Right-wing terrorism

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Right-wing terrorism is terrorism motivated by a variety of far right ideologies and beliefs, including anti-communism, neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, racism, xenophobia and opposition to immigration. This type of terrorism has been sporadic, with little or no international cooperation.[1] The terrorist acts are generally poorly coordinated, and few identifiable organizations have been involved. Modern right-wing terrorism first appeared in western Europe in the 1980s and in eastern Europe following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[2]

Right-wing terrorists aim to overthrow governments and replace them with nationalist or fascist-oriented governments.[1] The core of this movement includes neo-fascist skinheads, far right hooligans, youth sympathisers and intellectual guides who believe that the state must rid itself of foreign elements in order to protect rightful citizens.[3] However, they usually lack a rigid ideology.[4]


Colombian Paramilitary groups are known to be the parties responsible for most of the human rights violations in the latter half of the ongoing Colombian Armed Conflict.[5]

The first paramilitary terrorist[6] groups were organized by U.S. military advisers who were sent during the Cold War to Colombia to combat the spread of leftist politicians, activists and guerrillas.[7][8]

According to several international human rights and governmental organizations, right-wing paramilitary groups have been responsible for at least 70 to 80% of political murders in Colombia per year.[5][9]

This groups are known to be financed and protected by elite landowners, drug traffickers, members of the security forces, right wing politicians and multinational corporations.[10][11][12][13]

Today's Paramilitary violence and terrorism is principally targeted towards peasants, unionists, indigenous people, human rights workers, teachers and left-wing political activists or their supporters.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]


Neo-Nazis of the French and European Nationalist Party were responsible for a pair of anti-Muslim terror bombings in 1988. Sonacotra hostels in Cagnes-sur-Mer and Cannes were bombed, killing Romanian immigrant George Iordachescu and injuring 16 people, mostly Tunisians.

In an attempt to frame Jewish extremists for the Cagnes-sur-Mer bombing, the terrorists left leaflets bearing Stars of David and the name "Masada" at the scene of the crime, with the message "To destroy Israel, Islam has chosen the sword. For this choice, Islam will perish."[21]


In 1980, a right-wing terrorist attack in Munich, Germany killed the attacker and 14 other people, injuring 215. Fears of an ongoing campaign of major right-wing terrorist attacks did not materialize.[1]

In addition to several bank robberies, the German National Socialist Underground was responsible for the Bosphorus serial murders (2000-2006), the 2004 Cologne bombing and the murder of policewoman Michéle Kiesewetter in 2007. In November 2011, two members of the National Socialist Underground committed suicide after a bank robbery and a third member was arrested some days later.


In the August 1980 Bologna bombing, a group of right-wing terrorists exploded a bomb at a railroad station in Bologna, Italy, killing 84 people and injuring more than 180. According to the Italian police, the perpetrators were Valerio Fioravanti and Francesca Mambro, two members of the neo-fascist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari. Both of the accused denied any connection with the attacks.[22]

In December 2011, far right CasaPound activists took part in targeted shooting of Senegalese traders in Florence, killing two and injuring three.[23][24]


On July 22, 2011, Norwegian right-wing extremist with Nazi[25][26] and fascist[27] sympathies, Anders Behring Breivik, carried out the 2011 Norway attacks, the largest mass killing of people in Norway by a single person during peacetime, excluding use of bombs. First he bombed several government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people and injuring more than 30. After the bombings, he went to Utøya island in a fake police uniform and began firing on people attending a political youth camp for the Worker's Youth League (AUF), a left-wing political party, killing 68 and injuring more than 60.

United Kingdom[edit]

In April 1999, David Copeland, a neo-Nazi, planted a series of nail bombs over 13 days, causing explosions in Brixton, Brick Lane (in east London), and Soho (in central London). His attacks, which were aimed at London's black, Bangladeshi and gay communities, resulted in three people being killed and more than 100 being injured.[28] Copeland was a former member of two far right political groups, the British National Party (BNP) and the National Socialist Movement. Copeland told police, "My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country. There'd be a backlash from the ethnic minorities, then all the white people will go out and vote BNP."[29]

In July 2007, Robert Cottage, a former BNP member, was convicted for possessing explosive chemicals in his home – described by police at the time of his arrest as the largest amount of chemical explosive of its type ever found in this country.[30] In June 2008, Martyn Gilleard, a British Nazi sympathizer, was jailed after police found nail bombs, bullets, swords, axes and knives in his flat.[31] Also in 2008, Nathan Worrell was found guilty of possession of material for terrorist purposes and racially aggravated harassment. He was described by anti-terror police as a "dangerous individual". The court heard that police found books and manuals containing "recipes" to make bombs and detonators using household items, such as weedkiller, at Worrell's flat.[32] In July 2009, Neil Lewington was planning on waging a terror campaign using weapons made from tennis balls and weedkiller against those he classified as "non British".[33]

In 2012, the British Home Affairs Committee warned of the threat of far right terrorism in the UK, claiming it had heard "persuasive evidence" about the potential danger and cited the growth of similar threats across Europe.[34]

Members of Combat 18 (C18), a neo-Nazi organisation based on the concept of "leaderless resistance", have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members.[35] Between 1998 and 2000, dozens of Combat 18 members in the UK were arrested on various charges during dawn raids by the police.[36][37] A group calling itself the Racial Volunteer Force split from C18 in 2002, although it has retained close links to its parent organization.[38] Some journalists believed that the White Wolves are a C18 splinter group, alleging that the group had been set up by Del O'Connor, the former second-in-command of C18 and member of Skrewdriver Security.[39] Racist attacks on immigrants continue from members of C18.[40] Weapons, ammunition and explosives have been seized by police in the UK and almost every country in which C18 is active.

Northern Ireland[edit]

British far-right activists supplied funds and weaponry to Loyalist terrorist groups in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.[41] Since the end of the conflict, some members of Loyalist groups have been orchestrating a series of racist attacks in Northern Ireland,[42][43][44] including pipe bomb and gun attacks on the homes of immigrants.[45][46][47][48][49] As a result, Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of racist attacks than other parts of the UK,[44][50] and has been branded the "race-hate capital of Europe".[51]

United States[edit]

During the 1980s, more than 75 right-wing extremists were prosecuted in the United States for acts of terrorism, although they carried out only six attacks during the decade.[52] In 1983, Gordon Kahl, a Posse Comitatus activist, killed two federal marshals and was later killed by police. Also that year, the white nationalist revolutionary group The Order (also known as the Brüder Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood) robbed several banks and armored cars, as well as a sex shop;[53] bombed a theater and a synagogue; and murdered radio talk show host Alan Berg.[54][55]

The April 19, 1995 attack on the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma, by the right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, which killed 168 people.[56] McVeigh stated it was retaliation for the government's actions in Ruby Ridge and Waco.[57] McVeigh attended Michigan militia group gun shows.[58][59]

Eric Rudolph executed a series of terrorist attacks between 1996 and 1998. He carried out 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing — which claimed two lives and injured 111 — with the aim of to cancelling the games, claiming they promoted global socialism.[60] Rudolph confessed to bombing an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs, an Atlanta suburb, on January 16, 1997; the Otherside Lounge, an Atlanta lesbian bar, on February 21, 1997, injuring five; and an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama on January 29, 1998, killing Birmingham police officer and part-time clinic security guard Robert Sanderson, and critically injuring nurse Emily Lyons.

According to data compiled by the New America Foundation, since the 2001 September 11 attacks, right-wing extremists have committed at least eight lethal terrorist attacks in the United States, resulting in the deaths of nine people. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, between January 1, 2007 and October 31, 2009, white supremacists were involved in 53 acts of violence, 40 of which were assaults directed primarily at African-Americans, seven of which were murders and the rest of which were threats, arson and intimidation. "These were treated as racially motivated crimes rather than political acts of violence, i.e. terrorism."[61]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Moghadam, p. 57
  3. ^ Moghadam, pp. 57-58
  4. ^ Moghadam, p. 58
  5. ^ a b Constanza Vieira (August 27, 2008). "International Criminal Court Scrutinises Paramilitary Crimes". Inter Press Service. 
  6. ^ Rempe, Dennis M. (Winter 1995). "Guerrillas, Bandits, and Independent Republics: US Counter-insurgency Efforts in Colombia 1959–1965". Small Wars and Insurgencies 6 (3): pp. 304–327. doi:10.1080/09592319508423115. 
  7. ^ Rempe, 1995
  8. ^ Livingstone, 2004: p. 155
  9. ^ HRW, 1996: "III: The Intelligence Reorganization"
  10. ^ Schulte-Bockholt, Alfredo (2006). The Politics of Organized Crime and the Organized Crime of Politics: a study in criminal power. Lexington. p. 95. 
  11. ^ Marc Chernick (March–April 1998). "The paramilitarization of the war in Colombia". NACLA Report on the Americas 31 (5): 28. 
  12. ^ Brittain, 2010: pp. 129–131
  13. ^ Forrest Hylton (2006). Evil Hour in Colombia. Verso. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-1-84467-551-7. 
  14. ^ Michael Taussig (2004). Law in a Lawless Land: Diary of limpieza in Colombia. New Press. 
  15. ^ Elizabeth F. Schwartz (Winter 1995–1996). "Getting Away with Murder: Social Cleansing in Colombia and the Role of the United States". The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review 27 (2): 381–420. 
  16. ^ Lovisa Stannow (1996) "Social cleansing" in Colombia, MA Thesis, Simon Fraser University
  17. ^ Alfredo Molano (2005). The Dispossessed: Chronicles of the desterrados of Colombia. Haymarket. p. 113. 
  18. ^ Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, "Colombia: Activities of a Colombian social cleansing group known as 'Jóvenes del Bien' and any state efforts to deal with it" , 2 April 2004
  19. ^ Brittain, 2010: pp. 132–135
  20. ^ William Avilés (May 2006). "Paramilitarism and Colombia's Low-Intensity Democracy". Journal of Latin American Studies 38 (2): 380. 
  21. ^ Greenhouse, Steven (20 December 1988). "Immigrant Hostel Bombed in France". New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  22. ^ La storia d'Italia, Vol. 23, Dagli anni di piombo agli anni 80, Torino, 2005, pag. 587
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