but they're obviously distressed. They seem to reinforce the notion that the hostage-taker is sort of bumbling though it - there's claims of multiple bombs scattered through the CBD, and of affiliation with ISIS.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 5:37 AM on December 15, 2014




It makes me lean towards thinking the hostage taker is an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit.

Yea, i still wonder about and suspect this. And the crappiest part is i bet even if it's later exposed as this, a lot of the damage will already have been done.

I'm not really speculating here in the traditional sense because i don't want this to be true. It just seems increasingly plausible to me, though.


Nope, that's still speculating. If your comment begins with the equivalent of "I think", "My opinion is", or "It seems to me", then you're speculating. You're talking bull. So please stop.
posted by Thing at 5:50 AM on December 15, 2014 [10 favorites]


And as I typed that comment, the gunman's name was released. He's not an "anti-muslim nutjob". That was a quick lesson.
posted by Thing at 5:53 AM on December 15, 2014


The hostage-taker's been named by Nine News - again, the police (and presumably mods here) aren't cool with the information coming out, but it does settle the false flag question.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 5:53 AM on December 15, 2014


Apparently it's this man.
posted by fullerine at 5:56 AM on December 15, 2014


I think it is a pretty normal human reaction to speculate. I see no reason we can't engage in it here in a limited way. There are plenty of traditional media liveblogs if you are just looking for an information feed.
posted by humanfont at 6:01 AM on December 15, 2014


Apparently it's this man.

Well, that supports the case that Four Lions was based on real life.

These are not the professional ISIS terrorists you are looking for.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:04 AM on December 15, 2014


Dog Day Afternoon redux?
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:07 AM on December 15, 2014


> I think it is a pretty normal human reaction to speculate.

There are lots of pretty normal human reactions we don't indulge in here. Your speculations are interesting to no one but yourself; you might as well tell us about the dream you had last night.

Many thanks to the MeFites on the spot who are providing useful background information; I knew I could come here for thoughtful responses.
posted by languagehat at 6:09 AM on December 15, 2014 [19 favorites]


The SMH has an article about the alleged hostage taker.
posted by humanfont at 6:11 AM on December 15, 2014


If I'm reading the Wiki page correctly, he and friend stabbed and "set alight" his ex-wife, resulting in her death. He was released on bail in December 2013 and it is not clear why he is still out. In the year since he's been out on bail, he was arrested and charged with sexual assault. This all seems very strange to me. Why is he not in prison?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:12 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Many thanks to the MeFites on the spot who are providing useful background information

languagehat, I can see the site of the incident from where I sit, and everything is dead silent. It's a peaceful night, no helicopters buzzing the sky, no sirens, a few bats, nothing much at all, other than the occasional croaking frog.

The cockroaches are big this year, and somebody got eaten by a shark the other day.

Our mental health services aren't up to scratch, and the government is removing further funding from them.

That's about all I can report from the coalface.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:16 AM on December 15, 2014 [19 favorites]


If I'm reading the Wiki page correctly, he and friend stabbed and "set alight" his ex-wife, resulting in her death. He was released on bail in December 2013 and it is not clear why he is still out. In the year since he's been out on bail, he was arrested and charged with sexual assault. This all seems very strange to me. Why is he not in prison?

I assume the Australian court system, like most court systems around the world, is horribly clogged and trials and sentences have years of delay.
posted by ymgve at 6:19 AM on December 15, 2014


The ABC feed is now saying the police are happy for him to be identified.
posted by drnick at 6:26 AM on December 15, 2014


From the ABC's feed:
Manny Conditsis is Monis' former lawyer and says public could be assured that the siege was not the work of an organised terrorist group.
"His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness," he said.
"This is a one off random individual. It's not a concerted terrorism event or act. It's a damaged goods individual who's done something outrageous."

posted by drnick at 6:29 AM on December 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


Guy identifies as Ja'fari it seems, which is a legal theory more or less associated with Shia rather than Sunni Islam, which in the light of his demands to be provided with an ISIS flag to replace the wrong one he brought with him, indicates he's one confused nutter.
posted by Jimbob at 6:30 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


That and the fact that according to the article he seems to claim himself to be an expert in astrology, numerology, meditation and black magic; which makes me think he did not take islam very seriously, either.
posted by Tarumba at 6:33 AM on December 15, 2014


There are reports that he converted from Shia to Sunni just a short time ago.
posted by Thing at 6:34 AM on December 15, 2014


Guy identifies as Ja'fari it seems, which is a legal theory more or less associated with Shia rather than Sunni Islam, which in the light of his demands to be provided with an ISIS flag to replace the wrong one he brought with him, indicates he's one confused nutter.
Until a few minutes ago, his Wikipedia page said "In December 2014 Haron announced that he used to be a Rafidi but he had converted to Islam, he announced it both on his website and his Facebook page". The page for "Rafidi" then informs me that it "refers to those who, in the opinion of the person using the term, reject legitimate Islamic authority and leadership", and furthermore "the term is used today by some Sunni Muslims to refer to Shia Muslims who do not recognize Abu Bakr and his successors as having been legitimate rulers (Rashidun) of the early Muslim community."

So, unless Wikipedia has misled me, I don't think finding something that he's said which was based on Shia beliefs is some sort of gotcha.
posted by Flunkie at 6:42 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Guys, please drop the continued meta derail about "speculation." Metatalk is the spot for that.]
posted by taz at 6:45 AM on December 15, 2014


So, that seems to be all wrapped up. Turn off the attention machine and let him fade away please.
posted by unliteral at 6:46 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sounds like he's less interested in any kind of religious experience than he is in exerting power over others, especially against women. He's a depressingly familiar sort of person, criminal or otherwise. What a simpering thundershit. May he choke on a bumblebee.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 AM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Or, what the Tasmanian Devil said.
posted by unliteral at 6:47 AM on December 15, 2014


Well, maybe at least try and focus on the lone nutbag, not IsisOhMyGod. There are still people being held hostage who need to get home.
posted by h00py at 6:49 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


A cop shot a guy that was actively, repeatedly stabbing him and his colleague.
posted by brokkr


Yeah so? I applaud the shooting of that suspect, I'm not criticizing it. Too bad they didn't get him a few minutes sooner. And being an American sort, I'm rooting for the current case to end with a bullet to the head of this misogynist fucker. My point is simply that Australian cops do in fact have a protocol for shooting terrorist suspects, and I'm damn glad they do

Despite the gun laws, there is nothing especially peaceful about Anglo-Australian culture or law enforcement. I know what I know about it from following the Aboriginal critique of both state and federal law enforcement over decades, which is quite resonant in some ways with the history of police abuse of minorities in the US and Europe. Few Americans know how many Aboriginal people have been killed in police custody, many innocent or guilty of minor offenses. In fact there was an entire commission on the matter in 1987.

The idea that Australia is a calm, peaceful, rational democracy not founded on the violence of a colonial settler state that carries on to today is pernicious and appealing to Americans who don't know about the history of Oz. Compared to the US it isn't nearly as violent, but that's not saying that much.
posted by spitbull at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


More hostages have just emerged. Looked like several women and then a man who collapsed and was helped by police.

Please let this be the end.
posted by Georgina at 7:07 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


>If I'm reading the Wiki page correctly, he and friend stabbed and "set alight" his ex-wife, resulting in her death. He was released on bail in December 2013 and it is not clear why he is still out. In the year since he's been out on bail, he was arrested and charged with sexual assault. This all seems very strange to me. Why is he not in prison?

I assume the Australian court system, like most court systems around the world, is horribly clogged and trials and sentences have years of delay.


That's not the point. The man is a menace to society, particularly to women. Why was he not locked up?
posted by Nevin at 7:09 AM on December 15, 2014


Compared to the US it isn't nearly as violent, but that's not saying that much.
Oh yes it is.
posted by unliteral at 7:09 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Grauniad reports that 5-7 hostages left the cafe after a series of loud bangs.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:12 AM on December 15, 2014


Police seem to be going into the cafe now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM on December 15, 2014


Magic and Islam have come together (see the Malaysian bomohs).
posted by divabat at 7:16 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's not the point. The man is a menace to society, particularly to women. Why was he not locked up?

He was locked up. When his accessory to murder charge was found to be a weak case by the prosecution he was bailed. When he was initially taken in on the sexual assault charges he was refused bail as well. He was probably eventually bailed because the alleged offenses happened a decade ago on he-said-she-said evidence.

Magistrates can't be all powerful soothsayers who need to predict some guy will become the next gunman to hold up the Lindt cafe. You can't keep someone on remand just because or to act as some sort of extra-judicial punishment on a hunch.
posted by Talez at 7:18 AM on December 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


Grauniad says that police officers in night vision goggles are storming the cafe, throwing (flash?) grenades. Gunfire is happening. One person has been injured - perhaps a police officer.

I don't want to jinx anything, so I'll leave it at that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:25 AM on December 15, 2014


They're sending in a bomb disposal robot now.
posted by Jimbob at 7:32 AM on December 15, 2014


spitbull: "Yeah so? I applaud the shooting of that suspect, I'm not criticizing it. Too bad they didn't get him a few minutes sooner."
That would have been before he even drew a knife.

I know you weren't criticizing the decision to shoot. It is by now clear you think police should shoot people before they have done anything. What I was trying to imply is that there's a difference to shooting someone because they are attacking you with a knife and shooting a hostage taker just because you can.
posted by brokkr at 7:34 AM on December 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


NSW police: Sydney siege is over. More details to follow.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:46 AM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Really hoping Channel 7 is wrong in reporting two dead.
posted by Jimbob at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2014


The aforementioned friend with the FB status update has indirectly started a hashtag movement.
posted by divabat at 7:58 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Aww geez. Multiple outlets now saying police told them two dead, including gunman and one hostage. Horrible.
posted by Jimbob at 8:02 AM on December 15, 2014


So sorry for the injured and the families.

I just watched the Channel 7 footage of the flashbangs while the police entered. Absolutely terrifying. The survivors are going to deal with terrible memories of the whole ordeal for the rest of their lives, I can't imagine.
posted by torticat at 8:15 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


From the NYT, regarding Monis:
A Muslim community leader in Sydney, Dr. Jamal Rifi, said in a televised interview that “everything he stands for is wrong.” “It has nothing to do with Islam as a religion whatsoever, and we have all seen that by his previous action and his current actions,” Mr. Rifi said of Mr. Monis.

It appears that about sums it up. His so-called "beliefs" are all over the map, and it looks like he just did damage wherever he went.
posted by torticat at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


They put in so much effort to get this to end peacefully. I'm so sad that it ended this way, and hope we'll get some understanding as to why the police felt they had to go in when they did.

My heart goes out to the families of the dead and injured.
posted by Georgina at 8:41 AM on December 15, 2014


If I'm reading the Wiki page correctly, he and friend stabbed and "set alight" his ex-wife, resulting in her death.

Man, I was trying to figure out what happened with his ex-wife. It's very terrible and confusing. The 2001 interview here says

He is Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi, a liberal cleric who fled Iran four years ago after being very critical of the Iranian regime. Ayatollah Boroujerdi's wife and two daughters are now under house arrest in Iran, and he's hoping the Howard government will put pressure on the regime there to let his family join him here in Australia.

Then as reported,

He was charged in November 2013 with being an accessory before and after the fact to the murder of his ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal.

So sometime between '01 and '13, Noleen Hayson Pal managed to emigrate from Iran as well, only to be stabbed and burned to death in Australia? Also, if she was only 30 when she died, then she could have been only about 13 when Monis supposedly left her with two children in Iran, in 1996?

I don't understand the details, but in any case what a terrible life the poor woman had.
posted by torticat at 9:05 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


He may have had more than one wife, either successively or simultaneously.

I'm sure there will be a lot of second-guessing going on over the next few days, but for my part I'm wondering whether he had mental health issues that could have been identified earlier and, if so, whether this could have all been averted. The cost of putting the Sydney CBD on lockdown would pay for a great many social workers and therapists.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:16 AM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


My conspiracy theory is that this is a frame job by anti-Muslims - posted by divabat

It makes me lean towards thinking the hostage taker is an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit - posted by humanfont


Reading these kinds of BS 'false-flag' comments on the AJE website was depressing enough, but seeing them on Metafilter...
posted by rosswald at 9:32 AM on December 15, 2014 [11 favorites]


Hence "conspiracy theory" (meant facetiously, but I can see how it came off badly). I'm more thinking about how anti-Muslim sentiment is ridiculously on the rise in Australia, to the point that my Muslim-country-passport self is concerned about returning there, and the request for a different flag made it sound dodgy. But I wasn't thinking, like, "OMG it's a Government plant".
posted by divabat at 9:41 AM on December 15, 2014


I'm wondering whether he had mental health issues that could have been identified earlier

Earlier tonight, I came across an article describing how Man Haron Monis was granted bail. Magistrate Darryl Pearce's stated that Monis and his partner Amira Droudis weren't a threat to the community, only to Noleen Hayson Pal.

Obviously, Pearce couldn't know what was going to happen today. I don't blame him for that. But I do think the idea that a man accused of stabbing and setting somebody on fire isn't a threat to the larger community is one borne largely of gendered concepts, specifically the idea that if a man harms his romantic partner/ex-partner it's not because he's dangerous or mentally ill, but because OMG Manly Passions or maybe She Really Drove Him To It.

If Monis and had stabbed and then set a man on fire, I doubt he would've been considered to not be a threat to society.

Our justice system failed a lot of people by granting Monis bail.
posted by Georgina at 10:09 AM on December 15, 2014 [18 favorites]


Police have confirmed that two people died, including the gunman.
posted by Thing at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2014


man this thread is a rorschach test
posted by lalochezia at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Our justice system failed a lot of people by granting Monis bail.

Cf. Dear Zachary, in which a murderer was granted bail because their crime had been seen as "particularized". The murderer went on to commit another, related murder/suicide.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2014


"conspiracy theory" is the new "well, I realize that this may sound racist, but isn't it funny that ..." ?

or, in other words, simply adding a disclaimer to the beginning of a statement doesn't excuse one from the responsibility of making the statement.

As a Canadian for whom the Ottawa shootings were not so long ago, I just want to say, "I'm sorry, Australia. I'm sorry that you've also lost some of your own in this. May this also unfold without a cost to your multiculturalism and tolerance. May you find your way out of it sanely, as we all are striving to."

And also, if anyone comes to you with specious and condescending opinions about your 'lost innocence' know that we're happy to buy you a drink after you tell them to piss off.

Good show on #illridewithyou.
posted by bl1nk at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


Contrary to my comment a few minutes ago, the police have only confirmed that the gunman is dead, not any of the hostages. Sorry about the confusion.
posted by Thing at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2014


"conspiracy theory" is the new "well, I realize that this may sound racist, but isn't it funny that ..." ?

Does this also apply if the person making the statement (again, facetiously) is also someone likely to be directly affected as a consequence of this fallout?
posted by divabat at 10:21 AM on December 15, 2014


I'd speculate that maybe MeTa is the way to go with this, if this is indeed something that needs to continue.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2014


Three dead, including gunman. NSW Police statement

.
posted by lwb at 10:41 AM on December 15, 2014


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posted by tonycpsu at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2014


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posted by gaspode at 10:49 AM on December 15, 2014


It is by now clear you think police should shoot people before they have done anything.

I can't imagine why you'd infer this from anything I said. An intention to commit a violent act is "doing something."
posted by spitbull at 10:49 AM on December 15, 2014


What I was trying to imply is that there's a difference to shooting someone because they are attacking you with a knife and shooting a hostage taker just because you can.

This too strikes me as splitting hairs. If your relative was being held hostage by a gunman, you'd see "shooting a hostage taker" as an appropriate response. Someone holding people at gunpoint while surrounded by armed police is in the midst of committing a violent act, not about to.
posted by spitbull at 10:52 AM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


My heart goes out to the families of the victims. I guess there is some relief that it has turned out to be a lone, disturbed, idiot responsible, but this is not the resolution hoped for.

.
posted by arha at 11:11 AM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


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posted by en forme de poire at 11:24 AM on December 15, 2014


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posted by divabat at 11:26 AM on December 15, 2014


Those poor people. Goddamn.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:28 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


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posted by DingoMutt at 11:31 AM on December 15, 2014


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posted by oceanjesse at 11:56 AM on December 15, 2014


I'm so sad that it ended this way, and hope we'll get some understanding as to why the police felt they had to go in when they did.

According to The Guardian, just before the police stormed the cafe, 5-7 hostages unexpectedly fled, followed by loud bangs. That probably forced their hand. We don't yet know what people knew or could have known at the time.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:58 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


.
.
.

Thoughts and compassion for the families and loved ones of every person affected. Including Man Haron Manis'.



“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Mr Rogers.


― Fred Rogers
posted by taff at 12:16 PM on December 15, 2014 [11 favorites]


.
posted by sukeban at 12:26 PM on December 15, 2014




He may have had more than one wife, either successively or simultaneously.

Yeah. In which case, sometime after 2001, when he was said he was waiting for his wife & two children to join him in Australia from Iran, he married again, had two more children, and divorced & fought over custody; and then his second wife was murdered.

Bizarre either way, and in that case I feel bad for both his wives and his four children, not to mention the other women who came in contact with him. With the wake of misery he left behind him, it's a very sad thing he couldn't have been stopped before today.

But he was evidently a troubled man, and who knows how much of what he said in that 2001 interview was true anyway.
posted by torticat at 12:28 PM on December 15, 2014


.

Never again.
posted by Quilford at 12:34 PM on December 15, 2014


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posted by gudrun at 12:38 PM on December 15, 2014


Our justice system failed a lot of people by granting Monis bail.

The part that gets me is that he was charged in connection with his ex-wife's murder last year and granted bail and then he was charged in March of this year with sexually assaulting a woman and still was walking the streets. Exactly how many rapes and murders does one have to be charged with before you get denied bail?
posted by MikeMc at 12:44 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Foosnark at 12:54 PM on December 15, 2014


Such a tragedy. I was so proud of the police commissioner saying again and again yesterday that they were committed to resolving this peacefully and with no violence, and I believed it, too. Made me proud of our police (not so much our fucking media, or ridiculously melodramatic politicians, fueling the tsunami of Islamaphobia and racism Australia hosts).

I can't imagine the what-ifs flying through those officers and negotiators working on this would have be thinking today.
posted by smoke at 1:04 PM on December 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Manny Conditsis is Monis' former lawyer and says public could be assured that the siege was not the work of an organised terrorist group.

"His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness," he said.

"This is a one off random individual. It's not a concerted terrorism event or act. It's a damaged goods individual who's done something outrageous.""
and this:

The best thing Hartcher has written for years.
posted by smoke at 1:06 PM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Re: the Hartcher piece, I was traveling in and around the city on public transport and was very cheered to see how calm everyone was. The only thing I noticed was perhaps people checking their phones more than usual.

This surely cannot be characterised as Islamic terrorism. The most terror I ever saw was what the Daily Tele's editors apparently felt. It was just a lone nutjob, railing against the world, and rather than being "the moment which changed us," as the aforementioned paper would have it, it strikes me as something which will soon be forgotten, as the media directs our collective attention elsewhere.
posted by Quilford at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, it's now the morning and I'm heading into work. It's rush hour and the roads are deserted by Sydney standards. It looks like a lot of people are still avoiding the CBD even though it's all over.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:27 PM on December 15, 2014


.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:50 PM on December 15, 2014


We were told not to come in today, office is still inaccessible in the exclusion zone. We were right next door to Lindt and evacuated after six hours in lockdown yesterday. Considering how regularly people from the office go to that Lindt I doubt much work would be getting done after the news this morning.
posted by moorooka at 2:02 PM on December 15, 2014


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posted by Jubey at 2:08 PM on December 15, 2014


I hope this finally leads to the much-needed clampdown on internet access ("he posted imagery online") and civil liberties ("he moved about in three dimensional space") that have long cast their shadow over this nation.

Rupert Murdoch: "Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am."

You revolting slime.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:13 PM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


It makes me lean towards thinking the hostage taker is an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit - posted by humanfont

Reading these kinds of BS 'false-flag' comments on the AJE website was depressing enough, but seeing them on Metafilter...
I'm not suggesting some grand conspiracy by a shadowy government agency. A lone nutter acting on his own isn't a false flag conspiracy. I stand by my assessment of his sanity and motivations. He spent the last two decades trying to stir up trouble for Muslims in Australia by trolling the press with outrageous statements. He admits to dabbling black magic and heresy. In his writings he comes across to me as a rather hateful and evil troll, not a true believer. Perhaps he repented and became a real follower of ISIS in the last few months, but it seems more likely to me that he just updated his old act. The fake sheik who gets attention saying the most awful and repugnant things while fleecing vulnerable people out of their money selling curses and wards against black magic. Facing a trial and jail with his bullshit exposed, he made the decision to try to take everyone with him in a blaze of glory. One last attempt to make life miserable for Australian Muslims through an act of terror.
posted by humanfont at 2:14 PM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


This isn't something I say often, but I'm proud of the way that the NSW Police handled this situation. They made a concerted effort to avoid a violent outcome. The Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner did not engage in rampant speculation, race baiting or Islamphobia - they were calm and measured. The city evac, overreaction though it may have been, was calm and orderly. Coordination with public transport was well managed.

And, because someone died, they instantly opened a critical incident investigation.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:23 PM on December 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


.

My housemate has also been told to stay home, he works on Philip St. And I'm guessing a lot of people cancelled trips to the city yesterday when the police announced that the exclusion zone would continue into today.

I just had to turn off Triple J (who should be better at this), as the presenter was waxing lyrical about the illridewithyou hashtag. About how Australians were offering to accompany Muslims on public transport, and what great things that says about Australians.... What it says about Australians is that a group of Australians are legitimately fearful, based on historical precedent and probably personal experience, of being harassed by a second group of Australians, who are racist fuckwits, and so a third group of Australians are expressing solidarity with the first group whilst distancing themselves from the second group. It reminds me of the Chris Rock interview posted earlier this month: There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. Yes, it's newsworthy that the third group of Australians is becoming more predominant than the racist fuckwits.
posted by kjs4 at 2:26 PM on December 15, 2014 [15 favorites]


What a terrible outcome. I awoke from a dream this morning, where the news in my dream was that the hostage situation was over and everybody was safe and alive.

Then I realised I couldn't possibly know that as I hadn't heard the news at all.

My thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims, and also to the hostages who survived who will have a lot of trauma to work through.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:41 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


.

- for the two hostages who died. Tragic.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 2:47 PM on December 15, 2014


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posted by Coaticass at 3:04 PM on December 15, 2014


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posted by snap, crackle and pop at 3:06 PM on December 15, 2014


Interesting - my bus from the Eastern suburbs this morning had "racism stops with me", "racism is never acceptable," and similar ads playing on the overhead screen. Good to see the transport authorities getting on the anti-islamophobia bandwagon.
posted by olinerd at 3:39 PM on December 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


What it says about Australians is that a group of Australians are legitimately fearful, based on historical precedent and probably personal experience, of being harassed by a second group of Australians, who are racist fuckwits, and so a third group of Australians are expressing solidarity with the first group whilst distancing themselves from the second group.

That's actually pretty significant. Expressing sympathy is one thing; it's not nothing, but sympathy very often evaporates or is walked back ("I felt sorry for the X's but after reading about their horrid behaviour ..."). Declaring yourself to be on the side of the underdog is a genuine commitment; it's much more substantial.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:45 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


rosswald: "Reading these kinds of BS 'false-flag' comments on the AJE website was depressing enough, but seeing them on Metafilter..."

humanfont: "I'm not suggesting some grand conspiracy by a shadowy government agency. A lone nutter acting on his own isn't a false flag conspiracy."

While "false flag" originally only referred to actions by groups or organizations, its meaning has now been extended to individuals. Since rosswald never used the word "conspiracy" or "government", I'm pretty sure that's how he meant it.

If it isn't how he meant it, then I'll go ahead and say that I myself find it depressing to read these lone-wolf false flag comments on Metafilter.
posted by Bugbread at 3:49 PM on December 15, 2014


Declaring yourself to be on the side of the underdog is a genuine commitment; it's much more substantial.

That's what I liked so much about the #illridewithyou thing. It felt as if the community was faced with a sudden fork in the road: do we retreat into shells of Islamophobic fear & loathing, or do we refuse to allow the actions of one guy to change our attitudes towards our fellow Australians of Islamic faith?

Without doubt, as a refugee and a Muslim cleric the perpetrator of this crime will be held up as a poster boy for years to come by right wing groups like the self-styled "Australian Defence League" (whose leaders are ironically of Italian and Maltese economic migrant stock) but the many thousands of people who sent #illridewithyou to the global top of twitter show that we have had enough of the fear and demonisation, and will take a stand against it.

The Murdoch press in particular play a leading role in fanning the fires of hatred. They manage to dedicate at least two pages of every single issue of the Daily Telegraph tabloid (and surely its sister papers in other cities, some of which are one-paper towns like Adelaide) to rant on about the latest Muslim they found claiming welfare or not paying a parking fine, or about the 50 out of 500,000 Aussie Muslims who have reportedly travelled to the Middle East, ostensibly to fight for (or against) ISIS/ISIL.

These two minutes of hate plagiarised directly from 1984 are all blatantly intended to prop up the Abbott government and its tedious "national security" blatherings, surveillance state ambitions, secret courts, gagging of the press, and abhorrent punitive policies towards people seeking asylum.

#illridewithyou is a voice of the people saying to Murdoch: "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me...motherfucker!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:13 PM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


frame job by anti-Muslims

an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit


My point was (is) that there are certain narratives on both 'the left' and 'the right' that involve hewing certain situations towards their point-of-view despite most signs pointing the other direction. I don't think Islamic motivated terrorism is unique or poses some existential threat to civilization or any of that crap; though I hate the phrase "a religion of peace" I think the sentiment reflects the practice of that vast majority of Muslims.

The perpetrator being a 'right-wing-nut' fits a certain narrative and, frankly, 'Islamic terrorism' does not. Suggest one, minimize the other...
posted by rosswald at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2014


Ubu - I seriously doubt that the Murdoch tabloids have much influence anymore. Anyone who reads and takes seriously anything more than the sport pages or the form guide is already a rusted on moron.
posted by mattoxic at 4:24 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm puzzled why you would attempt to create some not found in any reference work definition of "false flag" to further an ad hominem attack on me. Why would mention of the possible motivations of the attacker depress you?
posted by humanfont at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2014


(I used the term loosely, and I am sorry humanfront - my intention was not to call you or anyone out. I don't think you are a "bad person" or anything, though I do though think my point stands: I find these kinds of comments, whatever the label, problematic.)
posted by rosswald at 4:34 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


The best thing Hartcher has written for years.

Yeah, weird right? When a politician isn't giving Hartcher a press release to copy he can be quite eloquent.
posted by mattoxic at 4:38 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


humanfont: "I'm puzzled why you would attempt to create some not found in any reference work definition of "false flag" to further an ad hominem attack on me."

I don't know if you were directing that comment at me or at rosswald, but if it was me: I wasn't intending to make an ad hominem attack, and I'm not sure how you interpreted it as one. I just meant that I find those kinds of comments to be depressing.

Also, that's what I've always interpreted "false-flag" to mean, not a new definition I created on the spot. I'm more of a descriptivist than a prescriptivist, so I guess I'll just avoid the phrase for a while and try to get a feel for how other people use it (what reference works say doesn't matter that much to me when it comes to language usage). It is a shame, though, because "false-flag" is so concise, while "pretending-to-be-the-opposition-while-doing-something-bad-so-people-will-blame-the-opposition" is...not so concise.
posted by Bugbread at 4:44 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anyone who reads and takes seriously anything more than the sport pages or the form guide is already a rusted on moron.


And yet elections are won & lost on just a few percentage points.

Not everybody follows politics or news religiously, and that section of society can be quite easily swayed by the impressions they get from front pages and headlines, as they skim through their limited news paper looking for the celebrity gossip or sports reports.

When was the last time an election was won with the Murdoch press backing the other side?

Keating in 1993?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 PM on December 15, 2014


Ubu - I seriously doubt that the Murdoch tabloids have much influence anymore.

I think you are likely wrong about that. The Daily Telegraph is the 3rd most read news outlet in Australia. Another Murdoch sewer trap, the Herald Sun, holds the 2nd place spot.

My colleagues in the NSW state government are far more concerned with the reporting in the News Ltd publications than they are with Fairfax. News Ltd is where the Liberal party base, Howard's Aussie Battlers of old, goes for news, such as it may be.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:47 PM on December 15, 2014




I think you are likely wrong about that. The Daily Telegraph is the 3rd most read news outlet in Australia. Another Murdoch sewer trap, the Herald Sun, holds the 2nd place spot.

But read? What the sports pages? Because it's lying around in a cafe or a lunch room. My point was that its influence is waning.

Living in Melbourne the Herald Sun campaigned strongly against Andrews with nice long puff pieces on Napthine. A front page unflattering picture of Andrews with DON'T TRUST him as the headline. Both The Age and the Herald Sun editorials urged that the Liberals should be returned, but they were ignored.
posted by mattoxic at 4:53 PM on December 15, 2014


Both The Age and the Herald Sun editorials urged that the Liberals should be returned, but they were ignored.

The Age is a Fairfax property.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:54 PM on December 15, 2014


yeah, I know.
posted by mattoxic at 4:58 PM on December 15, 2014


yeah, I know.

Ah, I see - so you are arguing that the influence of news media (ie print/online text) in general is waning?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:00 PM on December 15, 2014


I have ignored the Murdoch press as much as possible. I was reacting to the coverage by an ABC organisation that was othering Muslims in the language used (he specifically distinguished 'Australians' from the 'Muslims' they were offering to help), and was saying that this reflected well on 'Australians', ignoring the fact that it's other Australians that are doing the harassing, and apparently writing idiotic news stories in their papers. (I'm now off to write a grumpy email to Triple J)

#illridewithyou isn't nothing, but it shouldn't be necessary.
posted by kjs4 at 5:06 PM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]




Ah, I see - so you are arguing that the influence of news media (ie print/online text) in general is waning?

Yeah, sorry. Did.
posted by mattoxic at 5:15 PM on December 15, 2014


frame job by anti-Muslims
an anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit


In what universe was some non-Muslim going to take hostages, hope to call wrath down on Muslims, then have it all end without anybody finding out they weren't actually a Muslim at all? Were they planning to have just enough outrage to last while they were inside, and figured that'd be worth risking death by cop or commando? I'm going to presume any real 'anti-Muslim nutjob' with a half-serious agenda would think this through longer than you two did.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:15 PM on December 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


Are we seriously debating whether Murdoch is a menace to society? I'd be thrilled if his influence is waning in Australia, but...damn.
Also, maybe we can stop arguing about the false flag/frame job/whatever notion now that some of the facts are available.
posted by uosuaq at 5:19 PM on December 15, 2014


Are we seriously debating whether Murdoch is a menace to society?

Well he is yeah?
posted by mattoxic at 5:22 PM on December 15, 2014


One reassuring aspect of this: at least nobody (to my knowledge) has pretended that if everybody in the café was carrying a concealed weapon, the siege would have turned out any better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:31 PM on December 15, 2014


Tune into (US) Fox News if you dare, UbuRoivas. It'll get said.
I forget...who runs Fox News again?
posted by uosuaq at 5:47 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Something kind of weird. I'm on holiday in the Philippines and have been watching on the Australia Plus channel. About 20 minutes ago the picture started breaking up and one of the older pictures of Monis holding up a large piece of paper with his grievances on cyclically (period about 3 seconds) kept partially being increasingly superimposed on the regular broadcast picture. This went on for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes then the signal cut completely for a minute then came back normal. No other channel had this and turning the TV on/off had no effect. I managed to snap one photo before it cut off, not the clearest example I saw but you can see Monis partially superimposed on the presenter. You can have a look here. Rather odd.
posted by drnick at 5:48 PM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


A wrap-up on what apparently happened at the café:
THE manager of the Lindt cafe who was fatally shot in the Martin Place siege is being praised as a hero, responsible for allowing others trapped in the cafe to escape.

Tori Johnson, 34, was wrestling a gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis when he was killed. [...]
The second hostage killed has been identified as Katrina Dawson, 38. The mother-of-three is the sister of well known Sydney lawyer Sandy Dawson.

Ms Dawson was tragically killed trying to defend her pregnant friend, AAP reports.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:17 PM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


One of the ramifications of this incident will likely be a great deal of (probably poorly informed) outrage regarding bail conditions. The Sydney Morning Herald just published this article on Monis' criminal history. Leaving aside the charge of accessory to murder, he had also racked up a ridiculous number of sexual assault charges in recent months:
In January this year, a 27-year-old woman complained to police that she had been sexually assaulted by Monis, after attending "spiritual healing sessions" in response to an advertisement placed in newspapers aimed at the Fijian-Indian, Macedonian, Spanish and Chinese communities.

That complaint triggered a police investigation, which saw Monis charged on April 14 with three sexual assault charges against one woman. The charges were sexual intercourse without consent and two charges of assault with act of indecency.

The woman was visiting him at a property in Station Street, Wentworthville, in August 2002. He appeared before Magistrate Christine Haskett at Kogarah Local Court. He was refused bail.

On May 26, he was granted bail at Parramatta Local Court by Magistrate Joan Baptie. The conditions placed on him in December 2013 were reinstated although he was to live at an address in Wiley Park.

On October 10, he was charged with a further 40 sexual assault charges against six women. This included 22 counts of aggravated sexual assault, 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault, one count of aggravated act of indecency, one count of sexual assault and two counts of assault with act of indecency. The women were visiting him at Wentworthville where he was offering services as a "spiritual healer". His bail was continued by Magistrate Dorelle Pinch.
With those charges, it is confusing to me why this guy received bail. That's an issue worth exploring in and of itself. But his previous criminal history doesn't seem to indicate that he was a risk for this kind of terrorist aping - I think it will be very difficult to keep the public debate from conflating bail policy with terrorism response issues, and it will all be stained by general Islamophobia.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:23 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hard not to wonder how many ways it could have gone differently if people didn't escape, he wasn't presumably wrestled for the gun, police had acted sooner, etc etc. Terrible sense of possibility that no one is responsible for, and hopefully no one will feel burdened with.
posted by smoke at 6:46 PM on December 15, 2014


I'm going to presume any real 'anti-Muslim nutjob' with a half-serious agenda would think this through longer than you two did.

No true anti-muslim nut job is that like no true scotsman? Perhaps your expectations for the plans of lunatics are too high. It seems to me that Monis was a pretty hateful person who was committed multiple acts of anti-social violence in direct conflict with his self-described roles and values. The loving husband who allegedly conspired to murder his wife. The spiritual healer who allegedly assaulted his patients. Consider that Monis wrote the following in October of this year:
Islam is the religion of peace and a Muslim should be a peace activist....Islam is against oppression and any unfair violence. Islam is against terrorism. As I have repeatedly said earlier: 'this pen is my gun and these words are my bullets, I fight by these weapons against oppression to promote peace'.
Contrast this with how he chose to spend the last 24 hours of his life. It fits into a pattern. All his public claims are like some trojan horse persona -- a vehicle for infiltration and destruction.
posted by humanfont at 7:10 PM on December 15, 2014


The more likely explanation would seem to be that irrational and possibly mentally ill people do irrational and mentally ill things.
posted by Justinian at 7:12 PM on December 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


With those charges, it is confusing to me why this guy received bail. That's an issue worth exploring in and of itself.

It's curious that all 3 magistrates who either gave or continued his bail for the sexual allegations were female.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:21 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


(ETA: ah, just realised this story I linked is paywalled, sorry. Carry on.)
posted by retrograde at 7:21 PM on December 15, 2014


We have actual Australian lawyers and people with judicial roles here, but my understanding is that offenders in Australia typically receive bail unless there's a good reason they shouldn't. In this case he had received bail for the accessory-to-murder charge back in December. The magistrate found the case against him to be "weak". Subsequently, in January, there was a complaint of sexual assault made against him. He was charged with alleged offenses that were more than ten years old, and his lawyer would presumably have said that (a) the age of the offenses meant that he wasn't a present risk; and (b) the existing bail conditions (for the accessory to murder charge) would be a sufficient safeguard. And indeed they were: nobody is suggesting he sexually assaulted anyone in the last year.

I presume nobody knew he was going to explode like this. A tougher bail system might have protected us in this case, but it wouldn't protect us against someone who wasn't presently on bail. If I were dictator I would probably have said "This guy is a nasty fellow and a bit of a nutter, chuck him in jail." But that's not how we operate: people get locked up either as punishment or, reluctantly, if we believe they're going to be punished and we're scared of what they may do in the interim.

To the extent that this could have been averted, I believe it comes down to social services: he was in the system, perhaps someone could have picked up on his extreme rage. Or perhaps not. Lots of people are angry, how much intrusion and intervention into their lives is warranted, particularly before they are actually convicted? Ultimately, we have to decide what rules we want to apply to everyone. I think it's good that people generally receive bail. I think it's good that the conditions applied to them are generally not too onerous. We seem to be sufficiently protected against the threats we know about. This was a threat we didn't, and as far as I know couldn't have known about.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:57 PM on December 15, 2014 [14 favorites]


Subsequently, in January, there was a complaint of sexual assault made against him. He was charged with alleged offenses that were more than ten years old.

Thanks for that, Joe. I missed that the sexual assaults (including the 40 additional charges I mentioned above) were from 2002, even though the charges were only laid a few months ago.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:10 PM on December 15, 2014


We have actual Australian lawyers and people with judicial roles here, but my understanding is that offenders in Australia typically receive bail unless there's a good reason they shouldn't.

I'm one of them, albeit not a criminal lawyer. But I can tell you that bail laws vary state by state.

In NSW, before May 2014, there wasn't a blanket presumption of bail - it varied by offence.

The current government actually made some changes to the bail laws fairly recently - they came into effect in May. These have been described as creating an presumption against bail for 'serious offences' including 'personal violence' - this includes sexual assaults. Notably, you can only refuse bail if you are satisfied that there is an 'unacceptable risk' that cannot be mitigated by bail conditions - see s 20 of the Bail Act 2013 (NSW), and s17 re 'unacceptable risk'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:24 PM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


There's change.org petition now calling for tougher bail conditions. I must admit I find this pretty conflicting, I'm more than happy to leave bail setting up to judges and magistrates. I really don't want to live in a society where there's some race to be the toughest on crime - but then again...
posted by mattoxic at 8:25 PM on December 15, 2014


His thoughts were red thoughts: Sorry for laysplaining :-)

Here's an interesting thing about Monis, per Wikipedia. Monis was prosecuted for writing nasty (and quite loony) letters to the families of soldiers killed there. He was charged with "using a postal or similar service to menace, harass or cause offence". I think this wouldn't have been illegal in the USA, but the law here protects our freedom of speech to a much, much lesser extent. He appealed to the High Court, the top appeals court of Australia, arguing that this law constrained his ability to communicate on matters of political importance, a right that is recognised as being implicit in the Australian Constitution: you can't have elections if you can't talk about them. This appeal was potentially a very significant case, because it would potentially affect all sorts of laws that relate to political speech. Alas, the Court at the time was one Justice short, and it split evenly on the matter: three-three. Monis' appeal was therefore rejected and it may be a long time until we learn whether we really do have freedom of political speech here in Australia.

Incidentally, the most recent part of his case was heard four days ago, on Friday. I think it's quite likely that his failure on that appeal may have triggered his attack.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:08 PM on December 15, 2014


Huh. Well, this was prescient:

Radical Muslim cleric goes unchecked
Rachael Kohn - opinion

Updated 19 Nov 2009, 10:58am
Sheik Haron is a controversial figure amongst Australia's religious communities. ABC's Religion broadcaster, Rachael Kohn, questions how Sheik Haron has been allowed to proliferate his own brand of exremism for so long.

"[...] The trouble is that Sheik Haron, as he calls himself, can seem a bit too loony to take seriously, but this is a mistake. The self-styled mufti is no shrinking violet when it comes to promoting hatred of the West and justifying violence in the name of Allah. Nor is he lacking funds to produce his elaborate propaganda. [...]
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:18 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: Sorry for laysplaining :-)

Not at all. You weren't strictly wrong, but it's an area of law that is somewhat changeable at the moment. I just wanted to add the direct links to the legislation.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:33 PM on December 15, 2014


Perhaps your expectations for the plans of lunatics are too high. It seems to me that Monis was a pretty hateful person who was committed multiple acts of anti-social violence in direct conflict with his self-described roles and values.

There was no 'anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit', and it was never plausible that there was. You prematurely prognosticated. It's embarrassing, but you'll get over it.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:36 PM on December 15, 2014


There was no 'anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit', and it was never plausible that there was.

Yes, it was when I started finding it plausible that I knew I had to take a break.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:51 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


So in your opinion he was sane, pro-Muslim and unaware of how his actions might impact the Australian Muslim community?
posted by humanfont at 10:29 PM on December 15, 2014


Guy has a history of unstable behavior and violence. Recently converted to Sunni Islam. Attacked some people and took hostages while espousing support for other Sunni Islam radical groups which attack people and take hostages. It does not require either a rocket scientist or a false flag conspiracy theory to put these pieces together. It's like a 2 piece puzzle where we also have a picture of the completed puzzle.
posted by Justinian at 10:52 PM on December 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


That's incredibly disingenuous humanfont, maybe bow out gracefully?
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 11:21 PM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


humanfont, come on. Deciding the guy was not an "anti-muslim nutjob trying to start some shit" does not entail believing he was "sane, pro-Muslim and unaware of how his actions might impact the Australian Muslim community." That's like logic 101, the fallacy of denying the antecedent or something like that.
posted by torticat at 11:27 PM on December 15, 2014


The false flag / muslim thing is getting a little stale yeah? This guy was a vexatious litigant who had burnt his bridges and was about to be jailed. Nutjob - Who knew? no false flag, no political motivation - nutjob. Seung-Hui Cho, Martin Bryant no motivation beyond personal.

It's just a pity that he unfurled an black flag with the islamic creed. Pity he didn't accidentally bring along a sportsgirl or a boxing kangarooo flag.
posted by mattoxic at 11:55 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


.
posted by homunculus at 12:01 AM on December 16, 2014


He spent his life scamming Muslims to swindle them financially and rape and abuse them. He cultivated a image as the "hate sheik" and professed to be able to practice black magic. He was regularly disavowed and dismissed by the Australian Muslim community. He did not like them for it. Why shouldn't we be skeptical of his claimed conversion?

It is as if some self described satanist one day declared himself to actually be a repented Christian and then the next week committed some terrorist act in the same of some Christian group pulled from the headlines. Suppose this character also brought the wrong flag for the group. It would be reasonable to question the reformed satanists motives and faith.
posted by humanfont at 12:37 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


A couple of photos from Twitter, via the Guardian's liveblog:

The massive flower shrine that's sprung up in Martin Place.

People queue to leave flowers this evening.
posted by Georgina at 3:17 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Has the next tranche of draconian legislation been announced yet? I expect this will be used at least to Chewbacca-defence through the data retention plans, despite the fact that they would have had absolutely zero effect, because OMG MUSLAMIC TERRISM. I'm wondering if they'll stop there, or run with it.
posted by acb at 3:40 AM on December 16, 2014


Pity he didn't accidentally bring along a sportsgirl or a boxing kangarooo flag.

Personally, I would have liked a southern cross tattoo and/or eureka stockade flag. The cognitive dissonance would have been interesting for the ute driving/rm williams set.

I like the way there is a muttering that this was just a nutter, pipe down, it's not a terrorist incident that I am hearing around town today. Although I am concerned the media circus will spur on some other nutter on the edge.
posted by bystander at 4:12 AM on December 16, 2014


If it had been a real planned terror attack, I'd assume a few less than minor glitches would've been ironed out on the drawing board, like:

1) A single gunman cannot possibly hope to hold people hostage for long. Eventually he'll have to sleep or get distracted.

2) A planned operation would've noted that the cafe was super busy with shoppers on the Sunday but relatively quiet after the start of work on a Monday.

3) Some reconnaissance would've been done, to establish that a site with a rear exit operated by a green button (used by 5 people to escape after some hours) isn't a great target. Ditto the fire escape used by 2 more people to get away.

4) The attacker would've bothered to source an IS flag before the operation, instead of asking for one as one of his demands. That just makes him look like a hasty, incompetent idiot.

5) Something more than just a sawn-off shotgun might have been a better choice? (not that we have a flood of semi-automatic weapons here, but a serious terror crew would presumably have a way of sourcing them...?)

6) How about some of those plastic tie handcuffs for the hostages, at the very least?

7) I've probably been watching too many thrillers, but a suicide vest seems to improve one's bargaining position a lot.

8) If you want to get your message and demands out, maybe organise a viable way of doing it ahead of time, instead of hoping that local news media will pass it on for you.

Overall, I get the same feeling as bystander - that the public feel that this guy was just an erratic and dangerous dickhead, who happened to hang his dickheadedness at the last minute on a movement he had no history with.

That, and a general feeling that the bail system has failed us, and plenty of anger at magistrates who allowed him to roam freely given his string of alleged offences.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 AM on December 16, 2014


.
.

One for Katrina, one for Tori. They both had families who loved them. And it's the week before Christmas.

My smart funny nerdy trusting 13 year old son was in Sydney on a school excursion yesterday. I don't ever want to have another day like that again, and I don't want my supervisor - who has friends who work in the CBD and in Martin Place - to have another day like that again, and I never want my beloved city-cousin Mefites to have another day like that again.

I hope that the location of the burial plot of that scumsucking lunatic fucking rapist murdering arsehole who scared the shit out of me and millions of other Aussies yesterday be made public.

I've never pissed on a grave, but I would love to piss on his.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:44 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what sort of gun he actually used?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:44 AM on December 16, 2014


Wait a minute; this numpty actually asked the police for the flag of the terrorist group he ostensibly bore allegiance to as a ransom demand? He obviously wasn't firing on all cylinders.
posted by acb at 5:09 AM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


acb it is crazier than that. He brought a flag used by a rival terrorist faction and then learned from media reports that he brought the wrong one and then issued demands for the true flag to be brought to him.
posted by humanfont at 12:19 PM on December 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


acb,

The Liberal member, Dan Tehan, who chairs the Parliamentary Security Committee was interviewed on Radio National this morning that the proposed metadata laws are even more necessary as a result of these events. Even while acknowledging they probably wouldn't have helped in this instance. The opportunistic bastards.
posted by michswiss at 2:21 PM on December 16, 2014


Does anyone know what sort of gun he actually used?

According to the Guardian, a 'short-barrelled shotgun'. Other news outlets which I refuse to link to have reported it as a sawn-off shotgun.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2014


Are those things always 2-shot guns, or are there pump action versions on the market?

Because if it's the 2-shot kind that I'm thinking of, it's hard to understand how so many people got shot when he should presumably have been taken out as soon as he had to reload...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:11 PM on December 16, 2014


Are those things always 2-shot guns, or are there pump action versions on the market?

Some media reports have referred to it as a sawn-off pump-action shotgun. From what I have read, you can saw off a pump action shotgun.

From what I can determine, you can buy pump-action or self loading shotguns in Australia under a category C firearms licence. Category C licences are only available for sports shooters or farmers.

So it's possible that it could have been a pump action or self loading shotgun, insofar as they are available in Australia through certain restricted legal channels.

But seems highly unlikely to me that Monis could have obtained a licence given that he was awaiting trial on several violent crime charges, and had mental health issues. It seems far more likely that he obtained the shotgun (pump action or otherwise) through the black market or some other channel.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:32 PM on December 16, 2014


The Guardian continues to show the rest of the industry what fact based reporting looks like: Eight questions still to be answered about Man Haron Monis and the Sydney siege .
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:48 PM on December 16, 2014


A story I read about him (and can't presently locate) recounts the experience of a reporter who was interviewing Monis a few years ago, when he was chaining himself to railings somewhere as a protest. Monis was reportedly ranting, incoherent, and the reporter and his photographer were unable to get any sort of story out of him. Everything we know about him is consistent with the idea that he was a disturbed, attention-seeking individual.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:22 PM on December 16, 2014


...deputy police commissioner Catherine Burn said: “I have not received that information and I would definitely not speculate.”

3... 2... 1 now speculate
posted by mattoxic at 7:22 PM on December 16, 2014




The magistrates who bailed him on the sexual assault charges were women. That doesn't mean they weren't acting within a patriarchal framework, but I wouldn't presume that they were.

The alternative to bail is locking people up while waiting for their case to be heard. The mean time spent in remand (which I understand to be even less comfortable than actual jail) is more than three months. According to the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, In [2010] more than 2000 adults and almost 200 young people who were found guilty and were on remand when the proceedings were did not receive a custodial sentence or order. It doesn't say what percentage of bailees are actually exonerated, which would make the problem of unjustified imprisonment even worse.

Monis was already subject to strict (daily) reporting conditions. We don't know whether he would have been convicted on either the accessory-to-murder or sexual assault charges, but it's very likely he wouldn't: that's part of the reason he got bail. So if he had been denied bail he would probably have been back on the streets in a few months anyway; just as angry, just as crazy. In the meantime, there are quite possibly people out there planning violent acts who have never been charged with any crime. Tougher bail laws will go precisely nowhere in protecting us from them, but they will probably result in many people being banged up in crowded conditions while they're waiting for their case to be heard. After which they will be released, because they are either innocent or did not receive a custodial sentence. When that happens, we're all going to pay the price in wasted lives and resources.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:45 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]




"Maybe if we took violence against women seriously this guy would have already been in jail. #sydneysiege"

An uncomfortable parallel
posted by prettypretty at 9:29 PM on December 16, 2014




Has the next tranche of draconian legislation been announced yet? I expect this will be used at least to Chewbacca-defence through the data retention plans, despite the fact that they would have had absolutely zero effect, because OMG MUSLAMIC TERRISM. I'm wondering if they'll stop there, or run with it.

Yes, it has.

Data retention - "Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that the government's push to force telecommunications companies to retain customer data for two years could have aided police in identifying the hostage taker as a threat before the siege in Sydney on Monday."

Bail laws - "NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday that stricter bail laws would take effect at the end of January, and it was "very unlikely" that Monis would have been released on bail had those rules been in place."
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:37 PM on December 16, 2014


"Also," added the imaginary Minister of Not Being Stupid, "we plan to require nutters to surrender their guns and gun licenses while they are out on bail. This may seem draconian to our friends from the Sporting Shooters Party, but we think there a minor hurdle may be warranted under these circumstances."
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:44 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Also," added the imaginary Minister of Not Being Stupid, "we plan to require nutters to surrender their guns and gun licenses while they are out on bail.

Yeah, I thought this was the already case, but when I went and checked the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW), it turned out that suspensions of firearms licences are only automatic if the licence holder is made subject to an Apprehended Violence Order (ie, a restraining order in the American parlance). Otherwise it's entirely discretionary.

So, being charged with accessory to murder does not merit an automatic suspension of your firearms licence, even though making non-specific threats of future violence does. Remarkably inconsistent and nonsensical.

This would be a good point to mention that firearms regulation is a state issue, not a Federal one. I have no doubt that the NSW State Government will jump on this chance to tighten gun laws - they despise the Shooters and Fishers Party, and now the gun fondlers haven't got a leg to stand on. However, I suspect the Federal Government will also seek consistency between the states on this issue - gun control will be a solid vote winner for a while after this.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:55 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


now the gun fondlers haven't got a leg to stand on

So that was a pistol in their pocket after all?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:22 PM on December 16, 2014


Welp, looks like he had a legal gun licence after all.

ARGH. Via the Guardian, NSW Police says that they have no record of Monis having a gun licence!

Toned Abs isn't even talking to the police agency actually investigating this incident, it would seem. He's just going off half-cocked, making claims, as per usual.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:24 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know who else ... No, I won't go there.

The ABC says that in a police interview he claimed to have had a gun license "years ago", when he was working as a security guard.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:38 PM on December 16, 2014


So this is a pretty solid rejoinder. I think what's still worth reflecting on is the judge's belief that Monis didn't pose a threat to other people. We look at men who hurt women in their lives and we think hey, it was that woman he was a threat to, and there is no reason to suspect violent tendencies to other women or to the public in general. We think that there is something special and limited in scope about violence against women, especially women known to the perpetrator. But maybe this is wrong.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:51 AM on December 17, 2014


It appears Mr Abbott received a briefing about an entry in the National Police Reference System to the effect that Monis was a licence holder. But the NSW police seem to have no record of it. So that will be looked at pretty carefully, I guess.
posted by hawthorne at 1:20 AM on December 17, 2014


i_am_joe's_spleen: "We think that there is something special and limited in scope about violence against women, especially women known to the perpetrator. But maybe this is wrong."

I think this may be like an inverse of the stopped-clock-is-right-twice-a-day things, though. There are many, many (many many) examples of patriarchy and normalization of violence against women and etc., but in this specific area I believe the idea is really that people think there is something special and limited in scope about violence against romantic interests. That is, if a guy attacks a woman that he doesn't know, it goes in the "he is psycho" bucket. If he attacks his girlfriend, it goes in the "it's limited in scope to his girlfriend" bucket. Likewise, if a woman attacks a man she doesn't know, it goes in the "she is psycho" bucket, but if she attacks her boyfriend, it goes in the "it's limited in scope to her boyfriend" bucket. And it doesn't need to cross gender lines, either: if a guy attacks his boyfriend, or a woman attacks her girlfriend, it's the same thing.

Also, I think that extends to family, but not quite as strongly. If a person fights his brother, it's not considered as weighty as if he fights some guy at the gas station.
posted by Bugbread at 4:55 AM on December 17, 2014


But none of that is in opposition to the "But maybe that is wrong" part.
posted by Bugbread at 5:03 AM on December 17, 2014




From His thoughts were red thoughts' link:
The AFP fully supports yesterday’s review announced by the Prime Minister, and will cooperate with all requirements.

The AFP would like to highlight that this incident is also subject to a Coroner’s critical incident investigation, a criminal investigation and an internal assessment.
I presume the "criminal investigation" has something to do with the source of Monis' gun, or has something to do with his partner, or both. Interesting. It's also interesting that the police are basically begging people to stop harrassing them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:37 PM on December 17, 2014


The questions about the AFP's competence just get louder.
posted by hawthorne at 7:32 PM on December 17, 2014


It sounds to me as if "The National Police Reference System [...] which is managed by CrimTrac" doesn't have an intrinsic way of identifying the source of its information. I suppose the entry may have been based on Monis' own claim to have once had a gun license, but this inability to track entries throws doubt on the system as a whole. I mean, if you can add untraceable information, can information also be untraceably deleted?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:53 PM on December 17, 2014




Sydney menorah-lighting nixed after terror attack
SYDNEY – The public Hanukkah candle lighting at Sydney’s Martin Place was canceled for the first time in almost 30 years following a terror attack that killed two Australians.

Chabad, which has erected a giant 33-foot Hanukkah menorah in downtown Sydney for the past three decades, issued a statement Thursday saying it had called off the lighting.

“Due to the very recent terror attack in Martin Place and with sensitivity towards the families of the victims of terror, the Hanukkah commemoration scheduled for this evening has regrettably been canceled,” the statement read[....]
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:23 PM on December 18, 2014


News.Com.Au are milking this like a sponge. Er, a cow-sponge. Which could be milked.

Revealed: Inside the junk-filled home of terrorist Man Haron Monis
AS madman Man Haron Monis held 18 hostages in Sydney’s CBD, police were trawling through the junk-filled “lair” of the terrorist.
Quotation marks because that's what this sort of apartment is generally called, a “lair”. You know "LAIR, 2 BEDS 1.5 BATHS, S-W SYD".
His garage door was open, revealing a jumble of shopping, paint tins, a used train ticket, a door off its hinges and bathroom cabinets. On his balcony, clothes were drying.
Drying! On the balcony.
Losaline Taiamoni said she recognised Monis on TV during the siege as the man she had waved to sitting only metres away on his balcony, drinking coffee and smoking.

Monis never waved back.
WHY DID SHE NOT TURN HIM IN RIGHT AWAY?
“They hardly came out. At night time there were noises (in the garage) of a car or a bike.”
HE KEPT A CAR IN THE GARAGE
Monis also had a 1300 number registered — 1300 4 JIHAD which has since been disconnected.
Er, yeah, OK, that last was a bit of a giveaway.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:37 PM on December 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


His garage door was open, revealing a jumble of shopping, paint tins, a used train ticket, [emphasis mine]

You forgot HE ATE FOOD and HE USED A PUBLIC VEHICLE TO TRAVEL FROM PLACE TO PLACE.

He was a murderous asshole, but this is frankly ridic.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:57 AM on December 19, 2014




There have been three attacks in three (?) days in France.

France attack: Van driven into shoppers in Nantes
A van has been driven at shoppers at a French Christmas market in the city of Nantes and the driver is reported to have stabbed himself, officials say.

Ten people are reported to have been injured, five seriously.

The exact circumstances remain unclear, but the incident comes only a day after pedestrians were run down in Dijon.

The driver of that vehicle screamed "God is great" in Arabic. On Saturday, a man using the same phrase was shot dead by police after attacking them.

Earlier on Monday, French President Francois Hollande called for vigilance after Saturday and Sunday's attacks, and urged the public not to panic.

The French authorities are reluctant to say anything to encourage the idea that there is any kind of pattern behind the three attacks.
Obviously there is a pattern, and it's quite troubling. It would almost be better if it were the work of an organised group: you can generally negotiate with organisations. If it's a sort of copycat hysteria it's hard to see what could be done.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:58 PM on December 22, 2014


It appears that Katrina Dawson, one of the two people killed in the Sydney Siege, was killed by fragments of a police bullet. This doesn't change the moral responsibility for her death, of course, but it underscores the very difficult decisions that authorities confront when dealing with crises like these.

Sydney siege: Victim was 'hit by police bullet'
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:03 AM on January 11, 2015


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