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The problem of white supremacist violence emanating from military bases is not directly related to the racism and bigotry of the Tea Party movement.  They are different kinds of phenomena. Thus violence committed by military base personnel is largely unmitigated by civic discourse about the Tea Party movement.  Nevertheless, it has been a significant problem in North Carolina’s past, and it remains a threat in the future.  For these reasons, it warrants inclusion in this report as an Appendix. 

This problem has received significant attention from the military.  In March 1999, the Military Law Review published a 78-page report, “Racial Extremism in the Army,” by Major William M. Hudson. In July 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation published an assessment by its Counterterrorism Division, “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel since 9/11.”  Further, the military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes: Authorized Publication for the U.S. Armed Forces, have covered this topic, as well the problem of civil rights violations. One such article claimed that “Ku Klux Klan applications,” abounded in their surroundings.[58]  It should be noted, however, that the military’s response to this problem has been uneven, often requiring civilian intervention.

In 1986, the Southern Poverty Law Center took Glenn Miller and other White Patriot Party leaders to court for running a paramilitary organization in contempt of a previous court order.   Testimony from a former member of the 82nd Airborne stationed at Ft. Bragg, near Fayetteville, described how he had personally conducted paramilitary training for the White Patriot Party leaders.  Testimony from a former Marine, who had been arrested the previous year, described how he had purchased stolen military weapons from various sources, including Ft. Bragg, and delivered them to the White Patriot Party.  This included LAW rockets, claymore mines, c-4 plastic explosive, and ammunition, rifles and pistols.  The Southern Poverty Law Center “identified ten active-duty soldiers in North Carolina” that were Klan or White Patriot Party members. In a related case, a Marine Lance Corporal, Richard Pounder, was given the choice to stay in the Marines and quit the White Patriot Party or to leave the Marines.  He decided to stay in the White Patriot Party.[59]  It should be noted that Glenn Miller retired from Ft. Bragg after a twenty year stint in the service, including time in the Special Forces.  Miller is now charged with three murders in the Kansas City-area, after he shot up the Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement home.

In December 1995, eight months after Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building and murdered 168 people and injured over 600, trouble appeared in the Ft. Bragg – Fayetteville area again.  Ft. Bragg’s PFC James Burmeister 2nd, a known white supremacist, PFC Malcom Wright Jr. and Randy Meadows, were charged with killing a black couple, Jackie Burden and Michael James, as they walked down the street in the black community.  It was a random killing, done after a night of drinking and working themselves up into a racist frenzy.  Meadows became a prosecution witness, but Wright and Burmeister were both given life sentences.  Burmeister died in a prison hospital about ten years later.  According to an article in Esquire magazine about the events, Burmeister and crew were part of a racist skinhead group on the base that numbered between 22 and 60.[60]

Other military bases from Texas to California and back to Colorado have dealt with this problem.  It requires active monitoring, an unflinching will to use the power of the courts, and a military leadership determined to root it out.  The citizens of Fayetteville and the NAACP remember these crimes from the past. An informed public should take notice.

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Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind

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