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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Department of Defense’s so-called “Countering Extremism Working Group” is soliciting input from across the political spectrum, eliciting equally-diverse criticism.
Upon taking office, Biden administration Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a force-wide stand down “requiring all units to discuss the threat of extremism within 60 days,” as the first step in “a concerted effort to better educate ourselves and our people about the scope of this problem and to develop sustainable ways to eliminate the corrosive effects that extremist ideology and conduct have on the workforce.”
The Intercept reported that, according to a document circulated last month, the working group overseeing this review plans on soliciting input from representatives of left-wing groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as well as some conservative groups such as First Liberty Institute (FLI) and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“The Countering Extremism Working Group (CEWG) would like to partner with experts on counter extremism and counter terrorism to better understand the scope of the problem and inform the 90-day report for the Secretary of Defense,” the document says. “These experts may come from advocacy groups, academia, and other areas that contribute to the fight against terrorism.”
The Intercept report itself is an example of the left-wing ire the conservative groups’ inclusion has sparked, quoting a report from the left-wing Center for American Progress (the author of which now works for the Intercept) attacking MEMRI as “the Islamophobia network’s go-to place for selective translations of Islamist rhetoric abroad.”
Ironically, such a characterization is precisely why conservatives take issue with accepting the aforementioned left-wing groups as authorities on extremism. SPLC in particular is notorious for its history of labeling mainstream Christian and/or conservative organizations – such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Jihad Watch – “hate groups” to be distrusted by the public and blacklisted from various online platforms and services.
Regardless of the potential involvement of conservative consultants, early signs indicate the review will be overwhelmingly left-wing. Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, who was recently removed from command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base over his criticism of social-justice ideology’s affect on the military, says that videos presenting Americans and white people as “evil” were “sent out to every base (and) service member,” who “were asked to watch (them) in preparation for” the extremism stand down. Other leaked materials frame pro-lifers, conservative Christians, and government critics as potential extremists.