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White Supremacists Have Infiltrated The U.S. Military And Police

Screengrab/Secular Talk/YouTube

A 2015 FBI report showed white nationalists actively embedded in police departments across the country.

According to Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi skinhead turned deradicalization expert, white nationalists across the United States have been working to infiltrate police departments and the military in an effort to boost paramilitary and weapons training.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation corroborates Picciolini's claims, having reported in 2015 that white supremacists were actively embedded in police departments and acknowledging such activity was known as far back as 2006.

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.”

Another tactic such groups are using involves recreating their public images.

Picciolini pointed to last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia as an example of how far-right extremist groups are reshaping their images to appear more mainstream and in turn more easily engage public life:

“In Charlottesville, they were clean cut white men wearing khakis and polo shirts marching through the street carrying Nazi banners. They [looked like] our sons and daughters and their friends.

"That was shocking to people but was a concerted strategy by the white supremacist movement to try and blend in to lose the packaging that was too offensive and too edgy.”

And at a time when white supremacists are upping the ante, the Trump administration and federal law enforcement are losing interest:

[Picciolini's organization] Life After Hate’s work was acknowledged by the Obama administration in 2016 and awarded a $US400,000 ($515,000) grant from the Department of Homeland Security - only to find it rescinded by the Trump administration last year.

“There was no explanation,” says Picciolini.

Last year reports surfaced that under President Donald Trump, efforts to combat all extremism would be reworked to focus solely on Islamic extremism - even though far-right extremism is on the rise and presents more immediate danger for U.S. citizens.

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.