To what extent is the extreme right spread in the US military? The answer to this question has become urgent for the Pentagon after talking about the increasing presence of white supremacists and other right-wing ideologies in the US military under Trump.
The US military’s far-right issue has raged for years for US military leaders, but it is becoming more of a priority after indications that former military personnel played a role in the deadly attack on the US Congress, according to a report by US Politico.
The Pentagon is intensifying its efforts to monitor and combat the currents of white supremacy and other forms of right-wing extremism within its ranks; By seeking federal investigators to determine the number of military personnel and veterans who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol Building.
In the days since a pro-Trump gang stormed the Capitol on January 6, the top commanders of the 2.1 million active-duty and reserve soldiers have been grappling with fears of finding former or current service members in the crowd, The New York Times reported. American Times.
Six of the congressional intruders have military links
The FBI investigation into the Capitol siege, which is still in its very early stages, has identified at least 6 suspects with military links out of more than 100 people in federal custody, or the largest number still under investigation. They include a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Texas, an Army officer from North Carolina and a reservist from New Jersey. Another person was injured by bullets in the attack.
Scrutiny of the military is a new imperative for the Pentagon, which has a history of downplaying the rise of white nationalism and right-wing activism among its members.
“These people do not represent our country’s army,” General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview, adding that most of the active forces and veterans “continue to serve with honor and maintain their oath to protect and defend the US Constitution.”
For more than a week now, General Milly has listened to analysts, read the reports, and watched videos of the riots. “There were some indications that an unknown number of veterans were linked to the insurgency,” he said.
General Milly explained that he saw rioters waving military flags. During the march and then into the storming of the Capitol, rioters were seen carrying the flags of the Marines and insignia of the Army and Special Forces.
The solution is to monitor the activity of soldiers on social networks
In addition, US Defense Department officials revealed that they are considering intensifying surveillance of posts on social networks of service personnel, in the same way that companies deal with their employees to monitor the extent of the far-right penetration of the US military.
Social networks have helped arrest Donovan Crowell, 50, a former US Marine, and Jessica Watkins, 38, a military veteran. They both posted pictures of themselves in combat clothing and say they had infiltrated the Capitol.
Federal agents said that Timothy Hill-Kozanelli, a reservist from New Jersey, was a neo-Nazi and white supremacist. It also operates – with secret permission – at a naval weapons station.
A federal attorney general said that retired Air Force officer Larry Brooke had intended to take hostages at the Capitol.
Syndicate transported 100 people to participate in the Trump rally
US Army Capt. Emily Rennie, who told The Associated Press that she has transported 100 people to Washington to participate in the Trump rally, is currently under investigation by the military over her connection to the riots, according to a military official. Emily resigned last year, but her departure was not scheduled until spring this year.
General Milley said he had seen reports that “people were showing shared access cards,” referring to the identification cards used to enter military installations and the Pentagon.
You have to know that Biden is the president
Last Tuesday, January 12, General Milley and the rest of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent an extraordinary letter to all military personnel, reminding them that Joe Biden would soon be their commander in chief and that their job duties bind them to defend the constitution.
In response to concerns about the growing extreme right in the US military, the US Department of Defense Inspector General last week announced an investigation into the effectiveness of the Pentagon’s policies and measures that prohibit military service members from advocating or participating in extremist or racist groups.
Pentagon officials have known for some time that they have a problem with the far-right presence in the US military.
The Department of Defense has consistently boasted that the US military is a microcosm of American society, but officials now admit that if a segment of American society adopts white supremacy views, this means that there will be a similar segment of the military that does.
Why increased the presence of the extreme right in the US army?
“There is a crisis problem: the rise of extremism and the supremacy of whites.” This has been fueled by President Donald Trump, unfortunately, said Democrat Representative Jason Crowe, a retired Army officer and member of the House Armed Services Committee, who added, “So it has to be dealt with immediately and unequivocally. That’s the top of the list.” .
The problem of right-wing extremism has haunted the military for decades and tends to be most acute when there is an upsurge of this far-right in the wider society.
A 2020 survey found that more than a third of all operating forces and more than half of minority service personnel reported seeing first-hand examples of white nationalism or other ideologically driven racism.
“The number of extremists in the military has increased due to the high percentage of white supremacists trying to join the army and the development of white supremacist tendencies among some of the currently employed,” Mark Petkavage, a specialist in far-right groups with the Anti-Defamation League, told the House Armed Services Committee last year.
He added, “To a greater degree than in previous waves of extremism, the Internet plays a major role in the spread of this phenomenon, with the presence of extremist content on websites, discussion forums, chat rooms, social media, messaging applications, games, broadcast sites and other platforms.”
Left-wing activists targeted with explosives
Petcavage narrated a series of incidents involving right-wing extremists in the military ranks over the past few years, including: an offer to teach how to make explosives and target left-wing activists, join pro-Nazi organizations and travel to Ukraine without orders for training. With a right-wing militia, even a Florida National Guard formed a group of neo-Nazis.
Last year, the FBI informed the Department of Defense that it had launched criminal investigations involving 143 current and former service members. A senior Pentagon official said that 68 of these are linked to local extremism issues, and the “vast majority” of them are retired military personnel, many of whom have negative layoff records.
The official added that the majority of local extremism cases involved anti-government or anti-authority motives, including attacks on government facilities and authorities. A quarter of the cases were related to white nationalism. A small number were associated with anti-fascist or anti-abortion motives.
Rep. Jason Crowe asked in AD
A telephone conversation over the weekend with US Secretary of Defense Ryan McCarthy “a speedy investigation and military trial against those involved” in the riots that took place last week in Congress. Note that the army can also try former individuals in military courts.
Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller directed Pentagon officials last month to tighten policies and regulations that prohibit extremist activities among forces, and to update the Uniform Code of Military Justice to specifically address extremist threats.
“We at the Department of Defense are doing our best to eradicate extremism,” Gary Reid, director of Defense Intelligence at the Pentagon, told reporters last week. However, Reid was unable to specify the details and refused to address any aspect of the participation of active duty members in the attack on the Capitol.
The US military has more powerful counter-extremism tools inside it than the police, but it doesn’t use them
And unlike police departments and other law enforcement groups in the United States, the US military has the power to use extremist beliefs as a reason to exclude those seeking to join its ranks. Critics note, however, that he has repeatedly failed to implement these powers widely.
“The military has unique capabilities to end behaviors that other parts of government do not possess. But its use of these capabilities is uneven,” said Katrina Mulligan, chief executive of national security and international policy at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
Military officials and independent specialists say General Austin has enormous challenges ahead. Pentagon officials acknowledge that despite controls in place, white supremacist groups and other far-right groups are actively recruiting service members or trying to join the military to learn skills and experience. Which, in turn, legitimizes their cause.
All military personnel, including National Guard personnel, undergo thorough background investigations and physical examinations, including assessments of tattoos. The forces are constantly monitored for indications of their involvement in extremist activity and to counter the presence of the extreme right in the US army, and they also receive training to enable them to identify any “internal threats” posed by those around them.
But critics say the army leadership has repeatedly failed to hold the violators accountable.
“The current regulations are largely putting the issue of sanctions in the hands of leaders, often at the unit level,” Heidi Berich, co-founder of Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said at a hearing in the US House of Representatives in February. Tracked to track people expelled because of their links to white supremacy groups. ”
The recently adopted National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which outlines the Pentagon’s annual policy and spending priorities, includes measures aimed at helping the Department address the US military’s extreme right-wing problem, including the creation of a new position in the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Defense; He is: Deputy Inspector General for Diversity, Inclusion and Combating Racism, Extremism and Criminal Gang Activity. In addition, Congress mandated the Inspector General to establish a “tracking and reporting mechanism” for extremist or gang activity in the US military.
Addressing the influence of hate groups, racist propaganda and anti-government sentiments on the officer corps and enlisted ranks should be an immediate task, especially after Joe Biden was chosen as a black defense minister for the first time in American history, retired General Lloyd Austin, according to lawmakers, retired military commanders and experts.