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August 2004   

Interview: Trading Places
New ACTU International Officer Alison Tate cut her teeth delivering aid to developing nations through APHEDA. Now she is helping chart the global union agenda.

Safety: Snow Job
James Hardie has been drilled into our collective consciousness as a story of power, greed and immorality. It is also, as Jim Marr reports, a tale of human tragedy.

Politics: In the Vanguard
Damien Cahill reveals how neo-liberal think tanks have been at the forefront of the corporate assault upon trade unions and social movements in Australia.

Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Donít get between Sydney sparkie Semir Pepic and a gold medal in a dimly lit alley, writes Tim Brunero.

Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
Perfect Porker, Darren Vincent, brings a history of meat worker shafting to this monthís Bad Boss nomination.

International: Cruising For A Bruising
Europeís big unions are bruised as they watch companies roll over some of their best-organised unionised workplaces demanding longer work hours Ė without any recompense, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Under the Influence
Was John Kerr drunk when he wrote and signed the letter dismissing Edward Gough Whitlam from the Prime Ministership in 1975? Geraldine Willissee investigates.

Economics: Working Capital
Where superannuation fits, where it fails and what we should we do about it. Neale Towart gives the tough answers.

Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
There's many a must see moment in Mike Moore's new flick but beating the propaganda machine at its own game wreaks havoc with wearied bullshit detectors, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
When Flood washed away the PM's sins, the truth was once again left high and dry.

Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.


The Westie Wing
The Labor Governments in each State must take the lead to stop the abuse of corporate law in Australia in the absence of action from the Federal Government, as the Inquiry into James Hardieís has highlighted, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Cleaners Deserve Our Support
It's time the state's cleaners were given some support, loyalty and long service leave, writes Chris Christodoulou.

The Locker Room
Half Time At The Football
Phil Doyle wants to have his pie and eat it too.

Faithful Servant
Frank Mossfield was one of the labour movementís quiet achievers. Former Labor Council secretary Michael Easson pays tribute.

Lessons From East Timor
Just back from a study tour to East Timor, National Reserach Officer with the Construction division of the CFMEU, Ben Stirling, writes about the experience for Workers Online.


Tarnished Rings
As our athletes approach the starting line in Athens, it is interesting to reflect on how the world has changed since Sydney was the centre of a global group hug just four years ago.


 Stink Rises from Hamberger

 ALP Embraces Collectivism

 Bully Drives Deckhand into Drink

 Fighter in Cancer Link

 Tunnellers Dig in for Safety

 Seconds Out in Newcastle

 Vale Josh Heuchan

 "Betrayal" Sparks Election Rethink

 Councils Wedge James Hardie

 Great Southern Death Rattler

 Libs Desert "War Criminal"

 Casuals Take Over

 ALP Star Hits The Waterfront

 Activists Whatís On!

 An Officer And A Teacher
 Tom Goes Asexual
 Road Rage At Work
 Democracy In Action
 Asbestos Bastadry
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Osama Bin Manchu

During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.

Parked in a wheelchair, his legs covered by a blanket, he was well over the century mark. His craggy face retained vestiges of urbanity and I could see he once had been a fine figure of a man; his eyes were alert, his voice trembled softly with excitement.

He knew I was an historian. And History is what he wanted to talk about. Could I somehow get his message out to an audience? I thought he was a nutter, until he told me his name. Then I knew I was in the company of serious fame. The ancient was none other than Denis Nayland Smith, ex-Scotland Yard, former Colonel in British Military Intelligence and British Secret Service operative.

Serious students of history will know the name immediately; Smith, famed crime fighter and one of the twentieth century's most successful anti-terrorist operatives. Now ensconced in a Sydney nursing home, and a Republican, he has dropped usage of the "Sir" associated with his name in published accounts of his adventures.

Smith was upset and frustrated by ongoing reports of the Intelligence failures of the Coalition of the Willing, and by the failure of the laudable War Against Terror to actually cap terrorism or even dent it. Indeed, from Smith's wheelchair vantage point, terror seems only to have increased since President George W. Bush declared war against it.

So far as Smith is concerned, we've seen it all before. If only George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard and their Intelligence and Military advisers knew who they were up against, things might begin to look up. Osama Bin Laden is none other that Dr. Fu Manchu, the sinister oriental master of Terror Smith diligently and successfully pursued globally from 1913 through to the 1950s. People not acquainted with the campaign should consult the writings of eminent historian Sax Rohmer.

For those who came in late, Fu Manchu was the evil mastermind responsible for some of the boldest, earth shattering political crimes during the first half of the twentieth century. Operating out of secret mountain and cavern bases in the remote and mysterious East, he cruelly plotted the downfall of Western governments with the aim of controlling the world.

Included in his arsenal of dirty tricks were all manner of bomb plots, kidnapping, torture, assassination, and a vast array of traditional and chemical weaponry. He was even adept at psychological warfare. Money was no problem and he and his minions could bankroll any nefarious plot on any scale in any part of the world. Fu Manchu and his cultish, murderous followers in the Si-Fan organisation were equally at home in London and New York as they were in their cavern hideouts.

Fu Manchu pulled his horns in once and went soft; that was during the Cold War when he temporarily ceased his war against the West and decided to throw his lot in with his former enemies and help fight Communism. Shades of Osama and the war to liberate Afghanistan from the Russian yoke.

Initially I had doubts as I listened to the veteran anti-terrorist campaigner. If Smith is in a nursing home, obviously nearing the end of life, how come his enemy Manchu Bin Laden is still out and about creating havoc in the world. But as Smith reminded me, Fu Manchu was a scientific genius as well as the mastermind of evil, and had devised the Elixir Vitae enabling him to retain youth and strength. Plastic surgery has taken care of the rest.

I left the nursing home convinced. An editorial in the Daily Telegraph (23 July 2004) showed me I was not alone; its reference to "the laughter coming from the twisted mouth of Osama Bin Laden" as he watched the free world indulge in finger pointing and blame over its preparedness for the war on terror , was straight from Sax Rohmer.

As for me, in the wake of the Flood Report I have sent John Howard my paperback collection of Rohmer's definitive histories.


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