Thursday, May 10, 2007

Paid Military Training For Domestic Terrorists

... or how we're training them over there so we'll have to fight them here later.


Gangs in the Military

Aired May 9, 2007 - 20:00 ET

‘When these cats come back from -- these gang members come back from Iraq, we are going to have some hell on these streets.”

ZAHN: Out in the open now: the shocking truth about gangs in the U.S. military. The armed forces are the perfect place to go if you want to learn how to kill. And, more and more, members of white, black, and Latino street gangs are signing up. It is so serious, in fact, the FBI calls it a national security threat.

Here is Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Airman 1st Class Miguel Robinson, AKA Scooby (ph), Los Angeles Crip, Marine PFC Thomas James Laden (ph), AKA Irish (ph), Hammerskin white supremacist, Lance Corporal Andres Raya, affiliation, Norteno gang, they are gangsters in uniform who have infiltrated every branch of the United States military, and mark their territory on base, in barracks, even overseas in Iraq.

At this NCO club at Fort Bragg, a sea of hands openly flash gang signs, the rank-and-file so brazen, their affiliation is often no secret at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I started recruiting active-duty military personnel to join a white supremacy movement to eventually overthrow the United States government.

GUTIERREZ: T.J. Laden (ph) was an extremist, a recruiter for a white supremacist anti-government group who joined the Marines.

(on camera): Why were you there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To just gain knowledge, gain understanding. The military made me a better recruiter, organizer, and propagandist.

GUTIERREZ: Miguel Robinson is a Crip. He joined the Air Force to get away from gang life. It didn't last long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was guilty of drug trafficking in the military and I was guilty of setting up a gang atmosphere.

GUTIERREZ: Robinson and Laden say the military trained them to become more lethal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me a .50-cal sniper rifle, and I can take down a .747 tomorrow over any major United States city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put me in the military and gave me a gun, so now I shoot straight now? I'm not just spraying? I'm actually knocking things down?

GUTIERREZ (on camera): No one knows for sure just how many gang members are in the military. By some estimations, it's less than 1 percent of all military personnel, hardly an epidemic, but enough to prompt the FBI to issue this report.

(voice-over): Gang members at military installations from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, have been involved in drug distribution, robberies, assaults, and murder. According to this 2007 internal FBI document, the report found that gang activity in the U.S. -- quote -- "is increasing and poses a threat to law enforcement officials and national security."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Military men training gangsters on how to use weapons.

GUTIERREZ: An issue law enforcement is taking seriously.

Al Valdez (ph) is a former detective. He trains police around the country on gangs in the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not illegal to be a gang member in the United States. And it's a protected right. In fact, the head of Army Recruitment Command correctly states that. What happens is, they bring that gangster mentality within the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When these cats come back from -- these gang members come back from Iraq, we are going to have some hell on these streets, because these dudes are coming back with training that's on another level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A gang member that has military training, he doesn't run. He stands his ground and goes after that cop.

GUTIERREZ: Ceres, California, 2005. Lance Corporal Andres Raya is home from Iraq. The 19-year-old Marine who police say has close ties with the Norteno Mexican gang, but no criminal history, sets up a police ambush. No one knows why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still shooting. We're still shooting.

GUTIERREZ: Wearing a poncho and carrying an automatic assault rifle, Raya calls 911, and lures police to a liquor store. Security cameras capture the rest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was yelling orders at this fellow to show me your hands.

GUTIERREZ: Officer Sam Ryno and his partner are the first on the scene. Raya spots them. He takes cover at the corner. Then, using a military tactical technique called slicing the pie, Raya searches out his targets, then begins firing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next thing I remember is hearing a shot and instantaneously, getting hit in the lower left leg.

GUTIERREZ: Reya continues firing, hitting Ryno four times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can feel the bullets hitting on the pavement by me so I know this guy is still trying to kill me.

GUTIERREZ: That's when officer John King (ph) arrives, a seven- year veteran of the Army. King grabs his rifle and returns fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy. I'm coming in from the east.

GUTIERREZ: A Marine on a rampage who begins firing at a fourth officer, using a technique called suppression fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He continued to fire on Howard the whole time, keeping Howard pinned down behind the wall.

GUTIERREZ: Sergeant Howard Stevenson (ph), a 23-year year veteran of the Ceres Police Department, didn't have a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ran up on him and within three feet and shot him in the head twice with -- at point blank range with an automatic rifle.

GUTIERREZ: Reya is then cornered and killed in a firefight with officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, this guy was a killer hiding in a United States Marine Corps uniform.

GUTIERREZ: The Defense Department declined an on-camera interview for this story, but acknowledged to CNN it is concerned about gang activity. The United States Army Criminal Investigation Command states, quote: "We do not deny there is some gang activity and gang association within the military. But we do not see it as a rampant issue."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they will tell you straight to your face, we don't have a problem with gangs in the military. Wow. Amazing.

GUTIERREZ: T.J. Laden (ph), a former Marine and former skinhead now writes about extremists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have racist graffiti, gang graffiti in Baghdad on military installations in the United States. Guys wearing gang clothes to E-clubs, but you don't have a problem with gang members in the military? Quite interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looked like a kid.

GUTIERREZ: Miguel Robinson (ph), a Los Angeles Crip, who now brokers ceasefires between warring gangs, says some gang members may change for the better in the military but warns most will not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can take the gang member out the hood but you can't take the hood out of the gang member. See what I'm saying? So when they come back and they shed that uniform, they are still going to pick their rags back up.

GUTIERREZ: No comfort to Sam Rino, who was forced to retire because of his wounds. He says a day doesn't go by that he doesn't think about the Marine with street gang roots who took his friend's life and nearly ended his.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Ceres, California.

# # # # #

Excerpt from

FBI says U.S. criminal gangs are using military to spread their reach
By Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, December 7, 2006

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — U.S. criminal gangs have gained a foothold in the U.S. military and are using overseas deployments to spread tentacles around the globe, according to the FBI.
FBI gang investigator Jennifer Simon said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes this week that gang members have been documented on or near U.S. military bases in Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iraq.

“It’s no secret that gang members are prevalent in the armed forces, including internationally,” Simon said, adding that the FBI is preparing to release a report on gangs in the military.
Among the cases:

¶ In Iraq, armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls have served as canvasses for spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with “GDN” for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang’s six-pointed star and the word “Chitown,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

¶ In Germany, a soldier is being prosecuted this week for the murder of Sgt. Juwan Johnson, beaten to death on July 4, 2005, allegedly during a Gangster Disciple initiation in Kaiserslautern.

¶ In September, Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe warned teachers and parents to watch out for signs of gang activity, including the deadly MS-13 gang. At the time, DODDS-Europe public affairs officer David Ruderman said there had been two incidents in the past 18 months that involved students fighting, wearing gang colors or claiming to be members of gangs. In one of the incidents, a student’s family member may have been a gang member, he said.

¶ Earlier this year, Kadena Air Base on Okinawa established a joint service task force to investigate gang-related activity involving high school teens linked through the Web site

# # # # #

Excerpt from
U.S. is recruiting misfits for army
Felons, racists, gang members fill in the ranks
Nick Turse
Sunday, October 1, 2006

In 2004, the Pentagon published a "Moral Waiver Study," whose seemingly benign goal was "to better define relationships between pre-Service behaviors and subsequent Service success." That turned out to mean opening more recruitment doors to potential enlistees with criminal records.

In February, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was "a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms 'serious criminal misconduct' in their background" -- a category that included "aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats." From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.

In June, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that, under pressure to fill the ranks, the Army had been allowing into its ranks increasing numbers of "recruits convicted of misdemeanor crimes, according to experts and military records." In fact, as the military's own data indicated, "the percentage of recruits entering the Army with waivers for misdemeanors and medical problems has more than doubled since 2001."

One beneficiary of the Army's new moral-waiver policies gained a certain prominence this summer. After Steven Green, who served in the 101st Airborne Division, was charged in a rape and quadruple murder in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, it was disclosed that he had been "a high-school dropout from a broken home who enlisted to get some direction in his life, yet was sent home early because of an anti-social personality disorder."

Recently, Eli Flyer, a former Pentagon senior military analyst and specialist on the relationship between military recruiting and military misconduct, told Harper's magazine that Green had "enlisted with a moral waiver for at least two drug- or alcohol-related offenses. He committed a third alcohol-related offense just before enlistment, which led to jail time, although this offense may not have been known to the Army when he enlisted."

With Green in jail awaiting trial, the Houston Chronicle reported in August that Army recruiters were trolling around the outskirts of a Dallas-area job fair for ex-convicts.

"We're looking for high school graduates with no more than one felony on their record," one recruiter said.

The Army has even looked behind prison bars for fill-in recruits -- in one reported case, they went to a "youth prison" in Ogden, Utah. Although Steven Price had asked to see a recruiter while still incarcerated, he was "barely 17 when he enlisted last January" and his divorced parents say "recruiters used false promises and forged documents to enlist him."

While confusion exists about whether the boy's mother actually signed a parental consent form allowing her son to enlist, his "father apparently wasn't even at the signing, but his name is on the form too."

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