Giving no quarter

This is a curious little report.

The United States has rejected more than 300 refugees under the Australia-US refugee deal, leaving the men in Australia’s offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

That’s fair enough; I suppose, their borders, their border entry requirements.

What sort of percentage of these previously slam dunk new American residents were rejected?

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the target of resettling 1250 refugees was not going to be met, hampering the Coalition’s goal of closing down the detention centres.

Crikey, that’s nearly a 25% rejection rate.

“I don’t think we’ll get there,” he said. “There’s been over 300 that have been rejected by the United States for various reasons. They will make decisions about who they will bring under their migration program.”

Various reasons“.

Any chance we, the taxpayer who funds these rejected applicants, could learn what those reasons might be?

Mr Dutton said there were 95 people who have either withdrawn from consideration or rejected an offer, 295 who were in the pipeline for approval and 531 who had been re-settled.

Withdrawn or rejected an offer of resettlement to the USA…. after an expensive and perilous journey across 2 continents and half an ocean followed by several years on an island in the middle of nowhere?

Is anyone else wondering why? A quick scan of the rest of the article would suggest that nobody else is interested in the details.

This is interesting though:

Under the deal, Australia would reportedly accept dozens of Central American refugees in exchange for those in the Australian offshore detention centres, but Mr Dutton said only two Rwandans accused of mass murder by the US had been re-settled in Australia. 

The pair were taken to the US more than a decade ago and charged with murdering eight people in a brutal 1999 machete attack in Uganda.

Wait, what?

“We don’t have plans to bring any others from America at this stage,” Mr Dutton told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Oh, that’s ok then. Just the two accused of genocide then. Could someone please let me know what postcode they were relocated to?

He said the historical perspective and circumstances of the allegations needed to be taken into account as well as what has happened in the intervening period.

What does that even mean, do we think?

Because Australia doesn’t have many Tutsi these two accused murderers are not so likely to repeat their actions?

Or, over time, a mass murder event becomes less serious?

If you’re confused by Dutton’s statement, you’re not alone.

“That’s a different situation from someone who just sexually assaulted a girl on Manus in the last 12 months,” he said.”We aren’t bringing in people posing a risk.”

Excuse me if I’m unconvinced by that word salad.

In fact, I’m sure I read something similar from the Argentinian authorities in 1960 after Albert Eichman was captured.

Mr Dutton said the Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and international partners would continue to vet asylum seekers and Australians returning from war-zones in Syria.

“They’re complex cases. We’ll look at them compassionately but realistically,” he said.

Right, but back to the arrangement with the USA; it would seem something came up in their vetting that didn’t in ours. Comparatively quickly too, given that these asylum seekers were on Nauru and Manus, under Australian Federal care for 4 or 5 years.

There’s more from Mr. Dutton:

“If we’re bringing teenagers back, for example, who may have been listening to the propaganda rhetoric, having watched horrific circumstances, bodies being mutilated, over a long period of time, what threat those individuals may pose to our country if they’re returned”

What, as opposed to two people accused of doing the killing?

Anyway, these two potential mass murderers aside, what about the nearly 25% rejected applicants? Why might the USA quickly deem them to be not the type of person to be admitted to their country?

Here’s another data point you might not be aware of or have forgotten, certainly the news report seems to have omitted it; the deal wasn’t contingent on the applicants being genuine asylum seekers under the UN definition, they only had to pass a basic safety vetting.

Bill’s Opinion

Why might someone sitting for years on Nauru or Manus withdraw from a chance to be relocated in America?

The Guardian suggests it’s because America is horrid to Muslims, because that’s what several of the asylum seekers told them. More horrid than half a decade on an isolated Pacific Island?

We seem to be missing quite a lot of relevant information here.

Why would the USA be able to determine someone isn’t suitable to be relocated in their country when Australia has been happy to keep that person housed, fed and Xbox’d to their heart’s content for years?

Again, we seem to be missing quite a lot of relevant information.

Incentives matter. The urgency to investigate and adjudicate on an asylum seeker’s case when they are living outside of the country to which they are applying is not as great as when they are potentially about to arrive on your shores.

As for withdrawing an apparently slam dunk application to America because of “Islamophobia“? Our razor suggests that’s unlikely to be the real reason; an explanation requiring fewer assumptions to be correct is that there is something in one’s past that, if or perhaps when discovered by the American authorities, would require you to answer a bunch of difficult questions.

Allah enjoys a cold beer too

On a hot day, a palate-cleansing cold beer can be quite refreshing. I don’t suppose that’s the explanation for this though;

Terrorists linked to Iran were caught stockpiling tonnes of explosive materials on the outskirts of London in a secret British bomb factory, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Radicals linked to Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group, stashed thousands of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate – a common ingredient in homemade bombs.

Hizbollah. The “party of Allah”.

Lovely people, I’m sure. It probably means nothing important that they have a picture of an AK47 on their offical flag.

In unrelated news, the great de-platforming and de-monetising of non-Left voices on social media continues, with Stephen Crowder being the latest to feel the wrath of the tech company censorship.

Meanwhile, this account is deemed fine;

Presumably Hasanein died of an excess of Photoshop?

Anyway, there’s always a silver lining in every cloud, his lad gets free haircuts until he’s 16 years old or when he’s fitted with his first suicide vest, whichever is sooner.

You do have to love the Lóréal sheet as a nice touch, “…because you’re worth it“.

Bill’s Opinion

Jokingly referring to someone who describes themselves as “queer” by that name 7 times over the course of a 12 month period is beyond the pale and will see you thrown down the memory hole.

Being a organisation that actively targets the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, waging wars and planning terrorist attacks, and chucking gays off buildings? All good, apparently.

How interesting.

New Zealand’s Princess Diana moment

Mass hysteria is an incredible phenomenon to observe.

These women are not Muslim and are living in a western democracy with a thousand year history of the freedoms of Common Law;

As with the public hysteria following Princess Diana’s death, it’s not clear what percentage of the Kiwi population are quietly seething at this virtue signalling compared with those who are playing dress up.

That’s the story the press are not reporting, the “dog that isn’t barking”. It was the same in the weeks following the tragic death of Princess Diana; perhaps 2% of the population of the UK went utterly insane while the other 98% of us quietly got on with our lives hoping our friends and relatives would soon return to normality.

There’s a confirmation bias at play in these situations; you can see the women in headscarves pointing an index finger upwards. What’s less obvious are the thoughts going through the minds of everyone else who isn’t wearing a scarf.

The upwards-pointing index finger in the picture above is interesting too. One wonders whether much research and contemplation had gone into these ladies’ decision to perform what is, in effect, the gang hand signal of choice of the murderous beheading jihadis?

When ISIS militants hold up a single index finger on their right hands, they are alluding to the tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion. The tawhid comprises the first half of the shahada, which is an affirmation of faith, one of the five pillars of Islam, and a component of daily prayers: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” 

Perhaps no thought went into it at all.

Bill’s Opinion

If you wanted to convince murderous white supremacist crazies that western democracy and freedom isn’t currently experiencing an existential threat which justifies taking up an armed response in defence, this would be about the absolute worst method of persuasion.

Similarly, if you think pulling Jordan Peterson’s book out of bookstores is going to help, consider the possibility that your analysis is deeply flawed and you don’t understand human nature at all.

Fortunately, we have a word which adequately describes what is occurring in New Zealand:

Dhimmitude

The shoe is on the other foot

When you buy a ticket for the Woke Intersectional Express, sometimes you find the train stops at unscheduled stations.

Nike upsets muslims who claim the design of a new show looks a bit like the Arabic script for Allah.

Muslims urge Nike to recall shoes with logo some say resembles word Allah

Saiqa Noreen, who created the Change.org petition demanding that the footwear and apparel brand remove the Nike Air Max 270 from store shelves, said the symbol on the bottom of the shoe “will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth.”

“It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam. Islam teaches compassion, kindness and fairness towards all,” he continued.

Ok, I’m pretty sure I can find some verses of the Koran that contradict that last assertion but please do tell me more about your reasonable demands.

It urges Nike to review the rest of its product line too, and to recall any merchandise with logos that resemble the word Allah.

“We also request stricter scrutiny of products before they enter the market,” the petition read.

Who gets to decide what “resembles” means?

Some of the petition’s signatories included their personal reasons for signing — with most saying they thought the Nike design was “disrespectful” and “offensive” toward their religion, and that they are owed an apology from the sportswear giant.  

How does an apology to the believers help? It’s Allah who’s apparently been slighted, surely?

In fact if you’re a follower of Allah, recall that “Islam” means “submission” or “surrender“. It would seem a bit late in the process to be looking for apologies once you’ve agreed to submission.

Nike did not return CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.

Strange…. one would have thought the team who came up with the Colin Kaepernick campaign would be all over this like a cheap suit, surely?

Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, declined to take a position on the issue, saying that the organization is in ongoing discussions with Nike.

“It’s obvious that some people perceive it as a slight. Whether is actually is or not, that still doesn’t get rid of the perception of some people,” Hooper told CBS MoneyWatch.

In other words, “oh fucking hell, how are we ever going to convince everyone we aren’t loons and murderous psychos when idiots get upset about a squiggly line on sports shoes?

He suspects that any offense caused by Nike was inadvertent.

Ya reckon?

As opposed to what, a bunch of marketing execs sitting in a room whiteboarding ways to piss off the jihadis?

Bill’s Opinion

Compare and contrast the media response to the occasional reports of poor Catholic peasants who discover the face of Jesus on burnt toast or half an orange.

Ridicule? Pity at best, as this example illustrates.

One wonders how those brave Buzzfeed journalists battling the forces of evil are reporting this latest “Allah on a shoe” rubbish?

Well, we will keep wondering as there’s nothing on their website when one searches for the story.

Voltaire didn’t say this, an actual neo-Nazi (as opposed to just someone who didn’t vote for Hillary) did, but it’s quite pertinent nonetheless;

To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?

That’s a nice country you’ve got, be a shame if anything happened to it

Moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will increase the risk of Islamic terrorist attacks against Australians or people suspected of being Australian.

We’re not threatening you though, just warning you of what some people, for whom we’re not responsible, might do.

Let’s face it, who amongst us would not wish our neighbours to warn us if we were unknowingly putting ourselves in danger?

Australians must feel a huge sense of gratitude to the leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia for such kindness and selflessness to warn them of an increased threat of terrorism.

After all, there’s nothing more comforting than being lectured by leaders of majority Muslim countries on what might trigger terrorism attacks….. like an arsonist giving free advice to firefighters.

For example, one can sense the concern for the safety of all Australians in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s advice;

…..in dealing with terrorism, one has to know the causes. Adding to the cause for terror­ism is not going to be helpful … I pointed that out.

Ah, cause and effect, eh? Very sage advice.

What might be the causes of terrorism do we think?

Here’s a multiple choice list to consider;

1. Someone with mental health issues being convinced by a religious leader of a guaranteed afterlife in paradise if they kill infidels.

2. Country A moving their embassy in Country B to the capital city, against the wishes of Country C.

Bill’s Opinion

The Association Fallacy falsely links a group of individuals to another group of individuals because they share a similar quality.

However, there seems to be an exception to this rule; when looking at the group of people who are anti-Zionist and the group of people who are anti-Semitic, there is pretty much no recorded cases where the two groups don’t match completely.

As Tim Blair points out, Dr. Mahathir’s track record on both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is hiding in plain sight. Of the list of people to be assumed to be arguing in good faith against the embassy move, Mahathir would be one or two levels from the very bottom of the list. There’s probably only some blokes from Austria and Germany in the 1930s who would be beneath him on that list.

The man, in his own words, frequently repeated, is an unreconstructed Jew-hater. We’ll take no lectures about the causes of terrorism from him, thanks very much.

Anyway, the embassy move won’t happen now as the Australian government lost the by-election it was fighting in the Jewish area and the idea will now be buried quietly as yet another cynical attempt to cling to power.

As Thomas Sowell said,

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2.  Whatever is No. 3 is far behind.

Every city or house divided against itself will not stand

A recent survey suggests that London might not be the swinging epicentre of liberal values that it once was.

How strange.

About 15 years ago, I was delighted to witness the work of the hilariously bipolar close-hand magician and foul-mouthed comedian, Jerry Sadowitz, at the tiny Soho Theatre. One of his throwaway lines was the following;

So anyway, I was drinking in a gay bar just round the corner last night. How did I know it was a gay bar? Well, it’s in fucking London, isn’t it?“.

That this joke is/was funny is testament to the national stereotype London has of being a centre for all manner of non-traditional non-conservative values and lifestyles.

Comedy is built on kernels of commonly-held axioms. In the recent past, London was universally thought to be the home of the freaks, the weirdos, the people on the edge of society. It was a place where one could go and be relatively safe from harm and avoid people who were harshly judgemental.

The survey suggests this is a memory now, not reality.

What might have caused this, do we think?

Two obvious explanations come immediately to mind, either;

1. The population of London has changed its opinion, or

2. The population of London has changed, i.e. there’s been a replacement.

There’s an hilarious clue in the survey’s narrative;

Or, in other words, “if we exclude everyone with a religious opinion from the data, the remaining people are just as tolerant as everyone else“.

Quite.

But apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy your evening at the theatre?”.

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that, when a city’s population has a large increase of a particular demographic with conservative religious views, they bring their opinions with them largely unchanged.

The 19 worst countries for gender equality

To celebrate International Identity Politics Day Women’s Day, Business Insider Australia had an article showing the worst countries in the world to be a female human (there’s some sub-editor gotchyas in the article but we won’t spoil the surprise for you).

Actually, when you scan the list, these also correlate quite closely with the worst countries in the world to be a human of any gender, but that doesn’t fit the day’s narrative so well.

Have a browse of the bottom of the list (page 21 here), compiled by our old friends the World Economic Forum at great expense to the shareholders of the various 1,000 contributing corporates propping up this cottage industry of stating the bleedin’ obvious;

The countries at the bottom of the list all seem to share a common theme but I just can’t quite put my finger on it, see if you can see a trend;

You could probably get a good kebab in most of them but I don’t think that’s the most important common factor somehow.

Bill’s Opinion

Just like with the pollution of the world’s oceans with plastic or any other number of important global issues of the day, it’s always useful to closely examine people’s actions more than their words.

Treat with the utter contempt they deserve the people who loudly proclaim they are strongly supporting the rights and well-being of women, yet limit their actions to hectoring for equality of outcomes in western corporates rather than taking any action whatsoever targeting the brutal oppression of women for religious or cultural reasons in majority Muslim countries.

If cultures are all relative and equal, please explain why these countries are net exporters of migrants rather than immigration attractions.

Oh, and in case you were curious as the the 20th placed worst country, it’s Fiji. After that, normal service is resumed and we’re back the the Islamic countries again.

UPDATE;

I’ve just realised Timor-Leste is predominately Catholic. There’s always an exception to the rule, obviously. In this case, the exception has 1.3m inhabitants which could be considered a rounding error.

Stockholm Syndrome

There’s a general election being fought in the UK currently, polling day is June 8th. As seems to happen all too frequently in the West, campaigning was paused in the wake (both meanings of the homophone apply) of yet another act of extreme violence against innocents.

 

When normal politics was resumed, the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech which linked domestic terrorism with the various overseas wars (either officially-declared and otherwise). The full transcript of the speech can be found here.

Corbyn uses couched language and stresses the point that, in linking the two, he isn’t excusing suicide bombers detonating themselves at concerts for teenage girls. He isn’t the first from the political left to have made this linkage though and it is one which we wish to explore in this post.

Hypothesis: Western military intervention overseas is directly or indirectly linked to the escalation of domestic Jihadist terrorism and, if halted, the terrorism would subside or even cease.

There are two propositions in this hypothesis. Firstly one of causation and secondly that the linkage between the cause and the consequence is extant and therefore the situation can be reversed.

We will examine these in reverse order because, if the second is found to be false, there’s little practical utility in determining the truth of the first.

What is the motivation behind “home-grown” suicide bombers?

To understand this would require a deep understanding of the motivation behind each and every suicide bomber to find a common theme, if one even exists. As Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Perhaps this is the case with those young men (and the suicide bomber demographic seems to consist of predominately very young men) and they arrive at violence from different starting points.

The only evidence we have to judge their motivation is the angry “suicide note” videos they occasionally leave behind, observations from acquaintances and the messages given from the religious instruction they received prior to their crimes.

These overwhelmingly point to two themes; a rejection of the values of the west (the culture in which they were either partially or fully raised) and an acceptance that holy war is their duty.

The first doesn’t necessarily lead to violence, countless Britons have found themselves questioning the values and systems within which they grew up and lived. The vast majority move relatively smoothly from this rejection to a different value system and certainly without resorting to building a home-made nail bomb-vest and detonating it in a crowded concert hall. George Harrison’s post-Beatles career would have been tragically short otherwise, for example.

It’s obviously the Jihadis’ chosen solution that is the problem for those of us who wish to attend concerts without risking anything more severe than tinnitus.

If a young man has followed the spiritual journey that leads to a rejection of the values of his home nation, is it possible that we might prevent the next step, that of determining that the only solution is violent Jihad?

Perhaps, but if just a single disaffected youth slips through whatever intelligence-gathering and “de-radicalisation” programmes are implemented, the consequence is tragedy.

Is it likely that the current pool of UK-residents with Jihadi thoughts would accept an immediate and unambiguous statement from the UK Prime Minister apologising for overseas invasions, wars and drone strikes and a vow to not engage in these again?

There’s a joke at the expense of the French (the best jokes often are); Q. How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? A. Who knows, it’s never been attempted.

Similarly, we are highly unlikely to ever be in the position where a country such as the UK or the USA would ever make such a pronouncement. However, we could point to the example of Spain, which reacted to the Madrid terror attacks of 2004 by pulling her troops out of Iraq. Did this result in a reduction in credible threats of terrorism? That’s hard to answer with empirical data but an active cell was prevented from attacking Barcelona in 2008 and further credible threats have been reported since, so the threat clearly didn’t reduce to zero.

This suggests that, even if western military action overseas was the touchpaper for the Jihadi movement, it’s no longer the only factor in the spiritual journey that leads a 22 year old male to reject their home country’s laws and values and murder unsuspecting music fans. This movement looks to have become the religious equivalent of a parthenogenetic organism, capable of producing new recruits regardless of the external stimulus.

Thought experiment: We can wave a magic wand which will simultaneously prevent all western forces attacking Muslim countries and globally remove all Jihadi-motivation from those currently with that view. Would there be no further Jihadi attacks in the West?

If Corbyn is correct, the answer to this question should be an emphatic “yes”. There is a problem with this, however; Jihadism is “re-bootable” (this is someone else’s observation but we can’t recall whose).

By this we mean, if nothing but the holy texts of Islam survived a global apocalypse and an alien found and read these, it is possible that they might interpret the messages contained within the Quran in such a way that leads them to embrace violent Jihad. The texts themselves explicitly call on the follower to wage war on the unconverted and apostates alike.

The answer to the question posed in our thought experiment is certainly not an unqualified “yes” and, unless we could delete the various passages from all copies of the Quran and every subsequent commentary written on the subject, chances are the answer is “no, more Jihadis would replace the ones we removed with our magic wand“.

Bill’s opinion

Even if the West is fully-culpable for the radicalisation of disaffected youths who are subsequently motivated to commit suicide with methods designed to take as many innocent lives as possible, the problem is not likely to go away now, regardless of any move towards pacifism or foreign non-intervention.

Our reality requires a different solution to Corbyn’s suggestion but also, it’s clear that the current mitigating actions are not effective either.