Saturday, December 12, 2015

Duncan Lewis must resign or be sacked if the rest of us are to remain safe

by Ganesh Sahathevan

ASIO chief and former national security advisor Duncan Lewis has proven yet again why he is unsuited to an intelligence role.This time, he has gone so far that his position has become untenable. 
In what appears to be another example of a former senior officer brushing up his CV for a vice-regal position Lewis has decided to point the finger at the rest of us for the local jihadi problem (see story below).
How that can be helpful, coming especially from a head of internal security, is hard to fathom.There are many reasons why security and intelligence chiefs eschew public pronouncements on anything but true to form, Lewis sees no appreciation of this rule.In this latest blunder in a series of blunders  Lewis seems intent on proving the case that he is not suited to an intelligence role. 

Then in speaking ,he reveals how poorly he understand the dangers. Australia has had  a jihadi problem going back  to the 90s ,long before 9/11,and long before anyone took any notice of Muslims,despite their best efforts to be heard. It took the Muslim community to educate us on what a hijab,niqab or burka was and frankly, I would not be surprised if the majority of Australian equated them with G-strings, as some kind of fashion trend. And, as with all fashion trends, it did not bother anyone ,not until the Muslim community made it a point of discrimination. Blaming the rest of us of being the cause of  heightened jihadi violence  is disingenuous at best,ignorant at worse.

To make his point Lewis went so far as to say:
“I don’t buy the notion that the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim ­religion. I don’t buy that at all. I think it’s blasphemous to the extent that I can comment on someone else’s religion.’’

When even Muslim governments in this region, like Malaysia and Indonesia, have for decades closely monitored and where necessary acted using police and the armed forces against Muslim groups within their borders for reasons of national security , Lewis's comment is idiotic.

When one considers that the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia have done so even while using the religion to further their national interests, the extent of his idiocy becomes even more apparent.

That he seems unaware that Singapore has effectively secularized its significant Muslim minority suggests an intellectual incapacity which cannot be tolerated in anyone charged with national security , let alone the chief of ASIO. This man must go if the rest of us are to be kept safe. As he put it:
"But we need to be smart.’


Terror alert: Australia’s top spy chief warns rift with Muslims could weaken national security

Samantha MaidenNational Political EditorThe Sunday Telegraph
AUSTRALIA’S top spy chief Duncan Lewis has warned that fuelling a backlash against Muslims is a “dangerous’’ threat to­ ­national security and weakens his organisation’s ability to stop terrorist attacks.

Frustrated intelligence chiefs and police are going public for the first time after delivering months of private advice that Muslim-bashing rhetoric could impact on the agency’s vital work with ­Islamic communities.

“I think it behoves Australia and Australians to recognise that the backlash is something that is very, very dangerous,’’ Mr Lewis, a former SAS officer who commanded Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan, said.

ASIO director general Duncan Lewis says we should not be fuelling backlash against Muslims.

“The level of co-operation we have is very good. We are well connected with the Islamic community in Sydney and Melbourne. We are to a great extent very dependent on the information that flows from them.

“That the estrangement, should it occur with the Muslim community here, would be very, very unfortunate for our operations. It impacts negatively on what we are trying to do.

“We need to be very temperate. And we need to be smart as a community. This problem is solvable. But we need to be smart.’’

He said his officers would be working over Christmas “while the rest of Australia is on the beach”.

Police will be working around the clock these holidays as terror alert is probable. Picture: Stephen Cooper

“We are working very closely with the Islamic community and we need to, to secure the outcome we want which is the security of the country,” he said.

“I don’t buy the notion that the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim ­religion. I don’t buy that at all. I think it’s blasphemous to the extent that I can comment on someone else’s religion.’’

His comments follow those of former prime minister Tony ­Abbott, who has called for a “religious revolution” inside Islam, declaring “all cultures are not equal” and that “we can’t remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam.’’

Mr Lewis also said that “the jury was out’’ on sending Western troops to fight Islamic State in Syria.

“It’s too complex an issue just to say we need to put more troops into it. The view among Western nations is that a large scale Western intervention there is judged unlikely to be successful in the long run. But it’s not my lane right now.

“The jury is out. What I would say is that the collapse of the so- called caliphate will be a necessary part of the complete solution.”

Originally published as Spy chief warns of rift with Muslims

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