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Ukraine has split the far-Right Extremists are opportunists, not ideologues

Reformed far-Right gang leader, Serhii Filimonov, stars in a new film about extremism in Ukraine. Credit: Rhino/IMDB

Reformed far-Right gang leader, Serhii Filimonov, stars in a new film about extremism in Ukraine. Credit: Rhino/IMDB


March 31, 2022   5 mins

Toby Cook was a 19-year-old with a history of mental health problems, a growing recreational drink and drug habit, and a mounting sheet of criminal charges when he decided to leave his native Australia and travel to Ukraine in 2018. He also happened to be a neo-Nazi.

The West was still panicking over Islamist extremism but far-Right violence was on the rise, and Ukraine’s Azov Battalion had become legendary in white supremacist circles. It had a reputation as the only well-armed and well-organised white nationalist group training foreign fighters as it battled Russian incursions into Ukraine. Toby was desperate to join them.

He had little interest, however, in the battle against Russian imperialism. And although he embodied the stereotypes of a far-Right thug, he had little interest in neo-Nazi ideology either. He slept under a swastika flag, wore T-shirts emblazoned with Nazi slogans, and would happily do Heil Hitler salutes for the camera while knocking back bottles of strong cider. But what mattered to him was having a cause, a purpose, and sense of meaning in his life — and that could have come from anywhere.

“If it had been radical Muslims who got to me before the far-Right, I probably would have joined ISIS,” he told me, after leaving the movement. “If it had have been radical leftists, I would have been a leftie.”

Throughout the 2010s, as many parts of the world experienced a surge in extremism, pre-conceptions flourished about what kind of person became what kind of extremist. Efforts to combat radicalisation, therefore, often focused on countering specific ideologies, rather than looking at the individual needs and broader social factors that drew people to fringe beliefs.

Measures to combat extremism in the UK and the US for a long time disproportionately targeted Muslim communities, for example. Meanwhile, public awareness campaigns supposedly tailored to people vulnerable to far-Right and conspiratorial disinformation ended up reinforcing narratives of a shady global cabal trying to brainwash people.

But in the years spent researching my book on extremism, for which I interviewed dozens of people who found themselves drawn to extreme beliefs, what was striking was how rarely people fit the narrow mould of who or what we might expect an extremist to be. A child of Muslim-American refugees who fled ethic nationalism in Bosnia is drawn to white supremacy. A Hindu nationalist becomes an Islamist extremist. A Norwegian aristocrat finds herself sucked into a Marxist cult. Toby has an Iranian grandfather, yet railed against non-white immigration.

Today, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is raising concerns about deeper radicalisation, in part because people like Toby are now being actively encouraged to head to the war zone. But the conflict has also exposed the shallowness and fluidity of extreme belief. If we examine activity in far-Right channels today, we see neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and conspiracy groups mobilising both for the Russian President and recruiting for Ukrainian militia.

This reveals the tangle of extremist contradictions that has been manipulated — and even manufactured — by the Kremlin over the past decade. As the EU bickered over the refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016, Putin saw his chance. Russia fuelled disinformation about migrants, including the infamous “Lisa case”, in which a German-Russian woman falsely accused a Muslim migrant of rape; the story was then amplified by Russian state media and the German far-Right. Many of Europe’s far-Right parties have received Russian funding, while the US intelligence community believes Russia provided indirect support to openly neo-Fascist groups too.

But now Putin justifies his brutal invasion of Ukraine by claiming to be countering extremism himself; he has promised the “de-Nazification” of Ukraine.

The far-Right’s response has not been coordinated. Some groups are spreading Russian disinformation; others are lionising Putin as a hero of the far-Right, with white nationalists fawning over his culturally conservative ideology. But other far-Right groups in Europe are encouraging their supporters to sign up to fight or fundraise for Ukrainian militia with white supremacist links, both because of ideological animosity towards Russia’s communist past and — more opportunistically — to gain direct military experience.

The far-Right ecosystem has never been a coherent space, encompassing everything from National Socialists to incels. But Tim Squirrell, who monitors far-Right activity for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, believes the Ukraine War has the potential to split the far-Right more than any other issue. While he has observed many conspiratorial groups latching onto the false claims of US-funded bio-labs in Ukraine, there is still what he calls a “Balkanisation” of the space.

That fluidity does not necessarily harm the movement. QAnon showed that extreme beliefs do not have to be logical, and collective brainstorming is part of the draw for people seeking feelings of power and inclusion. “People can make all sorts of ludicrous, outlandish claims, and they won’t necessarily suffer for it, because the idea is that you are building a shared worldview,” Squirrell explains.

The far-Right’s contradictions over Ukraine demonstrate that extreme recruitment is not about ideology, but opportunism; it exploits individual human experience, rather than beliefs. While this shallowness may not undermine the movement, it can help us better understand why people are attracted by these groups, if it is not by the ideology itself.

“You need to understand what need a conspiracy, ideology, or a world view is filling for someone,” Squirrell says. “Once you identify that, then you can start to target it and try to understand what you might be able to do to get them out of it.”

It is more important than ever that we recognise this, given that the Covid-19 pandemic had already created the conditions for a surge in fringe beliefs. All the feelings that the pandemic sparked in the population — powerlessness, trauma, loneliness, alienation, fear, uncertainty, distrust — allow extremism to thrive. Indeed, Covid-19, like this war, upended some of our assumptions about who or what an extremist is, as we saw how people can cast around in a confused world and seek solace in conspiratorial narratives. The pandemic saw a convergence of the far-Right and far-Left around anti-vax and anti-lockdown movements, creating a confusion of paranoia and division.

Powerlessness is one of the strongest drivers of extremism — and powerless is how many now feel, watching the conflict between Ukraine and Russia from afar. The more uncertainty and fear there is in the world, the more we cling to those things that promise to bring meaning and control. Sanctions against Russia are also likely to lead to greater economic strain, and the political fringes are adept at exploiting financial hardship, as we saw during the eurozone crisis. And while most people volunteering to fight in Ukraine are not neo-Nazis, large numbers of people traveling to a foreign war zone carries inevitable radicalisation risks.

Toby never made it to Ukraine. Australian intelligence intercepted his communications, confiscated his passport, and enrolled him in a deradicalisation scheme. In the end, it wasn’t government intervention that drew him back from the brink, but encounters with ordinary people who simply engaged with him and showed him that he could live a fulfilling life outside of the far-Right. He has since left the neo-Nazi movement, and has spent the last few years reflecting on the underlying insecurities that drew him to the fringes of society.

Toby’s story illustrates the need for society to focus on the genuine drivers of extremism. The most successful counter-radicalisation programmes do not focus on changing people’s minds and refuting ideologies, but working on their underlying problems. After all, extremist recruiters know all too well the complex web of hopes, grievances, fears, insecurities and disappointments that can make people susceptible. Unless we recognise them too, the Ukraine War will be yet another global tragedy ripe for their exploitation.


Charlotte McDonald-Gibson is the author of Far Out: Encounters with Extremists.

cmcdonaldgibson

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polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
2 years ago

Well, there have always been nuts around: People only fit for a psychiatric ward. But dignifying them as supporters of some fantasy “far-Right”, is to credit them with political and social significance that they do not deserve, They are used as weapons with which to denigrate perfectly sane political opponents, by associating their views with extremism. To the modern liberal anything to the right of Keir Starmer is “far- Right”, and probably ‘phobic. I don’t take much notice of this stuff: A quick scan and into the bin it goes.

Last edited 2 years ago by polidori redux
Michael K
MK
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Your opinion is one I rarely ever hear, and your argumentation is very sound. You must be one of those far-right extremists I keep hearing about.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael K

Perhaps the most frighteningly Orwellian phenomena over the Russian war, is the media sale to Britain and others, that Ukraine is some free downtrodden country seeking libertarian freedom?

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

“While he has observed many conspiratorial groups latching onto the false claims of US-funded bio-labs in Ukraine, there is still what he calls a “Balkanisation” of the space.”

When you read such nonsensence you have to question absolutely everything else that is said in the article.

This is a writer who clearly believes whatever the political leaders and MSM say and isn’t particularly skilled at uncovering the truth or discerning between ‘false claims’ and cover-ups that many of us were suspicious about from the get-go.

They don’t even have the professionalism to say something less definite such as “allegedly”. No, they just call it ‘false claims’ so as to go along with the given narrative.

It is sloppy writing like this, containing obvious untruths, that has caused such division with things like COVID and the vaccines, and now that same sloppiness is being used for Ukraine.

Next they’ll be telling us that there was no Hunter Biden laptop. Oh, hang on. That’s what writers like this did for two years.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul Smithson
Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

A Hunter Biden laptop? Are you sure that exists? I didn’t see it on Social Media.

Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Well said. Who would have guessed that Victoria Nuland, Deputy Secretary of State in the current administration and the instigator and facilitator of the Maidan revolution, was a right-wing extremist (not!) when she testified in congress under oath as to the existence of the biolabs, their US funding, and the fact that the US was worried that the biological agents (various nasty viruses and bacteria) in those labs might fall into Russian hands.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You are nothing but Russian stooge.
The country with imperial, nationalistic, genocidal ideology is Russia.
Azov battalion is less than 1% of Ukraine military, whereas Nazisim is state ideology of Putin Russia.
Just read Putin statements about Ukraine.
Pure, vile Hitler playbook

Ian Burns
Ian Burns
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew F

8%

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Labs investigating pathogens such as exist in many countries, which could be put to nefarious use by malign actors, such as Putin.

James Watson
JW
James Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I was going to post something similar, but you’ve done it for me. Articles such as this, and the degradation of the comments section are why I’m not renewing my subscription.

Carmel Shortall
CS
Carmel Shortall
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Absolutely! Agree 100%. And if Unherd carry on printing garbage like this, it will soon be no better than the Guardian which is why I won’t be continuing my subscription.

Matt Hindman
MH
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

To be fair this is the only one of her articles of that has appeared on Unherd.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

No, it is a such a shame UnHerd isn’t an out an out Right wing culture war site…

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

It’s not sloppy. It’s deliberate.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

You use the term ‘nonsense’ to decry someone who does not accept an out-and-out conspiracy theory, which has no evidence at all behind it. Are writers supposed to endlessly caveat their comments with phrases like ‘alleged evidence for a spherical Earth’?

The Hunter Biden laptop was always a well circulated story which you rightly say was repressed by a large, but certainly not all, elements of the US media. They did it largely for the reason that they did not want Trump to be elected.

On the other hand, the idea that the Americans or Ukrainians might be funding a bio-weapons lab in Ukraine has not a scintilla of evidence behind it, but conforms to Putin’s very well worn strategy of setting up a pre justification for his own possible future use of such weapons or escalation of the war.

There are labs investigating lots of nasty pathogens, as exist in many countries, and we rather know that Putin has no very developed concern for human life in furthering his ends.

Putin has a well documented history of serial lying, including very recently hysterical denunciations of western warnings of an incipient invasion. The Russian government to this day still actually deny there is a war. So there are several orders of magnitude difference between information manipulation in the West and that in Russia.

In this regards the author has highlighted a notable phenomenon, which is that some, but certainly not all or a majority of the ‘Right’, are now so far into outright hostility to western governments that they are willing to naively buy into almost any outrageous statements a (freedom-hating) tyrant makes. The Left used to make endless similar apologia for Communist states.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I suspect you don’t know too much about how US funds research. The US doesn’t fund research in a country with no track record of scientific excellence unless it’s to fund research that cannot be done legally in the US! Further, you are being very obstinate regarding whether or not the biolabs constitute a conspiracy theory. When none other than the Deputy secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, testifies under oath during a Senate hearing to their existence, indicates that the US is funding them, and states that they are worried that the pathogens and reagents my fall into Russian hands, one is no longer talking about a conspiracy theory. It’s a fact and it’s real. Further, the questioner, Senator Marco Rubio, expected her to dismiss the biolabs as a conspiracy theory and put it to rest! Well she didn’t and she was very explicit. And in contrast to Biden, she is fully in charge of her faculties and knew exactly what she was saying under oath.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Johann- This is very well put. I agree with your assessment of Sen Rubio expecting to hear that the US had nothing to do with bio-labs in Ukraine. He handled his surprise well. Ms. Nuland was picking her words with considerable care. My assessment is that the State Department is concerned that the Russians will seize a lab and stage a media event. She got out in front of it.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Note that you, and only you, included the word “weapons” in this discussion. The author did not. Nor did those responding to the author before you. I’m not sure what the proper term for this might be. “Straw man” comes sorta close, but I’m sure there’s something more appropriate.

Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Not Just US media. Search for Hunter Biden laptop on the BBC from the first time around and you will see a piece headed (to paraphrase) “Why we won’t talk about the story Trump wants us to talk about”
You say you think the US media repressed the story “because they did not want Trump to be elected” as though that is actually OK. Is that what you believe?

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago

Measures to combat extremism in the UK and the US for a long time disproportionately targeted Muslim communities, for example.

Odd use of ‘disproportionately’ there. For the past twenty years the majority of terrorist attacks have been Islamist. Far-right terror groups exist mainly in the imaginations of trendy writers. I recently binned Outbreak by Frank Gardner because he made the terrorists a shadowy British far-right group with advanced skills in biological warfare. You’d think the BBC’s security correspondent would know better, but no.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

There are not enough Neo-Nazis in Britain to fill a moderately-sized parish hall. Yet they are the go-to villains for TV writers.
Meanwhile only a few months ago an MP was murdered by an Islamist terrorist and a couple of weeks later another blew himself up in Liverpool targeting a Remembrance Day service.
What’s more, extreme left-wingers like Extinction Rebellion continue their antics on a weekly basis.
It would not be hard for a writer to imagine a shadowy British far-left group as a terrorist outfit, but – funnily enough – it’s rarely done. (The last time I can remember it being done was Who Dares Wins with Lewis Collins in 1982, which is an under-rated film).

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Martin Bollis
MB
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

“we saw how people can cast around in a confused world and seek solace in conspiratorial narratives“

What is a conspiratorial narrative? Natal males winning female sports events – now so main stream it can’t be considered an outlandish narrative. The widespread belief that police target racial minorities, despite volumes of statistical evidence to the contrary – is that an extremist position? So on through the woke litany, which is really now impacting our everyday lives.

The nutters have reached levels of power and influence that the kinds of people being discussed in this article can only dream about.

Francis MacGabhann
FM
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

The word “right” appears 18 times in this article, and each time it’s preceeded by the suffix “far-“. Is the author aware that a) Nazis — neo or otherwise — are of the left, and b) the right is a legitimate political position, not a covid variant?

Terry M
Terry M
2 years ago

N*zi is used as a characterization of violent, racist groups. Some of these – the 1940 Germans – are also fascists, some are not. Fascism is a variation of socialism, except the means of production remain in private hands, so it is leftist. I prefer the term ‘collectivist’ to leftist, and the term ‘individualistic’ to rightist. These terms are more accurate of the type of government the groups are espousing.

Paul K
PK
Paul K
2 years ago

The pandemic saw a convergence of the far-Right and far-Left around anti-vax and anti-lockdown movements, creating a confusion of paranoia and division.

Ah yes, the ‘paranoia’ of being concerned about lockdowns which many mainstream ‘experts’ are now conceding were either futile or damaging or both. And imagine being concerned about the possible health risks of a novel vaccine, or of mass media censorship of dissenting views? Nutters everywhere.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

So interesting how the writer falls hook, line and sinker for the narrative. As you note the lockdowns have now been shown to have been not only useless but counterproductive resulting in more death and suffering than COVID itself. As for the vaccine, the writer should be aware of the new technology employed which entails not only significant risks but a lot of unknowns (such as huge variations in dosage in relation to the actual amount of spike protein produced in different individuals), that the spike protein which is translated from the mRNA is subject to massive antigenic drift in the virus such that the current vaccine directed against the spike protein of the original virus is basically useless against the current strain! But I guess all these issues are the wondering of the extreme far-right.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

I thought government policy was now anti-lockdown.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

I remember saying very early on that inflation would be a problem. My thinking was the creation of vast sums of money with a vastly reduced natural sink in the form of purchased goods and services would cause significant inflation. The mainstream media suggested inflation wouldn’t happen, then suggested it would be transitory.

And that was only one of my issues with lockdown policies.

Of course, this makes me a far right extremist and conspiracy theorist.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Dalton
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Anyone learning English must think that ‘far-right’ means ‘a person who thinks independently and conducts their own research’, as that always seems to be the context in which the term is now used.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

“It is more important than ever that we recognise this, given that the Covid-19 pandemic had already created the conditions for a surge in fringe beliefs.”
Fringe beliefs like the virus did not originate from a lab, that it was a serious threat to healthy people, that lockdowns were essential to combat the virus, that masks are effective, that the vaccine was 95% effective, that the vaccine stopped transmission of the virus, that the vaccine makes symptoms less severe, that there was no no coordinated action to silence anyone questioning the official line in Covid
When will this writer and the establishment she so clearly represents get tired of being wrong all the time?
Are they even capable of entertaining any doubt as to their own righteousness and virtue?

Vyomesh Thanki
VT
Vyomesh Thanki
2 years ago

Contrary to what many Herd commentators believe Sweden did eventually restrict movement during the pandemic – see below. It has had many more times Covid deaths per capita than its Nordic neighbours. Its economy suffered too. See ‘A year and a half after Sweden decided not to lock down, its COVID-19 death rate is up to 10 times higher than its neighbors’ https://www.businessinsider.com/sweden-covid-no-lockdown-strategy-failed-higher-death-rate-2021-8?r=US&IR=T

Best strategy was New Zealand’s. NZ closed its borders and had lockdown for only 2 months. Afterwards from June 2020 most people enjoyed life with very few restrictions. Out of a population of 5 million sadly it has had 299 Covid deaths. But Scotland with 5M population tragically it’s had 11,393 deaths.

By October 2021:
“Sweden has recorded more COVID-19 cases per capita than most countries so far: Since the start of the pandemic, roughly 11 out of every 100 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with COVID-19, compared with 9.4 out of every 100 in the UK and 7.4 per 100 in Italy. Sweden has also recorded around 145 COVID-19 deaths for every 100,000 people — around three times more than Denmark, eight times more than Finland, and nearly 10 times more than Norway.”

“In a paper published in September 2020, philosophers Mirko Farina and Andrea Lavazza argued that many lives could have been saved if Swedish health authorities had followed the strategy of their Nordic neighbors.”

“Eventually, after Sweden’s daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and death skyrocketed from October to December, the country closed non-essential public spaces, such as gyms, pools and libraries, and recommended masks during rush hour on public transport.”

Sweden population = 10.4M, Covid deaths = 18,189.

Norway population = 5.4M, Covid deaths = 2,518.

New Zealand population = 5M, Covid deaths = 299. Scotland, 5M pop, deaths 11,393.

Last edited 2 years ago by Vyomesh Thanki
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Vyomesh Thanki

Good and clear summary thanks !

Kevin Casey
KC
Kevin Casey
2 years ago

“While he has observed many conspiratorial groups latching onto the false claims of US-funded bio-labs in Ukraine, there is still what he calls a “Balkanisation” of the space.”
I was under the impression that this so called “false claim” had been verified as true?

Terry M
TM
Terry M
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Casey

Link? I have seen nothing of the sort.

Paul Smithson
PO
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

You’re being tongue in cheek, right?

Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Victoria Nuland’s, the current deputy Secretary of State, senate testimony under oath.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

US funded bio labs: confirmed.
Bio weapons research facilities: denied.
At least that was the last I could make out anything about it.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

We are in a weird world where even if you are “supposedly” conducting research on biological weapons agents to counter said agents in the future you still do not have the agents you are working on right now, because it is all defensive even though they can be easily repurposed into offensive weapons. See, crystal clear! No bioweapons research facilities working on bioweapons just potentially with them! We had a embarrassing domestic terrorism disaster in the United States years ago involving anthrax (we supposedly did not have) that came out of a research lab and it was years before the government admitted what happened. On a slow news cycle I might add.

Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Casey

Hard to believe when this bio lab story came full circle and scooped up Hunter Biden along the way. It is onIy a matter of time before we find out Matt Hancock’s mother planted a tree on the lab lawn at the open day. I struggle both with the sheer outrageousness of world events and HOW anyone can keep swallowing the party line and use phrases like “false claims”.
Education is not thinking ability.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago

Measures to combat extremism in the UK and the US for a long time disproportionately targeted Muslim communities, for example.

Perhaps because members of that community “disproportionately” commit suicide murder, beheadings and stabbings. The so-called “far right” don’t in any significant numbers, if at all.

Bob Pugh
BP
Bob Pugh
2 years ago

far-Right violence was on the rise” What evidence is there of this?

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

Source: Trust her. Also buy her book, chud.

Vyomesh Thanki
VT
Vyomesh Thanki
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

Herd commentators often ask what is meant by far-right. See this which contains a definition of far-right, and an accurate account of what far-right politics entail: ‘Far-right politics’ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far-right_politics

As the far-right “view their community in a state of decay facilitated by the ruling elites, far-right members portray themselves as a natural, sane and alternative elite, with the redemptive mission of saving society from its promised doom. They reject both their national political system and the global geopolitical order…”

Far-right violence: “According to Cas Mudde, far-right terrorism and violence in the West have been generally perpetrated in recent times by individuals or groups of individuals “who have at best a peripheral association” with politically relevant organizations of the far right. Nevertheless, Mudde follows, “in recent years far-right violence has become more planned, regular, and lethal, as terrorists attacks in Christchurch (2019), Pittsburgh (2018), and Utøya (2011) show.”

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Vyomesh Thanki

Even the founder of wikipedia says not to use wikipedia. Why not quote Roger Eatwell instead?

David Wildgoose
DW
David Wildgoose
2 years ago

According to the author, “incels” are “far-right”. That immediately discounts her writing as complete rubbish. The fact that she then goes on to claim “anti-lockdown” is also “extremism” just compounds this. Apparently, the entire Swedish government are “extremists”. Who knew?

It’s all nonsense on stilts.

Ben Woods
Ben Woods
2 years ago

Strange that the author would reference the ”Lisa case” whilst forgetting or ignoring the mass sexual assaults suffered by German girls in Cologne on New Years Eve 2015 at the hands of up to 1200 refugees. A media blackout followed so perhaps it slipped her mind.
Unherd is a great place to escape agendas pushed by certain aspects of the mainstream media. Hope it stays that way.

Warren T
WT
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Ben Woods

I thought the same. As if no female has ever been sexually assaulted by an Muslim immigrant.

Warren T
WT
Warren T
2 years ago

The false claims about U.S. funded bio labs?? You mean like the false claims about Hunter’s laptop or the false claims about where the virus was created? Or perhaps you are were thinking about the Russian collusion in the 2016 U.S. election, or maybe that Lia Thomas is really a woman? Everything today is false……except when it becomes true later.

John Aronsson
John Aronsson
2 years ago

False claims of bio-labs in Ukraine?
Last I heard the Pentagon admitted to 20 or so and there seem to be few others funded by other US sources.
I don’t think McDonald-Gibson is a reliable source.

Dustshoe Richinrut
DR
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“Encounters with ordinary people”. Imagine that in our supposedly connected world!
Face-to-face encounters, or rather in-person meetings as they say today, must have been the fortunate kind.

T Doyle
T Doyle
2 years ago

An article that tries to portray the exception as the rule. By the way I know some Iranians. A lot of them consider themselves “white”.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  T Doyle

Yeah, that stuck out to me, too. Persians are Indo-European.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
2 years ago

The Hope Not Hate/Far Right Panic circle offers nothing useful on this subject. Pure nonsense.

M. Gatt
MG
M. Gatt
2 years ago

Unherd is becoming unbalanced. Or has it decided to join the herd?

David Nebeský
DN
David Nebeský
2 years ago

Neo-nazis, like original nazis (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), are far-LEFT, not far-right.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

This article makes some interesting and valid points about the psychology of extremists, who might be drawn to any one of a number of routes. But by buying into a category of ‘Far Right’ to include a huge range of views, it sets them up as a huge enemy on the scale of Islamism.

The statement “Measures to combat extremism in the UK and the US for a long time disproportionately targeted Muslim communities” oozes wokeness and indicates a desperate desire for a whole range of ‘extremist’ threats, which is a gross distortion of the real picture.

The threat to the British population is vastly greater from Islamists, who actually DO have a coherent ideology – and who have bombed, murdered and injured scores of British citizens.

Of course the Islamists have individual psychological motivations as well underlying their opinions and actions, but the same can be said of every politician and indeed human being on the planet.

D Ward
DW
D Ward
2 years ago

Fed up to the back teeth of how difficult it is to uptick comments (iPad/app).

Also, these “far right extremists”. Anybody actually know any of them? Do they actually exist?

Frederick B
FD
Frederick B
2 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

“Do they actually exist?” Yes they do because I’m one, or rather I have no doubt that as an anti-immigration English patriot the author would classify me as one. Which simply shows that the term “far right” is now extended so far as to be nearly meaningless.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

The Far Right and Far Left are one and the same: however the fact, yes fact is that there is only one group that is actively engaged in wars and terrorism across the globe, seeking to impose will and rule and that is islamic extremism, neatly shielded and protected by the West’s fear of the non word ” Islamophobia”.

Martin Smith
MS
Martin Smith
2 years ago

When official opinion dictates that a trans woman or trans man is as much of a woman or a man as an actual woman or an actual man is, and that if you disagree with that view then you are to be driven from public discourse and are not fit to serve or work in major instititions and represent hate perhaps criminally so, it would seem that extremists with insane beliefs have taken over the organs of the state itself. ‘Mis-representing’ biological research as a bio-weapons lab seems very mild in comparison.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Hear hear!

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago

I suggest one needs to back to basics to assess treat from terrorism

  1. Is there a clear ideology?
  2. Is there a charismatic leader who is good at organising?
  3. Are there funds?
  4. Are there skilled trainers, especially in counter surveillance skills ?
  5. I there a part of country or a country where terrorists can be trained for up to 6 months?
  6. Does the group have support from the middle class, especially professionals and over 15 % of the population ?
  7. Do the terrorists have support from another country ?

If we look at terrorism and subversion from1939 onwards ( include experience of SOE), especially post 1968 , for any terrorism to have an impact requires all seven attributes. The risk from A Q was because it has all seven attributes.
The last right wing terrorist group which was active was probably the railway bombers in Bologna in1980. There are mad and bad right wing people who commit murder but there does not appear to be well funded and trained groups compared to PIRA, PLF, Red Army Faction. ETA, Black September, Al Qaeda, etc, .

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

Not sure where this author is from, but making your way by covering “far-right” extremism in the US is not to be a journo or investigator of any worth. The FBI already and State Dept already have that covered, and they’re more than willing to fill in the gaps with paid assets as needed. A real story is Antifa and the other State supported leftist extremists who organize and carry out violent attacks openly and with little recompense or fear of such. Few have the courage and integrity to cover this awfulness, myself included. There are those few however who do, Andy Ngo being one. He has paid severe consequences, including being beaten and assaulted on the street more than once. I would venture that this author has zero skin in the game in her coverage of the “far right”.

Tom Jennings
TJ
Tom Jennings
2 years ago

I am sure glad Mr Cook’s government saved the day by reading his mail, pulling his passport and reeducation him. Big Brother to the rescue.

Karlo Tasler
Karlo Tasler
2 years ago

A profound article stressing out the cause of the problem and not the symptom. Just like the man from the article, Putin is also a man with underlying issues. And all those who want this war have similar pattern.

Karlo Tasler
KT
Karlo Tasler
2 years ago

A profound article stressing out the cause of the problem and not the symptom. Just like the man from the article, Putin is also a man with underlying issues. And all those who want this war have similar pattern.