World news – « Words matter »: ASIO digs up « right-wing » and « Islamic » extremism labels when it changes its language on terrorism

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ASIO CEO Mike Burgess also announced that the agency had a  » Nest of Spies « removed from Australia, saying the threat of foreign espionage was no longer » unprecedented « .

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) will stop referring to « right-wing extremism » and « Islamic extremism » to talk about violent threats, saying the labels are « no longer fit for purpose ».

ASIO Director General Mike Burgess announced during his second annual threat assessment in Canberra that violent extremists and foreign spies have posed new online challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, ASIO will be « ideologically motivated. » referring to violent extremism « and » religiously motivated violent extremism « – two umbrella categories that better describe the phenomena that security agencies see, said Burgess.

 » Words are important. They can be very powerful in how they formulate a problem and how to get people to think about problems. « 

 » ASIO examines people not just based on their political views and why Distractions like « left » and « right » often detract from the real nature of the threat, « he said on Wednesday evening, reiterating that ASIO is focused on the threat of violence.

 » Likewise, we do not examine people based on their religious beliefs – again it is violence that is relevant to our forces – but this is not always clear when we use the term « Islamic extremism ». « 

Mr Burgess said that the term » Islamic extremism « is used by Muslim groups can be viewed as « harmful » and « misrepresented to Islam » and that it stigmatizes them by « promoting stereotypes » and « promoting division ».

Last year, Mr. Burgess warned against the « real » based on his threat assessment « and » growing « threat from what he now calls » so-called right-wing extremism « .

On Wednesday evening, he said the investigations into ideological extremism were from 30 to 40 percent of the ASIO cases e in the fight against terrorism.

Mr Burgess stated that security agencies are seeing a growing number of people « who do not fit into the left-right spectrum at all; » instead, they are motivated by a fear of society breaking down or a particular social or economic grievance or conspiracy. « 

 » People often think we are talking about skinheads with swastika tattoos and jackboots who are like extras to Romper Stomper roam the alleys, but it’s not so obvious anymore, « he said.

 » Most of the time they are young, well educated, articulate and middle-class – and not easy to identify. « 

Mr Burgess said The average age of these investigators was 25 and he was « particularly concerned » about the number of predominantly male 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds who were being radicalized.

He said such investigations were being carried out in all Australian states and territories took place, and the threat from this form of extremism could « well increase ».

Mr Burgess said violent extremists and foreign spies were during the coronavirus pan demie went on the Internet and posed a number of new challenges.

For those concerned about violence, he said that more time at home online means « more time in the echo chamber of the Internet on the path to radicalization. » </ "They were able to access hateful manifestos and attack instructions without some of the usual breakers that contact with the community provides," he said.

« Far right propaganda used COVID to portray governments as oppressors and globalization, Multiculturalism and democracy as flawed and failed.

« Islamic extremist narratives presented the pandemic as divine retribution against the West for perceived persecution of Muslims. »

In the case of foreign spies, he said: « The lack of opportunity for international travel and reduced social mobility meant her craft evolved and so did her online activities and answers « 

Espionage and foreign interference continued to target not just the federal government, but all Australian states and territories.

Mr. Burgess said ASIO investigated a » nest « of foreign spies last year, which targeted relationships with current and former politicians, a foreign embassy and a state police service.

« They successfully cultivated and recruited an Australian government security clearance holder who had access to sensitive defense technology details, » he said.

ASIO investigated, identified and verified the activity, canceled the government official’s security clearance, confronted the overseas spies and « quietly and professionally removed them from Australia, » Burgess said.

He added that the total number of overseas Spies and their deputies, either removed from Australia or in the l decommissioned last year was « double digits ».

Mr Burgess, who argued last year that the threat to Australia from foreign espionage and interference activities was « higher now than at the height of the Cold War, » said such Values ​​are no longer « unprecedented ».

« Words matter »: ASIO digs up « right-wing » and « Islamic » extremism labels when it changes its language on the subject of terror

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