From the Editor
Six months have now elapsed since the events of January 6. This issue of CTC Sentinel focuses in large part on the evolving threat of extreme far-right violence around the world. In the feature article, Graham Macklin examines in detail the thwarted October 2020 conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He writes that the plot “highlights how anti-government ‘militias’ have continued to adapt and evolve, exploiting conspiracy theories and deliberate disinformation surrounding the pandemic, to remold traditional grievances about the ‘tyranny’ of the U.S. government.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General Raffi Gregorian, the director of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), says the United Nations needs to counter extreme far-right violence around the world. “It’s worth reflecting about the origins of the United Nations as a group of allies fighting Nazis,” he states. “We ought to be doing this. We have a legal basis to do it. It would be nice to have a clear political signal to do it. I think we’ll get it. And I think we’ll get it because the countries that are most afflicted with it right now are ones that are also very interested in doing something about it.”
The reporting of Yassin Musharbash and a team of his colleagues at Die Zeit has shed significant light on the globalization of the violent far-right. In an article that outlines and elaborates on this reporting, Musharbash writes that “right-wing extremists today, in many cases, no longer subscribe to the narrow concept of nationalism but instead imagine themselves as participants in a global struggle against a global enemy.” Matthew Kriner and Jon Lewis examine the Proud Boys, a violent far-right group alleged to have played a significant role in the U.S. Capitol siege. They write that the group has “continued to mobilize, sometimes armed and violently, in response to the continued disinformation narratives related to the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, vaccines, and more, appearing at more than 20 events in 13 cities since January 6.” Milo Comerford, Jakob Guhl, and Elise Thomas profile Action Zealandia, outlining how the extreme far-right group fits into a “small but persistent far-right extremist ecosystem” in New Zealand and its “growing links with violent extreme far-right movements internationally.”
This September, to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Combating Terrorism Center will be publishing a special issue of CTC Sentinel on the evolution of the global jihadi threat.
Paul Cruickshank, Editor in Chief