In which our intrepid hero blithely ignores the threat on the Internet.

Shortly after September 11, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan declared war on America. They had not done so with Australia. In fact, I doubt their spokesman even knew where Australia was.

Nonetheless, Australian journalists at the press conference where deliriously eager to get a good story out of this. Every second or third question posed to the Taliban spokesman seemed to be an Australian journalist, asking whether the Taliban had declared war on Australia, too.

After half an hour of this, the spokesman’s patience was quite obviously wearing thin. In the end, he said something along the lines of: "Yes, alright, the Taliban is at war with Australia. Now, will someone ask me another question?"

The journos were happy: they had their story. The Taliban (and, for what it’s worth, al-Qaeda) had declared war on Australia. The bad guys thought we were important enough to classify as a threat.

Since then, the Australian media has gone out of their way to play up the terrorist threat to Australia. (Don’t get me wrong. Yeah, sure, it could happen, but I’m not holding my breath.)

Case in point: this article from AAP, via Yahoo! To quote:

NSW Muslim extremists flood Internet

Internet chat rooms and websites are being flooded with messages by Muslim extremists in Sydney calling to make Australia an Islamic state and voicing their support for some of the world’s most notorious terrorists.

The fundamentalists are using the innocent-looking websites to post material similar to that uncovered in an internet-based plan to attack New York, News Limited newspapers report. […]

The newspapers say one website, the Sydney Muslim Youth Forum, devoted several threads to turning Australia into an Islamic state.

Right. So, a small pack of idiots on the Internet bandy about the idea of converting the other 98.5% of Australia’s population to Islam (possibly by the sword), and suddenly, it’s a terror threat?

Come on. Surely we’re not that desperate to get in the world news?

And if a few delusional Muslims on one web forum are terrorists, then what are the meowers, huh? Genocidal maniacs on the scale of Hitler?

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