A$$hole of the Month: ASIO Boss Duncan Lewis

Duncan Lewis, ASIO’s Director-General of Security. Photo: Kym Smith 

The hashtag #NTDWI — the ironic abbreviation for ‘Nothing to do with Islam’ — pops up with monotonous regularity on social media, usually in response to the latest terrorist atrocity.

It derides those who insist that the so-called ‘religion of peace’ has no links with fundamentalist terrorism. As former PM Tony Abbott bluntly observed this week: “Nearly all of the terrorist incidents are associated with people yelling out Allahu Akbar as they kill”.

One might also quip the abbreviation stands for ‘Nothing to do with immigration’ following the appearance by ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis at Senate estimates last week. Lewis insisted there was “abso­lutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.” With the exception of at least two murders by terrorist Islamists who came to Australia as asylum seekers, and the conviction of at least twelve other first and second generation Muslim migrants for terror-related offences, that is. Lewis’s dismissive rejection is what you’d expect to hear on Q&A or at a writers’ festival, but not from the highest intelligence official in the country.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus was quick to lionise Lewis in order to embarrass the government. “It was a masterly display of how to combat the kind of dangerous myths people like Senator (Pauline) Hanson peddle”, gushed Dreyfus.

“If only we saw it more from elected officials, and the people in charge in Mr Turnbull’s government.” What a turnaround from the days when a Labor Attorney-General personally led a raid on ASIO because he believed officials were withholding information.

Duncan Lewis, ASIO’s Director-General of Security. Photo: Kym Smith
Duncan Lewis, ASIO’s Director-General of Security. Photo: Kym Smith

Interviewed yesterday by Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National, Lewis cited “context” in attempting to clarify his remarks. “They were not terrorists because they were refugees”, he stated, which varied significantly from his “absolutely no evidence” line. “I’m not here to vilify the Islamic community’, he declared. You’re not here to respond with straw man arguments, Kelly might have countered.

Of additional concern is Lewis’s adoption of the NTDWI school of thought. “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored by the Muslim religion”, he stated in December 2015. “I think it’s blasphemous to the extent I can comment on someone else’s religion.”

Leaving aside the disconcerting notion that the head of ASIO could acquiesce in blasphemy prohibitions in a secular society, one can immediately see the contradiction in his statements. Lewis is in fact happy to offer comment on Islam, and he’s concluded the religion is tickety-boo.

Never before has Islam enjoyed such a clean bill of health. As reported this week, the Public Health Association of Australia is now a theologian with a stethoscope, as evident in its submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

“The PHAA urges the committee to include a recommendation in its report that disavows the ­notion there is any inherent link between Islam and terror”, read the submission. “Next time they’ll say there is no link between smoking and cancer” tweeted senator Cory Bernardi in response.

Nor is this disingenuousness confined to Australia. Following the recent Manchester bombing which killed 22 people, local mayor Andy Burnham declared that the bomber, Salman Abedi, “was a terrorist, not a Muslim.”

Not a Muslim, apparently, apart from having been born and raised one, including worshipping at a mosque and learning the Qur’an by heart. British PM Theresa May, while not as obtuse as Burnham, still resorted to sophistry in decrying the Westminster attack of March 2017 in which Muslim Khalid Masood murdered five people, including a police officer. “It is wrong to describe this as ‘Islamic terrorism’”, said May, ‘correcting’ an earlier statement that day by her Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon. “It is Islamist terrorism, it is a perversion of a great faith.”

Yes of course, the condemnation of “perversion”, that invoking of abstract purity as a convenient means of separating the subject group from its aberrant members. It’s known as the ‘No True Scotsman’ logical fallacy. No Muslim is a terrorist. But the Manchester bomber was a practising Muslim, so isn’t that claim incorrect? Ah, but no true Muslim commits an act of terrorism. All good now? Well, no, given the so-called “great faith” is a very broad church, so to speak.

A 2016 face-to-face survey of 1081 British Muslims, commissioned by public broadcaster Channel 4, revealed some disturbing traits. Nearly a third refused to condemn those who committed violence against people who mocked the Prophet. Over half did not believe that homosexuality should be legal. Only 34 per cent — well under half — said they would inform the authorities if they knew of an acquaintance getting involved with people who support terrorism in Syria. On the positive side, 96 per cent did not sympathise with suicide bombers. However, that raises the question of the remaining four per cent. According to the 2011 UK Census, British Muslims comprise around 4.4 per cent of the population — roughly 2.78 million. Extrapolating the survey results, one can conclude that approximately 111,200 British Muslims sympathise with suicide bombers.

Meanwhile, these fundamentalist atrocities continue. Since the beginning of 2015, 312 people have died in terrorist attacks in Europe, many of them at the hands of Middle Eastern males inspired by Islamic State. Why then this robotic and risible platitude that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, given at least some overlap is obvious?

The answer can be found in the words of the late British historian Alan Bullock. “The true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade”, he wrote, “but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.” Get it? In doing so, the dissenter invites scrutiny not of the issue, but of himself.

Nothing to do with Islam. It’s a dogmatic insistence that has nothing to do with intelligence. But it has everything to do with intransigence.

Don’t pretend there’s no link between refugees and terrorism

Two years ago, Duncan Lewis privately told Coalition politicians to stop criticising Islam for fear of a “backlash”.

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun

ASIO boss Duncan Lewis should tell us the truth about refugees and terrorism, or shut up. The danger is too great for our top spy to pretend there’s no link.

The boss of ASIO told a Senate committee – on oath – “I have abso­lutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.” Either he is blind to the threat and must go, or he told an untruth for what he claims is our good. But it is a dangerous untruth, and it misled the Senate.

From The Bolt Report:


The boss of ASIO told a Senate committee – on oath – “I have abso­lutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.” Either he is blind to the threat and must go, or he told an untruth for what he claims is our good. But it is a dangerous untruth, and it misled the Senate. 

Last Friday, Lewis was asked by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson at a Senate committee hearing whether more refugees meant more risk of terrorism.
Lewis seemed too eager to smack down Hanson because his response was bizarre: “I have abso­lutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.”

Twitter instantly lit up in mockery of Hanson, and Sydney Morning Herald political writer Mark Kenny gloated that “the spymaster’s testimony was a hammer blow to Hanson’s prejudice”.
Her “racism” had been smacked down by “an evidence-based exemplar of frank and fearless advice”.

Except the opposite was true. Hanson was right and the ASIO boss astonishingly wrong.

No link between refugees and Islamic terrorism?

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How could Lewis have said that just two days after the NSW coroner reported on the death of two hostages in the Lindt cafe siege, staged by Iranian refugee Man Monis?
How could he say something so obviously false only five days after the son of Libyan refugees blew up 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester?

  • .
    And what of all the other terrorism by refugees Lewis ignored?
    Farhad Jabar, who murdered Sydney police accountant Curtis Cheng, was an Afghan refugee.
  • Numan Haider, who stabbed two police in Melbourne, was an Iraqi-Kurdish refugee.
  • Mohammad Ali Baryalei, a top recruiter in Australia for the Islamic State, was an Afghan refugee.
  • Saney Edow Aweys, jailed for his role in a plot to attack the Holsworthy Army base, is a Somali refugee.
  • In fact, ASIO, itself, warned the Turnbull government that at least 30 refugees trying to get here from Iraq and Syria since early last year were on its terrorism watchlist.
    More refugees were red-flagged by other intelligence agencies.
    ASIO acts as if there’s a link between Muslim refugees and terrorism, so why did Lewis claim there wasn’t?
    That link is not even a new phenomenon.
    Two-thirds of terrorists jailed here are from Muslim-Lebanese families, many initially allowed in under a concession by the Fraser government, which treated them as refugees fleeing a civil war.
    Scores of children of Lebanese families are now among the more than 200 Australians who have fought and died for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.
  • .
    It is the same in Europe. Refugees and asylum seekers have taken part in terrorist attacks in Paris, Ansbach and on a German train.
    Lewis has so far declined media requests to explain why he said something that appears so false, but if the ASIO chief truly doesn’t know of any links between refugees and terrorism, then he must be sacked, instantly, for being asleep at the wheel.
    But I suspect he was just uttering the elites’ conventional sweet untruths about the real danger, to allegedly stop Australians from being “racist”, and to stop Muslims and refugees from feeling so picked on that some would indeed prove dangerous.
    In fact, two years ago, Lewis privately told Coalition politicians to stop criticising Islam for fear of a “backlash”.
  • Incredibly, he publicly added: “I think it’s blasphemous to the extent I can comment on someone else’s religion.”
    “Blasphemous” to even comment on Islam? Islamists say the very same thing as our ASIO boss.
    Lewis, far from criticising Islam, defended it with another claim contradicted by evidence: “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic ­extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion.”
    We’ve heard this same untruth repeated by politicians, church leaders and the media, all claiming there’s no link between Islam and terrorism.
    Yet last week, even Muslim Labor MP and anti-terrorism academic , to her credit, confirmed that was untrue: “There are certainly parts of the religion that do justify or that can be used, that are easily manipulated to justify violence.”
    That’s why IS and other terrorist groups quote passages from the Koran to justify their attacks. It’s why they shout “Allahu Akbar” — Allah is the greatest — as they kill.
    Lewis’s spin can’t be excused.
    It makes voters (rightly) feel they can’t trust authorities to tell the truth about Islam, refugees and terrorism.
    It also encourages a wilful denialism among the elites that stops us from protecting ourselves properly by say, banning immigration from some Muslim countries.
    Lewis owes it to Hanson — and us all — to admit he was wrong.
    There is a link between refugees and terrorism, and we must address it before more Australians get hurt.


One thought on “A$$hole of the Month: ASIO Boss Duncan Lewis”

  1. Unfortunately for Australia, the head of ASIO has just outed himself as an Islamic operative. This statement qualifies as high treason. Any sane society would have him (((at least jailed))).

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