Home' Greymouth Star : November 16th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, November 16, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to email@example.com
uLetters to the editor
1797 - British navy withdraws from
1864 - Australian bushranger Ben Hall
takes part in shooting of Sgt Edmund Parry at
Collector, near Goulburn, NSW.
1920 - Australians Hudson Fysh and Paul
McGinness register the company
Queensland and Northern Territory
Aerial Ser vices Ltd (Qantas).
1941 - Nazi Germany launches
second assault, also failed, on
Moscow in World War Two.
1959 - Rodgers and Hammerstein
musical The Sound of Music
premieres in New York, starring Mary Martin.
1960 - Death of Hollywood “king” Clark
Gable, American film actor.
1995 - International war crimes tribunal in
The Hague, Netherlands, indicts Bosnian Serb
leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic in
the killings of Muslims in Srebrenica.
2000 - The only known oil painting of Winnie
the Pooh done by illustrator Ernest Howard
Shepard is sold at auction to a Winnipeg
museum for $243,000.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Roman Emperor Tiberius (42BC-
37AD); George S Kaufman, US playwright
(1889-1961); Burgess Meredith, US actor
(1910-1998); Joanna Pettet, British actress
(1942-); Ken James, Australian
actor (1948-); David Leisure, US
actor (1950-); Griff Rhys Jones,
Welsh comedian (1953-); Frank
Bruno, British heavyweight boxer
(1961-); Zina Garrison-Jackson, US
tennis player (1963-); Diana Krall,
Canadian jazz singer (1964-); Lisa
Bonet, US actress (1967-); Maggie Gyllenhaal,
US actress (1977-).
“ Whom God would sorely vex, He endows
with abundant good sense.”
— Yiddish proverb.
“ Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives. Do
not let your hearts be troubled and do not be
afraid. ” — ( John 14:27).
building in Tainui
Street belonging to
the Greymouth RSA
is being pulled to the ground. The former house
of Sir Arthur Guinness was being stripped
of its windows, roofing and other fittings this
morning. Then the top storey of the building
was completely lifted off and there was a large
stack of timbers lying alongside.
When the building is completely down in the
next few days, modern clubrooms will be built.
The Greymouth Lions Club shoelace drive
conducted here on Saturday morning met with
a good response, despite the torrential rains
which hampered sellers. Just on 18 turned out
from the Sea Scouts, 18 from the Blaketown
Red Cross and three from the Grey Main
Junior Red Cross. Some homes on which
sellers were to call became marooned in a
matter of minutes by the heavy rain. Because of
this many houses were missed. Profits from the
sale will be split up among those who did the
selling. Cards of six pairs of laces sold for 2s 6d.
Great interest has been taken in the erection
of motels at picturesque Lake Moeraki. The
proposed location is situated at the junction
of the Moeraki (Blue) River and the lake,
presenting a glorious view of expansive water,
flora and snowcapped mountain peaks.
Situated between Paringa to the north
and Haast township, the motels will supply
much-needed accommodation for tourists and
holiday-makers travelling through the Haast
The Commissioner of Crown Lands at
Hokitika said applicants were prepared to
invest £50,000 to £100,000 in the motels.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
or Jihadi John, death could
not have been more different
than for his victims. While
his hostages suffered
unimaginable horror as he
beheaded them, for him the
end came instantaneously.
British and United States intelligence
agencies had, for more than a year, been
trying to gain live information on the
whereabouts of the masked man whose
first victim, American journalist James
Foley, was murdered in a video posted on
You Tube in August last year.
Their efforts finally paid off shortly
before midnight on Thursday (local time)
when intelligence pinpointed the jihadist
to a car in the centre of Raqqa, Syria,
within a short walk of Isis headquarters
in the city’s old governorate building.
Mohammed Emwazi — his name
was finally confirmed by British Prime
Minister David Cameron for the first
time — is understood to have been
located by either MI6 or GCHQ, either
through a human source on the ground
or by monitoring his communications.
The intelligence was passed on to the
Pentagon, enabling the operators of an
armed Reaper drone in the sky above
Raqqa to spot the car in which he was
At 11.40pm the order to kill was passed
to the drone operators based at Creech
Air Force Base in Nevada controlling
aircraft launched from a base in Iraq.
Controlling their drone via a satellite
link, and using a second Reaper as a
“spotter” aircraft, they selected their
target and released a Hellfire missile from
3000m. Experts say the Reaper may have
been several miles away, invisible in the
night sky. Its missile, travelling at Mach
1.3 (1601kph), arrived at such speed
that Emwazi would have known nothing
before it struck. At 11.51pm, the car and
its four occupants were blown to pieces.
The result was described by a US official
as a “flawless” strike, a “clean hit ” that
“evaporated” Emwazi, with no collateral
The Pentagon disclosed that a British
drone was also involved in providing
extra “eyes in the sky”.
Unconfirmed reports suggested one of
the others killed was another of the four
British jihadists nicknamed “The Beatles”
by their captives because of their English
accents. Emwazi, 27, was given his
nickname after John Lennon.
Emwazi’s death was doubly symbolic.
Not only was Isis’ main propaganda tool
neutralised, but the strike was within
sight of two of the locations most
strongly identified with the terrorist
group. The missile strike happened
in or next to Clocktower Square, the
roundabout where Isis carries out public
In 2012, it was the location of protests
against Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian
president, as a popular uprising spread
across the country. But by the following
year, Isis had seized control.
The hunt for Emwazi began at the
end of 2012, when security ser vices first
suspected he was in Syria. He had been
reported missing by his family in August
of that year, having left the family home
in Queen’s Park, north London, and lied
about where he was going.
Jihadi John became a top priority for
MI6 after his video of Foley ’s beheading,
titled A Message to America, was posted
on-line last year.
The first step was to identify the masked
figure in the footage. With only his eyes
visible, intelligence officers on both sides
of the Atlantic examined other clues,
primarily his voice and accent, but also
his skin colour, height, physique and the
vein patterns on his hands. By September
last year, his identity was known to
Britain and the US.
The widow of beheaded hostage David
Haines said the killing of Emwazi
brought her no relief as she wanted to
“ look him in the eyes” in a court of law.
The British aid worker’s wife, Dragana,
45, said her husband ’s killer “did not
deser ve to die so easily”.
Haines’ daughter Bethany Haines, 18,
told ITV News she felt “an instant sense
of relief ”, adding she would only have
had closure “once there’s a bullet between
Emwazi made his first appearance
as masked executioner Jihadi John in
August last year for the filmed beheading
of US journalist James Foley.
Foley ’s parents, John and Diane, said:
“If only so much effort had been given
to finding and rescuing Jim and the
other hostages who were subsequently
murdered by Isis, they might be alive
Shirley Sotloff, mother of beheaded
American journalist Steven Sotloff, 31,
told NBC News: “If they got him, great.
But it doesn’t bring my son back.”
The month after Haines’ death, a film
was released depicting the murder of
Alan Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver
His brother, Reg Henning, told ITV
News: “Hopefully, this is the end of
it. I am glad he is dead. I would have
preferred him to face justice. If they had
arrested him and gone to court, it would
have dragged on for months.”
Henning’s daughter Lucy, 18, said she
learned of her father’s death after seeing
a gruesome photograph of his body on
“As much as I wanted Emwazi dead,
I also wanted answers as to why he did
it, why my dad? How did it make a
Junko Ishido, the mother of Japanese
journalist Kenji Goto, told the news
organisation NHK: “I only wish there
will be no more conflicts like these in this
world, as my son had hoped to see peace
prevail.” — PA
Jus ce for Jihadi John
The masked Jihadi John. Inset: A Reaper drone fires a missile.
As always after a
major terrorist attack
on the west, the
right question to ask
after the slaughter
in Paris is: what
were the strategic
aims behind the
attack? This requires
getting your head
around the concept
that terrorists have rational strategies,
but once you have done that the motives
behind the attacks are easy to figure out.
It also becomes clear the motives have
The 9/11 attacks on the United States
in 2001 followed the classical terrorist
strategy of trying to trick the target
government into over-reacting in ways
that ultimately serve the terrorists’
interests. Al Qaeda’s goal was to sucker
the United States into invading Muslim
Al Qaeda was a revolutionary
organisation whose purpose was to
overthrow existing Arab governments
and take power in the Arab countries,
which it would then reshape in accord
with its extreme Islamist ideology. The
trouble was that Islamist movements
were not doing very well in building
mass support in the Arab world, and you
need mass support if you want to make a
Osama bin Laden’s innovation was to
switch the terrorist attacks from Arab
governments to western ones, in the hope
of luring them into invasions that would
radicalise large number of Arabs and
drive them into the arms of the Islamists.
His hopes were fulfilled by the United
States invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Once the western troops went in, there
was a steep decline in terrorist attacks
on western countries. Al Qaeda wanted
western troops to stay in the Middle
East and radicalise the local populations,
so it made no sense to wage a terrorist
campaign that might make western
countries pull their troops out again.
The resistance in Iraq grew quickly and
and attracted Islamist fighters from many
other Arab countries. The organisation
originally known as “al Qaeda in Iraq”
under went several name changes, to
“Islamic State in Iraq” in 2006; then to
“Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” — Isis
for short — in 2013, and finally to
simply “Islamic State” in 2014. But the
key personnel and the long-term goals
remained the same throughout.
The man who now calls himself the
“Caliph” of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-
Bahdadi, first joined “al Qaeda in Iraq”
and started fighting the US occupation
forces in Iraq in 2004. But along the way
the strategy changed, for Isis eventually
grew so strong that it conquered the
extensive territories in Syria and Iraq
that now make up Islamic State. Popular
revolutions were no longer needed. The
core strategy now is simply conquest.
In that case, why are Islamic State and
al Qaeda still attacking western targets?
One reason is because the jihadi world
is now split between two rival franchises
that are competing for supporters.
The split happened in 2013, when Isis,
having launched a very successful branch
operation in Syria known as the Nusra
Front, tried to bring it back under the
control of the parent organisation.
The Syrian branch resisted, and
appealed to al Qaeda, the franchise
manager of both jihadi groups, for
support. Al Qaeda backed the Syrians,
whereupon Isis broke its links with al
Qaeda and set up as a direct competitor.
Isis and the Nusra Front then fought
a three-month war in early 2014 that
killed several thousand militants and left
the former in control of most of eastern
Syria. Soon afterwards Isis overran
most of western Iraq and renamed itself
Islamic State and al Qaeda’s local
franchise, the Nusra Front, are currently
obser ving a ceasefire in Syria, but the two
brands are still in a bitter struggle for the
loyalty of jihadi groups elsewhere in the
Spectacular terrorist operations against
western targets appeal to both franchises
because they are a powerful recruiting
tool in jihadi circles. But Islamic State
has a further motive: it actually wants
western attacks on it to cease.
It is a real state now, with borders and
an army and a more or less functional
economy. It does not want western forces
interfering with its efforts to consolidate
and expand that state, and it hopes that
terrorist attacks on the west may force
them to pull out.
France is a prime target because
French aircraft are part of the western-
led coalition bombing Islamic State,
and because it is relatively easy to
recruit terrorists from France’s large,
impoverished and alienated Muslim
minority. Russia has also become a
priority target since its aircraft started
bombing jihadi troops in Syria, and the
recent crash of a Russian airliner in Sinai
may be due to a bomb planted by Islamic
So the outlook is for more terrorist
attacks wherever Islamic State (and, to a
lesser extent, al Qaeda) can find willing
volunteers. Western countries with
smaller and better integrated Muslim
communities are less vulnerable than
France, but they are targets too.
Putting foreign ground troops into
Syria would only make matters worse, so
the least bad option for all the countries
concerned is to ride the terrorist
campaign out. Horrendous though the
attacks are, they pose a very small risk
to the average citizen of these countries.
Statistically speaking, it is still more
dangerous to cross the street, let alone
climb a ladder.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Paris attacks: the terrorist strategy
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
PICTURE: Getty Images
The pavement outside Le Carillon restaurant is covered in tributes as France observes three days of national mourning for the
victims of the terror attacks.
Links Archive November 14th 2015 November 17th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page