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Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says American soldiers can still be members of white supremacy hate groups.
“Membership alone is not prohibited, but any kind of active participation in a group is prohibited,” the US Pentagon Press Secretary says.
Since 1969, the Department of Defense policy guidance lists specific violations for members of the armed forces. The department says it updates guidelines routinely.
This latest update comes months after the 2021 United States Capitol attack and includes new guidelines.
The first major guidance update occurred in 1986 after the White Patriot Party committed various hate crimes. The White Patriot Party was a political party that promotes racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia. Associates align with Christian Identity and the Ku Klux Klan. The White Patriot Party declared war on the American government in 1987.
Moreover, the new update prohibits members of the armed forces from “advocating” and “actively participating” in white supremacy groups. It prohibits the posting, liking, sharing, re-tweeting, or otherwise distributing hate content. Members of the armed forces who violate the policy are subject to military punishment.
The Pentagon, however, lists no repercussions for veterans who choose to use combat skills gained in support of hate groups after leaving the military. Therefore instead of banning participation in the KKK or other white supremacy groups, it only chooses to ban specific messages, advocacy and participation during service.
According to an NPR report, nearly 20% of Jan. 6 insurrectionists charged “have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military”.