Group Warns of Neo-Nazis in Military

The Southern Poverty Law Center today sent a letter (PDF) to members of Congress asking for an investigation into "the threat posed by racial extremists who may be serving in the military to ensure that our armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists."

The SPLC says it has found "dozens of personal profiles of individuals listing 'military' as their occupation on a neo-Nazi, Facebook-type website." (The site is called New Saxon, and it bills itself as "A Social Networking Site for People of European Descent" and an "online community for whites by whites.") The group complains that the Pentagon has failed to take "forceful action" against extremists in the military despite acknowledging in a 2008 report that the problem has gotten worse.
"While the military has discharged more than 12,500 service members because of their alleged homosexuality since 1994, it has refused to adopt a true 'zero tolerance' policy when it comes to extremists in the military," the group wrote in a letter to supporters.

The group writes that extremists in the military are a threat not just to Americans but to fellow troops.

"The fundamental problem is that Department of Defense regulations prohibiting 'active participation' in extremist groups are inadequate because they can be — and apparently are being — interpreted to allow members of the armed forces to be 'mere members' of hate groups or to engage in unaffiliated extremist activities, such as posting racist and anti-Semitic messages to social networking websites and email lists or maintaining online profiles filled with racist materials," said the SPLC in its letter to Congress.

Stars and Stripes calls the Web site where SPLC found the profiles "Facebook for the fascist set."

"Mein Kampf" is listed as a favorite book on the site, while "white woman" pops up as an interest. For favorite movie, "Triumph of the Will," the Nazi propaganda film, shows up.

On the site, "many participants list their branch of service, base location and hometown on colorful pages festooned with Nazi art and Confederate battle flags," reports Stars and Stripes. "Some say they have served or will soon be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Several include pictures of themselves in camouflage combat uniforms."

The SPLC acknowledges that it cannot verify the information on the Web site because it cannot access military personnel records, which it says is part of the reason an investigation is necessary.

New Saxon is run by the National Socialist Movement. Jeff Schoep, leader of the group, told Stars and Stripes that the report is "an extreme left-wing scare tactic."

"I think the SPLC is trying to pressure the military to throw these people out, and there is no basis for it," he said. "I think its un-American. I think it's seditious." Schoep says the site removes violent comments when it finds them.

The Marine Corps has blocked access to the site as well as, a white supremacist site, citing "racism and hate."