Photo: AP Images
After white supremacist and former Army sergeant Wade Michael Page opened fire on a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, the Pentagon began stepping up its efforts to expel neo-Nazis from its ranks.But so far, it’s not working too well.
“White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG – the Zionist Occupation Government,” Reuters’ Daniel Trotta reported Tuesday. “Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.”
Page, who killed six Sikhs in Wisconsin earlier this month, told graduate student Pete Simi he cemented his white power beliefs while serving in the U.S. Army from 1992 through 1998.
Page said he met at least two fellow servicemembers who were also white supremacists.
As far back as 1986 the Pentagon began fighting the growing tide of neo-Nazi servicemembers. That year, then-defence Secretary Casper Weinberger ordered white supremacists be expelled from the armed services.
That order didn’t stop active Hammerskin Nation member T.J. Leyden from serving in the Marines. He even hung a swastika from his locker, “taking it down only when his commander politely asked him to ahead of inspections by the commanding general,” Reuters reported.
“I went into the Marine Corps for one specific reason: I would learn how shoot,” Leyden told Reuters. “I also learned how to use C-4 (explosives), blow things up. I took all my military skills and said I could use these to train other people.”
More currently, a Justice Department report from 2008 found half of all right-wing extremists had some military experience, according to Reuters.
The Army has created a program to teach soldiers how to respond to extremism within the ranks, and it questions recruits about the meaning of tattoos such as Confederate flags.
Colonel Kevin Arata told Reuters he doesn’t think the issue is “a huge problem,” adding he hasn’t seen it during his more than 20 years in the Army.
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