Missing the forest for the trees (or what the Coroner found)

Today the State Coroner of New South Wales handed down his findings and recommendations into the Lindt Café terrorist attack.

The version released to the public consists of 472 carefully written pages. As the Coroner made clear when handing down his report, it was not about assigning blame but is rather focussed on addressing problems to prevent them from occurring again in the future.

That’s understandable. But, as a result, don’t expect any blunt assessment of the failures.

And there needs to be a blunt assessment. Australians are not so concerned with careers and the niceties of the legal system. Rather, they want to have confidence in the ability of the various state and Commonwealth agencies to protect them.

The Lindt Café terrorist attack should never have occurred. It only did so because of three system-wide failures in immigration, intelligence and the administration of justice. I’ll get to those tomorrow.

Today let’s focus on the Coroner’s findings.

They are important but don’t really help much. They deal with issues that occur after an attack, rather than recommending what should be done to stop them happening at all.

In other words, this report does not examine the big picture. Hence the failure to make any useful findings that will address systemic failures in immigration, intelligence or the administration of justice.

So what are the key findings?

It was a terrorist attack

Firstly, in news that will surprise no one, it was found that the terrorist attack was actually a terrorist attack. Well it might surprise Mike Carlton and his mates. He tweeted this out on the day of the ‘incident’:

Police should have acted sooner

Secondly, and unsurprisingly, it was also found that police should have stormed the café after hostages stampeded out in the wee hours of the morning. They had formed the view that death was imminent and took their chances running. Man Haron Monis responded by firing at the last escapee. It was the first shot of the night and the clock had just ticked over to 2:03 am.

That is when police should have gone in. However, they did not.

Monis then ordered café manager, Tori Johnson, to his knees. They were to be the last ten minutes of his life. Monis also fired another shot, prompting another petrified hostage to risk it all and flee.

Following the shot Tori Johnson flinched, fell forward and then resumed his kneeling position. Finally, after 600 excruciating seconds, Monis executed him.

It was at this point that police belatedly intervened. Unfortunately, Katrina Dawson was killed by a ricocheting police bullet.

The Coroner was careful not to lay blame on any officer or in relation to police equipment, instead recommending the police investigate advances in weaponry and develop more coordinated strategies with Defence.

The Coroner also recommended that the police develop new policies that will allow them to identify ‘triggers’ for action well in advance of the execution of hostages. He was being nice. Reading between the lines it is a critical swipe at the policies in place at the time and police leadership.

For these reasons it is highly likely that Army Special Forces will take ownership of the response to similar attacks in future.

Like the Coroner, I do not criticise those police who stormed the café. They did so bravely and under the belief that they may well be running towards a bomb. Furthermore, as the report makes clear, these officers were ready and waiting to go in. In fact, they had been expecting to receive the order to do so from the moment they heard that first shot.

But the order never came. It was an obvious failure.

The psychiatrist was a complete goose and out of his depth

Thirdly, the Coroner was also scathing of the advice provided to police by a consultant psychiatrist.

Incredibly, he advised police that Monis’ behaviour was not consistent Islamic State methodology. During the inquest it was found that he had no idea that the Islamic State had called for ‘lone wolf’ attacks and that he had no qualifications or experience to be providing advice about what the Islamic State might do.

It seems clear that the psychiatrist’s advice clouded perceptions of Monis and led to the view that he was unlikely to become violent. It was another obvious failure.

However, while the focus on these issues is important, it really fails to see the forest for the trees. Changes in these and other areas recommended by the Coroner will do very little to prevent another attack.

That’s because police never should have been waiting outside the Lindt Café. Systemic failures outside their control were what allowed Monis in.

The immigration system let him in. The intelligence system should have identified that he was a serious threat. And the justice system let him loose – even after he was charged with murder.

I’ll address these tomorrow.

But all Australians should know that none of the reports, inquiries or investigations have done anything to address these problems.

That’s why they continue today, almost two and half years after this attack…

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. This is woeful. Just woeful. How much confidence do these flaccid findings give to the Australian front line tasked with rapid response to terrorist attacks? How much support to those who do not respect the laws of this nation? [That would be Islam] How much frank encouragement to (((the enablers))) of Islam in Australia and who stand to benefit from another Allahu Akbar event? [That would be the political elites]

    Short answer: none and a lot X2.

    I am sure the Kaffirs will get to hear more about the evils of Islamaphobia from Waleed over the next few days. The Poster Muslims / Muslimas will be on all over the TV breakfast barf conflabs edjewmacating the minions with the ‘religion of peace and tolerance’ yada yada. I can hardly wait to hear about Susan’s take on this.

    The only ‘security’ to be had from these findings is for Australia’s political elite. They’ll be having pizza parties in their safe spaces.

    Muslims want their own state within Australia

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  2. Look at the end of the day, the cops only did what they could at the time.

    Leadership of Police from the top is corrupted nowadays as it’s full of Political Correctness dribble.

    Political Correctness is the biggest problem nowadays, it’s an open door to so much pathetic nonsense and it causes more problems then you could poke a stick at. But sadly people idolise this PC nonsense filth and are fearing to offend this PC god, not to mention it’s as if such is treated like a criminal offence now not to strictly obey this new god to the letter of the Law, but if one happens just to mention about the topic of Sin, such importance is just disregarded as just menial or irrelevant.
    The subject of Sin is a much greater magnitude worthy tool than PCness will ever aspire.

    If one does not have a handle on Sin, then how do you have a hope of dealing with control of any such battles, your lost before you have started.

    The terrorist have been given a helping hand due to the bastardisation of all the PC dribble that has to be followed to the letter of the Law and Common sense is just cast aside.

    We will just have to get use to all this Terrorist crap, because as sure as the cows come home in the morning, it’s going to continue to be a blight.

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  3. IF the Police leadership were waiting for someone to be injured or killed before they acted then such a judgement is NEGLIGENCE.

    The fact that NSW Police leadership didn’t think to ask the FEDs if Monis had a record with them that’s NEGLIGENCE.

    The fact that Monis demonstrated poor marksmanship by not hitting a single escaping hostage at close quarters & hadn’t activated the imaginary bomb despite heavy provocation displayed throughout the day NSW Police Leadership still failed to act on a reasonable “balance of probabilities” that a successful conclusion was likely. A reasonable conclusion – POOR JUDGEMENT

    The Psychiatrist…..what can one say about someone passing himself off as an expert but is a liar. WILFULLY NEGLIGENT

    Sending in soo many brave young officers with “guns-a-blazing” may or may not have been overkill. BUT, if Leadership were worried about about the imaginary bomb then the question has to be asked if the storming could have been done with exposing fewer counter terrorism officers to potential bomb blast & could the accidental killing have been avoided.

    No matter how you look at this, the only winner was MONIS

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  4. Mike Carlton wouldn’t know what a terrorist attack was if it leapt out of the bushes and bit him on his well-padded backside.
    Poor old Mike – what a flobknob.

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