The world is at a crossroads. The battle for our attention and support is between two opposed camps: global action on climate change or global war on terror.
Or put more explicitly, it is a choice between:
a) Saving life on earth by changing the way we live and moving to renewable energy such as solar power; or
b) Increasing military action against terrorist gangs in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa costing more lives, more refugees and billions of dollars with no guarantee of success.
A majority of those who deny climate change are the loudest supporters of “the war on terror”. Under the cover of flag-waving patriotism, they are also Islamophobes, i.e. they hate Moslems.
They believe that the West’s armies, air forces and navies should be deployed to destroy ISIS in the same way that the Allies destroyed Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to end World War Two, ignoring the obvious fact that WWII has nothing whatsoever in common with fighting a terrorist gang floating across continents.
Those opposed to a military “final solution” are trying to focus attention on a far more frightening prospect – the steady CO2 poisoning of the earth’s atmosphere, the deadly warming of the planet and the threatened destruction of foreshores, rivers, forests, glaciers and farmlands through climate change.
Three recent international conferences – the G20 in Antalya, Turkey (Nov 15-16), APEC in Manila (Nov 18-19) and East Asian summit Kuala Lumpur (Nov 21-22) – were hijacked by the “war on terror” crowd, and their final communiqués resonated with war fever.
Next week world attention switches to Paris, which is locked down and under a State of Emergency, where the UN Climate Change Summit will be held from November 30 to December 11. ISIS has helped usurp the summit’s agenda by an horrific attack on Paris civilians and President François Hollande has added to the feverish atmosphere by declaring France is “at war”.
As delegates gather, strenuous efforts are being made by highly-paid US lobbyists to shelve any meaningful decision on climate change and put “war on terror” at the centre of future global policy.
The summit’s success will depend on an ironclad alliance between President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron, President Hollande, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, with a key supporting role from Scandinavian countries, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Pacific nations including Australia, and a united worldwide scientific community. Hold your breath.
ISIS is penetrated by intelligence services from most leading world powers. When the Iraqi-based terror group called for recruits three years ago, anyone who showed up with a willingness to die for the jihadist cause was allowed in.
They were paid handsomely in cash, given a place to live and launched into military training and mind-bending “education” programmes.
Equipped with mobile phones and laptops, they were encouraged to make other recruits from back home. They joined jihadist websites, posted approved messages and recruited more desperate and disillusioned youth. Promotion and bonuses flowed to those who signed up most recruits.
In this free-for-all atmosphere, the American, British, French, German, Italian, Russian, Israeli and Australian intelligence agencies sent in their own “recruits”. Their job was to immerse themselves in the jihadi culture, take up arms in Iraq and Syria and regularly send secret information to their controllers using safe IT connections.
With unlimited funds from Saudi and Qatari princes and from the black-market sale of stolen oil, ISIS expanded. They bought weapons from Iraqi soldiers and sometimes they stole them. They purchased guns and rockets from arms dealers to supplement the steady supply they were receiving from the Sunni emirs of the Gulf states.
These sub rosa arrangements came to a crumbling halt when Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB chief, came on the scene. His warplanes and Cruise missiles began to strike at the heart of the Jihadist groups in Syria, killing and wounding them, and destroying their arms dumps, food supplies, communications systems, accommodation and schools. Russian bombs rained down on ISIS camps as well as Arab, Turkish and Western-supported groups engaged in the anti-Bashar al-Assad struggle.
The capitals of the West – Washington, London and Tel Aviv – were furious and envoys were despatched to Moscow to try to persuade Putin not to be so aggressive and to target only known ISIS camps and not other jihadi groups. Putin was unmoved.
As a result of Russian bombing, the crazed IS jihadis are now demoralised and weakened. They have not only lost personnel, territory and credibility, they have become more desperate than ever to keep funds flowing from the Saudis and others.
So what do they do? They’ve decided to quit Syria, Iraq and Yemen and take their insane war abroad. They have struck in Paris, Egypt, Istanbul, Mali and Lebanon and it’s not over yet. However, Western intelligence is no longer able to track ISIS’s intentions because their “assets” in the organisation have either been killed or have fled.
As this murderous struggle drags on, UN sanctions should be imposed on ISIS-supporting Gulf emirs, major banks and internet companies that are supplying the terrorists with money, guns and communications.
Another step should be removing all Western military personnel from the Middle East and Central Asia and leave the Iraqis, Syrians and Yemenis to sort out there own future.
However, regional peace will not be restored until the Israeli regime is forced to guarantee a safe and secure homeland for the Palestinian people. It’s a lot to ask but it’s the only way forward.
A water story
On 23 September 1896, WA Premier John Forrest asked MPs to support his Bill authorising the construction of a water pipeline from Perth to the Coolgardie goldfields, a distance of 350 miles.
Listen to his words: “The scheme which I have had the pleasure and honour of placing before the members of this House, and before my fellow colonists, is a project worthy of an enterprising people. I believe if we carry out this great work, not only will the goldfields flourish, not only shall we be relieved from anxiety in regard to our water question, but we shall also be repaid one hundred-fold. Future generations, I am quite certain, will think of us and bless us for our far-seeing patriotism, and it will be said of us, as Isaiah said of old, ‘They made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert’.”
At the opening ceremony in January 1903, “Big John” Forrest said: “I pray god that this river of pure water may give health, comfort and prosperity to all those who come within its life-giving influence, and that it may prove a benefit and a blessing to the Coolgardie goldfields, and be far-reaching in its influence for the good to all Australia. I now declare this great work open for the use of the people.”
Premiers in the other States did not follow Forrest’s brilliant example, although the Commonwealth government initiated the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the Ord River Scheme after World War Two. According to one of my oldest friends and former London Sunday Times colleague Nelson Mews, a dyed-in-the-wool West Australian, Forrest committed much of the WA budget to the project in what was a masterstroke of nation-building.
The engineering genius behind the scheme was Irish-born C.Y. O’Connor who transformed the ports, railways and water infrastructure of the fledgling State. O’Connor and Forrest were hounded by political opponents, newspaper critics and nay-sayers. On 8 March 1902 O’Connor rode his horse into the sea at Fremantle, shot himself with his revolver and left a note saying that he could have finished the Coolgardie scheme if he had received some protection from the “misrepresentation” [more like outrageous defamation – AM] to which he had been subjected.
Will Forrest’s visionary example in the 19th century be replicated in the 21st century? I hear cynics sniggering: “Tell ‘im he’s dreamin’.”
The lady is a tramp
Lady Colin Campbell has arrived in the hills of northern NSW to take part in the top-rating English TV series, I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
The 66-year-old pseudo-celebrity is the terror of the Mrs Windsor, Australia’s head of state, and her dysfunctional family
Her ladyship’s 1992 book, Diana in Private: The Princess Nobody Knows, revealed in gripping detail Lady Di’s steamy love affair with Major James Hewitt which resulted in the birth of red-haired Prince Harry.
Born George William Ziadie in Jamaica, Lady Colin was brought up a boy but at 21 underwent cosmetic surgery to officially become a woman.
In 1974 she married Lord Colin Campbell after a five-day drunken orgy but he divorced her 14 months later. She mischievously kept his title and has used it ever since.
I met her in the 1970s when she was private secretary to the Libyan ambassador in St James’s Square, Mayfair, where she was charmingly efficient and gracious.
Since those heady days she has joined London’s celebrity circuit and become a gossip column favourite, both as a source and a victim.
On arrival in Brisbane she told reporters her next book would be on her pet hate, Earl Charles Spencer, Di’s brother, whom she dubbed a “swine”.
“Earl Spencer is an acquired taste that, I have to tell you, I have never acquired,” she said. “I don’t think he should be nervous. The only thing I have to say about him is the truth.”
How would she cope with the leeches, rats, ants, toads, spiders, snakes and bats in the rain forest TV location west of Murwillumbah?
“I have so many human rats in my life, I don’t think I’m scared of the animal variety,” she replied.