Interview: Trading Places
Safety: Snow Job
Politics: In the Vanguard
Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
International: Cruising For A Bruising
History: Under the Influence
Economics: Working Capital
Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
The Locker Room
Tom Goes Asexual
Road Rage At Work
Democracy In Action
Osama Bin Manchu
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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