Man Haron Monis, the violent criminal involved in the Lindt Café hostage drama in Sydney last Monday and Tuesday was well known to Australian law enforcement and security agencies since 1996, when he arrived from Iran and was granted “political refugee” status.
He had a long history of violence, mental instability, religious extremism. So how was it then that Monis was able to walk our streets and perpetrate the most heinous crime in Australia’s history? And let’s get this right. His actions were not terrorism, but rather those of a deranged criminal who happened to be Muslim. To their credit, Monis’ actions have been soundly denounced by the Australian Islamic community. To answer the above question, let’s take a look at Monis’ background and Australian security agencies failures in respect of that background
- FAILED – Granted Bail in Murder Charge – Monis was granted bail in December 2013 after being charged with being an accessory before and after the fact in the murder of his ex-wife.
- FAILED – Prevented from Extradition – In 2010, Iran requested the extradition of Monis to face fraud charges in Iran in respect of the travel agency he ran. The request was refused as Australia had no extradition treaty with Iran.
- FAILED – Removed from Watch List – Monis dropped of the ASIO watch list in 2010. if he had been on the watch list, bail would not have been granted.
- FAILED – Citizenship Granted – Monis was granted Australian citizenship in 2004 despite the Iranians having a warrant out for his arrest. To be granted citizenship the applicant must be of “good character”. Australian authorities seem to have overlooked his criminal history and unanswered charges in Iran and granted citizenship anyway.
- FAILED – Allowed to Enter Australia – Granted “political refugee” status in 1996, in full knowledge of his outstanding charges in Iran.
- FAILED – Given Legal Aid – He was able to access the High Court to attempt to have a trial aborted. His action was dismissed.
- FAILED – Gun Licence – There seems to be some dispute as to whether Monis has held a gun licence in Australia
- FAILED – Allowed to Live on Welfare – Monis survived on the Australian welfare system for many years.
- FAILED – Multiple Identities – The use of numerous aliases led to some difficulties in tracking his criminal activities.
- FAILED – Allowed to Write Hate Mail – Monis wrote deplorable hate mail to families who had lost sons, husbands, brothers in the war in Afghanistan. For this crime he received a minor sentence of “community service”.
- FAILED – Information Not Shared between Security Agencies – Decisions about Monis may have been made without having the information that other agencies knew!
- FAILED – Was Able to get a Firearm – Where did Monis get the pump-action shot gun that he used to murder two people in the Lindt Café? Did he steal it, or was is supplied by an accomplice to his crimes?
- FAILED – Able to Register Extremist Company Names – Monis was able to register Hizbullah Australia and Dar El Fatwa Australia. These names should have alerted security authorities to Monis’ possible criminal intent. Further he had a 1300 service number – 1300 4 JIHAD – which has since been disconnected.
It would appear that those red flags that should have been raised in respect of Monis’ activities were not raised, or if they were, they were indeed ignored. This ultimately led to the horrific events which occurred in Martin Place and to the death of two innocent people.
Lax bail laws need to tightened, inter-agency cooperation and information sharing needs to be improved, and citizenship for those involved in jihadist and other criminal activities need to be annulled and those persons deported back to their country of origin. The Australian attitude of “She’ll be right, mate” is out of place in today’s times. Its time to toughen up against all those who have demonstrated a behaviour of a violent, criminal or extremist nature.
Australia is a peaceful multi-cultural society with people from many countries and many faiths. There is however NO place for religiously motivated extremism and/or violence affecting the innocent members of the community going about their daily lives.