-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Offensive Muslim officer in the Australian navy being cosseted
Note the Muslim headgear. A believing Muslim cannot fully integrate into mainstream Australian culture and it's just a pretence to present her as having done so. Both she and Christian Maj. Gaynor disapprove of homosexuals. Maj. Gaynor was fired from the army. He must be watching this with great interest
The military establishment launched into a flurry of alarmed and secretive activity over incendiary social media posts by its most senior Muslim officer late last year, with Chief of Navy Tim Barrett ordering a subordinate to investigate and “keep close hold”.
Emails between senior officers, released under Freedom of Information laws, reveal they considered whether Captain Mona Shindy should be sacked, with a legal assessment comparing her case to another in which a reserve officer had been expelled from the service for speaking out.
The crisis reached the top, with the Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, asking “did she actually say what is alleged?” and “did she really re-tweet this?”.
The moves followed a wave of controversy, detailed in The Australian, over articles, tweets and re-tweets by Captain Shindy, who is Vice-Admiral Barrett’s strategic adviser on Islamic affairs.
The tweets included remarks mirroring claims of Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed after the Paris terror attacks in November, in which he said factors such as Western foreign policy in the Middle East, the media and lack of opportunity were fuelling Islamic extremism. Captain Shindy mocked Tony Abbott after the leadership coup in September by pointing to pro-Muslim statements by Malcolm Turnbull, and tweeting: “Looking forward to a #PM that unites #auspol & #OZ”.
The emails, released on the Defence website following an FOI request, show Air Chief Marshal Binskin took an intense interest in the issue, often seeking updates, with one email asking: “Any feedback?”
In another email in relation to a letter of complaint about Captain Shindy, Air Chief Marshal Binskin wrote “any answer is going to have to be well crafted”.
The emails show that apart from having her official Defence Twitter account closed down, and being “counselled”, Captain Shindy has been cosseted by Defence spin doctors in her role as Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, so that on the speaking circuit her message can be, in Vice-Admiral Barrett’s words, “cleared and controlled”.
The emails also include ones from Captain Shindy to her superiors in which she attempted to explain her actions, complained about a “bombardment” of adverse emails and social media attacks on her, which she described as “ill informed, misguided and offensive ranting”, and asked for a personal assistant.
In an email with the subject line “External Email Bombardment and Request for Support” to Vice-Admiral Barrett and his chief of staff, dated December 4, Captain Shindy wrote: “I would very much appreciate a dedicated media, communications savvy personal assistant who can help me selectively accept high-impact engagements, assist with speech writing and effective messaging, help manage my diary to balance work commitments and my personal wellbeing, and protect my personal and professional interests when it comes to managing me as a ‘commodity’ and addressing the inevitable vitriol.”
Captain Shindy also once wrote in a published article that Western governments had a “double standard” of not bringing Israel to justice over its occupation of Palestinian territories while being quick to go to war in Iraq, and retweeted Mufti Musa Ismail Menk, the top Islamic cleric of Zimbabwe, who had taunted gays as being lower than animals, describing him as “always a source of wisdom”.
The documents show Captain Shindy sent an email to Vice Admiral Barrett, saying she had “no idea” about the “totality” of the Mufti’s Twitter feed, and that now that she knew of his comments about homosexuality being “filthy” she did not agree with them.
But she said a line she quoted from Mufti Menk following the Paris attacks, which said in part “the noise around us often makes it hard to know what’s going on ... So speak less & listen more”, was “to my mind ... a pretty harmless piece of commonsense”.
Captain Shindy is a respected 26-year veteran of the navy and until recently the head of its Guided Missile Frigate Program.
The documents include what appears to be a legal assessment comparing Captain Shindy’s case with that of a reservist officer whose name was redacted, but who is thought to be Major Bernard Gaynor Jnr, who was sacked for what Defence said were unacceptable remarks relating to gay and transgender people.
Major Gaynor won a wrongful dismissal case, which Defence is appealing. The assessment says that in both cases, “Defence determined that public comments were being made and social media used that was not in accord with Defence Policy” and the officers were ordered to stop making them.
But it says a key difference is that while the unnamed officer “did not desist from making further comments”, Captain Shindy “has ceased making inappropriate public comments”. The assessment concluded that no further action against her was required.
In another email Vice Admiral Barrett wrote of the “need (for) a review of our own social media products”. A Defence spokesman said yesterday a communications manual that would include policy on social media use was under development.
By JR on Sunday, April 10, 2016
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