Did 60 Minutes Get Played?

It goes without saying that the whole 60 Minutes saga has some serious knobs on it.

However, I don’t just mean the ’60 Minutes are a bunch of idiots with a serious corporate culture problem'(*) kind of knobs. I also mean the ‘this all got resolved very quickly and a little too easily with a lot of money changing hands’ knobs.

Doesn’t it seem strange that:

  • Even Forrest Gump could have hatched a less harebrained plan to get the children back
  • The mother never really seemed concerned about spending significant time in jail? (Tara Brown sure was!).
  • After the mother’s long crusade to get her children back, she was more than happy to relinquish all custody claims to her children so quickly?
  • When the mother actually had her children back in her hands, instead of going straight to the getaway boat (you know, like ANYBODY IN HER POSITION WOULD DO), she reportedly agreed to call the father from a pubic payphone so that 60 Minutes could film her sticking it to him?

Sally Faulkner had her children, the getaway boat was waiting at the docks, an extraordinary story was in the can but the crew from 60 Minutes was not satisfied. They had to have one last shot.

Ben “The Bear’’ Williamson, a popular cameraman at Nine, had spent the past few hours filming Faulkner’s reunion with her two children within the cramped confines­ of a second-floor apartment in Sabra, one of Beirut’s poorest suburbs. Before he packed up his camera gear, he wanted Faulkner to do one more thing: go out into the street and ring her estrang­ed husband, Ali Elamine.

Set against a chaotic, authentic Lebanese street scene, this would be Faulkner’s moment of triumph­, her “honey, I’ve got the kids’’ ­moment. Instead, this moment­ of Nine hubris led to the ruin of all.

  • The father was impressively calm and composed during this whole affair for a guy that ‘nearly’ lost his kids – and was all too happy to speak to the media, including interviews on The Project and with the always classy Kyle and Jackie O after the ‘settlement’ was reached? I wonder if he got paid for those interviews?
  • The father’s public comments were all very polished – as if he had hired a PR expert to tell him what to say? (ten bucks says he did).

Yeah, you’re right, it’s probably all just a big co-incidence.

That said, could the following explain things?

  • 60 Minutes, the mother and the ‘A-Team’ then came up with their ill-fated plan to filch the children back in broad daylight on a busy street in Beirut:

But Lebanese officials see the operation as a mix of arrogance and stupidity.

The area where the two children were grabbed in south Beirut is heavily patrolled and monitored by Hezbollah and Amal, two powerful Lebanese political and militia organisations.

  • Although in breach of usual protocol (and all principles of basic intelligence), the hired goons were happy to have 60 Minutes tag along – probably for the simple reason that 60 Minutes was paying the bill and that $115K child snatching jobs probably don’t grow on trees.

And the father’s family is politically connected.

His mother is a cousin of the speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, Nabih Berri.

He leads the Amal movement and has ready access to an enormous security apparatus, which includes control of ports and airports.

On top of that, Mr el-Amien told the ABC he knew, to a degree that they were coming because one of the children’s iPads still had access to Ms Faulkner’s email account and he saw messages detailing early discussion of the operation.

  • Rather than genuinely trying to stop the plan, what if the father sensed an opportunity, called the mother and said something like ‘I know what you’re about to do and you have no chance of getting the kids. But what if you go ahead with the plan anyway and land everyone in jail. From there, I’ll extract some cash out of 60 Minutes and give you a cut – on the condition that you bugger off for good’?

From there, the mother would have had two choices: stay in Australia and give up the kids with no money (and break the news to 60 Minutes that they’d done their dough), or give up the kids in exchange for a Lebanese adventure and some life changing money.

The possibility of the mother and father planning all of this from the beginning crossed my mind. However, this probably didn’t happen for one simple reason: even the most optimistic planner wouldn’t plan for 60 Minutes being stupid enough to fund and help out with a child snatching operation in Lebanon.

The internal and public investigation of 60 Minutes and its conduct is just getting started. It would also be worthwhile paying some attention to the mother.

(*) PS: they are the biggest bunch of idiots and do have a serious culture problem, but this is hardly a revelation.


7 thoughts on “Did 60 Minutes Get Played?”

  1. Just started to read your blog after being mentioned on Catallaxy Files. On this subject I am sure you have provided a “fiction” writer the basis of their next book. I love it.


    1. Hi Alex, thanks for reading. Sometimes it’s fun to go on the occasional flight of fantasy. Who knows – the truth could be even stranger than the fiction! Suffice to say, there’s a lot that doesn’t add up here.


  2. The “mission” failed because the “kidnappers” bungled it and got caught – 60 minutes’ involvement may even have contributed – this type of “operation” must not attract any “attention” until it is successfully completed.
    I just feel sorry for the mum and the children not being able to grow up in Australia with her.


  3. Hi Ross, thanks for reading. As you’ll see, I have not suggested that I ‘believe’ the mother and father were in on it together – just that they might have been (the question mark in the heading of the article is a dead giveaway).

    My main purpose was to bring some interesting facts to everyone’s attention, encourage thought and, possibly, alternative views – but I can see that you’ve declined the invitation. That said, it’s not too late. Feel free to let me and the thousands of readers here know what you think might have happened.


  4. Wow! All over the shop, Marcus. The most deranged thing l’ve read on the topic since 60 minutes took up kidnapping! Seriously, mate. Have a lie down.


  5. Thanks for your comment Sam. While we’ll probably never really know what happened, I think it’s safe to say that there’s a whole lot about this saga that doesn’t add up. News has also just come out that the mother didn’t take up DFAT’s invitation to jointly mediate through the Lebanese legal system:


    (Notice how news.com.au has filed this under ‘entertainment’!).


  6. Cant help but feel you’ve cracked it Marcus. Too much like so much else today. All about money power and whom you know.
    Do you remember when we all laughed like drains about the third world and their corruption?
    Now we, IMHO have surpassed them, albeit more trickily but still corruption. Filed under nepotism greed and I’m alright Jack.


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