Gangfighters Weblog

August 1, 2012

Stuff gang bangers in the military can’t do with DoD Instruction 1325.6 in place

We looked at this a bit in Further attempts to give teeth to DoD Instruction 1325.6, with 
Change 1, February 22, 2012 to DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1325.6. 


The guidance includes:

PREVENTIVE ACTIVITIES


a. Commanders should remain alert for signs of future prohibited activities. They should intervene early, primarily through counseling, when observing such signs even though the signs may not rise to active advocacy or active participation or may not threaten good order and discipline, but only suggest such potential. The goal of early intervention is to minimize the risk of future prohibited activities.


– these are all feel good guidelines. The reality is that Commanders (and other unit leaders) remain alert for signs of bad morale and things that affect the mission. They usually don’t see “what someone does off duty” as something that falls into those categories. What they don’t get is that these gang members are 1) smart enough to conceal their affiliation, 2) learning trades they can use to help the gang, and 3) using their military experience and exposure to access the logistics pipeline to help drug and weapons trafficking endeavors, etc. 


– The military is not and is not designed to be engaged in anything resembling early intervention or minimizing the risk of future prohibited activities. Those are activities for communities where there are youth gangs who can be deterred from crime. All military members are adults, and those who are gang members and military service members are far from intervention time.


b. Examples of such signs, which, in the absence of the active advocacy or active participation addressed in paragraphs 8.a and 8.b are not prohibited, could include mere membership in criminal gangs and other organizations covered under paragraph 8.b. 

  • mostly explained by active participation in prohibited groups by fundraising; demonstrating or rallying; recruiting, training, organizing, or leading members; distributing material; knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing; having tattoos or body markings associated with such gangs or organizations; or otherwise engaging in activities in furtherance of the objective of such organizations that are detrimental to good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service

These do not appropriately represent the breadth of gang crimes that should be included in “criminal gang offense.” They appear more like some of the indicators used by Departments of Correction and a few police departments to confirm gang membership. From Tennessee:

1. Self Admission

2.  Tattoos

3. Hand Signs/Symbols/Logos

4. Wearing of Gang/STG colors, gang clothing, gang paraphernalia.

5. Possession of Gang/STG documents  

6. Possession of commercial Gang/STG publications.

7. Participation in commercial Gang/STG publications.

8. Consistently in contact with Gang/STG members

9. Contact with Gang/STG members.

10. Participating in a photo with Gang/STG members. 

11. Outside jurisdiction documents. 

12. Correspondence with Gang/STG members.  

13. Named a Gang/STG member in correspondence.

14. Confirmation through outside agency gang unit or database.

15. Engaged in Gang/STG Crime or activity.

In fact, they are a carryover from the wrongly positioned history of this DoD Instruction. As addressed in DoDs New Rules for Gangs in the Military (not a good idea)

At the time the directive was initially published in 1969, the DoD was concerned with the infiltration of anti-war and anti-military organizations. The directive focused on dissident and protest activities within the military, and especially on activities such as underground newspapers, on-post demonstrations, and serviceman organizations.

In 1986, the Secretary of Defense updated the directive. The directive’s language prohibited “active” participation in “extremist organizations.” This comes from language in Executive Order (EO) 11,785 issued in 1953, during the height of the Cold War, when the government feared Communist infiltration. It was later changed to forbid designating any groups as “totalitarian, fascist, Communist, or subversive” and forbade any circulation or publication of a list of such groups.

* * *

We had problems linking the directive to gangs because of it’s history (originally launched from an Executive Order (EO 10,450: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/10450.html) prohibiting communist groups from infiltrating, then war protesters, now extremists. 

It’s pretty clear what actions they wanted to prohibit:
 

         * * *

sabotage, espionage, treason, or sedition, or attempts thereat or preparation therefore, or conspiring with, or aiding or abetting, another to commit or attempt to commit any act of sabotage, espionage, treason, or sedition

         * * *

Advocacy of use of force or violence to overthrow the government of the United States

So when the explanation for the new Instruction explains that:

Signs could also include possession of literature associated with such gangs or organizations, or with related ideology, doctrine, or causes. While mere membership or possession of literature normally is not prohibited, it may merit further investigation and possibly counseling to emphasize the importance of adherence to the Department’s values and to ensure that the Service member understands what activities are prohibited.

I am tempted to ask what they are talking about when it comes to literature. Are they talking about Gang/STG documents: rosters, procedures, bylaws, codes, etc.? What about Gang/STG commercial publications? What about illustrations or artwork?


Unfortunately, these are the same questions that would allow a defense attorney to claim the instruction is vague and over-broad, and that’s an indication that more thought should be invested in it in the first place.


What do you think?

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May 16, 2012

Gang Investigators’ Perceptions of Military-Trained Gang Members (MTGM)

My article, Gang Investigators’ Perceptions of Military-Trained Gang Members (MTGM), written with Dr. Yvonne Doll, Northcentral University, was published in Critical Issues in Justice and Politics  (Volume 5, Number 1, May 2012, ISSN 1940-3186). For access to the Journal – http://www.suu.edu/hss/polscj/CIJP.htm 

Preview at academia.edu – http://apsu.academia.edu/CarterSmith/Papers/1628541/Gang_Investigators_Perceptions_of_Military-trained_Gang_Members_MTGM_

Keywords: articles of gangs in the army, military crime, research articles, us military training gangs, gang-related activity in the us armed forces increasing, dod strategic plan for gangs in the military, army definition of gang, army enlistment, gang activity in the us military, street gangs in the military, percent of military personnel have gang association, gangs in the military

Abstract
Communities everywhere have experienced the negative effects of street gangs.  The presence of military-trained gang members (MTGMs) in the community increases the threat of violence to citizens.  The problem addressed in this study was the apparently growing presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities.  The purpose of the study was to determine the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and to examine whether there was a relationship between the perceptions of gang investigators regarding the presence and the size of their jurisdictions, the proximity of their jurisdictions to a military installation, and the extent to which investigators participate in anti-gang activities.  The statistical analyses used to test the hypotheses in this study were Pearson and Spearman Correlation Coefficients, independent means t tests, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression analysis.  Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions were MTGMs.  The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were the gangs most represented.  Recommendations included all branches of the military therein should adopt a uniform definition of gangs.  Military leaders should acknowledge the increase in gang-related crime affecting the military and address the problems caused for both military and civilian communities without attempting to quantify the threat level.  Military leadership should continuously examine the activities of all suspected military gang members to determine active gang affiliation for retention purposes while evaluating any gang affiliation for security clearances.    Military Law Enforcement liaison for recruiters should develop effective communication with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to assist with information sharing. 


For access to the complete article, contact the Journal – http://www.suu.edu/hss/polscj/CIJP.htm

March 11, 2011

Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members

View this document in ProQuest

Abstract (summary)

Communities everywhere have experienced the negative effects of street gangs. Gang activity in the form of crime and violence has had a devastating effect on the lives of citizens and the safety of our communities. The presence of military-trained gang members (MTGMs) in the community increases the threat of violence to citizens. The problem addressed in this quantitative correlational research study was the apparently growing presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose of the study was to more closely examine the nexus between the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and the perceptions of gang investigators regarding the presence and the size of their jurisdictions, the proximity of their jurisdictions to a military installation, and the extent to which investigators participate in anti-gang activities. An online survey, the Military Gang Perception Questionnaire (MGPQ), was created to collect responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association (TNGIA). The electronic distribution of the survey was facilitated by Google Documents. A sample size calculation was computed for a multiple regression analysis involving seven predictors, a significance level of .05, a power of 80%, and a medium effect size (f 2 =0.15). That power analysis indicated that N =103 was sufficient to detect this size of effect. The statistical analyses used to test the hypotheses in this study were Pearson and Spearman Correlation Coefficients, independent means t tests, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression analysis. Many of the 119 respondents felt anti-gang prohibitions would limit the activity of MTGMs. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions were MTGMs. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were the gangs most represented. There was a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.24, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.28, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed). Recommendations included that military leadership should conduct cumulative tracking and analysis of gang threats, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When an installation shows a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions that led to the decrease should be identified. Military leadership should identify and examine all suspected military gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

Indexing (details)

Subjects Criminology, Public policy, Military studies
Classification 0627: Criminology, 0630: Public policy, 0750: Military studies
Identifiers / Keywords Social sciences, Gangs, Street gangs, Military, Armed forces, Gang members, Military-trained
Title Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members
Authors Smith, Carter F.
Publication title ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Number of pages 202
Publication year 2010
Publication Date 2010
Year 2010
Section 1443
ISBN 9781124391373
Advisor House, John
School Northcentral University
School location United States — Arizona
Degree Ph.D.
Source type Dissertations & Theses
Language of Publication English; EN
Document Type Dissertation/Thesis
Publication / Order Number 3437991
ProQuest Document ID 845233422
Document URL http://rap.ocls.ca/ra/login?url=/docview/845233422
Copyright Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2010
Last Updated 2011-01-27

November 30, 2010

Perceptions of gang investigators regarding presence of military trained gang members

The problem addressed was the presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose was to determine the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and to examine whether there was a relationship between the perceptions of gang investigators regarding that presence and the size of their jurisdictions, proximity of jurisdictions to military installations, and extent to which investigators participated in anti-gang activities.

The Military Gang Perception Questionnaire collected responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions had military training. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs, and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were most represented.

There was a statistically significant positive correlation between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed).

Recommendations included that military leadership conduct cumulative tracking and analysis, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When there is a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions should be identified. Military leadership should examine all suspected gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

August 10, 2009

Upcoming presentations at the National Gang Crime Research Center

Filed under: air force, armed forces, army, coast guard, expert, marines, military, msta, navy, ngcrc, technology — carterfsmith @ 3:06 pm

Gangs and the Military: What’s the Problem? Why is it a Problem? What’s the solution?

Contemporary gangs have been strategically infiltrating military communities around the world since the late 1980’s. When gang members are allowed to join the military (armed forces, air force, army, navy, marines, coast guard), they are treated just like other service members – no debriefings, no watch list, and no warnings to local military law enforcement. Is “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell” the right policy for gangs in the military? How can we ensure gang members are not able to use military urban warfare tactics on our city streets?

This session will provide an overview of the issues associated with the enlistment of past and present gang members in the U.S. Armed Forces and provide recommendations for local, state and federal law enforcement and communities. We will examine the myths and truths associated with dual (gang and military) service, and discuss recommendations for the communities where these individuals go after they are discharged.

A Threat Analysis of MSTA: Gang, STG, Hate Group, Organized Crime — And More

The MSTA has been identified on the top three list of Islamic gangs/STGs operating in the USA. Most police encounter them as a gang, but some of their operations have all the earmarks of organized rime. Most in corrections regard them as a local security threat group, but they have been evolving into a national organization. Most in academia regard them as a cult or deviant spiritual group, but their “MSTA university” sells college courses to their prison inmate members today. Come and learn about the MSTA and how it operates in your jurisdiction.

Gangs and Hi-Tech Communication: How Gang Members Can and Will Communicate Using Tomorrow’s Technology

The younger generation in our country cannot remember life without cell phones, CD’s or an email address, and many don’t even use CD’s and email anymore. Many gang members are a part of this generation. Do we know how they communicate? As gangs evolve, they take on more of a business model than they had when they started. How does this affect the way we should investigate them? Do we include the right information on our search warrants? Do we know what our crime labs are capable of finding? In this session, we will review the past, examine the present, and look into the future to see how gangs make contact with each other, what they can talk about without us knowing, and why we need to know how to intercept or at least discover what was said after the fact.

How to Qualify and Testify as an Expert Witness on Gangs

In this session, you will learn the mechanics of how to become an expert witness in gang crime investigation cases. You will learn how to provide an expert opinion on matters such as gang identification, the relevance of gang threats, gang motivation, gang rivalries, and gang trends. You will learn a number of important “do’s” and “don’ts” about expertise from the prosecution perspective, and will see some of the strategies of defense. Whether in court or not, there are many ways to strengthen your credibility and expertise – this session may be the first step in that direction.

Schedule here.

View Larger Map

Upcoming presentations at the National Gang Crime Research Center

Filed under: expert, military, msta, ngcrc, technology — carterfsmith @ 3:06 pm

Gangs and the Military: What’s the Problem? Why is it a Problem? What’s the solution?

Contemporary gangs have been strategically infiltrating military communities around the world since the late 1980’s. When gang members are allowed to join the military, they are treated just like other service members – no debriefings, no watch list, and no warnings to local military law enforcement. Is “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell” the right policy for gangs in the military? How can we ensure gang members are not able to use military urban warfare tactics on our city streets?

This session will provide an overview of the issues associated with the enlistment of past and present gang members in the U.S. Armed Forces and provide recommendations for local, state and federal law enforcement and communities. We will examine the myths and truths associated with dual (gang and military) service, and discuss recommendations for the communities where these individuals go after they are discharged.

A Threat Analysis of MSTA: Gang, STG, Hate Group, Organized Crime — And More

The MSTA has been identified on the top three list of Islamic gangs/STGs operating in the USA. Most police encounter them as a gang, but some of their operations have all the earmarks of organized rime. Most in corrections regard them as a local security threat group, but they have been evolving into a national organization. Most in academia regard them as a cult or deviant spiritual group, but their “MSTA university” sells college courses to their prison inmate members today. Come and learn about the MSTA and how it operates in your jurisdiction.

Gangs and Hi-Tech Communication: How Gang Members Can and Will Communicate Using Tomorrow’s Technology

The younger generation in our country cannot remember life without cell phones, CD’s or an email address, and many don’t even use CD’s and email anymore. Many gang members are a part of this generation. Do we know how they communicate? As gangs evolve, they take on more of a business model than they had when they started. How does this affect the way we should investigate them? Do we include the right information on our search warrants? Do we know what our crime labs are capable of finding? In this session, we will review the past, examine the present, and look into the future to see how gangs make contact with each other, what they can talk about without us knowing, and why we need to know how to intercept or at least discover what was said after the fact.

How to Qualify and Testify as an Expert Witness on Gangs

In this session, you will learn the mechanics of how to become an expert witness in gang crime investigation cases. You will learn how to provide an expert opinion on matters such as gang identification, the relevance of gang threats, gang motivation, gang rivalries, and gang trends. You will learn a number of important “do’s” and “don’ts” about expertise from the prosecution perspective, and will see some of the strategies of defense. Whether in court or not, there are many ways to strengthen your credibility and expertise – this session may be the first step in that direction.

Schedule here.

June 16, 2009

Neo-Nazis are in the Army now

Filed under: gangs in the military, military, neo-nazis, skinheads, white supremacists — carterfsmith @ 9:04 am

(archive only – original at http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/06/15/neo_nazis_army/print.html)



Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join its ranks.

By Matt Kennard

Editor’s note: Research support for this article was provided by the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund.


Jun. 15, 2009 |

On a muggy Florida evening in 2008, I meet Iraq War veteran Forrest Fogarty in the Winghouse, a little bar-restaurant on the outskirts of Tampa, his favorite hangout. He told me on the phone I would recognize him by his skinhead. Sure enough, when I spot a white guy at a table by the door with a shaved head, white tank top and bulging muscles, I know it can only be him.

Over a plate of chicken wings, he tells me about his path into the white-power movement. “I was 14 when I decided I wanted to be a Nazi,” he says. At his first high school, near Los Angeles, he was bullied by black and Latino kids. That’s when he first heard Skrewdriver, a band he calls “the godfather of the white power movement.” “I became obsessed,” he says. He had an image from one of Skrewdriver’s album covers — a Viking carrying a staff, an icon among white nationalists — tattooed on his left forearm. Soon after he had a Celtic cross, an Irish symbol appropriated by neo-Nazis, emblazoned on his stomach.

At 15, Fogarty moved with his dad to Tampa, where he started picking fights with groups of black kids at his new high school. “On the first day, this bunch of niggers, they thought I was a racist, so they asked, ‘Are you in the KKK?'” he tells me. “I said, ‘Yeah,’ and it was on.” Soon enough, he was expelled.

For the next six years, Fogarty flitted from landscaping job to construction job, neither of which he’d ever wanted to do. “I was just drinking and fighting,” he says. He started his own Nazi rock group, Attack, and made friends in the National Alliance, at the time the biggest neo-Nazi group in the country. It has called for a “a long-term eugenics program involving at least the entire populations of Europe and America.”

But the military ran in Fogarty’s family. His grandfather had served during World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and his dad had been a Marine in Vietnam. At 22, Fogarty resolved to follow in their footsteps. “I wanted to serve my country,” he says.

Army regulations prohibit soldiers from participating in racist groups, and recruiters are instructed to keep an eye out for suspicious tattoos. Before signing on the dotted line, enlistees are required to explain any tattoos. At a Tampa recruitment office, though, Fogarty sailed right through the signup process. “They just told me to write an explanation of each tattoo, and I made up some stuff, and that was that,” he says. Soon he was posted to Fort Stewart in Georgia, where he became part of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Fogarty’s ex-girlfriend, intent on destroying his new military career, sent a dossier of photographs to Fort Stewart. The photos showed Fogarty attending white supremacist rallies and performing with his band, Attack. “They hauled me before some sort of committee and showed me the pictures,” Fogarty says. “I just denied them and said my girlfriend was a spiteful bitch.” He adds: “They knew what I was about. But they let it go because I’m a great soldier.”

In 2003, Fogarty was sent to Iraq. For two years he served in the military police, escorting officers, including generals, around the hostile country. He says he was granted top-secret clearance and access to battle plans. Fogarty speaks with regret that he “never had any kill counts.” But he says his time in Iraq increased his racist resolve.

“I hate Arabs more than anybody, for the simple fact I’ve served over there and seen how they live,” he tells me. “They’re just a backward people. Them and the Jews are just disgusting people as far as I’m concerned. Their customs, everything to do with the Middle East, is just repugnant to me.”

Because of his tattoos and his racist comments, most of his buddies and his commanding officers were aware of his Nazism. “They all knew in my unit,” he says. “They would always kid around and say, ‘Hey, you’re that skinhead!'” But no one sounded an alarm to higher-ups. “I would volunteer for all the hardest missions, and they were like, ‘Let Fogarty go.’ They didn’t want to get rid of me.”

Fogarty left the Army in 2005 with an honorable discharge. He says he was asked to reenlist. He declined. He was sick of the system.

Since the launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military has struggled to recruit and reenlist troops. As the conflicts have dragged on, the military has loosened regulations, issuing “moral waivers” in many cases, allowing even those with criminal records to join up. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder have been ordered back to the Middle East for second and third tours of duty.

The lax regulations have also opened the military’s doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and gang members — with drastic consequences. Some neo-Nazis have been charged with crimes inside the military, and others have been linked to recruitment efforts for the white right. A recent Department of Homeland Security report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” stated: “The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.” Many white supremacists join the Army to secure training for, as they see it, a future domestic race war. Others claim to be shooting Iraqis not to pursue the military’s strategic goals but because killing “hajjis” is their duty as white militants.

Soldiers’ associations with extremist groups, and their racist actions, contravene a host of military statutes instituted in the past three decades. But during the “war on terror,” U.S. armed forces have turned a blind eye on their own regulations. A 2005 Department of Defense report states, “Effectively, the military has a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy pertaining to extremism. If individuals can perform satisfactorily, without making their extremist opinions overt … they are likely to be able to complete their contracts.”

Carter F. Smith is a former military investigator who worked with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command from 2004 to 2006, when he helped to root out gang violence in troops. “When you need more soldiers, you lower the standards, whether you say so or not,” he says. “The increase in gangs and extremists is an indicator of this.” Military investigators may be concerned about white supremacists, he says. “But they have a war to fight, and they don’t have incentive to slow down.”

Tom Metzger is the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and current leader of the White Aryan Resistance. He tells me the military has never been more tolerant of racial extremists. “Now they are letting everybody in,” he says.

The presence of white supremacists in the military first triggered concern in 1976. At Camp Pendleton in California, a group of black Marines attacked white Marines they mistakenly believed to be in the KKK. The resulting investigation uncovered a KKK chapter at the base and led to the jailing or transfer of 16 Klansmen. Reports of Klan activity among soldiers and Marines surfaced again in the 1980s, spurring President Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, to condemn military participation in white supremacist organizations.

Then, in 1995, a black couple was murdered by two neo-Nazi paratroopers around Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The murder investigation turned up evidence that 22 soldiers at Fort Bragg were known to be extremists. That year, language was added to a Department of Defense directive, explicitly prohibiting participation in “organizations that espouse supremacist causes” or “advocate the use of force or violence.”

Today a complete ban on membership in racist organizations appears to have been lifted — though the proliferation of white supremacists in the military is difficult to gauge. The military does not track them as a discrete category, coupling them with gang members. But one indication of the scope comes from the FBI.

Following an investigation of white supremacist groups, a 2008 FBI report declared: “Military experience — ranging from failure at basic training to success in special operations forces — is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement.” In white supremacist incidents from 2001 to 2008, the FBI identified 203 veterans. Most of them were associated with the National Alliance and the National Socialist Movement, which promote anti-Semitism and the overthrow of the U.S. government, and assorted skinhead groups.

Because the FBI focused only on reported cases, its numbers don’t include the many extremist soldiers who have managed to stay off the radar. But its report does pinpoint why the white supremacist movements seek to recruit veterans — they “may exploit their accesses to restricted areas and intelligence or apply specialized training in weapons, tactics, and organizational skills to benefit the extremist movement.”

In fact, since the movement’s inception, its leaders have encouraged members to enlist in the U.S. military as a way to receive state-of-the-art combat training, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, in preparation for a domestic race war. The concept of a race war is central to extremist groups, whose adherents imagine an eruption of violence that pits races against each other and the government.

That goal comes up often in the chatter on white supremacist Web sites. On the neo-Nazi Web site Blood and Honour, a user called 88Soldier88, wrote in 2008 that he is an active duty soldier working in a detainee holding area in Iraq. He complained about “how ‘nice’ we have to treat these fucking people … better than our own troops.” Then he added, “Hopefully the training will prepare me for what I hope is to come.” Another poster, AMERICANARYAN.88Soldier88, wrote, “I have the training I need and will pass it on to others when I get out.”

On NewSaxon.org, a social networking group for neo-Nazis, a group called White Military Men hosts numerous contributors. It was begun by “FightingforWhites,” who identified himself at one point as Lance Cpl. Burton of the 2nd Battalion Fox Company, but then removed the information. The group calls for “All men with military experience, retired or active/reserve” to “join this group to see how many men have experience to build an army. We want to win a war, we need soldiers.” FightingforWhites — whose tagline is “White Supremacy will prevail! US Military leading the way!” — goes on to write, “I am with an infantry battalion in the Marine Corps, I have had the pleasure of killing four enemies that tried to kill me. I have the best training to kill people.” On his wall, a friend wrote: “THANKS BROTHER!!!! kill a couple towel heads for me ok!”

Such attitudes come straight from the movement’s leaders. “We do encourage them to sign up for the military,” says Charles Wilson, spokesman for the National Socialist Movement. “We can use the training to secure the resistance to our government.” Billy Roper, of White Revolution, says skinheads join the military for the usual reasons, such as access to higher education, but also “to secure the future for white children.” “America began in bloody revolution,” he reminds me, “and it might end that way.”

When it comes to screening out racists at recruitment centers, military regulations appear to have collapsed. “We don’t exclude people from the army based on their thoughts,” says S. Douglas Smith, an Army public affairs officer. “We exclude based on behavior.” He says an “offensive” or “extremist” tattoo “might be a reason for them not to be in the military.” Or it might not. “We try to educate recruiters on extremist tattoos,” he says, but “the tattoo is a relatively subjective decision” and shouldn’t in itself bar enlistment.

What about something as obvious as a swastika? “A swastika would trigger questions,” Smith says. “But again, if the gentlemen said, ‘I like the way the swastika looked,’ and had clean criminal record, it’s possible we would allow that person in.” “There are First Amendment rights,” he adds.

In the spring, I telephoned at random five Army recruitment centers across the country. I said I was interested in joining up and mentioned that I had a pair of “SS bolts” tattooed on my arm. A 2000 military brochure stated that SS bolts were a tattoo image that should raise suspicions. But none of the recruiters reacted negatively, and when pressed directly about the tattoo, not one said it would be an outright problem. A recruiter in Houston was typical; he said he’d never heard of SS bolts and just encouraged me to come on in.

It’s in the interest of recruiters to interpret recruiting standards loosely. If they fail to meet targets, based on the number of soldiers they enlist, they may have to attend a punitive counseling session, and it could hurt any chance for promotion. When, in 2005, the Army relaxed regulations on non-extremist tattoos, such as body art covering the hands, neck and face, this cut recruiters even more slack.

Even the education of recruiters about how to identify extremists seems to have fallen by the wayside. The 2005 Department of Defense report concluded that recruiting personnel “were not aware of having received systematic training on recognizing and responding to possible terrorists” — a designation that includes white supremacists — “who try to enlist.” Participation on white supremacist Web sites would be an easy way to screen out extremist recruits, but the report found that the military had not clarified which Web forums were gathering places for extremists.

Once white supremacists are in the military, it is easy to stay there. An Army Command Policy manual devotes more than 100 pages to rooting them out. But no officer appears to be reading it.

Hunter Glass was a paratrooper in the 1980s and became a gang cop in 1999 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg. “In the early 1990s, the military was hard on them. They could pick and choose,” he recalls. “They were looking for swastikas. They were looking for anything.” But the regulations on racist extremists got jettisoned with the war on terror.

Glass says white supremacists now enjoy an open culture of impunity in the armed forces. “We’re seeing guys with tattoos all the time,” he says. “As far as hunting them down, I don’t see it. I’m seeing the opposite, where if a white supremacist has committed a crime, the military stance will be, ‘He didn’t commit a race-related crime.'”

In fact, a 2006 report by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command shows that military brass consistently ignored evidence of extremism. One case, at Fort Hood, reveals that a soldier was making Internet postings on the white supremacist site Stormfront.org. But the investigator was unable to locate the soldier in question. In a brief summary of the case, an investigator writes that due to “poor documentation,” “attempts to locate with minimal information met with negative results.” “I’m not doing my job here,” the investigator notes. “Needs to get fixed.”

In another case, investigators found that a Fort Hood soldier belonged to the neo-Nazi group Hammerskins and was “closely associated with” the Celtic Knights of Austin, Texas, another extremist organization, a situation bad enough to merit a joint investigation by the FBI and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. The Army summary states that there was “probable cause” to believe the soldier had participated in at least one white extremist meeting and had “provided a military technical manual … to the leader of a white extremist group in order to assist in the planning and execution of future attacks on various targets.”

Our of four preliminary probes into white supremacists, the Criminal Investigation Command carried through on only this one. The probe revealed that “a larger single attack was planned for the San Antonio, TX after a considerable amount of media attention was given to illegal immigrants. The attack was not completed due to the inability of the organization to obtain explosives.” Despite these threats, the subject was interviewed only once, in 2006, and the investigation was terminated the following year.

White supremacists may be doing more than avoiding expulsion. They may be using their military status to help build the white right. The FBI found that two Army privates in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg had attempted in 2007 to sell stolen property from the military — including ballistic vests, a combat helmet and pain medications such as morphine — to an undercover FBI agent they believed was involved with the white supremacist movement. (They were convicted and sentenced to six years.) It found multiple examples of white supremacist recruitment among active military, including a period in 2003 when six active duty soldiers at Fort Riley, members of the Aryan Nation, were recruiting their Army colleagues and even serving as the Aryan Nation’s point of contact for the state of Kansas.

One white supremacist soldier, James Douglas Ross, a military intelligence officer stationed at Fort Bragg, was given a bad conduct discharge from the Army when he was caught trying to mail a submachine gun from Iraq to his father’s home in Spokane, Wash. Military police found a cache of white supremacist paraphernalia and several weapons hidden behind ceiling tiles in Ross’ military quarters. After his discharge, a Spokane County deputy sheriff saw Ross passing out fliers for the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

Rooting out extremists is difficult because racism pervades the military, according to soldiers. They say troops throughout the Middle East use derogatory terms like “hajji” or “sand nigger” to define Arab insurgents and often the Arab population itself.

“Racism was rampant,” recalls vet Michael Prysner, who served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. “All of command, everywhere, it was completely ingrained in the consciousness of every soldier. I’ve heard top generals refer to the Iraq people as ‘hajjis.’ The anti-Arab racism came from the brass. It came from the top. And everything was justified because they weren’t considered people.”

Another vet, Michael Totten, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne in 2003 and 2004, says, “It wouldn’t stand out if you said ‘sand niggers,’ even if you aren’t a neo-Nazi.” Totten says his perspective has changed in the intervening years, but “at the time, I used the words ‘sand nigger.’ I didn’t consider ‘hajji’ to be derogatory.”

Geoffrey Millard, an organizer for Iraq Veterans Against the War, served in Iraq for 13 months, beginning in 2004, as part of the 42nd Infantry Division. He recalls Gen. George Casey, who served as the commander in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, addressing a briefing he attended in the summer of 2005 at Forward Operating Base, outside Tikrit. “As he walked past, he was talking about some incident that had just happened, and he was talking about how ‘these stupid fucking hajjis couldn’t figure shit out.’ And I’m just like, Are you kidding me? This is Gen. Casey, the highest-ranking guy in Iraq, referring to the Iraqi people as ‘fucking hajjis.'” (A spokesperson for Casey, now the Army Chief of Staff, said the general “did not make this statement.”)

“The military is attractive to white supremacists,” Millard says, “because the war itself is racist.”

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Armed Forces has long been considered one of Congress’ most powerful groups. It governs legislation affecting the Pentagon, defense budget, military strategies and operations. Today it is led by the influential Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain. An investigation by the committee into how white supremacists permeate the military in plain violation of U.S. law could result in substantive changes. I contacted the committee but staffers would not agree to be interviewed. Instead, a spokesperson responded that white supremacy in the military has never arisen as a concern. In an e-mail, the spokesperson said, “The Committee doesn’t have any information that would indicate this is a particular problem.”

— By Matt Kennard

Copyright ©2009 Salon Media Group, Inc. Reproduction of material from any Salon pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. SALON® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of Salon Media Group Inc.

Neo-Nazis are in the Army now

Filed under: gangs in the military, military, neo-nazis, skinheads, white supremacists — carterfsmith @ 9:04 am

(archive only – original at http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/06/15/neo_nazis_army/print.html)



Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join its ranks.

By Matt Kennard

Editor’s note: Research support for this article was provided by the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund.


Jun. 15, 2009 |

On a muggy Florida evening in 2008, I meet Iraq War veteran Forrest Fogarty in the Winghouse, a little bar-restaurant on the outskirts of Tampa, his favorite hangout. He told me on the phone I would recognize him by his skinhead. Sure enough, when I spot a white guy at a table by the door with a shaved head, white tank top and bulging muscles, I know it can only be him.

Over a plate of chicken wings, he tells me about his path into the white-power movement. “I was 14 when I decided I wanted to be a Nazi,” he says. At his first high school, near Los Angeles, he was bullied by black and Latino kids. That’s when he first heard Skrewdriver, a band he calls “the godfather of the white power movement.” “I became obsessed,” he says. He had an image from one of Skrewdriver’s album covers — a Viking carrying a staff, an icon among white nationalists — tattooed on his left forearm. Soon after he had a Celtic cross, an Irish symbol appropriated by neo-Nazis, emblazoned on his stomach.

At 15, Fogarty moved with his dad to Tampa, where he started picking fights with groups of black kids at his new high school. “On the first day, this bunch of niggers, they thought I was a racist, so they asked, ‘Are you in the KKK?'” he tells me. “I said, ‘Yeah,’ and it was on.” Soon enough, he was expelled.

For the next six years, Fogarty flitted from landscaping job to construction job, neither of which he’d ever wanted to do. “I was just drinking and fighting,” he says. He started his own Nazi rock group, Attack, and made friends in the National Alliance, at the time the biggest neo-Nazi group in the country. It has called for a “a long-term eugenics program involving at least the entire populations of Europe and America.”

But the military ran in Fogarty’s family. His grandfather had served during World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and his dad had been a Marine in Vietnam. At 22, Fogarty resolved to follow in their footsteps. “I wanted to serve my country,” he says.

Army regulations prohibit soldiers from participating in racist groups, and recruiters are instructed to keep an eye out for suspicious tattoos. Before signing on the dotted line, enlistees are required to explain any tattoos. At a Tampa recruitment office, though, Fogarty sailed right through the signup process. “They just told me to write an explanation of each tattoo, and I made up some stuff, and that was that,” he says. Soon he was posted to Fort Stewart in Georgia, where he became part of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Fogarty’s ex-girlfriend, intent on destroying his new military career, sent a dossier of photographs to Fort Stewart. The photos showed Fogarty attending white supremacist rallies and performing with his band, Attack. “They hauled me before some sort of committee and showed me the pictures,” Fogarty says. “I just denied them and said my girlfriend was a spiteful bitch.” He adds: “They knew what I was about. But they let it go because I’m a great soldier.”

In 2003, Fogarty was sent to Iraq. For two years he served in the military police, escorting officers, including generals, around the hostile country. He says he was granted top-secret clearance and access to battle plans. Fogarty speaks with regret that he “never had any kill counts.” But he says his time in Iraq increased his racist resolve.

“I hate Arabs more than anybody, for the simple fact I’ve served over there and seen how they live,” he tells me. “They’re just a backward people. Them and the Jews are just disgusting people as far as I’m concerned. Their customs, everything to do with the Middle East, is just repugnant to me.”

Because of his tattoos and his racist comments, most of his buddies and his commanding officers were aware of his Nazism. “They all knew in my unit,” he says. “They would always kid around and say, ‘Hey, you’re that skinhead!'” But no one sounded an alarm to higher-ups. “I would volunteer for all the hardest missions, and they were like, ‘Let Fogarty go.’ They didn’t want to get rid of me.”

Fogarty left the Army in 2005 with an honorable discharge. He says he was asked to reenlist. He declined. He was sick of the system.

Since the launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military has struggled to recruit and reenlist troops. As the conflicts have dragged on, the military has loosened regulations, issuing “moral waivers” in many cases, allowing even those with criminal records to join up. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder have been ordered back to the Middle East for second and third tours of duty.

The lax regulations have also opened the military’s doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and gang members — with drastic consequences. Some neo-Nazis have been charged with crimes inside the military, and others have been linked to recruitment efforts for the white right. A recent Department of Homeland Security report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” stated: “The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.” Many white supremacists join the Army to secure training for, as they see it, a future domestic race war. Others claim to be shooting Iraqis not to pursue the military’s strategic goals but because killing “hajjis” is their duty as white militants.

Soldiers’ associations with extremist groups, and their racist actions, contravene a host of military statutes instituted in the past three decades. But during the “war on terror,” U.S. armed forces have turned a blind eye on their own regulations. A 2005 Department of Defense report states, “Effectively, the military has a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy pertaining to extremism. If individuals can perform satisfactorily, without making their extremist opinions overt … they are likely to be able to complete their contracts.”

Carter F. Smith is a former military investigator who worked with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command from 2004 to 2006, when he helped to root out gang violence in troops. “When you need more soldiers, you lower the standards, whether you say so or not,” he says. “The increase in gangs and extremists is an indicator of this.” Military investigators may be concerned about white supremacists, he says. “But they have a war to fight, and they don’t have incentive to slow down.”

Tom Metzger is the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and current leader of the White Aryan Resistance. He tells me the military has never been more tolerant of racial extremists. “Now they are letting everybody in,” he says.

The presence of white supremacists in the military first triggered concern in 1976. At Camp Pendleton in California, a group of black Marines attacked white Marines they mistakenly believed to be in the KKK. The resulting investigation uncovered a KKK chapter at the base and led to the jailing or transfer of 16 Klansmen. Reports of Klan activity among soldiers and Marines surfaced again in the 1980s, spurring President Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, to condemn military participation in white supremacist organizations.

Then, in 1995, a black couple was murdered by two neo-Nazi paratroopers around Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The murder investigation turned up evidence that 22 soldiers at Fort Bragg were known to be extremists. That year, language was added to a Department of Defense directive, explicitly prohibiting participation in “organizations that espouse supremacist causes” or “advocate the use of force or violence.”

Today a complete ban on membership in racist organizations appears to have been lifted — though the proliferation of white supremacists in the military is difficult to gauge. The military does not track them as a discrete category, coupling them with gang members. But one indication of the scope comes from the FBI.

Following an investigation of white supremacist groups, a 2008 FBI report declared: “Military experience — ranging from failure at basic training to success in special operations forces — is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement.” In white supremacist incidents from 2001 to 2008, the FBI identified 203 veterans. Most of them were associated with the National Alliance and the National Socialist Movement, which promote anti-Semitism and the overthrow of the U.S. government, and assorted skinhead groups.

Because the FBI focused only on reported cases, its numbers don’t include the many extremist soldiers who have managed to stay off the radar. But its report does pinpoint why the white supremacist movements seek to recruit veterans — they “may exploit their accesses to restricted areas and intelligence or apply specialized training in weapons, tactics, and organizational skills to benefit the extremist movement.”

In fact, since the movement’s inception, its leaders have encouraged members to enlist in the U.S. military as a way to receive state-of-the-art combat training, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, in preparation for a domestic race war. The concept of a race war is central to extremist groups, whose adherents imagine an eruption of violence that pits races against each other and the government.

That goal comes up often in the chatter on white supremacist Web sites. On the neo-Nazi Web site Blood and Honour, a user called 88Soldier88, wrote in 2008 that he is an active duty soldier working in a detainee holding area in Iraq. He complained about “how ‘nice’ we have to treat these fucking people … better than our own troops.” Then he added, “Hopefully the training will prepare me for what I hope is to come.” Another poster, AMERICANARYAN.88Soldier88, wrote, “I have the training I need and will pass it on to others when I get out.”

On NewSaxon.org, a social networking group for neo-Nazis, a group called White Military Men hosts numerous contributors. It was begun by “FightingforWhites,” who identified himself at one point as Lance Cpl. Burton of the 2nd Battalion Fox Company, but then removed the information. The group calls for “All men with military experience, retired or active/reserve” to “join this group to see how many men have experience to build an army. We want to win a war, we need soldiers.” FightingforWhites — whose tagline is “White Supremacy will prevail! US Military leading the way!” — goes on to write, “I am with an infantry battalion in the Marine Corps, I have had the pleasure of killing four enemies that tried to kill me. I have the best training to kill people.” On his wall, a friend wrote: “THANKS BROTHER!!!! kill a couple towel heads for me ok!”

Such attitudes come straight from the movement’s leaders. “We do encourage them to sign up for the military,” says Charles Wilson, spokesman for the National Socialist Movement. “We can use the training to secure the resistance to our government.” Billy Roper, of White Revolution, says skinheads join the military for the usual reasons, such as access to higher education, but also “to secure the future for white children.” “America began in bloody revolution,” he reminds me, “and it might end that way.”

When it comes to screening out racists at recruitment centers, military regulations appear to have collapsed. “We don’t exclude people from the army based on their thoughts,” says S. Douglas Smith, an Army public affairs officer. “We exclude based on behavior.” He says an “offensive” or “extremist” tattoo “might be a reason for them not to be in the military.” Or it might not. “We try to educate recruiters on extremist tattoos,” he says, but “the tattoo is a relatively subjective decision” and shouldn’t in itself bar enlistment.

What about something as obvious as a swastika? “A swastika would trigger questions,” Smith says. “But again, if the gentlemen said, ‘I like the way the swastika looked,’ and had clean criminal record, it’s possible we would allow that person in.” “There are First Amendment rights,” he adds.

In the spring, I telephoned at random five Army recruitment centers across the country. I said I was interested in joining up and mentioned that I had a pair of “SS bolts” tattooed on my arm. A 2000 military brochure stated that SS bolts were a tattoo image that should raise suspicions. But none of the recruiters reacted negatively, and when pressed directly about the tattoo, not one said it would be an outright problem. A recruiter in Houston was typical; he said he’d never heard of SS bolts and just encouraged me to come on in.

It’s in the interest of recruiters to interpret recruiting standards loosely. If they fail to meet targets, based on the number of soldiers they enlist, they may have to attend a punitive counseling session, and it could hurt any chance for promotion. When, in 2005, the Army relaxed regulations on non-extremist tattoos, such as body art covering the hands, neck and face, this cut recruiters even more slack.

Even the education of recruiters about how to identify extremists seems to have fallen by the wayside. The 2005 Department of Defense report concluded that recruiting personnel “were not aware of having received systematic training on recognizing and responding to possible terrorists” — a designation that includes white supremacists — “who try to enlist.” Participation on white supremacist Web sites would be an easy way to screen out extremist recruits, but the report found that the military had not clarified which Web forums were gathering places for extremists.

Once white supremacists are in the military, it is easy to stay there. An Army Command Policy manual devotes more than 100 pages to rooting them out. But no officer appears to be reading it.

Hunter Glass was a paratrooper in the 1980s and became a gang cop in 1999 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg. “In the early 1990s, the military was hard on them. They could pick and choose,” he recalls. “They were looking for swastikas. They were looking for anything.” But the regulations on racist extremists got jettisoned with the war on terror.

Glass says white supremacists now enjoy an open culture of impunity in the armed forces. “We’re seeing guys with tattoos all the time,” he says. “As far as hunting them down, I don’t see it. I’m seeing the opposite, where if a white supremacist has committed a crime, the military stance will be, ‘He didn’t commit a race-related crime.'”

In fact, a 2006 report by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command shows that military brass consistently ignored evidence of extremism. One case, at Fort Hood, reveals that a soldier was making Internet postings on the white supremacist site Stormfront.org. But the investigator was unable to locate the soldier in question. In a brief summary of the case, an investigator writes that due to “poor documentation,” “attempts to locate with minimal information met with negative results.” “I’m not doing my job here,” the investigator notes. “Needs to get fixed.”

In another case, investigators found that a Fort Hood soldier belonged to the neo-Nazi group Hammerskins and was “closely associated with” the Celtic Knights of Austin, Texas, another extremist organization, a situation bad enough to merit a joint investigation by the FBI and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. The Army summary states that there was “probable cause” to believe the soldier had participated in at least one white extremist meeting and had “provided a military technical manual … to the leader of a white extremist group in order to assist in the planning and execution of future attacks on various targets.”

Our of four preliminary probes into white supremacists, the Criminal Investigation Command carried through on only this one. The probe revealed that “a larger single attack was planned for the San Antonio, TX after a considerable amount of media attention was given to illegal immigrants. The attack was not completed due to the inability of the organization to obtain explosives.” Despite these threats, the subject was interviewed only once, in 2006, and the investigation was terminated the following year.

White supremacists may be doing more than avoiding expulsion. They may be using their military status to help build the white right. The FBI found that two Army privates in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg had attempted in 2007 to sell stolen property from the military — including ballistic vests, a combat helmet and pain medications such as morphine — to an undercover FBI agent they believed was involved with the white supremacist movement. (They were convicted and sentenced to six years.) It found multiple examples of white supremacist recruitment among active military, including a period in 2003 when six active duty soldiers at Fort Riley, members of the Aryan Nation, were recruiting their Army colleagues and even serving as the Aryan Nation’s point of contact for the state of Kansas.

One white supremacist soldier, James Douglas Ross, a military intelligence officer stationed at Fort Bragg, was given a bad conduct discharge from the Army when he was caught trying to mail a submachine gun from Iraq to his father’s home in Spokane, Wash. Military police found a cache of white supremacist paraphernalia and several weapons hidden behind ceiling tiles in Ross’ military quarters. After his discharge, a Spokane County deputy sheriff saw Ross passing out fliers for the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

Rooting out extremists is difficult because racism pervades the military, according to soldiers. They say troops throughout the Middle East use derogatory terms like “hajji” or “sand nigger” to define Arab insurgents and often the Arab population itself.

“Racism was rampant,” recalls vet Michael Prysner, who served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. “All of command, everywhere, it was completely ingrained in the consciousness of every soldier. I’ve heard top generals refer to the Iraq people as ‘hajjis.’ The anti-Arab racism came from the brass. It came from the top. And everything was justified because they weren’t considered people.”

Another vet, Michael Totten, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne in 2003 and 2004, says, “It wouldn’t stand out if you said ‘sand niggers,’ even if you aren’t a neo-Nazi.” Totten says his perspective has changed in the intervening years, but “at the time, I used the words ‘sand nigger.’ I didn’t consider ‘hajji’ to be derogatory.”

Geoffrey Millard, an organizer for Iraq Veterans Against the War, served in Iraq for 13 months, beginning in 2004, as part of the 42nd Infantry Division. He recalls Gen. George Casey, who served as the commander in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, addressing a briefing he attended in the summer of 2005 at Forward Operating Base, outside Tikrit. “As he walked past, he was talking about some incident that had just happened, and he was talking about how ‘these stupid fucking hajjis couldn’t figure shit out.’ And I’m just like, Are you kidding me? This is Gen. Casey, the highest-ranking guy in Iraq, referring to the Iraqi people as ‘fucking hajjis.'” (A spokesperson for Casey, now the Army Chief of Staff, said the general “did not make this statement.”)

“The military is attractive to white supremacists,” Millard says, “because the war itself is racist.”

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Armed Forces has long been considered one of Congress’ most powerful groups. It governs legislation affecting the Pentagon, defense budget, military strategies and operations. Today it is led by the influential Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain. An investigation by the committee into how white supremacists permeate the military in plain violation of U.S. law could result in substantive changes. I contacted the committee but staffers would not agree to be interviewed. Instead, a spokesperson responded that white supremacy in the military has never arisen as a concern. In an e-mail, the spokesperson said, “The Committee doesn’t have any information that would indicate this is a particular problem.”

— By Matt Kennard

August 2, 2008

Divided Loyalty for military gang members

Filed under: active participation, gang member, gangs in the military, military, police — carterfsmith @ 4:21 pm

  • I am an American Soldier.
  • I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
  • I will always place the mission first.

These lines start the Soldier’s Creed. They also (if tested) would end the military careers of many gang members.

When examining the various aspects of gang life, loyalty within the gang organization often receives little or no attention. It is important that this concept be recognized, since violence is often a forced product of the underlying assumptions that hold street gangs together (Ruble & Turner, 2000), and violence is something that the military trains most service members to respond to (and sometimes deliver).

Loyalty becomes an issue in many organizations, but nowhere is it more critical than in the public service sector. The military and police departments across the United States have been infiltrated by gangs who seek access to weapons or sensitive information regarding investigations (Witkowski, 2004). The threat to these organizations does not come from the traditional worker.

Those in the military who are trained to fight in battle are not the only positions in which the loyalty of a gang member would be an issue. Those who control the finances and personnel assignments, as well as those who oversee logistics shipments can exploit their positions for the gang’s benefit. Those in and affiliated with policing and corrections may have access to criminal records, prisoner assignments, and transportation.

The indoctrination phase of these institutions cannot be compared to that used by the gang, and those holding dual positions (a member of the gang and the military or police) should be watched. They will not be intimidated by drill instructors. They will not admit their gang affiliation to investigators. They will not brag to their co-workers that they were able to join the military even though they were gang members.

Some military installations brief new arrivals and their family members on the dangers of gangs. Periodically, military installations will conduct tattoo inspections or publish local addresses situated near military installations of known gang hangouts that are considered off-limits to military personnel (Witkowski, 2004). Despite these briefings, many military leaders publicly deny the existence of gang members in their organizations, or at a minimum deny that their presence in the organization is a problem.

Nonetheless, members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been found throughout private and public sector employment, and even the U.S. Military. They are present in most branches and across all ranks of the military, especially the junior enlisted. Estimates of their effect on and participation in these areas are hard to obtain because many gang-related incidences are un-reported or exclude references to gang affiliation and there has been no record of a Department of Defense survey to locate military gang members.

Gang members often enter the workforce at the lower levels, but some may work their way into more career-oriented positions. Many join the military to escape their current environment or troubled gang lifestyle. Others may enlist in the military as an alternative to incarceration; to receive combat training; to obtain access to weapons and supplies; to learn basic first aid and medic skills that can later benefit their gang; or to take advantage of opportunities to commit crimes; and to recruit new members for their gang.

Those who enter the military to leave the gang lifestyle have a perfect opportunity. But those who enter the military to establish connections for drug running and weapons trafficking also have an opportunity. None of the military departments have an effective strategy for 1) identifying and 2) tracking the reformation of gang members, or truly 3) cracking the code. Current law prohibits only “active” participation, which means that those who enter or are sent to learn tactics or make connections would not be seen as active. We learned (again) with the war on terrorism that young men are quite capable of hiding their intentions.

Perhaps we should allow gang members into the military. To do so without oversight, though, is a mistake.

What do you think?

References

Ruble, N. M., & Turner, W. L. (2000). A systemic analysis of the dynamics and organization of urban street gangs. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(2), 117-132.
Witkowski, M. J. (2004). The Gang’s All Here. Security Management. Arlington: May 2004, 48,(5) 95.

Divided Loyalty for military gang members

Filed under: active participation, gang member, gangs in the military, military, police — carterfsmith @ 4:21 pm

  • I am an American Soldier.
  • I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
  • I will always place the mission first.

These lines start the Soldier’s Creed. They also (if tested) would end the military careers of many gang members.

When examining the various aspects of gang life, loyalty within the gang organization often receives little or no attention. It is important that this concept be recognized, since violence is often a forced product of the underlying assumptions that hold street gangs together (Ruble & Turner, 2000), and violence is something that the military trains most service members to respond to (and sometimes deliver).

Loyalty becomes an issue in many organizations, but nowhere is it more critical than in the public service sector. The military and police departments across the United States have been infiltrated by gangs who seek access to weapons or sensitive information regarding investigations (Witkowski, 2004). The threat to these organizations does not come from the traditional worker.

Those in the military who are trained to fight in battle are not the only positions in which the loyalty of a gang member would be an issue. Those who control the finances and personnel assignments, as well as those who oversee logistics shipments can exploit their positions for the gang’s benefit. Those in and affiliated with policing and corrections may have access to criminal records, prisoner assignments, and transportation.

The indoctrination phase of these institutions cannot be compared to that used by the gang, and those holding dual positions (a member of the gang and the military or police) should be watched. They will not be intimidated by drill instructors. They will not admit their gang affiliation to investigators. They will not brag to their co-workers that they were able to join the military even though they were gang members.

Some military installations brief new arrivals and their family members on the dangers of gangs. Periodically, military installations will conduct tattoo inspections or publish local addresses situated near military installations of known gang hangouts that are considered off-limits to military personnel (Witkowski, 2004). Despite these briefings, many military leaders publicly deny the existence of gang members in their organizations, or at a minimum deny that their presence in the organization is a problem.

Nonetheless, members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been found throughout private and public sector employment, and even the U.S. Military. They are present in most branches and across all ranks of the military, especially the junior enlisted. Estimates of their effect on and participation in these areas are hard to obtain because many gang-related incidences are un-reported or exclude references to gang affiliation and there has been no record of a Department of Defense survey to locate military gang members.

Gang members often enter the workforce at the lower levels, but some may work their way into more career-oriented positions. Many join the military to escape their current environment or troubled gang lifestyle. Others may enlist in the military as an alternative to incarceration; to receive combat training; to obtain access to weapons and supplies; to learn basic first aid and medic skills that can later benefit their gang; or to take advantage of opportunities to commit crimes; and to recruit new members for their gang.

Those who enter the military to leave the gang lifestyle have a perfect opportunity. But those who enter the military to establish connections for drug running and weapons trafficking also have an opportunity. None of the military departments have an effective strategy for 1) identifying and 2) tracking the reformation of gang members, or truly 3) cracking the code. Current law prohibits only “active” participation, which means that those who enter or are sent to learn tactics or make connections would not be seen as active. We learned (again) with the war on terrorism that young men are quite capable of hiding their intentions.

Perhaps we should allow gang members into the military. To do so without oversight, though, is a mistake.

What do you think?

References

Ruble, N. M., & Turner, W. L. (2000). A systemic analysis of the dynamics and organization of urban street gangs. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(2), 117-132.
Witkowski, M. J. (2004). The Gang’s All Here. Security Management. Arlington: May 2004, 48,(5) 95.

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