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Iran Press TV

One in five US white supremacist group applicants claim military ties

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 09 February 2022 2:39 PM

In a startling revelation, one out of five applicants to a white supremacist and neo-fascist hate group in the US, Patriot Front, have held current or former military positions, according to leaked documents.

Some 18 out of 87 applicants, accounting for 21 percent, admitted to have been previously or currently affiliated with the US military, as per documents published and reviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and alternative media collective Unicorn Riot.

Patriot Front has emerged as one of the most active white supremacist groups in the US in recent years, especially after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The group, according to the SPLC, "represents one of the most prominent white supremacist groups in the country" and is led by Thomas Rousseau, a 23-year old man based in Dallas, Texas.

Rousseau once said the group's goal was "nation within a nation", pointing to the white supremacy.

Members of the group and new applicants have expressed blatant approbation for ultra-right Nazi ideologies, according to the SPLC and Unicorn Riot.

Unicorn Riot had in January published over 400 gigabytes of data that included "ostensibly private, unedited videos and direct messages [that] reveal a campaign to organize acts of hatred while indoctrinating teenagers into national socialism (Nazism)".

One of the applicants is a former Marine who currently works for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to the SPLC's Hatewatch, a blog that tracks activities of American rightwing extremists.

The man from San Diego purportedly told the Patriot Front that he was inspired to join after he "found out about the Jews while in the marines".

Another applicant from Salt Lake City said he "shifted focus and questioned things" after his second deployment and went from being a Republican to joining the far right.

Applicants boosted about their skills including "great land-navigation, great physical fitness, able to clear rooms" and "basic medical training", according to leaked documents.

Some said they had been "trained in firearms" while one of them claimed to be adept at "marine corps martial arts" and said he was the leader of the Kansas Active Club, an affiliate of the Rise Above Movement, a Southern California-based SPLC-designated hate group.

Apart from their military affiliations, the documents reveal that the group also targets minors.

According to Unicorn Riot, Patriot Front recruits "members through the internet who are still legally minors, indoctrinating them with white supremacist ideology and even encouraging them to lie to their parents so the group can transport them across state lines for fascist events".

The leaked documents come amid growing concern over far-right radicalization of current and former American military members.

More than 80 people charged for their involvement in the deadly January 6 riots have been found with ties to the US military, most of them being veterans.

A report published by the Pentagon last March cited domestic extremist groups posing a threat to the military by endeavoring to recruit service members.

"Military members are highly prized by these groups as they bring legitimacy to their causes and enhance their ability to carry out attacks," the report noted.

"In addition to potential violence, white supremacy and white nationalism pose a threat to the good order and discipline within the military," it added.

A study conducted last year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that in the year 2020, 6.4 percent of all domestic terror attacks were perpetrated by active-duty or reserve personnel.

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