Well, I guess it’s fair to say that the truth has hit the fan over the last week.
And it had everyone ducking for cover.
It all started with a euphemistic question about refugees and terrorism from Pauline Hanson.
I say ‘euphemistic’ because we are not allowed to mention the elephant in the room when it comes to terrorism, which is Islam. So, instead, we talk about other things, like refugees (which still causes PC tut-tutting) or Western racism (which is much better).
During Senate estimates, Pauline grabbed a big, fresh and steaming pile of truth dropped by the unacknowledged elephant and pitched it at the ASIO boss, Duncan Lewis, under the cover of a euphemistic lie, asking:
“Do you believe that the [terrorist] threat is being brought in possibly from Middle Eastern refugees that are coming out to Australia?”
Lewis, recognising with profound clarity that the question about ‘refugees’ was really a question about ‘Islam’, parroted the catechetical PC response to this modern day heresy: he flat out denied the elephant.
As he squirmed in his seat, Lewis stated:
“I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there’s a connection between refugees and terrorism.”
What Lewis really meant was that there was no link between Islam and terrorism. And everyone trained in PC knows it.
But that’s not what he actually said. His black and white, hansard-captured words denied the link between refugees and terrorism.
Effectively, Lewis mishit Pauline’s veritable lump of elephant truth straight into the whirling blades above.
Only 24 hours earlier the New South Wales Coroner had released a detailed report into Man Haron Monis, Australia’s most famous refugee-come-terrorist. Hundreds of words and at least 9 paragraphs detailed exhaustively how Monis fraudulently claimed to be an Iranian refugee. He eventually obtained his Australian protection visa as a result of an assessment process that included input from ASIO, the organisation that Lewis leads.
This was just one example of a link between refugees and terrorists. There are many more, as detailed in the Daily Telegraph yesterday:
“AUSTRALIA’S most high-profile terror incidents were committed by jihadis who had entered the country on humanitarian visas – a fact that was behind the Government’s tough new citizenship laws.
As ASIO chief Duncan Lewis defended denying a link between refugees and terrorists, The Daily Telegraph can reveal a worrying pattern where at least eight terror plots were hatched by migrants on humanitarian or refugee visas…
…The teenager who killed Sydney police civilian Curtis Cheng, Farhad Jabar, was of Iraqi Kurdish heritage and came to Australia through Iran on the refugee program in 2006.
Abu Omar, real name Mohammed Ali Baryalei, travelled from Sydney to Syria in April 2013 to fight for Jabhat al-Nusra before joining Islamic State, had come to Australia from Afghanistan as a refugee with his family around 1988.
Melbourne teenager Numan Haider, who stabbed two police officers in 2014, had also come to Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan with his family a decade earlier.
Lindt Siege Cafe terrorist Man Haron Monis arrived in Australia from Iran on a one-month business visa in 1996 but was granted asylum.
One of the three men convicted of a terror plot on Sydney’s Holsworthy army barracks, Saney Aweys, arrived in Australia from Somalia when he was 15 on a refugee and humanitarian visa.
Mohammed Kiad, who was charged with plotting to execute a terrorist attack in Sydney on 10th February 2015 using a knife and a machete, alongside Omar al-Kutobi, was born in Kuwait and was in Australia on a family and spousal visa – he was not an Australian citizen.
Terror cell leader Abdul Naser Benbrika, known as Sheik Abu Bakr, arrived in Australia from Algeria in 1989 on a visitor’s visa with a friend who had also come from Algeria.
Australia’s most senior man in Al Qaeda, Abu Sulayman, was from Egypt and then was given Australian citizenship, arriving here with his family as a baby.”
It was all rather embarrassing for the ASIO boss. If he failed to ‘clarify’ his comment, people may uncharitably think that he was incompetent or, more charitably, simply conclude that he had lied.
Either way, it was not a good look to remain sitting still as the pachyderm package was being minced over him and then flung unceremoniously in all directions. Large chunks of it were hitting Lewis fair in the face while others, such as the AFP Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, were caught in the crossfire.
So Lewis did three things. One was predictable, one was doctrinal and one was right out of left-field.
He firstly ran to the ABC. Predictable.
He secondly denied that he had denied that there was a link between refugees and terrorists. Denial of what one has said is the stock standard and doctrinal response of bureaucrats who say stupid things.
This is what Lewis told the ABC (in an article deliciously titled ‘ASIO boss maintains there is no link between Australia’s refugee program and terrorism’):
“…and a very few of them have become subjects of interest for ASIO and have been involved in terrorist planning. I’m not denying that.
I’ve not said that there are no terrorists who are, who have not been refugees or not been the sons and daughters of refugees born in this country.”
Putting aside the last sentence which appears to be a very clever triple negative and hence entirely incomprehensible, it’s pretty clear that Duncan Lewis is simultaneously standing by his original comments while also denying that he ever said them at all.
And then Lewis did a third thing which no one could have predicted a week ago when he was desperate to avoid linking Islam with terrorism.
He linked Islam with terrorism, stating:
“The reason they are terrorists is not because they are refugees but because of the violent, extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam that they have adopted.”
Yes. He actually said that. And no one, not even the ABC, called him a racist, Islamophobic bigot.
Of course, Lewis’ words here are (mostly) true.
No one is pretending that refugees are actually terrorists because they are refugees. Ordinary Australians know very well that Islam is the cause of the terror threat. The refugee and immigration programs are the reason that threat has been imported to Australia. It’s a problem in its own right, but it has become the focus because we can’t talk about the cause of the problem.
Lewis was able to get away with speaking the truth, not because it was true, but because organisations like the ABC were so keen to defend his first statements that they didn’t realise the implications of his second statements as he blurted them out.
Basically, every moralistic ‘it’s-not-Islam’ do gooder in Australia was so embarrassed about the state that Lewis had managed to get himself into that it overrode any of the normal PC BS about Islam and terrorism.
After Lewis managed to eke his words linking Islam and terrorism out, there was a collective sigh of relief. We could all avoid staring uncomfortably at the dripping mess the ASIO boss had become and instead look at something interesting: an elephant.
I think this process is called lying one’s way to the truth.
However, regardless of how we got here, we have arrived on the other side of the rainbow, or the mirror, or in Kansas, where things make sense because they are upside down.
Two years ago Duncan Lewis told us it was blasphemy to question Islam. Last week he told us that ASIO does not make assessments on religion. And now, after the elephant incident, it’s entirely ok to blame Islam for terrorism if it takes the attention away from bureaucratic stupidity.
And while insanity can be fun at times, I am going to burst the bubble for a second.
Now that the ASIO Head Honcho admits there is a link between ‘extremist’ ‘interpretation’ of ‘Sunni Islam’ and terrorism, it would help us all if he could explain exactly how he worked that out.
- On what basis does he conclude that the rest of Islam has no link with terrorism?
- On what basis does he conclude that the ‘extremist’ interpretation of Sunni Islam is not the proper interpretation of it?
Essentially, at what point does a Sunni Muslim became a terror suspect? Is it like gender-theory, where all Sunni Muslims sit on some scale of terrorism, just as we’ve been told that all blokes sit on some scale of same-sex attraction?
In that case, they’re all terror suspects.
Or is there some line that needs to be crossed, like expressing support for a radical Sunni group like Hizb ut Tahrir? Or is it going to a mosque?
But it would help us all to report ‘appropriate’ incidents of extremist interpretations of Sunni Islam if Lewis gave us a hint. It might also help the government refine its refugee program to weed out Sunni Muslims. That would save us (and ASIO) a headache in the future.
I have no doubt that Duncan Lewis’ gasping attempt to raise Islam to deflect attention from his comments about refugees will have profound consequences that not even he yet realises.
The Islamic elephant in the room has been acknowledged by the ASIO boss. He might as well start describing it in detail for us.
That’s what happens when the truth hits the fan.