icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Australian spy chief dumps ‘right-wing’ & 'Islamic’ extremism terms – that’s woke nonsense and denial of reality

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
Australian spy chief dumps ‘right-wing’ & 'Islamic’ extremism terms – that’s woke nonsense and denial of reality
Aussie spy agency head Mike Burgess risks international confusion as he caves in to the wokelords and dumps universally understood labels for extremists like ‘right-wing’ and ‘Islamic’ because people might take offence.

The Australian intelligence service risks making an international laughing stock of its efforts to combat terrorism after its boss announced it will no longer use labels ‘right wing’ and ‘Islamic’ when speaking of extremism.

Words matter,” Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) chief Mike Burgess told the nation on Wednesday, in his Annual Threat Assessment. “They can be very powerful in how they frame an issue and how they make people think about issues.”

Also on rt.com Aussie spy agency says it won’t call out ‘Islamic’ terrorists, but will say ‘religiously’ motivated attackers instead

There seems to be some concern that those Aussies who follow Islam and their compatriots who identify as conservative – full disclosure: I am the latter – will be mortified to think they are being targeted by men in dark glasses in case they are of the extreme variety.

What woke, semantic nonsense.

So instead of using the universal shorthand for identifying terrorist threats, Australia’s head spy has become all sensitive, apparently having read his diversity handbook and deciding not to upset the delicate sensibilities of those who might take offence at being called left, right or Islamic.

His decision to step back from internationally understood labels could come as something of a surprise to the country’s powerful Parliamentary Joint Committee for Intelligence and Security, which is expected to release the results of its inquiry into extremist movements in Australia next month.

How will they identify the extremist threats facing the nation? You know who, nudge, nudge, wink?

While the head of that inquiry, Senator James Paterson, is relaxed about labels – “I don’t care if we call it far right or white nationalists or white supremacists or neo-Nazis or whatever,” he told The Guardian – the Australian public might be a bit more discerning.

Surely, right wing is the only way to describe the lunatic with a swastika painted on his forehead who attacked an Aboriginal woman with a makeshift flamethrower as she shopped with her daughter in Perth, Western Australia last month.

It must also be the most accurate way of describing the groups of men bizarrely choosing to celebrate Australia Day Nazi-style at beauty spots in January with stiff-armed salutes and shouts of “white power” while families cooked sausages on their holiday barbecues.

Also on rt.com UK neo-Nazi group to become first far-right body to be outlawed in Australia amid calls from home affairs minister

And it must be the label that sticks to the Australian-born and raised white supremacist Brenton Tarrant who left 51 people dead after two gun attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Because that’s what these men are: right-wing extremists. To deny that is to deny reality. 

Burgess also said “ASIO does not investigate people solely because of their political views” is not something that will instill much confidence in the public coming face to face with an intimidating bunch of blackshirted neo-Nazis marching around a local park.

To fail to investigate these groups based on “their political views”, although they may not have committed any acts of violence – would be a mistake. Just take a look, go on, it can’t hurt. 

The top Aussie spook claimed the current language in the spy handbook was no longer fit for purpose and yet across the globe, terms such as right, left and Islamic extremists are useful shorthand for identifying the political origins of threats and surely, this is the whole point. 

Why use the woolly concept of ‘ideologically motivated violent extremism’ when you mean ‘right wing’. Why tiptoe around radical Islamism by calling it ‘religiously motivated violent extremism’? It’s ambiguous and confusing.

Also on rt.com Australia strips Muslim cleric of citizenship in unprecedented move

In trying ever so hard to be the friendly modern face of national snooping, Burgess was attempting to appease the woke constituency and simultaneously reassure the paranoid that they had nothing to worry about. 

We want to be clear about who poses a terrorist or violent extremist threat and why ASIO is interested in them,” he said. “Australians should not think that their security service is looking into them because of their political or religious views.

I don’t know about the rest of my fellow Aussies, but if those political or religious views are the type to encourage radicals to hijack and fly commercial airplanes full of passengers into skyscrapers, create barbaric beheading videos or slaughter of innocent people outside a mosque, isn’t that exactly what we want them to think?

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Podcasts