‘Extreme vetting’ and Pine Gap

p2405 Donald Trumpp2405 Malcolm TurnbullBy ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The US spy base Pine Gap, on Alice Springs’ doorstep and a likely nuclear target, could be Australia’s prime bargaining chip when it comes to dealing with the US.

 

But it does not look set to be used that way in discussions between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (at right) and US President Donald Trump about refugees currently in Australian care in Nauru and on Manus Island in PNG.

 

Mr Turnbull thinks he has a deal with the US, agreed to by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, for the US to accept the refugees.

 

But it seems the conditions imposed by Mr Trump may well scuttle the deal: He says it will be subject to “extreme vetting” of the refugees.

 

The Alice Springs News Online asked Mr Turnbull:

 

• What does he understand Mr Trump to mean when he refers to “extreme vetting”?

 

• What will be the criteria?

 

• How long will it take?

 

• Who will do the vetting?

 

• What influence will Australia have over that vetting?

 

A spokesman for Mr Turnbull replied: “Extreme vetting means very thorough.

 

“The exact nature of the vetting is a matter for the US.”

 

Clearly Mr Trump will get his own way.

 

 

 

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13 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Terry Carr
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I wonder how many of the “intelligentsia” posting here lost family and friends amongst the three thousand dead on 9/11?
    How many have any idea how open to attack the USA is? To be honest, a few people who tried to enter Australia illegally, currently held on an island, are of little interest to the people of America.
    The open southern border, and the fact that currently America has many millions of “illegals” in the country, are the prime concerns of the President, and the thinking people of their country.

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  2. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Hall, let’s forget the bombs for an instant.
    The scope of the two policies is slightly different:
    1. Was response to a real threat as
    2. Trump’s ban is preemptive.
    Obama’s suspension was in direct response to a failed plot by Iraqi nationals living in Bowling Green, Ky., to send money, explosives and weapons to al-Qaida.
    The two men were arrested by the FBI in May 2011 for actions committed in Iraq and trying to assist overseas terrorist groups.
    Obama’s 2011 order put a pause on refugee processing, but Iraqi refugees were nonetheless admitted to the United States during the 2011. However, Trump is trying to put an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees
    Trump’s executive order seeks to temporarily bar travel to the United States for all citizens from seven countries, and it is not in direct response to actions from citizens of those countries.
    The bombing and the amount was talked about in the world media and protested.
    There was outrage at the terrorist attacks in New York and on the Pentagon. But there is, nevertheless, opposition to the brutal and indiscriminate bombing of Afghanistan by the mightiest military power that the world has ever seen.
    CodePinkIn, an online petition sent out, the US-based peace group CODEPINK declared:
    In the last seven years, Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Obama has bombed seven countries. Tell President Obama it’s time to stop endless bombing across the Middle East!
    We, the undersigned, call on President Obama to end the bombing campaign in Libya and across the Middle East. We agree with Congresswoman Barbara Lee when she said that “there is no military solution to this crisis” with [the Islamic State or ISIS].
    We ask that the administration instead take steps to form a comprehensive regional approach that addresses political, economic, humanitarian and diplomatic challenges that allow [ISIS] to commit violence.
    With neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump running as a peace candidate, CODEPINK said in a statement “the world needs a peace movement now more than ever, as Obama continues to drop bombs all over the Middle East and we prepare for the next US president”.
    Robert Fisk of the London Independent newspaper on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 asked a very interesting question: “Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?”
    The Saudis are bombing Yemen because they fear the Shia Houthis are working for the Iranians. The Saudis are also bombing Isis in Iraq and the Isis in Syria. So are the United Arab Emirates.
    The Syrian government is bombing its enemies in Syria and the Iraqi government is bombing its enemies in Iraq.
    America, France, Britain, Denmark, Holland, Australia and Canada are bombing Isis in Syria and Isis in Iraq, partly on behalf of the Iraqi government (for which read Shia militias) but absolutely not on behalf of the Syrian government.
    The Jordanians and Saudis and Bahrainis are also bombing Isis in Syria and Iraq because they don’t like them, but the Jordanians are bombing Isis even more than the Saudis after their pilot-prisoner was burned to death in a cage.
    The Egyptians are bombing parts of Libya because a group of Christian Egyptians had their heads chopped off by what might – notionally – be the same so-called Islamic State, as Isis refers to itself.
    The Iranians have acknowledged bombing Isis in Iraq – of which the Americans (but not the Iraqi government) take a rather dim view. And of course the Israelis have several times bombed Syrian government forces in Syria but not Isis. Mind boggling.

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  3. Hal Duell
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Evelyne: My unease over the current protests concerning the Trump visa ban centres on two facts.
    The first is best expressed when he states the following (as quoted by Moon of Alabama):
    “But it is nothing new that the citizens of those countries are targeted with US visa restrictions. It was Obama who introduced such in 2015 and 2016. The Trump order links directly to them. It does not name any country but refers to them as “countries designated in Division O, Title II, Section 203 of the 2016 consolidated appropriations act.”
    Where was the outrage then?
    And, in 2016 the Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama dropped over 26,000 bombs on targets in seven different countries. This number can easily be verified by searching through the web.
    Again, where was the outrage then?
    The current outrage is, in my opinion, selective and hypocritical. It feeds into a colour (pink) revolution currently being fermented across the US, and that is, again in my opinion, more dangerous than the presidency of Donald Trump.

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  4. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Yes Fred, Australia needed migrants:Populate or perish. But contrary to what we were led to believe at the Australian Embassy we were not looked after.
    Most migrants arrived by ship or planes disembarked in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.
    From there they were immediately taken to migration hostels in rural areas, often in former military barracks.
    With accommodation fashioned from old corrugated iron Nissen huts, migrants were frequently shocked at the primitive conditions.
    With men and women separated into single sex barracks, shared bathrooms and kitchens and a communal dining room serving unfamiliar, and often unpalatable food, migration hostels were neither comfortable nor welcoming.
    I experienced first hand: Bonegilla camp. My son aged seven was barracked with the men, people fought with knives at the dining room for the food and I used to go to the showers facilities with a tin of ajax and a scrubber.
    I had taken with me some baby food from France and I gave it to a mother of a nine months old baby who had been in the camp for three months with no baby food.
    We were told at the Embassy that Australia needed our skills (my husband and I were highly qualified). Alas it was a lie: Voluntary and refugee migrants were offered a two year directed-labour contract in return for their passage to Australia.
    Under this contract there were two classes of worker — men were labourers and women were domestics, who were to be assigned to work in critical areas of the economy.
    We escaped Bonegilla, found refuge in Wagga Wagga and from then all was well, we made friends and got good jobs.
    You can visit Bonegilla, the Australian concentration camp, like it was an normal attraction. But with the exception of the gas chamber, for a lot of the residents it was like Dachau.
    Please take a tour and maybe this will explained my empathy with migrants in camps.

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  5. Fred the Philistine
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    The fairest thing is to send them back to their own country and let them come in through the proper channels like the migrants in the 1950s to 1960s had to do.

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  6. Y Morn
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    People need to hold on to the humanitarian card for just a minute.
    All laws / rules are implemented due to the few who choose to disobey them.
    For this, these immigrants (who I suggest have been waiting some time) scheduled to enter the US are being subjected to some further checks / vetting before final entry is granted, what’s the problem?
    Better to check now?
    As for US-Australia relations, firstly I don’t think DT was that harsh, deals must be fair and equitable to both parties to remain a deal?

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  7. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Hal, I discuss only with respect. I do not know you personally therefore I can only respect your opinions.
    I said I am a “potential terrorist” with sarcasm because of the 72 types of Americans that are considered “potential terrorists” in official government documents.
    Terrorism is a real threat – but the threat to the US from Muslim terrorists has been exaggerated.
    An FBI report shows that only a small percentage of terrorist attacks carried out on US soil between 1980 and 2005 were perpetrated by Muslims.
    No person accepted to the United States as a refugee, Syrian or otherwise, has been implicated in a major fatal terrorist attack since the Refugee Act of 1980 set up systematic procedures for accepting refugees into the United States, according to an analysis of terrorism immigration risks by the Cato Institute.
    Before 1980, three refugees had successfully carried out terrorist attacks; all three were Cuban refugees, and a total of three people were killed.
    Since the Cato Institute analysis was published in September 2016, a Somalian refugee injured 13 people at Ohio State University in November in what officials investigated as a terrorist attack. No one died.
    Precisely zero foreign-born terrorists admitted as refugees have killed anyone on American soil (and no, the Boston bombers were not refugees). That’s the situation that Trump’s executive order is designed to improve.
    Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, noted in its report that the vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups.
    For example, in 2013, there were 152 terror attacks in Europe. Only two of them were “religiously motivated,” while 84 were predicated upon ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs.
    In 2011, Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway to further his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and pro-“Christian Europe” agenda as he stated in his manifesto.
    The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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  8. Hal Duell
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 3:36 am

    I pity the innocents incarcerated on Manus Island and Nauru. And now with President Trump apparently blasting PM Turnbull on what he calls a “bad deal”, the possibility arises that no refugees will manage to get out of their detention centres.
    Add to that the current case of a pregnant woman on Nauru facing a difficult and dangerous birth who has been denied a chance to have that delivery in Australia. The denial is said to come from the government of Nauru.
    So just who is calling the shots over there?
    Australia has fashioned a rod for her own back with this off-shore detention scheme. It’s making us look like fools lacking in humanity on the international stage.
    Can we remedy this situation short of full capitulation and allowing all of those in the centres into Australia?
    Or will we just continue to say that all’s well and that we are acting in our national interest.
    I’m glad the boats have stopped. The constant stream of them was tearing us apart. Now the remedy, the detention centres, is doing the same. Enough is enough. We’re in a hole. Time to stop digging.

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  9. Hal Duell
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    @ Evelyne Roullet, Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm
    I am going to pay you a bit more respect than I’m thinking you paid me and assume you know what I meant when I said “potential terrorist”.
    In case I’m wrong, according to a Wikipedia search listing terrorist acts committed since and including 9/11, and excluding all countries except the US, countries in Europe and Russia, I count 12 in the US, 11 in Russia and 27 in Europe. And for what it’s worth, the total for the rest of the world tops my total by a factor of what looks like at least five, and possibly ten.
    These are what President Trump is attempting to prevent.
    Also for what it’s worth, in my opinion for you to claim membership in the fraternity/sorority of those murderous souls responsible for the above listed acts is playing identity politics at its most base.

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  10. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Hal what is a potential terrorist?
    In the US if you are a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian, a gun owner. If you are opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order. If you believe in conspiracy theories, that we are living in the “end times” according to official US government documents, you are a “potential terrorist” if you answered yes to any of those statements.
    The Federal Government have banned refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru from ever coming to Australia, but Mr. Trump agreed to maintain the agreement, reached under the Obama administration, during a 25-minute telephone call on Sunday, said the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on January 30.
    May be it is that those refugees will be deported to Pine Gap and used as human shields in case of air strikes.
    Excuse my sarcasms but I am a “potential terrorist”.

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  11. Hal Duell
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I fail to see what the problem is here. Extreme (thorough) vetting (to subject to examination or evaluation) seems to be self explanatory.
    President Trump has indicated that he will not allow potential terrorists to enter the USA under the guise of being refugees. Nor will he allow other countries to tell him who is or is not a refugee or a terrorist posing as a refugee. What’s not to like there?
    The alternative of no vetting or summary vetting is a good idea? Look at what is happening in Europe and tell me that’s a good idea.
    In their dreams, the Australian government thought it had found a way to empty Manus Island and Nauru detention centres. It seems they were wrong. Some of the unfortunate souls detained by us may get a chance to get out of detention, but some probably won’t.
    We don’t want them here, and the US may not want them, or not all of them, there. We created the off-shore detention problem, and it’s still our problem.

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  12. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    “The exact nature of the vetting is a matter for the US.” Yes but the refugees currently in Nauru and on Manus Island in PNG are in Australian care, and the ones that Trump’s system will reject, will remain in our responsibility and care.
    Malcolm Turnbull refuses to comment on Donald Trump’s contentious ban on travel by people from a group of Muslim-majority nations.
    In response to reporters’ questions Turnbull says: “It is not my job as PM of Australia to run a commentary on domestic policies of other countries.”
    So why are our men fighting in other countries?

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  13. Come in Spinner
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    This could get mean very quickly – what happens to those people who are excluded from the deal due to Trump’s version of “extreme vetting”? This is a train wreck waiting to happen.

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