By May of 2015 the security situation in Australia had deteriorated to an alarming extent. The authorities were scared witless another terror attack was imminent. For more than 12 months they had been putting out spot fires across the country, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, along with other regional and state centres. The increasing radicalisation of the Muslim minority, fanned by the rise of the single most powerful religious movement in modern times, the Islamic State, posed a major threat to the safety of Australian citizens. And as any firefighter could tell you, there were only so many spot fires you could put out before the forest ignited. The dreadful security situation in Australia had been fanned by a lunatic decision by the government to once again join America, the Great Satan as the Islamic community regarded them, in invading Muslim lands aka Iraq. There was no reason to do so; no treaty obligation, no security situation which could justify the invasion of sovereign lands. The Muslim minority was incensed by the inhumane killing of mujaheddin by high-tech drones launched from Australian fighter jets. They were incensed by the Australian governments labeling of some of their members as un-Australian, when in many ways, their regular attendance at mosque, their faithfulness to their wives, the good care they took of their children, the fact they did not smoke, drink or take drugs and had strong ties with their communities, all marked them as far better citizens than many members of the decrepit society they saw around them. The mishandling of the situation by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who repeatedly ignored expert advice on how to deal with a religious minority with which he clearly had no affinity or understanding, had ramped the terror threat through the roof. The entire devolving security situation was set against a rapid collapse in Australian society, which had seen a once proud, optimistic, larrikin country become impoverished, dispirited, and broken, the streets of Sydney, its major city, more like walking through a Mad Max movie than a major city, the only difference being the black birds were replaced by squawking seagulls from the nearby beaches; just as eery, just as apocryphal in their mournful cries.
In the May budget the government handed another $450 million to the security apparatus; whether it was money that could prevent another terrorist attack remained seriously in doubt, the situation remained perilous.
Here is an extract from John Stapleton’s upcoming book, Terror in Australia: Workers Paradise Lost, scheduled for publication in August:
He walked back up to the Cross, taking pictures of derelict shops on his smart phone, and bought the Saturday editions of the newspapers.
He might as well just quote the story: “POLICE and ASIO have foiled a teenage terror plot to detonate three bombs in an attack believed to have been planned for for this Sunday in Melbourne.
“A 14-year-old was also targeted in a a separate raid in Sydney.
“In Melbourne, the bomb squad and heavily armed police were used in a raid on a doctor’s home, where his son was arrested.
“Three bombs were found at the upmarket home and a 300 metre exclusion zone put in place as they were detonated in a nearby reserve.”
There were only so many bush fires the Australian Federal Police and the security agencies could put out.
And with the agencies deeply compromised thanks to their diversity campaigns of old, and a bureaucracy that would brook no divergence from their tertiary acquired theories; if only time could stand still, that inhaled breath before calamity.
But it would not.
That there was no repentance was everywhere clear.
As an accompanying story in The Telegraph on the same day recorded, the father of a teen involved in the pre-Anzac day terrorist plots, Vehid Causevic, launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has he walked out of a court.
His son Harun, facing up to a year on remand before his terrorism-related This is message charges went to the Supreme Court, had just been refused bail.
Mr Causevic Snr claimed his son was innocent and had been the victim of a political conspiracy: “This is everything set up from government, from Prime Minister. This is political. This is message from Prime Minister to young Muslim go five times a day to mosque, be charged like terrorist. My son doesn’t understand Islam, but he doesn’t do nothing. If you find anyone in this country to say my son has done something bad I go in jail for all my life.”
The court had earlier heard evidence that after a minor collision in a car park, his son had allegedly told the other driver: “Australia is shit and ISIS is going to kill this country.”
If there was any further evidence required as to the origins of the problems the country now faced, all one had to do was turn the page of that day’s Daily Telegraph. There a story by journalist Daniel Meers recorded the most recent stoush between Australia’s two main political parties over immigration policy.
The left wing Labor Party, currently, perhaps temporarily out of power, had launched a draft of its immigration policy at the National Labor Party Conference; an annual festival of political intrigue and clashing personalities.
Of all its multiple failures, the Abbott government had successfully fulfilled its election promise to “Stop the Boats”.
More than 1,200 people had drowned at sea under the previous Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments; and a wave of problematic immigrants, many with zero identification papers, had been allowed to settle in the country.
No one had drowned under Abbott’s tough love policies.
Yet here the left was at it again, under the guise of humanitarianism, advocating going down exactly the same disastrous path which had escalated the country’s terrorist threat and increased its social welfare bills. The document read in part: “Labor rejects the practice of referring to asylum seekers as ‘illegals’ ’’.
As he walked back to the office he went to go down past the site of the old Purple Onion, one of the wildest clubs of the late 1960s. Instead, he spotted someone lurking on a corner, and took a different route. The ice epidemic had made the streets unsafe; the denizens of the street, once soporific on heroin or moronic on alcohol, were now dangerous and unpredictable.
He always walked; he couldn’t stay inside himself.
And so Alex passed derelict street scene after derelict street scene, “My girlfriend’s going to jail on Wednesday.”
Past men pissing on public streets, the smell of urine now growing in so many corners of an increasingly hapless, vagrant city.
He stopped at one of the few oases of the comfortable, a small bar with good food and friendly staff.
Many of the guests lived where he used to live, a couple of minutes walk away in Victoria Street where he had once had a gorgeous apartment overlooking Woolloomooloo, with the CBD silhouetted against a moody sky and the Harbour Bridge framed beyond.
He had lived next door to Philip Knightly, that famous journalist. They would meet on their respective doorsteps sometimes. Alex couldn’t have been a bigger fan.
Knightly, a true gentleman of the old school of journalism, was the author of that truly brilliant book, “The First Casualty”.
The first casualty in war is truth.
And so, so terribly, it was the case.
In this, as so many signs were indicating, the apocalyptic holy war so many had predicted, but never thought they would see.
The Sydney Morning Herald didn’t even bother to put the latest bout of arrests and thwarted terrorist attacks on their front page.
The Australian stripped it down the far right column on the front; with so much padding the reader could have been forgiven for falling asleep.
The tabloid Telegraph, well yes, they screamed it on their front page.
But on one took The Telegraph seriously, certainly not the cognoscenti.
And so it was: The First Casualty In War Is Truth.
No truer a phrase, no better a truism.
You didn’t have to be a genius, you barely had to be prescient, My God, you barely had to be sentient, to realise that a terrorist attack in Australia was imminent.
Alex didn’t know where, he didn’t know when, and if they did the security apparatus would have stopped it; but it was coming sure as night followed day.
And the country’s media hadn’t even noticed; didn’t think that another bout of teens, these the sons of wealthy middle class Muslims, was worth running on their front page?
If nothing else, the latest bout of arrests and terrorism charges demonstrated one thing: that it wasn’t just the poor, the marginalised, the disaffected, the Muslim minority was already radicalised; and for invading Muslim lands, for failing to understand the threat from within, for adopting immigration polices which had created a large and disaffected religious minority, the country would pay a very high price.
The AFP had called their pre-Anzac day counter terrorism operations The Rising. Perhaps appropriately.
A Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews, who couldn’t name the leader of Islamic State, the single most significant religious leader of the 21st Century; or single most significant terrorist depending on your view; although he was happy to drop high-tech bombs on true believers and ignore all the advice that doing so was increasing, not decreasing, the power of the Islamic State by wrenching up recruitment.
And the country had an Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, who, inadvertently or not, was glorifying jihad through the badging of its counter terrorism operations.
Masterful ineptitude. Or destiny. Preordained, the dissolution of nation states. The Rising.
Let the cards fall where they may.
Alex could always go back to acting elderly and confused.
The First Casualty In War Is Truth.
AFP Deputy Commissioner for National Security, Mike Phelan told a press conference in Melbourne announcing the latest arrests: “The environment is changing rapidly. It is deeply troubling to police that young people in our communities are becoming so disaffected and alienated that they would consider engaging in acts such as this.”
The signs of dereliction in the streets, of social collapse, were everywhere.
The day the street woman had swiped his drink and insisted she had bought it; forcing him to go and buy another and then watch her gloat at her great achievement; he had left a brand new jacket behind.
Someone had bought it for him as a present in Vietnam.
Old Reg had retrieved it and left it with the bar staff.
When Alex went to retrieve it four days later, after being out of town, it was gone.
The threatening bluster of the head of security, a skinny nasty piece of work, as in you’ll get barred if you pursue this, demonstrated plain as day that she was the one who had nicked it. She pretended they had already donated it to charity. In any normal civil society the staff would have kept the belongings of a customer; and returned them cheerfully next time he showed up.
It was a nice jacket, she would look good in it, well better than she did now; but why did these people think people were such fools they couldn’t see straight through them?
Alex passed men urinating on public streets; and the stench of urine on the city’s streets was growing worse by the day.
Every time he went into the office he passed the Sydney City Council’s fashionable little signs in front of their empty “creative spaces”, “making space for creativity”, he passed the lettering embossed onto the glass: “Building the future.”
The future was already here.
The Vietnamese girl behind the counter was virtually the only staff member who was friendly in the entire area; after she worked out he was sincere when he said how much he liked Vietnam, that it was a far nicer place, and had a far better society, than Sydney.
The Arabs in the 24-hour immigration scam convenience stores were more or less overtly hostile. They were at war with the infidel; they were good, honourable Muslims; and they were disgusted by what they saw around them.
The staff at the Stonewall, well, as he said, they were just thieves. But it wasn’t just the Stonewall staff. The thieving was everywhere, no surer sign of a society in collapse than when its individual members robbed each other without compunction.
“It’s terrible what’s happened to this city,” he said to the Vietnamese woman making his coffee.
“You not the only one say terrible,” she said. “Many people say same. The government, so many rule.”
She was referring to the Sydney City Council; its ceaseless regulation of all human and commercial activity.
Alex was sad, he explained, because he had been born here; had some identity with the country, even if it had in many ways been crueler to him than most.
And then he passed; again and again, the derelict scenes in the street; and wanted to be long gone from here. A group of Middle Eastern men drove past in a spanking new quarter of a million dollar Bentley. They barely noticed the societal collapse they were driving through; more than comfortable inside their own world.
The city Alex had once treated as his own backyard was lost.
“Maybe it get better in the future,” the Vietnamese woman said, handing him his change.
“I don’t think so,” he replied. “I doubt it very much.”
Passing once again the vacantly fashionable “Building the Future” signs, he knew for certain; this was Paradise Lost, and it was never coming back.
Whatever form the society would take in the future, and there would be considerable chaos and bloodshed before the final outcome, it was not the world he had grown up in, and it was not the world the social engineers had hoodwinked the people into believing it was.