Thursday, December 18, 2014

Martin Place  Attack Not 'Lone Wolf'

Australians witnessed a terrifying hostage crisis Monday involving 17 people at the Lindt Chocolat Café in Sydney. Sadly, two hostages were killed and four were injured. The hostage taker, Man Haron Monis, was killed by Australian police officers when they raided the building. This incident should serve as a wake-up call to Australia and the rest of the world that Islamic extremism has no boundaries.

Monis was an Iranian-born Islamic extremist who, Fox News reports, “emigrated to Australia in 1996” after being granted asylum. He then became infamous “for his public campaign of writing letters to the families of fallen soldiers calling them ‘murderers’ and urging the recipients to lobby the government to withdraw from Afghanistan.” Talk about an ingrate. For that, he was charged with using the postal service for harassment, though in court he proclaimed himself a “peace activist.”

But worse, Fox adds, Monis was charged last year “in connection with the murder of his ex-wife,” and was “charged earlier this year with sexual assault” – more than 40 counts. He was free on bail at the time of the hostage taking.

Did we mention he used a firearm, which is banned in Australia?

The hostage-taking jihadist was also found to have written a letter on his own website where, Fox News also notes, he “accused Australia, Great Britain and the U.S. of ‘oppression and terrorism’ and posted images of dead children.” And for the disclaimer: He also “called for non-violent activism writing that ‘Islam is a religion of peace and a Muslim should be a peace activist.’” Is taking 17 people hostage at gunpoint being non-violent and peaceful?

His lawyer, Manny Conditsis, was quick to defend his client and distance his actions from terrorism or Islamic extremism. He stated, “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.” Further, he laughably asserted, “His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.” And we’re supposed to believe that?

Unfortunately, some do. CBS News' Bob Orr was quick to take the bait, saying, “This is almost the prototypical type attack that we believe lone wolves to be capable of.” Orr may believe this was just some loon acting of his accord, but even if he wasn’t specifically directed by a terrorist organization it only obscures the truth. YouTube videos showed three hostages relaying Monis' demands, as he wanted it known that this was an “attack on Australia by the Islamic State.”

Australia raised its terror level alert in September in response to threats from Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adani. In an audio message, he urged that lone-wolf attacks be carried out, including in Australia.

The Islamic State has yet to take credit for this attack, but, given the aforementioned rhetoric and the fact that the jihadist wanted an ISIL flag delivered to the cafe, it’s just a matter of time before they do.

Yet somehow, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott saw fit to declare, “The point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion. … It is something to which sick individuals succumb, and sick individuals exist in all communities and in all societies.”

The Left will do everything possible to deceive people, claiming there is no connection between these attacks and Islam. They will continue to try to portray Islam as a Religion of Peace™. And they will continue to deny that these attacks are, as Mark Alexander notes, “directly tied to worldwide Jihad by way of the Qur'an, the foundational fabric linking all of Islamist violence.”

This jihadist in Australia was a radicalized cleric who, like many other such figures in America and elsewhere, preached hatred for the West. Until the world recognizes the threat of Islamic extremism for what it is, this and worse acts of violence will continue.

Purposefully refusing to identify an enemy for who they are and what they do will not make them go away. If anything, it will embolden them to carry out more heinous acts of violence.


Martin Place siege:  Just another incident of "workplace violence"?

Please don’t jump to conclusions, this Islamic incident may have no connection to Islam. It may have nothing to do with mushrooming mosques where our destruction is planned and it may have nothing to do with ISIS’s atrocities and the jihadist flag may have nothing to do with jihadists.

A report that the police were flooded with calls from Islamic clerics asking if they could talk the terrorists into not harming anyone turned out to be false.

Another report that Islamic clerics had promised to “de-radicalise” Muslims who return from Syria if only we allow them back into Australia, turned out to be accurate.

Bill Shorten and Sarah Hanson-Young have asked for more inclusiveness and counselling for Islamic youths and have called for Muslim leaders to come to Canberra for tea and bickies. “We need their help”, both explained.

A report that Lindt Cafe has apologised for telling a number of halal certifiers to get fornicated also turned out to be accurate.

Christine Milne has called for compassion and understanding while Lee Rhiannon has asked if the terrorists need any halal food supplied, “It’s a stressful period for them too”, she explained.


Why the police acted as they did in Martin Place

NSW Police were right to try to negotiate with the gunman, according to a former senior police officer familiar with counter terrorism training.

"There is a very strong history that negotiations work and time does solve problems," said the former officer, who asked not to be named.

"The intention would have been to negotiate with him, to try to influence him.  "The longer it goes, the more chance you have got, there is decades of evidence  that is the best way.

"Unfortunately, in this case the risk rose dramatically and unexpectedly."

He said police involved in the Lindt cafe siege "train, train, train" and would have had a number of contingency plans in place "shortly after" it started.

The first would have been "to do something quickly in response to a major threat".

"I would say from what I have seen (that) plan had to be activated, they have obviously decided to go because of something occurring.  "That something occurring was a shot being fired and the grave danger against the hostages."

He said if the gunman had in fact shot and killed a hostage, police had no choice but to go in.

Asked about a number of scenarios, including whether officers could have gone in though the roof to end the siege earlier, he said: "It depends on the access."

It was more likely they had a plan to enter covertly, perhaps though a fire exit or a back door.

Former NSW assistant commissioner Clive Small said going though the roof would "create a racket" and was not really an option.

"You are exposing yourself to gunfire and you're not in a position to fire back because you don't know where the hostages are."

Both Mr Small and the former officer were skeptical about theories the gunman could have been shot through the window.

Both said it appeared the gunman had shown himself early in the day, before snipers would have been in position and also before police were in possession of vital information, such as how many gunmen were in the café.

"It's a very dangerous thing to do, for a start you don't know what's going to happen to the projectile once it goes though the glass," said the former senior officer.

Asked who would have made the decision to go in, he said "the office of constable gives anyone (in the force) the power to make a decision if they feel a life is being threatened.  "More likely than not, it would have been a supervisor."

The supervisor could have been a member of the heavily armed team or could have been a short distance away communicating by radio.

Information gleaned from the escaped hostages would have also informed the thinking of police, as would the criminal history of the gunman, Man Haron Monis.

There may have also been electronic evidence via a listening device that also informed the decision.

Mr Small said he thought it was significant the gunman "had no escape route."  "It seems it was quite clear he had no plan on leaving there alive."

The former officer said the police involved were "very disciplined".  "They are as good as anyone in Australia, or the world for that matter."

Another former NSW assistant police commissioner Ken McKay, who retired last year after 35 years in the service, said it was evident the strategy had been to "wait it out" and monitor events inside through observation and negotiation.

Mr McKay, who headed the first NSW Police Middle Eastern Organised crime Squad, said: "The main aim is to get everyone out safely – and a lot of the time, that includes the offender."  But he added that when gunfire suddenly sounded inside the cafe, "that immediately changes the game." In that instance…when police are suddenly forced to go from negotiating and containing to attack…everything becomes different. With that, comes risk."


Federal government still trying to cut back on "renewable" energy target

ENVIRONMENT Minister Greg Hunt will meet rogue senator Jacqui Lambie in Hobart today as he begins courting the crossbench over the renewable energy target.

Mr Hunt is ramping up talks with the crossbench senators while Labor refuses to re-engage in negotiations. The opposition acknowledges the scheme needs bipartisan support, but has said it will not negotiate unless the government shifts on its “cut of 40 per cent to the RET”.

Senator Lambie, who will drive from Burnie to Hobart to meet Mr Hunt, said she was “encouraged” by a letter from the minister yesterday.

In the letter, obtained by The Australian, Mr Hunt says he appreciates “the pressures faced by businesses around the country, including in Tasmania” and looks “forward to constructive discussions with the opposition”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Hunt said he was travelling to Tasmania “for a range of meetings relating to his portfolio”. The government was “hopeful” Labor would return to the table and was “willing to hear the suggestions and proposals from the crossbench and will negotiate with the crossbench should Labor refuse to re-engage”.

Senator Lambie urged the government and opposition to restart RET talks, saying renewable energy providers “deserve some certainty”.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, meanwhile, said he was “confident” at least six of the crossbench senators supported his controversial plan to bring existing hydro into the target. Senator Leyonhjelm, who met with Mr Hunt last week, said the minister was also “interested”. The Australian could only confirm Family First senator Bob Day and independent senator John Madigan as supportive.


Whining kid wins anti-discrimination case

Yet more evidence that such laws are too sweeping

In a David and Goliath-esque battle in Queensland's Civil and Administrative Tribunal, a jobseeker has taken on supermarket giant Woolworths alleging discrimination – and won.

In December 2013, then-unemployed Steven Willmott, of the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Beerwah, applied for an advertised job as a console operator at a Woolworths-operated service station in the town.

He commenced his application through the company's online application portal but did not complete it, unable to continue unless he submitted mandatory fields demanding his date-of-birth, his gender and proof of his right to work in Australia.

The required information was, QCAT senior member Richard Oliver ruled, both offensive and humiliating to Mr Wilmott, who described himself as "sickened beyond belief" at Woolworths disregard for Australian anti-discrimination laws.

"I infer from this statement that he was embarrassed and humiliated in being compelled to provide the offending information before his application could progress," Mr Oliver ruled.

"Because of this he did not proceed with the application and therefore was not considered for the position.

"He is a local resident of the community in which the position of console operator was advertised and he believes he would have had prospects of being successful."

The ruling, made in Brisbane last month after a hearing in September, ordered Woolworths pay $5000 in compensation to Mr Willmott by December 19.

In its defence, Woolworths said it asked for the details partly to comply with Commonwealth legislation, in regards to the right to work in Australia requirement.

It also argued differing rates of pay for employees under and over the age of 21, the potential to work in its BWS liquor outlets and differentiating between its 190,000 employees Australia-wide justified the date of birth requirement.

The company argued the mandatory gender information was a simple way for it to comply with the Federal Government's Workplace Gender Equality Instrument. 

However, Mr Oliver noted that since Mr Wilmott had taken discrimination action, all three requirements had been removed from the Wooloworths online application process, prior to the September hearing.

He rejected their defence of all three elements.

"Despite the sophisticated argument mounted by Woolworths counsel, I have found in the pertaining circumstances, the information sought by Woolworths was not reasonably necessary," he said.

However, in determining the amount to award Mr Wilmott, Mr Oliver said he had not produced any evidence of other positions for which he had applied to which any claim for loss of income could be determined.

"At best, and putting the claim for loss of income at its highest, his claim for compensation is limited to the loss of a chance that he may have been successful in his application, if Woolworths had not engaged in the conduct he complained of," he ruled.

He said the $5000 figure he determined took into account embarrassment, humiliation and some notional amount for loss of a chance.


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