Saturday, July 8, 2006

More on Neo-Nazis in the Military

excerpt from the article " A Few Bad Men"  by David Holthouse
for The Southern Poverty Law Center website 
Ten years after a scandal over neo-Nazis in the armed forces, extremists are once again worming their way into a recruit-starved military.
July 7, 2006 -- Before the U.S. military made Matt Buschbacher a Navy SEAL, he made himself a soldier of the Fourth Reich.

Before Forrest Fogarty attended Military Police counter-insurgency training school, he attended Nazi skinhead festivals as lead singer for the hate rock band Attack.

And before Army engineer Jon Fain joined the invasion of Iraq to fight the War on Terror, the neo-Nazi National Alliance member fantasized about fighting a war on Jews.

"Ever since my youth -- when I watched WWII footage and saw how well-disciplined and sharply dressed the German forces were -- I have wanted to be a soldier," Fain said in a Winter 2004 interview with the National Alliance magazine Resistance. "Joining the American military was as close as I could get."

Ten years after Pentagon leaders toughened policies on extremist activities by active duty personnel -- a move that came in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing by decorated Gulf War combat veteran Timothy McVeigh and the murder of a black couple by members of a skinhead gang in the elite 82nd Airborne Division -- large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists continue to infiltrate the ranks of the world's best-trained, best-equipped fighting force. Military recruiters and base commanders, under intense pressure from the war in Iraq to fill the ranks, often look the other way.

Neo-Nazis "stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they're inside, and they are hard-core," Department of Defense gang detective Scott Barfield told the Intelligence Report. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," he added. "That's a problem."

The armed forces are supposed to be a model of racial equality. American soldiers are supposed to be defenders of democracy. Neo-Nazis represent the opposite of these ideals. They dream of race war and revolution, and their motivations for enlisting are often quite different than serving their country.

"Join only for the training, and to better defend yourself, our people, and our culture," Fain said. "We must have people to open doors from the inside when the time comes."

Soldier Shortage
In 1996, following a decade-long rash of cases where extremists in the military were caught diverting huge arsenals of stolen firearms and explosives to neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations, conducting guerilla training for paramilitary racist militias, and murdering non-white civilians (see
timeline), the Pentagon finally launched a massive investigation and crackdown. One general ordered all 19,000 soldiers at Fort Lewis, Wash., strip-searched for extremist tattoos.

But that was peacetime. Now, with the country at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the military under increasingly intense pressure to maintain enlistment numbers, weeding out extremists is less of a priority. "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members," said Department of Defense investigator Barfield.

"Last year, for the first time, they didn't make their recruiting goals. They don't want to start making a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military, because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."

Barfield, who is based at Fort Lewis, said he has identified and submitted evidence on 320 extremists there in the past year. "Only two have been discharged," he said. Barfield and other Department of Defense investigators said they recently uncovered an online network of 57 neo-Nazis who are active duty Army and Marines personnel spread across five military installations in five states -- Fort Lewis; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Camp Pendleton, Calif. "They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities secret, about organizing within the military," Barfield said. "Several of these individuals have since been deployed to combat missions in Iraq."

Every year, the Army's Criminal Investigation Division conducts a threat assessment of extremist and gang activity among army personnel. "Every year, they come back with 'minimal activity,' which is inaccurate," said Barfield. "It's not epidemic, but there's plenty of evidence we're talking numbers well into the thousands, just in the Army."

Last July, the white supremacist website Stormfront hosted a discussion on "Joining the Military."

"There are others among you in the forces," wrote one neo-Nazi in the Army. "You are never alone."

Not all military commanders fail to give known extremists the boot. "The response differs from command group to command group," Barfield said. "Most put up a front and say, 'Oh, this guy's in big trouble,' but actually do nothing unless he commits a felony. But some kick their ass out right away."

Barfield noted that commanders are far more likely to take immediate action if the soldier is stateside in a non-combat role, rather than fighting overseas. In one recent instance, Robert Salyer, a lieutenant in the Navy and military lawyer with the Judge Advocate General Corps, was dishonorably discharged and barred from military law practice when it came to light that he was a member of the white supremacist neo-Confederate group League of the South. And in late June, Airman First Class Andrew Dornan, who was assigned to the firing party in the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, was sentenced to nine months confinement and dishonorably discharged after he posted messages glorifying Adolf Hitler on his personal webpage and threatened to detonate a bomb on a military base.

But the military took no such action against former Navy SEAL Matt Buschbacher, who continued to fight in Iraq after the Southern Poverty Law Center had alerted officials to his active support of neo-Nazi groups.

Buschbacher told the Intelligence Report he joined the neo-Nazi movement "for the same reason everyone joins: I was angry and looking for some answers. I wanted to belong to something that made me feel good about myself."

In 1998, when Buschbacher was still a teenager living in Terrace Park, Ohio, a wealthy, almost exclusively white suburb of Cincinnati, he was ordained as a reverend in the World Church of the Creator, a violent neo-Nazi organization. He rose fast. In 1999, he was the head of the hate group's Cincinnati chapter when Chicago member Benjamin Smith went on a three-day, two-state shooting spree that targeted Jews, Asians and blacks. Smith killed two people and wounded nine before committing suicide as police closed in.

Afterward, Buschbacher praised Smith as "a dedicated activist for our racial cause" in The Cincinnati Inquirer. "We have pride in our race, heritage, and culture, and we will do anything to prevent it from being destroyed," he said. "White man is the creator, the creator of civilizations."

In May 2000, Buschbacher attended Nordic Fest, an annual skinhead festival sponsored by the Imperial Klans of America in Kentucky, where he posed in front of a flaming swastika, seig heiling. He joined the Navy shortly afterward. Again, Buschbacher advanced quickly. In October 2001, he completed 26 weeks of SEAL training at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif.

In August 2002, while an active duty SEAL but not yet stationed in Baghdad, Buschbacher attended the National Alliance's invitation-only "leadership conference" at the neo-Nazi group's West Virginia compound. The conference was held just weeks after the death of National Alliance founder William Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, the fantasy novel about revolution and race war that inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Pierce also wrote the seminal pamphlet, "What is the National Alliance?" It was in that tract that Pierce explained that a National Alliance member in the military "[u]ses his daily interactions with career personnel to select exceptional individuals who are receptive, and he then gives them the opportunity to serve their race while carrying out their military functions."

'Heroes Among Us'
Today, Matt Buschbacher denies recruiting Navy personnel into the Alliance. What's clear is that for years after becoming a SEAL, he violated military regulations without repercussions by staying active in the neo-Nazi movement.

Using the online pseudonym "Mattiasb88" [88 is neo-Nazi code for "Heil Hitler"] to hide his identity, Buschbacher designed and distributed National Alliance fliers, white power screen savers, and a photo montage of Pierce on the Internet via his website,, which displayed a logo of a burning swastika and this mission statement: "The purpose of this website is to provide white patriots with a large database of information for recruiting and self-improvement." Buschbacher also posted messages to the white supremacist website Stormfront and the website of Resistance Records, a hate rock music company owned by the National Alliance. In the fall of 2003, the National Alliance magazine Resistance even published a collage of "Scene Shots" that included a small photo of Buschbacher wearing a Turner Diaries T-shirt and giving a Nazi salute.

Buschbacher hasn't been the only neo-Nazi to fight in Iraq. Forrest Mackley Fogarty, a member of the Tampa, Fla., unit of the National Alliance, was deployed for 18 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom with his Army National Guard unit. "There are some dirty Arabs enjoying their 70 virgins because of my actions and that of my fire team," Fogarty boasted in the Winter 2005 issue of Resistance. (Fogarty was identified in the article only as "Forrest of Attack.")

Jon Fain, a neo-Nazi who currently lives on the National Alliance compound, was part of the original Iraq invasion force in 2003, as a U.S. Army engineer. Shawn Stuart, the Montana state leader of the National Socialist Movement, another neo-Nazi group, served two combat tours in Iraq as a U.S. Marine before he was discharged in 2005. Stuart, who is running for the state House of Representatives in Montana, told the Missoula News that he joined the NSM in 2004, while he was still a Marine, because he "came to believe the United States is fighting the war on Israel's behalf."

None of these men, it appears, were ever disciplined for neo-Nazi activities. All were honorably discharged.

James Douglas Ross Jr. was not so fortunate. Ross, a military intelligence officer stationed at Fort Bragg, was caught shipping disassembled AK-47s to the United States from Iraq in 2004, officials said. When investigators searched his off base housing, they found a weapons arsenal, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and hate group materials. Ross was forced to return from Iraq and given a bad conduct discharge. "But they let him keep the weapons [he kept in his house]," said Department of Defense investigator Barfield, adding that Ross has since relocated to Washington, where he's a leader of the Eastern Washington Skins, a neo-Nazi gang. "He kept his military connections, and he's still trying to recruit soldiers, so we're still dealing with him."

For his part, despite his sometimes brazen activities, Matt Buschbacher tried hard to avoid exposure as a neo-Nazi in the military. But his identity became clear after he posted a photo of himself in a "Mattiasb88" Yahoo profile in 2004, and then advertised his neo-Nazi E-mail address in a July 2004 posting to a currency trading forum. "I am in the military and currently in Iraq," he wrote there. "If anyone would like to purchase some Iraqi dinars I have access to as much as you would like." That September, Buschbacher was profiled in his hometown Terrace Park community newspaper, Village Views. The article, "Heroes Among Us," reported he was fighting terrorism with a SEAL unit based in downtown Baghdad.

Two years later, Matt Buschbacher is back from Iraq -- also with an honorable discharge, despite the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center informed the military of his background while he was still on active duty. He lives in Denver, Colo., and teaches classes on how to pick up women. "I have no connection with any neo-Nazi anything any more," Buschbacher told the Intelligence Report. Photographed holding a red rose, he was recently splashed across the cover of a weekly newsmagazine in Denver promoting his new book, Date the Women of Your Dreams. The cover story made no mention of his neo-Nazi past.

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