Australia

Alarm at neo-Nazi group expansion across country

A Melbourne-based neo-Nazi group that has vowed to bring about a “white revolution” has raised alarm after expanding its presence into Adelaide.The National Socialist Network, which has openly described Indigenous Australians as “subhuman and monkeys”, posted a photo of eight members performing the Hitler salute and displaying a flag in the South Australian capital.The members…

A Melbourne-based neo-Nazi group that has vowed to bring about a “white revolution” has raised alarm after expanding its presence into Adelaide.

The National Socialist Network, which has openly described Indigenous Australians as “subhuman and monkeys”, posted a photo of eight members performing the Hitler salute and displaying a flag in the South Australian capital.

The members were all dressed in black and wearing balaclavas over their faces.

The neo-Nazi group’s Jacob Hersant confirmed to NCA NewsWire it was active in Adelaide as well as Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and several regional cities.

But he would not reveal how many members or associates the group had.

He said by expanding across the country members ultimately hoped to “survive as a free and distinct nation” by strengthening their community and numbers.

Human rights advocates told NCA NewsWire they were concerned the recent language from the white supremacist group was becoming more “militant”.

When asked about the group, South Australia Police said they always undertook some level of monitoring of any individual or group where information indicated there was a potential risk or harm to the safety of the South Australian community.

ASIO said extreme right-wing groups and individuals represented a serious, increasing and evolving threat to security, with the tragedy in Christchurch in 2019 a stark example.

It said the groups were increasingly radicalising numbers of young Australians – some barely in their teens – and while Islamic extremism was ASIO’s greatest concern, the extreme and violent right wing had been in its sights for many decades.

A national security agency spokesperson said it was dedicating additional resources to the evolving threat of right-wing groups.

“It represents a growing proportion of our priority counter-terrorism caseload,” they said.

“Unfortunately, extreme right-wing groups are more organised, sophisticated and security conscious than before.

“These groups are becoming increasingly ideological, more aware of and committed to specific dogmas, philosophies and views, many of which support or glorify violence.

“They draw from a diverse variety of ideas, and they are attracting a younger membership who display few overt signs of their extremist ideology.”

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich, who first exposed the National Socialist Network, told NCA NewsWire the group’s expansion should serve as a wake-up call that racism and extremism were very much alive in Australia.

“Hate is on full-throated display, we must use every measure to stamp out these evil groups,” Dr Abramovich said.

“At any point, the ugly rhetoric that these Hitler worshippers are spewing can cross the line into real-world lethal attacks, especially since such groups glorify and are inspired by ‘heroes’ or ‘martyrs’ who have carried out massacres.

“There is no doubt that white supremacists, who are growing appreciably more agitated, angry and emboldened, are waging a national campaign of harassment, ratcheting up their intimidation in an attempt to expand their base and recruit new members to their dangerous cause.”

The Australian Federal Police said politically motivated extremism was increasing.

“It is a concern to the AFP and our law enforcement and national security partners. The AFP takes all extremist groups seriously, targeting criminals and criminal activity, not ideologies or backgrounds,” a spokeswoman said.

On its website, the National Socialist Network said it would never use or advocate violence or terrorism to further their movement.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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