Saturday, April 12, 2008

Alleged "White Supremacist" U.S. Army PFC Jeremy Wilcox Appears Before U.S. Armed Forces Court Of Appeals At Malmstrom AFB, Montana

Update: On July 16th, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that the "racist" online postings of PFC Jeremy T. Wilcox were protected under the First Amendment. By a 4-to-1 decision, the Court found the statements did not go far enough to justify criminal charges. Updated post HERE.

On April 10th, 2008, before a crowd at the Malmstrom Air Force Base theater, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces heard oral arguments in an appellate case involving a member of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Full story published in the Great Falls Tribune and aired on KFBB Channel 5 in Great Falls.

PFC Jeremy Wilcox had been convicted of several crimes by a general court martial, stemming from allegations that he made anarchist and racial supremacy statements online while identifying himself as a member of the armed forces. Wilcox had an online profile that espoused racist beliefs, and made disparaging remarks about minorities in online conversations with an undercover investigator posing as a white supremacist. After hearing arguments from both sides, the Court said it would render a decision within the next few weeks.

Base officials said the court’s appearance was a great learning experience for the base and the Great Falls community. “Malmstrom and Montana were extremely lucky to get the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to come here,” said Lt. Colonel Sean Sabin. “The court only travels once in the spring and once in the fall, and that’s to a base anywhere in the world”. It was the court’s first ever appearance at Malmstrom AFB. The Armed Forces Court of Appeals is the highest appellate court within the military justice system. More background on the military justice system HERE.

Case History: PFC Wilcox was originally charged with four closely related offenses pertaining to extremist organizations and activities. Three of the offenses were charged under Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), 10 U.S.C. § 892 (2000) (violation of a lawful regulation):

Specification 1 (Article 92 violation): Alleged wrongful attendance at a Ku Klux Klan rally;

Specification 2 (Article 92 violation): Alleged wrongful recruitment and training of members in extremist activity;

Specification 3 (Article 92 violation): Alleged wrongful distribution of extremist literature.

Specification 4 (Article 134 violation): Alleged that Wilcox engaged in conduct that was service-discrediting and prejudicial to good order and discipline by advocating and encouraging “anti-government and disloyal statements,” “participation in extremist organizations,” and “racial intolerance” while he identified himself as a member of the Army.

Other violations:

(1). Article 90, willful disobedience of an officer.

(2). Article 107, making a false official statement.

(3). Article 128, larceny.

At the general court-martial composed of a military judge sitting alone, Wilcox was acquitted of Specification 2 (recruiting and training) and Specification 3 (distribution of literature). He was convicted of the remaining offenses. The judge sentenced Wilcox to confinement for eight months, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a bad-conduct discharge.

PFC Wilcox chose to appeal the conviction. The first step was to appeal to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals (each branch of the service has its own appellate court). At this hearing, the government conceded that Specification 1 (wrongful attendance at Klan rally) was factually and legally insufficient. The Army Court of Criminal Appeals agreed and dismissed the charge. In a summary opinion, the court affirmed the remaining findings and reassessed the sentence to reaffirm the bad-conduct discharge, reaffirm reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, but reduced the forfeiture from total pay for eight months to $700.00 pay per month for four months, and reduced confinement from eight months to four months, subject to 179 days of confinement credit. The latter finding instantly made Wilcox a free man.

However, Wilcox was not happy with the conviction on Article 134. Perhaps he viewed the language as being defamatory and considered it an attack on his character. So he decided to appeal that part of the conviction to the next level - the United States Armed Forces Court of Appeal. Note that he did not appeal the convictions on violating Articles 90, 107, or 128.

On April 30th, 2006, the Armed Forces Court issued their finding. Upon further consideration of the granted issue, they noted that many of the facts at issue in the constitutional challenge to the Article 134 offense were at issue with respect to the offenses charged under Article 92. In light of the fact that the closely related Article 92 offenses were resolved favorably to Wilcox, it is not apparent which facts were relied upon by the Army Court of Appeals for purposes of addressing Wilcox’s constitutional challenge to his Article 134 conviction. On consideration of the above, it is ordered that the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed as to the findings under Articles 90, 107, 128, but reversed as to the remaining findings and the sentence.

However, the reversal on the Article 134 conviction was CONDITIONAL. The record was merely returned to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Army for remand back to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals for further consideration of the findings under Article 134 and the sentence. If the court affirmed the findings under Article 134, it would: (1) set forth the legal and factual basis for its conclusions; and (2) take appropriate action on the sentence under Article 66(c). If the court dismissed the findings under Article 134, it would either reassess the sentence or order a rehearing on the sentence.

Since Wilcox is appealing once again to the U.S. Armed Forces Court of Appeals, we must assume that upon reconsideration, the Army Court of Appeals chose to reaffirm the Article 134 conviction, and Wilcox still wants to get that conviction off his record. But we have no input from Wilcox himself as to why he finds the Article 134 conviction so much more of an issue than the Article 90, 107, and 128 convictions. Even if cleared of the Article 134 conviction, he will still have a Federal conviction on his record, which will hinder his employability. The larceny conviction will make it difficult for him to get bonded. A bad-conduct discharge cuts off his access to the Veterans Adminstration.

Unless, of course, Wilcox's strategy is to get rid of the Article 134 conviction, and then use that as justification to try to get his bad conduct discharge upgraded to a general discharge, making him eligible for many VA benefits currently out of his reach.

The U.S. Army's Expectations: Army Regulation 600-20, a 138-page document in PDF format dated March 2008, clearly spells out the Army's expectations of soldiers in regards to that type of activity. Here are the key provisions from pp 23-24:

a. Participation. Military personnel must reject participation in extremist organizations and activities. Extremist organizations and activities are ones that advocate racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance; advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, or national origin, or advocate the use of or use force or violence or unlawful means to deprive individuals of their rights under the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States, or any State, by unlawful means.

b. Prohibitions. Soldiers are prohibited from the following actions in support of extremist organizations or activities. Penalties for violations of these prohibitions include the full range of statutory and regulatory sanctions, both criminal (UCMJ), and administrative.
- (1) Participating in public demonstrations or rallies.
- (2) Attending a meeting or activity with the knowledge that the meeting or activity involves an extremist cause when on duty, when in uniform, when in a foreign country (whether on or off duty or in or out of uniform), when it constitutes a breach of law and order, or when it is likely to result in violence or when in violation of off limits sanctions or commander’s order.
- (3) Fund raising activities.
- (4) Recruiting or training members (including encouraging other Soldiers to join).
- (5) Creating, organizing, or taking a visible leadership role in such an organization or activity.
- (6) Distributing literature on or off a military installation, the primary purpose and content of which concerns advocacy or support of extremist causes, organizations, or activities; and it appears that the literature presents a clear danger to the loyalty, discipline, or morale of military personnel, or the distribution would materially interfere with the accomplishment of a military mission.

DA Pamphlet 600-15, dated 1 June 2000, consolidates all the above information and provides additional background on what the U.S. Army considers an "extremist" organization.

As you can see, the opportunities for legal pro-white activism while a member of the military are extremely limited. Military personnel desiring to engage in this type of activity must thoroughly understand the rules of engagement and factor them into play before making a decision. Under NO circumstances do you put your real name online nor reveal your military connection if you choose Internet outreach.


Anonymous said...

Notice ya didn't publish the last comment. Perhaps you will do a follow up story on the case now? If interested I could put you in touch with this soldier...

Mills said...

My husband tried to make an EO complaint with his Army unit but they refused to except it. The EO complaint focused on the anti-white policies of the Army's EO program. For instance, the United States Army teaches the idea that only whites are racist and that the white race is the only race capable of practicing discrimination and being prejudice. In fact, every example in the numerous Army equal opportunity publications, place white soldiers as being racist and minorities as the victims. In addition, the Army teaches Soldiers that minorities contributed more to American society than White-Americans. I have a website that the US Army does not want you to see: