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Monday, April 20, 2009

Effing with the troops

The right-wing hate festers have taken to tea-bagging wingnuts as part of their celebratory ritual. They try to turn everything coming out of Washington, D.C., into evidence of socialism, communism, and any other odious charge that they can fabricate from their febrile little brain cells.

The latest example concerns the Department of Homeland Security bulletin to law enforcement agencies of things to monitor that might involve home-grown terrorists. The bulletin listed those people who might be approached by hate organizers as possible candidates for recruitment. Given the times and the trends, the report indicated what kind of hate factions are in most ferment at the time and who they might think are vulnerable to their hate appeals.

They mentioned that some violent groups look to veterans as a fertile field because people with military experience know fire arms, explosives, and know how to use them. Hate groups with violent agendas think they could use the experience in any domestic assaults they might like to launch.
The party of petulance, pettiness, and perfidy immediately portrayed this as an insult to all military personnel and veterans in that it lumped them in with rightwing extremists. Of course, the bulletin said nothing of the kind, but manufacturing lies is the only creative active the wingding chorus can find at the present moment.

The fact is that there are some really bad dudes in the military or who have been in the military.
That is why the military operates under a Universal Code of Military Justice and maintains stockades. During my service, I was escorted by the guard mount to and from the barracks and the missile launching area where I worked because my bunk mate was a black man and some racist zealots wanted to show me a lesson for betraying the white race. This was when the resistance to integration in the military service was formidable. And we were ordered to be particularly diligent about seeing that all weapons, rifles and bayonets, and ammunition were checked into the armory, accounted for, and locked up when not being used for training or exercises.

Aside from the racial incidents we had, our troops were also targeted by extreme left-wing groups for recruitment. Some empty barracks on the isolated post where I was stationed were used as part of a project in which President Eisenhower had a particular interest. During the Korean War, some soldiers became what was known as "turncoats." They were prisoners of war held by North Koreans who refused repatriation to the U.S. when released from prison. Their preferring to stay in North Korea was an extremely troubling problem for the military commands, and it was a factor in the decision to intensify integration in the services. The project was analyzing just what caused the turncoats to embrace their captors.

Where I was stationed in Germany was the center of activity for a leftwing terrorist group that became know as the Beider Meinhof Gang, later the Red Brigade. They approached American military personnel by pointing to the racial discriminaiton and oppression and inequality and suggested they offered a better way of life. Our Friday Troop Information and Education sessions dealt with these approaches and the American troops saw through the ploy to obtain their sympathies.

At the same time, at a much lower-keyed level, Nazi groups still operated. They clung to the notion of racial superiority but even the most racially prejudiced troops knew better than to associate with any of these people at the time.

The military has long been regarded as a potential field for recruitment by groups that want to use violence to further their agendas. It contains people who are able and willing to wage extracurricular war. Last week Master Sergeant John Hatley, for example, was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing four Iraqis. The military is fully aware that it includes problem personnel. With the recession, more people are turning to the military for jobs, so the military is reducing the number of felons it admits to its ranks. The salient fact is that "hate groups covet people with military experience."

The DHS study which produced the bulletin was initiated during the Bush administration and was developed in collaboraiton with the FBI. Currently, there are 926 hate groups listed as active in the U.S. Four of them operate in South Dakota. They are:

National Socialist Order of America Neo-Nazi SD
Nordwave Neo-Nazi SD
Retaliator Skinhead Nation Racist Skinhead Centerville SD
Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint General Hate Edgemont SD

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States