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Midday Edition Special: Rooting Out White Supremacy In The U.S. Military

 September 14, 2020 at 11:18 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 How is the military keeping racial extremism from its ranks. Speaker 2: 00:05 If you go to zero tolerance, they cover it up. And it's so difficult to Denver, route out Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid day edition. Speaker 2: 00:24 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 00:24 The U S has seen a rise in racial extremism and white supremacy groups. Speaker 2: 00:29 These are organizations that believe that they need to use violence to accelerate the collapse of American society. Speaker 1: 00:36 At times the military is targeted by white supremacist groups who seek the skills and the prestige associated with military service today rooting out white supremacy in the U S military. That's a head on mid day edition. A military time survey released this year, shows many service members have seen examples of racism and even white nationalism within the ranks. Historically, these racially motivated groups have targeted the military wanting access to the skills and the prestige associated with military service. That threat has been growing in the last couple of years today, we're bringing you a special program, rooting out white supremacy in the U S military here's KPBS, military reporter, Steve Walsh Speaker 2: 01:23 To talk about this for the hour. We have Tony McAleer. He was once a Neo Nazi, but he has since founded life after hate in 2011, to help others leave white extremist groups. Last year, Mecca Lia testified before a house subcommittee as part of a hearing on confronting white supremacy. Carter Smith is a professor at middle Tennessee state university. He has taught classes on recognizing white supremacy. He has followed these groups since he was with the U S army criminal investigations division or CID and Heidi Barrack she's co-founded the global project against hate and extremism, which focuses on international white supremacy, anti-immigration antisemitic and anti-government movements. She has written extensively on the topic of global hate groups until recently. Barrack was also a senior executive at the Southern poverty law center and Cameron McCoy. He is a Lieutenant Colonel with the U S Marine reserves. Speaker 2: 02:19 He is also a professor of U S diplomatic and military history and race relations at the United States air force Academy. He's also written his thesis on the slow integration of African-Americans into the Marine Corps. We're gonna start with Cameron McCoy. So take us through some of the history here. Cameron, what is it about the culture of the Marines and the other services for that matter that make it easier for these groups to operate? Why would the leadership historically be less likely to see these groups as a threat? W what's their blind spot first? I want to thank you for having me on and certainly for putting together this panel, but one of the blind spots that happens in the Marine Corps, it's very difficult to say that it is a blind spot Speaker 3: 03:00 Because this was something that had occurred on an executive level for the commandant of the Marine Corps. So an executive order that you would receive from the president of the United States, a letter of instruction was akin to that. It was equal to that. And so when the Marine Corps, at that time, it was Thomas Holcombe, who was the commandant of the Marine Corps. He had a letter of instruction for 21. Speaker 2: 03:27 Let me just stop you there for a second. And some of the history here is that the Marine Corps was not particularly excited about bringing African-Americans into the Corps back in world war two. There was a tremendous amount of reluctance, right. And it's kind of continued on in one way or another since then, right? Speaker 3: 03:45 Yes, that's absolutely correct. And that's where the letter plays a key point because it gave full carp launch authority to every white Marine, not just white officers, but white Marines, because it was in line with, at the time Jim Crow laws. So it was written in the exact same fashion. And so that culture continued to not just emanate, but continue to grow. Speaker 2: 04:09 And really African American Marines were not really even well accepted even after world war II. Correct. But what's the history there. Speaker 3: 04:15 Well, you have to look at it. All of a sudden, my turf as, as a white Marine is being infringed upon by someone who has always been oppressed and suppressed throughout the nation's history. And so to now bring them into the Marine Corps in 1942, and then say they're on equal footing, seem to be an afar, a director front to what white supremacy was at the time. But the issue was this, Steve is that they weren't either on equal footing because they were still segregated at the time. Speaker 2: 04:45 And then after world war two, that was still an issue, right? Yes African-Americans because basically of world war II were allowed to be in the Marine Corps for the first time, but then afterwards they were not particularly welcomed, correct? Speaker 3: 04:59 That is correct. But, and even with president Truman passing executive order, 99, 81, which call for the desegregation of the armed forces, it still was a slow ball rolling because the Marine Corps continued to look for reasons as to, well we'll allow them to integrate, but there wasn't any urgency there until Korea hit. And once Korea had in 1950, that's when the urgency came to bear Speaker 2: 05:26 And they simply needed more troops to fight in Korea and then a lot more troops to fight in Vietnam. Speaker 3: 05:32 Absolutely. And so this process, this interwar period until Korea, what you see is black Marines are then trying to get into these coveted spaces. And that is a big deal. It's just, it becomes about space. And the officer Corps is the most coveted space within the Marine Corps specially during this time. And that, that is a lot of heartburn because now you have a lot of black men who have gone to college who are now educated, who have gone to law school, and some who even gone into other professional education level was close to getting their doctors. And this seems to be a threat to many why officers, because they feel themselves being surpassed Speaker 2: 06:16 In some ways, is, is the military kind of approach Speaker 3: 06:19 A club. That is a very, very good question. I it's difficult for me to say that it is a private club because it is open for the entire public. However, there are specific enclaves within and specific segments within each military branch that have been viewed somewhat as exclusively white. And that began by during the civil war period, because fighting on the front lines, one was the face of a military branch. I like to use the term face of the franchise to use a sports analogy because it really does ring true to people understanding, okay, we're now taking pictures of black people and Brown people storming beachheads and demonstrating masculinity and the most at the Zenith of masculinity and what that means and why should that person now be denied citizenship if they are on the front line and doing it and taking part and doing the things that really do submit what it means to be an elite citizen in the United States. So Speaker 2: 07:25 I did a podcast called free. The Pendleton 14 was about a group of Klansmen operating openly at camp Pendleton in San Diego. Back in 1976, the Marines didn't seem to take the threat of the clan being there very, very seriously. Um, officers were, were more concerned about African American Marines congregating together to talk about issues like the clan operating openly there on, on the Marine base. Um, then they were actually about the clan themselves. W was that a Speaker 3: 07:52 Usual? No, no, not at all. I mean, it was for, for young black men at that time, especially in the sixties, if they even talked about just the nation of Islam and many of these young men were becoming Muslim, that was more of a threat and a lot, a lot of that has to do with a J Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO. And that continued to emanate throughout just the entire federal government, but many, many white Marines were Klan members themselves. And so if you look like me and supremacy is the way of life, then I will be complicit in that behavior that would keep any other race or ethnic group down who's inferior. Right. Speaker 2: 08:36 So I just it's to kind of complete the story. It was back in 1976, African-American Marines attacked what they thought was a clan meeting happening in their barracks. Turns out the meeting was next door. This became national news. David Duke came to San Diego. So we're talking about some of these new groups that are emerging, but this isn't new phenomenon at all in the, in the military, correct? Oh, no, not at all. And, um, you and I had a conversation a few months back about this very thing, and it has pushed not simply just a secretary diff I mean the commandant of the Marine Corps who then ban all Confederate paraphernalia off of football basis. And then there's is now know with the death of George Floyd. Uh, Ethan pushed the secretary of defense to do the same thing. And even now, um, I know at least in the Marine Corps effective September one, 2020, there is no longer the use of photographs for promotion boards or schools or, uh, for command. Speaker 2: 09:35 So they're trying to, they're trying to get a handle on these issues even, even today. So, absolutely. So I wanted to bring in some more military voices into the conversation and especially people who have seen evidence of hate groups in the ranks either recently or in the past, as well as taking any of your questions. So please hit us up in the chat chat, and then the Q and a in the meantime, um, I want to reach out to, uh, Kim young McAleer to Lieutenant commander in the United States coast guard. She was recognized by the, uh, national whistleblower center in 2019 after exposing issues around race and gender discrimination in the us coast guard Academy. All right. So briefly tell us a little bit about your story. What happened to you with the coast guard Academy? Speaker 4: 10:17 Uh, well, first I was just thanks for welcome into the, uh, the conversation. Um, so I'm currently active duty in the us coast guard and I recorded the coast guard Academy as a permanent faculty member in 2014. And, um, basically what I experienced on a daily basis was workplace bullying, harassment, uh, discrimination. And as I filed those complaints, and these are, uh, misconduct by superiors. And as I filed those complaints, uh, the behaviors actually escalated. Uh, and I inevitably kept, uh, filing additional complaints, behaviors, escalated. Uh, I ultimately was retaliated against, and I had a false complaint to the department of Homeland security inspector General's office. And, uh, they substantiated my claim. So not only of retaliation, but I actually went back and looked at how the coast guard actually mishandled all of my previous, uh, investigations and essentially swept under the rug, uh, to this date. Speaker 4: 11:12 Unfortunately, no one has been held accountable and I think it really just speaks to this theme of institutional racism and white supremacy and how we have these power structures and the armed forces that are really working against, uh, you know, our, our, our best and our brightest. Uh, so it was really a journey from 2014 and for anyone who's ever blown the whistle in every sense of that word, you know, there's really kind of an indefinite tail end of, of retaliation, a form of social isolation and damage your reputation being blacklisted in i-STAT and things like that. So, um, but, but thank you for at least allowing me to share. Sure, Speaker 2: 11:48 No, I appreciate that. So we were talking about the Klan. This is 1976. And when we're talking about some of these issues certainly happening today here, and, um, we, we mentioned at the top of the show of military time survey, this is about a third of troops have seen some sort of extremist activity. And recently this is a very recent survey, but still I am, we're going to find out a little bit later, as we talked to some of our experts, they've only been a small handful of, of actual prosecutions out there. Does that surprise you? Speaker 4: 12:18 No, it does not surprise me personally, just my own observations that I've seen and the coast guard and the military is that there's really, um, kind of this culture of, uh, in DHS, we say, you know, if you see something say something, but unfortunately it's, it's at times, you know, a, see something say nothing, and there's really this culture of bystander ism. And, you know, I can speak to that, you know, personally, you know, the six years of workplace abuse that I've seen and also just kind of the parallels of what we're seeing with respect to say, sexual assault. Uh, there, there's a lot of studies that have been done and in surveys that have been done, and it's typically always underreported for a lot of those same reasons of, you know, folks not wanting to, to intervene, not wanting to get involved. There's there's fear if you come forward. And so I think that's really how a lot of these power systems really function is really keeping people and really kind of fear mindset. And then, you know, things become unreported. And I'm sure you've probably heard about the example in a coastguard, uh, with a Lieutenant Christopher song who was arrested, uh, and, you know, for a lot of folks who may not know the full background, but he actually was a Marine Corps veteran. And he, uh, you know, was no three was a Lieutenant, but, you know, he's, he's at coast guard headquarters Speaker 2: 13:33 And he was convicted of drug and gun charges. Prosecutors say that he was a domestic terrorist with a plot to kill several high ranking government officials. Um, uh, he had been in the coast guard for four years and you actually talked to some people who in the coast guard who had contact with them and, and it heard some of the things that he was saying in regard to race. And he was, he considered himself a racist even before he joined the coast guard, I believe. So. W what did you hear? Speaker 4: 14:03 Uh, yes. And it, honestly, it was, it was after the headlines had already come out after he was already arrested. And of course, you know, people were talking about it in acute cubicles and whatnot. And so it had basically remarked saying that they had recalled him, uh, mentioning, uh, comments of Emily being a skinhead in previous years. And I remember just kind of asking like, well, you know, today, I wouldn't say anything back then. So, you know, again, it's, it's, it's, it's really just kind of this culture of, is it safe to intervene? Do people have the competence to intervene? Do they understand what extremism looks like? Uh, so, uh, but yes, I, I have, uh, interacted with people who had served with him previously. Speaker 2: 14:43 And so they saw something, but they said nothing. Speaker 4: 14:47 That that was how they relayed the story yesterday. Speaker 2: 14:50 And how does that make you feel as an African Speaker 3: 14:52 American, who was in the coast guard that somebody would have saw something, but then decided that it wasn't worth bringing to anyone's attention? Speaker 1: 14:59 I mean, it's, it's terrible. It's, it's whether you're seeing, you know, whether it's harassment, sexual assault, bullying, extremism, you know, all of these things are horrible. So, I mean, as a black woman, it doesn't make me feel safer serving in the armed forces. Speaker 3: 15:18 I'm going to try to get one of the questions from the audience out there. One of my neighbors was on the Naval ship, USS kitty Hawk. That was an aircraft carrier when there was a race confrontation with white sailors attacking black sailors. This happened in the actually I was in the very early 1970s. How is an activity like this still tolerated in the armed forces? Is there a problem with the leadership being racist or is I see no problem with racism or as racism go on covert where it's just simply not noticeable by leadership. Cameron, do you want to take that real quick? It's kind of tricky. I guess it's not as neat as we'd like it to be many times is just implicit bias and sometimes it's, it's more covert than anything else given, again, it goes back to the first thing you mentioned, which is culture. Speaker 3: 16:07 If I cannot see someone who looks, who looks like me, it's very difficult for me to treat them the same way that I was. And what I mean by that is I could see that play out in so many areas while, while on active duty, where you could just see, if you look at specific way, you got treated one way, and if you didn't look that way, you were treated a different way. And I think that's what happens a lot. If I don't see any generals, black generals in the Marine Corps, then it's very difficult for me to aspire, to try to get there. And it's very difficult for even senior officers to recognize that because they are not accustomed to seeing it. I don't think anyone's really to blame, or if there's something specific that they're antagonistic about it, that's really hard. It's very hard for me to measure that, but I can measure discrimination very easily. And I can see that in the award system, the promotion system, assignment of command, uh, I've just seen it. And you're just recently with, um, Helen Cooper's article about the Marine Corps lacking black generals really has shined a light on that. Speaker 1: 17:14 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. We're bringing you a special program today on hate groups in the U S military. Historically, these racially motivated groups have targeted the armed forces, wanting access to the skills and the prestige associated with military service. That threat has been growing in the last couple of years. Here's KPBS, military reporter, Steve Walsh. Speaker 3: 17:39 So we're going to bring in, uh, Heidi Barrick, who is actually had recently been with the Southern poverty law. And now she's with the global project against hate and extremism. Now, you recently testified Speaker 2: 17:50 Before a subcommittee of the house armed services committee about the emerging threats, white supremacy and extremist activity. Isn't new as we've just been talking about, but there has been an increase. What, what are we seeing now? Speaker 5: 18:02 Well, first of all, I want to say, thank you very much for having me. This is a, it's a real treat. I'm basically what's happening is we've had a series of arrests. You've mentioned just a minute ago, the coast guard, a person who was arrested for threats of white supremacists, who were active duty. Also a lot of veterans who were involved in a lot of extremist groups and, and the groups that are most worrying today, where we're seeing these active duty troops are organizations like autumn Waffen, which means atomic weapons and German. This is a Neo Nazi outfit. Another group called the base, which is actually the translation of the term Al Qaeda into English. And these are organizations that believe that they need to use violence to accelerate the collapse of American society. And so it's a real scary situation, and we don't want these folks to have, you know, military training. Speaker 2: 18:54 So, yeah, and we're going to kind of untangle a little bit of that, just so we can give people a taste of some of the groups that are out there and, you know, bottom line is it's incredibly scary, but most of us really weren't focused in on these groups until Charlottesville in 2017 with unite the right movement, that a rally that was kind of a wake up call for, I think for most of us who hadn't seen that many, uh, extremists in one place at one time, but, and that really did kind of shine a light on it. And, and some of the groups that we saw out of there were, and you mentioned them already, Adam, often division, who are these people? What are they, what are the advocating for? Speaker 5: 19:32 Well, I think Charlottesville was a wake up call, even for those of us who study extremism, right? Because it was such a shocking situation. So we have these new Neo Nazi groups, um, like autumn often. And the base that I mentioned that are small cellular organizations all across the country and actually internationally, they recruit heavily from active duty troops or from veterans. They want military skills, but I should say that even though Charlottesville came as such a shock, as we've already heard you, uh, Steve and Cameron talk about groups like the KU Klux Klan, the Neo Nazi national Alliance, which if we were talking 20 years ago would have been the scariest group out there with the most long track record of violence. Uh, they have all targeted military folks into their ranks. So although these groups right now, like autumn often are scary because they specifically go by the way, the gun and want to destroy democratic societies. It's not necessarily new, but there sure does seem to be a whole lot more of it today. Speaker 2: 20:36 And we did see out of Charlottesville, some active duty troops who were prosecuted after Charlottesville, correct. Speaker 5: 20:42 That's right. And a couple other groups that I haven't really mentioned here have had leadership that were either veterans or active duty members of the military. Um, and, and we, and, you know, I've only mentioned a few groups. We have quite a few other formations where there have been arrests lately, for example, of the Boogaloo boys, which I know sounds completely bizarre, but it's a kind of antigovernment slash racist outfit who, whose members were, um, involved or really somebody who identified as a Boogaloo boy or involved in the killing of cops out in California during the, um, black lives matter protest. Speaker 2: 21:18 This is right up in Oakland, California. Speaker 5: 21:20 That's right. And, and these two men who identified as Boogaloo boys met on Facebook and 24 hours later, they engaged in these killings. And that one was an active duty airman. Speaker 2: 21:32 The Boogaloo boys are part of this, but there's something called the accelerationist movement. And, and as much as we were seeing out of Charlottesville, this seems to be, these groups seem to be kicking it up a notch, even beyond what we saw in 2017, correct. What did the acceleration this movement, what do they want to do Speaker 5: 21:51 So that the term acceleration refers to accelerating the destruction of a democracy and what these groups broadly believe is that demographic shifts and changes in the United States, which eventually will lead to, um, um, majority minority population in the United States will be far more diverse. They want to stave any possibility of those kinds of changes happening by using violence. And they're specific about it. They've given up on politics as a solution for, you know, political issues. And, and these are the kinds of people that we've seen killing people lately. Um, for example, in these protest movements or attempting to, Speaker 2: 22:32 And this is, I mean, and I don't want to be flipped, but it really is a situation where they look at like the walking dead, the show about the zombies and post apocalyptic world and things like that. That's what we want. We want to tear everything down and then rebuild society somehow in their image. And so they really don't care about the political process. They don't care who's president of the United States or who is running Congress. They really do want to just sort of watch the world burn. Speaker 5: 22:57 Yeah, that's right. And sometimes it does have a video came sort of TV feeling to their dystopian fantasies. But of course from their perspective, everything that we have is evil and corrupt and tainted, and we need to get back to a society. That's run by basically white males. They think of, you know, glory times in the past as being what the U S should return to. And they, the only thing they can see is the destructive of this, you know, destruction of this corrupt environment, get there. Speaker 2: 23:27 And even though they're to be Frank, it's not likely that they're going to succeed. The fact that they simply want to create chaos makes them incredibly dangerous. Speaker 5: 23:36 That's right. And they've killed, you know, mass attacks, major deaths, right? The El Paso, Walmart shooting, Christchurch, New Zealand mosque, the, the shooter. These are the kinds of people who are motivated by accelerationist ideas. And unfortunately it seems like those kinds of mass casualty attacks are accelerating in and more rapid than they were in the past. Especially if you look at say plots that have been interrupted, that could have played themselves out. And you know, we're going to see a lot more of this. And this is an area where the military really needs to take a stand because we don't want veterans or active duty folks being involved in things like this. Speaker 2: 24:15 And we haven't even been mentioned. Um, it mentioned the proud boys there's I know there's a, there's a California, the California national guard is actually investigating a troop that had a proud boys logo on his military vehicle and then pose for it and put it on social media. And he had been patrolling the civil unrest in LA back in June in the wake of the George Floyd murder. But the proud boys are in one of these groups that is just sprung up. It feels like overnight. Speaker 5: 24:42 Yeah. The proud boys have only been around for a few years. Uh, once again, rabidly anti Muslim strains of white supremacy and very aggressive in terms of being involved in street protests. I mean, they, on their own bef before the social justice protest started, if you got a year back further, they were creating havoc in places like Portland and, uh, other cities on the West coast with their own activities, their own protests. And you bring up a really interesting point. The Boogaloo boys, the proud boys, these groups haven't been around very long. You know, they're, they're much younger than Charlottesville, which happened in 2017. So we can see a white supremacy and sort of similar extremist groups are getting a lot more hardcore, uh, and quicker Speaker 2: 25:30 Right now we're going to bring in Tony McAleer. Tony has spent 15 years in the white supremacy, Neo Nazi movement in Canada and the U S he was once a disciple of Tom Metzker folks in California may know him. He was the Neo Nazi based out of Fallbrook, California town. Tony now spends his life trying to pull people out of the white supremacy movement. How did you get lured into the white supremacy movement? Speaker 6: 25:57 Um, I, you know, I wasn't from a broken family or a poor family. I came from a very affluent middle upper class family. My father was a psychiatrist. I went to private schools and such, and there was things that happened in the, in the home. I walked in on my father with another woman and, and I started acting out at school as a result of that. And the Catholic school, uh, beat me if I didn't get an a or a B. And it really sent me down a path where I was, I was really angry, confused, and, and such. And I just want to be clear. I don't ever blame anything on my childhood. There's lots of people that went to Catholic school and got beaten, and lots of people had adult in the household. The reason I share that I don't understand the lens through which I made my choices. Speaker 6: 26:38 And, you know, when I was in that, you know, for example, when I was in that office, getting hit in, on the rear end with a yard stick over and over and over again, I don't think, I don't think there was ever a time even to this day that I felt as powerless as I did in those moments. And so when I first came across the skinheads in England and my parents were like, how, why what's the attraction? And I was attracted to the violence and the power of violence, because I wasn't a tough kid. I was sort of a weak kid. And, you know, for, for me, for people to be afraid of me was incredibly intoxicating. And they, the skin has had the one thing that I didn't have I had, and that was, was fear and power and perceived power and through, through violence. And that's really what drew me in at the beginning. And then those things were exacerbated. I got attention and more, I see greater sense of power. The more far to the right into the more in, into the Neo Nazi, seeing that I went until I found myself as a leader, exercising power through people, Speaker 2: 27:38 The heads of, uh, of, of military law enforcement. They, they spoke before Congress, just a couple of months or months ago. And they talked about the number of cases. And it's not that many. And we'll, we'll talk to Carter Smith a little bit about that in a minute, but what they do is if they get a complaint that doesn't rise to the level of being what they see as a crime, they hand the information, what they found out about that particular true back to their commander. And it's up to them to take action. And I am my question and my question to the military, but my question to you is if you're that commander who gets some information from CID or in CIS, and it says this person has been interacting with the proud boys or the Boogaloo boys or any of these other groups, he's been on this many websites, he's been doing this as a commander, how would you approach it? Speaker 6: 28:29 You know, the Canadian military is, is struggling with exactly the same, the same issues. And I know recently they came out with a very strong policy, um, on defining that that behavior, which doesn't meet the threshold of criminal behavior, but is unacceptable to the military, defining what that is. And then adding accountability to that. So that, uh, commanding officers and officers at different level, they, they have they're accountable for what happens under them and, and, you know, defining what the problem is, and then adding accountability so that people can't just whitewash it and hope it goes away. But I think, I think they need to be educated on, on what exactly it is that they're looking for it and why it's, why it's a problem. And I think once, and once that, and the accountabilities thrown in, we might be able to see some solutions Speaker 2: 29:20 We're going to move on here. One more time here. We've got Carter Smith. Um, he's a professor at now at a middle Tennessee state university. Um, he, before that he spent, uh, 23 years at CID, which is basically army law enforcement. Uh, you got involved in tracking white supremacy after the 1995, uh, Fort shooting. I want to get into that. It's kind of like, what is some of the history of these laws and policies here, but first we're getting a lot of questions from the audience on like, um, what if someone is, uh, discharged for after being an active member of an extremist group, then does the military commanders alert local or state agencies or, and I, but I think there's a lot of questions Carter around, like what happens to people if they're not convicted of a crime, but they found there, they have been indulged in, in, in some of this activity. Speaker 7: 30:13 That's a, that's a great question. And one, in fact that I often solicit when I do surveys of gang cops all over the nation, when I go talking to various different groups, um, it's also one of three areas that I will probably identify the problem air quotes as the United States constitution, uh, because we have this ability to associate with those that we choose to associate. Uh, and we can not be prohibited by law from doing that unless there's a crime attached to that association. So what the, what the military does generally, and the army specifically, because they're the lead agency, cause they have the most troops and the other branch has turned to them. If you have a question, they don't have the ability they don't have. There's no way with, or without the current infectious disease issues that we have now, whether without politics, whether without a war zone, whether without anything, there's no way that the, the, the manpower is available for them to a track down every member of every group that could have issues, whether it be straight street gangs, outlaw, motorcycle gangs, or domestic terrorist extremists. Speaker 7: 31:24 And part two of that is they don't have the manpower to be able to call 10 bucks to Kalamazoo, salt Lake city, Miami, Florida, Hialeah, Dade County. They don't, they there's no way they can exit brief every single command or in every single community that's receiving one of their suspected hate group members. If they haven't committed a crime, you're probably violating their rights. Like it's going out of style, which is kind of what we want them to stop doing. At some level, I do ask a question and a lot of people think they should, but it's yeah. Having been there, I can just tell, and I'm not a military apologist. They pay me to breathe. I'm retired. So it's, you know, it's, I, I'm not trying to explain something they wish they could do. I'm telling you, they don't have the ability. They, the funds would not exist. My taxpayer's dollars would not go there unless I was arguing hard against it. So, Speaker 2: 32:19 Um, but at this point, and there, there is a certain history here, but you're not allowed to be an active member of one of these groups, but, um, we're still quibbling over what it means to be an active member of these groups. Right? Speaker 7: 32:33 Sure. I mean, if you and I are both members of the same organization, whether it's your, whether it's your station or whether it's my university active members means we show up for work. Active members means we were the, we were the logo on our shirts. Active members means we talked to other people about joining. It doesn't mean we've got a membership card sitting in our wallet and we sit on it when we, when we have dinner or something like that, although it could be interpreted to be that way, if you stretch it a little bit, but the reality of it is back to the constitution. There can be a law. And I have my, I have my concerns about the current laws anyway, but there can be a law that says, thou shalt not do ABC, D E and F, but if nobody's ever prosecuted for it, that would probably be a clear indication that the foundation of the law is not very solid. Speaker 7: 33:19 And I'm not sure how many staff, how many people have ever been prosecuted for being an active member of a hate group. Now they've been kicked out of the military, don't get me wrong, but almost a decade ago, I suggested that the Pentagon stopped saying, don't be an active member and start saying, if you are an active member, we will pull your security clearance that fast, and you can't have a job without a security clearance. And they're doing that now. They've been doing that for going on. I think about four years, that's the, that's the way around it. If you've got to find a way around the constitution by golly, that's the way, because without a security clearance, you're unemployable have a good life. Nice knowing you, Speaker 2: 33:58 I suppose that true. But, um, I don't know. I always talk to people who, uh, are in the military or veterans and they say, you know, the military owns you at this point. You don't have a constitutional right to be in the Marine Corps. And if they want to, uh, if they want to get you out of there, they, they have a way of doing it. I did want to, I have a statement from, uh, uh, Naval criminal intelligence, intelligence service, basically the Navy's version of the CID. Um, they, they didn't want to participate tonight, but they did give me a statement. S they say investigates crimes associated with domestic extremist organizations when there is an impairment or a suspected federal violation identified to violent extremist ideology and an active service member, or current DOD civilian employee who has expressed an aspiration to further the identified violent ideology by threats, active violence, or other enabling criminal activity. Speaker 2: 34:54 And then when those investigations result in a determination that there is no crime evidence, then they, uh, information is passed along to appropriate commands for administrative actions where deemed appropriate. So that's kind of like the nutshell of what they do. And I can tell you with, there you go, very lawyered up. Um, so NTIs, I can tell you, they reported to Congress recently that they have 14 active cases right now, and they were all referred to them by the FBI. Anything else that they've received? They have simply pushed down to commanders to have them take action. And it's, it seems to be, it's pretty inconsistent on what happens to people when they leave. Do we even know what happens to people if they're actually charged with a crime? Speaker 7: 35:39 Steve, may I say something really quickly? Cameron, I think, I think a very easy way to fix this. And instead of dancing around it, simply add a new article and update the uniform code of military justice. That is a very quick and easy way to take care of this. Once that's done, then there's, it's black and white, and that adds to what articles you were charged doctor. And that's just what needs to happen from a policy standpoint. That is what needs to be updated. Speaker 2: 36:08 Let's see a M added to the uniform code of military justice, basically the whole law in the military that, uh, just domestic extremism Speaker 7: 36:17 Charge. Yes, absolutely. Speaker 2: 36:19 Carter. You're also an attorney by the way, among us. Speaker 7: 36:22 Yeah. I'm, I'm not for additional laws when we aren't enforcing the current ones. Uh, I I've, I've, I've, I've been interviewed by a lot of media outlets asking me about enhancements this, and we're not, we're not doing what we can with what we've got. There's no sense in reinventing the wheel. Uh, we're not going to get prosecution for thought. We only get prosecution for behavior Tony's point. And I, and that's, that's amazing. Uh, that's, that's interesting on how you change. People's thought I, as a criminal investigator my past, we don't have time to change your thought. I just want to, I just want you to pay a penance for your behavior. How bout this? You behave in such a way that violated the law. I'm going to arrest you. I'm going to incarcerate you. You're going to pay the price. You're going to go before a judge, however that works, but change the behavior. Speaker 7: 37:10 That's that's on down the road, totally out of my wheelhouse, but what's in my wheelhouse is identifying the behavior, seeing if it aligns with the law, as we currently know it. And if it doesn't, I move along and that's kind of like what, all those $50 words, the Navy wrote, that's what they were saying. We've got an investigative purview. If it's not, if it doesn't reach this threshold, we've got other things, not maybe better, but we've got other things we must do. And we, by golly, aren't getting paid to spin our wheels and do nothing. And that's, and that's honestly what it looks like, but Speaker 2: 37:40 A consistent message. I mean, you're not supposed to be able to be the member of one of these groups, correct? Why not? You're not supposed to be an active participant. Isn't that? The policy already. Yeah. Speaker 7: 37:49 You said you went from member to active, sorry. And I'm demonstrating obviously the issue, but that's always the issue. Pick an organization that we say is no longer something. You should be a member of, as long as you don't exhibit membership. You're good. But it's thought not behavior that we're, that we're trying to police. It's not, we can't police thought constitution again, Speaker 2: 38:14 Bring Heidi into this. Who also has a really high degree of expertise on this. What are some of the solutions out there? I know you've talked about. There has to be a much more comprehensive tattoo database, right? Well, I mean, I think Carter Speaker 7: 38:27 Hitting it right where the problem is, yes, there's no tattoo database, so you're not screening at the front end, but if you don't make it a priority to Speaker 5: 38:36 Root these things out, if that's not what you're telling, you know, CID and CIS, everybody needs to be top of mind. And if you, if command, isn't making it a priority, if you're not coding it, if you're not tracking, we don't even have data, right. Basically to tell us how serious the situation is. Um, from the things that I looked at, most of these things are handled at the unit level. And if somebody is exhibiting, you know, white supremacist, ideology, tattoos, whatever materials they get bounced out, but there's nothing recorded for why they were bounced out. So there's no record within the military of how bad the problem is. And, you know, the, the data that was turned over showed very few people being thrown out of the military. This was information given to a representative, Keith Ellison like 18 people for extremism in the military in a, like a three year period. It's just simply not possible that it could be so low. And then you look at that military times, data were like one third of troops say that they see white supremacy on a regular basis. And you can tell what the huge disconnect is. So the very top of the military talks all the time about how they don't want to have these kinds of people in the institution. That they're a threat in terms of domestic terrorism into the populace. But in reality, the way they're rooted out and handled is, is completely nonfunctional. Speaker 7: 39:57 And Tony, I think the responsibility has to be put on within the command structure and holding people accountable. And, and I think it's, it's not enough just to screen people on the way in, uh, at their tattoos, but maybe there needs to be regular tattoo inventories after they're in what I'll tell you. I think the solution is, is the commanders need to do a and military version of what the police or the criminal justice system does call it. Pulling levers, pulling levers is when the community joins forces in all the criminal justice facets, they called gangsters and other criminals on the carpet. They walk them in and they say this as an example, Tony is an example of what happens when you do these things. He was facing X number of years, incarceration. He was facing this. He was facing this. He was facing this. Speaker 7: 40:48 Tony, go ahead and tell him, you're telling me your, your history, your path. And then you tell them, if you don't go in his direction, the other direction will result in decades of incarceration. It will result in this. It's a threat. Brief is what it is. Cause you're not going to change their thought. You can only change their behavior. It's the same thing. How many of us growing up had had things in our head that we didn't say to our parents or our grandparents or neighbors, our teachers, or whatever you learn to do this, right? You can think it all you want, but don't say it it's unacceptable in a civilized society, or however you want to approach it. And we are going to deal with a variety of people, diverse groups, all throughout the military. Cause it's a, it's a microcosm of society. That's not changing, but what we can tell them is what's acceptable and we can tell them what isn't acceptable. And if you, if you've crossed that threshold, you will be kicked out and we'll prosecute you if at all possible. And, and Dan, Dan, Dan, Speaker 3: 41:42 More than a Florida Carter, while, while, while those were excellent points, I like something that you said, number one, when we think about this, it starts with commanders. I've seen this my entire career. It just starts with the commanders. It's just like in a home, it starts with whoever is the head of the house and who condones that you teach people how to treat you. And if the commander is the one who's allowing it, then it will never change. Senior leadership is, is at the forefront of everything. That is how it all works is starts with the commander. If, if he or she is out front and saying, this is not what will be tolerated, then the culture will truly change. If the culture doesn't change, then all of these, uh, fringe groups build in Bolden. Speaker 2: 42:29 This'll be the last question, zero tolerance. Um, there's been talk of that. And it's like, you have no place in this military if you're holding these particular views, or if you're a part of, one of these groups, an active member and active member has become, if we're talking about Boogaloo boys who met online and then within days were actually committing a violent act. I started to decide, I think what an active member is, but, um, you know, what do we do from here? Speaker 7: 42:56 Um, I don't, I don't think zero tolerance was the way to go for anything, much less of this because it's, and on the flip side, the devil's advocate of me says, uh, so guy, this guy has a, has a, a, a, a thought or a foundational belief that you don't appreciate, but yet he's serving you very well in the military and he's not committing any crime right now. Why would you kick him out? Cause, cause we got a whole bunch of Americans that can't even qualify physically to get in the military. So the commanders are going to push back on that in a minute. And if we require zero tolerance, they will lie to conceal the fact that they aren't zero tolerant recruiters for decades. Why would not change it? Speaker 3: 43:42 Cut up. Carter could have pushed back on that a little bit. Okay. Zero tolerance is really difficult for me, but I know that you can definitely there's zero tolerance for, um, sexual assault, right? You are kicked out immediately. Uh, there, there are some things that are zero tolerance. Uh, I, I struggle with this one because it goes back to what Heidi said. If the policies are clear and employees, it makes it easier. But Steve, to your point, and to whoever asked the question, that's an excellent question, but that's a slippery slope. If the policies are able to, to, to be implemented and they are able to be enforced, that's the problem like Carter keeps saying we can't have like people just that, that behavior is a difficult one in the thought is a difficult one because people can always justify why they're going to give someone a second chance. Like Carter keeps saying, he keeps saying, well, I'll give him this because they haven't done that. But if I could have zero tolerance and sexual assault is a possibility that there could be zero tolerance. Uh, but I, again, I like what Carter said in the end. If you go to zero tolerance, they cover it up and it's so difficult to Denver root out. Okay. Speaker 2: 45:02 So I want to thank my guest. Uh, Tony McAleer, his book is the cure for hate to Carter Smith, uh, with, uh, middle Tennessee state university and Heidi Barrack with the cofounder of the global project against hate and extremism. And then Cameron McCoy with the air force Academy. Also Kim young Mclear with the, with the coast guard, thanks to everyone.

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Historically, hate groups have targeted the armed forces, wanting access to the skills and the prestige associated with military service. That threat has been growing in the last couple of years.