There’s an update below the fold!
Our leaders are patronising the public with blatant untruths
ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis joins a long queue of public officials misleading the public in condescending attempts to protect national harmony. The media-political class sees mainstream Australians as ignorant and xenophobic, so rations the truth in patronising attempts to preserve social cohesion.
This sanctimonious and deceptive approach undermines public faith in our institutions and their leaders.
Appearing before a parliamentary committee last week, Mr Lewis said something that is demonstrably untrue. “I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there’s a connection between refugees and terrorism,” he said.
That’s enough evidence that Duncan Lewis is incompetent and not up to the job. Sack him now!
Direct Petition to dismiss ASIO head Duncan Lewis
For the past two days ALA sought to publish an online petition with our preferred service provid…
The trouble is that the public is well aware of the evidence. We have had three fatal terrorist incidents over the past three years and it is a matter of public record that each of the terrorists (all were killed) were in the country because of our refugee program. Lindt cafe gunman Man Haron Monis arrived on a business visa from Iran and claimed asylum while here; Melbourne teenager Numan Haider came to Australia from Afghanistan with his refugee parents; and teenage Parramatta assassin Farhad Jabar arrived with his Iranian refugee parents.
That, director-general, is a direct connection between terrorism and refugees — as direct as a hand on a gun.
The connection runs much deeper, of course, with the majority of those convicted of terror offences, and many of those who have travelled to the Middle East as jihadists for Islamic State, being Australian-born to parents who arrived here as refugees in the late 1970s. This is a connection; a clear, undeniable reality that the ASIO boss and our politicians need to be able to discuss.
After being called out on his statement, Mr Lewis initially chose silence but this morning took to the friendly space of Radio National to try to explain himself.“There are without question — and I don’t resile from that — there are members of the former refugee or the sons and daughters of refugees who are in the group that have resorted to radicalisation,” he said, in a concession to the bleeding obvious.
“But I think it is very wrong to say that it is because of their refugee status,” he went on, arguing with a point that as far as I am aware no one has made. Certainly no sane person would make such a claim — that terrorists are radicalised because they are refugees — but this somehow is the clarification the ASIO chief has decided to make rather than simply admit his error and be frank with the public.
This all fits into a terrible pattern. As I have pointed out time and time again, our political leaders from all major parties constantly tie themselves in knots to avoid identifying Islamist extremism as the terrorist threat. Even our police, as we have seen at Parramatta and Martin Place, are stubbornly reluctant to see, hear or speak the evil of Islamist terrorism. And now we see our intelligence agencies making themselves look foolish playing the same game.
They are all well-intentioned — let’s give them that — but they drastically underestimate the intelligence and benevolence of mainstream Australians. Their political correctness, as ever, is driven by a sneering disdain for the public.
They fear that honesty will alienate Muslim Australians and create antagonism from their non-Muslim compatriots. This is an insult to all Australians and something that is simply not borne out by our experience over a series of traumatic incidents, from the 9/11 and the Bali bombings to Martin Place and Parramatta.
Muslim Australians know precisely what the threat is; they know that Islamist extremists kill them and others, and make their daily lives far less comfortable than they ought to be. And non-Muslim Australians know that the vast majority of their Muslim compatriots love this country and the peaceful existence it affords them.
Neither group expects to be fed nonsense by our political leaders and their institutional chiefs. Rather, they expect honest and frank discussions about this challenge that must be met cooperatively.
Let us be frank, without widespread community support and engagement, countering terrorism would become an impossible task. Build all the bollards you like, it is only information, awareness and influence within our communities that can actually weed out extremism and alert us to radicalisation.
Politicians and agency chiefs need to level with the public in an intelligent way. Don’t patronise them with blatant untruths.
Mr Lewis just needed to say something forthright and honest last week, such as; “Yes, refugees and the children of refugees have perpetrated terrorist violence, not just here but in many European countries. This is difficult for us to comprehend because these people have been given freedom and a new beginning. But it demonstrates the pernicious influence of this radical Islamist ideology — usually even their parents are unaware and appalled by their radicalisation. We screen our refugee intake very carefully to ensure we do not import extremists but what we are seeing is that even refugees or their children can become radicalised on our shores.”
Australians, Muslim and non-Muslim, cannot only handle the truth, they deserve it and, regardless, will see it through the smokescreens.
BRANDIS DEFENDS ASIO BOSS ON REFUGEES, UPDATE: BOSS BACKTRACKS
ASIO boss Duncan Lewis made what seems to me a demonstrably false claim on oath to a Senate committee lat week.
There was no qualification:
As I showed, this ignored terrorist attacks, plots and recruiting here by Muslim refugees Man Monis, Farhad Jabar, Numan Haider, Mohammad Ali Baryalei and Saney Edow Aweys, as well at the more than 30 people on its terrorist watchlist that tried to come here as refugees from Iraq and Syria. Also overlooked were the refugees, asylum seekers or children of refugees who committed or plotted terrorist attacks in Manchester, Berlin, Paris, Ansbach and a German train.
Now watch the Attorney General and terrorism academics twist and spin to defend what their own words suggest was actually wrong.
The point he made is that Australia’s refugee program is not the source of the terrorism problem.
But Brandis actually concedes there has been a link:
Although a small number of Middle Eastern refugees have been implicated in terrorist activities, they are a tiny fraction of the many thousands of the Middle Eastern refugees Australia settles.
Greg Barton of Deakin University agreed with the ASIO chief’s analysis, arguing “there’s a variety of backgrounds for people involved in terrorism”, and refugee experience was not a significant factor in radicalisation.
But Barton actually concedes there has been a link::
However, “he should have unpacked more of what he was saying”, so as not to imply there was “zero connection at all” between migration and terrorism.
Jacinta Carroll, counter-terror expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Centre, defends Lewis and spins:
“It isn’t a causal link. This is really what the director-general of security was getting to,” she said. “He’s talking about how you identify terrorism. He chose his language very carefully and it’s absolutely correct.”
But Carroll actually concedes there has been a link:
Carroll … accepted migration was a “factor” in terrorism but not a “lever”.
Levi West, director of terrorism studies at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, defends Lewis and spins:
West … said it was “patently false” to suggest refugee status was a contributing factor to extremism.
But West actually concedes there has been a link:
“What we’re looking at is a tiny, tiny, tiny slice of the refugee intake becoming involved in terrorist activity,” he said.
Anne Aly defends Lewis and spins, deflects and smears Pauline Hanson:
“I take his [Mr Lewis’] word over Pauline Hanson’s any time,” Dr Aly said. “Everyone’s become an armchair counter-terrorism expert [but] what people observe is very, very different … to understanding the whole complexity of the issue.”
Right. We infidels are too dumb to understand the complexities of being blown up by Mohammedan savages.
But Aly actually concedes there has been a link:
In each case, “they didn’t come in as radicalised individuals, they became radicalised here”, she noted.
Clarke Jones, director of the Australian Intervention Support Hub at the Australian National University, merely appeals to authority:
“If ASIO don’t know, nobody knows,” he said. “We’ve got to have faith in what Duncan Lewis is saying. If they don’t believe research and they don’t believe ASIO, who are they going to believe?”
Indeed. A very troubling question.
And despite writing an article that quotes the above experts and presenting overwhelming evidence that the ASIO boss was wrong, the Sydney Morning Herald reporter writes a first paragraph that suggests the exact opposite:
Counter-terrorism experts have overwhelmingly backed spy boss Duncan Lewis in his assessment there was “no evidence” linking refugees to Islamic terrorism, cautioning his critics against inflaming tensions with Muslims.
Sweet untruths preferred to facts in plain sight.
Ministers including Peter Dutton and Arthur Sinodinos yesterday distanced themselves from Mr Lewis’ comments, referring questions about Mr Lewis’s remarks to Senator Brandis.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Tony Abbott weighed in saying that while ASIO “has to have good relations with the Muslim community”, “[it] has to command the confidence of the Australian community. Nearly all of the terrorist incidents are associated with people yelling out Allahu Akbar as they kill.”
Duncan Lewis on the ABC today now modifies his statement to make a distinction without a difference.
He admits refugees here have turned to terrorism, but says”they are not terrorists because they are refugees”. They are terrorists because they have turned to a “warped” version of Sunni Islam:
“I don’t think statistically they would be more susceptible. There are without question — and I don’t resile from that — there are members of the former refugee or the sons and daughters of refugees who are in the group that have resorted to radicalisation but I think it is very wrong to say that it is because of their refugee status … that they are where they are, they are radicalised for different reasons,” he told the ABC this morning…
“The facts are the refugee program is not the source of terrorism in Australia. The source is radical Sunni Islam,” he added.
There is only one Islam. If that is identified as the source, what are we doing about it?
Perhaps, but so what? Bringing in refugees from the Middle East brings in more people prone to support that jihadist strain of Islam and put more Australians in danger. That is exactly the fear that Lewis was asked by Pauline Hanson to address and which Lewis in his unvarnished answer denied.
There is indeed a link between Middle Eastern refugees and terrorism because we are importing more people susceptible to recruitment by terrorist groups. That is not just a scare: that is our hard experience.
But I should add three more things about Lewis’s latest explanation.
First, in blaming that “warped” interpretation of Sunni Islam Lewis seems to have abandoned his false claim two years ago: “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion.”
The guy is beyond stupid and highly incompetent.
Second, in saying only terrorism is only from the Sunni branch of the faith ignores the Shiite terrorist groups, not least that of Hezbollah, which has had very prominent supporters in Australia, including two former Grand Muftis.
All Muslims, like all dogs, share similar characteristics.
Third, our refugees have also tended to come from tribal war zones and great trauma, which courts accept makes some more likely to break our laws. That may not only predispose some to terrorism. It has certainly been said to help explain the extraordinary crime wave by children of Sudanese refugees.
I didn’t hear a sorry from Lewis today, and I still didn’t hear acknowledgement of a plain fact: that bringing in Muslim refugees from jihadist wars does indeed expose us to more danger.
Indeed. Lewis is a dunce and not up to the job. Sack him. Now!