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Pentagon refuses to censor political speech of troops or prohibit their membership in extremist groups

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US National Guard troops are seen outside the Capitol Hill building on January 11 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Getty Images)

The US military has refused to prohibit its members from joining extremist groups and also declined to say clearly whether refusing to view President Joe Biden as the legitimate leader of the United States is a violation of policy.

A number of US military troops participated in the deadly January 6 protest march at the US Capitol by thousands of Americans angry at the outcome of the 2020 disputed presidential election in which Democratic candidate Biden was declared a winner.

Biden’s rival, then-US-President Donald Trump, a Republican, did not concede his defeat. He has repeatedly claimed that his 2020 election loss to the Democrat resulted from widespread voter fraud.

Following the Capitol riot, the Biden administration has spent much of the year working to clarify its definition of extremism and what kinds of military participation in an extremist activity to explicitly prohibit, the Pentagon revealed on Monday.

The new definition of extremism includes everything from barring troops "liking" extremist content on social media to fundraising or protesting for an extremist organization. Local military commanders would decide the punishment for such an action, according to Reuters.

The Pentagon, however, did not prohibit troops from acquiring membership of an extremist group, from the Proud Boys to the Oath Keepers and the Ku Klux Klan, and avoided weighing in on a soldier's view of the legitimacy of Biden as president.

Trump has been casting doubt on the outcome of his loss by insisting it was the result of fraud. He has said that the 2020 presidential election was “the greatest Election Hoax in history.”

"If we got into coming up with a list of extremist groups, it would be only probably as good as the day we published it because these groups change," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing.

Kirby stressed that the goal of the policy was not to prohibit political activity by US troops.

"This isn't about political leanings or partisan inclinations," Kirby said, adding it was about "activity."

On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters occupied the US Capitol while lawmakers were in the process of reviewing the certification of state electors which indicated Biden's victory. Some Trump supporters had hoped that this process could have resulted in some of the electors being disqualified, thus overturning the outcome of the presidential election.

It is claimed by some that the demonstrators were infiltrated and incited by provocateurs from US intelligence agencies, who orchestrated the “false flag operation” in order to get rid of Trump.

Some among the crowd clashed with police, and some made threats to beat up a number of Democratic lawmakers. Some also inflicted damage on parts of the Capitol building.

Trump has been casting doubt on the outcome of his loss by insisting it was the result of fraud.

Trump’s claims have significantly delegitimatized the democratic process in the United States. A recent poll has found that at least 50 percent of Republican voters surveyed believe their vote will not be counted accurately the next time they cast a ballot.


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