Protecting the nation or jumping the gun?

UPDATE

Trump’s new travel ban blocked by Judges again

Obviously still not a well thought out effort. What the text seems to offer is not a process of thinking about protecting the nation but excusing the original document.

 

7 days, 7 countries, 78 “under-reported” attacks

Seven days into the Trump administration, Donald J Trump signed an executive order under the guise of “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES”. As a headline this sounds like a fantastic idea and in the modern era where a majority get their news from a headline, many people probably cheered.

After all DJT is doing what he said he would do, he is protecting Americans from the people who wish to do them harm. Meanwhile, others thought it was a rash and undemocratic decision and confusion reigned at airports. Some focused on the fact that he wasn’t banning any countries he has business ties with, others called it unconstitutional.The media, mainstream and social, jumped on it. Out came the defenders and protesters.

Who is right, who is wrong, what was it and where did the 7 countries[1] come from?

The 7 countries

Dig into the data and the declarations from both sides and interesting information comes out.

The 7 countries were already subject to extra vetting on an existing bill. That was signed into law on December 18, 2015 under the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” [2], under the Obama administration.

Therefore Donald Trump’s team did not pick the 7 countries, they came about from the above order and an expansion by the Department of Home Security. Libya, Somalia, and Yemen were added in February 2016.[3]

After the backlash, DJT’s team attempted to validate the executive order by citing 78  terrorist attacks the media were not reporting on or attempting to cover up.

News providers and the man on the street started to pick apart that fallacy that these stories were under-reported. Here is where real information gets lost in the noise.

Some clarity on the 78 and the 7

In order to better understand the executive order and the 7 countries affected and why they used the 78 incidents, I have broken down the data and information into bite sized pieces and graphics. This is in hope that more than a headline is taken as fact.

This is by no means an exhaustive analysis, but it is an analysis of the numbers versus the statements and hopefully answers some questions on where and how this order came about and why those 7 countries.

While reading about all of these attacks from several media outlets there are a few, ‘attacks’ that were probably not terror-related. However, I have not removed them from the findings.

78 attacks by the numbers

the78reports

It is impossible to get an actual tally of the number of perpetrators due to many never being identified, or simply being identified as ISIL. ISIL also seems willing to claim responsibility for acts, which can neither be verified nor denied.

However, of the 96 identified perpetrators, 55 were born and raised in the country in which they committed the act, while 41 were foreigners to the country in which they perpetrated the attack.

In the US, 7 of the 12 perpetrators were American. 1 of the 5 foreign nationals was of Somalian descent. The other 4 were not from the countries on the list.

In Canada, 2 Canadian born and raised nationals perpetrated both attacks.

In the Australia the 5 perpetrators came from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and France. In Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh the perpetrators were all home grown. Bangladesh had a few listed as unidentified ISIL operatives out of 4 perpetrators.

The EU claims the most attacks in the period from 2014 to 2016 with a total of 33. In those 33 attacks, 48 people were identified. 33 were French nationals. 3 were Syrian, and the remaining were not from any countries on Executive order list.

In the Middle East and North Africa, Trump’s list cites 22 attacks. This number seems very low considering the amount of news coverage of attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Cameroon, Israel, Bahrain and Lebanon to name a few.

However of the 22 listed attacks 18 were home grown, 2 were from Yemen and the others were unidentified. 4 countries never caught, nor identified the perpetrators.

The bottom line

The 7 countries were already subjects of an the existing visa waiver program. Anyone originating from them were already being vetted before they came to the US. The 78 “under-reported” incidents were quite heavily reported by all major media and local media outlets as well.

The executive order offered no real steps to making Americans any safer from those who mean to do them harm. The majority of those who did harm in America were from America.

The executive order seems to be an attempt to be seen to be doing something, rather than doing the right thing. It was a triumph of superficial over substance.

Update

On February 29 Trump has dropped Iraq from the list and is working on a new order. The 7 may now become 6.

Links

S.2362 – Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015

DHS announcement expanding to the 7

Visa Waiver Act

Homeland Security releases

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/02/03/statement-countries-currently-suspended-travel-united-states

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/02/04/dhs-statement-compliance-recent-court-order

Footnotes
[1] Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria, joined by Libya, Somalia, and Yemen according to DHS Further Travel Restrictions for the Visa Waiver Program, Release Date: February 18, 2016.
[2] The visa waiver program allows people in transit to visit the US for 90 days without obtaining a visa before arrival.
[3] Except from the order: “I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12.)

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