Home' Greymouth Star : December 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, December 22, 2014 - 13
Shock over NY police murders
A police officer wipes tears away from his face as he walks away from the scene of a shooting where two police officers were shot dead in the Brooklyn
borough of New York.
The case against a Cairns mother
accused of killing eight children,
including seven of her own, will be
mentioned in court today.
Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, also known
as Mersane Warria, 37, has been charged
with eight counts of murder after the
bodies of four boys and four girls were
discovered in a home in the suburb of
Manoora on Friday.
Warria, who remains in police custody
at Cairns Hospital, has been formally
excused from appearing at today ’s
hearing in the Cairns Magistrates’ Court
as she recovers from stab wounds.
Detective Inspector Bruno Ansicar
told reporters late yesterday the horrific
scene was taking its toll on police.
“It’s clearly the most tragic event we’ve
had to deal with (in Cairns),” Ansicar said.
Vigils and memorials for the slain
children, who ranged in age from two to
14, were held throughout Queensland
Relatives, including one distraught man
believed to be the father of some of the
children, were among those at the scene
yesterday morning while a ser vice was
held at a Cairns school in the evening.
Townsville and the Brisbane suburb of
Inala also hosted memorials yesterday.
New York is reeling
after the murder of two
uniformed policemen by
a man who said he was
seeking revenge for the
recent killings of unarmed
black men by police.
The two officers, Wenjian
Liu, 32, Rafael Ramos,
40, were shot in the head
through the window of
their patrol car in broad
daylight in Brooklyn on
Saturday in an attack
that shocked America’s
biggest city just days before
Police named the shooter
as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl
member of the “Black
Guerrilla Family” gang.
He fled to a nearby
subway station after the
attack, where he shot
himself in the head on the
The two officers “never
had the opportunity to
draw their weapons. They
may never have actually even seen their
assailant, their murderer” New York
police chief Bill Bratton said.
Just hours before the shooting, Brinsley
apparently boasted on Instagram of
wanting to kill police.
The attack, the first fatal shooting of
an NYPD officer since 2011, followed
weeks of sometimes violent protests
around the United States over a pair of
incidents in which white police officers
shot and killed unarmed black men. In
July, a police officer in New York’s Staten
Island borough killed Eric Garner, a
father of six, while trying to arrest him
for illegally selling cigarettes.
In August, a police officer in the St
Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri,
shot and killed a 18-year-old Michael
Brown after an argument that began
while Brown was walking in the middle
of the street on a residential block after
allegedly stealing a box of cigarillos from
a convenience store.
2 of Theirs,” read a comment seemingly
written by Brinsley next to a photo of a
silver pistol, referencing the
police killings of unarmed
Brinsley had been arrested
numerous times previously,
while living in Georgia,
on charges ranging from
disorderly conduct to
terroristic threats, media
reported. He also had
previously been treated for
mental health issues, the
New York Times reported,
citing court documents
from Georgia that gave no
By early today, candles
and flowers had piled up at
an impromptu memorial at
the scene of the shooting.
The New York Jets football
team held a moment of
silence in honour of the
police officers before their
game, and one player, Nick
Mangold, wore an NYPD
cap as he walked into
the stadium, pictures on
Mayor Bill de Blasio
and police chief Bratton
sombrely attended a Mass at St Patrick’s
Cathedral in New York led by Cardinal
But the double killing, in a city where
murders are at their lowest rates in 20
years, further strained the already fraught
relations between de Blasio and police.
A number of officers, in apparent
homage to their slain colleagues, turned
their backs to the mayor at the hospital.
Police officers accuse de Blasio of
failing to support them and of being too
sympathetic to demonstrators who, in
recent weeks, have been protesting police
violence against African-Americans.
A number of voices called for calm
and for unity, including President
Barack Obama, who “unconditionally”
condemned the killing, and called on
Americans “to reject violence and words
that harm, and turn to words that heal”.
The families of Garner and Brown
also strongly urged against “any kind of
violence directed toward members of law
enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We
must work together to bring peace to our
communities”. — AFP
n the film Zero Dark Thirty, she
was the persistent, conscientious
Central Intelligence Agency
officer who finally tracked
Osama bin Laden to his lair.
In real life, her identity and current
position were carefully hidden until
Since the release of the controversial
United States Senate report on the
CIA’s use of torture and rendition,
the officer, played by Jessica Chastain
in the film, has had her less-than-
sparkling record picked over, been
dubbed by the media “the queen of
torture” and now finally been outed.
While the film’s portrayal of her as
“ Maya”, a lifelong al Qaeda expert,
is accurate, her career features a
series of blunders and accusations of
“S he dropped the ball when the
CIA was given information that
might very well have prevented the
9/11 attacks,” wrote Jane Mayer,
author of a definitive history of the
agency’s “enhanced interrogation”
practices, in the New Yorker.
“S he gleefully participated in torture
sessions after ward; she misinterpreted
intelligence in such a way that it
sent the CIA on an absurd chase for
al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana.
Then she falsely told congressional
overseers that the torture worked. ”
As with other reporters, Mayer
acceded to the requests of the CIA
not to name the officer, although she
has been identified in other contexts.
However, in response to Mayer’s
article and the investigation by
television’s NBC news channel that
triggered it, the investigative website
The Intercept decided to “out her”.
It said it was doing so over “CIA
objections because of her key role
in misleading Congress about the
agency ’s use of torture, and her
active participation in the torture
programme (including playing a
direct part in the torture of at least
one innocent detainee). ”
Many of the incidents involving
the 49-year-old career CIA officer
have been described before. However,
because of redactions in official
reports of CIA activities, few were
aware the operative featuring in them
repeatedly was the same woman.
According to NBC, she was harshly
criticised after 9/11, when it was
revealed that a subordinate had
discovered beforehand that two al-
Qaeda suspects who later joined the
hijack team had entered the country,
but failed to notify the FBI. She went
on to become a “key architect ” of the
enhanced interrogation methods used
to attempt to extract information
She attended the waterboarding at
a so-called “black site” in Poland of
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the al
Qaeda No 3 who masterminded the
9/11 attacks, even though she had no
reason, as an analyst, to be there.
She wrote enthusiastically that
Mohammed was “going to be hatin’
life on this one”, but accidentally
fed the wrong information to his
interrogators, who used it to extract a
The information — that there
was an al Qaeda cell of African-
Americans operating in the US
— led to a manhunt for black
Muslims in Montana.
She also demanded the rendition
of a German citizen named Khalid
al-Masri, who was arrested in
Macedonia and flown to Afghanistan
for interrogation, though the man of
the same name the CIA was hunting
did not have a German passport.
He was released as a victim of
mistaken identity five months later
Despite these errors, she was
promoted, and in 2007 gave evidence
to Congress on the use of “enhanced
interrogation” in which she insisted:
“There’s no question, in my mind,
that having that detainee information
has saved hundreds, conser vatively
speaking, of American lives.”
That was the key CIA claim for the
torture programme which the Senate’s
latest report dismissed as “wrong ”.
“S he wrote the template on which
future justifications for the CIA
programme and the CIA’s enhanced
interrogation techniques were based,”
the report concluded.
The CIA, meanwhile, is continuing
to insist that the woman not be
identified because of a “c limate of
fear and retaliation”.
Mayer said the real purpose was to
protect the CIA’s reputation.
Jessica Chastain as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty
CIA’s ‘queen of torture’ outed
A veteran Florida police officer was
shot and killed while on duty today, law
enforcement officials said, providing no
details about the suspect in custody or
motive for the shooting.
Officer Charles Kondek, 45, was
gunned down in Tarpon Springs, about
50km north-west of Tampa, after
responding to a call for ser vice about
2am local time, the Tarpon Springs
Police Department said.
The officer later died at a local hospital,
the police department said.
His death followed a shooting in New
York, where a gunman shot dead two
police officers and then killed himself.
In the Florida case, a suspect was taken
into custody after fleeing the shooting
scene and crashing into a pole and
another vehicle, the Pinellas County
Sheriff ’s Office said in a release.
Police officials did not identify the
suspect or give any information about
the type of call Kondek had responded
to ahead of the shooting. — Reuters
Florida policeman gunned down
Newly-appointed Social Ser vice
Minister Scott Morrison has vowed
to get people off welfare and into
work as he turns his attention his
The former immigration minister
is one of the big winners in the
reshuffle announced by Tony
Abbott yesterday, given a key
economic role focusing on welfare,
childcare and paid parental leave.
After his success in the pre-
election promise of stopping boats
and restoring public confidence in
Australia’s borders, Morrison said
he would now work to “ensure the
integrity, dignity and sustainability”
of the country’s welfare system.
“The best social ser vice we can
afford any Australian to help them
deal with the costs of living, is a
job,” he said.
“Getting as many Australians as
are able off welfare and into work
will be one of my core goals. ”
Welfare reform and workplace
participation will be one of the
government ’s key political agendas
in 2015, Abbott declared yesterday.
Morrison will not only be
responsible for pushing unpopular
welfare changes through the Senate.
He will also prosecute the
parental leave scheme, and oversee
an expected overhaul of the
The prime minister said Morrison
had the right blend of political
toughness and compassion for the
expanded social ser vices portfolio.
But the Greens have questioned
the appointment of the hardline
“Putting Scott Morrison in
charge of social ser vices will send
shivers down the spines of people
across the country,” Greens leader
Christine Milne said.
Abbott said the reshuffle would
“reset ” the government, with the
ministerial overhaul including a
number of significant changes.
Defence Minister David Johnston
was dumped in favour of veteran
Kevin Andrews, and Sussan Ley
promoted to the health ministry
and cabinet. Her predecessor
Peter Dutton has been given the
Meanwhile, Josh Frydenberg
has replaced Arthur Sinodinos
as assistant treasurer, whose
resignation on Friday sparked the
reshuffle. — A AP
I’ll get people off welfare,
vows new minister
North Korea has threatened to hit back
at the White House and other United
States targets if Washington sanctions it
for an alleged hacking attack.
The country’s top military body, the
National Defence Commission (NDC),
again denied involvement in the hacking
of Sony Pictures, which prompted
executives to halt the release of a film
seen by Pyongyang as mocking the
US President Barack Obama said
on Friday it was confirmed that North
Korea had carried out the hacking.
“ We will respond proportionately and
we’ll respond in a place and time and
manner that we choose,” he said.
The North’s NDC, in a statement on
the official news agency, said its army
and people “are fully ready to stand in
confrontation with the US in all war
spaces including cyber warfare space to
blow up those citadels”.
“O ur toughest counteraction will
be boldly taken against the White
House, the Pentagon and the whole US
mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far
surpassing the ‘symmetric counteraction’
declared by Obama,” it said.
The North, which has in the past made
statements threatening the US mainland,
accused the Obama administration of
being “deeply involved” in the making of
the comedy movie The Inter view, which
concerns a fictional Central Intelligence
Agency plot to kill Pyongyang’s leader
It again praised the “righteous action”
by the hacking group, which has styled
itself Guardians of Peace, but said it was
unaware where they were based.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation
has cited “significant overlap” between
the attack and other “malicious cyber-
activity” with direct links to Pyongyang,
including an attack on South Korean
banks blamed on the North. — AFP
North Korea threatens
to hit back at US
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