1 in 5 applicants to the white supremacist Patriot Front has military ties: report
It isn’t hard to understand why violent white supremacist and white nationalist groups and far-right militia groups try to recruit people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces; they like having new members who are well-trained in the use of weapons. And according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the left-wing media collective Unicorn Riot, roughly one in five new Patriot Front recruits has a military background.
Patriot Front is a White supremacist group that was founded in August 2017 following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and is an offshoot of the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America, founded in 2015.
In an article published by The Guardian on February 9, journalist Maya Yang reports that according to “leaked documents published and reviewed” by the SPLC and Unicorn Riot, “some 18 out of the 87 applicants, or 21%, said they were currently or previously affiliated with the military.” One applicant to Patriot Front, the SPLC reported on its Hatewatch blog, said he was presently employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“In the past year,” Yang notes, “there has been growing concern surrounding the far-right radicalization of current and former military members. More than 80 defendants charged for their affiliation with the deadly January 6 riots have been found to have ties to the military, with most being veterans. Last March, the Pentagon released a report that cited domestic extremist groups posing an increasing threat to the military by attempting to recruit service members and, in certain situations, join the military to gain combat experience.”
In that March 2021 report, the Pentagon observed, “Military members are highly prized by these groups, as they bring legitimacy to their causes and enhance their ability to carry out attacks. In addition to potential violence, white supremacy and white nationalism pose a threat to the good order and discipline within the military.”
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