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Reminder: You Can’t Be Both A Service Member And An Extremist
The United States is bracing for a brand new battle against fascism. On Aug. 12, chaos erupted at the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville as white nationalists and neo-Nazis gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Amid violent clashes with counter-protesters, the clash turned deadly as a car plowed through a crowd of bystanders, killing a 32-year old woman and injuring dozens more.
The man who allegedly targeted the crowd with his vehicle, James Alex Fields, Jr., was reportedly obsessed with Nazism and German military history and tried (and failed) to join the U.S. Army in 2015. And despite the fact that Fields was barely even a service member — he washed out due to failure to meet basic standards after a few months, never assigned to a unit or MOS — his attempted service raises an alarming question: How many neo-Nazis are hiding out in the ranks of the U.S. armed forces?
It’s a legitimate question: In 2008, an FBI report found that “white supremacist leaders are making a concerted effort to recruit active-duty soldiers and recent combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” suggesting that most hardcore extremist groups "have some members with military experience, and those with military experience often hold positions of authority within the groups to which they belong.” Case in point: an Aug. 14 Splinter report revealed that Dillon Ulysses Hopper, leader of the white nationalist group Vanguard America who was photographed with Fields on Saturday, worked as a Marine Corps recruiter for three years, "enlisting military recruits while privately holding hateful and xenophobic beliefs contrary to the Marines’ stated core values."
This is a big no-no, obviously: While the U.S. military supports free speech, it certainly doesn’t condone joining the neo-Nazi or Ku Klux Klan chapter closest to your base — after all, we did fight and win a terrifying global war to wipe Nazi Germany from the face of the planet. In fact, each branch expressly prohibits service members from joining such organizations, in their equal opportunity manuals. Let’s refresh, shall we?
The Army takes a hard line, not only prohibiting participation in such groups, but dismissing them as anti-Army at their very core, and a danger to good order and discipline.
“Participation in extremist organizations and activities by Army personnel is inconsistent with the responsibilities of military service,” the equal opportunity manual says. “It is the policy of the United States Army to provide equal opportunity and treatment for all Soldiers without regard to race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Enforcement of this policy is a responsibility of command, is vitally important to unit cohesion and morale, and is essential to the Army’s ability to accomplish its mission.”
And how does the Army define these off-limits groups? Simple:
Extremist organizations and activities are ones that advocate racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance; advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, or national origin, or advocate the use of or use force or violence or unlawful means to deprive individuals of their rights under the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States, or any State, by unlawful means.
Regarding participation in these groups, the Army says that all military personnel “must reject participation in extremist organizations and activities,” including attending rallies, fundraising, taking on a leadership role, or distributing literature or propaganda for these groups.
Like the Army, the Air Force is very straightforward about its approach to discrimination: According to its equal opportunity manual, commanders and supervisors should be vigilant about service members’ participation in groups “espousing supremacist causes or advocating unlawful discrimination.”
The Marine Corps charges its commanders with ensuring that personnel are not involved in unsavory group activities:
Marines must reject participation in organizations that espouse supremacist causes; attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, or national origin; advocate the use of force or violence; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Active participation, such as publicly demonstrating or rallying, fund raising, recruiting and training members, organizing or leading such organizations, or otherwise engaging in activities in relation to such organizations or in furtherance of the objectives of such organizations that are viewed by command to be detrimental to the good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment of the unit, is incompatible with military service, and is therefore, prohibited.
Commanders in the Marine Corps are tasked with the discipline for Marines caught participating in extremist actions, including separation or non-judicial punishment.
The Navy explicitly decries participation in discriminatory or extremist groups.
“Individuals must not participate in any organization that espouses supremacist causes, attempts to create illegal discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity), national origin, or sexual orientation, advocates the use of force or violence against the government of the United States, the government of any State, territory, district, or possession thereof, or the government of any subdivision therein, or otherwise engages in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights,” according to the Navy equal opportunity manual.
The manual also notes that participation includes anything from demonstrating, rallying, fundraising, recruiting, training, to organizing, or leading extremist organizations.
So if you’re in the military, or want to join, maybe consider leaving your white supremacy hat at home. No matter what you think, the Pentagon isn’t going to tolerate that shit — and neither will anyone else.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.