U.S. Department of Defense education materials obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, warn of "extremists" that will "talk of individual liberties, states' rights, and how to make the world a better place." Judicial Watch and other conservative media outlets claim the disclosure indicates the department is teaching that conservative views are "extremist" in nature.
The guide is reportedly authored by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, a Defense Department-funded diversity training center. Further, the documents cite the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) when identifying "hate groups."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Credit: AP
Judicial Watch proves the "highlights" from the documents:
• The document defines extremists as “a person who advocates the use of force or violence; advocates supremacist causes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin; or otherwise engages to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights.”
• A statement that “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publically espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”
• “[W]hile not all extremist groups are hate groups, all hate groups are extremist groups.”
• Under a section labeled “Extremist Ideologies” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”
• In this same section, the document lists the 9/11 attack under a category of “Historical events.”
• “[A]ctive participation…with regard to extremist organizations is incompatible with military service and, is therefore prohibited.” [Emphasis in original]
• The document details the “seven stages of hate” and sixteen “extremists’ traits.”
• The SPLC is listed as a resource for information on hate groups and referenced several times throughout the guide.
• Of the five organizations besides the SPLC listed as resources, one is an SPLC project (Teaching Tolerance) and one considers any politically or socially conservative movement to be a potential hate group (Political Research Associates).
• Other than a mention of 9/11 and the Sudan, there is no discussion of Islamic extremism.
Judicial Watch obtained 133 pages of lesson plans and PowerPoint slides in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed on April 8, 2013. The group asked for "any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the preparation and presentation of training materials on hate groups or hate crimes distributed or used by the Air Force."
However, the document says it is "for training purposes only" and "do not use on the job." The document released was provided by the Air Force, but Judicial Watch claims it originated in a Defense Department office and is "thought likely to be used in other agency components."
In coordination with the document release, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said the "Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism."
"And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military," he added. "And it is striking that some the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and Tea Party investigations. After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces.”
Read the DOD documents here.