It is now obvious to everyone except Blind Freddy that the Martin Place siege gunman Man Haron Monis was an ASIO agent from the time he arrived in Australia in 1996.
Final proof came this week when the NSW government-ordered inquest was recalled without notice and then banned the press and public from hearing ASIO’s evidence.
Remember when the inquest was first ordered? No stone would be left unturned, said Premier Mike Baird, and the people of NSW would hear every last detail of the inquiry into the shooting, the shooter and the police/security response.
That promise was broken this week as the coroner closed the court, hid ASIO’s evidence from public view and suppressed the names of witnesses.
In Iran on 1 October 1996 Monis, then called Mohammad Hassan Manteghi, applied for a month-long business visa. ASIO took his application, approved it and met him at Sydney Airport.
ASIO interviewed him and arranged a bridging visa so he could settle and start his career as an intelligence informer. In March 1997, four months after his arrival, Monis was issued with a NSW security guard licence – on the recommendation of ASIO. One year later the licence was renewed and again in 1999 and 2000.
By then he was supplying ASIO with security information on the Sydney 2000 Olympics and also receiving monthly payments from ASIO which were hidden under the Asylum Seeker Income Support scheme.
In 2001 Interpol informed Australian diplomats and security services that Monis was wanted in Tehran on “fraud-related offences” but the warnings were ignored.
The constant traveller
In 2003 Monis travelled to Fiji; in 2004 (the year he was granted Australian citizenship) he travelled to New Zealand and Canada; in 2005 he flew to Bahrain, Malaysia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Fiji; in 2006 he flew to Hong Kong and made five trips to Bangkok; and in 2007 he travelled to Thailand.
Who paid the fares and hotel expenses? Who made the bookings? What passport did he use? We don’t know – but ASIO does.
During these years he changed his name from Mohammad Hassan Manteghi to Michael Hayson Mavros and, in 2006, to Man Haron Monis.
Was his name changed so that he could evade Interpol when he travelled abroad? Why did ASIO provide him with new identities and passports if it wasn’t to protect him?
Monis created a website called “sheikhharon.com” and pretended to be a militant Shi’ite before switching to being a hardline Sunni Moslem cleric. He publicly advocated a “fatwa” against US, UK and Australian heads of state calling them “war criminals”.
In May 2008 he posted a video clip titled “Suicide fatwa” in which a female disciple spoke approvingly of “legitimate suicide attacks”. Monis’s ASIO handlers approved all these provocative projects.
In July 2008 the inspector-general of ASIO investigated Monis’s recruitment and role as an informer and concluded that “correct procedure had been followed”. It was the first official whitewash.
When he was facing a string of serious sex charges and named as an accomplice to murder, Monis was granted bail on the advice of the NSW Director of the Public Prosecutions. Investigating police were dumbfounded.
Just days before he took hostages at the Lindt Café in Martin Place at gunpoint, ASIO again gave Monis a clearance saying he presented no threat to security. But to everyone else with an ounce of common sense he was a major criminal at large.
Why didn’t the super sleuths at Australia’s intelligence agency (surely an oxymoron) recognise their informer was a depraved, dangerous, homicidal fantasist?
Innocent civilians died because of ASIO’s recruitment and tireless promotion and protection of Monis. Politicians promised a “searching inquest” so lessons could be learnt for the future. Instead we are paying the cost of a monstrous official cover-up.
Lowy at large
Shopping centre billionaire Frank Lowy’s charm offensive has so far produced a prime time documentary on ABC TV hosted by Leigh Sales and a second biography, A Second Life, written by family friend Jill Margo.
This week’s ABC documentary purported to ask “all the hard questions” about the $43 million in taxpayers’ money that Lowy spent trying to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup for Australia.
Australia received just one vote and the tiny Gulf emirate, oil rich Qatar, was selected as host venue by a thumping majority.
Ms Sales received voluminous pre-publicity for her doco from Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National and Julia Baird on the ABC’s The Drum.
But her exposé failed to live up to its hype. Viewers were left none the wiser about what happened to the $43 million or where it ended up, except for a vague reference to “expenses”.
The hilarious theory advanced by Lowy, founder and head of the global Westfield shopping centre empire, is that he was “a patsy”.
Yes, folks, gullible “Uncle Frank” simply fell for a bag of dodgy promises from self-serving, self-perpetuating, unaccountable FIFA delegates.
Does anyone think that Lowy built his family fortune with such naïveté and innocence? I don’t; it isn’t believable.
The Lowy camp is trying to head off moves by MPs in Canberra and Treasury to conduct a thorough audit of the failed bid. The only way to establish the truth is to gather all the bid documentation, emails, receipts and correspondence and then subject the bid team to public hearings.
If you or I spent $43 million of public money we would be held accountable. Shouldn’t Lowy be too?
GOP looney tunes
US Republican Party presidential debates are dragging the USA into global ridicule. Viewers don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The list of Republican candidates seeking to run for the White House is a conga-line of nutters and howling incompetents.
US journalist Matt Taibbi wrote to the GOP requesting press credentials for a TV debate: “Your candidates are all mental incompetents, and the world would be a safer place if they were to fall down a cobalt mine and cannibalize one another.”
A reader commented: “What a line-up of astounding zombie characters for 2016. Mummies all disinterred by the Tea Party, the white supremacists, the woman haters. Like a pack of hungry wolves encircling lost sheep. The Republican display of Neanderthal club wielders is bizarre.”
Donald Trump, he said, had “more quackery than Donald Duck” and Republicans had turned into the “insurrectionist party of the resurrected Confederacy”.
He concluded: “Screaming AmeriKan Exceptionalism, America First, agitating for war abroad, repression at home, the Republican Party has transformed itself into the most extreme political force on the planet.”
Over-exaggerated or on the money? We shall see.
Paris atrocity explained?
Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, of the Zionist settlement of Kiryat Arba on the West Bank, has little sympathy for the victims of the terrorist atrocities in Paris.
He told followers in the wake of the IS attacks: “The wicked ones in blood-soaked Europe deserve it for what they did to our people 70 years ago.”
Pity the Palestinians living under the villainous tyranny of such people.