Environmental protest

Ignored at home, Australians travel to Gujarat to protest Adani's coal mine

Cricket stalwarts Ian and Greg Chappell are among signatories of a letter that appeals to Gautam Adani's conscience to stop building a coal mine in Queensland.

Cricket stars Ian and Greg Chappell have joined a growing campaign against a proposed coal mine in Australia, by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s company.

The Chappell brothers are among 90 Australians including politicians, musicians, writers and indigenous people who have signed an open letter appealing to Adani’s conscience to abandon his proposal to dig coal in Carmichael, Queensland.

The letter says that the mine will be harmful to the environment of both India and Australia, will be a “public health disaster”, and also “does not have wide public support in Australia”. The group did not give numbers to support this last contention.

“We urge you to think about global warming and public health and listen to the wishes of the people,” the letter said. “It would be a great shame if this one project were to damage the image of India in Australia.”

A group of Australians delivered the letter to Roy Paul, Assistant General Manager of Corporate Communications of the Adani Group in Ahmedabad on Thursday afternoon. Paul was cordial but did not give any assurances, the group said.

“We have come here to represent the majority view of our people, given that our government is not listening to us,” said Imogen Zethoven of the Australian Marine Conservation Society. “We know Adani has big plans for solar in India. We would welcome that instead of a coal mine.”

Adani statement

In a statement on its website, the Adani group says that it will “undertake its Australian operations in a manner, which meets our legal obligations, recognises the importance of working closely with our internal and external stakeholders, and strives to prevent environmental harm and improve our environmental performance”.

It added: “We understand that our environmental performance is critical to the sustainable success of the organisation and we will implement an environmental management framework that is accessible, innovative and enduring.”

Meanwhile, Ian Chappell suggested in an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that India’s cricketing ties with Australia might be affected if Adani were to continue with the mine.

“Cricket has a bit to do with the feeling between India and Australia,” Chappell said to the publication. “The thought that this [mine] could affect the relationship, hopefully that’ll get through.”

The Adani Group has applied for a $1 billion loan from the Australian government to build a railway line between the project site and a shipping terminal. The Australian government has given the Carmichael mine all the required approvals, while the government of Queensland has given most, but not all.

Environmental disaster

Activists and environmentalists are concerned that the coal project could lead to the death of the Great Barrier Reef, which is very close to the location of the coal deposits in Carmichael, apart from the long term health and environment implications of releasing coal from what would be the largest coal mine in Australia and among the largest in the world.

“We came all the way out here to India because we are so concerned about this coal mine,” Zethoven said. “The mine will produce 60 million tonnes of coal each year for 60 years and because of it, hundreds of coal ships will pass the Reef each year.”

The coal from this mine will supply Indian power plants, but might create anywhere between 1,500 to 10,000 jobs for Australians.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.