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Australia lists neo-Nazi group The Base and Hezbollah as terrorist organisations

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews updates terror list, making membership of either group a crime

The Australian government will list the neo-Nazi group The Base as a terrorist organisation, together with the entirety of the Lebanese Shia political party and militant group Hezbollah.

Nov 23, 2021: Lebanese political party and militant group Hizbollah and neo-Nazi group ‘The Base’ have been listed as terror organisations in Australia’s Criminal Code.

The home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, announced the plan to designate the two groups under Australia’s criminal code, which outlaws being a member, providing support to or associating with listed terrorist organisations.

Andrews described The Base – which has already been proscribed as a terrorist group by Canada and the UK – as “a violent, racist, neo-Nazi group known by security agencies to be planning and preparing terrorist attacks”. It was, she said, known to have organised paramilitary training camps overseas.

Nov 23, 2021: Neo-Nazi organisation ‘The Base’ added to terrorism list

The government also moved on Wednesday to expand the listing of Hezbollah, which represents the Lebanese Shia community and has military, political and social components.

Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation has been designated as a terror organisation in Australia since 2003, but broadening it to cover the entire group follows the lead of the US, Canada and the UK.

Police have previously raised concern that the existing listing requires prosecutors to prove an individual supports Hezbollah’s external security organisation specifically.

Andrews said Hezbollah “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provides support to terrorist organisations such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades”.

The minister was unable to specify on Wednesday how many members each of the groups had in Australia, saying the numbers were “fluid”. But she said the listings were based on advice about “real” and “credible” threats posed to Australia.

The move follows long-standing calls for the government to list far-right groups, after warnings from intelligence agency Asio about the growing threat they pose.

Some within the government have previously raised concern about the use of the phrase right-wing extremism, and Asio now classes them under the umbrella category of ideologically motivated violent extremists.

Asio says this “ideologically motivated” category now accounts for about 50% of its priority onshore counter-terrorism caseload, with the remainder being religiously motivated violent extremism.

Mar 25, 2021: Hours of leaked phone calls from encrypted chat groups detail how a white supremacist organisation “prepping” to incite a race war tried to enlist Australians.

Asked why it had taken so long to list The Base, Andrews said she did not take such designations lightly and wanted to make sure the groups met the legislative tests.

She said authorities were concerned about The Base’s activities in Australia and would “closely look at their membership and we will take action once they are fully listed under the criminal code”.

Door open to more far-right listings

Andrews, who replaced Peter Dutton as home affairs minister in a reshuffle in late March, kept the door open to listing other far-right groups in future.

Nov 18, 2021: Daniel Andrews has accused Scott Morrison of ‘double-speaking to extremists’ after the prime minister said he ‘understood the frustrations’ of the protesters in Victoria despite some demonstrations including prop gallows and threats to hang the Victorian premier. Morrison condemned the threats of violence, but then said governments should allow Australians to ‘take their lives back’. When asked about his relationship with Morrison, Andrews said: ‘It will be a lot better when he stops double speaking to extremists’

“I will continue to take advice from Asio in particular but also the Department of Home Affairs, and also from other agencies here in Australia,” she told reporters in Canberra.

“I am very open to the prospect of looking at any of the organisation that threaten to do Australians harm and where they meet the threshold, I will not hesitate to list.”

The Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group listed as a terrorist organisation in Canada, has not been designated as such in Australia.

Sonnenkrieg Division was listed in Australia in August, with the government describing it as a “UK-based extreme right-wing organisation which adheres to a violent white-supremacist ideology”.

Andrews said the views of violent extremist groups were “a stain” on Australia’s “rich cultural fabric”, adding: “There is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies.”

She denied there was any political calculation in revealing the listing of both The Base and Hezbollah at the same time, saying she looked at each recommendation that came to her “independently”.

James Paterson, the Liberal senator who chairs parliament’s intelligence and security committee, welcomed both listings. Designating Hezbollah in its entirety is in line with a bipartisan recommendation his committee made earlier this year.

“I thank the minister for home affairs for acting on the committee’s recommendation and recognising the overwhelming evidence that all of Hezbollah is responsible for its decades-long global campaign of violent terror against innocent civilians,” Paterson said on Wednesday.

After the head of Asio, Mike Burgess, mentioned the extreme rightwing threat in his first annual threat assessment speech in February last year, Dutton raised concerns about extremism of the “far left” and “far right”, saying the authorities would tackle any threats posed by either “rightwing lunatics or leftwing lunatics”.

Aug 15, 2021: Targeting Australia’s largest neo-Nazi group | 60 Minutes Australia

Labor’s home affairs spokesperson, Kristina Keneally, welcomed the move to list The Base, saying it would be only the second right-wing terrorist group proscribed by the Australian government.

“However, both of these groups are overseas groups, with limited activity in Australia,” Keneally said.

“Labor urges the government to look closely at the far-right groups known to be active within Australia, such as the National Socialist Network.”

Keneally urged the government to act on Asio’s warnings about right-wing extremism: “As the violent threats at recent protests demonstrate, we can’t dismiss or ignore this growing threat to our community safety.”

She also noted the Hezbollah listing was in line with a bipartisan committee recommendation.

Before Wednesday’s announcement, there were 26 terrorist organisations listed under Australia’s criminal code. The federal government has begun the process of consulting state and territory governments about the proposed new listings.

The federal election is due by May and the Coalition has been seeking to emphasise it is “strong” on national security, despite generally bipartisan agreement on major security challenges.


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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