Sydney Morning Herald, February 2018
New York: Law enforcement, the military, and politics in the United States have been infiltrated by white supremacists, who use it to recruit others and gain paramilitary training.
The claim, by a former neo-Nazi skinhead who now works as an anti-racist activist, is supported by internal reports on local policing by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the top domestic law enforcement agency in the US.
Christian Picciolini, a 44-year-old, award-winning activist from Chicago who now works to deradicalise racist extremists, says members of his former neo-Nazi gang pursued careers with police departments, joined the military, or ran for political office.
“A lot of these old skinheads and [Ku Klux] Klansmen have gone into the mainstream,” Picciolini told Fairfax Media.
“Many people from my crew went on to be Chicago police officers, they went on to be prison guards,and they certainly took their ideology with them. A lot of people that I know ended up enlisting in the military to recruit [racists] and to get weapons and combat training.”
Picciolini says he “frequently” gets requests for help from people in the military - or parents or friends - concerned by rhetoric within the ranks.
“They are denying the Holocaust, their views are in line with white supremacists and white nationalists, and they are coming back from serving in the military angry,” he says.
Picciolini’s experience is echoed by a 2015 FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide that highlights its investigations into domestic terrorism.
The FBI identified active links to officers who were employed by some of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States. A 2006 FBI intelligence report also flagged infiltration of law enforcement agencies by white supremacist groups.
According to Picciolini, it was last August’s far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that awoke many people to the mainstreaming of white nationalism in the US. Among the chaos, a woman was killed when she was run down by a vehicle driven by a man linked to white supremacist groups. President Trump said the rally - marked by clashes between rival protesters - included “very fine people on both sides”. ...
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