Australian right-wing militants celebrated the riots at Capitol Hill last week, experts warned that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the threat of far-right white supremacist terrorism.
Australia-based users of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and right-wing extremist-friendly Gab celebrated the riots that killed five people last week in a conspiracy theory.
A prominent white supremacist wrote: Knock them out and drag them away. Repeat this many times until all the hills close the f–k while the man is crushing the enemy. “
A celebration was held as experts warned that the far-right movement had become more prominent and the number of members had increased since the pandemic began.
Human Rights Watch warned this week that the scene at Capitol Hill should come as a “call for awakening” to counter the growing threat of right-wing terrorism by the Australian government.
Studies show that membership in the far-right group has increased over the past year, online space has exploded, and Australians are seeking connections beyond the belief that whites are superior.
Dr. Julian Drugan is a violent extremist expert at Macquarie University and has spent countless hours observing these groups.
“It’s a very diverse community, much larger than the formal groups that exist online,” said Dr. Droogan.
Group beliefs and values vary. Some focus their hatred on Islam, Jews and feminists, while others focus on the LGBTI community and immigrants.
Binding them is the belief that whites are on the verge of extinction and need authoritarian leaders to save them.
They have all returned to the idea that white identities are under threat. One way to save it is through democratic rollbacks and authoritarian, preferably white leadership, “says Dr. Droogan.
He said that many believe Donald Trump is the person at work.
The militant movement poses two threats to Australia, Dr. Droogan explained.
One is for the group to normalize these beliefs and encourage violence until the “man with a manifesto” becomes a terrorist actor. Mentioned an Australian terrorist who carried out the Christchurch massacre after being radicalized online.
Second, the group’s extreme beliefs permeate mainstream discussions and decisions.
A much more insidious threat is a non-violent move to tolerate racist anti-liberal beliefs in normal society, “Dr. Droogan said.
“So political debates are transferred to the rights of protofascists.”
Protofascism describes ideas and cultural movements that lead to fascist government.
“The fascist government has never been in power by a purely violent revolution. [violent actions] There is a long period of time when people have upset their far-right beliefs and moved them to the mainstream, “explained Dr. Droogan.
Australia’s domestic intelligence agency, ASIO, has already sounded a warning, warning that there is a “realistic and growing” threat until the far right of Australia accounts for 40% of ASIO’s investigations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing pressure to discipline parliamentarians George Kristensen and Craig Kelly for forging a right-wing conspiracy theory about the parliamentary riots.
Just hours after the riot broke through the Capitol building on Wednesday, Kelly advertised on Facebook a conspiracy theory that antifaschists, rather than Trump supporters, were behind the riot.
This plot has also been taken up by some of Australia’s right-wing groups.
Dr. Droogan said it was “dangerous” for the government to refuse to rebuke the two backbenchers.
“In countries like the United States and Australia, there are politicians who try to flirt with these ideas and appeal to the movement,” he said.
“But they hate all politicians. Not as much as they want to elect conservatives and liberals, they make the elite completely distrustful and hateful.
“So it is dangerous to do it because of the revolutionary nature of the movement.”
On Wednesday, Australian director of Human Rights Watch, Helene Pearson, called on Australian authorities to “be wary” of the growing threat.
“The Australian Government, even if it is the President of the United States, should speak clearly and consistently in condemning the actions of those who undermine democracy,” she said.
ANU Simon Copland PhD candidates are studying Australian extremism. He said the active groups were already promoting violence, but that was not the way we think.
“Christchurch archer, he wrote in the manifesto one of the reasons he did it. He was dissatisfied with the lack of progress in the movement here,” he said.
Yeah, that’s right. Massive police crackdowns and Internet censorship can be used on the left as well as on the right. Not correct in either situation. https://t.co/9RB5WtZEzd
— Simon Copland (@SimonCopland) January 12, 2021
Closing the social media space isn’t always the answer, as it could move the group to a less regulated part of the Internet, Copland said.
“That means law enforcement needs to focus more on extremist spaces, identify participants in them, and intervene in advance.”
Dr. Debra Smith, a researcher at the University of Victoria who focuses on violent political extremism, said right-wing extremism has increased significantly since 2015 when the far-right group protested the Bendigo Mosque project. ..
Dr. Smith describes the movement as “leaderless resistance.”
“They act more like a network than a group,” she said.
It’s a balancing act and needs to be visible enough to attract members, but it should be invisible enough to attract security. ”
I can’t tell anyone how big the move is, but Dr. Smith met 100,000 unique users in the Australian group she studied.
Many of them wouldn’t be at risk of being violent, but the online spaces they use frequently encourage it, she said.
“It makes it possible. It encourages it and congratulates those who commit violence,” said Dr. Smith.
The Federal Commission has begun investigating the nature, scale, threat posed by Australian extremism, and how it evolved during COVID-19.
But part of the answer must be to change the political debate so that prejudice cannot be tolerated, Dr. Smith said.
“Our political rhetoric needs to change,” she said.
We need to stop mainstreaming the far-right view and make those people simply look like they have different opinions.
“We need to know what they are. It’s a hatred hawker.”
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