More must-read articles brings you thought-provoking, and many very worrying, articles on finance, economics, geopolitics, the environment, government and much more.

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Understanding ‘terrorism’

Understanding terrorism  By Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 6 June 2017

“While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society.

“That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations. But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.”

— Theresa May, British Prime Minister

It is impossible to miss the sense of frustration and exasperation in Theresa May’s voice as she responds to the latest terror attack in London. She didn’t put it this way but the question which haunts her is: why are so many young Muslim men in Britain willing to take up the path of violent jihadism?

Of course, the absolute number is small. Three attacks in recent months and a dozen foiled attacks. But Britain’s intelligence agency MI5 says 500 people — and they would overwhelmingly be young men — are of the highest priority on its watch list, and that at least 3000 people actively support jihadism. Perhaps 1000 young British Muslim men took the extreme step of travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State’s ideals.

The British government’s counter-radicalisation program, Prevent, has been notably unsuccessful. Several mainstream Muslim organisations won’t have anything to do with it. Some local councils in high Muslim population areas won’t co-operate with it, nor will some Muslim schools.

But in this Britain is simply repeating the experience of every other Western nation. There is not a single Western nation whose experience of counter-radicalisation could be described as successful. The most that any of them could claim is that the odd person has been saved from going down a ­jihadist path.

May’s predecessor, David Cameron, spoke frequently and insistently on the need to counter “nonviolent extremism”.

In several eloquent speeches, Cameron argued that nonviolent extremism shares most of the ­jihadist ideology but stops short of advocating terrorism. That ideology consists in part of the idea that there is a giant Western conspir­acy against Islam, conducted through foreign policy, internat­ional finance, Western military action in the Middle East and the policies towards Muslim min­orities in Western nations.

Cameron’s point was that this ideology is based on falsehoods, but if a young man fully embraces this ideology it is much easier for him to take the final leap into believing that military action, or even terrorism, is justified in retaliation against the West.

However, it may be the problem is even broader than Cameron suggested. For the political discourse and broad culture in many Muslim societies — even notionally democratic societies such as Indonesia or Turkey, and among Western Muslims as well — includes what can only be described as myths and paranoid fantasies as a staple.

This is borne out in a series of polling data from Britain and indeed from many Western nations.

The good news is that most polls show that British Muslims overwhelmingly — often by figures near 90 per cent — believe Britain is a good place to be a Muslim. But this makes other polling results even more perplexing.

In a poll conducted last year by ICM Research for Channel Four, about 4 per cent of British Muslims, which would be more than 100,000 people, said they sympathised with suicide bombers. That result has to be treated with caution. Such a small number may or may not mean something. More significantly, only a third of respondents said they would help the authorities if a friend or relative was involved with extremists.

In a separate poll conducted for the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, more than half of British Muslims polled said they did not know who was behind the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. More than 30 per cent believed the US government itself was responsible. About 7 per cent thought the attacks were a Jewish plot, which was fully 2 per cent more than those who thought the 9/11 attacks were the work of al-Qa’ida.

That result is startling. Al-Qa’ida itself boasts of having carried out the 9/11 attacks. Its provenance and the chain of events leading up to the attacks have been exhaustively investigated in numerous countries. Most leaders of most Muslim nations routinely acknowledge al-Qa’ida was the terrorist group responsible for the attacks. Yet only one in 20 British Muslims believes this.

That same poll showed that fully a quarter of British Muslims believe there is no such thing as extremist thought within the British Muslim community.

The paranoid style and the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories have been a feature of Muslim political culture for many years. More than a decade ago, on a visit to a university campus in Istanbul, I was astonished to find a big public display in the main student sheltered eating area devoted to the phenomenon of the Israeli army strapping Palestinian children to the front of their tanks and using them as human shields as they advance into Palestinian areas.

Whatever you may think of the Israelis, that accusation is simply preposterous, it exists in a state of complete unreality.

This year, in a series of trips to the Middle East, I have spent some time in both Jordan and Morocco, two admirably moderate and Western-aligned Arab nations that in their own ways are doughty fighters against terrorism. But two conversations — one in each country — shed some light on the nature and source of the paranoid style in Muslim political culture.

In Jordan I met a number of cabinet ministers who were impressive figures, in their region and their nation’s strategic circumstances, dedicated political moderates and firm in their solidarity with nations like the US and Australia in the fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

But there was one conversation I found completely befuddling.

I went one day to the grand Jordanian parliament building to meet Abdullah Obeidat, a leading member of parliament and chairman of one of the parliament’s policy committees.

Displaying full Arab courtesy, he met me on the steps of parliament. He and I and a retinue of officials strolled into the official meeting room where we sat in grand sofas and were served sweets and tea. And his extravagant speech of welcome made me blush in unaccustomed modesty.

The first part of the interview was conventional enough — Jordan was suffering from a regional crisis of refugees and needed the world’s help. Absolutely true and an entirely reasonable request for any Jordanian to make. But when I got on to the conflict in Syria and the campaign against Islamic State, which Obeidat referred to by the Arab term Daesh, the conversation became more than a little testy. “Let me tell you something,” he said. “It’s something I know you’ve never heard before. The people in Syria are now subject to the worst episode in history. The total terrorism is sponsored by the West and carried out by Russia on the pretext of protecting the Syrian people.”

I wasn’t sure I had heard him right, so I asked: Did you say terrorism in Syria is sponsored by the West?

“Yes, truly I stated that. Terrorism is manufactured by the West. All its intelligence agencies are operating there, sharing information with each other, and the victim is the Syrian people. All these international forces, including those involved in the bombardment of Daesh, they are pre-planned to deplete the resources of the Arab peoples and lands and to injure Islam in its image.”

Obeidat’s hostility to the West is combined with a characteristic wild overstatement of American, and in other contexts Israeli, power.

“This is a major point in my own point of view, is it really possible that the various armies of the Western allies could defeat Saddam Hussein in a few days but cannot defeat Daesh in Mosul or elsewhere? Is it possible to believe that all these nations are pounding Daesh and cannot win?”

As with many conspiracy theories, Obeidat’s combine the strangest of bedfellows, in this case Iran and the US.

“I believe that the West stands behind Daesh. Iran is a stick being used by the West. The nuclear treaty with Iran does not serve the Arab people. Daesh is an illusion. All these terrorist groups are being sponsored by the West.

“Daesh is a Western game and the purpose is to defame Islam.

“Our religion of Islam is a religion of tolerance and love and friendship. In the Islamic books we read and study there are no extremist ideas. I raise my son to say if you have bread in your mouth and your brother is hungry, give the bread to him.”

Obediat then tells me an anecdote concerning his son, who lives in America, finding a homeless white American whom he takes to his own apartment to feed him.

One of the small notable features of a few days in Jordan is that almost everyone I met who spoke English had a son or daughter living in the US or Europe, even if, like Obeidat, they thought the West was involved in a vast conspiracy against Arabs and Islam. The only time in our conversation when Obeidat’s flow faltered was when I pointed out that Jordan itself undertakes aerial strikes against Islamic State targets in coalition with the US in Syria. Obeidat did not care to criticise the Jordanian government.

I have often read of views like Obeidat’s but it was in its way enlightening to have them expressed so forcefully and at such length.

A few weeks later, in Morocco, in one of the most fascinating conversations I have had, I got a completely contradictory explanation of the modern Arab mindset.

In a venerable office overlooking the ancient Medina of Rabat, I had a long discussion with Ahmed Abbadi, secretary-general of the Rabita Mohammedia al-Ulema, or Council of Religious Scholars.

Most of our discussion dealt with why Morocco, at official and popular level, has been able to generate such a strong mainstream Islam resistant to extremism.

Of course, Moroccans living in Europe have been radicalised and overall perhaps 3000 young Moroccans went to Syria or Iraq fight with one or other of the jihadist groups. But Abbadi sketches for me the outlines of a grand Moroccan history, through which his country was mostly an independent kingdom, never colonised by the Ottoman Turks and only briefly subject to European colonialism. It grew its own independent and self-confident traditions of Islam, its moderation buttressed by the prestige of the monarchy and by the tradition of independent, moderate scholarship in the nation.

His combination of complete mastery of his own society’s history, of Islam generally and, crucially, of all the trends in the West is highly impressive and more unusual in the Middle East than I would have imagined.

Finally I bring him round to the question of why so many young Muslim men are attracted to violent jihadism.

“There is nothing more dangerous than a youngster who is bored and angry,” he says. “Then someone gives them some fun and links it to grand principles.”

He outlines an impressive list of youth outreach activities that his organisation sponsors, but I persist in seeking from him some explanation of the paranoid style — my words, not his — in Muslim political culture.

“You cannot miss that there is now a kind of stigmata in Muslim societies that bases itself on repetitive grievances.”

These grievances are not all fake, nor are they all genuine. He lists 10 — 1. The sense always of an anti-Muslim conspiracy. 2. The legacy of colonialism, and that the West has not paid the Muslim world reparations for this period. 3. Israel and the grievances of the Palestinians. 4. The double standards which Muslims believe see them more criticised than members of other religions. 5. The humiliation of Muslims in the Western media. 6. The actions of Western militaries in Iraq and Afghanistan and now Syria.

These six are all highly contestable but have some basis in reality. The next four are much more far fetched. 7. The alleged robbery of Muslim wealth by the West. 8. The infiltration of Western values into Muslim societies and Muslims in the West through Hollywood. 9. The falsification of history, to the detriment of the historic achievements of Muslims by the West.

And then 10, the constant reporting, almost all of it wrong, that a copy of the Koran has been burned by some enemy of Islam somewhere.

The constant repetition of these claims ultimately warps Muslim political culture.

Abbadi says: “The Koran has more than 6000 verses. Only 250, or 4 per cent, touch on laws.

“So 96 per cent of the Koran, where all the beauty and ethics are, is neglected.”

I don’t mean to present Abdullah Obeidat as a bad person. Our discussion, though emphatic, was limited and conducted through an interpreter.

But there is a kind of dialogue in the Islamic world today between the grievances and the dark fantasies of the Abdullah Obeidats, and the poetry and vision and common sense of the Ahmed Abbadis.

And on that dialogue hangs a world of pain or redemption. In the past this has been essentially a dialogue for Muslims. Now it is too important for that. Every Western society has a central interest in who wins that contest of ideas.


Understanding blockchain: beyond the banks

Understanding blockchain, beyond the banks  By Gerald Celente, for Daily Reckoning, Australia, 3 June 2017

If you want to talk about a big trend that began taking shape, look no further than the state of cash — the pace at which currency across the globe was challenged or devalued accelerated in the past year.

The stage is now set for even greater momentum: In 2018 and 2019, there’ll be a global sprint toward digital currency.

Sweden — where barely 2% of all payments are in cash — is leading the way.

Government-orchestrated demonetisation efforts in India, Britain, France, Austria, Belgium and other countries are also fuelling the cashless movement.

Ranging from eliminating some currency, to negative interest rates on cash deposits, to assigning fees to cash payments and more, the war on cash grows in reach and intensity.

And so does the growing investment in the technology needed to support a digital currency world.

Debit cards were our first big step toward a cashless economy…

…Blockchain technology now lies at the heart of the second step.

Groups ranging from Wells Fargo to the London Stock Exchange are getting ready for a blockchain-based future.

You should, too.

Perhaps as early as next year, your bank or investment manager could be managing your money with blockchains.

This technology also has a rich future in the online shopping world. It can be used to not only store currency in a digital wallet that is accessed over time but to track purchases and shopping preferences.

The roots of blockchaining

Blockchains were devised as the accounting system for the Bitcoin online currency, also often called a ‘cryptocurrency’ because it doesn’t physically exist.

But once their special qualities became clear, blockchains were quickly adopted for all kinds of uses.

Medical labs use them to track specimens’ movements. Lawyers use them to record signatures to contracts. People, individually or in groups, can use them to buy and sell among themselves, using their own forms of value.

So what’s a blockchain? How can it replace cash?

Put simply, a blockchain is a series of pieces or ‘blocks’ of digital data, chained together by computer code.

A block may be a transaction, such as a check you write. Or it could be an integrated group of transactions, like your monthly banking statement listing all debits and credits.

A chain is a series of blocks linked sequentially through digital code. Usually, a chain orders its blocks chronologically, though there are other ways to group or sequence the blocks.

A blockchain can be permission-less, meaning open to anyone, such as bitcoins are. It also can be ‘permissioned.’

Those are usable only by people authorised by others already in the chain.

This doesn’t seem all that unusual. But two additional features make blockchains special.

  1. A blockchain is secure. Often, users get a passcode. Some chains use two codes: one to enter the chain, the other to identify an individual user. Once a transaction is entered into the chain, it can’t be altered or deleted. This makes a blockchain a reliable, hard-to-dispute record of who did what.
  2. A blockchain is distributed among its users. When a transaction is added to the chain, a new copy of the chain is sent to all participating in it. This ensures no one can attempt to fiddle with data in a chain’s blocks without everyone in the chain knowing.

Another security measure, and one with appeal to online retailers: When a block is added to the chain, every copy of the blockchain in the user network automatically runs a digital security protocol.

That makes sure the entry is legitimate — that it’s being entered by someone authorised, or that the entry doesn’t violate the chain’s rules of operations, for example.

If a majority of copies of the blockchain return a positive verdict, the block is entered into the chain. If a significant number of copies send up a flag, the block is rejected.

Here’s what makes blockchain technology truly revolutionary: Blockchains don’t require a central administrator.

No bank needs to clear your checks or provide your balance.

No notary public needs to vouch for your signature on a contract.

No treasury is needed to issue “legitimate” currency.

Blockchains define their own purpose, their own measures of value, and keep their own accounting.

Banks scramble to stay relevant

If our concept of money is about to change fundamentally, no one is more interested than banks.

Deutsche Bank has called blockchains a ‘wake-up call’ to the financial industry.

Using digital currencies in global trade requires no credit cards, no lines of credit, not even a checking account. The bank noted that a person could become a Bitcoin billionaire without ever having dealt with a bank.

In fact, almost everything a bank does — keeping deposit accounts, making loans and taking payments — could be done via blockchains.

So banks are scrambling to figure out how to bring blockchain technology in-house and remain relevant in a financial system lurching through major changes.

The scramble is taking them places.

IBM surveyed 200 major banks in 2016. It found 15% will begin using blockchains in 2017. That’s happening. Two-thirds will use blockchains routinely in commercial products before 2022 — ‘dramatically faster than expected,’ the survey said.

One blockchain developer said more than 100 banks have contacted it to learn how blockchains might work for them.

IBM also surveyed 200 nonbank financial businesses around the world. It found that 14% expect to launch commercial blockchain products in this year.

No bank has placed a bigger bet on this than Bank of America.

Last year it was granted 15 patents on blockchain applications.

It also reportedly filed for at least 20 more, including a ‘suspicious user alert system’ and a ‘cryptocurrency risk detection system.’

In partnership with Microsoft, Bank of America also is testing a blockchain-based letter of credit.

Here’s how it works…

A bank gives a letter of credit to a third party that the bank’s customer is transacting with. If the bank’s customer isn’t able to pay the third party, the letter guarantees the bank will.

Microsoft and the bank documented the number of steps and time it takes to create a letter of credit. That may include handwritten notes, phone calls, faxes and sending papers around for signatures.

They discovered the process comprises 15 steps, takes an average of five days, including time to play phone or email tag and correct mistakes. And they found it can cost $2,500–15,000 in banks’ time and other resources to create.

Distilling those steps into a blockchain, the partners ran real-world trials. Those tests reduced the number of steps to four and the transaction time to 10 minutes.

JPMorgan has created a team to investigate blockchains’ potential, investing more than $2 billion. UBS says its London-based Crypto 2.0 team has sifted through at least 20 possible blockchain applications.

It is refining the most promising into commercial products. Barclays has speculated about digital currencies’ ability to reduce the amount of capital regulators require banks to keep on hand. Germany’s Bundesbank is testing a prototype of a blockchain-based stock-trading system.

The future of finance

The Swiss have taken the idea of digital banking even further…

The country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority is laying the legal and regulatory groundwork for the creation of ‘cryptobanks.’

The measures reduce the capital requirements for these new banks. They also acknowledge that banks need wiggle room to adapt regulatory compliance to their varying business models.

(The Swiss canton of Zug has become known as Crypto Valley for its concentration of blockchain-related businesses. The government there has voted to begin accepting Bitcoin as payment for certain government services.)

At a conference in September 2015, the chairman of Switzerland’s central bank even mused about the possibility of central banks issuing electronic currencies.

But he doesn’t have to muse any more…

On 9 November 2016, the National Bank of Ukraine revealed its plan to issue electronic money in a blockchain structure no later than 2017’s fourth quarter. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is mulling a similar step.

But the private CoinsBank goes further. You can make deposits and withdrawals in the world’s major currencies at this entirely online financial house. You can conduct most banking functions in Bitcoin or by other digital means.

Some financial insiders are skeptical of CoinsBank’s ability to deliver — or even remain solvent. But many see this as proof of the financial industry’s future.

However, that future may be further away than enthusiasts predict. Banks are under pressure from regulators, low interest rates and technological disruptions. That makes them eager to adopt methods that cut costs.

But blockchains’ transparency and lack of centralised control challenges banks’ traditional culture of privacy and control.

Banks sharing a blockchain could peek at each other’s loans and other transactions.

A simple math mistake — an extra zero on the amount of a deposit or withdrawal, for example — could be fiendishly difficult to correct.

Also, most regulatory agencies haven’t seriously begun to match blockchains’ effects to the drastic changes needed in regulatory structures if the new technology is to work efficiently.

Hong Kong’s central bank also has voiced concerns about blockchains’ susceptibility to money-laundering schemes.

The road ahead is bumpy. But banks have no choice; they must travel it. Blockchains, analysts agree, are the future of finance.

Blockchains reach beyond banks

But blockchains are good for much more than logging payments. They can be used to validate the security of anything with value.

Gem, another blockchain entrant, has partnered with Capital One and health care giant Philips to smooth and speed payments for medical insurance claims.

With providers, insurance carriers and banks using different processing platforms, payouts can take weeks. Gem’s blockchain-based system creates a common platform among all involved. The shared system also assures each entity that the claim is valid and that previous steps in the process have been completed.

In another application, the US company Learning Machine has partnered with MIT’s Media Lab to create a blockchain that stores and verifies academic degrees and professional certifications.

The graduate can store diplomas and certificates electronically on a smartphone. Because the credentials have been stored on a widely distributed blockchain, any potential employer or client will know they’re genuine.

Credly and Digimaat offer similar services.

Last year, the US Department of Homeland Security gave a $199,000 grant to Factom, a company in Austin, Texas, to figure out ways to use blockchain designs to maintain the integrity of the internet of things.

With every device connected to every other one through the internet, the potential for hackers and malware skyrockets.

Blockchains may be a new tool for cybersecurity.

Factom also has partnered with the Honduran government to create a blockchain to record and safeguard land titles in a part of the world where ownership records have a long history of being messy or falsified. The Republic of Georgia is working with the company Bitfury on a similar project.

Now with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Factom is setting out to apply blockchains to secure electronic medical records.

It’s not only about keeping snooping insurance companies from prying into your health history.

There’s also the problem that medical records in developing countries or remote regions aren’t always accessible and sometimes not updated quickly. Blockchains resolve those problems.

By keeping medical records in a blockchain, each vaccination or procedure can be entered on the spot through a tablet or smartphone. Medics traveling in rural areas can access the records via the same kinds of portable devices and be assured of records’ integrity.

Using the blockchain’s options, people could decide who may see their medical records. People could even have ready access to their own records, instead of wrangling with a doctor before getting a look.

Blockchains also can be buried in supply chains. A Swiss startup called snagged a $25,000 prize in a Kickstart competition by combining its blockchain design with temperature sensors to verify that pharmaceuticals needing to stay cool have remained within their needed temperature range during transport.

Given the US turmoil surrounding the election of Donald Trump last November, blockchains also are drawing attention as a way to validate vote counts.

Fake news and claims of voter fraud, even unsupported, destroy the trust at the heart of democracy. Blockchains’ power to validate transactions may be an antidote.

The Follow My Vote project advocates a vote-by-blockchain approach and is marketing software that makes it possible.

Each vote would be a ‘transaction’ recorded as a block in the chain. Each voter would be given a unique access code that would let that voter follow the progress of his or her vote through the ballot box to the final vote tally. Votes would still remain secret unless a voter shared that unique access code.

Despite blockchains’ usual security features, hackers and malware may still be able to crack vote ‘blocks’ cast on conventional computers.

To keep those votes safe, Follow My Vote provides a special computer operating system for voting. The company will teach voters how to use it.

Blockchains’ future

Banks won’t be the only users finding bumps along the blockchain trail.

First, blockchains’ possibilities are blossoming so quickly that the field already is desperately short of skilled coders and developers.

In addition, advocates point out that in these heady early days, enthusiasm for blockchains outstrips their usefulness. Not every project will benefit from blockchains; many will fail or be abandoned.

Another complication: Blockchain technology is ‘open source.’

That means anyone can create their own version of it. As a result, several designs are in use and often are incompatible with each other.

To set a standard, more than 30 major companies — including Hitachi, JP Morgan and Intel — have formed Hyperledger.

That project aims to settle on a general-purpose blockchain structure that can be used by any enterprise in any industry. IBM already has chipped in tens of thousands of lines of software code to the venture.

These companies, like so many others, invest in the effort because they foresee the benefits.

Blockchains will transform the way we exchange value in our digital, cyber-insecure future.

Gerald Celente
for The Daily Reckoning Australia


Time to confront local Islamists: this is war

Time to confront local Islamists, this is war  By Jennifer Oriel, The Australian, 29 May 2017

 When the number of potential enemy combatants inside Britain is only 7000 men short of its army reserve, we must face the reality that the enemy is inside the gate.

Britain has been invaded. Whitehall has revealed that there are 23,000 suspected terrorists inside the UK. What it didn’t say is that the British army reserve has just 29,940 active personnel. The ­implications are clear, but no politician will admit them. When the number of enemies inside a nation nears the number of its active army reserve, the nation cannot hold. Britain and the Commonwealth states should be on a war footing. That means closing borders, strengthening treason laws and bolstering defence.

Islamists are engaged in total war against the West. The latest figures on jihadis in Britain prove their success in penetrating the heart of Western democracy without our knowledge. Intelligence agencies in Britain, the US and Australia appear to be concealing the immensity of the jihadist threat within. We must question why British intelligence did not ­reveal the staggering number of potential jihadis in the country ­before now. We can ill afford intelligence services that tell us half-truths and lies by omission that protect an enemy within committed to our destruction.

Islamists are engaged in total war against free world people. In the 21st century, total war is commonly conducted by non-state ­actors that aim to destroy legitimate states by any means necessary. The chief enemy of the modern West is a coalition of non-state actors whose militant front is Islamic jihad. Its combatants aim to overthrow liberal democracies by subverting the central organs of the state and replacing the gov­erning principles of free society with sharia. However, Western leaders are conducting the war against 21st century jihad with a 20th century mindset. They focus on foreign wars and militant acts while the enemy subverts our ­nations from within.

The best Western leaders ­protect our borders, the worst ­appease or collaborate with the enemy, but few openly state the alpha and omega of the jihadis’ total war: a global empire under Islam that requires the death of the West.

Following the Manchester bomb­ing, the British government finally told the truth about what decades of multiculturalism have produced in Britain: 23,000 terrorists. The Times reported that the initial figure of 3000 jihadists was a function of MI5 operational limits, not reality. The intelligence agency can keep eyes on about 3000 individuals at any one time, so it creates a priority classification list with categories such as active and residual risk. But the three major jihadist attacks on Britain in recent years were conducted by men who had been ­investigated and subsequently ­removed from the active terror watch list. These residual jihadis number about 20,000.

The revelation that there is a potential jihadist army inside ­Britain about 7000 personnel short of Britain’s army reserve raises the question of war. But Britons must surely question also why the state withheld such critical information during the Brexit debate when ­issues of national security, border and immigration policy determined the outcome. The concealment of such information begs the question of how many other intelligence services are concealing the true state of the jihadist threat within the West.

ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis’s recent denial of the ­relationship between the refugee ­intake and terrorism does not ­inspire confidence. In response to Pauline Hanson’s question about it, he responded that there is no evidence of such a link. Perhaps Senator Hanson should revive her “please explain” on these names: Man Haron Monis, Farhad ­Jabour and Mohammad Ali Baryalei, as well as the dozens of asylum-seekers who have ­received adverse security assessments from ASIO.

It is not the first time that Lewis has seemed more critical of those who defend the West than our ­jihadi foes. In 2015 he allegedly told some MPs who spoke out about the link between Islam and terrorism that their comments could threaten national security.

Minimising the link between porous borders, refugee programs and the development of jihad as a Western phenomenon is a common Islamist tactic. In the information age, intelligence services would be better to admit the threat of jihad while repeating the obvious truth that not all ­Muslims are jihadis.

I warned in 2015 that the West would win the battle against ­Islamic State but lose the war against Islamism unless Western leaders recognised jihad as a substantive ideology. Jihad is an ideology first and last. Its militant expression is Islamic terrorism whose primary purpose is not to instil terror but to destabilise and exhaust the protective capacity of legitimate governments. In that sense, jihad is akin to militant socialism. The end of revolutionary socialism is the communist state. The end of revolutionary jihad is the Islamic state.

The comprehensive ideology of jihad is set out in Management of Savagery, the Islamic State ­playbook reportedly written by former al-Qa’ida official Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim. In it, Hakim clarifies that gradual, subversive jihad is a total war strategy. He states that jihadis are: “Progressing until it is possible to expand and attack the ­enemies in order to repel them, plunder their money, and place them in a constant state of apprehension and (make them) desire reconciliation.”

The Coalition has done much to counter what I would call hard jihad, namely the advocacy, ­financing and enactment of ­Islamic terrorism. But few Western governments have tackled soft jihad: the teaching, preparation and promotion of jihadist ideology including gradual subversion of the state, liberal institutions and the fundamental values of Western society. To counter jihadists’ total war against the West, the government should consider the powers ­created to protect Australia’s freedom during the total wars of the 20th century.

The piecemeal ­approach employed by the West in response to jihad is born of a ­reluctance to face reality. The laws of peacetime can no longer ­accommodate the jihadist menace within Western states. When the number of potential enemy combatants inside Britain is only 7000 men short of its army reserve, we must face the reality that the enemy is inside the gate. It is time to state the four words the West hoped never to utter again: we are at war.


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About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to .
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