DoD Investigator Claims Gangs Are Infilitrating US Military
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Neo-Nazis and hate groups are infiltrating the US military in order to get first-class combat training and specialized training in demolitions, intelligence, and other aspects of warfare, according to a civil-rights group. Reports also indicate that black and Hispanic gangs are active within the armed forces.
The Southern Poverty Law Center requested that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward racist groups in the military. Mark Potok, director of the center's Intelligence Project, said, "Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists are joining the military in large numbers so they can get the best training in the world on weapons, combat tactics and explosives."
He added, "[The US Government] should consider this a major security threat, because these people are motivated by an ideology that calls for race war and revolution. Any one of them could turn out to be the next Timothy McVeigh," a reference to the decorated Gulf War veteran and white supremacist who detonated a truck bomb outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in April 1995, killing 168 people.
The Pentagon said they took steps to keep racist extremists from the ranks after the Oklahoma City bombing, but standards have been relaxed because of wartime recruiting pressures, allowing large numbers of people with links to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups to join the military, according to the civil-rights group.
The watchdog group pointed to neo-Nazi and white supremacist brochures and newsletters that encourage their members and supporters to join the military in order to get combat and specialized training.
US Department of Defense gang investigator, Scott Barfield, told the New York Post that neo-Nazis "stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they're inside, and they are hard-core," adding that, "We've got Aryan Nation graffiti in Baghdad. That's a problem."
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman acknowledged there have been incidents involving gang-related graffiti, but says, "Good order and discipline is the responsibility of commanders and to the extent there are any activities that are inconsistent with good order and discipline it is incumbent upon the commanders to address those."
The report said that neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance, whose founder, William Pierce, wrote "The Turner Diaries," the novel that was the inspiration and blueprint for Timothy J. McVeigh’s bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, sought to enroll followers in the Army to get training for a race war.
The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.
But according to the Chicago Sun-Times, it isn't only white "gangs" infiltrating the military.
The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq, according to the Sun-Times.
Armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls all have served as canvasses for their spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with “GDN” for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang’s six-pointed star and the word “Chitown,” a soldier who photographed it said.
The graffiti, captured on film by an Army Reservist and provided to the Chicago Sun-Times, highlights increasing gang activity in the Army in the United States and overseas, some experts say.
“I have identified 320 soldiers as gang members from April 2002 to present,” said Scott Barfield, a Defense Department gang detective at Fort Lewis in Washington state. “I think that’s the tip of the iceberg.”
Of paramount concern is whether gang-affiliated soldiers’ training will make them deadly urban warriors when they return to civilian life and if some are using their access to military equipment to supply gangs at home, said Barfield and other experts.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.