Former Neo-Nazi Navy Veteran Explains How To Fight White Supremacy In Military
A former neo-Nazi who served as an airman first class in the US Navy has shared his thoughts on what it will take to end white supremacy in the military.
Chuck Leek worked fixing helicopters at the naval base where he was stationed and says he didn’t become an ‘active, actual white supremacist’ until after he joined the Navy.
At the time, Leek was what the FBI referred to as ‘ghost skins’ – a skinhead who infiltrated law enforcement in an effort to recruit others to join their way of life, spread a tolerance of racism and jeopardise the safety of law enforcement.
Having now left that life behind, Leek told Insider that after spending ‘a long time grooming and recruiting people’ he knows ‘that the rank and file in the military understand the depth of the problem.’
He wants the military to take action with a ‘zero-tolerance policy for any kind of racial incident,’ noting that it ‘looked the other way’ when it came to his own actions within the Navy.
Leek was encouraged to recruit others after appearing in a local news segment about his white supremacist gang in 1988, when a white supremacist leader named Tom Metzger, who was also featured in the report, reached out to him and ‘tasked’ Leek and others like him with ‘getting as many new people into the group as [they] could.’
Metzger reportedly wanted military insiders to help bring about a race war and a white ethno-state, and Leek says he kept an eye out for potential recruits by observing how they acted around military members of colour.
In the military, you’re exposed to a lot of people of colour, and you can kind of get a sense with people, white people, when they are less comfortable with that.
And when they, you know, things they say, and then when people of colour aren’t around, the mask tends to drop, you know? And so we would really drive after people who were free with their words.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service came to investigate Leek after he opened up about his beliefs on the news; they found Nazi fliers in his bin, but after he ‘lied about basically everything,’ the investigators let off those involved ‘scot-free’, allowing Leek to keep his position on the base.
Heidi Beirich, cofounder of the Global Project Against Hate & Extremism, has expressed her beliefs that ‘none of the programs related to getting rid of white supremacists and other extremists are good enough.’
She told Insider:
Look, the most scary thing that’s going to happen if extremists are in the military is that they’re learning how to kill. Specifically with skinheads that have infiltrated law enforcement… The greatest danger is that they can get access to people of color and harm them.
Following the insurrection at the Capitol building in January, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered members of the armed forces to revisit their oath and discuss extremism. The military’s current policy allows members of white supremacist groups to be in the armed forces, though it requires that they not be ‘active’ white supremacists.
The military is reportedly planning to update its definition of extremism, according to a defense department spokesman, with a working group set to present a variety of solutions to Secretary Austin this summer.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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