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Security Brief: Extremism Week of April 3, 2022

April 3-9, 2022 | Issue 2

Lydia Baccino, Daniel D’Menzie, Asya Kocheva, Extremism Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Neo-Nazi[1]



Date: April 3, 2022

Location: Bethlehem and Bangor, Pennsylvania, USA

Parties involved: US; Bangor, PA police; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Director of Equity and Inclusion in Bethlehem Janine Carambot Santoro, White Supremacist supporters

The event: Around 60 people gathered in Payrow Plaza in Bethlehem, PA to express their concerns about antisemitic and racial activity in the region. The event happens one week after the Bangor police announced antisemitic and white supremacist fliers were spread in front of peoples’ houses and on the streets. Pennsylvania also has the highest number of white supremacist incidents and propaganda in the US, having 473 in 2021. Bethlehem appointed its first Director of Equity and Inclusion, Janine Carambot Santoro, in an attempt to address these issues.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Extremists are likely to target people who do not express specific opinions on topics such as identity and politics. The strong discourse of extremism propaganda will likely play a role in forming their opinions by proposing clear ideas and a sense of belonging. Extremist messages will likely attract these people, likely changing their position from neutral to extremist.

  • Appointing a Director of Equity and Inclusion will very likely strengthen Bethlehem's efforts to monitor racial and White Supremacy problems. They will likely dedicate time to raise awareness among citizens about the background, current situation, and possible impact of these activities in the region. Increasing critical thinking through information campaigns will very likely build capacity in people to refuse racist views. Such actions are likely to limit the emergence of new supporters and further spread.

  • If the Bethlehem initiative is effective, it will likely transfer to other states with a strong far-right presence. Expanding the initiative to other states will likely help law enforcement officials infiltrate far-right networks online, as the connectivity provided by the internet often allows Person X in Texas to interact with Person Y in Wyoming. The collaborative process by law enforcement and the sharing of information and data is likely to help them infiltrate these networks.


Date: April 4, 2022

Location: New South Wales, Australia

Parties involved: New South Wales (NSW); NSW Government; Australian Jewish advocacy groups; Australian Far-Right groups; Crazy Whiteboys

The event: The NSW Government is preparing legislation to criminalize the display of Nazi symbols and paraphernalia in public settings. Individuals found guilty of breaching the law will be fined approximately $4,200 USD or face six months imprisonment. Various Australian Jewish advocacy groups have championed the bill as a progressive step forward towards addressing anti-Semitism and far-right rhetoric.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Far-right groups, such as the Crazy Whiteboys, will very likely replicate the model of the alt-right in America and create their own original symbols to express their radical worldviews and circumvent the law. Without the threat of legal consequences, far right groups will very likely feel safe moving their operations from fringe digital spaces to the real-world, likely through public demonstrations and rallies. These public displays are very likely to expand their visibility to new audiences which will likely attract new recruits. An increase in membership will very likely lead to these groups growing from small, grassroots organizations in NSW, to legitimate political entities with influence across Australia.

  • If the NSW law is successful in minimizing anti-Semitism, far-right groups will likely change their focus towards other typical right-wing targets, such as Muslims. An increase in far-right Islamophobia in NSW will almost certainly polarize the state’s Muslim population, and very likely reignite recent ethnic tensions. Increased Islamophobic violence in NSW will likely make Muslim populations feel unsafe and vulnerable to attacks in public settings, such as their workplaces, schools and on public transport.


Date: April 9, 2022

Location: Pakistan

Parties involved: Pakistan; Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan; Pakistan’s National Assembly; Supreme Court of Pakistan; USA

The event: Imran Khan has been ousted as Prime Minister of Pakistan following weeks of tense political in-fighting. Khan accused the opposition party of working with the US to unseat him before he canceled a no-confidence vote that he expected to lose and dissolved the National Assembly to prevent further elections. Pakistan’s Supreme Court overruled this decision by restoring the National Assembly, which led to Khan losing his position as Prime Minister. The constitutional crisis surrounding Khan’s actions has left the State in high tension, as Pakistan’s security forces locked down Islamabad to control protests and prevent potential violent acts.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Political instability almost certainly fuels violent tensions in society as citizens are likely to become frustrated at political parties and turn towards alternative beliefs and groups to express their concerns. Extremist individuals or groups will very likely use this as a tool to mainstream their agenda, likely resulting in the radicalization of new members. Extremists are likely to deliberately exacerbate socio-political issues, such as economic instability, to continue to exploit citizen outrage and lure in new crowds to their organization.

  • Extremist groups will very likely take advantage of the President Khan’s ousting as this adds to the growing tensions within Pakistan. Extremists will likely increase in size and confidence as the government and law enforcement will be focused on the immediate political violence and the replacing of the President, and could very likely neglect the monitoring of certain groups and individuals. This very likely allows for extremists to grow while having the ability to plan and carry out attacks without the detection of security agencies and law enforcement, making attacks very likely.

  • President Khan’s accusations against the US could very likely cause political tensions that could spill over into the international realm, with the US and Pakistan refusing to cooperate together. It is likely that the US would respond to these accusations. The retaliation would very likely include either economic or political sanctions, like the stopping of US humanitarian grant-based assistance to Pakistan. The US influence in international politics could very likely impact Pakistan negatively going forward concerning future trade deals, treaties, and participation in international organizations.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]2015 "Southern" But Really Confederate Heritage DC Rally 24” by Stephen Melkisethian licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Racists distributed vile propaganda. Lehigh Valley responds, “This is not what we want,” The morning call, April 2022, https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-nws-no-place-for-hate-20220403-6o7ivh4lhfaonnjfrjfhgzqnoq-story.html

[3] NSW to ban public display of Nazi flags and swastikas, The Guardian, April 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/04/nsw-to-ban-public-display-of-nazi-flags-and-swastikas

[4] Imran Khan has been ousted as Pakistan's prime minister, NPR, April 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/04/09/1091903165/pakistan-imran-khan-parliament?utm_campaign=npr&utm_medium=social&utm_term=nprnews&utm_source=facebook.com

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