December 23, 2017

AUSTRALIA: An Islamist Man Deliberately Drove His SUV Into Pedestrians Christmas Shopping On Thursday Injuring 19 People. 2 Muslims Arrested. Again Police Blame It On Mental Illness. Ugh 😒

FOX News
written by Paulina Dedaj and Katherine Lam
Thursday December 21, 2017

A driver of Afghan descent accused of plowing a white SUV into a crowd of pedestrians Thursday in Melbourne, Australia, injuring at least 14 people in a “deliberate act” has a history of drug use and mental illness and was known to police “on historical assault matters,” police said.

Two men, including the 32-year-old driver, were taken into custody, police said. The Afghan driver was an Australian citizen. Authorities said there was no evidence or intelligence to indicate that the incident was terror related, but they believe the driver carried out the act deliberately.

"We don't at this time have any evidence or any intelligence to indicate there's a connection with terrorism," said Victoria state police acting commissioner Shane Patton.

The second man arrested at the scene was filming the attack. He had three knives in his bag -- although police believe he is not connected to the attack, Sky News reported.

Mass chaos ensued when a white Suzuki SUV red a ran red light and sped down a crowded street outside Flinders Street train station just after 4:30 p.m. Thursday, causing pedestrians to be “thrown like rag dolls,” witnesses described to Within 15 seconds, some people were seen “flying into the air” while others sprinted away to dodge the vehicle.
Sky News
written by Staff
Saturday December 23, 2017

A man who allegedly drove into Christmas shoppers in central Melbourne has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder.

Saeed Noori, a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent, has a history of drug abuse and mental health issues, police said.

Officers arrested him on Thursday and he was charged with the attempted murder of 18 people on Saturday morning.

Nine foreign nationals are among 19 people who were injured after a white Suzuki SUV was deliberately driven into people, police said.

They include people from South Korea, China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland and New Zealand, with a young child among the injured.

Three people remain in a critical condition in hospital, including an 83-year-old man, local media has reported.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told a press conference on Friday: "Our consular officials are working hard to get in touch with their families and make sure they're aware of what's happened to their loved ones."

He added that "no terrorism link has been identified" but that "nothing should be ruled out."

"This was a despicable and cowardly act," he said. "But I want to reassure Australians that this is an isolated incident.

"We should continue to go about our daily lives the way we always do."

Noori is set to appear in court later on Saturday.
Herald Sun, Australia
written by Rita Panahi
Thursday December 21, 2017

THE CCTV footage of a white Suzuki SUV ploughing into pedestrians at a busy Melbourne intersection is sickening.

If you haven’t seen it, I’d encourage you not to seek it out.

For the tens of thousands of us who regularly cross that intersection it was a sobering reminder that anyone, including our loved ones, could become the victim of a cowardly attack.

Mere hours after the “deliberate act” of violence, before even interviewing the alleged assailant, Victoria Police advised media that the Flinders Street attack was not terror-related.

We were told that the alleged driver, Saeed Noori, was believed to be an ice addict with mental health issues.

It looked a lot like the police playing politics.

How can Victoria Police dismiss the terror angle before speaking to the alleged attacker? And, how does the diagnosis of a mental health issue discount the possibility of terrorism?

Jihadism and mental illness are not mutually exclusive. The embrace of violent ideology is a sign of mental instability.

Indeed, anyone who thinks killing innocent civilians is a great way to advance a political or religious cause is mentally unsound.

Authorities appear eager to dismiss terrorism before they’ve had a chance to properly investigate the crime and determine the motivations, if any, of the offender.

In the hours after the Brighton siege in June, Victoria Police also seemed determined to downplay the Islamist angle despite the offender’s links to known terrorists.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said that Islamic State claiming the attack was “the sort of thing they jump up and say a lot”. Actually, they don’t but that’s a column for another day.

This morning the police line changed markedly with Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton saying that the alleged attacker who is an Afghan refugee had “attributed his actions to perceived mistreatment of Muslims” as well as speaking about dreams and voices.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said that Islamic State-inspiration should not be ruled out and counter-terrorism officers would work with Victoria Police to investigate the attack.

“We are certainly not ruling out a terrorist link and we certainly aren’t drawing any conclusions at this stage … we need to be realistic about the threats that we face,” Dutton said.

The definition of terrorism is the use of violence, particularly against civilians, in the pursuit of a political agenda.

A violent nutter with a motive is as much a terrorist as one who is perfectly sane.

Most of the soldiers of Islamic State are mentally unstable monsters who justified brutal acts of violence in the name of their religion.

Australia’s most infamous jihadist, Khaled Sharrouf, who joined the caliphate in 2013, was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic back in 2005.

Lindt café siege terrorist Man Haron Monis was said to be suffering from mental illness and had consulted a number of mental health professionals in the decade before he took 18 people hostage on a Monday morning.

Whether a violent offender has a drug habit or mental illness does not necessarily mean that they acted without motive.

It is not known links to terrorist groups or a history of being radicalised that defines who is a terrorist; it is the motivation behind the crime.

At this stage we do not know if the alleged Flinders St attacker had a motive. It is simply too soon for authorities to conclude whether it was an act of terror or not.

We expect politicians to lie to us or be preoccupied with pushing a particular narrative but police must always stick to the facts or risk losing the trust of the public.

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