Live baiting on Four Corners-greyhound racing -Life bans and prosecutions to follow


Many more about to be exposed, it makes me ask this question…

IF they had any honour and respect for their loved ones (people ,not dogs or animals they have proven that) who are about to be shamed, they would step up and say I fucked up! I got caught up whatever. The earlier participants speak up the better they will be received.

Otherwise, this is how it will be, little kids who loved their daddy, uncle, grandpa in photos with winners will grow to be disgusted. The public and punters etc are outraged but these tossers have their very own families and grand kids to answer to. WHY grandpa???????  is being asked all over Australia


 UPDATE 02/04/15

Spent ammunition found at site where 55 greyhound carcasses were dumped in bushland near Bundaberg

Updated 52 minutes ago

Spent .22 calibre ammunition shells have been found scattered around a southern Queensland wildflower reserve where the bodies of 55 greyhounds were discovered, in what Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller has described as a “mass murder” by “oxygen thieves”.

Police and the RSPCA’s joint taskforce into the disgraced industry discovered the mass dumping site south of Bundaberg on Wednesday after being tipped off.

Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth said the greyhounds were in varying states of decomposition, which indicates that they were dumped over varying periods of time.

There was no attempt to bury the carcasses and they were left out, some with a single gunshot wound, to be fed on by wild animals, Detective Ainsworth said.

Wildfires have ripped through the area in recent months, which destroyed some of the carcasses, and police are investigating if the fires were deliberately lit.

“It appears that maybe a common knowledge dumping ground,” Detective Ainsworth said.

“It could be that someone within the industry knows the remoteness of that area and knows that it’s a safe place to dispose of greyhounds that are no longer performing. It is quite disturbing.

“You know who you are, you know what you’ve been involved in, and now is the time to stand up and be counted and come forward before we start knocking on your door.”

Only one road in and out of killing field

The Vera Scarth-Johnson Wildflower Reserve is off Coonarr Road, near the Kinkuna National Park.

Detective Ainsworth said there was only one road in and out and locals must know regular users of the reserve.

“The beach area near the locations is utilised by local greyhounds racers to train their dogs,” he said.

“We want anyone with good local knowledge of the area to come forward.”

Brenden Trickey lives near the site where the dogs were found and said he was shocked so many were dumped in such a small area.

“This area here is very quiet and friendly, everyone seems to know everyone,” he said.

“It’s the last thing you’d expect in this area.

“Everyone’s got a pet. Everyone out here owns a dog and I could not imagine anyone out here doing such a disgusting act.”

Mr Trickey said the road where the dogs were found is quite remote.

“It’s just the main road to the beach really, there’s a couple of houses there but mainly beach houses for rentals,” he said.

“But other than that it’s very quiet in general up that road.”

Bundaberg Greyhound Club president Stephen Bland took to social media on Wednesday night to express shock at the discovery.

“We are appalled by the news and are doing all we can to find whomever is responsible for this disgraceful act,” he said.

Queensland Police Minister labels killers ‘oxygen thieves’

Ms Miller said Racing Queensland and police have identified a number of trainers and owners in the area and that would form part of the investigation.

“The people who have perpetrated this crime to me are oxygen thieves, they are cowards and they are pathetic,” she said.

Detective Ainsworth said many of the deaths appear to have occurred before the ABC’s Four Corners exposed in February live-baiting and cruelty in the industry.

The program showed footage of live piglets, possums and rabbits being fixed to mechanical lures and catapulted around tracks while being chased, and eventually killed, by dogs.

The program led to numerous animal cruelty charges, life bans from the industry and the creation of the taskforce which found the dogs on Wednesday night.

In Queensland, a total of 36 trainers have been suspended over the scandal, with six now issued with life bans from dog racing.

The Queensland Government has also ordered an independent review of the state’s greyhound industry to investigate how the practice went undetected.

UPDATE 03/03/15

Greyhound Racing Victoria board resigns after report into live baiting at Tooradin

The board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has resigned after an interim report found no evidence board members knew about the practice of live baiting at the Tooradin trial track.

Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the industry needed a fresh start and a new board of three would provide the cultural change needed at GRV.

Ray Gunston, the former chief financial officer for Tatts Group, was appointed the new chair, along with former Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay and Melbourne barrister Judith Bornstein.

The chairman of Greyhound Racing Victoria, Peter Caillard, resigned over the controversy last month.

The resignations came after Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna released a report which found there was no “direct” evidence of live baiting at any track other than Tooradin.

However the report said it would be “naive” to accept that the practice was not and had not been going on elsewhere.

On the balance of probabilities, Mr Perna said, GRV could not have been expected to know about the practice considering their lack of powers to inspect properties.

Mr Perna said there were currently only two compliance inspectors for the whole state, but noted that GRV had advertised to employ four more.

“The people that perform the compliance and welfare checks are restricted in their powers to attend at what they call a reasonable hour,” he said.

“That means there’s a degree of predictability.”

‘Small group’ responsible for unlawful activity

The report was ordered in response to revelations by Four Corners which found live animals were being used to blood greyhounds used for racing.

Mr Perna’s report also found there was no current evidence to substantiate the allegations of a cover-up at GRV in regards to live baiting at Tooradin or elsewhere.

This is beyond greyhound welfare. This is animal welfare. Cruelty is just not on.

Sal Perna, Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner

He recommended increasing the powers of animal welfare compliance, education and integrity staff at GRV.

“This is a small group of people that are conducting unlawful activity,” he said. “I don’t think it’s representative of the industry.”

Mr Perna also called on GRV to make formal agreements with animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA to ensure the immediate reporting of allegations of cruelty.

“This is beyond greyhound welfare,” he said. “This is animal welfare. Cruelty is just not on.”

Mr Pakula asked the Department of Justice to examine what legislative changes were needed to increase animal welfare compliance powers.

He also asked the new GRV to get straight to work implementing the five interim recommendations from Mr Perna’s report.

They included increasing the powers of animal compliance officers, introducing new regulations for trainers, and new strict compliance rules for trainers and owners regarding the ownership and transfer of ownership of greyhounds.

Animal welfare ‘comes last’ in racing industry: RSPCA

The RSPCA said the greyhound industry’s efforts to regulate itself had been an “abject failure” and an independent body was needed to oversee the sport.

Its Victorian chief executive, Liz Walker, said the interim report lacked clear outcomes, and greyhound welfare seemed to come last.

“The evidence shows that under self-regulation, it’s been an abject failure,” she said.

“If the public are going to have confidence that greyhound welfare is going to be the utmost concern, then the only way forward is to have this independent body.”

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy welcomed the resignation of the board.

“As far as I’m concerned it is good that the board’s gone,” Mr Guy said.

“It sends a message, it sends a clear message to everyone in the greyhound industry that those who have been complicit or take part in live baiting should and will be brought to justice.”

He also said he supported a review into whether greyhound racing needed a greater level of oversight to protect animals.

“I think the time’s come for a discussion around animal welfare, which may be outside of the scope of what we’ve seen previously,” he said.

Mr Pakula was asked why the board members resigned if they had been cleared of wrongdoing.

“They’ve taken the view, which I share, that for the code to move forward and public confidence to be restored that a new start is required with a new board,” he said.

“We don’t for a moment believe the appointment of a new board itself will restore confidence.

“It will be about the way that the industry carries itself and the way it deals with those people who insist on doing the wrong thing.”


 

UPDATE 03/03/15

Queensland greyhound trainers Reg Kay, Tom Noble, Debra Arnold, James Harding and Tony McCabe have all been banned for life for their part in archaic live baiting practices. The five will never participate in the sport of greyhound racing again after being warned off racetracks and banned from training or owning greyhounds, as well as being banned from placing any wagers on greyhound racing.Racing Queensland Chairman explained the reasons behind the decision.

“As a board we determined the actions of these individuals proved they should not be considered fit and proper persons to continue to be involved in the greyhound industry,” Mr Dixon said after a Racing Queensland board meeting at Deagon.

“The conduct we saw from these people in the evidence provided to us is not only against the rules of greyhound racing, it is deplorable by its very nature.

“There is no place for anyone who engages in this type of conduct in the industry.”

This conduct came to light after an investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners program, which exposed horrific cruelty in the widespread use of live animals such as piglets, possums and rabbits on mechanical lures as a means of ‘blooding’ greyhounds.

Racing Queensland’s probe into the cases of involving trainers Greg Stella and Michael Chapman is yet to be resolved.


update 20/02/15 Well done WA but is this retrospective?otherwise you will catch nobody going forward. There are thousands of rabbits free that were doomed to die alive a few days ago

WA imposes life ban, $50k fine for greyhound industry live bait offenders

Anyone found to be involved in the practice of live baiting in the greyhound industry will be banned from the sport for life, under tough new rules announced by Racing and Wagering WA.

The industry has been embroiled in a live baiting scandal in the eastern states but there is no clear evidence of the practice in WA.

Racing and Wagering WA said offenders involved in live baiting will face a minimum 10-year disqualification and $50,000 fine, in addition to a life ban from the sport.

Previously the penalty was a 12-month disqualification from the industry.

General manager Denis Borovica said offenders would not be able to participate in greyhound racing in any registered capacity for life.

“We felt that it would more appropriately reflect the zero tolerance we have for offenders by having a penalty provision that prescribes a period of not less than 10 years disqualification and a fine of $50,000 for any person found guilty of an offence involving live game,” he said.

“So effectively what the penalty means is that for 10 years you’re unable to set foot on the racecourse and after that you become a member of the public again, but you’ll only be a member of the public you will not be a participant of the racing industry again.”

The State Government said WA now has the harshest penalties for animal cruelty in the country.

latest 19/02/15

The entire board of Greyhound Racing NSW has been dismissed following revelations of widespread live baiting within the industry, the New South Wales Government says.

The board’s powers have been referred to interim chief executive officer and head of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, Paul Newson.

NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant said he dismissed the board because his government wanted to restore the integrity of the industry.

“They have agreed with me that the community has lost confidence in the industry, and we now need the clear air in order to reform and reshape the industry,” he said.


NOTICE FROM ROBBO, OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THIS SITE

To those highlighted (and those pending, you can’t delete every pic online)  in the gallery. Stop trying to threaten me via email etc or any other way you like because NOTHING will be removed. It does not work that way anymore…

The PIG/RABBIT/POSSUM is out of the bag and talking And I keep every instance of contact via communication, email, mobile, social media etc for safe keeping.

ROGUE TRAINERS GALLERY (added to daily)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

QLD

THIS IS trainer deborah arnold
DEBORAH ARNOLD -PRESIDENT of the United Queensland Greyhounds Association and a prominent trainer and breeder, owns kennels at 14 Wotan road, Churchable, Qld

“Um… If they do I don’t know about it and I don’t really want to know about it. Um, but yeah, so this is the…It’s cruel. Yeah. You know, it’s not…No, it’s not the done thing.”

Tom Noble I am ashamed

Tom Noble I am ashamed

TOM NOBLE, TRAINER, owner/operator of a popular break-in centre on Wotan Road, owner/operator of a popular break-in centre on Wotan Road, Churchable

“Yeah, one with no muzzle: that was $100. That was $50 there to kill the pig. They’re $50 each, them c**ts.”

(Footage of RSPCA inspectors at Tom Noble’s training track)

INSPECTOR: So have you ever used pigs? Have you ever been on this property and used pigs in the past?
TOM NOBLE: No, I haven’t.
INSPECTOR: Never?

REG KAY: 3 Greyhound of the Year titles and the “2008 Australian trainer of the year”

TONY MCCABE, TRAINER,

JAMES HARDING, TRAINER

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, TRAINER

GREG STELLA , TRAINER

STEPHEN SHERWELL, TRAINER

GERRI CRISCI, TRAINER

ANTHONY HESS, TRAINER

STEVEN ARNOLD, TRAINER

MICK EMERY, TRAINER

SAMANTHA ROBERTS, TRAINER
NSW

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

JOHN THOMPSON, TRAINER, Shannon Brook, NSW

“What people have got to realise: it’s like anything you do. You’ve got to come out of the old days into the new days. With the welfare of greyhounds now, your biggest factor is, is that it, it doesn’t happen that easy any more”

 

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW
(The rabbits are tied to a hand-pushed lure controlled by Zeke Kadir, dragged along the ground at speed, pursued by dogs in so-called training.)

trainer Harry Sarkis

trainer Harry Sarkis

HARRY SARKIS, TRAINER, so many questions, read all about the luxury kennels built by TAFE and more read here

http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/new-south-wales-greyhound-racing/harry-sarkis-called-to-icac-over-tafe-fraud-inquiry/21203

(In a further blow to the industry, champion Londonderry trainer Harry Sarkis has been suspended pending an inquiry into vials of banned substances found at his kennels during an inspection.

Sarkis has trained champion dogs for more than 20 years, including Tenthill Doll and Kristy’s Charity, and reportedly paid $800,000 for Brett Lee at the end of its career.)

IAN MORGAN, TRAINER, The trainer was caught removing the possum’s fur and flesh from its mouth. He’s blooding one of his up-and-coming dogs, Cee Cee Quoted.Four days later, we caught Ian Morgan leaving his western Sydney home with Cee Cee Quoted, bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle.

JOHN CAUCHI, TRAINER, Box Hill
(footage of Cauchi swinging a live rabbit before a greyhound as it attacks it)

BRUCE CARR,  TRAINER,  has been suspended after GRNSW removed four live rabbits from his property.

JOHN O’BRIENTRAINER has admitted keeping eight live European rabbits in cages on his Congewai property, but denied any involvement in live baiting after  explosive evidence of systemic  cheating uncovered by ABC’s Four Corners program.

Mr O’Brien, a licensed trainer based west of Cessnock, was immediately stood down on Thursday after officers from Greyhound Racing NSW raided his property and found eight live European rabbits.

His property was raided the same week as five registered trainers and operators in western Sydney who were targeted by RSPCA NSW officers over live baiting.

Mr O’Brien stressed he had no intention of live baiting the rabbits,   saying he kept them to use for ‘‘finish-on-lure’’ trials, where a humanely killed rabbit is attached to the arm of the lure as incentive for the greyhound to chase.

‘‘How I do it is I get bush rabbits, wild rabbits, and I break their neck and remove their head and everything else, the intestines and stomach and the dead rabbits go on the lure,’’ he said.

‘‘My only problem was I kept the bunnies alive, a bunny out of the freezer can come out quite wet and cold and if you put it in the microwave then it can fall apart.

‘‘I was silly, but fresh is best, once you put a frozen rabbit on the lure,  the dogs are not that interested, they show more interest if they [rabbits] have just been gutted or have a bit of blood on them.

‘‘They only need it once, the dog at least has to know there is something on the lure.  It is a 100% difference in how they run, something cold on the lure coming out of the fridge is nothing to them.’’

VIC

BOB SMITH, Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) former integrity and racing operations manager 

the state’s former second in charge of greyhound racing, can be seen in the footage taken at the Tooradin trial track south-east of Melbourne.

Smith has been serving on a GRV steering committee and his involvement casts serious doubt over the regulator’s claims of integrity.

ANDREW MILLS, TRAINER the former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria, now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state

STUART MILLS A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER-OPERATOR OF TOORADIN no more (Large)

STUART MILLS A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER-OPERATOR OF TOORADIN no more (Large)

STUART MILLS, A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER/OPERATOR OF TOORADIN, a GRV-approved and licensed trial track.

“Yeah, look, I think the, the live baiting and, and that has certainly been clamped down on in the last five years, um, and it’s cleaned right up.”
Early the next morning, we paid Stuart Mills a visit.

(To Stuart Mills) Caro Meldrum-Hanna from Four Corners. How are you?
STUART MILLS: Yeah, not bad.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA (to Stuart Mills): We’re just here to ask you a couple of questions.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: A clearly shaken Stuart Mills maintained his denials.
(To Stuart Mills) Have you been live baiting here, Stuart?
STUART MILLS: No.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Why do you think they were here yesterday?
STUART MILLS: You ask them that.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Did you?
STUART MILLS: Yeah.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: And what did they say?

Mills gets told to shut up by someone off screen and walks away

PAUL ANDERTON, TRAINER, and former steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria.

NEVILLE KING, TRAINER, and the president of Cranbourne Racing Club

DENNIS DEAN, TRAINER,

DARREN MCDONALD, PREMIER TRAINER, a Two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year; more than $4 million in prize money.

(It’s the 18th of November, 2014. Darren McDonald, dressed in a white t-shirt, attends Tooradin, carrying a hessian sack. A tiny, pink piglet is lifted out, tied down, its little legs kicking.As the mechanical lure starts up, McDonald and handler Chris Connelly appear, two greyhounds straining on leads. As they near the camera, muzzles can be made out on each dog.After two laps, the muzzles are removed. The piglet can be heard squealing as it’s mauled to death off-camera. Seventy-two hours later, Darren McDonald and his star dogs are at the annual Greyhound Melbourne Cup, the richest night on the racing calendar.)

Trainer of the Year – Darren McDonald...What he should be saying

Trainer of the Year – Darren McDonald…What he should be saying

Live possums, rabbits, piglets  and other small animals are being used as live lures in training and secret trials. Some of the biggest names in greyhound racing will be shamed tonight on Four Corners. What the governing bodies could not do within their multi billion dollar industry, an animal welfare group could. On a shoestring budget they were able to discover in a few weeks. The dirty secret the hold industry knows about and ignores.Pathetic, sad, and will disgust most Aussies.

It makes a joke of this page they boast

http://www.greyhoundracingthefacts.com/


NSW and Victorian industry awards nights set down for Friday have been postponed, as has an awards night in Queensland.

GRV has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the 10 persons suspended by the board, on Friday, February 13, in relation to live baiting. The dogs will reportedly not be able to race until investigations into the allegations are completed.

GRV MOVES TO SUSPEND GREYHOUNDS

17/02/2015

On the advice of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, the board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the ten persons suspended by the board, on Friday 13 February, in relation to live baiting. This suspension will continue until the Racing Integrity Commissioner and GRV have concluded their investigations into these serious allegations.

update 17/02/15

Live baiting claims a shock: racing chief Really, 5 years in the job and your shocked, you should be bloody sacked. It is common knowledge if the industry and EVERYONE turned a blind eye for decades

VICTORIA’S racing integrity commissioner believes the illegal practice of live baiting is isolated in the greyhound industry.

SAL Perna says the allegations of live baiting aired in an ABC report were a shock and he was only aware of one instance, which was disproved, in his five years in the job.

MrPerna says the extent of the practice isn’t known. “My guess is that it is isolated but I really don’t know yet,” he told reporters on Tuesday. He says he will investigate the extent of the problem.


The State Government has promised to crack down on the industry, with Racing Minister Martin Pakula labelling the live baiting practice “barbaric, abhorrent and illegal”.

RSPCA chief Dr Liz Walker said she was “stunned” Greyhound Racing Victoria’s stewards did not discover the practice, which was instead exposed by a small team of Animals Australia activists.

More than 70 greyhound trainers have been implicated in the scandal, with at least 20 people suspended from the industry across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The ABC’s Four Corners program last night aired videos showing small animals squealing as they were flung around training tracks as bait.

The footage showed dogs released to chase a possum as it was flung around a racing track 26 times at high speed until it was left hanging by its spinal cord.

One well-known interstate trainer was recorded excitedly telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in.

Other injured animals were stuffed into small boxes.

Among those implicated has been two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year Darren McDonald, who was allegedly caught on camera carrying a piglet inside a sack into the Tooradin property where dogs then mauled the animal.

Also shamed was successful Victorian trainer Stuart Mills, the brother of Andrew Mills, who was a former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader.

Another former Greyhound Racing Victoria steward, Paul Aderton, who policed the industry in his former role, has also allegedly been caught training his dogs with live bait.

Mr Pakula promised to stamp out the cruel and illegal ­training technique.

On Monday night he announced he would be cancelling Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Industry Award Night, which was due to take place this Friday.


This is from a jurno at http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com overnight

ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

Written By 9 hours ago

Queensland wrap-up:

  • Prominent greyhound breeder and trainer and president of the United Queensland Greyhound Association Deborah Arnold allowed her 70 greyhound puppies and racing dogs at her property ‘Dessa Downes’ in Churchable to be filmed by Four Corners. “The kennels have to be RSPCA QLD-approved,” said Arnold. “It definitely meets the requirements.” When questioned on the practice of live-baiting, Arnold denied any knowledge of it: “If they do I don’t know about it, and I don’t really want to know about it.”
  • Undercover footage from Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia earlier filmed a training track in Churchable, Queensland, across the road from Arnold’s property. On film, it captures Arnold and her dog Dorak Des chasing a live pig on the lure while Arnold asks “what’s the quickest been today” before being informed her dog is.Arnold is later asked by Four Corners what mantra is at the forefront of greyhound racing in 2015, to which she states, “animal welfare.”
  • Professor of animal behaviour and animal welfare science Paul McGreavy offered his comments on the matter of live-baiting coming from a decade of research into the breed, insisting there are breeds far more dangerous and that greyhounds are simply “chasing to catch, not to kill”. He emphasises the dogs “love racing, they love moving around that speed – they’ll be getting off on this,” and that they “are so sedentary when they’re not exposed to this stimuli.”
  • Animal Liberation Queensland investigator Hailey Cotton reveals the first tip-off regarding live-baiting in Churchable was passed to her: “Their words to me were ‘something really bad is going on there,’ and they said ‘it smells like death’”.
  • Undercover cameras were placed in the property of prominent Queensland trainer Tom Noble, a celebrated, award-winning greyhound trainer with almost 50 years in the game. His break-in centre is the epicenter of greyhound training in Queensland, and the live baiting footage of Deborah Arnold’s dog occurred on his track.
  • More than 40 owners, trainers and handlers are recorded on camera while live baiting occurs on Tom Noble’s property. “These people are leading trainers, they’re training their dogs with these methods,” said Cotton. “They’re then going on to win races using these methods, so the whole integrity of greyhound racing is really brought into question here.”
  • Footage confirms four times a week, piglets and later possums are flung around Noble’s track 26 times at high speed. The piglet is shown squealing with a man on the camera swearing at it, and one or two dogs are let loose to chase, grab and maul the possum while it’s still alive. Some 56 minutes later, the lure stops and the possum is snapped in half, the corpse still attached by its spinal cord, with the men in the footage making light of the situation.
  • Discussion of dumping dead dogs is captured on film, leading the investigation to ask NSW greyhound trainer John Thompson about the issue. Animal Liberation Australia links him as the man in the footage telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in so the live baiting of its mother can begin. “They ripped the baby from the mother, they tied the mother on the lure, and they then stick the baby’s head in the sand to kill it while its mother is watching on, all the time laughing and joking on how amusing it is,” said Hailey Cotton.

Victoria wrap-up:

  • In mid-November 2014, Lyn White of Animals Australia simultaneously led an investigation at the Tooradin Trial Track in Victoria after a tip-off. Considered to be in the heart of greyhound racing territory in the state, the track is run by owner operator Stuart Mills, whose brother is Andrew Mills, former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state.
  • Lyn White reveals 17 people were captured live baiting the first time undercover footage was recorded. The first trainer identified is former steward of Greyhound Racing Victoria Paul Anderton, who arrives as Stuart Mills attaches a lure on a wooden plank with leather straps, before returning with a live rabbit and stretching it out tightly as he buckles it down flat. The rabbit is shown returning five minutes later, mauled but still alive and twitching in agony. “It tells me this is a practice that has been going for an acceptable level to trainers for years and years,” White said.
  • Anderton’s dogs went on to win three races days after being captured on the footage in Tooradin. President of Cranbourne Racing Club Neville King is also filmed on camera live baiting two days before Christmas at Tooradin.
  • Trainer Dennis Dean and a young girl watch as live rabbits are leashed and thrown to the dogs to kill. CEO of Greyhound Australasia Scott Parker was questioned on his thoughts of live-baiting behaviour during the revelations of the footage and the discovery of children being brought to watch while it occurs: “I think that’s ridiculous and abhorrent. I don’t support that at all. I’m not aware of it, and never heard of it, live baiting is illegal as well as being wrong and against the rules of greyhound racing.”
  • Footage of dogs on the Tooradin track is shown, encouraged to savagely kill several rabbits, which are skinned or tied as they maul them.
  • Former steward at Greyhound Racing Victoria Amanda Hill says there was a problem inside GRV regarding regulators failing to pick up and follow on rumours of live-baiting in the state: “Lack of resources, lack of funds, lack of knowledge, or plainly, they don’t want to accept that it’s a possibility.” She believes some trainers are “doing it to try and get an edge. It’s probably harder to get caught live baiting than what it is to using performance-enhancing drugs.”
  • Hill left GRV in 2004 and became the Chair of Stewards in Greyhound Racing Tasmania, where she was able to do better in stopping live baiting. In 2008, Hill caught a female trainer red-handed live baiting a possum. Possum carcasses were found all over the track, and it remains one of two cases in the past decade where a steward has followed through and successfully convicted a live baiter.
  • Hill identifies two-time Australian greyhound trainer of the year Darren McDonald as one of the figures caught on film three days before the 2014 Melbourne Cup, engaging in live baiting at Tooradin alongside handler Chris Connelly. He is shown on camera carrying a sack with a tiny pink piglet before placing it on the lure. The two men remove the muzzles on their dogs after two laps and the dogs maul the piglet, heard squealing as it dies off-camera. McDonald has since transferred all of his greyhounds to his wife’s name.

New South Wales wrap-up:

  • McDonald’s top sprinter Keybow is revealed by Four Corners to have been broken in across the border in NSW at Londonderry by Zeke Kadir.
  • Four Corners received a tip-off within the industry that Kadir was rumoured to be the best live baiter within the state, and that it occurred at his property as part of his training purposes. “He mentioned that he broke (in) Keybow, and he talked about how he gets live rabbits from a person he knows, and he gets about 30 a week,” a private investigator for Four Corners confirms.
  • Footage shows Zeke Kadir using the rabbits tied to a hand-pushed lure, controlled by Kadir. They’re dragged along the ground at speed pursued by dogs in training. On January 12, 2015, the footage captures Ian Morgan arriving at the venue for a private session, where a native possum is strung to the lure struggling to escape as two muzzled greyhounds attempt to bite the possum. Four minutes later, the muzzles come off and the cry is captured off-screen of the possum’s demise. “I am fearful at how widespread this is, and the consequences for literally thousands of animals each year,” said Lyn White.
  • Morgan is later seen removing the dead possum from his greyhound, Cee Cee Quoted. Four days later, Four Corners catches him leaving his Western Sydney home bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle, where Cee Cee Quoted places third. John Cauchi, of Box Hill, was also caught practising live baiting by hand.

Aftermath:

  • Four Corners notes requests for interviews with the regulators in all three states caught live-baiting were declined, deferring comment to CEO of Greyhounds Australasia Scott Parker. “I don’t suspect this is a systemic problem at all,” Parker said. “It’s illegal, abhorrent, and totally rejected by the industry.”
  • When asked about how three tracks have been confirmed to have had live baiting occurring on site that have not been detected by regulators, Parker surmises “our controlling bodies do a great job, but it’s a big industry and a lot of these facilities are a long, long way away from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane – and that’s why compliance officers are employed to get out there.”
  • In Queensland, RSPCA caught the live-baiters at Tom Noble’s establishment during their follow-up raids and saved a live piglet tied in a sack moments away from being bound and baited. Tom Noble was on-site, as well as his staff James Draws and Tony McCabe. They denied any wrong-doing despite being caught on film. RSPCA eventually found a second piglet hidden inside a shed on the property, wounded from a previous live-baiting session.
  • At Tooradin, Stuart Mills was watched closely, but no animals were caught on-site. Four Corners visited him the next day of the raids, and he’s clearly shaken as he maintains his denials about live-baiting.
  • Zeke Kadir’s property was visited, but he refused to answer Four Corners’ reporters on live baiting.
  • Four Corners’ investigations are now a criminal matter, with state charges imminent.

Post program:

  • In Victoria, GRV chair Peter Caillard has welcomed a $6 million government investment for investigative resources for GRV to help detect and prevent practises such as live-baiting from occurring in the future. In addition, GRV have also announced that dead animals will no longer be allowed to assist in the training of greyhounds. “The use of live animals is already outlawed. GRV will also outlaw the use of dead animals in greyhound training whether on private premises or registered training premises,” Mr Caillard said in a press release. Caillard has also agreed to cancel the Greyhound Industry Awards night, which was to be held this Friday night, after instruction from MP Martin Pakula. The Darren McDonald-trained Sweet It Is was the frontrunner to take out the highest honour, 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
  • In New South Wales, GRNSW have announced that a taskforce has been established to investigate the extent of the live-baiting practices in the state. The taskforce will be led by former High Court justice and eminent legal practitioner, the Hon. Michael McHugh AC, QC. The taskforce will look into the training methods used in NSW and will arrange for trial tracks and training facilities to be monitored. It is also set to examine whether GRNSW and relevant agencies such as the RSPCA NSW have the necessary powers to correctly investigate animal cruelty allegations. “We need to stamp out live baiting once and for all. Not only is it illegal but it is sickening and we are disgusted with what we have witnessed on air,” GRNSW CEO Brent Hogan said in a press release. “GRNSW welcomes Michael McHugh’s acceptance to head this taskforce and is committed to working closely with him and the taskforce as quickly as we can. The taskforce will help ensure that live baiting and other acts of animal cruelty identified in NSW are eradicated as quickly as possible.”

 

This sort of thing is what the sport keeps hidden away, But it gets worse

This sort of thing is what the sport keeps hidden away, But it gets worse

A must watch tonight on the ABC on Four Corners 8.30pm

Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be ‘extremely damaging’ to greyhound racing industry

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-16/evidence-of-live-baiting-in-greyhound-racing/6121688

Mon 16 Feb 2015, 9:47am

Australia’s greyhound racing industry is in turmoil ahead of an explosive Four Corners report, set to air tonight, that reveals conclusive evidence of live baiting.

Live baiting is the practice of using small live animals in secret greyhound training sessions.

It has been banned and criminalised for decades, but trainers and owners across the country have been using the illegal training method in the belief that it will improve a dog’s performance.

Live baiting carries substantial financial penalties and sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment. The evidence that will be broadcast tonight on the ABC could have a massive impact on the industry.

The RSPCA, in conjunction with police in NSW, Victoria and Queensland raided five properties on Wednesday last week after the Four Corners program, in conjunction with Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, confidentially handed over the results of its investigation into the sport to the state-based RSPCAs more than a fortnight ago.

Tonight in its exclusive report, Four Corners will reveal how trainers and owners across the country, working in concert with licensed trial track operators, are training their dogs using banned methods and engaging in illegal activity.

Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia.

Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish

This behaviour constitutes cheating under the laws of greyhound racing.

Tracking dogs and their trainers from private training facilities and on to official race meets and using undercover investigators to infiltrate the industry, the program has discovered the integrity of potentially thousands of races and millions of dollars in prize money is now in question.

Aware that the Four Corners program was set to air, Greyhound Racing NSW, Greyhound Racing Victoria, and Racing Queensland, the sport’s statutory regulators, moved to suspend more than 20 trainers, owners and trial track operators late last week.

In another attempt to pre-empt the program, on Sunday, Racing Queensland announced a $1 million taskforce to combat live baiting and other allegations of cruelty.

But the regulators’ attempts to act raise further serious questions about their ability to fulfil obligations and adequately police the sport in addition to carrying out their dual role as the sport’s promoter. Australians are now wagering a staggering $4 billion on the sport annually.

It is also revealed the illegal activities have remained undetected by the regulators, and makes it clear self-regulation has been a failure. At the same time, the evidence could prompt governments to reconsider their support and endorsement of the sport.

‘This story will be explosive’

In an internal memo written by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and obtained by Four Corners over the weekend, GRV’s chief executive officer Adam Wallish encouraged trainers and owners to start strategising and preparing to react publicly after the Four Corners program airs tonight.

“Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia,” Mr Wallish wrote.

“As a group of people that love the greyhound breed we should all be shocked and outraged by the allegations in the story and prepared to fight the small minority that continue to partake in such practices jeopardising the future of the sport and indeed the future of the breed itself.”

Mr Wallish also urged the greyhound racing community to focus their anger on the wrongdoers in their sport, rather than the messenger.

“You will be emotional, you might be angry. Don’t be angry at those that attack us, regardless of their position. Be angry at those within the sport that are doing the wrong thing and undermining the values for which we stand,” he wrote.

“This time is a testing one for all of us in the industry and we need to stay resolute in our desire to exceed social standards and public expectations.

“The future of the sport and the wonderful greyhound breed necessitates it.”

Greyhound Racing Victoria has also set up a counselling telephone hotline to support those affected emotionally by the allegations. The hotline is contactable on (03) 8329 1100 and will be available from 7:30am on Tuesday morning.

The program, Making a Killing, will broadcast tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm. Anyone with further information can contact Four Corners


Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait

GREYHOUND Racing Victoria has suspended 10 people and closed the Tooradin Trial Track for alleged live baiting.

The news comes in the wake of revelations a Geelong-trained greyhound tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine (known as ice) after a race in Warragul on January 17.

GRV has confirmed the RSPCA is investigating the Tooradin track and Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna is involved.

GRV chief executive Adam Wallish said live baiting, where a dog is given a live animal to hunt down in the lead up to a race, was a criminal and abhorrent practice.

“The use of live bait in the training of greyhounds is disgusting and has no place in our sport.

Any person engaged in live baiting can expect to be disqualified and prosecuted. We have zero tolerance for these individuals,” Mr Wallish said.

“In accordance with GRV’s Animal Welfare Penalty Guidelines those responsible face a 10 year ban from the sport.”

Live baiting was a criminal offence punishable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and attracted a jail term of up to two years and a fine of more than $30,000, he said.

“GRV takes matters of animal cruelty extremely seriously. Allegations of live-baiting are extremely disappointing and GRV supports the RSPCA and Victoria Police’s efforts to investigate any wrong-doing within the sport of greyhound racing,” Mr Wallish said.

A spokesperson for RSPCA Victoria confirmed it had executed warrants and conducted an inspection at a greyhound training facility in south-east Victoria.

The inspection had resulted in the launch of an investigation into greyhound training practices, she said.

Lara trainer Jenny Hunt said she was “gutted” and “bewildered” her dog Jubilea Bale tested positive to drugs, and planned to travel to Warragul to have “a look around”.

“I’ve asked all my employees and they all said they have nothing to do with it (ice),” Hunt said.

Greyhound Racing New South Wales also suspended five people and closed Sydney’s Box Hill Trial Track this week for alleged live baiting.

The RSPCA said anyone who had information about cruel or illegal practices in the greyhound industry should report it immediately by calling 9224 2222.

 


Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing

February 15, 2015

Natalie O’Brien

Greyhound racing is in the spotlight amid allegations of live baiting.Greyhound racing is in the spotlight amid allegations of live baiting. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

More than 20 greyhound racing dog owners and trainers across NSW, Victoria and Queensland have been suspended after a series of raids which allegedly discovered the illegal use of live animals being used to bait and lure dogs.

The shock revelations come just a year after the industry regulator NSW Greyhound Racing told a parliamentary inquiry it had no evidence that such alleged crimes were occurring in the $144 million a year industry.

The inquiry’s deputy chairman and Greens MP John Kaye at the time claimed Greyhound Racing NSW had “dodged a bullet” and issues like animal welfare and the allegations of live bait had been put in the “too-hard basket”.

Late on Thursday, Greyhound Racing NSW announced it had stood down five industry participants and one licensed trainer for alleged live baiting offences and closed down the Box Hill trial track. Victorian greyhound racing authorities also announced it had suspended 10 people for allegedly using live baits at a track in Tooradin, south-west of Melbourne.

In Queensland seven trainers have been suspended after they were allegedly about to use live pigs as bait for their dog training. Racing Queensland’s General Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations Wade Birch said the trainers had been stood down and their greyhounds scratched from all competition pending an investigation.

“This decision was based on further information received by Racing Queensland, the substance of which required immediate action by stewards,” said Mr Birch.

The RSPCA has been involved in raids but officials refused requests for any information. A statement released by a media spokeswoman said they “had received a number of complaints regarding animal cruelty and greyhounds, these are currently under investigation”.

Fairfax Media reported in 2013 that the illegal practice of allowing animals to be killed by greyhounds as part of their racing training was still occurring in NSW.

Problems have beset the industry over decades. As far back as 1972, newspaper reports revealed that a leading greyhound trainer and industry figure were fined and narrowly escaped jail for using a possum and a rabbit for live baiting at a track in Kellyville. The magistrate at the time said their previous good behaviour had saved them from a custodial sentence.

In 2013 there were shocking revelations at the parliamentary inquiry about the barbaric act of live baiting including details about the use of guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, kittens and possums which have had their claws and teeth removed so they can’t hurt the dogs being mauled to death in training sessions.

“I have been told ‘anything that squeals will do’,” an industry stakeholder, whose identity has been suppressed, said in a written submission to the parliamentary inquiry.

TV vet Dr Robert Zammit had also backed up the claims in his evidence to the inquiry and RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O’Shannessy said they had also received anonymous complaints but so far they had been unable to substantiate the claims. He encouraged people to come forward with information.

Dr Kaye said on Saturday that slowly public pressure is forcing Greyhound Racing NSW to admit what most people have known for decades.

“It’s clear that live baiting still occurs and that the dogs are brutalised, and rabbits, cats and possums are being ripped apart while they are still live,” said Dr Kaye.

“Greyhound Racing NSW dismissed allegations before a NSW Upper House Committee of live baiting, claiming they lacked evidence. Suddenly, they act against five participants suspected of live baiting and one trainer with live European rabbits on his premises.

“The regulatory body had been told of possums that had their teeth and claws ripped out and that then died in terror and agony, yet they failed to act until they faced the threat of media exposure,” he said.

ABC’s Four Corners program will screen a program on Monday night about greyhound racing.

Dr Kaye said the failure to crack down on live baiting by the regulatory authority for the past six years, is another reason for stripping the industry body of its animal welfare and regulatory functions.


 RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Racing Queensland’s response to Four Corners | 13 February 2015

Greyhound Racing Victoria’s response to Four Corners | 12 February 2015

Greyhound Racing NSW’s response to Four Corners

MORE INFORMATION

Participants Stood Down With Immediate Effect | Greyhound Racing, NSW | 12 February, 2015

Letter from Adam Wallish to Clarify Issues on the Animal Welfare – Penalty Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 | Victorian Government

Is the use of live baits and lures in greyhound racing and other dog racing illegal? | RSPCA

Own motion investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria | Victorian Ombudsman

Legislative Council Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in New South Wales

Animal Welfare Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria | 2014

Investigation into the ACT racing industry | Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission | 2011

Report on Own Motion Inquiry into Betting Activities of Racing Officials Employed by the Victorian Racing Industry | Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner | June 2012

Implementing the recommendations arising from the Review of Integrity Assurance in the Victorian Racing Industry

Animal welfare act review report and recommendations | Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries | 2013

Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Greyhound Racing Information | Animals Australia

MEDIA

Fallout spreads as industry braces for Four Corners probe | Australian Racing Greyhound | 16 February, 2015

Stewards query Kay; some finish-on-lure trials put on hold | Australian Racing Greyhound | 16 February, 2015

Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be ‘extremely damaging’ to industry | ABC News | 16 February, 2015

Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing | Sydney Morning Herald | 15 February, 2015

Queensland sets up taskforce as greyhound racing hit with cruelty claims | Courier Mail | 15 February, 2015

Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait | Geelong Advertiser | 15 February, 2015

Victorian greyhound racing authorities suspend 10 people for allegedly using live rabbits as lures | ABC News | 14 February, 2015

Queensland legend Reg Kay denies involvement in live-baiting raid | Australian Racing Greyhound | 14 February, 2015

Greyhound owners, trainers suspended | Sydney Morning Herald | 14 February, 2015

Greyhound racing industry hounded by claims of abuse | Illawarra Mercury | 1 August, 2014

Greyhound racing industry ‘dodged a bullet’ | Sydney Morning Herald | 30 March, 2014

Greyhound inquiry by NSW Parliament: committee member and Greens MP John Kaye critical of welfare inaction | ABC News | 28 March, 2014

Logan to get new greyhound racing track, at expense of Gold Coast | Brisbane Times | 16 March, 2014

NSW greyhounds boss rejects claims of cronyism, bullying | Sydney Morning Herald | 9 February, 2014

Vets claim live animals used as bait to train greyhounds | Sydney Morning Herald | 24 November, 2013

Greyhound racing industry denies claims of widespread animal doping | ABC News | 16 October, 2013

Greyhound racing industry hit with doping, cruelty, collusion allegations | 7.30 | 16 October, 2013

The unbearable lightness of being a greyhound | The Conversation | 2 December, 2012

The quick and the dead | Background Briefing | 11 November, 2012

Allegations of doping in greyhound racing industry | 9 November 2012

Hounded to death | Sydney Morning Herald | 25 October, 2004

Sydney terror raid-Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, arrested, hunting knife and flag seized


Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Friggin wannabe terrorists or facebook heroes by the look of them. Do not be deceived though, this is real and current and can bee happening in your very own street…Obviously they were not very clever pre posting a video leading to their arrest, amateurs really. But that is the way of the lone wolf it seems.

Sydney terror raid: Two men arrested, hunting knife and flag seized

Machete, flag and video found in terror raid
  • Two men arrested at Fairfield home hours before atrocity, say police
  • Machete, large hunting knife and IS flag seized.
  • Video, allegedly featuring one of the men, referred to IS attack
  • Neighbours described their ‘disbelief’ and ‘fear’
  • Premier Mike Baird said details of the plot were ‘beyond disturbing’

THE two men arrested in terror raids yesterday had been living in a small granny flat at the back of a share house in Fairfield, where neighbours today spoke of their disbelief.

Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, were arrested at the flat on Riverview Rd, Fairfield about 4pm yesterday by the Joint Counter Terrorism Taskforce after a receiving information that an attack was imminent.

Police allege the pair had armed themselves with a machete and large hunting knife and were due to carry out a terror attack yesterday before police swooped.

Mohammad Kiad was arrested at his Fairfield home yesterday. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Omar al-Kutobi and Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad and Omar al-Kutobi. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Terror suspect Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year. Pitcutre: Supplied. Source: Supplied

THE NEIGHBOUR

Roberto Macatangay has lived in a caravan at the back of the property and said he knew Mr Al-Kutobi, a computer science student, for about three years.

He said Mohammad Kiad moved into the property only last year.

“I’m scared that I’m living with these people, “ Mr Macatangay said. “They seemed to be really nice. They were sarcastic people but I didn’t mind that. We used to joke about religion, about Mohammad and Jesus Christ.”

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Pic

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google Source: Supplied

Mr Macatangay said he did not believe Kiad worked full-time, but may have been studying for a forklift licence, and often visited a nearby recreational centre to do weight-lifting.

The 25-year-old has permanent residency in Australia and Al-Kutobi was granted Australian citizenship last year, he said.

 They don’t mingle much
Manueal Abello, tenant in the main house 

On his Facebook site, Kiad listed himself as married but Mr Macatangay said the couple separated last year when he moved in with Al-Kutobi.

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Pic

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged wi

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged with plotting a terror attack. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied.

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied. Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Macatangay, a pensioner who moved to Australia from Hong Kong three years ago, said he was at home when heavily armed police stormed the property yesterday afternoon.

They carried out a search warrant at the property, sifting through the granny flat and Mohammad’s car, parked in the street, until the early hours of this morning.

“I was totally surprised and really scared because the gun was pointing at me,” Mr Macatangay said.

“I was watching TV in my caravan and suddenly the electrics turned off. I saw the police, they had their faces covered up with helmet and heavy machine gun. I didn’t know what was happening.

“They asked me about the people living there.”

The small, white granny flat remained locked yesterday. A small religious prayer flag could be seen hanging in a back room of the flat, along with study books, clothes and drawers that had been pulled out and left on the floor.

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on th

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on the street after being searched by police. Source: News Corp Australia

THE TENANT AND THE OWNER

The owner of the property said Kiad and Al-Kutobi rented the two-bedroom granny flat at the back of the property for about $200 a week.

She said she had never been inside as they always kept it locked up.

Manuel Abello, a tenant in the main house, said the pair were nice but very private.

“They don’t mingle much,” he said.

“I never expected this at all. They are quite nice. Very rarely they have guests.” Kiad’s car is still parked out the front of the Fairfield property, with finger printing dust the only tell-tale signs of the police search on Tuesday.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commis

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media. Picture: AAP Image/Ava Benny-Morrison. Source: AAP

THE LAW

Police raided the men’s home and searched a car and where they work. Both men were charged with undertaking acts in preparation of planning a terrorist act and will face court this morning.

A number of items were seized in the raids including a machete, a hunting knife, a home-made flag representing terrorist organisation IS and a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack.

Fairfield Local Court heard the pair have spoken with a lawyer, but he is unavailable to appear for them in court today.

The pair’s legal aid lawyer didn’t apply for bail on the mens’ behalf and it was formally refused by magistrate Vivien Swain. The men did not appear in court after asking not to be brought up from the cells.

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today whe

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today where two men appeared on terror charges. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: News Corp Australia

Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Allnutt told the court the matter should be moved to Central Local Court due to “security issues.”

 We believe the men were potentially going to….kill somebody
Catherine Burn 

Two sheriffs officers today were searching bags and scanning every person who entered the complex ahead of the appearance of the two men.

Magistrate Vivienne Swain adorned the case until tomorrow, when both bail applications are expected to be heard.

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place a

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place and executing them. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

The men will be assisted in their applications by an Arabic interpreter.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said it will be alleged that the two were going to undertake an act of terrorism in Australia as revenge for incidents overseas.

“What we are going to allege is consistent with the IS messaging,” she said.

“We believe that the men were potentially going to harm somebody, maybe even kill somebody, and potentially using one of the items that we identified and recovered yesterday, potentially a knife.”

She added that police will allege the attack was due to be carried out yesterday, with a video shaping to be a key piece of evidence.

Police do not know the nature of the alleged terrorist’s target but urged people to remain vigilant, whether that be police, military or the general public.

“And a really, really important message about that vigilance is that everybody needs to remain alert and no matter what that piece of information is, it is really helpful,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Souce: Channel 7.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Source: Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The pair were not known to police, and police say they were only made aware of the planned activity recently.

AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said the threat was acted on as quickly as possible.

Premier Mike Baird said he could not comment on what the accused terrorists were planning, but said it was “beyond disturbing”.

“I was very concerned. You can’t help but be on edge given the events that we have seen last December, the events we’ve seen around the world. This is an ongoing battle, an ongoing fight,” Mr Baird said.

The Premier thanked police for foiling the terror plot.

Police in a previous raid last year spoke of a plot to behead someone in Martin Place. It is understood that alleged plot involved abducting a random Australian, executing them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD, and filming the act and posting it on social media.

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist in

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist insurgents in Syria seen with other ISIS extremists. Source: News Corp Australia

 Story by

Rabbi Yosef Feldman tells child abuse royal commission reformed paedophiles deserve leniency???????? Really WTF


Mon 9 Feb 2015, 8:35pm

Paedophiles who are no longer abusing children should not have to spend their lives feeling like the “scum of the Earth”, a senior rabbi has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman, a leader within the Sydney Yeshivah community, told the inquiry he was friends with convicted child abuser Daniel Hayman when he was arrested and charged in 2011.

He said he did not think it was fair that a member of the community should go to jail for an historical case of child abuse if they had already repented and received treatment.

“I would be asking for more leniency on people who have shown that they haven’t offended in the last 20 years or decades ago, and have psychological analyses that this is the case,” Rabbi Feldman said.

Once someone is not a paedophile any more or is showing [he] is not acting wrongly any more, that should be considered in a very strong way.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman

“Once someone is not a paedophile any more or is showing [he] is not acting wrongly any more, that should be considered in a very strong way.

The more lenient approach would show “when you do the right thing, you won’t get mistreated badly and it’s not the end of the world … then you are not treated like a pariah, like a scum of the Earth”.

Rabbi Feldman lashed out at the media, saying publicity about child sex abuse “encourages even people who may not be real victims or may want to be considered heroes” to go to the police.

“Like we have seen here in Melbourne, we had one rabbi who was ultimately vindicated, and I was very against too much of a public situation, like I see with the media also, they go out in a very public way, and also exaggerating, at times lying,” he said.

“I’m worried about the effect of the hype of child abuse.”

His lawyer told the commission Rabbi Feldman had received death threats since Friday’s hearing, in which he said he did not understand it was illegal for an adult to touch a child’s genitals.

‘The less the media is involved, the better’

Rabbi Feldman was asked about an apparent conflict between one of his public statements and a private email he sent in mid-2011.

The commission heard Rabbi Feldman had once written to the Sydney Beth Din (Jewish court) that convicted paedophile David Kramer’s “life and family is being ruined now for no good reason.”

In a sometimes heated exchange, he told counsel assisting the commission, Maria Gerace, he was entitled to his own opinions, and denied they were at odds with the rule of law.

He said he was concerned about miscarriages of justice occurring.

“It’s obvious I care about people,” he said.

“A rabbi cares mostly about people.”

Rabbi Feldman told the commission, Jewish law dictated that “you have to be very careful about not embarrassing people” and “the less the media is involved the better”.

He said sinners did not deserve to be known “all around the world” for their crimes.

“The publicity of someone being charged and the naming and shaming, it’s already public,” Rabbi Feldman said.

Ms Gerace responded that perhaps it would give more encouragement to others who were abused to come forward and face their perpetrators.

“I have thought about that and I have no problem with the general pronouncement,” Rabbi Feldman said.

“But not at times when it seems like a PR process and it seems like when there’s hype and then you join in the hype … it’s all false, that sort of thing.

“If the rabbis would come out at other times, at normal time, nothing to do with any hype, with society… saying this is a strong issue we should deal with, that is fantastic and the victims are the most important and we have to deal with that.”

Rabbi Feldman said he did believe in secular law and reporting child abuse immediately.

“But not matters of a PR situation … that’s what brings about false charges and things of this nature,” he said.

ABC/AAP


 

Rabbi Yosef Feldman says media hype causes ‘fake’ abuse victims

Rabbi feared ‘false’ abuse claims

Rabbi Yosef Feldman leaves the Melbourne County Court after giving evidence at the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. Source: News Corp Australia

AN orthodox rabbi has argued media “hype” causes “fake victims” to make allegations of child sexual abuse, while admitting he feared people were making false allegations against his friend, David Cyprys, who was later convicted of serious child sex offences.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman, rabbinical administrator of Bondi’s Chabad Yeshiva centre, today told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he had expressed concern when he learnt in 2011 that Beth Dins in Sydney and Melbourne were planning to make public statements encouraging abuse victims to come forward.

“Too much hype causes miscarriages of justice,” he said. “I didn’t think it was the time and place for the rabbis to come out in the media with public statements.

“I think it’s bad for the Jews.”

Rabbi Feldman wrote a series of emails to other rabbis in 2011 — when abuse allegations involving Yeshivah College in Melbourne became public amid a police investigation — arguing Jews with information about child sex abuse allegations should see a rabbi rather than police.

He said today that he would “highly encourage” Australia to change its laws to allow rabbis to assess the veracity of child sex abuse complaints before encouraging victims to alert police.

He also said greater leniency should be shown to paedophiles who had committed sex offences years ago, if it could be shown they hadn’t offended since. And that would be proved how?

“I would lobby the government about this if I could,” he said. “They do the right thing and they are shown to do the right thing, (then) they deserve a bit more respect.”

Rabbi Feldman said he was worried at the time that further complaints might be laid against Cyprys, a friend who had worked at Yeshivah in Melbourne for decades.

Cyprys is currently serving an eight year prison sentence for abusing several boys at Yeshiva.

“I was worried the publicity would bring about fake victims, “ Rabbi Feldman said.

“The reality is they make a whole issue of child abuse and it encourages people to accuse people of abuse when … they are really innocent.”

Other rabbis have condemned Rabbi Feldman’s views and called for victims to be encouraged to go to police.

The commission heard threats had been made against Rabbi Feldman on social media since he began giving evidence.

The hearing continues.


 

Perth counsellor Allan Huggins admits struggling with attraction to teens


Perth counsellor Allan Huggins admits struggling with attraction to teens when he touched two boys

Mon 9 Feb 2015, 9:35pm

A Perth counsellor has admitted to inappropriately touching two boys while struggling to deal with his homosexuality, but denied sexually abusing other boys in his care.

Allan Keith Huggins, 68, is on trial in the West Australian District Court, charged with 49 offences stemming from when he was an education officer at the Warminda school-to-work program in 1990 and 1991.

He testified on Monday that he had told two clinical psychologists at the time he was attracted to teenage boys and had touched two youths unrelated to this trial.

“I was in therapy and I was trying to unburden myself,” he said.

Huggins told the court he was having difficulty adjusting to being gay and did not want to hurt his wife and children.

He also attributed some of his attraction to boys to having been abused when he was aged between seven and 12.

“I just sucked it up and lived with it all my life, but I was aware that it had created a problem,” Huggins said.

But he denied the crimes for which he was on trial, including touching, masturbation, sexual penetration and oral sex.

Huggins rejected allegations put to him by prosecutor Bernard Standish, including performing oral sex on one boy and repeatedly telling him to be brave.

“I don’t think so, no, not at all,” he said.

Huggins also rejected the assertion he swam in a pool with two boys and touched the genitals of one boy before threatening them not to tell anyone.

“I’m not the threatening type,” Huggins said.

When Mr Standish suggested the boys in the program needed help because of their troubled childhoods, Huggins replied: “Absolutely, and I was on their side.”

The trial continues.


Police failed to act on child sexual abuse complaint against Allan Huggins, victim says

Wed 28 Jan 2015, 5:21pm

A Perth man says he never heard from police again after he told officers a former school counsellor sexually abused him, the District Court has heard.

The man was giving evidence at the trial of Allan Keith Huggins, 68, who is accused of abusing seven boys in the 1990s.

The man testified he was a ward of the state when he attended a government program for troubled boys in East Victoria Park.

He described Mr Huggins as like the “headmaster” of the program, and said on one occasion, in 1990 or 1991, when he was about 13, he was taken to his office, where the door was shut and locked and he was sexually abused.

The man said he ran out of the building and went to his aunt’s house, where he told her Huggins had touched him.

He testified his aunt then went to East Victoria Park to confront Mr Huggins.

The man said later, when he was in juvenile detention, he was visited by two police officers and asked about the allegation.

“I specifically remember saying I did want him charged,” the man told the court.

“I never heard from them again.”

The court heard that in 2013 the man made an application for compensation under a system called Redress, and police again investigated his complaint.

Mr Huggins has pleaded not guilty to all 49 charges against him.

Violent and Graphic video footage of couple being bashed in Melbourne karaoke bar released


The young thugs in this video must be found quickly. If you know who they are, and more importantly where they might be, contact police immediately or ring crime stoppers .We do not want them on our streets or on a night out our kids might be at. Disgraceful behaviour

Reporting crime or hoon behaviour
If you have any information regarding a crime, criminal activity, or hoon behaviour you can contact Crime Stoppers Victoria online or by calling on 1800 333 000 and confidentially report what you know.

Mon 19 Jan 2015, 3:38pm

Video footage of a man and woman being bashed in a vicious attack at a Melbourne karaoke bar has been released.

The couple in their 20s were drinking at the Elizabeth Street bar early on January 11 when they were assaulted.

Footage of the attack shows a 25-year-old man being punched and stomped on by a group of men until he was unconcious on the floor.

The man’s girlfriend can be seen trying to protect him on the ground.

A man is then seen to grab her by the hair and throw her to the floor, before she is punched and kicked by the group.

Shortly before the brawl, the couple was sitting at a table with their attackers.

Detective Senior Constable Matt Folvig said it was unclear what started it, but words were exchanged beforehand.

“Apparently they’ve just said something that was disagreed with and they’ve just turned on the pair,” he said.

Police released images and CCTV footage in the hope of identifying the people involved.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Artist and wife of embassy official Jane Hardy, Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child


After months and months of diplomatic bullshit at our expense, this sick pervert is going down.A sleazy “Artist” again, happened to be married to an Aussie diplomat. So what happens, Harm minimisation of course to the image…Fuck that…read on

Husband of Australian diplomat to stand trial on child sex offences

January 15, 2015 – 11:30AM

Courts reporter for The Canberra Times.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

The husband of a top Australian diplomat accused of molesting a child while overseas has been committed to stand trial.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, maintained pleas of not guilty to three charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The offences are alleged to have occurred overseas, but are before the ACT courts as the charges fall under Commonwealth law.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker on Thursday committed him to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.

Kapociunas was arrested at Canberra Airport in September last year.

Court documents said the allegation surfaced after the girl told her mother that the artist kept kissing her.

When questioned further, the girl allegedly said he “kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing at her groin.

The mother reported the conversation to the Australian Federal Police.

Kapociunas, in a police interview, allegedly acknowledged he had had physical contact with the girl that included kissing in greeting and farewelling, piggy-back rides, and blowing raspberries on her belly button.

But he denied abusing the girl.

He was originally charged with one count of child sex and first appeared in court in October.

Two additional charges were laid in December.

The painter and sculptor is married to top Australian diplomat, Jane Hardy, who, in November, ceased her role as Australia’s ambassador to Spain and returned home almost two years into a three-year appointment.

Ms Hardy’s identity and diplomatic position were previously subject to a court suppression order, but that has now been lifted.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy.

Lithuanian-born Kapociunas studied art in South Australian and lived Spain, France and Britain before he wed Ms Hardy in 1982.

He has since accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Malaysia, South Korean, the United States, and Spain .

He work has been exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

On Thursday, Ms Walker continued the defendants bail, but added the condition that he notify the court if he changes address.

The case will appear in the Supreme Court for directions next month.


 

Australian diplomat returned from posting after husband charged over child-sex allegations

January 14, 2015 – 4:31PM

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

One of Australia’s top diplomats has returned early from an overseas posting after her spouse was arrested and charged with child sex offences. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that Jane Hardy ceased duty as Australia’s ambassador to Spain on November 3, 2014, less than two years into what would normally be a three-year appointment.

A DFAT spokesperson declined to answer Fairfax Media questions about the precise circumstances leading to the ambassador’s return to Australia, only saying Ms Hardy “returned by mutual agreement with the department.”

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

However it is a matter of public record that the Australian Federal Police arrested Ms Hardy’s husband, artist Vytas Kapociunas, on September 20, 2014, in relation to an allegation of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia. 

Mr Kapociunas, now aged 71, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra on October 3 in relation to one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia. Two additional charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia were laid against Mr Kapociunas in December. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

The sculptor and painter first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the child said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

The AFP say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl allegedly said: “He kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing to her groin.

The mother contacted the AFP who opened an investigation and interviewed the girl.

Mr Kapociunas was informed of the allegations on September 17 and was met by AFP officers at Canberra Airport three days later.  He agreed to an interview in which, according to police, he acknowledged he had met the girl three times and had physical contact with her including kissing.  However he denied he had committed any child sex offences, saying he was “unsure” why the girl would say such things. He was then arrested. 

Born in Lithuania in 1943, Mr Kapociunas studied at the South Australian School of Art and spent his early post-graduate years in Spain, France and Britain . He married Ms Hardy in 1982 and accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Washington DC and most recently Madrid.  In 2008 his sculpture Passage through Fire was exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

Ms Hardy’s identity and position were subject to a temporary court suppression order, now no longer in force. not anymore

DFAT has emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy who assumed duty as ambassador to Spain in January 2013.

“Ms Hardy performed creditably in her role in Spain and, following her return, has taken up a suitably senior position in Canberra,” a departmental spokesperson said.

DFAT’s organisation chart shows Ms Hardy is now in charge of the department’s arms control and counter-proliferation branch.

Her executive assistant told Fairfax Media she is not currently in Canberra and cannot be contacted.

A new ambassador to Spain has not yet been appointed.

Mr Kapociunas’s solicitor, Chloe Preston, declined to comment. His case is listed for a further procedural hearing in the Magistrates Court on January 15.


 

Artist pleads not guilty to child sex offences allegedly linked to overseas Australian embassy

Date
December 4, 2014

Reporter for The Canberra Times.

An Australian artist has been accused of two more sexual offences against a child connected to an overseas Australian embassy.

Sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, is facing the ACT Magistrates Court, accused of molesting a child overseas.

He was charged on Thursday with two additional offences of sexual intercourse with a minor outside of Australia, meaning he is now charged with three offences.

Kapociunas, represented by lawyer Chloe Preston, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He first came to police attention when his alleged victim told her mother she had a secret.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl allegedly said.

“I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

She also allegedly told her mother:

“He kisses me on the lips and here”, pointing to her groin.

Police went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport earlier this year and he agreed to an interview, court documents suggest.

He told police he had no idea why the girl had been saying such things. Kapociunas denied her allegations.

He was arrested and initially charged with a single count of having sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, which is a Commonwealth offence.

The artist allegedly told police he piggy-backed the girl, blew raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

The case was adjourned by Magistrate Robert Cook until January.


 

Artist Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child linked to overseas embassy

October 17, 2014

Christopher Knaus

An Australian artist has been accused of molesting a child connected to an overseas embassy.

Well-known sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, was arrested earlier this year after a young girl at an Australian embassy alleged he sexually assaulted her.

Kapociunas, who is fighting the allegation, first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

Police say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl said:

“He kisses me on the lips, and here”, pointing to her groin.

The offence is alleged to have occurred overseas, but is now being prosecuted in the ACT under Commonwealth law.

The mother called the Australian Federal Police, who began investigating, and went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport last month.

He agreed to an interview and denied the allegations, claiming he had no idea why the girl would say such things.

Police arrested the artist, and he is currently before the ACT Magistrates Court on one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, an offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

He appeared before Magistrate Peter Morrison on Friday morning, and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf.

The artist told police during an interview that he had piggy-backed the victim and blown raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

But he denied to police that he had committed any child sex offences.

The court heard on Friday the brief of evidence against him was mostly prepared, and the case was adjourned until December. 

Kapociunas is an artist who has worked across Australia and the world, and studied and taught in South Australia.

He has also studied at the University of Canberra, according to his earlier news reports, and has written children’s books.


 

Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed in Paris grocery store siege


Charlie Hebdo attack: gunmen killed after police storm hide-out January 10, 2015 3:47PM

  • Kouachi brothers shot dead in overnight siege
  • Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed in Paris grocery store siege
  • Four Paris grocery store hostages declared dead
  • Third siege at a jewellery store in south of France underway, police say not related to Charlie Hebdo massacre
  • Female terror suspect still at large

SEVEN people have been killed in two sieges across France overnight, including the two brothers accused of slaying 12 people at a Paris newspaper, another gunman and four innocent captives.

The two groups of terrorists had seized hostages at separate locations around the French capital on Friday, facing off against thousands of French security forces as the city shut down a famed Jewish neighbourhood and scrambled to protect residents and tourists from further attacks.

HOSTAGE: ‘I was spared for being a woman’

CHARB’S GIRLFRIEND: ‘I knew he would be assassinated’

The moment police move in

Moving in … The moment police storm into the Kosher supermarket. Picture: France 2 Source: Supplied

Risky operation ... Police rush to get the rescued hostages to safety. Picture: Snapper M

Risky operation … Police rush to get the rescued hostages to safety. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

A female terror suspect, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, remains at large as authorities scramble to end the three days of terror that have gripped France.

Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of slain gunman Coulibaly, is believed to have fled during the supermarket siege which saw four hostages killed.

A third siege, which saw two people held hostage at a jewellery store in Montpellier, south of France has now ended after the man holding them surrended to police.

RT News reports that the two hostages have not been harmed and that Montpellier prosecutor, Christophe Barret, said there was no attempted robbery and stressed that the situation in Montpellier was not connected to the earlier events in Paris and in Northern France.

Free ... French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault a

Free … French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

Enferno ... Members of the French police special forces launch an assault at a kosher gro

Enferno … Members of the French police special forces launch an assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

al-Qaeda Yemen claims responsibility for Paris magazine attack

Meanwhile, a member of the al-Qaeda Yemen branch- speaking on the condition of anonymity — has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack.

He told The Associated Press that the massacre was carried out as “revenge for the honour” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

TIMELINE OF TERROR: France rocked by three days of terrorism

The terrorist organisation has also released a chilling new warning for France, threatening the nation with fresh attacks.

“It is better for you to stop your aggression against the Muslims, so perhaps you will live safely. If you refuse but to wage war, then wait for the glad tiding,” sharia official leader Harith al-Nadharisaid in an audio clip released by AQAP.

The three gunmen have also been deemed “heroes” by Islamic State group radio.

First siege: Printworks office in Dammartin-en-Goële

At the first stand-off, explosions and gunshots rang out and white smoke rose outside a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, had holed up with a hostage.

The brothers were shot dead by special forces as they reportedly burst out of their hide-out.

Security forces had surrounded the building for most of the day.

Their hostage, identified as Michel Catalano, is believed to have been rescued alive.

Suspect's Wanted In Connection With Attack At The Satirical Weekly Charlie Hebdo

Killed … Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects Said Kouachi, 34 (left) and Cherif Kouachi, 32, have been killed. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Scene ... smoke rises as a special forces soldiers storm a printing warehouse on an indus

Scene … smoke rises as a special forces soldiers storm a printing warehouse on an industrial estate where the Charlie Hebdo massacre terrorists sought refuge. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Second siege: Kosher grocery store in Vincennes

Moments after police surrounded the Kouachi brothers outside Paris, explosions were heard at a second siege, where another Islamic militant gunman was threatening to kill his hostages if the brothers were injured.

Gunman Amedy Coulibay spoke to French TV station BFM during the siege, saying he had taken 16 people hostage at a kosher grocery store, selected specifically “because it was Jewish”.

Free ... Hostages are rescued after being held hostage in the grocery store. Picture: Sna

Free … Hostages are rescued after being held hostage in the grocery store. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

He said four of his captives were dead.

He told the station he had “co-ordinated” with the suspected Charlie Hebdo attackers and belonged to the Islamic State group.

BFM released the recording of the conversation, which was translated from French by The Guardian.

In the clip, the anchor explains that a BFM reporter called the print works office the Kouachi brothers had taken over, and managed to secure a conversation with the younger brother, Cerif Kouachi. This is what he said:

Tense standoff ... Police had to move quickly after Gunman Amedy Coulibay said he would s

Tense standoff … Police had to move quickly after Gunman Amedy Coulibay said he would shoot all the hostages if the brothers were killed. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

“We just want to say that we are the defenders of the prophet, and that I, Cherif Kouachi, was sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen. And that I went there and that it was Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki who financed me”, adding that the visit took place before Awlaki was killed.

Later that day, BFM got a call from Amedy Coulibaly, who wanted to be in contact with the police. Their conversation is below.

BFM: Are you in touch with the two brothers who conducted the operation at Charlie Hebdo?

Coulibaly: Yes. We synchronised our operations.

BFM: Are you still in touch with them? Have you recently spoken with them by phone?

Coulibaly: No.

BFM: How were you synchronised with the Kouachis? Are there further attacks planned?

Coulibaly: No, we only synchronised to kickstart things: so when they started Charlie Hebdo, I started on the police officers.

On the run ... Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of dead gunman, Gunman Amedy Coulibay, m

On the run … Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of dead gunman, Gunman Amedy Coulibay, managed to escape. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

He also tells the TV channel that he has killed four of his 16 hostages, a fact later confirmed by French interior minister Bernard Cazenueve with the following tweet by French news source infos140: “B. Cazeneuve confirms the results from 5 deaths (including A. Coulibaly) and 4 wounded, Porte de Vincennes (France 2)”.

Coulibay, who was suspected of killing a police officer yesterday, was shot dead by police.

An official said the two sets of hostage-takers knew each other.

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. Picture: Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Imag

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Picture: Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images

Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

France on high-alert

The French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, has sent a series of Tweets confirming reports that two of the terror suspects were killed, according to “his information”.

France has been on high alert since the country’s worst terror attack in decades — the massacre on Wednesday in Paris at Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

At the kosher grocery near the Porte de Vincennes neighbourhood in Paris, the gunman, Amedy Coulibay, burst in shooting just a few hours before the Jewish Sabbath began, declaring “You know who I am,” the official recounted.

The official said Coulibay is also believed responsible for the roadside killing of a Paris policewoman on Thursday.

Paris police released a photo of Coulibaly and a second suspect, a woman named Hayet Boumddiene, who the official said was his accomplice and girlfriend.

Several people wounded when the gunman opened fire in the kosher grocery were able to flee and get medical care, the official said.

Police said 100 students were under lockdown in schools nearby and the highway ringing Paris was closed.

Evacuation ... French police special forces evacuated businesses and other properties in

Evacuation … French police special forces evacuated businesses and other properties in Porte de Vincennes when a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store. Picture: AFP/Martin Bureau Source: AFP

Hours before and 40 kilometres away, a convoy of police trucks, helicopters and ambulances streamed toward Dammartin-en-Goele, a small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle Airport, to seize the Charlie Hebdo suspects, who had hijacked a car in a nearby town after more than two days on the run.

“They said they want to die as martyrs,” Yves Albarello, a local lawmaker who said he was inside the command post, told French television station i-Tele.

Siege ... a helicopter of the French Special Police Forces waits in fields surrounding an

Siege … a helicopter of the French Special Police Forces waits in fields surrounding an industrial estate where the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects were hiding out. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Leaders respond to tragedy

French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that four people were killed in the siege in the Vincennes supermarket in a live televised address on Friday.

“I want to congratulate the courage, the bravery of the police officers of all those that participated in these operations,” he said. “I want to say to them we are proud of them.”

He also described the attack on the kosher supermarket as “anti-Semitic”.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama rallied to the support of France on Friday after the bloody end to hostage sieges in Paris, vowing to offer all assistance to combat the threat of militant Islamists.

“I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow,” Obama said at a speaking engagement in Tennessee, describing France as America’s “oldest ally”.

Network Writers and AP

Charlie Hebdo shooting: 12 people killed, 11 injured, in attack on satirical newspaper


A disgusting barbaric and gutless attack on the whole of society. I hope they round up these savages quickly and bring them to justice. Freedom of speech is the very fibre of a free society. WE must never ever fold to the threat of terrorism!If anyone in Australia has a thread of sympathy for the cause of these terrorists. get the hell out of our country now. Watch as they assassinate this policeman point blank.

updated 10th Jan 2015

Charlie Hebdo suspects among three gunmen killed as French police end hostage stand-offs in Paris and Dammartin-en-Goele

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Sat 10 Jan 2015, 1:57pm

French police have killed three gunmen, including two brothers suspected of shooting dead 12 people in an attack at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Cherif and Said Kouachi were at the centre of a stand-off at a printing business in an industrial area in Dammartin-en-Goele, around 40 kilometres from an area which was subject to intense police searches on Thursday.

Police stormed the building several hours after a car chase that saw shots fired. A hostage was freed unhurt. It has been reported the gunmen came out firing when police moved in.

In a simultaneous assault, dozens of heavily armed officers stormed a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris where a gunman with links to the same Islamist group as the Kouachi brothers had taken several people hostage.

Explosions were heard shortly before television pictures showed a number of people being freed.

The gunman was shot dead and four hostages were killed. Two officers were injured as police forced their way into the store.

After police brought the sieges to an end, French president Francois Hollande called for unity and vigilance from his countrymen.

“With the prime minister I have further strengthened the means to protect public places. But we must be vigilant. I also call upon unity because as I have expressed before… it is our best weapon,” he said.

“Today in a kosher supermarket it was a terrible act that was committed. The people who committed the acts, these fanatics, have got nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”

Mr Hollande has invited a number of world leaders to a “great gathering” on Sunday, when he has called for “all French men and women to rise”.

Police said the gunman in the grocery store was believed to be connected to the killing of a policewoman at a metro station on Thursday and released mugshots of Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and Hayat Boumeddiene, 26.

Coulibaly knew at least one of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a source told French news agency Agency France-Press.

It is understood police are still searching for Boumeddiene.

The exact number of hostages in the grocery store siege was unclear, but local media reported at least five were held.

A security source said Coulibaly shot two people as soon as he entered the store, and had “one or more bags” of explosives with him but did not detonate them.

He had tried to booby-trap the entrance to the shop “but had not hooked up the explosives”, the source added.

Police cordoned off the area in Port de Vincennes and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve rushed to the scene.

Reports have surfaced that Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi were known to each other and were seen together in 2010 while visiting another jihadist, Djamel Beghal, the mastermind of a failed prison break-out plot.

Coulibaly was convicted for his role in the planned break-out and was well-known to anti-terrorist police.

Plan to ‘neutralise’ Charlie Hebdo gunmen

On Wednesday the two Kouchai brothers had stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo armed with Kalashnikov rifles.

They shot dead eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance man and a visitor to the offices in the worst militant attack on French soil in decades.

The French government then launched a massive manhunt for the suspects, deploying 88,000 soldiers and police.

Mr Cazeneuve confirmed police had cornered the Kouachi brothers in Dammartin-en-Goele.

“An operation is underway which is set to neutralise the perpetrators of the cowardly attack carried out two days ago,” he said in a televised statement.

Helicopters were seen flying over an industrial zone outside the town where around 200 children from a pre-school, primary school and high school were evacuated to the town gymnasium.

Earlier, police had chased a vehicle at high speed along the A2 motorway towards Paris as authorities appeared to be closing in on the two brothers. Parts of the chase were broadcast live on TV as media vehicles followed closely behind police.

Gunshots rang out and police trucks, ambulances and armoured vehicles descended on the area close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

The Paris prosecutor denied French media reports that at least one person had been killed when the shots were fired during the car chase.

The previous night officers had focused their search on the woodland village of Corcy, not far from a service station where police sources said the brothers had been seen in ski masks.

Said and Cherif Kouachi were French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and both were already under police surveillance.

One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell.

Police had described them as being “armed and dangerous”.

US and European sources close to the investigation said on Thursday that Said Kouachi was in Yemen in 2011 for several months training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group’s most active affiliates.

A Yemeni official familiar with the matter said the Yemen government was aware of the possibility of a connection between Said Kouachi and AQAP and was looking into any possible links.

US government sources said Said Kouachi and his brother were listed in two US security databases, a highly classified database containing information on 1.2 million possible counter-terrorism suspects, called TIDE, and the much smaller no-fly list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Centre, an interagency unit.

US television network ABC reported that the brothers had been listed in the databases for years.

Dave Joly, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Centre, said he could neither confirm nor deny if the Kouachis were listed in counter-terrorism databases.

Reuters/AFP

Keep watching after he drops, they run up to him and bang from less than a metre.

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Updated about 2 hours agoThu 8 Jan 2015, 11:49am

At least 12 people have been killed by gunmen reportedly armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher who opened fire in the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

French officials said 11 other people were injured, at least four seriously, in the shooting at the central Paris offices about 11.30am (local time) on Wednesday.

Two police officers and ten journalists are thought to have been killed.

It is understood the gunmen initially burst into number 6 rue Nicolas-Appert in a Paris neighbourhood, where the archives of the Charlie Hebdo are based, shouting “is this Charlie Hebdo?” before realising they had got the wrong address.

The men then moved quickly down the road to number 10 around noon (local time) and fired at reception staff before moving to the second floor where journalists and cartoonists were holding an editorial conference.

“The two men opened fire and coldly killed the people in the conference room, as well as the police officer in charge of protecting [cartoonist] Charb, who did not have time to react,” a police source said.

Only one person survived, by hiding under the table, according to police.

The deputy mayor of Paris, Patrick Klugman, said the killers knew exactly who they were looking for.

“Two shooters enter into the press room and pick the journalists, asked for their names, and shot bullets in their head,” he said.

A manhunt is underway for a total of three masked men who escaped the scene. Their hijacked getaway car was later found abandoned on the outskirts of the city.

A raid by France’s elite anti-terrorist unit was under way late on Wednesday in the north-eastern city of Reims.

A member of the anti-terror unit at the scene of the raid said either the suspects would be able to escape, or “there will be a showdown”.

According to a police source two of the gunmen are brothers from the Paris region. The third man is believed to be from Reims.

A police document identified the men as Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982, and Hamyd Mourad, born in 1996.

In a video filmed by journalist Martin Boudot, who was taking refuge on a nearby rooftop, the men can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) between rounds of gunfire.

Police said another witness heard the attackers shouting “we have avenged the prophet”.

Another short amateur video broadcast by French television stations showed two hooded men outside the building. One of them sees a wounded policeman lying on the ground and strides over to him to shoot him at point-blank range.

Video: Video of armed gunmen from a distance (ABC News)

In another clip on Television station iTELE, the attackers are heard shouting “We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed.”

The pair can then be seen calmly walking over to a black car before driving off.

The gunmen fled towards the eastern Paris suburbs after hijacking a car, police officials said.

It is the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.

Charlie Hebdo has been at the centre of repeated controversy around its publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed and its offices were firebombed in 2011.

Dozens of police and emergency services were at the site as police secured a wide perimeter around the shooting scene, where a car could be seen riddled with bullet holes.

Police union official Rocco Contento described the scene inside the offices as “carnage”.

French president Francois Hollande rushed to the scene of the attack and the government said it was raising France’s security warning to the highest level.

“This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it,” Mr Hollande said.

“An act of indescribable barbarity has just been committed today in Paris. Measures have been taken to find those responsible, they will be hunted for as long as it takes to catch them and bring them to justice.

“They will be pursued for as long as is necessary in order that they be arrested and put in front of a court and a judge so they can be prosecuted.”

A source close to the investigation said two men “armed with a Kalashnikov and a rocket-launcher” stormed the building and “fire was exchanged with security forces”.

The source said the gunmen hijacked a car and knocked over a pedestrian as they sped away.

A man who lived close to the newspaper’s offices described what he saw from the window.

“I was at home, I heard gunshots. At first I thought it was the Chinese New Year but it wasn’t the date. I looked through the window and I saw police officers playing hide and seek with the criminals and I understood it was a shooting,” he said.

“I saw people hiding in the subway station and I gathered something serious was going on.”

Sources at the newspaper said the deceased included co-founder and cartoonist Jean Cabut, editor-in-chief Stephane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier, deputy chief editor Bernard Maris, and cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Tignous.

“About a half an hour ago two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs,” one witness told French iTELE TV News.

“A few minutes later we heard lots of shots,” he said, adding that the men were then seen fleeing the building.

Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is renowned for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and has published numerous cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.

The last tweet on its account mocked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The publication gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were fire-bombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of Mohammed under the title “Charia Hebdo”.

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the magazine continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet.

In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which was made in the United States and insulted the prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks.

Mr Charbonnier had received death threats and lived under police protection.

‘Possibility of other attacks’

“There is possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured,” Mr Contento said.

Sirens could be heard across Paris as prime minister Manuel Valls said security was being ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.

Danish media group JP/Politikens Hus, whose newspaper Jyllands-Posten has also published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, has increased its security level.

Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons in 2005, sparking a wave of protests across the Muslim world in which at least 50 died.

“If the perpetrators are still at large, we’re going to track them down, and we’re going to work with the French to do that,” a White House spokesman told MSNBC television.

World leaders were united in condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

British prime minister David Cameron described the attack as “sickening” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting was not only an attack on French citizens, but on freedoms of press and speech.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said consular officials were in contact with French authorities to confirm no Australians were affected by the attack.

A Department spokesperson said Australians in Paris should remain vigilant and should follow the instructions of the French authorities.

Australians travelling to France are encouraged to monitor the travel advice on the Smart Traveller website.

Local Muslims denounce attackers as ‘barbarians’

France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and was already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.

The attack, as yet unclaimed, comes amid what a number of commentators have identified as rising xenophobia in Europe, with thousands of protesters in several German cities rallying earlier this week against Muslim immigration.

France’s five-million-strong Muslim population is Europe’s largest.

“I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this,” said Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Late last year, a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” injured 13 people by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon.

French officials say several attacks were prevented in recent weeks.

The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.

However, the Islamic State insurgent group praised Wednesday’s attack saying the raid was revenge for insults against Islam.

“The lions of Islam have avenged our Prophet,” Abu Mussab, a Syrian who fights with the Islamic State, said via an internet connection from Syria.

“These are our lions. It’s the first drops – more will follow,” he said. He added that he and his fellow fighters were happy about the incident.

ABC/Wires


Charlie Hebdo attack: Multiple fatalities in French newspaper shooting

January 08, 2015 2:08PM

THE youngest of three terrorists believed to be responsible for killing at least 12 people in the attack on a French satirical magazine has handed himself in, French police sources have said.

France’s elite anti-terrorism unit is believed to have cornered the terrorists at a property in the north-eastern city of Reims.

Earlier, a member of the unit hinted at a possible bloody outcome saying: “There will be a showdown”, as heavily armed officers surrounded the property following a massive manhunt after the offenders fled Charlie Hebdo newspaper’s Paris headquarters after gunning down 12 people.

Police surround a property in Reims where it is believed they have the terrorists cornere

Police surround a property in Reims which is believed to have been used by the three suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre Source: Supplied

The surrounded property is in the Reims suburb known as Croix-Rouge

The surrounded property is an apartment block in the Reims suburb known as Croix-Rouge Source: AFP

Residents wait outside as French police search the Reims apartment block

Residents wait outside as French police search the building for evidence relating to the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack Source: AFP

Police have identified three men, two Parisian brothers, 32 and 34, and another 18-year-old man they believe are responsible for the worst post-war terror attack in France.

Police have named Said Kouachi, Cherif Kouachi, Hamyd Mourad now believed to have fled to the north-eastern city of Reims.

It is understood French police discovered who the attackers were after finding an identity card in an abandoned getaway car.

French police have released new photographs of the wanted brothers: Cherif Kouachi (left)

French police have released new photographs of the wanted brothers: Cherif Kouachi (left) 32 and Said Kouachi, 34. Source: AFP

French magazine Le Point is reporting the two brothers had returned to France from Syria last month, and had ties to an Iraqi network in Paris encouraging young men to join militants in Iraq.

Cherif may have served prison time in 2008 for involvement in an Iraqi jihadist group operating out of France.

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspap

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office, in Paris.  Source: AP

Armed ... Armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical news

Violent … armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP/Anne Gelbard Source: News Corp Australia

Scene ... two of the gunmen who opened fire at French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Pi

Scene … two of the gunmen who opened fire at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Picture: Live Leak Source Source: News Corp Australia

Armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher, two gunmen, claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, stormed the satirical paper’s office about 11.30am on Wednesday (9:30pm AEDT Wednesday) shouting “we have avenged the Prophet” and “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) as they fired.

MORE: The victims of Charlie Hebdo terror attack

MORE: Newspaper gunmen ‘on the loose’

MORE: What to know about Charlie Hebdo

The gunmen headed to the second floor editorial department where staff were holding their daily meeting and asked people who they were before shooting.

Terrified staff scattered, with some seeking refuge on the roof as the attack went on for five to 10 minutes before the gunmen managed to escape.

After being called out by name and executed in front of colleagues, ten staff members were gunned down and a police officer was also shot dead before the offenders fled in a getaway car where a third man was waiting.

Driving to Porte de Pantin in northeast Paris where they abandoned the first car and hijacked another, the three gunman emerged from their getaway vehicle to casually injure and execute a French policeman.

WARNING: Graphic content – Moments before Paris gunmen shoot victim

WARNING: Graphic content - Moments before Paris gunmen shoot victim

The escape prompted a huge manhunt with 3000 police are scouring the city in search of the terrorists as French President Francois Hollande described the bloodbath as an “undoubtedly terrorist act.”

Police are now conducting France anti-terror raids in the north-eastern city of Reims as part of their search for the terrorists.

‘A REAL SLAUGHTER’: WITNESSES DESCRIBE ATTACK

Rocco Contento, spokesman for the Unite police union, said the attackers exchanged gunfire with

“They opened fire on everyone, it was butchery, a real slaughter,” Mr Conteno has told the daily Libération.

“Some of the people there took refuge up on the roof. The attackers then emerged, and there was a shootout with police.”

Mr Contento added that the Charlie Hebdo offices had increased its security in recent weeks following renewed threats against the paper.

The contentious newspaper has drawn repeated threats for its controversial caricatures and was firebombed in 2011 in response to a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

In videos posted from scenes of the attack, the gunmen can be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” as gunshots fire.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

Witness Corinne Rey told L’Humanite she was forced to let the attackers into the building, and they claimed to be from al-Qaeda.

“I had gone to pick up my daughter from daycare. Arriving at the door of the newspaper building, two hooded and armed men brutally threatened us,” she said.

“They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code. They shot Wolinski, Cabu … it lasted five minutes … I had taken refuge under a desk … They spoke French perfectly … claiming to be al-Qaeda.”

MANHUNT: Newspaper gunmen ‘on the loose’

CHARM: ‘I’d rather die standing than live on my knees’

Australian journalist Amanda Morrow, who lives near the Charlie Hebdo offices, told News Corp Australia that even two hours after the attack, emergency vehicles were still streaming to the site.

Ms Morrow, who has worked for Radio France International for six years and, incidentally, is due to give birth today, said she was not surprised by the attack.

“If you live anywhere near Charlie Hebdo, which has continually printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, you know that it is always going to be a target,” she said. “Paris is no stranger to these sorts of attacks, there has been a lot of animosity between Jews and Muslims.”

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the capital was placed under the high

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the capital was placed under the highest alert status. Picture: Joel Saget Source: AFP

Investigation ... French police and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen

Investigation … French police and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP/Getty Images Source: AFP

A police car riddled with bullets during the attack.

Damage … a police car riddled with bullets. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Massive manhunt

The gunmen’s escape prompted a massive manhunt with about 3000 police officers scouring the streets of Paris for hours following the attack.

Police are forensically examining the abandoned black Citroen getaway car, which was found in the nearby 19th district in north-eastern Paris.

Liberation is reporting three suspects aged 18, 32, and 34, two of them believed to be brothers, have been arrested.

According to MetroNews, police have identified the men as Said and Cherif K, brothers born in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, and Hamyd M, the 18-year-old, whose nationality is not yet known.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives at the offices of the French satirica

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

A police officer stands next to the bicycle of a police officer who was hit by a car near

A police officer stands next to the bicycle of a police officer who was hit by a car near the shell of a bullet (bottom R) not far from the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Philippe Dupeyrat Source: AFP

People hug each other outside Charlie Hebdo's office. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere

People hug each other outside Charlie Hebdo’s office. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere Source: AP

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts outside of the headquarters of Charlie H

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts outside of the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard Source: AFP

A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard

A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard Source: AFP

Victims

Two police officers and 10 newspaper staff are among at least 12 killed in the attack.

Police said 11 are injured, four critically.

French media have named five of the victims: controversial cartoonist and editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as “Charb”; cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac; and economist and writer Bernard Maris.

Victims ... Charlie Hebdo staff killed in the attack include (clockwise from top left) ca

Victims … Charlie Hebdo staff killed in the attack include (clockwise from top left) cartoonist Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, cartoonist Tignous, Georges Wolinski and publisher Charb. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Charbonnier, 47, faced constant threats over the controversial publication, and once famously said: “I’d prefer to die standing than live on my knees.”

He appeared in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by al-Qaeda.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, was in London at the time of the attack.

“I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war,” he told France Inter.

It has been reported the gunmen asked for the cartoonists by name before killing them.

Thousands of tributes to the cartoonists have appeared online with the hashtag Je Suis Charlie, which means “I am Charlie.”

Killled ... writer Bernard Maris was murdered in the attack. Picture: AFP

Killed … writer Bernard Maris was murdered in the attack. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Staff ... members of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo pictured in 2006, inclu

Staff … members of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo pictured in 2006, including cartoonists Cabu (L), Charb (2nd L), Tignous (4th L) and Honore (5th L) posing in front of the then headquarters of the weekly in Paris. Picture: Joel Saget Source: AFP, a 42-year-old Muslim man has been named as one of the officers killed.

Graphic video shows the officer being killed point-blank on the sidewalk by the terrorists after begging for his life.

What is Charlie Hebdo?

The satirical newspaper gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were firebombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of Mohammed and under the title Charia Hebdo. No one was injured in that attack.

Previous attack ... this picture shows the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie H

Previous attack … this picture shows the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when it was firebombed in 2011. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the weekly continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet. In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States and insulted the prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks at the time.

Before his death in Wednesday’s shooting, editor Stephane Charbonnier received death threats and lived under police protection.

Charlie Hebdo’s front page on the day of the shooting

The French newspaper has long been the subject of threats and attacks in its 50-year history, particularly for poking fun at the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

The cover of Wednesday’s paper — the day of the shooting — featured a caricature of Michel Houellebecq, a novelist whose sixth novel, Submission, predicts a future France run by Muslims, in which women no longer wear Western clothes and polygamy is accepted.

On the cover, Mr Houellebecq is depicted as a wizard and smoking a cigarette, saying: “In 2022, I will do Ramadan.”

The last tweet on Charlie Hebdo’s Twitter profile page @Charlie_Hebdo_, sent about an hour before the shootings, included a satirical cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In it he wishes everyone “good health”.

It has not been confirmed if Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover image or tweet were the cause of the shooting.

Paris raises terror alert

French President Francois Hollande has condemned the attack as an “undoubtedly terrorist act.”

Paris has raised its terror alert level to the highest setting following the attack, with Mr Hollande calling an emergency cabinet meeting.

“France is today in shock, in front of a terrorist attack. This newspaper was threatened several rimes in the past and we need to show we are a united country,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives at the headquarters of the French satirica

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives at the headquarters of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

“We have to be firm, and we have to be stand strong with the international community in the coming days and weeks. We are at a very difficult moment following several terrorist attacks. “We are threatened because we are a country of freedom. We will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.”

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said prosecutors have been asked to take all precautions to protect publications, cultural institutions and public places.

He said that all measures were being taken “to neutralise these three criminals who have committed this barbaric act.”

Thousands rally in Paris for victims

Thousands of people joined rallies in Paris and other French cities on Wednesday evening to pay tribute to the victims of the massacre.

At least 10,000 people gathered in the eastern city of Lyon and another 5000 in Paris not far from the site of the attack that killed 12 people, according to police.

Crowds chanted “liberate d’expression” and held up pens, as a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique.

Peaceful rally ... thousands gather in front of the prefecture in Lille, northern France.

Peaceful rally … thousands gather in front of the prefecture in Lille, northern France. Picture: AFP/ Denis Charlet Source: AFP

People holds placards reading ‘I am Charlie’ in a gathering in Toulouse. Picture: AFP/Eri

People holds placards reading ‘I am Charlie’ in a gathering in Toulouse. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis Source: AFP

A woman demonstrates in Toulouse for press freedom. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis

A woman demonstrates in Toulouse for press freedom. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis Source: AFP

Liberty ... a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique as demon

Liberty … a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique as demonstrators for peace wave the French flag. Picture: AFP/Dominique Faget Source: AFP

World leaders respond

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott condemned Thursday the “barbaric act” in Paris

“Australia stands with the people and the government of France at this difficult time,” Abbott said in a statement.

“The thoughts of all Australians are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society,”

World leaders have condemned Wednesday’s shooting, calling it an attack on press freedom and barbaric.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the murders were “sickening”.

“We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the killings were a “barbaric attack on freedom of speech”.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their families and their colleagues,” he said.

The White House said it condemns the Paris attack in “strongest possible terms.”

“Everybody here at the White House are with the families of those who were killed or injured in this attack,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, speaking on MSNBC.

“Senior officials at the White House have been in close touch with their counterparts in France this morning.”

He said the US was willing to help the French with an investigation.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting was “also an attack on press and free speech”, while Russian president Vladimir Putin said he “resolutely condemns terrorism.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the deadly attack highlighted the need to close ranks against militants.

“This terrorist attack (is) condemned by Iraq, which has suffered greatly at the hands of terrorist groups,” Abadi said in a statement. “This confirms that terrorism threatens all the countries of the world, and not Iraq alone.”

Queen Elizabeth also sent a message to Mr Hollande.

“Prince Philip and I send our sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed and to those who have been injured in the attack in Paris this morning,” she said. “We send our thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected.”

Pope Francis strongly condemned the “horrible attack” against a French satirical weekly Wednesday that left 12 people dead, his spokesman said.

“The Holy Father expresses the strongest condemnation for the horrible attack that plunged the city of Paris into mourning,” Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the attack was a “direct assault on democracy, media and freedom of expression.”

Obama Comments on Paris Attack
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