The fatal shooting of Numan Haider earlier this week has in my opinion occurred in a climate where sanity has left the building, truth has already gone home and the only actor remaining is madness, who stands alone upon the stage and is yelling as loudly as it possibly can.
I'm pretty sure that we won't be told the whole truth to this story and that we won't be either, on the grounds of security issues; now because Mr Haider lies dead, he will never be brought to trial, which means that there doesn't even need to be a case brought against him either.
We do now that he left both Australian Federal Police Office and a Victoria Police officer with serious knife wounds and that they retaliated from close range; only requiring a single shot to kill him.
There are already problems with the narrative that the media is trying to tell us though.
The photograph which found its way onto the front pages of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times yesterday (Thu 25th Sep) is not actually Numan Haider but 19 year old Abu Bakar Alam, whose family now intends to sue Fairfax Media.
The flag which he was holding, isn't even a flag of a terrorist organisation (or Islamic State) but a black flag with the shahada or Islamic declaration of faith:
لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله
"There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God."
This same message appears on the national flag of Saudi Arabia.
It also seems as though Mr Haider had had his passport cancelled and was actually on his way to meet the AFP's Joint Counter Terrorism team, at the Endeavour Hills police station. He apparantly did not want to meet them inside the station and phoned them beforehand requesting that the meeting be held outside; and it is then that the two officers went out to meet him and the incident took place.
This is all set against a background when on the 12th of September, the terror alert was raised to "High", on the 16th the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014* was introduced into parliament which expands the framework and powers of ASIO, ASIS and other intelligence organisations. Mr Haider was killed on the 23rd of September, got front page reportage across the country on the 25th, and mysteriously and almost without any objection, the Senate passed the legislation today, the 26th.
Can you forgive me for thinking that this isn't coincidence?
If a government who has a piece of anti-terrorist legislation before the house, wanted to get that legislation through without question, it is very very convenient that someone who fits the profile of an enemy, is killed and gets national front page media attention.
I'm not suggesting that there is a conspiracy because clearly the Australian Federal Police thought that they had someone worth investigating and it makes sense that armed police officers should want to defend themselves in an attack but this clearly is a public relations problem.
Maybe the AFP and Victoria Police have done their job to the best of their ability but I hope that we don't end up with Numan Haider being held up as a martyr over this.
The problem is that I don't think that we're being told the whole truth and now that Mr Haider lies dead, there's no reason to tell us either.
Highlights of the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 include:
- power to access modify and delete data on peoples computers; without permission of their owners.
- power to access and seize surveillance devices; without permission of their owners.
- power to imprison journalists (and by extension anyone who tweets or blogs) for reporting on matters which it considers breach national security.
- protection from prosecution on either criminal or civil matters for ASIO officers.
That's a really scary set of extra powers to be handing to anyone.