ARMY AND NAVY AUTHORITIES TO INVESTIGATE WHITE SUPREMACIST HAND SYMBOL USED DURING ARMY-NAVY FOOTBALL GAME

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[White Supremacy\Army-Navy Football Game]
Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, 60th superintendent, U.S. Military Academy:"The U.S. Military Academy is fully committed to developing leaders of character who embody the Army values. I have appointed an Investigating officer according to Army regulation 15-6, to conduct an administrative investigation into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the cadets in question."
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lt. Gen Darryl Williams, above, and Cmdr. Alana Garas, said the military and naval cadets who flashed O.K. hand gestures--likely signifying white supremacist sympathies or affiliation--will be investigated.

The U.S. Military Academy has launched an investigation into the use of hand gestures by a few cadets during a broadcast of ESPN College GameDay at the Army-Navy Game on Dec. 14, 2019.

"The U.S. Military Academy is fully committed to developing leaders of character who embody the Army values. I have appointed an Investigating officer according to Army regulation 15-6, to conduct an administrative investigation into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the cadets in question," said Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, 60th superintendent, U.S. Military Academy.

“We are aware and will be looking into it,” said Cmdr. Alana Garas, a spokesperson for the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland.

During the game, several cadets were seen giving the O.K. hand sign which reportedly, in recent years, has been appropriated by white supremacist groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) notes that the signal which once had a "traditional meaning that all’s well" was partly chosen because it could give "racist idealogues" a measure of "plausible deniability" to hide their racism. In this regard, SPLC says, "it can be a surreptitious way of signaling your presence to other white supremacists."

SPLC says the O.K. sign is made by using “the thumb and forefinger joined together in a circle, the remaining three fingers splayed out behind.” SPLC says the KKK, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis “have increasingly begun using the use of the symbol both to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it.”

The Anti-Defamation League says the O.K. hand sign forms the words “WP” for “white power.”

According to the Associated Press, in September, West Point removed a motto--GFBD "God Forgives, Brothers Don’t,”--from a spirit flag used by the school’s football team because of its connection to White supremacist groups.

The rise of white supremacy recently is troubling.

In October 2006, an FBI Intelligence Assessment report—updated in 2015—warned of White supremacists “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” The FBI labeled these individuals “Ghost Skins,” a term signifying their covert nature as “undercover White power warriors.

The FBI report on “Ghost Skins” warns “The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is notable among White supremacist groups for historically having found support in many communities, which often translated into ties to local law enforcement.” But although the FBI has signaled the alarm on "Ghost Skin" infiltration of law enforcement, there has been no sustained mainstream media coverage of this serious security risk.

Since West Point--only a few months ago--found connections between the flag their football team was using and the GFBD motto, it seems likely the use of the O.K. hand symbol was indeed a gesture of white supremacist sympathies. The apparent comfort level some in the military seem to have toward white supremacists may also point to a connection with the same "Ghost Skin" infiltration of law enforcement the FBI has warned about.

This is troubling because several reports have highlighted the rise in white supremacy since Trump was elected.

SPLC says, "hate groups operating across America rose to a record high – 1,020 – in 2018 as President Trump continued to fan the flames of white resentment over immigration and the country’s changing demographics." According to SPLC, this represents "a 30 percent increase roughly coinciding with Trump’s campaign and presidency – following three consecutive years of decline near the end of the Obama administration."

Interestingly, Trump was present at the Navy-Army game Saturday.

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