Siege in Sydney

Written By: - Date published: 1:39 pm, December 15th, 2014 - 246 comments
Categories: australian politics, International, Syria, war - Tags:

Siege police

In a breaking story there are reports of possibly two gunmen and up to 20 hostages being held in the Lindt Chocolate shop on Martin Place in downtown Sydney.  The Guardian has reported that an Islamist Flag has been placed in the window of the shop.  From the Guardian:

Michael Safi reports the flag in the cafe window appears to bear the Shahada “There is no god but the God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” It is not the Islamic State flag.

He reports:

The flag that hostages appear to have been forced to hold up in the window of the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place is not the Islamic State flag – but that isn’t to say that Isis is not involved in today’s incident.

The flag appears to bear the Shahada, an Islamic creed which reads: “There is no god but the God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

It’s a perfectly 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-Qaeda affiliate currently fighting in Syria.

The Herald is reporting that the siege started after a 25-year-old suspect was arrested in an earlier terror raid in Sydney this morning.  Officials have also evacuated the Opera House after reports of a suspicious device being found.  The hostage takers allegedly want to talk to Tony Abbott on air.  I am not sure why.

Let’s hope that calm heads prevail.

Update:  The Guardian has a continuously updated news feed.

Update2:  Tau Henare is being a dick on Twitter …

Update: The siege is over, reports suggest two dead and three injured.

246 comments on “Siege in Sydney”

  1. Chooky 1

    +100 “Let’s hope that calm heads prevail”….nothing ever comes of violence except more violence.

    • Tracey 1.1

      Agree. We also need to wait for the facts. Real people trapped, with real fear is not a platform for anyone to push their political barrow be it left or right.

  2. Skinny 2

    I have a feeling this won’t end well. Nationals spin merchant’s will be framing this as a justification to their recent anti terrorism legislation. Where the narrative should be “this is precisely why we should not be getting involved in sending troops to the middle east to fight religious wars.

    • Chooky 2.1

      +100

    • Once wasTim 2.2

      +100 as well.
      I can’t believe our political reps and their advisors’ stupidity and their inability to see the “bleeding obvious”. Some of us have actually predicted this inevitability (including my now deceased ‘spook’ of a cousin with years of peacekeeping missions and various other activity under his belt. I suspect Ron Mark (“Ronnie” to his wannabe mate TV3’s Alfred E Neuman) has similar insight.)
      It’s so utterly stupid, inept and incompetent that the only excuse for the political direction taken is that there has to be an arse-licking agenda.
      Cut the crap seems like a really sensible thing to be doing right about now (Politicians, Snr Public servants – including that disappointing Rebecca, and wannabe MSM ‘stars’). Otherwise don;t frikken moan and expect sympathy when the inevitable happens (and I predict that might be some pathetic event here in NZ of similar kind – which would otherwise not have happened).

      BY the way ……. does anybody know whether the titbit I heard re an Eastern Suburbs bitter-old-queen (to use the gay community’s own phraseology) is lining up his legacy by attempting a ‘war museum’? (I mean the one aside from Why Uru? and the various bits and pieces uravrijdgebloke are already in tune with. It’ll be something spectacular diverting funds and stealing the efforts of generations past on/near the Corillion site – so that we all think “what a fucking wonder boy” Chris Finlayson and his enablers ekshully are! No wonder he’s been courting and sucking the dicks and vulvas of people he’d rather not have anything to do with.
      Christ Almighty ….. it kind of reminds me of my time as a WCC bus driver in the 70s – watching the ‘respectable’ do their bog crawling.
      We had a thing called a ‘jackbox key’ that enabled access to lavatories so that we might take a piss in peace, or various communication telephones to Kilbirnie and Thorndon Depots – and probably by accident, interesting things around Parliament). But various graffiti normally behind closed doors – now that was the scoop a “Truth” or a Womans Weekly, let’s face it – any MSM would pay bad money for these days.

    • Tom 2.3

      Spot on……. same old same old. Push a sector of society you want to isolate and blame for what ever ‘agenda ‘ you have……….. its just a matter of time till some hot head gets pissed off take the law into his own hands and before you know it the ‘political-media machine’ is in full swing…….. troops in, spying on your citizens stir up hatred turn people against each other and hey presto your up in the polls with a chance of a couple of extra years of ‘Power to your Pals’ politics………… Oz, NZ, UK, US its all the same ……….. I think people are beginning to see through this in NZ …Change is coming I hope ……….. or is that just my naive wishful thinking…????

  3. millsy 3

    This isnt good. History has shown that these situations dont end well. These arent some opportunistic criminials. These are hardcore terrorists who are prepared to die for thier cause.

    • politikiwi 3.1

      And that assertion is based on what evidence, exactly?

    • Tel 3.2

      Quite right, this isn’t good. Once the hostage takers have got everyone’s attention and the media are crawling all over this, they can pull the pin to maximum effect. I feel for the Australians families who are about to loose their loved ones and it makes me wonder how we will fare in the future? Fair to say NZ will probably reap what it has sewn care of the buffoon that is the NZ Prime Minister, who has no moral sense of what is right or wrong, has some unusual compunction to get into bed with the Americans because endangering our lives to further his own career and financial portfolio is all that matters to him.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.2.1

        Australian special units will have had time to organise by now. Hopefully Australian SAS as opposed to police.

        If they suspected that the perps were going to set off an IED, they would storm the premises and kill them, in an attempt to stop that from happening.

        I think its far more likely that this is amateur hour and the perps have no plan for the end game. Which is good if they don’t have IEDs etc on them. Which is bad, if they do.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.1

          I have been reading up on the aussie laws off and on for about six months. This bit caught my eye in light of Key recently saying he couldnt release information on why the heightened risk. Surely we could also call on previous “conflict data” and release that?

          “..has of course waved the terrorism scare stick, claiming that a few tens of “jihadists” who might eventually return from Syria — a figure cited by ASIO chief David Irvine — pose a national security threat, comparing them with those returning from Afghanistan a decade ago.

          “During the Afghan conflict, about 30 Australians travelled to Afghanistan to link up with the Taliban and engage in jihadist war-fighting on behalf of the Taliban,” Brandis told ABC Radio. “Of those 30, 25 returned to Australia. Of those 25, 19 were involved in preparing and planning mass casualty terrorist attacks within Australia and of those 19, 8 were actually prosecuted and convicted. So there is a very high incidence of returning jihadists who engage in terrorism.”

          And, by those figures, there’s a 100 percent chance of those jihadists being caught before anything happens. So why does ASIO need any more power? It already seems remarkably effective.. …”

          http://www.zdnet.com/article/beware-the-spin-behind-australias-new-surveillance-laws/

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.3

      And there we go: no “hardcore terrorists” whatsoever. A known criminal offender with a grudge against the justice system.

  4. Consequences? More spying, more repression, more police brutality, more secrecy, and our soldiers of to war to fight for white old rich pricks. I can smell CIA/Mossad from a mile away.

    • Roflcopter 4.1

      I bet you picked French involvement in Rainbow Warrior because you had snails in your garden.

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        Now its slugs we worry about.

      • travellerev 4.1.2

        I love escargots with Garlic. Love most of the French to this day. I’m sure the French leaders are as corrupt and as sick as our current ones and it doesn’t reflect on their population.

        I was in Holland at the time and I was there when the friends of Fernando Pereira had to deal with their loss. Some of those people where friends of mine you piece of shite.

        But if you really want to know why I pick CIA and Mossad involvement here is why:

        Australian Military Predicted Cafe Scenario 6 Weeks Ago!

        Not that I expect you to actually read any of this because asholes like you are perfectly happy to believe the mainstream crap about “terrorists”being yukky brown people because it fits your prejudices!

    • Chooky 4.2

      +100 travellerev

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.3

      like the previous terrorist incident in Sydney just a couple of days before our election.

      • Tracey 4.3.1

        The one with the plastic ritual sword you mean?

      • batweka 4.3.2

        can totally see why people go for the conspiracy theory in a situation like this. Unfortunately, if there is a conspiracy, talking about conspiracies plays into their hands. We live in complicated times.

        • batweka 4.3.2.1

          I would say this though, when the legislation got passed last week on the basis that Key knows some scarey shit that he can’t share with the rest of us, the main thing I thought is “I don’t trust you”. So irrespective of whether he is telling the truth or not, irrrespective of what is real thread, what is conspiracy, what is whatnot, he is not in any way trustworthy, ever. That ship has sailed. Ditto the spy agencies in NZ and Australia.

          (and that begs the question of what a left wing govt can and will do to remedy that once in power).

          • Murray Rawshark 4.3.2.1.1

            Disestablish the spy agencies. They are totally useless at anything besides passing our information to Washington. The Rainbow Warrior agents were caught because of Neighbourhood Watch.

            • Pete George 4.3.2.1.1.1

              “Disestablish the spy agencies. ”

              Would you also ‘disestablish’ police intelligence gathering and surveillance?

              • Murray Rawshark

                You’ll have to get a warrant to find out.

                Do you ever put your shoes on the wrong feet, just to feel what it’s like to be a rebel?

            • greywarshark 4.3.2.1.1.2

              @ Murray R
              Good point.
              😛

    • Tom 4.4

      BINGO………………

  5. mickysavage 5

    You should read the comments over at Kiwiblog. And they say that right wing and left wing blogs are all the same …

    • shorts 5.1

      wow… what a lovely bunch they are. From my quick skim kiwiblog seems to have a nastier bunch of commentators that the whaled one

      I must ask – what bearing has this breaking story to do with the standard and the usual fare here? Seems out of place

      • lprent 5.1.1

        We tend to do the odd news piece if someone notices it and it is relevant.

        Bearing in mind the recent rushed legislation pushed through by National, I’d say this is relevant.

        • shorts 5.1.1.1

          fair enough – watching twitter and the wildly varying reports makes me uneasy about the story full stop

          I hope it has nothing to do with what everyone is assuming or we’ll see some horrendous repercussions

      • mickysavage 5.1.2

        I think it is an interesting story in seeing the variety of responses to the incident and also this will feed into calls for further suppression of rights. So the way a story is developed at the time is very important for the political response.

        • lprent 5.1.2.1

          Yeah, what is really interesting is the number of bullshit rumours that appear to have been triggered and are getting reported in the MSM.

    • Pete George 5.2

      They’re not the same. In situations like this they invoke different types of despair.

      • The Al1en 5.2.1

        [lprent: a point please. ]

        Sorry. Couldn’t get past the mental image of pg despairing with his trousers around his ankles having a tug at the thought of standardistas biting at his obsevation.
        Having realised that by commenting I may have just finished him off, I will try do better next time.

      • mickysavage 5.2.2

        Pete

        I see nothing but hatred on the right and the extreme leaping to conclusions. Over here I see a whole lot of subdued comments and a real desire for more information before people are willing to form a conclusion.

    • The Al1en 5.3

      I managed up until

      “I hope that when they shoot the hostage takers they bury them wrapped in a pig skin and fill the hole in with dead dogs and pig shit..”

    • Tom Jackson 5.4

      I see Scott Hamilton over there trying to reason with them. Now that’s trolling.

  6. Rosie 6

    Thoughts going out to workers and customers held hostage inside the cafe, and hoping they won’t be physically harmed. Couldn’t imagine being in that situation thinking when you get up in the morning that you were going to have a pretty straightforward day and then something so terrifying and bewildering happens.

    No thanks to the western countries, NZ included, who have been recklessly poking a stick into a hornets nest.

    And ditto what Skinny said at 2

    • Chooky 6.1

      +100 Rosie

    • nadis 6.2

      A bit early to draw conclusions but what you’re suggesting is very similar to victim bashing isn’t it? Along the lines of “she asked for it by wearing blah blah blah”.

      But having said that, our security policy should be focussed on the less than 1% who are likely to do this rather than broad surveillance.

      • Rosie 6.2.1

        Oh FFS nadis, that is a horrible, wrong and completely unnecessary comparison.

        You’re right it is too early to make assumptions before we know more about what’s happening but don’t forget Australia’s involvement in Middle East conflict over the last decade and more. Don’t forget that Aussie victim of the July 7 2005 London Underground bombing who was visited by then PM, John Howard in hospital. He poured on the PR sap and she told him she didn’t need his sympathy, it was his policies that put her in hospital.

        I don’t doubt that at that moment she knew which way was up.

    • redherring 6.3

      Key word: Hornets. Agree you shouldn’t poke a stick at a hornet’s nest, instead call the professionals…

    • greywarshark 6.4

      @ Rosie
      And those hornets? Some of them will attack if you pass their nest even at a distance. Eliminate hornets I say. But where there are two different tribes of hornets what then?
      edited

  7. Colonial Rawshark 7

    Australia’s civil liberties damaging anti-terror/surveillance legislation was passed in September.

    Great for spying on ordinary citizens and instituting a security state. Useless as tits on a bull for preventing actual terrorism.

  8. Puckish Rogue 8

    Maybe the information Little recieved was about terrorism being closer to home than he realised

    Heres hoping the innocent people involved are rescued and this doesn’t become a blood bath

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      Notice that Australia’s invasive anti-terrorism/spying legislation was passed by their government in September. Not much help was it.

      The more the west buys into the narrative of the security and surveillance state, and the more the west thinks that it can keep funding and arming extremism in the Middle East without blowback, the worse it is going to be for all of us.

      • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1

        Well this has been going down in Europe of a while now, its started in Australia so I just wonder if we can stop it in NZ before it becomes rooted here

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1

          Western governments will just keep torturing and killing more Muslim civilians, treating the people on the Arab street like dirt while supporting wealthy dictators, and pushing more arms and more money into the hands of extremists in the middle east.

          And then act surprised when nothing good comes of it.

        • KJS0ne 8.1.1.2

          Stop it? We don’t have a 20th of the Muslim population that Aussie has, and the Muslim population we do have are almost entirely moderate, a large proportion of which come from East Asia, the largest proportion (over half) of New Zealand Muslims are Indo-Fijian for goodness sake they are far less likely to become targets of extremist preachers because they have much more integrated communities than some of the groups in Australia. As a nation we don’t have nearly as much of a target on our back (unless JK & Brownlee choses to make it so). Australia currently has troops in Iraq for the purpose of training the Shia army to fight ISIS. We do not (yet).

          In other words, your narrative is bullshit, and tiresome and goodness knows why you chose the Standard of all places to air your crusty logic, you’re not convincing anyone.

          • miravox 8.1.1.2.1

            I can’t actually work out what the ‘it’ pr is talking about is.

            Is ‘it’ legislation or is ‘it’ terrorist acts? And if ‘it’ is true that terrorism has been going down in Europe for years now, are terrorist acts carried out mainly by islamist sympathisers?

            Anyway –

            In 2013 seven people were killed in terrorist attacks in the European Union (EU): one British army soldier in London (UK), one elderly Muslim male in the West Midlands (UK), two members of a right-wing extremist party in Athens (Greece) and three high-ranking Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party) members in Paris (France).
            A total of 152 terrorist attacks occurred in five EU Member States. The majority took place in France (63), Spain (33) and the UK (35).1
            After an increase in 2012, the number of terrorist attacks in 2013 fell below the number recorded in 2011.

            As in previous years, the majority of attacks can be attributed to separatist terrorism. The number of attacks related to left-wing and anarchist terrorism rose in 2013, thereby ending the downward trend observed in previous years. No attacks related to single-issue terrorism were reported in 2013. EU Member States did not report any terrorist attacks specifically classified as right-wing or religiously inspired terrorism for the period 2013. However, in at least two attacks, including the murder of the British soldier, the role of religious extremism appears to be evident. Furthermore, in the UK, an individual motivated by right-wing extremist ideology carried out four attacks, including the murder in the West Midlands.

            https://www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/publications/europol_tsat14_web_1.pdf

        • Tracey 8.1.1.3

          Completely ignoring what CV wrote…

        • Tom Jackson 8.1.1.4

          Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t stop it and it isn’t really a threat. Terrorism kills far fewer people than car accidents, falls and drownings. The only reason it has any effect at all is that our media and governments aren’t staffed by grown-ups.

          It’s certainly no justification for the thinly veiled racism of your ilk.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        The more the west buys into the narrative of the security and surveillance state, and the more the west thinks that it can keep funding and arming extremism in the Middle East without blowback, the worse it is going to be for all of us.

        QFT

        Sometimes I wonder if that’s what the governments of the West want. They keep getting told that they’re doing the wrong thing if the want to bring peace but they keep doing it. So, we’re either dealing with insanity or purposeful aggravation.

        • greywarshark 8.1.2.1

          @ DTB
          “Purposeful aggravation” good term that could be the truth. USA and Israel have found that war aggression and attack are useful for various purposes, a main one is to keep the hearts and minds of their people in anxiety and negativity towards the targets and manipulable by their government.

          Also keeping certain states in a state of unrest internal collapse and dire economic conditions so that they can’t get together and exert power. Another factor is to keep the oil flowing which assists developed countries stay powerful. And it creates a perishable product at great expense – armaments that are used once or for a time and they have built their economy around armaments and war.

  9. nadis 9

    In the wake of the Brighton bombing, the IRA said something along the lines of

    “The state has to be lucky all the time, we just have to be lucky once.”

    That sums up exactly the problems for the state, and the opportunity for terrorists.

  10. greywarshark 10

    Reminds me of the Siege of Sidney Street from 1911.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Sidney_Street

    Having armed police in the town is not new. The 1911 siege was connected with foreigners and fears of what they were up to. This from Wikipedia sounds quite a hot little news item that can almost match today’s. Or surpass it?

    Preceded by the Houndsditch murders, it ended with the deaths of two members of a politically motivated gang of burglars and international anarchists supposedly led by Peter Piatkow, a.k.a. “Peter the Painter”, and sparked a major political row over the involvement of the then Home Secretary, Winston Churchill.

  11. you and your family, mum and dad, sisters and brothers will be deported back to where ever you came from.

    Auburn? Lakemba?

  12. It’s a perfectly benign symbol and appears across the Islamic world, including on the Saudi Arabian flag.

    There is nothing remotely benign about the declaration of a totalitarian ideology. In fact, it’s the very antithesis of benign. That it appears on the flag of the murderous and oppressive regime in Saudi Arabia is entirely appropriate, as murderous oppression is what it envisages for the entire world.

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.1

      Maybe the west should stop materially, monetarily and politically supporting the House of Saud then?

      Or nah, just carry on as usual. Even 9/11 and the fact that most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia just seems to be glossed over for convenience sake.

    • lprent 12.2

      Yes I agree. We should ban the totalitarian religion of christianity immediately.

      Not content with being the main exponents of mass slavery less than 300 years ago, the primary books of this intolerant religion carries numerous injunctions that it is the only religion. After the slavery phrase, they continued with colonial asset stripping of resources disguised as mass missionary works from extremist sects trying to develop shock troops throughout the world, and effort that continues to this day.

      Their very symbol, the cross, is a reminder of what happens to people who don’t follow its precepts. They are crucified by being nailed to one to suffer a long and agonising death.

      FFS – you should listen to yourself sometime.

      • tinfoilhat 12.2.1

        “Their very symbol, the cross, is a reminder of what happens to people who don’t follow its precepts. They are crucified by being nailed to one to suffer a long and agonising death.”

        ?? What ??

        I can certainly understand peoples’ feelings of helplessness and frustration in the current situation but how does this kind of statement do anything apart from inflame readers ?

        “FFS – you should listen to yourself sometime.”

        Perhaps you should follow your own advice.

        • lprent 12.2.1.1

          It is called irony (pretty obvious at that).

          I was taking what PM was saying and throwing back a few of the statements from the other side of the fence. You do realise that practitioners of other religions have similar myths about christianity, do you?

          • tinfoilhat 12.2.1.1.1

            You only seem to use the cover of irony as a fairly transparent mask for your bigotry.

            As I said to MS further up on this thread there’s little to choose between opponents on the left and right of the political spectrum in these situations.

            • lprent 12.2.1.1.1.1

              Huh? I have no real interest in religious faith apart from an academic interest in its history.

              Faith is not something I seem to be interested in or susceptible to faith. The history of atrocities it has inflicted throughout history is far higher than any benefits I could point to.

              That is especially the case in recent times (ie the past thousand years) of christianity. No other religion comes even remotely close for the number of casualties it has had inflicted in its name.

              However I have read a lot of religious material, because about a fifth of my family catch it rather strongly. I recognise when people actually live their faiths rather than just use them for some rather ugly bigotry.

              Based on what I have seen amongst the sewer rats, that is what I see today. The bigots using faith as a cover for being arseholes.

              I just like giving them a good look at how they look to me in their sanctimonious hatred. If you don’t like the mirror then I suggest you try covering your eyes. Mind you it sounds like you have already done that.

      • Psycho Milt 12.2.2

        We don’t get to “ban” totalitarian ideologies – that’s kind of the point of living in a liberal democracy in the first place. We don’t have to pretend they’re benign, though – if someone declares himself a proud fascist, don’t expect me to congratulate him for his choice of offensive nuttery.

        Also: Christianity’s a religion, not a totalitarian ideology. Regardless of what particular practitioners might get up to, the religion as a construct restricts itself to matters of conscience and offers little in the way of prescriptions or proscriptions for behaviour or society. Islam consists of little more than a set of prescriptions and proscriptions, with “God says so” for authority. The name of it means “Submit,” for fuck’s sake – the only sensible answer is “Fuck off.”

        • lprent 12.2.2.1

          …the religion as a construct restricts itself to matters of conscience and offers little in the way of prescriptions or proscriptions for behaviour or society.

          I think that you should read the bible again. It is about as full of proscriptions as the Koran or the Torah is. For instance the Decalogue. The very first one (in all variants and translations) is the epitome of a totalitarian ideology, one that any pissant dictator would be proud of.

          That people most people religiously ignore them is neither here nor there. It only requires a few young male nutter extremists restrained by their passports and police surveillance to do their dying at home rather than in a war zone.

          • Psycho Milt 12.2.2.1.1

            An intelligent person can analogise just about anything to just about anything else, of course. But if we were to try and implement in this country the laws prescribed by Christianity, we’d be scratching to actually come up with any. Try it using Islam and the legislature would be busy for years setting down the rules we were going to live by and the punishments for breaching them.

            • lprent 12.2.2.1.1.1

              But if we were to try and implement in this country the laws prescribed by Christianity, we’d be scratching to actually come up with any.

              Bullshit. If we for instance wished to implement the actual interpretations of strict Anabaptists (he says pulling a sect off the pile), we’d be spending quite a while implementing laws.

              If we went with almost any moderate sect of Islam, then very little would need to be changed.

              An intelligent person can analogise just about anything to just about anything else, of course.

              Just as any run of the mill bigot can manage to ignore anything that doesn’t fit their world view eh?

              Perhaps you should actually go and get some education in comparative religions.

              • I have some, along with experience of living in a Muslim country. A “moderate” Islamic sect would be one that chooses to ignore most of what its religion actually says. Saudi Arabia, and to a large extent ISIS, are doing Islam the way it says in the manual. Anabaptists (hell, the Roman Catholic Church for that matter) are not doing that with Christianity.

                • lprent

                  Let me help you out…

                  A “moderate” Islamic Christian sect would be one that chooses to ignore most of what its religion actually says

                  Old Testament anyone?

                  • Well, I guess a Christianity that really did devote itself to turning the other cheek and “considering the lily of the field” would actually be pretty radical, but not in a murderously oppressive, totalitarian way.

                    Re the Old Testament: maybe you’re the one should study some comparative religion. Christianity is explicit about the rules of the Old Testament being superseded by the vague meek-shall-inherit-the-Earth blather of the New Testament. This is why Christians get to eat pork, work on the Sabbath and not give a shit about who’s menstruating. There really aren’t a lot of rules to obey in it.

                    • lprent

                      Paul fitted the mould of an old-time patriarch without any real problem. So did quite a lot of the others in the New Testament.

                    • RedLogix

                      Because in essence the two religions originate in quite different contexts.

                      Christianity can be best thought of as a reformation of Judaism, while Islam is a restatement of the Abrahamic tradition in its own right.

                      Or on a more pragmatic level – early Christians were almost exclusively from a Jewish background and for the most part carried on living under similar religious laws and culture. During his lifetime the community who followed Jesus numbered probably only a few dozen. And in the early few centuries of Christianity the community was very much a persecuted, underground and scattered minority. As a result there arose many interpretations of Christianity, a state that continues even today.

                      While this divisiveness has been a fertile source of much grievous conflict over 2000 years; it has perhaps lent Christianity a special adaptability to changing societies. It continues to thrive even in a world that has changed beyond all recognition since the time of its founder.

                      By contrast Islam arose very much as an independent community right from the outset. Early believers were drawn from a melee of different backgrounds and the Islamic community rapidly grew to many tens of thousands within the lifetime of The Prophet. In that context Islam was able to establish it’s own laws and traditions that were quite distinct and independent of what had gone before.

                      But this clarity and firmness of tradition seems also to have become a dead-end – as the world changed – Islam has struggled to adapt. (The Wahabi sect representing an especially repugnant form of fundamentalism that the rest of the Islamic world has been unwilling to openly repudiate.)

                    • Indeed. Religions are generally obnoxious and attract bossy nutcases. However, the works of Paul don’t offer a wide range of prescriptions and proscriptions to be implemented – Islam does.

                    • lprent []

                      The problem is that many of the things you are decrying appear to be tribal practices rather than anything from the Koran itself. Perhaps you’d better point out the actual passages you are referring to in the Koran?

                      I’ve read a number of religious books over the years. With the exception of a couple of the older ones >2000yo, they are remarkably humane even by current standards. Koran included.

                      Usually it is the morans who misinterpret them for their own reasons that are the issue. Christians are rather notorious for that. Just look at almost any TV church in the US, or even here.

                    • The Koran is such a crap document it has a quote for every contradictory position. Suffice to say there’s little ISIS are doing that’s contradictory to the Koran and the Hadith. The Grand Mufti of Egypt had to resort to “It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings,” to condemn them for publishing a manual on how to treat female sex slaves, because there was no Koranic or Hadith basis on which to condemn it.

                      Along the same lines, Ashraf Choudhary couldn’t come up with anything better than “not here in New Zealand” when it comes to stoning gays to death, because his religion is pretty clear that it certainly does apply in Muslim countries.

                      Likewise with Dawkins’ favourite question for Muslims, “What is the penalty for apostasy?” Their religion is very clear on what the penalty for apostasy is. Islam divides the entire gamut of human behaviour into five categories, from “required” to “forbidden.” If you can figure out how that doesn’t equate to a totalitarian ideology, go to it.

                    • lprent []

                      The Koran is such a crap document it has a quote for every contradictory position.

                      Just like the bible you mean – both the old and new testaments

                      …when it comes to stoning gays to death, because his religion is pretty clear that it certainly does apply in Muslim countries.

                      Where in the Koran does it say that? Or are you just making it up? Or being a parrot…

                      You seem to know a lot about it – everything except the detail.

                      Their religion is very clear on what the penalty for apostasy is.

                      What is the first commandment of the christianity? What have been the punishments for people converting from versions of christianity to other versions in the past?

                      Face it PM – you are simply a died in the wool, unthinking, religious bigot…

                      Don’t worry about it too much. I’m sure that such dogmatic stupidity will die out eventually.

                    • Just like the bible you mean – both the old and new testaments.

                      Yes. Religious documents are by definition irrational. However, what’s in the Bible is irrelevant to what’s in the Koran.

                      Where in the Koran does it say that?

                      It’s covered in multiple places in thedith.

                      What is the first commandment of the christianity?

                      Technically, the first and only commandment of Christianity is to declare allegiance to Jesus and repent your sins, but I know what you mean. Of more interest in the context of this argument would be, what consequences does Christianity impose for not accepting that first commandment? The religion itself declares none, other than their god not being very chuffed with you after you snuff it.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  What? Check out the US Christian Right for whom supporting Israel with billions of dollars of military aid is a bible sanctioned God fearing duty.

                  • At dispute is whether Islam is a totalitarian ideology in a sense that wouldn’t also encompass Christianity. How does your comment address that?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Salafism/Wahabism are totalitarian ideologies. But as recently as 200 years ago neither had any real traction in wider Islam. They are much more recent, and probably heretical, interpretations of Islamic teachings.

                    • Well, given the famous quote from Matthew, chapter 5 verse 18 there’s plenty of suggestion that ‘The Law’ remains intact – depending on one’s interpretation of that particular passage:

                      For verily I say unto you, Till
                      heaven and earth pass, one jot or one
                      tittle shall in no wise pass from
                      the law, till all be fulfilled.

                      There’s clearly a legalistic – and therefore totalising – interpretation of Christianity at hand in the New Testament.

                      That it may not, sometimes or even predominantly, be interpreted in that way is irrelevant to your argument given that you’ve already admitted that, similarly, it is possible (and quite common) not to interpret Islam in a totalising way.

                      Also, ‘Christendom’ was termed that for quite a deliberate, political reason – governance and lawmaking was understood to be subject to Christian doctrine.

                    • And if you encountered people who regarded Christianity as having the mission of re-imposing ‘Christendom’ on western civilisation and implementing the various laws of the Old Testament (not that that’s a serious contention, you’re just engaging in sophistry with it), would you hesitate to identify them as totalitarian nutcases who must be opposed?

                    • Hi Psycho Milt,

                      I hope I wasn’t engaging in sophistry. And I agree that anyone seeking to impose a totalising interpretation of any religion or ideology is totalitarian and I’d oppose them.

                      I understood, though, that the argument was over whether or not the religion and the scriptures associated with Christianity were totalitarian in the same way that the religion and scriptures associated with Islam were claimed by you to be totalitarian.

                      I did not think the argument was over whether or not to oppose someone who was trying to impose totalitarianism on a country – no matter what their ideology, moral commitments or religion.

                      You seemed to be saying that the scriptures of Christianity were distinct from those of Islam because the former were ‘religious’ rather than expressions of a ‘totalitarian ideology’.

                      That is, you were not arguing over some particular “totalitarian nutcase” but, instead, over the doctrine and scriptures in each case – unless I misread your comments.

                      That’s why I pointed out the verse from Matthew’s Gospel.

                      I f you’re only talking about the fact that some people use the scriptures of Islam as totalising doctrines then, yes, that’s true – in the same way that it has been true with the scriptures of Christianity (which is why I mentioned ‘Christendom’ – I was not suggesting that many Christians today wish to re-impose Christendom, though no doubt some would like to).

                      It’s worth remembering that even some Buddhist countries have interpreted their religion as a totalising one to devastating effect (e.g., this account of how the Khmer Rouge turned the notion of karma into justification of all they did).

                      You made the argument over the doctrines of Islam and Christianity rather than over totalitarianism per se, so I responded in the same vein.

                    • I’ll agree we’re talking only about a few people wanting to impose totalitarianism on a country when most of the world’s Muslims sign a declaration that secular law takes precedence over Sharia law. Until then, I’m assuming they’re all totalitarians because they adhere to a totalitarian ideology.

                      I’m saying that Islam, when used as directed in its scriptures, is a totalitarian system, ie that the “militants” are doing what it says in the manual and the “moderates” aren’t. Its scriptures are an instruction manual for a brutal totalitarian society. Christianity is many flavours of obnoxious idiocy, but that isn’t one of them. The nearest lprent could come up with is the Old Testament, whose laws are explicitly superseded in Christianity. You’ve managed to find a quote that can perhaps be interpreted as saying the OT laws still apply, but the whole rest of the NT shows otherwise and a person interpreting Christianity as requiring adherence to OT laws would most definitely not be using it as directed.

                      You raised Christendom as an example of Christianity as a totalitarian society in which legislation was expected to match Christian doctrine. Thing is, how does legislation match Christian doctrine? Christian doctrine prescribes no legislation and declares no punishments. They cheerfully put heretics and apostates to death, but there was nothing written in their scriptures that told them to do it. Islam is otherwise.

                    • RedLogix

                      Christian doctrine prescribes no legislation and declares no punishments.

                      Or you could take the view that Jesus said very little (except for some references to relaxing the process around divorce and the restrictions of the Sabbath) – because for all intents and purposes the OT law remained.

        • batweka 12.2.2.2

          “Christianity’s a religion, not a totalitarian ideology. Regardless of what particular practitioners might get up to, the religion as a construct restricts itself to matters of conscience and offers little in the way of prescriptions or proscriptions for behaviour or society.”

          One only has to look at the US to know that’s not true.

          • Stephanie Rodgers 12.2.2.2.1

            Indeed. The phrase which keeps coming to mind is “In God we trust”, and if that isn’t a declaration of totalitarian ideology I don’t know what is.

            • batweka 12.2.2.2.1.1

              And following on from that is how many people in the US take the bible literally, which is full of rules on how to behave.

              Then there’s the abortion issue.

  13. Bill 13

    A guy with a gun or whatever, with hostages in a siege situation is criminal, not terrorist, in nature. But hey, lets all jump to conclusions and file under ‘Syria’ and ‘war’ and wet our pants over a piece of cloth with Arabic(?) script on it.

    Please note that I’m not saying the guy won’t turn out to have connections to some proscribed group or whatever…not that he’ll have to have in order for another deployment of fear inducing propaganda to have effectively oozed into peoples’ consciousness.

    I noticed The Guardian is doing its bit in the ‘stirring up of shit’ front by linking off their ‘live update’ feed to a piece about the arrest of some guy in Sydney, suspected of funding terrorism. Fuck all this hype for hysteria.

    Crosses my mind that you wouldn’t want to be some Muslim holding up a dairy at knife point these days… who had happened to check out a couple of Syrian websites for info at some point in the past, cause like, obviously you couldn’t pass yourself off as someone simply robbing a dairy. Rather, as any level headed liberal news outlet these days would agree, you’d be in the business of raising funds for Jihad or whatever

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      Yeah that’d be 10 years in Guantanamo Bay for that dairy robber…and a whole lot of waterboarding. All for $100 in change and a few packs of smokes.

    • …wet our pants over a piece of cloth with Arabic(?) script on it.

      If the guy had hung a swastika flag in the window, would you have any problem identifying him as a fascist?

      • Tracey 13.2.1

        Some dont hang swastikas in their “windows” but subvert democracy and privacy of its formerly free citizens anyway.

        Funny that when I first heard of the siege I thought “mental health issues”.

        Tv now has runing live coverage of nothing new, just running over and over the speculation to fill the vacuum of actual knowledge.

        The Lunatics are taking over the assylum ( no disrespect meant to mental health sufferers).

      • Bill 13.2.2

        @ pm – Wouldn’t it be more appropriate, in the interests of consistency, to identify him as a Christian in that case?

        • Psycho Milt 13.2.2.1

          You seem horribly confused about which symbols go with which ideology. As a refresher: that “Arabic scripture” is a symbol of Islam; the swastika is a symbol of nazi fascism; the cross is a symbol of Christianity. There’s a shitload of similar examples.

          • batweka 13.2.2.1.1

            Nevertheless, Bill’s point stands. Why is this terrorism instead of criminal?

            • Psycho Milt 13.2.2.1.1.1

              One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, but why this is political violence rather than criminal is indicated first, by the large political statement draped in the window, and second, by the absence of non-political criminal aims of the operation. For example, the perps haven’t taken hostages as a response to police interrupting a robbery, or as a means to obtaining a ransom – their purpose in taking the hostages is expressed in and explained by the flag they put in the window.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Oh fuck off mate. By your reckoning boarding an oil exploration ship without authorisation, forcing it to stop normal operations and draping a Greenpeace flag off its bow is also “political violence”which then according to you = “terrorism”.

              • batweka

                And if they have no links to any terrorist organisation? Themselves are not organising politically beyond this event?

                • …which then according to you = “terrorism”.

                  Reading comprehension’s not your strong point, is it?

                  And if they have no links to any terrorist organisation? Themselves are not organising politically beyond this event?

                  So what? If some dickheads in Germany display a swastika flag while terrorising some asylumn-seekers, does it really matter whether they have links to wider neo-nazi organisations and a programme beyond this particular event? Hint: no it fucking doesn’t.

                  • batweka

                    Except swastika bearing dickheads might not be politically motivated so much as racist, or just dickheads. But if you want to call that terrorism, fine, let’s call domestic violence terrorism too. Gender politics are involved, and terror, so let’s set up a surveillance state that monitors everyone but does so with special attention to men, including state sponsored rhetoric to up the man-hating.

                    Definitions of terrorism are always partisan and self serving and come at the expense of some and the privilege of others. Myself, I think it’s useful to have some nuance when it comes to dealing with violence, not least so we don’t perpetuate it.

                    The issue here isn’t comprehension fail so much as your arguments are a bit muddled.

                    • But if you want to call that terrorism, fine…

                      Reading comprehension’s not your strong point either, is it?

                    • batweka

                      communication isn’t yours. Why don’t you just clarify instead of being dick?

                    • Fine. I haven’t called anything terrorism. Like I said, one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, it’s an unhelpful term that gives us stuff like legislation that says a terrorist is whoever the government declares to be a terrorist.

                      But when people put a big sign up above their activity with a political message on it, there’s no point in trying to claim that they’re not engaging in political activity. When the suffragettes chained themselves to stuff with a big banner above them saying “Votes for women,” no-one tried to claim they weren’t politically motivated, as though they perhaps just had an enthusiasm for street theatre and a coincidental interest in displaying large banners with a message on them. Let’s not be idiots about this.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Oops, no terrorist.

                    • batweka

                      PM, you seem to be completely excluding something like a person on their own reaching the end of the tolerance for life and going out via suicide by cop. They might bring in their politics as part of that, but it’s not a fair comparison with an organised politcal movement like the Suffragettes.

                      If John Tully had carried a sign saying fuck WINZ, would we classify his actions as political and talk about them alongside terrorism?

                      The reason it matters is that if this is a lone action, it’s over now, but if it’s part of an organisation it’s not and different strategies are needed.

                      This is a theoretical discussion of course, we have no idea what was really going on with either Tully or the guy in Sydney.

                    • If John Tully had carried a sign saying fuck WINZ, would we classify his actions as political and talk about them alongside terrorism?

                      If he’d put a big hammer and sickle banner or anarchist symbol in the window while he was in there, yes I’d classify his actions as political. Being an angry nutcase doesn’t preclude having a political viewpoint.

                    • batweka

                      Right, so we’re talking about societally-sanctioned politics, and beneficiary politics aren’t included.

          • travellerev 13.2.2.1.2

            Psycho Milt,

            WTF? Saying that Arab Scripture is the symbol of Islam and compares to the Swastika is like saying the entire Anglo Saxon Language group equals the Swastika?

            What an incredible display of Islamophobia and stupidity.

            Arabic is a family group of languages who all use the Arab Alphabet just like the Anglo Saxon languages use the Roman Alphabet and the Russian languages use Cyrillic.

            You will find some of the finest poetry, spirituality and literature in the Arab world.

            Just because some demented murdering thugs paid for by the CIA and assorted accomplices write some Arab words like Allah is the greatest on a blag flag doesn’t mean all Arab speaking countries are populated with them.

            Here is something not a lot of people understand but all practicing Muslims will always pray with their face to Mekka. Here is how these psychos pray.

            • Psycho Milt 13.2.2.1.2.1

              You do know that Arabs use calligraphy in place of images because images are banned, right? And that the particular piece of text in question is featured on the flag of Saudi Arabia exactly because it’s a declaration of Islam? Or maybe you don’t know those things, because otherwise it’s hard to make any sense of your comment.

    • Murray Rawshark 13.3

      +1
      The Guardian is being as foul as the rest of them. I shouldn’t have been surprised. When they think the chips are down, they know which side their bread is buttered on.

  14. Stuart Munro 14

    It seems unusually well planned. If you’re going to make a chancy political statement then a Lindt shop is probably the best place in Oz to spend your final hours – Teuscher & Valhrona probably don’t have local outlets.

    • Ad 14.1

      So droll!
      Although perhaps this isn’t the revenge of the Oompa Loompas.

    • Bill 14.2

      My nefarious sources tell me there was talk of a daring plan to hit the Octagon in Dunedin as a way of showing western leaders that Pentagons were neither a one off, nor sitting at the limits of operational capabilities. It was felt that a daring hit on an eight sided geometrical structure would serve to unleash a ferocious backlash big enough to give a very sizable extra bump to the numbers flocking to the cause.

      As we know, chocolate establishments are the preferred base for operations and Dunedin has an entire chocolate factory not a stones throw from the proposed target. My sources inform me that we were very fortunate, in that a reconnaissance of the Craft Cadbury factory was carried out and the products found to be of such an inferior quality that no-one was willing to accept them as compensation for martyrdom.

    • Tom Jackson 14.3

      True. My guess is that the hostages have asked the jihadist to prolong the siege until they’ve finished all the chocolate.

      • RedLogix 14.3.1

        Dark and slightly bitter ….

      • Stuart Munro 14.3.2

        You may laugh but even now Boring Bill & Pullya benefit will be making plans to criminalise theobromine use – or worse – seize national chocolate supplies for their own use. One look at Gerry without a pacemaker tells you this is a man who never fails to go back for the second mallowpuff.

  15. KJS0ne 15

    Another point worth mentioning is that when there is a media feeding frenzy over this kind of thing, it encourages others to pull the same sort of stunt. It’s the exact same encouragement the media in the US gives to school-shooters, hey, here’s a chance to be famous, to get all the attention you want, to go down in history (for whatever ends, be it personal vendetta, religious extremist zeal, any cause under the sun). It is a prime incentive for yet more of these situations.

    But I get the feeling Western governments and their intelligence agencies relish these situations, they are convenient opportunities to double down on the ‘security’. See, see how unsafe you are!?!? Watch and see how JK & Co. play this up as yet another example of how unsafe Kiwis are and the justified need for increasingly invasive powers of our ‘security’ agencies. Despite the fact that the Muslim populations of Australia and New Zealand couldn’t be more different in nature and potential for religious and cultural grievance.

    • Bill 15.1

      Dunno if I buy the copy cat line. That it’s all hammed up by western governments and major news outlets is a given. I wish we would mercilessly, and as a matter of course, rip the piss from them for it.

      • KJS0ne 15.1.1

        There is a certain amount of anecdotal evidence to suggest that media attention in school shootings really doesn’t help the incidence, but there isn’t a large enough sample size to draw any certain conclusion statistically. There is most certainly correlation between suicide media attention and suicide rates. I am extrapolating here a bit and you’re more than welcome not to buy it.

        http://ithp.org/articles/mediacopycatshootings.html

        You’re right of course re ripping the piss from them. We really need to plug every available outlet full of a counter narrative to this bullshit line about Government intelligence and military apparatuses protecting us from their own boogeymen offspring. It’s akin to the Mafia approaching businesses and offering them protection, protection from the very same Mafia. Too long has the monotonous drone of ‘security at all costs’ been blasted into our ears, and tube fed into our stomachs and mainlined into our veins.

  16. Jay 16

    It isn’t logical to argue against extra surveillance powers on the basis that there is no or almost no threat, and in the same breath blame australias (and our) involvement in the middle east for incidents like this. Can’t have it both ways. Is there a problem or isn’t there?

    Whether or not Australia has brought this on itself is arguable and impossible to prove one way or the other. The fact remains that this situation demonstrates that there clearly IS an increased risk in australia, something that many people poo-poohed, just as they have about the risk that nz faces.

    There are about thirty people holed up in a cafe in Sydney who would probably also back increased surveillance powers henceforth. I know many of us might disagree, but then again it’s awfully easy to do so when you don’t have a gun pointed at you.

    • lprent 16.1

      So far what we know is that some maniac has taken hostages in a cafe in Sydney with a shotgun.

      I was around watching the news when a nutter with a whole pile of semi automatic weapons went on a rampage in the Aramoana massacre. Somehow I can’t remember such worry from hysterical bigots (like yourself?) then.

      So we should conclude that is that your average wingnut only hysterically loses the function of their bowels when perps have their cribbed 10c philosophy written in a different alphabet and carry inferior weapons?

      Dipshit internet warriors concealing bigotry under convenient hysteria – they are so ….. pathetic…

      • Pete George 16.1.1

        The Aramoana massacre led to quite a bit of debate…

        It sparked lengthy debate about gun control, as Gray’s primary weapon was a semi-automatic rifle, with a similar appearance to and internal mechanism based on the Russian AK-47. The incident directly resulted in an amendment to New Zealand’s firearms regulations in 1992, tightening gun control and the creation of the military-style semi-automatic category of firearms.

        … and extra controls on firearms.

        There weren’t many dipshit internet warriors concealing bigotry under convenient hysteria then.

        • lprent 16.1.1.1

          I don’t remember at the time that the appearance of a single lone armed nutter caused quite so much in the way of pathetic leg dribbling conspiracy theories from our local bigots. The local sewer at KiwiBlog is rife today with the smell of fear driven urine and bowel movements of the unthinking morans of the internet.

          Perhaps because the net was in its infancy back in 1990, and it took some knowledge to hook on to the networks. Now we have you and those gibbering idiots at the sewer….

          These days we even have fools like yourself able to waffle on at length

          • Pete George 16.1.1.1.1

            “able to waffle on at length”

            Ironic on multiple counts.

            There’s actually quite a mix of opinions at Kiwiblog (as there is here). The most vocal on today’s Sydney thread have said it all before and won’t change, but they don’t represent anything other than a small number with entrenched prejudices.

            The Aramoana massacres initiated social concerns which were followed by political concerns that resulted in tighter gun controls. That sort of follow on effect is not uncommon from major incidents. It can sometimes lead to over-reactions as happened in the US after 9-11.

            It’s not a few blog extremists (or in those days letter to the editor writers) who initiate changes like that, it’s more likely the weight of concerned ordinary people or politicians who want to reduce future risks..

            • lprent 16.1.1.1.1.1

              So based on the near hysterical (and by all looks carefully scripted) posturing going on amongst the 5 eyes partners. The similarity of their recent legislation that seems to be targeted more at their local populations than anything in the middle east.

              So what do you think that the “measured” response will be here?

              Incidentally, the “measured” response back in 1990 was more like a hysterical than you seem to remember. The utterly confused guns legislation that got put into place seems to have been amended at least once every 3 or 4 years ever since.

              It also from the ease with which getting semi-autos has been ever since, not really that different from when I was buying them. After all if Cameron Slater can get one, then it’d be pretty hard to stop other nutters from doing the same.

              • Pete George

                “The similarity of their recent legislation that seems to be targeted more at their local populations than anything in the middle east. ”

                That’s what our laws do, target what happens in New Zealand (local populations). The passport measures can have a very small influence on who might be able to travel to the Middle East but our laws can hardly target the Middle East. There’s not much point for example in trying to enforce the Treaty of Waitangi in Syria.

                • Paul

                  Very dull, pg

                • lprent

                  So little effect? And so little effect on the ostensible target here as well?

                  So why do you think that National (and United Future) thought it was needed and so urgently as well. Perhaps because the ostensible target wasn’t the actual target. It is interesting how simply declaring someone a “terrorist” or even a “possible terrorist” now gives the security forces very close to carte blanche to do what John Key wishes them to do (or his sock puppets).

                  All he needs is a compliant mate judge. I’m sure that those are appointed… Because the warrants a secret, you can’t even challenge the damn things. About the only thing you can do is to run a lot of court time up.

                  And JK and National have such a good track record in how they misuses the police and security forces as well. JK manages to misuse them all of the time through his “staff”.

                  I consider this legislation to be quite flawed. It depends far too much on a ‘trust’ that I don’t think really exists any more political activists of many kinds and the police and security agencies. The problem for them in NZ is that everyone has family who are activists.

              • Tom Jackson

                Slater has a firearms license?

                eek.

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.2

      There are about thirty people holed up in a cafe in Sydney who would probably also back increased surveillance powers henceforth. I know many of us might disagree, but then again it’s awfully easy to do so when you don’t have a gun pointed at you.

      Why are you arguing for legislative courses of action which are utterly ineffective? Australia passed greatly increased surveillance and anti-terrorism powers in Sept. Hasn’t helped them prevent this has it.

      Why not stop ask the western powers to stop fucking up other peoples homelands instead, so that they have no cause to stir up shit over here?

      • Pete George 16.2.1

        “Why are you arguing for legislative courses of action which are utterly ineffective?”

        How do you know they have been ineffective?

        “Australia passed greatly increased surveillance and anti-terrorism powers in Sept. Hasn’t helped them prevent this has it.”

        No it hasn’t prevented this. Has it prevented anything else? Has it reduced the severity of this? What are you basing your claims on?

        • Colonial Rawshark 16.2.1.1

          Here’s Pete George using the utterly unaccountable and vacuous “things might have been much worse if we hadn’t instituted XYZ surveillance and security state measures”.

          Seriously mate. The terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and civil liberties, and here you are helping them to do just that under the rather transparent and self serving rubric of ‘national security’.

          • Pete George 16.2.1.1.1

            I didn’t say what you’ve suggested. I asked you to back up your claims. If you can’t then they’re what’s vacuous.

            • Colonial Rawshark 16.2.1.1.1.1

              You’re an apologist for security and surveillance state rule. In other words, you are an authoritarian at heart who puts civil liberties and true democracy last.

            • mickysavage 16.2.1.1.1.2

              Um I really thought that the state should back up its claims that increased powers were necessary for our security before it took away our rights. This is no different. We could triple the amount of power the state has and this could still happen. So what do we do? Sacrifice every single right we have?

              • Pete George

                I think we’ve got to trust that National and Labour have got the latest tweaks about right, accepting that there’s always some risk of failing to prevent something happening, you can never have 100% security. And that at times laws will go too far or be misused. We live in an imperfect world, even in New Zealand.

                I doubt we could triple security but we could increase it substantially and only slight improve the odds of prevention.

                But reducing security substantially would almost certainly significantly increase the risks.

                Which of your rights have been taken away? I presume you’re not referring to any right to expect reasonable protection from the State.

                • mickysavage

                  I did not say we should reduce security. I just wondered what other rights the state would want to take away from us and if it would make any difference.

                  DO you think that all of our emails and text messages and voice messages should be handed over to the state? And how do you think this would make us safer or more free?

                  • Pete George

                    ” I just wondered what other rights the state would want to take away from us and if it would make any difference.”

                    I’m not aware of any plans for further law changes. Are you?

                    You didn’t say what rights have been taken away from you. I’ll help, I can think of one sort of right – the right to go and fight for ISIS. But if you just go by a round about route and don’t let anyone know where you’re going or why you may be able to get there anyway.

                    “DO you think that all of our emails and text messages and voice messages should be handed over to the state?”

                    No. I don’t hand mine over. And I very much doubt they’ll have sufficient cause to get a warrant to intercept any of mine.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      They are continuously drafting new laws and regulations to empower secret agencies, paramilitaries and corporates, and to disempower ordinary citizens and dismantle the basic safeguards of democratic society.

                      Whether you are aware of the specifics or not is irrelevant.

                      You don’t have to hand any of your communications over PG, and no warrants are necessary. Your communications are all being captured, flagged and stored for posterity. Especially because you visit The Standard.

                      No doubt you support this state overreach and invasion of your privacy and your dignity, and honestly I had thought you a better libertarian than that.

                    • lprent

                      You focus on the least important part of the legislation?

                      That figures. Did you read the rest of it? Or were you completely taken in by the PR snow. Sucker…

                    • Pete George

                      “Your communications are all being captured, flagged and stored for posterity.”

                      What do you base that claim on?

                      Most of my online communications are public.

                    • RedBaronCV

                      Perhaps Pete would care to trial a curfew for us all. No blogging after 7.00pm..

                    • batweka

                      rofl. How about a 7am curfew, for that extra security 😈

                    • batweka

                      “Your communications are all being captured, flagged and stored for posterity.”

                      What do you base that claim on?

                      Most of my online communications are public.

                      Honestly, I didn’t think Pete’s stupidity could surprise me, but that just took it to another level.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Pete’s portraying himself as Patron of Online Fact Checkers. It’s very funny.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Get a warrant?

                      I’m pretty sure mind-numbingly tedious gobshite is a major problem for our national economic interests. Then again, how will the intercepting officers stay awake?

              • Murray Rawshark

                They don’t have terrorist attacks in North Korea, mate! We must banish private property immediately, in the interests of liberty!

        • Draco T Bastard 16.2.1.2

          Has it prevented anything else? Has it reduced the severity of this?

          Probably not. If they had I’m sure we would have been hearing about it.

          What are you basing your claims on?

          The fact that this happened as well as the rather nasty bombing in the US a few months that these sorts of privacy intrusions are supposed to prevent.

        • Puddleglum 16.2.1.3

          Hi Pete George,

          Has it prevented anything else? Has it reduced the severity of this? What are you basing your claims on?

          This wasn’t Colonial Rawshark’s claim (that the laws prevented other incidents or reduced the severity of this incident).

          Colonial Rawshark was arguing that the new anti-terror laws in Australia didn’t prevent this incident – you accept that which presumably means that you accept the evidence for that (i.e., it happened in the context of those laws).

          Why, then, are you asking Colonial Rawshark “What are you basing your claims on?” since you have accepted his point and, hence, presumably accept the evidential basis for his claims.

          You actually seem to be asking him to provide evidence for your claims – which isn’t really fair.

          • Pete George 16.2.1.3.1

            He said “Why are you arguing for legislative courses of action which are utterly ineffective?”

            They were ineffective in preventing this incident, although it’s yet to be seen whether information they had accumulated about the perpetrator (who has a history of involvement in violent and sexual offences) helped them fairly successfully resolved the crisis and rescue most of the hostages.

            It’s impossible for us to know whether the legislative courses of action have been effective in preventing other potential incidents.

            I doubt most Australians will be calling for less surveillance and relaxed bail conditions at the moment. I suspect there will be many calls for more effective preventative measures, not less.

            • miravox 16.2.1.3.1.1

              The guy is/was a criminal. Not a religious fundamentalist (just a user) and well known to police.

              It’s highly unlikely that any increased secret service surveillance would have prevented this or improved the police handling of the situation. As the very good police spokesperson said – this was a scenario they were quite familiar with in their normal course of catching criminals. They would have had all the information they needed (imo).

              You’re grasping at straws to pontificate about enhanced surveillance having had anything to do with the way this was handled.

              • Pete George

                “It’s highly unlikely that any increased secret service surveillance would have prevented this”

                That’s pontificating. With the facts about the perpetrator emerging he would have been a reasonable candidate for more (police) surveillance. He was convicted for arranging the stabbing and setting alight of his ex wife, he is currently on bail for multiple sex offences and has a history of provocative actions.

                • miravox

                  No, that’s my opinion, as stated. I guess if you see that as pompous that’s your call.

                  As for the rest of your comment – yes, I can read too. Surprise.

                  The police were on to him – I can’e see why spying on him through enhanced surveillance measure designed to catch ‘terrorists’ would have changed the outcome IMO

            • Pete George 16.2.1.3.1.2

              I’ve just heard it reported on Firstline that Sydney police claim to have thwarted fifteen potential incidents including a public beheading. That doesn’t appear to be ‘utterly ineffective’.

        • framu 16.2.1.4

          “How do you know they have been ineffective?
          No it hasn’t prevented this.”

          do you just spew words onto the web and not even read what you wrote?

      • anker 16.2.2

        We don’t know what it might have prevented though.

        • Colonial Rawshark 16.2.2.1

          Oh great you too. I’ll tell you what it has prevented. The continuation of western liberal democracy, in favour of a surveillance and security state empowering the 0.1% even further.

          Remember when they say that these intrusive measures are for ‘security’ they mean their own, not ours.

          • batweka 16.2.2.1.1

            And even if there are immanent threats to be prevented, this isn’t the only way, and it’s not worth the cost.

          • The Murphey 16.2.2.1.2

            Q. What could be inferred from the below?

            And the meek shall inherit the earth

    • Draco T Bastard 16.3

      Can’t have it both ways. Is there a problem or isn’t there?

      Basically, there wouldn’t be if we (The West and most specifically the US) stopped fucking around in other peoples countries to steal their resources.

      • batweka 16.3.1

        QFT. Unfortunately some people think the price is worth it.

      • Ian H 16.3.2

        OBL came from a wealthy Saudi family. No harm was caused to him or his family by the US. He always claimed his motivation was religious and his aim was to conquer the world for Islam. The Islamic State states that its aim is to conquer the world for Islam. All we know about the motivation of this latest guy is that he has a religious slogan on a banner and has requested an IS flag. These guys all claim to be engaged in a religious war. Shouldn’t we take them at their word?

        • Draco T Bastard 16.3.2.1

          Look at the drone killings that the US has been engaging in over the last ten years or so. For every ‘terrorist’ killed something like thirty innocent civilians have been. This tends to breed people who will join with religious fanatics to get simple revenge on those who killed their loved ones.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.3.2.2

          Their word ain’t worth shit with the good lord telling them how to fuck you on the deal.

          Words Of Advice For Young People. WS Burroughs.

          Shall we take the word of the Westboro Baptist Church as speaking for all Christians while we’re at it?

  17. Mike 17

    ***Despite the fact that the Muslim populations of Australia and New Zealand couldn’t be more different in nature and potential for religious and cultural grievance.***

    @ KJS0ne,

    There are certainly quite striking differences in the attitudes of muslim populations across different countries and diaspora populations according to Pew.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/12/admissions-of-illiberalism/

    I see that three hostages have been released/escaped? Hopefully the situation can end peacefully.

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      It’s good to see western governments bringing local muslims on side by generally denigrating and criminalising their faith. Not really following the hearts and minds manual, are they.

  18. Realblue 18

    The individual has demanded an Isua flag. Not so benign. My fear is that he’ll kill this people regardless.

  19. Realblue 19

    The individual has demanded an Isis flag. Not so benign. My fear is that he’ll kill this people regardless.

  20. Realblue 20

    The individual has demanded an Isis flag. Not so benign. My fear is that he’ll kill these people regardless.

    • Colonial Rawshark 20.1

      Standard hostage negotiation scenario. Play it by the book.

    • The Murphey 20.2

      They are being let go gradually

      Your fears are spent energy

      Don’t live in fear or use false emotive statements

  21. RedLogix 21

    Tough day here in Aus. Everyone at work was very restrained about it.

  22. vto 22

    Well jus like the Canadians recently, you reap what you sow. Both Australia and Canada have been dropping bombs on people, shooting them dead and committing crimes against humanity by aiding the USA in torture over in the middle east for about 14 years – what the fuck do they expect? They bring it on themselves…

    … and now so will we, thanks to John Key tossing us into the USA ring of fire and crimes against humanity. Fuck John Key for putting my family and community at risk. Fuck him.

    • The Murphey 22.1

      The US military is a vehicle being used to fight wars on behalf

      To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize

      • Colonial Rawshark 22.1.1

        NB in our democracy you are still usually permitted to criticise the individuals, especially as long as it is at the trivial level of name calling. What you can’t do without being dismissed as a crackpot radical is to criticise the very power structures and system of capitalism itself.

        And what you definitely are not allowed to do is to set up alternatives which allow people to opt out of that system.

        • The Murphey 22.1.1.1

          There is a wall

          The wall is literal and metaphorical

          The wall is an oxymoron of a motionless yet expansionist state

          The wall is defended bitterly and lobbied relentlessly

          The wall has dual citizenship and is a master of duplicity

          The wall cries wolf while the western world defends the wall

  23. Red delusion 23

    Get a grip vto, Isis and their mates kill Muslims by the truck load not westerners so you don’t have to worry, jk will look after you if your afraid

    • Colonial Rawshark 23.1

      However, western govts are happy to collectively use ISIS as an excuse to tighten the grip of the security and surveillance state.

      The western powers also need to stop arming, funding and operationally assisting ISIS, both directly and indirectly.

    • The Murphey 23.2

      Q. Are you saying westerners do not kill Muslims?

    • vto 23.3

      nonsensical dribble

  24. Sanctuary 24

    If this was a full-on ISIS attack it would be all over by now; The whole MO of those guys is to just start killing until they are killed. It’ll be some dude who has decided to have has own personal Jihad. This siege will be over when he decides to surrender of a sniper gets a clear shot, whichever comes first.

    • Tom Jackson 24.1

      Stop being sensible, Sanctuary. You well know that the only reasonable response to this appalling act of terrorism against God fearing Australians is to exile all Muslims to some place that we can bomb them at will.

  25. Red delusion 25

    Praise indeed from the master of nonsensical dribble, hiding in his closet trembling in fear of the pending doom that jk has foisted on the nation if that ain’t dribble I don’t know what is

    • vto 25.1

      You have no idea of the circumstances of my family and the risk they are exposed to. Go fuck yourself you dumb arsehole.

      As for your delusion that NZ is not now, due to Key’s act in sending our troops to Iraq, at greater risk of a similar event as that in Sydney – yep, true nonsensical dribble. Check the history and the facts idiot.

  26. Red delusion 26

    Murphy no I am just saying Isis kill many more Muslim than westerners and poor old packing himself vto need not worry, he has more chance of been hit by the proverbial bus than been wiped out by Muslim terrorist , I actually agree we should just get out of the Middle east, we can’t solve their problems and maybe with shale oil and gas they no longer ours with energy security, thus mutual disentanglement is in order

    • Colonial Rawshark 26.1

      Murphy no I am just saying Isis kill many more Muslim than westerners

      Bullshit.

      Western sanctions caused approximately 1M excess Muslim deaths in Iraq before Saddam was toppled, and the deliberate chaos caused in Iraq by western powers after Saddam was deposed caused a further approximate 1M excess Muslim deaths.

      Compared to the western imperial project, ISIS are small fry.

  27. Red delusion 27

    Settle rawshark I am not comparing the west vs Isis , I am just saying Isis kills more Muslim than they do Westerners, so little vto can sleep tonight in the comfort that it is highly unlikely he, his family or his community have anything to fear

    [RL: Learn how to use the ‘Reply’ button.]

  28. Red delusion 28

    vto some friendly advise if you make ridiculous statements with profanity it sort of dilutes the power of your arguement, not that you really had one to start with

    [lprent: Let me give you some advice. Moderators make the rules about behaviour. You do not.

    Banned for a week for being a superlicious twerp who needs the time to read the policy before I start ratcheting up the bans. ]

  29. felix 29

    Compare and contrast:

    https://twitter.com/mikebairdMP/status/544392353717317632

    I wonder if he’s called Cam Slater to make sure he’s coping too.

  30. Red delusion 30

    [RL: Deleted. Failure to learn.]

  31. The Yanks are chiming in with messages of ‘support’ on twitter:

    moar guns will save us!

    • vto 31.1

      lordy, jesus christ, muhammad and allah, that is unbelievable shit…

      Remind me why we want to associate with a people and culture like that again?

  32. Andrew Welsh 32

    Treat the situation as you would any other hostage situation (take the religious assumptions out of it). Negotiate until the hostage taker tires .. [RL: Deleted. Not needed.] Problem solved for now.

    • Murray Rawshark 32.1

      Have you ever shot anyone? I don’t mean accidentally because you know nothing about gun safety.

  33. Murray Rawshark 33

    On Aussie Channel 9, they interviewed some moran from this lot:
    http://www.zeroriskinternational.com/
    His contribution was to say that Muslims should be rioting in the street against the gunman in the cafe, and that people should get situational awareness training from his company. He wasn’t as ugly as Whalespew, but his thinking was similar.

  34. joe90 34

    Responding to the hate – #illridewithyou

    • RedLogix 34.1

      If Tony Abbott can manage this:

      “The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people… Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society and nothing should ever change that and that’s why I urge all Australians to today to go about their business as usual,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

      then I think quite a few people might be best advised to breath through their noses for a while.

  35. Clean_power 35

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873855/Gunman-takes-hostages-cafe-Sydney.html An Iranian criminal is responsible, but fortunately he has been killed.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1

      “Fortunately”.

      Nope. Previously he was off to relative anonymity in jail, now his whole life will be picked over by people looking for meaning, and finding whatever they bring with them.

      Satisfying your atavistic vengeance fantasies isn’t worth it.

      • RedLogix 35.1.1

        And not so fortunately two other innocent people have also been killed. “Fortunate” would have been a peaceful ending – not this.

        Vengeance never ends well.

    • Murray Rawshark 35.2

      Not fortunate at all. If a little bit more had been spent on mental health services, rather than slashing them, none of this might have happened. Compare the costs of this operation, plus three deaths, to a bit of treatment when required.

  36. vto 36

    It brings tears to the eyes when innocent people, in Australia, the US, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, anywhere get killed in situations like this….

    …. the warmongers who bring this on the innocent people they purport to lead should hang their heads in shame. Tony Abbot, Bush, Obama, Blair, the Isis lot, the Taliban, John Key… the lot of them should be ashamed …. they disgust me.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 36.1

      “Situations like this”?

      You mean, where a criminal who has failed to find favour in court resorts to taking hostages in a vain attempt to avoid prison?

      You’re drawing a long bow.

      • vto 36.1.1

        hmmm maybe you’re right, however my assumption in this instance doesn’t diminish the fact that my point applies to various past similar acts brought about by said warmongers…

        • One Anonymous Bloke 36.1.1.1

          The direct acts of war they’ve perpetrated are more than enough to convict them without drawing dubious links to the motivations of others.

  37. Pat O'Dea 37

    There will be no trial and three people are dead.

    Two of them innocent citizens who just wanted to enjoy a coffee

    This is a very depressing end to a very sad chain of events. It can no way to be counted as a success by the security forces.

    But as a dismal tactical and strategic and humane failure.

    Questions will have to be asked.

    Did the shooting and killing start with the police, or the gunman?

    If no shooting began before the 4am raid, who gave the order to burst in with all guns blazing at 4am in the morning, and why?

    In the cold light of day, in the wake of this disasterous end, the decision to go in with deadly force, before it could be ascertained that it could be done safely, with minimum loss of life needs to be thoroughly and forensically examined.

    • karol 37.1

      And why was the alleged perp out on bail for an attempted murder charge.

      It didn’t need extra surveillance laws to prevent this – just a vigilant legal system that would keep an allegedly dangerous criminal off the streets.

      • RedLogix 37.1.1

        Bail will never be a perfect thing. It has to be a balance between keeping the public safe from clearly dangerous criminals who are very likely to commit more crimes – and imprisoning potentially innocent people from quite long terms of unwarranted imprisonment before their trial.

        And this is often a call that the system has to make off the back of relatively poor information in short time-frames.

        Maybe it a problem that needs more resource thrown at it, but I doubt we will ever get it right all the time.

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