Navy Extremist Disciplined, Reassigned

Extremists in the Military

The Navy has declared a "finding of misconduct" and issued a formal letter of reprimand to Lt. Comdr. John Sharpe Jr., according to his parents. But Sharpe reportedly was disciplined only for criticizing President Bush and the war in Iraq — not for his extensive anti-Semitic activities.

Jim Brantley, a spokesman for the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, would not confirm the report in a letter from Sharpe's parents that was published on the site of the left-wing journal Counterpunch. He said that the Navy "normally doesn't discuss non-judicial punishment," but added that Sharpe would be reassigned. Non-judicial punishment is administrative, and does not equate to a criminal conviction.

Sharpe was suspended from his job as spokesman for the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson last spring, following an exposé by the Intelligence Report detailing his anti-Semitic activities. Sharpe blames Jews for the 9/11 attacks, for instance, writing that a "conspiracy" organized by the "Zionist New World Order … plan[ned] to push the entire world into World War III for the glory of Israel." He has attended a white supremacist conference, been on the board of a neofascist British group, and still runs two groups listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to the letter from his parents, the Navy chose not to charge Sharpe under Navy Regulation 1167, which bans supremacist activity and requires a court martial. Officials also declined to use Uniform Code of Military Justice provisions that ban "conduct unbecoming." Instead, he was charged under UCMJ Article 88, banning "contemptuous words" against the president and other high officials, based on comments in two books Sharpe edited for his IHS Press that were critical of the Iraq war and suggested that Bush was responsible for the murder of Iraqis.

Sharpe also has connections to Arab extremists that were ignored. On his website, for example, is an interview with Ibrahim Ebeid, a Baathist and supporter of Saddam Hussein. Ebeid says in the interview that "neo-cons and Zionists" are responsible for a "vicious criminal war" against Iraq and Palestine.

Another case of extremists in the military came to light in June, when two privates attached to the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., were arrested and charged with selling narcotics and equipment stolen from the Army to an undercover FBI agent posing as a white supremacist. Joffre J. "Trey" Cross III and Jason Scott Niewoit also allegedly offered to procure military weapons. Cross had a myspace.com web page that listed various Nazi officers as his heroes.