Terrorist Manifestos of the Far-Right
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Terrorist Manifestos of the Far-Right
9 May @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Following the devastating terrorist attacks in Christchurch, the New Zealand government acted swiftly to ban the pre-attack “manifesto” produced by sole assailant Brenton Tarrant. The writing of manifestos is a hallmark of modern far-right terrorism, with the likes of Anders Breivik and Dylann Roof both producing documents explaining the motivations behind their terrorist attacks. In addition to this, a call-to-arms document titled “The White Wolves” was published not too long before the 1999 London nail bombings.
By kind invitation of Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, the Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to a discussion about dissecting such documents and examining the extent to which an understanding of them can enable effective counter-extremism strategies in the fight against far-right terrorism.
Dr Rakib Ehsan is a Research Fellow in the Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism. Rakib specialises in the socio-political behaviour and attitudes of British ethnic minorities, with a particular focus on the UK’s Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups. He holds a BA Politics & International Relations (First-Class Honours), MSc Democracy, Politics & Governance (Pass with Distinction), and a PhD in Political Science, all from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Dr Paul Stott joined the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism as a Research Fellow in January 2019. An experienced academic, he received an MSc in Terrorism Studies (Distinction) from the University of East London in 2007, and his PhD in 2015 from the University of East Anglia for the research “British Jihadism: The Detail and the Denial”. He is a frequent commentator in both the British and international media on terrorism, security and the political fringe.
Jacob Davey is a Research Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue where he leads on research into the far-right. His research focuses on internet culture, online hate speech and the international far-right. In addition to this he has led on projects piloting models interventions to counter extremism online. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, and has lead trainings with frontline practitioners on the mobilisation strategies of extremist groups. He regularly provides commentary on extremism-related issues and sits as a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.
Andrew Staniforth is an international security expert with extensive operational expertise in counter-terrorism. During his unique UK police career he served as a Special Branch intelligence officer and counter-terrorism police detective, working in 22 countries and supporting missions of the United Nations Terrorism Prevention Branch. As a qualified teacher he has designed international multi-agency security exercise programmes and has delivered counter-terrorism training to Senior Police Commanders from across the world. As a Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer he has held academic positions at leading UK research institutes and is the author, co-author, editor and co-editor of 12 books, including a series of police practitioners handbooks published by Oxford University Press including counter-terrorism, cyber-crime investigation, and ports and border security.
Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP has been a member of the Labour party since 1979. She is one of Labour’s best known parliamentarians and frequently appears on current affairs programmes. After Labour’s defeat in the general election in May 2015, Caroline unsuccessfully contested the post of Deputy Leader. In November 2017, Caroline became a member of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee. She is the only woman member. Caroline Flint is a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, described as Parliament’s most powerful select committee. In 2016, she secured the only non-Government amendment to the Finance Bill 2016, passing a landmark amendment on multinational tax transparency. In September 2015, Caroline returned to the backbenches after five years in Labour’s Shadow Cabinet. In November 2015 Caroline was elected to serve on the Commons Public Account Committee.
On Thursday the 9th May, the Henry Jackson Society welcomed Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP to chair a panel discussion with speakers Dr Rakib Ehsan, Dr Paul Scott, Andrew Staniforth and Jacob Davey about terrorist manifestos of the far-right. Dr Rakib Ehsan and Dr Paul Scott are both research fellows at the centre on radicalisation and terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society. Andrew Staniforth is an international security expert with extensive operational expertise in counter-terrorism. Jacob Davey is a Research Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue where he leads research into the far-right.
The talk began with Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, who contextualised the real threat posed by those inspired or organised by far-right groups and ideology in relation to the death of her colleague Jo Cox, who sadly met her death at the hands of a loner who was also a Nazi sympathiser. Following this, the discussion sought to explore what the nature of this new dimension to terrorism is.
Dr Paul Scott first historicised far right terrorism and its ideological evolution. He paid special attention to a pre-internet manifesto; the white wolves’ documents, the theory of which is rooted in anti-Semitism and the need for violence to bring about social change. The main takeaway from this section was that such manifestos are propaganda; that they must always be approached on that basis.
Dr Rakib Ehsan followed by discussing the far right manifestos of Dylann Roof, Brenton Tarrant and the statements of John Earnest. His findings were that although you have three far-right terrorists targeting three different groups, with modern far right terrorism, and the narratives pedalled by far right extremists, theories of white replacement and displacement feature very prominently in those narratives.
Building on the great replacement theory, Jacob Davey suggested that the far-right narratives are not new ideas, but have cropped up throughout history, albeit in different ways and manifestations. The internationalisation of extreme right movements, through social media in particular, has enabled the more cohesive spread of such far-right ideology.
Andrew Staniforth, the final speaker, provided a regional focus looking at the recruitment and radicalisation of individuals at the local level in northern English communities. With reference to the manifestos mentioned by the other speakers, he noted how far-right extremists he has come across take a pick n mix approach, but that the common denominator is their disbelief in equality, diversity and multiculturalism. Staniforth concluded by taking the discussion back to its starting point; that the threat from the extreme right wing is a real and present danger.
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