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"The military has a hate group problem. But it doesn't know how bad it's gotten."


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#1 August West

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 01:52 AM

I don't know enough about this topic to know whether the severity of the headline is appropriate for the context or not. But I for one am shocked to learn that an organization that psychologically tears down and reanimates it's members, using otherizing and enemy imagery to build them back up for the primary goal of destroying brown-skinned foreigners, would have a white supremacist problem. How could anyone have seen that coming?

 

https://www.politico...xtremism-457861

 

The Pentagon is confronting a resurgence of white supremacy and other right-wing ideologies in the ranks and is scrambling to track how acute the problem has become in the Trump era.

 

It's an issue that has simmered in the military for years, but is now front and center following signs that former military personnel played a role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

 

Tackling the influence of hate groups, racist propaganda and anti-government sentiment in the officer corps and enlisted ranks must be an immediate task for Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of Defense, retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, according to lawmakers, retired military leaders and experts on extremism. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black defense secretary.


“There is a crisis issue: the rise of extremism and white supremacy in the ranks,” Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a retired Army officer and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview. “That has been fueled by President [Donald] Trump, unfortunately. So that has to be dealt with right away and unequivocally. That’s top of the list.”

 

The overall problem of right-wing extremism has dogged the military for decades and tends to be more severe when there is a rise in wider society.

 

It has gained new attention in the wake of the revelation that a retired senior Air Force officer allegedly took part in last Wednesday's riot in the U.S. Capitol and a Navy veteran who also played a leading role was arrested over the weekend. Meanwhile, a rioter who was killed while trying to break into Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office suite was also an Air Force veteran who espoused far-right and QAnon conspiracies.

 

In another sign of the challenge, the Army on Monday announced it was ousting a junior officer who was investigated for posting a video to his 3 million TikTok followers joking about Jews being exterminated in Nazi concentration camps.

 

The recent events are coming less than a month after the acting Defense secretary directed a review of Pentagon policies meant to address hate groups in the military, which will include recommendations for punishing those who take part in extremist activity.

 

A 2020 survey found that more than one-third of all active-duty troops and more than half of minority service members reported witnessing first-hand examples of white nationalism or other ideologically-driven racism.

 

“The number of extremists in the military has increased due to a higher percentage of white supremacists attempting to join the military and the development of white supremacist leanings among some currently-serving personnel,” Mark Pitcavage, a specialist on far-right groups for the Anti-Defamation League, told the House Armed Services Committee last year.

 

“To an even greater degree than in previous surges of extremism," he added, "the Internet has played a role in the present one, with extremist content found on websites, discussion forums, chat rooms, social media, messaging apps, gaming and streaming sites, and other platforms."

 

Pitcavage recounted a litany of incidents involving right-wing extremists in the ranks over the past few years, including: troops offering to teach how to make explosives and target left-wing activists, joining pro-Nazi organizations and traveling to Ukraine without orders to train with a right-wing militia. A Florida National Guardsman even founded a neo-Nazi group.

 

But the military’s record of detecting such elements is “haphazard” at best, Pitcavage told POLITICO.

 

“That almost all of the extremists in these examples were initially exposed by journalists or anti-racist activists is another troubling sign that the military branches may not be engaged in sufficient self-scrutiny,” he said.

 

The Pentagon maintains that it hasn't let its guard down. “We don’t tolerate extremists in our ranks. That’s the bottom line," said chief spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman. "And we haven’t."


"Any effort and any opportunity we have to identify individuals that have extremist behaviors or extremist tendencies they will be addressed and they will be referred to appropriate authorities for addressing that," he added. "That has been the premise of the Department as long as it has been in place and we will continue to do so.”

 

Crow, in a call over the weekend with Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, requested the "expedited investigation and courts-martial against those involved" in last week's riot. The military could also try former personnel in military courts.

 

The Congress member also said he asked McCarthy to direct the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division to review the backgrounds of all troops who will be deployed at Biden’s inauguration next week “to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists,” his office said in a statement.

 

And on Monday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat and Iraq War veteran, also demanded the Pentagon investigate the allegations that troops and military retirees played a role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

 

Pitcavage said extremist infiltration of the military commonly comes in two forms: those with extreme ideologies who attempt to join the military, and military personnel who join or become sympathetic to an extremist movement.

 

He said in an interview he believes “the vast majority of them actually became extremist after they were in the military.”

 

A number of right-wing extremists groups, such as the Oath Keepers, expressly recruit members from the military, he notes.

 

Such elements constitute only a small percentage of the estimated 20 million Americans who have served in the armed forces. But extremists are seen as having far-reaching consequences for the military itself, including posing security threats, undermining morale and damaging recruitment and retention.

 

They also present a mortal threat to civil-military relations, said George Reed, a retired Army colonel and military policeman who investigated white supremacists for Army CID.

 

"The basic currency for the United States military is faith and confidence of the American people," said Reed, who is now dean of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. "When these incidents of racial and ethnic extremism take place, it goes directly to that question."

 

The Pentagon says it is well aware it has a problem.

 

In a memo last month, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller directed a review of "current policy, laws, and regulations concerning active participation by service members in extremist or hate group activity."

 

He also requested two separate reports: a set of recommendations on "initiatives to more effectively prohibit extremist or hate group activity," which is due at the end of June, and one from the Pentagon's General Counsel to propose any changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice "to address extremist activity within the military," which is due a month later.

 

A number of researchers who track hate groups insist that the Pentagon lacks the necessary training and procedures to adequately police the problem.

 

“This is an empirical question,” Reed said. “How many extremist incidents occur, how many people identified, how many crimes committed? All those things are countable. The question to ask is, ‘are they being counted in such a way? And is that being tracked over time?'"

 

“These questions are answerable,” he added, "but when they get up in front of a congressional hearing those questions can't be answered.”

 

He also noted that in nearly every instance in which extremists have been identified, the individuals exhibited warning signs.

 

“In every case that I've been aware of, there were plenty of signals that there were problems,” Reed said. “Those signals range from statements to tattoos and symbology and subscriptions to certain publications to internet activity.”

 

But there is no uniform or sustained process for tracking such behavior. “We don’t have an accurate grasp other than to say it is clear, it is growing," Crow said. "That's why we need the data."

 

The potential role of current and former military personnel in last week's riot is particularly alarming to those who have been raising concerns about the issue and hope the Pentagon leadership will finally take more aggressive action.

 

"It's something commanders have to worry about all the time," said former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones, who has recently warned about the rise of extremism in the military.

 

Jones, who also served as national security adviser under former President Barack Obama, said he plans to bring up his concerns about growing extremism in the military in a call on Tuesday with Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger.

 

"That is one of the questions I tend to ask," he said on Monday. "In society, I have seen a rise. If it exists in society, it exists in the military."

 

Of paramount importance, Pitcavage added, is “the military’s ability to detect people who are extremist trying to get into the military."

 

But that might not be the biggest worry. “Some people are not extremists when they go into the military, but become extremists at some point while they are in the military," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 TVCasualty

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 01:16 PM

I met a group of skinheads at a party once who were all active-duty Marines on leave. This was in the early 90's. Well, the main group were all Marines, their hanger's-on and initiates were shadowing them as security (they had at least a 6-block perimeter of scouts and backup wherever they went).

 

I learned a lot that night since they were amenable to chatting with my gf and I. They never picked up on the fact that my gf at the time had the most Jewish first and last name EVER (literally), lol.

 

It was surreal, too since the party was to celebrate the birthday of a friend of mine who happened to be full-blood Native American, and looked it (long hair and all). The skins respected him for the balls he showed by standing up to them at their own house when someone falsely accused his son of doing something bad to one of their sisters (it got cleared up before they did anything to him, fortunately).  So I guess he invited them to his party, which was a little odd. Anyway, at one point they wandered up the street a few blocks to a frat party to try to get some free beer but the frat guys said the wrong thing so they beat up the whole frat (and their girlfriends beat up all the sorority girls) before they came back to our party and instantly changed their appearance to a degree that was frankly startling as the sirens approached (nothing came of it). Pro-tip: When 5 skinheads show up to your party asking politely to fill their cups at your keg, do NOT say "fuck off you inbred bubbas, this is a private party!" even if it's true. That's because when you see 5 and think you and your 15 friends can take them it means you overlooked the 10 others who'd been shadowing them as backup.

 

What I saw was an impressive display of discipline, strict organization, tactical sophistication, and very well-coordinated teamwork. Gosh, I wonder where they're learning all that?

 

Do not take them lightly.


Edited by TVCasualty, 15 January 2021 - 01:18 PM.

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#3 makinbones69

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 06:37 PM

I'm 1/4 Jewish and eastern European, Lithuanian, and austrian. And a veteran. U guys aren't wrong ive encountered this.
I think the reason is more this tho. When u get an organization the size of the branches of the military you always have bad apples. An organization this size will always encounter what u guys are talking about. It'd be inexperienced or naive even to assume it wouldn't be that way.
I don't think ur average member of armed services behaves or participates in the manner suggested. Although it can happen its not condoned.
Those groups exist hard in America and many military members would be drawn to them. Its the age of confusion welcome to it. People who have deployed are often confused over what they have seen. Its not right by any means but I think that contributes to why it seems so prevalent among people who were prior military. Reaction of fear is what I'm sayin.
I'm in no way defending extremists or racists. Thats why I mentioned my heritage. Got some German in there as well.
Yall aren't wrong in what you say. But don't assume in any way that the actions of a few trained radicals with military experience are the representation of most of us.

Edited by makinbones69, 19 January 2021 - 06:59 PM.

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#4 Arathu

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 08:58 PM

I learned NOT to be racist in the military......straight up.......

 

A


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#5 Myc

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 09:30 PM

I''l be the first one to admit that I am 1/4 - whoever was available, horny, and willing at the time (as I am confirmed - not a child of rape). After that, I am just a simple American. It is the highest rank attainable in accordance with the Constitution.

 

Anyone else is a racists (by pure definition) and continues to contribute to the division and - therefore, the problem.


Edited by Myc, 19 January 2021 - 09:31 PM.


#6 August West

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 11:14 PM

I''l be the first one to admit that I am 1/4 - whoever was available, horny, and willing at the time (as I am confirmed - not a child of rape). After that, I am just a simple American. It is the highest rank attainable in accordance with the Constitution.

 

Anyone else is a racists (by pure definition) and continues to contribute to the division and - therefore, the problem.

Would you mind trying to rephrase this another way so a simple man like myself could understand it more clearly? ;)

 

Yall aren't wrong in what you say...

Since you phrased this multiple times, let me be clear. I did not make the article's claim, it's author did. As I said, I have no idea as to it's veracity. In fact, with the clickbait nature of the "news" these days and the race card playing like hot cakes, I wouldn't be surprised that there's limited fire behind this article's smoke. I, in fact, believe the "news"  and lawmakers to be mostly full of shit on the reporting of rampant racism. That said, whether using racism, prejudice, etc, it's a fact that to create an effective fighting force, other-izing and enemy imagery are par for the course. Obviously, it won't stick with everyone but it's a tried and tested formula.

 

As an aside, I do find it interesting that when police racism has ever been suggested by people (this board included) nobody has ever stepped forth to suggest that it's just a few bad apples. But popular narratives are difficult to overcome. The military are still sacred while domestic police are being thrown under the bus.


Edited by August West, 19 January 2021 - 11:16 PM.


#7 makinbones69

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 11:38 PM

What ur quoting me for Mr.Augustwest. I am but a simple contributer. This is your fire from my perspective. So please don't quote my my contributions so much. I drink so.
Likely for reasons you just wouldn't relate to.

Edited by makinbones69, 19 January 2021 - 11:40 PM.


#8 August West

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 01:43 AM

I quote you to have a conversation. You know, since it's a discussion forum...last I understood.

 

I may not relate to why you drink just as I am sure you wouldn't relate to why I do...so are we even now ;)


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#9 makinbones69

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 01:47 AM

I am agreeable. It just struck me to my core man. Most people who serve want to protect. I have no argument just want that to be realized.
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#10 TVCasualty

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 08:41 AM

As an aside, I do find it interesting that when police racism has ever been suggested by people (this board included) nobody has ever stepped forth to suggest that it's just a few bad apples. But popular narratives are difficult to overcome. The military are still sacred while domestic police are being thrown under the bus.


 
The skinheads who were also Marines were the only active duty or retired military personnel I've met who were overtly hard-Right, selective racists (I'm still not sure exactly what their racial criteria was for who was okay to party with).
 
I've met many more who were regular grownups (and consider a few to be close friends) so I never got the sense that the military had the same kind of problem that the police has with respect to racism but at the same time the military doesn't interact with the public like the police do. In the U.S., that is.
 
I tend to think that a significant percentage of military personnel are at least proverbial "good guys" in intent if not in actual missions assigned. Many just want to pay for college. I've met and am related to a lot of cops and veterans (and a few who are still on active duty/on the job), and I'm close friends with current and former soldiers/Officers but not any cops even though I'm related to the ones I do know. I'm not close to them even though they're family because I'm pretty sure (99%) at least one of them is in a racist cop-gang, and 100% sure that a couple others are definitely very mean, nasty, abusive, overt and unapologetic racists.
 
So while anecdotal, my experience so far has been that our domestic police culture has earned a collective trip under the bus, and so has the civilian leadership and complicit top brass that uses the military for unsustainable empire building instead of striving for the highest good of all.
 
As of this reply there have been 12 soldiers removed from the Inauguration detail (two because of recent comments involving the Inauguration). Even if they remove 8 more before it starts later today, 20 out of 25,000 seems manageable, and of the 12 pulled so far only 2 are of potentially serious concern.
 
 
Then again, it only takes one unhinged extremist to ruin an otherwise pleasant Inauguration Day. And it doesn't have to be a soldier, or a cop:

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar: A conservative politician runs on a platform of opposing “radicals, social deviates, and incorrigibles,” telling his supporters that “there are thousands upon thousands of frustrated angry people such as yourselves waiting to unleash a fury.” Once in office, he clashes with other elected leaders—the most diverse collection of people ever elected to that body. His frustration growing, he conceals a gun in his pocket along with ten bullets, sneaks past metal detectors, and confronts his colleagues.
 
It was Monday, November 27, 1978 when Dan White brought a gun to San Francisco City Hall and shot his colleagues, Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Now, nearly fifty years later, Republicans in Congress are refusing to pass through metal detectors so that they can bring their guns to work.

https://www.thestran...s-into-congress
 
 
 
 
 
 

But I for one am shocked to learn that an organization that psychologically tears down and reanimates it's members, using otherizing and enemy imagery to build them back up for the primary goal of destroying brown-skinned foreigners, would have a white supremacist problem. How could anyone have seen that coming?

 

I asked a retired Marine (20 year career) about the mindfuck of Boot Camp (and Marine Boot Camp in particular) and he said that after graduating, most people "snap out of it" within ~6 months or so and return to normal, where "it" is the hyper-aggro True Believer patriotic-Terminator mindset they get rebuilt with. He added that the ones who don't snap out of it end up with jobs like guarding the reactor on a nuke sub or ballistic missile bases and such. I grew up next door to Camp Pendleton so I met both types. Well, I really only met the normal ones since the True Believers aren't very approachable if you're a civilian who needs a haircut.


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#11 August West

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 01:18 AM

 

So while anecdotal, my experience so far has been that our domestic police culture has earned a collective trip under the bus, and so has the civilian leadership and complicit top brass that uses the military for unsustainable empire building instead of striving for the highest good of all.

Thinking about it, my personal interactions (I mean the ones that had nothing to do with people performing their duties, aka, jobs) with both police and military have been mostly pleasant. Most of those interactions have come via jiu jitsu as I don't typically find myself in a position to be around those jobs, otherwise. So, in either case, it's the job, both of them, that I despise.

 

Thinking about your post and, taking for granted that racism exists more in the police rather than military (which I don't, necessarily), it could have to do with the cultural make-up. In many ways the military has a defacto draft system. That is, if your poor, there's a better chance that you'll enlist. There are certainly more poor white people in the U.S than any "other ethnic group" but per capita, the numbers are higher among black and Latinos (this is speculative...I've not actually dove into the numbers). Obviously blacks and Latinos are racist too but, for reasons that are deeply problematic and too involved to get into here, in the context of the U.S., "racist" means white person. So, looking at it from that perspective, it wouldn't be far fetched to believe that the military would be "less racist". Though I still believe that cops are less racist than they're portrayed. Which is unfortunate. Because then, instead of perseverating on the the way the police system has a primarily racist design in hopes that policing can change, we could concentrate on the actual problem - the design of policing, period.


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#12 TVCasualty

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 07:17 AM

A counter example about military culture in general (not just in the U.S.) that I thought of is the hyper-racist propaganda it's historically engaged in when demonizing enemies during war, so armed forces routinely get propagandized from the top down into extreme racism or similar bias ("infidels"). I imagine that there are echoes of those propaganda campaigns reverberating through the societies they're inflicted on for decades after the wars end. Kind of like old minefields.

 

The design of policing is intertwined with its race-based past (i.e. the fugitive slave patrols), but since slavery was abolished it's been about maintaining the status quo, which still has a significant racism problem. So there are two related but separate problems in policing that need to be dealt with, but they can only really be dealt with to a limited degree within police departments if their underlying causes are not also dealt with.

 

Truly substantive police reform probably requires an overhaul of society itself, unfortunately. While we're at it we can go ahead and redesign it so as to make war obsolete, too.

 

My first proposal would be to create a modern version of the Eleusinian Mysteries and institute a draft for all able-minded men and women over the age of 18. So when you get drafted you get dosed and guided to awakening empathy and awareness instead of sent to Boot Camp and mind-fucked. I mean, that's literally how Western Civilization came about, and how it rolled for ~900 years. Time to get back to our roots...


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#13 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 04:08 PM

The approach taken to race relations in the last decade has set us farther back than it has progressed us. How about we get back to referring to each others as American's or Canadians rather than these divisive terms like African American or person of color. You don't see these groups walking around saying they are Irish Americans or Greek Americans or Lebanese Americans when their family lineage has been here for hundreds of years. You would expect to hear something more like, Hi my name is Jenny, I live in Texas. If the end goal is that we are all the same then why is everyone working so hard to separate us into little groups that foster division and perpetuate stereotypes

 

What does that Term really imply, African American, it should be used to imply dual citizenship not some strange ever changing reference to all these different cultural things.


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#14 makinbones69

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Posted 22 January 2021 - 05:53 PM

Too funny. I am definitely inquisitive about my roots. But for relations sake I agree. Almost died when u said Jenny from Texas. I got one of these from a friend today. Jenny from.. Greenbow ala Bama. Haha6cbe6da56bf074149507a7dd74d3de8b.jpg

Edited by makinbones69, 22 January 2021 - 05:53 PM.

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