Home' Greymouth Star : December 17th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - 7
The ‘fake sheik’ behind the deadly
Sydney cafe siege railed against
Australian “terrorism” on his website a
day before he took 17 people hostage.
In a chilling post on his personal
website, self-proclaimed Muslim cleric
Man Haron Monis vowed to fight the
“oppression and terrorism of USA and
its allies including UK and Australia”.
“If we stay silent towards the criminals
we cannot have a peaceful society,” the
50-year-old posted on Sunday.
“The more you fight with crime, the
more peaceful you are.”
On Monday morning, he entered the
Lindt cafe in central Sydney armed with
a shotgun and took 17 people hostage.
The 16-and-a -half hour siege claimed
the lives of mother of three Katrina
Dawson, shop manager Tori Johnson
Monis’ website, which included a
graphic photo of dead children who
appeared to be victims of an air strike
in the Middle East, has been taken
It gave a glimpse into the motivation
of the man described by his former
lawyer, Manny Conditsis, as a “damaged
It also suggested he had recently turned
towards a radical branch of Sunni Islam,
having rejected his adherence to Shia
The Sunni-based Islamic State and
other jihadist groups consider Shi’ites to
Monis, who called himself Sheikh
Haron but was labelled the “fake sheik”
by the media and his own community,
was born in Iran and came to Australia
as a refugee almost 20 years ago.
Serious concerns were raised about him
from within the Muslim community as
far back as 2008, when Sydney-based
Shi’ite cleric Kamal Mousselmani urged
federal agents to launch an investigation
Sheik Mousselmani said none of his
fellow spiritual leaders knew who Monis
“The federal police should investigate
who he is,” Sheik Mousselmani told
News Corp Australia at the time.
The Iranian government also claims it
had warned Australian authorities about
Monis’s mental state.
“The psychological conditions of the
person who took refuge in Australia two
decades ago had been discussed several
times with the Australian officials,” a
foreign ministry spokeswoman told
Iran’s Fars news agency.
“The situation of the hostage taker had
been completely clear to the Australian-
Monis came to the attention of police
when he sent hate-filled letters to the
families of dead Australian soldiers
seven years ago.
On bail after being charged with
being an accessary to the murder of his
ex-wife, he also faced dozens of indecent
and sexual assault allegations before his
death yesterday. — AP
Chilling last message
from Sydney ‘fake sheik’
Jeb Bush, son to one former US
president and brother to another,
has thrown his hat into the ring for
the 2016 race, announcing he had
consulted his family and decided to
explore a bid.
“As a result of these conversations
and thoughtful consideration of the
kind of strong leadership I think
America needs, I have decided
to actively explore the possibility
of running for president,” he said
The 61-year-old former Florida
governor is the first serious
Republican contender to announce
a possible run in his party’s
Jockeying is already under
way to see who will challenge
the presumptive Democratic
frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, in the
general election to decide who will
replace President Barack Obama.
committee permits Bush to
start raising funds legally and
traditionally signals the first official
step in a presidential campaign
“In the coming months, I hope
to visit with many of you and have
a conversation about restoring the
promise of America,” Bush said.
Jed Bush throws hat into presidential ring
Most Americans believe that torture
of suspected terrorists is justified, a new
poll shows, just days after a scathing
report into the CIA’s brutal treatment of
detainees in the wake of the September,
11, 2001 attacks.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll
found that 58% of people believe that
in general, looking ahead, the torture
of suspected terrorists can be justified
“often” or “sometimes. ”
Thirty nine per cent said torture could
not be justified, the sur vey showed.
Asked specifically if the CIA’s treatment
of suspected al Qaeda operatives in
the wake of 9-11 was justified, the poll
found Americans over whelmingly in
favour, by a margin of almost two to one
— 59% to 31%.
The poll findings follow publication
of a US Senate report last week into
the CIA’s interrogation programme
after 9-11, which found the methods
used were far harsher than previously
disclosed and were not productive.
The interrogation techniques included
beatings, rectal rehydration, sleep
deprivation, waterboarding or simulated
drowning, confinement in wooden boxes
and threats of physical or sexual violence
against family members.
The Washington Post poll overnight
was broadly in line with several other
recent sur veys which have indicated
that most Americans are unmoved
by the scathing criticism of the CIA
programme. — Reuters
Nasa’s Mars rover Curiosity
compounds in samples drilled out
of an ancient rock, the first definitive
detection of organics on the surface
of Earth’s neighbouring planet,
scientists said today.
The rover also found spurts of
methane gas in the atmosphere, a
chemical that on Earth is strongly
tied to life. Additional studies,
which may be beyond the rover’s
capabilities, are needed to determine
if the organic compounds or the
methane gas were produced by past
or present life on Mars.
“ We have had a major discovery.
We have found organics on Mars,”
Curiosity lead scientist John
Grotzinger, with the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena,
California, said during a webcast
press conference at a science meeting
in San Francisco. “ The probability of
any of these things being sources
(from life) ... we just have to respect
that it is a possibility,” he added.
Curiosity picked up hints of
organics in its earliest chemical
analysis of rocks in Gale Crater, a
154km wide impact basin where the
rover made a sky-crane landing in
Last week, scientists published
research showing the crater was once
filled with water, with sediments
building up over time to form 5km
high Mount Sharp.
Shortly after Curiosity landed,
it found that the planet most like
Earth in the solar system had the
right chemical ingredients and
environmental conditions to support
microbial life. — Reuters
Rover finds evidence of life on Mars
US public thinks torture justified
The United States Government is
fighting to keep secret thousands of
photographs showing American troops
abusing and sexually humiliating
prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan and
mocking dead bodies.
The pictures include an image of a
female soldier allegedly pretending to
sodomise a naked prisoner with a broom
and photos of troops pointing guns at
detainees as they lie with hands tied and
hoods on their heads.
A week after a Senate report laid bare
the scale of the CIA’s covert torture
programme, the White House is nearing
a critical stage in its battle to prevent
release of the photographs. The Bush
and Obama Administrations have said
releasing the pictures, taken between
2001 and 2009, would incite violence
against US troops and civilians in the
Middle East. But a federal judge has
not been persuaded by that argument
and has given government lawyers until
Saturday to prove that the 2000 pictures
could be a threat to national security.
If the Government is unable to provide
sufficient evidence it will be ordered to
release the pictures, although the faces of
individual soldiers will be obscured.
If the judge rules against the White
House, its lawyers could decide to
appeal, setting the stage for a protracted
The pictures were largely taken by US
troops themselves, and were gathered
during 203 military investigations in
Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama initially
agreed to release additional pictures after
taking office in 2009 but reversed course
after the Iraqi Government warned that
it could lead to widespread violence.
His Secretaries of Defence signed
orders in 2009 and 2012 blocking their
release but a judge ruled in August that
the orders were no longer sufficient, as
the US had largely withdrawn from Iraq
“Three years is a long time in war, the
news cycle and the international debate
over how to respond to terrorism,” Judge
Alvin Hellerstein wrote. — AFP
US govt tries to
abuse photos secret Eagleville
A body was found today near the home
of an Iraq War veteran suspected of
fatally shooting six family members in
Pennsylvania, a district attorney said.
The Montgomery County district
attorney did not immediately confirm
media reports that the body was that of
suspect Bradley William Stone, 35, of
Stone was being sought in the deaths
yesterday of his ex-wife, her mother,
grandmother, sister and two other family
members, including his 14-year-old niece.
The two-day manhunt prompted
lockdowns and cancellations of schools
around Pennsburg, about 80km north-
west of Philadelphia, where residents
were advised to stay inside with their
doors locked, Montgomery County
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman told
a news conference.
Stone’s 17-year-old nephew, Anthony
Flick, was seriously wounded in the
attacks and hospitalised in stable
condition, Ferman said.
Stone’s daughters, ages eight and five,
were safe. He had taken them from his
ex-wife’s house and left them with a
neighbour yesterday, Ferman said. His
current wife and infant child also were
The killings set off Pennsylvania’s
second recent high-profile manhunt after
a seven-week chase to capture sur vivalist
Eric Frein, 31, accused of killing a state
trooper in September.
Upper Perkiomen schools in the
Pennsburg area were closed today, the
Stone suffered from post-traumatic
stress disorder, the Bucks County Courier
Times reported. He enlisted with the US
Marine Corps Reser ves in 2002, was
deployed to Iraq and was honourably
discharged at the rank of sergeant in
2011, according to military spokesman
Captain D ustin Pratico.
Autopsies were under way today. A
law enforcement source said some of the
bodies had stab wounds, some gunshot
wounds and some may have had both.
Stone and his ex-wife, Nicole, 33, filed
for divorce in 2009 and continued to have
a custody battle. — AP
Body of US
Dark times call for dark humour,
especially in Russia, where wags are
saying the rouble has now fallen below
the psychologically important threshold
of “I no longer give a damn”.
The Russian currency was in freefall
overnight, hitting an unprecedented low
of 80 roubles to the dollar and 100 to the
The new drop made one of the most
popular gags about the rouble, oil
and 62-year-old Vladimir Putin, all
converging on 63, out-of-date overnight.
Brent Oil has since dropped to $US59 a
barrel, further piling on the misery.
The new jokes popped up on social
media, as Russians again fell back on
gallows-humour to ride out yet another
economic storm, amid falling oil prices
and western sanctions over Moscow ’s
support for a separatist uprising in eastern
“ Two roubles ago I brewed my tea and
it is still warm,” quipped one Russian on
“ While I typed this tweet, the dollar
went up by three roubles,” quipped
Predictably, many in war-torn Ukraine,
where the hryvnia has lost half its value
this year, could not but gloat.
“A man runs into a currency exchange
booth in Moscow,” goes a joke posted by
Kiev-based Aleksey Solntsev on Twitter.
“Do you have any dollars or euros? No!
So what do you have? Hryvnia. That will
Many needled Russia’s youthful prime
minister Dmitry Medvedev, who lost
much of his influence after voluntarily
ceding his Kremlin seat in favour of his
mentor Vladimir Putin in 2012.
“Medvedev suggested that Russia drop
the rouble,” went one joke. “In response,
Russia suggested that it drop Medvedev.”
Some of the humour cut rather close
to the bone. “ When oil and gas run out
soon, roubles can be used to heat people’s
homes.” — AFP
Russians joke as rouble in freefall
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