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HomeCulture WarThis report from the respected RUSI think tank is sedition, not analysis

This report from the respected RUSI think tank is sedition, not analysis


THE latest woke assault on our armed forces comes from the most unlikely of places – the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank. It has just published a report advocating more diversity training for the Armed forces, according to the Telegraph

Thinking that the headline might be clickbait, I read the actual report. It was worse. Defending Our Defenders: Preventing Far-Right Extremism in UK Security Forces focuses on the threat to the realm posed by service personnel and police who are, or were, members of ‘far right’ organisations.

The size of this (alleged) threat is unquantified. The only substantive reference is to a Ministry of Defence list of service personnel investigated for extremism-related concerns between 2019 and 2022: 40 people about whom we are told nothing, neither about the form their extremism took nor the result of the investigations into them. 

The report’s authors, Claudia Wallner, Jessica White and Simon Copeland, don’t even define what they mean by ‘far-right’ despite ‘far-right extremism and terrorism’ being Wallner’s research focus, and White leading RUSI’s Far-Right Extremism and Terrorism programme (when she is not working on ‘gender mainstreaming’). 

This omission appears deliberate. What they conjure up instead is a spectre of ‘racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of discrimination’ that are ‘conducive to Right-wing extremism’. Perhaps they are, but don’t those behaviours also typify Hamas and jihadists, who are not usually considered ‘right wing’? Jeremy Corbyn and the other pro-Palestine marchers chanting the anti-Semitic (therefore racist by definition) ‘from the river to the sea’ are surely of the Left?

The closest the authors get to a definition is a footnote reference to another RUSI project, the Extremism and Terrorism Programmeon ‘potential drivers and modalities for the spread of violent ideologies’. Here we find a description of ‘the right wing spectrum’. I quote (and I’m not making this is up – here is the link): 

‘The right-wing spectrum consists of many sub-variants of ideology; however, the landscape contains actors who are – to varying degrees – “right of” centre on the political spectrum. A Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX) report clearly explains how the right-wing spectrum holds that inequalities and superiority are natural states, which allow for, and inform, the nativist and authoritarian views of society that some of them adhere to. Essential features of groups and individuals on the right-wing spectrum that are discussed in the literature include nationalism, racism, xenophobia, anti-democracy and advocacy for a strong state.

‘While “law and order” are essential to maintaining the natural hierarchy and societal system on the right-wing spectrum, the extent to which this can be achieved within democratic means varies across the spectrum. At the extreme end of the spectrum, scholars have often distinguished between those hostile to liberal democracy and those strictly in opposition to democracy by referring to them as the radical right and extreme right respectively.’

Surely all true democracies are liberal ones in which everyone has a vote and a voice? Or does opposing some policies within a liberal democracy make one anti-democratic?

The jargon fest continues: ‘Radical right individuals and organisations often seek to obtain the support of the people and outwardly condemn the use of violence – this variant of right-wing politics is widespread globally and applies to right-wing parties represented across Europe (eg the Sweden Democrats and the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD)), as well as further afield globally (e.g., the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP)) in Turkey, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party).’

The phrase in (my) bold surely applies to every political party.

It witters on: ‘In line with the definition coined by far-right expert Cas Mudde, we consider ‘far-right’ as an umbrella term encompassing both the ‘radical right’ and the ‘extreme right’ on the right-wing spectrum.’ 

So ‘far-right’ includes ‘radical right’ and therefore is less to the right than ‘extreme right’. And yet the paper is worrying about ‘far-right’ terrorism not ‘extreme right terrorism’, which is by its own definition more extreme (and thus dangerous to the public) that the far-right. Either the authors are stupid or they are being deliberately misleading.

The reference to Cas Mudde is telling. This Dutch left-wing intellectual (I use the term loosely) and political scientist has recently written in the Guardian demanding a ban on the AfD, a party that specifically eschews violence and has 30 per cent of the vote, because he doesn’t like its concerns about migration, labelling it ‘authoritarian’. Oh, the irony.

All this ridiculous report provides is a selective global literature trawl to prop up the authors’ chimeric ‘far right’ problem (also their breadwinner).   If this risible pretence of analysis came from the humanities department of some fourth-rate university it might not surprise. But it’s from RUSI, which is, or was, a centre of objective research taken seriously by policy-makers. This paper was, apparently, reviewed and edited by ‘internal and external peer reviewers and the RUSI Publications team.’ RUSI, you have a problem.

RUSI’s Extremism and Terrorism Programme Page lists studies on Far Right, Gaming, Media, Gender, Climate, Islamist and Lone-Actor. No mention of left-wing terror threats listed. Nor Irish Republican terrorists, although MI5 states: ‘There are four main dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland: the new IRA, the Continuity IRA (CIRA), Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH – which split into two factions ONH and IRB), and Arm na Poblacht (ANP).’

Republicans are, by definition, left-wing. MI5 cites them as the greatest threat to Northern Ireland who killed two police officers, two soldiers and two prison officers in the period 2009-17. Do RUSI researchers not check these things? MI5 is generally regarded a counter-terrorist expert. 

What about animal rights groups and the eco-vandals? More far left than far right, it seems both are beneath the radar for RUSI’s supposed intellectuals. But they’re on the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NCTSO) list

According to NCTSO none of the nine terrorist attacks since 2018 in the UK, which killed six people and injured 20, was by a right wing group.  Left wing and Anarchist and Single Issue Terrorism they regard as less significant, and ‘where these have involved violence’ as a public order issue.

Is this the category the threatening and intimidating anti-Semitic demonstrations of the Hamas-lovers fall into? Surely such organised gatherings threatening political leaders with violence are terrorism, as are Islamist threats on British MPs.  Not according to NCTSO – are they advised by RUSI?

Ironically this ‘research’ was ‘generously’ paid for by the Airey Neave Trust and the RUSI Director-General’s Fund. Lieutenant Colonel Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave, DSO, OBE, MC, TD, MP Airey Neave, was the Tory politician murdered in 1979 by a car bomb planted by INLA (Irish National Liberation Army – a bunch of murderous Irish Marxist terrorists, like the IRA). As the man who helped make Margaret Thatcher, would he today be perceived by his beneficiaries as a right-wing threat? If so, the board of the Trust have achieved a spectacular own goal.

The only serving British soldier charged with terrorism (a bomb hoax) recently was Daniel Khalife. He’s no right-wing extremist. One armed forces veteran (out of some 1.3million), Kieran Turner, was convicted of one count of encouraging terrorism, two counts of disseminating terrorist publications and seven counts of stirring up racial hatred. The judge noted that he was on the autistic spectrum and suffered from PTSD. Not a terrorist then, just a troubled, naïve and stupid bigot. 

That, m’lud, is the total threat of ‘extreme right wing terrorism from the armed forces’. Two idiots, no one killed, no one injured and no property damaged. Compare that with the 2,500 killed by Irish terrorism, the 52 killed in the 2005 7/7 London bombings and the 22 killed and 1,017 injured in 2017 at the Manchester Arena, the latter two attacks carried out by Jihadists.

Throughout the Cold War the KGB and their allies supported and manipulated the communists, fellow travellers and useful idiots in CND, the trade unions, academia and wherever else they could find them. The KGB and the Soviet Union may be long gone. Their tactics and ideology seem to live on.

There is no evidence to support this report’s opening proposition, let alone its conclusion. It’s sedition, not analysis. RUSI and the Airy Neave Trust should be ashamed of their lack of rigour. What really threatens the Armed Forces is wokedom itself and the real danger it poses to their own service personnel.

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Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell is a former Army officer who has spent the last 30 years in commerce. He is the author of Net Zero: The Challenges, Costs and Consequences of the UK's Zero Emission Ambition. He has a substack here. He is the Reform Parliamentary Candidate for Swansea West.

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