by Anna Phillips

Welcome back to another week of CTEC in the News! It was a busy week for us, with our experts featured in multiple media sources discussing varied topics.

Before we get started, there’s one more note I want to include. This last Tuesday we remembered our friend and colleague Mike Donnelly, who would have turned 26 had he not passed suddenly from leukemia this summer, and asked our followers on social media to perform an act of kindness. I would like to encourage, especially given the current political climate and global public health crisis, that we continue to spread kindness in his memory. Mike was the person who would drop everything to help someone, and would keep extra water bottles and Cliff Bars in his car for those in need. He was our friend, but also an incredible role model for everyone around him - myself included. In these uncertain times, I’d like to borrow from our deputy director and say let’s embody generosity. Spread kindness. Be like Mike.

With that out of the way, this is what our experts had to say:

FTO Review

First up: CTEC Director and Middlebury Institute professor Jason Blazakis was quoted by The Washington Post over the weekend commenting on a newly launched terrorism review of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group by the Trump administration. He described the impact an FTO designation would have on future interactions with the group, stating that it would be seen as more damaging to them than other U.S. designations or sanctions. He also specifically touched on the potential results of this on the actions of U.S. military and aid organizations.


Political Rhetoric

Jason also penned an article for Talking Points Memo that emphasized the importance of communication from leaders, especially during a pandemic when their citizens are feeling uncertain and afraid. Particularly, he noted President Trump’s divisive rhetoric and communications, and their use by violent extremists to justify their actions. Throughout the article he called for a return to thoughtful and civil discourse in U.S. politics, and warned that not doing so would give rise to further vigilantism and escalation of violence and polarization.


Proud Boys

CTEC Deputy Director Kris McGuffie was interviewed by Insider for their article on the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group known for its violent tactics that President Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during Tuesday’s presidential debate. She emphasized the dangers presented by his words, noting that they “may be used as a rallying cry to incite violence” and pointing to the increasing calls for overt violence and civil war that have already stemmed from his campaign rhetoric.


That’s all for today, folks! Come back next week for more CTEC in the News