Earlier in December, the Pentagon revealed newly crafted policies that prohibit the active participation in “extremist” activities by members of the Armed Forces, delivering a litany of examples of what constitutes active participation in extremism.
Among those prohibited actions detailed included a ban on having tattoos, wearing clothes, showcasing bumper stickers, and the sort that simply displays support for groups that the Pentagon deems to be extremist in nature.
A December 20th memo issued by the Department of Defense aptly titled “Handling Protest, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces” carried a subsection that broke down “Extremist Activities” in terms of the DoD’s definition of the concept and what is prohibited with respect to it.
In short, members of the Armed Forces can find themselves in hot water for simply wearing a shirt that the DoD says relates to an extremist group – even if the shirt is being worn off base.
“Knowingly displaying paraphernalia, words, or symbols in support of extremist activities or in support of groups or organizations that support extremist activities, such as flags, clothing, tattoos, and bumper stickers, whether on or off a military installation.”
The Pentagon ban goes even farther than merely wearing clothes or having stickers that purportedly support extremist groups, as the DoD memo also will prohibit Armed Forces members from even “liking” a social media post that is connected to activities or groups labeled as “extremist.”
“Engaging in electronic and cyber activities regarding extremist activities, or groups that support extremist activities – including posting, liking, sharing, re-tweeting, or otherwise distributing content – when such action is taken with the intent to promote or otherwise endorse extremist activities. Military personnel are responsible for the content they publish on all personal and public Internet domains, including social media sites, blogs, websites, and applications.”
The DoD detailed what “extremist activities” means in the context of these prohibitions, one of which stood out as having the possibility to classify numerous groups as being extremist in nature.
“Advocating or engaging in unlawful force or violence to achieve goals that are political, religious, discriminatory, or ideological in nature.”
The use of the term “ideological in nature” could ostensibly be applied to any group ranging from Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, to even Antifa – and if members of the Armed Services hypothetically “liked” a social media post that showed a video of a brawl between a patriotic group and Antifa, then that service member could face discipline within the military.
This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on December 29, 2021. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.
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