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Another No-Fly List screw up: Top Indonesia general blocked from flying to Pentagon’s terrorism conference

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The federal government’s secretly administered no-fly list took another ding Sunday, when Indonesia’s top general was blocked from boarding his flight to the United States on the invitation of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. for an anti-terrorism conference.

“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford invited Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo to attend a Chiefs of Defense Conference on Countering Violent Extremism being held Oct. 23 through Oct. 24 in Washington,” said a statement released by the U.S. embassy in Jakarta.

“General Gatot was unable to travel as planned,” the statement said. “The Embassy was in touch with the General’s staff about this matter throughout the weekend, working to facilitate his travel. U.S. Ambassador Joseph Donovan has apologized to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi for any inconvenience to General Gatot.”

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Reuters reported:

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“We’ve asked for clarification to the US, to the Department of State as well as the embassy in Jakarta and until now we’re still waiting for that clarification,” Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi told Reuters.

The ministry’s spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir earlier said Indonesia’s embassy in Washington was to send a diplomatic note to the US secretary of state demanding an explanation for the incident.

The ministry will also summon the US deputy ambassador in Jakarta on Monday to seek explanation, Nasir said, adding that the ambassador is presently not in Indonesia.

The American embassy in Jakarta also pledged to help the general rebook his flight.

“The U.S. Embassy was, and remains, prepared to facilitate the General’s travel to the United States. We remain committed to our Strategic Partnership with Indonesia as a way to deliver security and prosperity to both our nations and peoples,” the statement said.

In February 2016, Indonesia’s top general held extensive talks with Dunford at the Pentagon–talks that were punctuated by an elaborate military parade and review hosted by Duford for his Indonesia counterpart.

Gatot is a major figure in Indonesia, which maintains the veneer of a democracy, but also gives its military tremendous influence in the political, social and economic spheres.

In addition to the diplomatic embarrassment, Gatot’s appearance on the no-fly list is a reminder of the mysterious database that Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) wanted to make a part of his program to restrict gun rights.

There is no public access to the no-fly list and no process to learn is you are on the list nor a process to appeal your inclusion on the list.

The no-fly list is maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center and is supplemented by the Secondary Security Screening Selection program, which tagged passengers for further scrutiny when “SSSS” is printed on their boarding pass.

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Big League National Security

Tommy Tuberville Says “We Can’t Worry About China Right Now”

Even though they allowed the disease to spread.

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Former football coach and Alabama US Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said that “we can’t worry about China right now” in a radio appearance with Talk 99.5’s “Matt and Aunie Show on Thursday.

When asked by hosts about the implications of the global coronavirus epidemic on the United States’ relationship with China, Tuberville said, “Well, we can’t worry about China right now. We’ve gotta worry about Alabama and this country.

Tuberville is currently running to represent Alabama in the United States Senate, although he’s been registered as a Florida voter in the past.

His comments on China policy will leave many Americans concerned with the nation’s role in the coronavirus epidemic unsatisfied. Certainly, containing the epidemic in this country is the priority, but a wide range of conservatives and China hawks have already begun to discuss the need to fundamentally reevaluate the United States’ relationship with China. The damage already inflicted upon American society and the global economy does present a pressing case that such a question is in fact urgent.

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Tuberville is running for Senator, not Governor. He could be forgiven if he was running for an office not entrusted with high-level foreign policy responsibilities, but Senators in the coming months and years will be entrusted with developing China policy that recognizes the authoritarian communist nation’s role in allowing and covering up the global coronavirus epidemic.

Contrasting in stark fashion, Tuberville’s opponent for the Republican nomination for US Senate in Alabama, Jeff Sessions, has called for a congressional select committee to investigate China’s role in covering up the dangers posed to the world by the coronavirus, the virus’ origin in Wuhan, and potentially lying about the casualties incurred as a result of the disease in China.

If Alabama voters want a Republican Senator who is going to be tough on China, it doesn’t look like Tommy Tuberville is up to task.

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