Terrorism

Right-wing terrorism threat rising, groups recruiting from military: UK intelligence

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Britain’s parliamentary intelligence committee said on Wednesday that the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism was on the rise, with individuals often seeking to join the military and groups looking to recruit from within the military.

“The threat from Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism [ERWT] is on an upward trajectory, populated by an increasing number of young people and driven by the internet. There are reports that groups and individuals have sought to co-opt the COVID-19 pandemic, using conspiracy theories and exploiting grievances to radicalize and recruit,” said the Committee’s Chairman Rt Hon. Dr Julian Lewis MP in a statement on Wednesday.

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According to the Committee’s findings, the number of ERWT investigations, disruptions, and self-initiated terrorist referrals have been on the rise since 2017.

Eight of the 25 attacks prevented by the Intelligence Community and Counter-Terrorism Policing (CTP) between March 2017 and January 2020 were motivated by an ERWT ideology.

Lewis added that while the full impact of the pandemic is yet to be seen, the Intelligence Community and police “have recognized the impact that events such as the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests may have had on the extremist beliefs of individuals and the possibility that this will lead to an increase in the threat.”

“Individuals often seek to join the military, groups seek to recruit within the military, and military experience is a source of legitimacy among ERWT (Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism) groups,” parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee said in a statement.

It added that a “similar risk” existed from the “insider threat in relation to the police,” citing issues around the vetting process for candidates looking to join the police and the lack of proper background checks were matters for concern.

The UK’s security service, also known as MI5, was responsible for tackling the “increasingly complex threat” of extreme right-wing terrorism in 2020, he said, adding that he was “seriously concerned” about its ability to absorb the responsibility “without any commensurate resources.”

“They cannot be expected simply to absorb this new responsibility. MI5 must be given additional funding to enable it to tackle Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism without other areas of their work suffering as a consequence.”

With Reuters

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