The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that members of the National Socialist Movement — the white nationalist group that was based in Minnesota until late 2007 — have infiltrated the military and that social networking sites run by the neo-Nazi group have a number of military personnel as members.
The National Socialist Movement got its start in South St. Paul, but the organization’s official headquarters are now in Detroit, Mich. The group still has active members in southeast Minnesota and have hosted two anti-immigration rallies in the last month in Austin, Minn., including one on Saturday.
The SPLC sent a letter (PDF) to Congress on Friday urging an investigation into neo-Nazi and white supremacist activity by members of the armed forces, activity the group says has been overlooked by the military.
Specifically, the SPLC notes a 2008 FBI report that says, “Sensitive and reliable source reporting indicates supremacist leaders are encouraging followers who lack documented histories of neo-Nazi activity and overt racist insignia such as tattoos to infiltrate the military as ‘ghost skins,’ in order to recruit and receive training for the benefit of the extremist movement.”
The SPLC also notes the irony of maintaining known racists among military ranks while discharging gays and lesbians.
Since 1994, the military has discharged more than 12,500 servicemembers simply because of their homosexuality. It seems quite anomalous that the Pentagon would consider homosexuals more of a threat to good order than neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who reject our Constitution’s most cherished principles.
Clearly, the overwhelming majority of U.S. servicemembers reject extremism and are dedicated to serving and protecting the highest ideals of our country. Just as clearly, there will never be a fail-safe system that prevents extremists from infiltrating the military. But we owe it to our courageous men and women in uniform, and to the American public, to remain vigilant to ensure that the ranks are as free of extremists as possible.
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