Chapter 7 – Shirazi
As the plane ascended into the bright moonlit sky over Bindee Station, Nagi gazed down to notice a fully loaded TBA Mining train about five-kilometres out from the Clark River rail span. The 2.8-kilometre train had a total cargo of 24,200 tonnes of iron ore fines. The combined weight of the locomotives and loaded ore cars was 43,000 tonnes. The train consisted of two hundred and sixty-eight cars, hauled by two SD70ACe locomotives at the head and two remote-controlled SD70ACe locomotives as mid-train helpers. It was steaming towards the bridge at seventy-kilometres-per-hour and would take about four minutes to reach the pressure switch.
The plane flew a clockwise holding pattern at a two-kilometre radius from the rail bridges while Nagi kept his eye on the approaching train. At 4:17 am, the forward locomotive passed over the pressure switch, activating the relay to each of the four mercury-fulminate detonators attached to half-kilogram blocks of C-4, which themselves were attached to the polyethylene drums of diesel. With the C-4 as the primary explosives, the combination of extreme heat and shockwaves instantaneously ripped apart the polyethylene drums and bulker bags creating secondary explosions as their contents combined and instantly vaporised. The hot gases generated under pressure by the condensed high explosions reached temperatures of around four-thousand-degrees (Celsius). The subsequent blast waves crumbled pylons and shattered sections of rail spans sending pieces of metal and concrete flying into the air.
The 185-tonne lead locomotive was propelled five metres into the air, uncoupling itself from the rest of the train and crash-landed on the dry section of river bed below. The second locomotive rolled over the newly created gap in the bridge, crashing onto the first locomotive, skidding forward and then onto the floor of the river bed, taking out the next pylon. One after the other, each fully loaded rail car followed, crashed down and forward, zigzagging their way across the river bed, spilling out their contents.All of the locomotives and rail cars employ the Westinghouse Rotair Valve Emergency Breaking System which did activate; however, the train’s linear momentum was such that it took another two-and-a-half-minutes to come to a complete stop. By the time the train finally came to a halt, just eighty-three rail cars were left standing on the track. The remaining 185 cars along with the four locomotives were strewn across the river. The explosion and subsequent derailment took out four pylons, taking out one hundred metres of rail span, it also took out another two pylons and about fifty extra metres of span on the second TBA Mining rail line. The wreckage and spilled cargo created a dam wall, trapping the river behind it. On each of the other two rail bridges, the explosions disintegrated one support pylon and around fifty-metres of the bridge span.
“You’re sure that was a driverless train?” the pilot asked.
“You need not worry brother,” Nagi replied, “They’re all driverless now!”
He was lying, the train was driven by forty-four-year-old David Aggett, married with two teenage children. TBA Mininghad experimented with remote-controlled trains however, they were still analysing the data and hadn’t yet implemented a planned implementation of the program. No doubt this event would expedite their resolve to do so. Magnolia Metals had previously trialed remote-controlled rail shipments and were in the process of establishing an operations control room in Perth, but for the time being, all trains were operated with a driver at the helm.
“I did think that you were just going to blow up the bridge, nobody mentioned anything about the train!” the pilot stated.
“If we’re going to make a statement, this will have a much bigger impact” Nagi replied, “besides nobody was killed!”
“I’ll take you to Victoria as agreed, then I’m out!”
“If that is your wish” Nagi replied, “you have done your part and we are very grateful”.
The pilot turned the plane and headed east-south-east towards Tilmouth Well, a small roadside-stop along the Tanami Track around two-hundred-kilometers north-west of Alice Springs. It has a roadhouse, small motel, and an air-strip. The flight path over the uninhabited desert took them to just south of Marble Bar (to avoid flying over a populated area) then directly towards their destination. Flying at five-thousand-feet, estimated flying time was six hours to cover the 1,500-kilometre course. The pilot had calculated that the flight would consume ninety -percent of the plane’s fuel reserves. There was no contingency in the event of running out of fuel, apart plane’s ballistic parachute which would allow the entire plane to descend slowly down to earth if activated when the engine cuts out.
The pilot was twenty-six-year-old Kalim Shirazi, the same man who delivered the Isuzu truck to Geraldton. Both of his Iranian parents had graduated as doctors from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 1978. At the time, Iran was rule by the pro-Western monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (the Shah of Iran) who, after a series on civil unrests was forced to concede power to the opposition leader, Shapour Bakhtiar in late 1978 and the fled the country. Bakhtiar immediately disbanded the Iranian secret police (SAVAK), freed all political prisoners and invited the then exiled Ayatollah Khomeni asking him to establish a Vatican-like state in the Provence of Qom. Bakhtiar also promised free elections and called upon the opposition to help preserve the constitution, proposing a “national unity” government including Khomeini’s followers.
However, Khomeini rejected Bakhtiar’s proposal and instead formed his own interim government and by February 1979, after what was known as the Iranian Revolution, he became the Supreme Leader. Khomeini’s ideology of velayat-e faqih required that all Muslims – in fact, all Iranians (including non-Muslims) – be supervised by leading Islamic jurists through the introduction of Sharia Law. Although the regime declared that non-Muslims be treated well, it was required that Jewish and Christian schools be run by Muslim principals while senior government posts were reserved for Muslims. Converted Muslims were entitled to the entire share of their parent’s (or even uncle’s) estate if their siblings (or cousins) remained non-Muslim. The Regime embarked on a campaign to supress their opponents, which included the execution of hundreds of officials and military officers from the previous regime. With the country predominantly run by the Ulema, it floundered when managing the economy. The people’s standard of living fell dramatically which was worsened further by Western trade sanctions and the country’s involvement in the Iran-Iraq War. The period saw a mass exodus of the country’s most talented and educated professionals (along with their wealth), Shirazi’s parents were among them, emigrating to Australia in 1985.
Shirazi grew up in the affluent Perth suburb of Applecross, his father worked as a General Practitioner at a Kings Park Private Medical Clinicwhile his mother worked as an obstetrician at the King Edward Memorial Hospitalin Subiaco. The family were moderate Muslims in that they celebrated religious festivals and events, but rarely attended the call to Prayer or stepped inside a Mosque, a bit like Christians who don’t go to church but still celebrate Christmas and Easter and don’t eat red meat on Good Friday.
Shirazi attended Paisley College in West Leaderville, one of Perth’smost exclusive boys’ secondary schools. The school housed a purpose-built Aviation Centre which included two flight simulators. After finishing high school, he trained for his Commercial Pilot’s Licence at the BanjupFlight Centre (near Jandakot Airport, Perth). His first job was flying helicopters and a ‘Piper Warrior’ four-seat-single-propeller-plane between Darwin, Kununurra and Wyndham for a Perth based mining exploration company. The company also had with exploration licences at several sites in Sierra Leone and after eighteen months, Shirazi moved to Freetown Sierra Leone and began flying the company’s Bell 206LLongrangerhelicopter to and from their tenement near Kambia.
Shirazi was nearly two years into his African posting when on one particular day he flew two of company’s geologists to a mining tenement just out of Kambia near the border with Ghana. On arrival, he discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of three of their colleagues along with the three-man security detail assigned them. The team was apparently ambushed for the highly-prized firearms and ammunition carried by the security team, who appeared to have not had the chance to fire off a single shot.
The Company mothballed its Sierra Leone operation and Shirazi returned to Australia. After about six months, he left the company and joined the Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service where he co-piloted mainly King Air B-200s, while qualifying for his Air Transport Pilot’s License. In September 2014, he left the Royal Flying Doctor Service and started a new job as Flight-Officer-in-Training for Asteroid Air Cargo Services, a European company that had recently established a twice-weekly freight service flying their own Airbus A330-200P2Fconverted freighters from Melbourne to Antwerp via Singapore, Dubai and London. Shirazi moved to Melbourne and took up an apartment at Docklands.In the evening of Friday 27 March 2015, after dining out with friends in the city, he caught a tram in Collins Street and was making his way home. While on the tram, two girls, both in their late teens or early twenties and wearing the hijab, were being harassed by three men who can only be described as ‘thugs’. Despite there being several other people on the tram, no one wanted to get involved, however, Shirazi felt that he had to intervene.
“Hey fellas, can’t you see how uncomfortable you’re making them feel,” he said, “just let them be”.
The thugs then turned their attention to Shirazi, the ringleader retorted, “why don’t you mind your own fuckin’ business, what are ya, a fuckin’ raghead too?”
The ringleader grasped at Shirazi’s shirt with his left hand, clenched his right fist and got right up in Shirazi’s face, “you’re what’s wrong with this country,” the ringleader snarled, “you’re all fuckin’ terrorists”.
Suddenly, Shirazi punched the ringleader in the solar plexus, causing a momentary contraction of the diaphragm, knocking the wind out of him.
“I’m as Australian as you, I was born in Australia, I went to school in Australia, I pay Australian taxes, which pays for your dole, but if it makes you feel any better, my parents are from Iran!”, he declared as he turned to the other two and announced, “stay out of it, this is between just us!”
With the ringleader temporarily out of action, the other two were less inclined to become involved and backed away. Shirazi decided to get off the tram at the next stop, which was King Street and walk the rest of the way. He reached into his wallet and handed the two girls a fifty-dollar note.
“Here ladies, take a taxi home,” he said, “I am really sorry that you have to put up with this crap!”
He waited at the taxi rank until a cab came along to take the girls home. Meanwhile, at the next tram stop (corner of Collins and Spencer Streets), the three thugs disembarked from the tram, crossed the intersection and sat down on the steps in front of the Age Building. The ring leader was still catching his breath after the blow from Shirazi.After making sure that the girls had safely caught a cab, Shirazi commenced his approximate 1.5 kilometers walk towards his apartment block which was situated on the corner of Bourke Street and Cumberland Lane. The three thugs had observed him walking up Collins Street past the Southern Cross Station and decided to follow him from a distance. Shirazi continued along Collins Street into Docklands and turned right into Seafarer’s Lane, the three thugs darted down Merchant street and then turned up Bourke street so that they could get in front of him.
He was walking past the private post boxes situated on the west side of the Docklands Post Shop, near the corner of Seafarer’s Lane and Bourke Street when suddenly, three figures came around the corner from Bourke Street. Before he recognised them, they attacked, two holding him, while the ringleader started striking him around the head and face with an ’ASP” extendable baton. After sustaining several blows, his knees began to buckle from under him, the two men released their hold on him and let him collapse to the ground. While on the ground, the three men continued kicking him around the torso and head.
He spent eight days in the hospital with the concussion, a fractured right eye socket, fractured jaw, bruised kidneys and bruised ribs. His jaw was reconstructed with plates and screws, reducing him to feeding and drinking though a straw. While it took around six weeks for his broken bones to heal, it was another four weeks before he could eat solid foods normally while the strength in his jaw muscles regained some form of normality. However, he continued to suffer from headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, his doctor diagnosed post-concussion syndrome and his aviation medical certificate was suspended for another six months. The Doctor concluded that the underlying trauma associated with Shirazi discovering the bodies in Sierra Leone was a contributing factor in the diagnosis and recommended counselling as well as a referral to a Psychologist.
In the meantime, Elmofty had targeted Shirazi as a potential recruit after reading an article in the Melbourne Herald-Sun in early June 2015, covering the Melbourne Magistrates Court hearing involving the three thugs. The article provided an overview of the assault, how the defendants were identified from CCTV footage from the tram and the City of Melbourne’s Safe City Control Room and that the defendants had pleaded guilty to common assault. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions for what the Herald-Sun believed was a plea deal where the defendants were offered the lesser charge instead of causing injury intentionally, labeling the assault as a hate crime. The article named Shirazi’s as the victim, and mentioned he was the son of middle-eastern immigrants, had been unable to work as a pilot a since the crime and that it would be likely that the defendants would be released from prison before he could work again.
Over the ensuing weeks, Elmofty and his team set about gathering intelligence on Shirazi, tailing him, bugging his apartment and placing a tracking device on his car. They even placed a hidden camera in his doctor’s office, so they could observe the doctor logging onto his computer and recording the password. Using the same tactics as when the camera was installed, they waited for a time when the doctor was at lunch and merely walked into his office unnoticed despite the half a dozen or so patients in the surgery waiting room, accessed his computer, downloaded the information they needed, removed the camera and slipped back out. The doctor never suspected that his computer had been accessed.
With a comprehensive dossier on the life and times Kalim Shirazi, it was time for Abdul-Raya to work his magic. Abdul-Raya had already enticed more than two dozen young Muslims to joining the Daesh ranks, many were fighting on the frontline in Syria and Iraq, some were sleeper agents in Australia such as Canty and Cunningham waiting for their opportunity to serve, at least four had been killed in Syria and Iraq while two had been duped into becoming suicide bombers in Bagdad.
They were about forty minutes from Tilmouth Well when Nagi instructed Shirazi to turn north and then follow the Tanami track towards their destination.
“We’re running on fumes as it is” Shirazi declared, “we won’t make it!”
“Have faith brother”Nagi replied, “our loyal followers are waiting for us on the track and have plenty of fuel.”
“It’s a pretty rough road, are you sure we will find a smooth stretch to land?”
“Do you think that I have not planned for this, do not question my judgment again!”
They crossed the Tanami Track about thirty minutes out from Tilmouth Well, Shirazi steered the plane right to follow the track in a south-westerly direction and reset the automatic pilot. Nagi took out his satellite phone, tapped in a series of numbers and pressed send. He then unclipped his seat belt, climbed out of the right front seat and into the rear of the passenger compartment. He removed a 600-millimetre piece of nylon cord from his pocket, wrapped one end twice around his left hand and the other end twice around his right hand, fashioning it into a garrotte. From behind, he reached over and positioned the centre of the cord against the front of his Shirazi’s throat, instantly pulling the cord back crisscrossing and tightening it at the back of Shirazi’s neck. Before Shirazi even knew what was happening, the cord had tightened around his neck compressing against the carotid arteries, halting the blood supply to the brain while his larynx was also being crushed causing asphyxia. Shirazi reached up with both hands and tried prising his fingers between the cord and his neck to release pressure but Nagi had a tight grip on the cord. Shirazi was still strapped into his seat belt and thus couldn’t pull away from Nagi or turn to face him to put up a fight. The struggle lasted about twenty seconds or so until Shirazi drifted into unconsciousness.
Nagi kept up the pressure on the garrotte for a few more minutes until he was certain that Shirazi had passed away. He then leaned over Nagi and reached for the plane’s ignition switch which was located on the left of the instrument panel. He switched off the plane’s engine, waited a minute or so for the plane to slow down and start to fall. He then pulled the emergency parachute lever, launching the solid fuel rocket and releasing the parachute. The plane jerked back as the parachute opened and then drifted slowly to earth and gently touched down in the scrub about two hundred metres north of the Tanami Track.
Universally adopted rail braking system patented byGeorge Westinghouse on March 5, 1868 where air pressure is used to charge air reservoirs releasing the brakes, any loss of air pressure in these reservoirs causes the brakes to lock on.
The Cirrus SR22T G5 is a four seater light plane powered by a single Continental IO-550-NSix cylinder turbo-charged engine and has a gross weight of 1,633 kilograms, Its wing span is 11.68 metres, service ceiling is 17,500 feet (5,300 metres), cruising speed is 339 kilometres per hour and the maximum range is 1,943 kilometres (with reserves at 65% power). The main feature of the plane is its whole-plane emergency recovery parachute system, the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). Asolid-fuel rocketis used to pull the parachute out from its housing and fully deploy the canopy within seconds.
Guardianship of the Jurist
Council of Muslim Scholars trained in Islamic Law – responsible for interpreting Islam’s sciences, doctrines and laws – charged with ensuring the continuation of the spiritual and intellectual history of Islam.
On 22 November 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, motivated partly by fears that the Iranian Revolution would inspire insurgency by Iraq’s Shi’i majority but most likely Iraq’s desire to become the dominant Persian State. The armed conflict lasted until August 1998.
The ’ASP’ baton is a lightweight telescopic metal composition baton. It is a restricted weapon in Australia and limited to use by law enforcement agencies and specially licensed and trained private security officers.
Also known as a post-concussive syndrome, post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder varying in symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, mood swings, difficulty in concentrating and/or irregular sleep patterns and can last for months or sometimes even years after the initial injury. The Medical Profession doesn’t yet fully understand thecondition, many believe that pre-existing psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic-stress-disorder may surface as physical symptoms after a traumatic head injury. There have been some cases where post-concussion symptoms have surfaced after other injuries such as a leg fracture where the patient hadn’t suffered any head trauma at all.
The City of Melbourne ‘Safe City Program’, is owned and managed by the Melbourne City Council in partnership with Victoria Police. It consists of an extensive array of CCTV cameras which cover most of the Central Business District and Docklands. These cameras are monitored and controlled via a dedicated 24-hour Security Control Room. The program also includes roving security patrols dedicated emergency call points and supervised taxi ranks near the entertainments centres and night clubs.
Intentionally causing injury is an indictable offense under section 18 of State of Victoria Crimes Act 1956 and carries a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. Common assault is a summary offense and is heard by a magistrate.