The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
The hacker collective Anonymous has launched a campaign to target the Ku Klux Klan following the group’s claim they will use “lethal force” against protestors in Ferguson, Mo., where racial tensions have boiled for months after police killed a black teenager there.
The operation, known on Twitter as #OpKKK, has targeted local Klan members by publicly identifying them through social media, as well as taking over the Missouri Klan group’s Twitter account. As of today, for example, the information on the Klan’s twitter account read, “Under anon control as of 16 NOV 2014 09:11:47. You should’ve expected us.”
In a video statement posted to YouTube, Anonymous claimed the KKK was targeted because of its threats to use violence in the town where Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in August, not because of the Klan’s white nationalist beliefs.
“Due to your actions we started Operation KKK,” Anonymous claimed in a video. “The aim of our operation is nothing more than Cyber Warfare. Anything you upload will be taken down, anything you use to promote the KKK will be shut down.”
The action comes in the wake of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK distributing fliers in Ferguson saying that protestors had “awakened a sleeping giant,” and that demonstrators have threatened the lives of law enforcement, the community and their families, Huffington Post reported.
“We will not sit by and allow you to harm our families, communities, property nor disrupt our daily lives. Your right to freedom of speech does not give you the right to terrorize citizens,” the flier read. “We will use lethal force as provided under Missouri Law to defend ourselves. … You have been warned by the Ku Klux Klan! There will be consequences for your actions against the peaceful, law abiding citizens of Missouri.”
Frank Ancona, the leader of the KKK chapter in Missouri, defended the Klan’s objective to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes by explaining, “There are remedies under the law. The flier, if you read it, it says ‘defend,’ it talks about defense. So, in order to defend yourself, that means you’re being attacked.”
This isn’t the first time the hacktivist group has gone after the racist radical right. In 2012, Anonymous declared “Operation Blitzkrieg” against neo-Nazi and other hate group websites—a program that inflicted unprecedented damage on many of the racist sites and releasing an avalanche of personal information about supporters.
John Abarr has an idea for the Ku Klux Klan that has attracted a lot of attention: He says he wants to reform the hate group to make a more “inclusive” KKK open to Jews, black people, and gays and lesbians—a “Rainbow Klan,” as it were.
There’s just one problem: While Abar has had no problem attracting media coverage, his Rocky Mountain Knights of the Ku Klux Klan doesn’t appear to have followers beyond a handful, and he has zero credibility within the national Klan organizations.
Word of Abarr’s idea appeared in a story in the Great Falls Tribune, which featured Abarr holding forth on the idea of a kinder, gentler Ku Klux Klan: “The KKK is for a strong America,” he told the paper. “White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan.” The story then appeared in USA Today, and inspired a round of stories in the Washington Post, the U.K.’s Daily Mail, the International Business Times, The Forward and Think Progress.
A recent ABC News piece, however, cast a skeptical note, quoting Rachel Carroll-Rivas, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network, who has monitored Abarr’s various activities since he distributed racist flyers agitating for “white homeland” in the Northwest, and ran for Congress as a Klan candidate.
Carroll-Rivas told Hatewatch that, as far as her organization can tell, Abarr is pretty much just a one-man bandwagon.
“We’ve seen no evidence that he has a membership or following as far as any version of a KKK group, affiliated or not,” she said. “I think Abarr primarily is pretty much by himself.”
This is not Abarr’s first foray in grabbing headlines, however. In 1989, when he was the 19-year-old campaign spokesman for white-supremacist candidate William Daniel Johnson during a failed bid for the Wyoming congressional seat of Dick Cheney, Abarr told reporters then that the Klan was “basically a civil rights organization that stands up for the rights of white people.”
Twenty-two years later, Abarr ran for Congress in Montana, though he shuttered his campaign after only six months. More recently, Abarr again grabbed headlines by holding a meeting with members of the NAACP at a hotel in Wyoming, claiming he wanted to find a way to get along with blacks.
“They’re all media gimmicks,” Carroll-Rivas said. “Clearly it’s not real. He’s just trying to figure out a way to get in there between the lines.”
The “inclusive” Klan notion is risible, she added.
“I think he’s a farce in terms of what he’s saying right now,” she said. “What he’s doing is somewhat self-promotion, but I also think he’s happy to spread the word of hate, and find a way to bring it attention.”
Indeed, Abarr’s concept was largely met with roars of laughter and general disbelief at the white-supremacist website Stormfront, where a thread devoted to the Tribune story attracted a large number of comments:
What can I say? This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard of. What next? (Corn Feed White Boy)
This is crazy, you sure this is a real kkk ? (laidbackguy71)
Even looks like a fag. Kick him out in the black part of Denver…with his “robe” on, assuming they even retain that. (Buzz)
Sounds like some pervert joined a klan under false pretenses and got tired of wearing women’s clothing behind closed doors and going to gay bars with fake mustaches. (Paladin Steel)
One group doesn’t speak for all, this is nothing but anti-Klan propaganda and anyone falling for this is a fool. (Central Michigan)
One Stormfront commenter queried among his fellow white supremacists whether any from Montana even knew of Abarr or had heard of them. One, a “white nationalist” from Columbia Falls, replied: “Nope, he has nothing to do with anyone I know.”
Carroll-Rivas observed that the reason Abarr is able to manipulate the press is that people are well aware what the Klan really stands for.
“It goes to show how strong that label still is, the KKK,” she told Hatewatch. “And I think he understands the power that that label has. And it should, because it instills fear in people, for real reasons.”
Prosecutors are now reviewing all pending criminal cases involving a Charleston, W.V., police lieutenant who was suspended last month when a racially charged video surfaced of his young daughter dancing to a song popular with the Ku Klux Klan as the officer allegedly eggs her on off camera.
The officer, Shawn Williams, a 16-year veteran of the department and the head of the patrol division, allegedly can be heard on the video using “derogatory racial language,” according to The Charleston Gazette, which interviewed two people who said they saw the recording.
On the video, which was discovered on Williams’ home computer, the girl is dressed in police-style clothing and, according to the Gazette, dancing, to a KKK anthem that includes the lines, “Stand up and be counted, show the world that you’re a man. Stand up and be counted, go with the Ku Klux Klan.”
Members of the New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) from three separate states have announced plans to travel to Ferguson, Missouri, to guard “white businesses” near riots that have erupted after a police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“With blacks out of control, we have our Missouri Realm going to areas near Ferguson,” wrote Charles Murray, the group’s Imperial Wizard. “We can’t have blacks robbing and murdering innocent whites.”
This is only latest from the Klan, which has sought to capitalize on the violence and discord in Ferguson. Last week it announced that their members would travel to Sullivan, Missouri, to prepare for a fundraiser for “a cop who shot a nigger criminal.” The KKK group has not said which state’s chapters are heading to Missouri.
The one thing the racially charged and besieged city of Ferguson, Mo. does not need or want to add to the combustible mix of rubber bullets, snarling police dogs and clouds of tear gas that have filled its streets for three days is the Ku Klux Klan.
But the Klan –– desperate for publicity and any opportunity to spread hate and terror –– is climbing atop the powder keg that Ferguson has become following the police killing of an unarmed college-bound black teenager last Saturday.
The South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says its Missouri chapter is raising money for the still unidentified white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, who was scheduled to begin college classes this week.
“We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” the Klan group said in an email. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place. Most cops are cowards and do nothing while 90% of interracial crime is black (and non-white) on white.” ( continue to full post… )
With thousands of undocumented children amassing at the U.S. border, Robert Jones, Imperial Wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, doesn’t want amnesty. He wants “corpses” on the border.
Speaking to Al Jazeera America, Jones, in full Klan robes, warned that immigrant children crossing the border are a threat to a “white homeland” and simply one more way President Obama has “sold out the American people.”
“If we can’t turn them back, I think if we pop a couple of them off and leave their corpses laying at the border maybe they’ll see we’re serious about stopping immigration,” Jones said.
The situation at the border has intensified in recent weeks as violence has forced many families to help their children cross the border for safety –– an option available due to legislation signed by President George W. Bush that gave new protections to children entering the country by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin, the New York Times reported in early July. In response, militia members armed with assault rifles have once again begun border patrols, and groups like the Klan, long obsessed with a white homeland, have focused their hate toward the border once again.
In the winter of 2009, a young patrolman named James W. Elkins was forced to resign from the 12-officer Fruitland Park, Florida police department when it was discovered he was a recruiter for and high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan.
After Elkins turned in his badge, the police chief at the time, J.M. Isom, declared, “I can guarantee you that none of my police officers who work here are members of the KKK.”
“That was completely wrong,” Elkins told Hatewatch today. “They knew I wasn’t the only one then. They just swept it under the rug. I hope they don’t get away with doing it again.”
Over the weekend, the Fruitland Park police department’s deputy chief, David Borst, 49, resigned and another longtime department veteran, Cpl. George Hunnewell, was fired because of their alleged membership in the same group Elkins belonged, the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The current police chief, Terry Isaacs, told Hatewatch today that both officers “emphatically deny” being in the Klan, adding that he was tipped off to their possible membership by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.
Isaacs said the FBI discovered the officers’ alleged Klan involvement in the course of an investigation that he believes stretches across the country and even overseas. He said he did not know the nature of the investigation but was assured that his department was not a target.
He said prosecutors are reviewing the cases that the two officers have pending, and “if these cases don’t stand on their own, my recommendation is that they drop them.” An as-yet-unknown number of cases could be in jeopardy.
Elkins, 33, estimated that at least four members of the department belonged to the Klan when five years ago he was patrolling the streets of Fruitland Park. The city, 48 miles from Orlando in central Florida, is popular with retirees and has a population of 4,000. He added that “probably 10 out of the 12 fulltime officers” were sympathetic to the Klan. ( continue to full post… )
A British television crew filming a gathering of Ku Klux Klansmen in West Virginia this spring recorded one of the group’s leaders discussing a plan to use returning military veterans to train KKK members in combat techniques for “the upcoming battle” – presumably the “coming race war” that the Klan and other white supremacists have long predicted.
The nine-minute video documentary by Barcroft TV is a striking portrait of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization based in Pelham, N.C., with chapters throughout the South, including this one in West Virginia. It includes some appalling insights into their children’s upbringing and their certainty about a looming social apocalypse.
But most disturbing is the segment in which the hooded Klansman leading the rally tells the crowd about the group’s future plans:
We’re looking at something a little different for probably the next couple of years, trying to get our men and women ready for the upcoming battle that we’re about to take upon us. And this is something that no Klan has ever done, and we’re going to start it. All our boys are finally coming back home from the military, which is good. And we’re getting a lot more military members joining, which is good, as we’re going to start doing a lot more military training.
Now that we got our Marines and our Army back, they’re going to start showing us how to skin, how to survive off the land. We’re going to try to move in another direction with the Loyal White Knights, and that is starting armed training, hand-to-hand combat, and stuff like that, just for the upcoming battle.
The Klansman is not correct, of course – this has been attempted previously by other KKK organizations. Indeed, the presence of far-right extremists within the military is a longstanding problem and frequently involves a Klan recruiter joining the armed forces.
The leader of a South Carolina Ku Klux Klan organization has announced plans for what he’s billing as a “national” gathering of fellow Klansmen, dubbed “KKK Jam,” at his group’s headquarters in Abbeville this July. However, the invitation list is decidedly short.
Chuck Murray, whose home near Abbeville serves as the national headquarters of his group – the New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – explained to a reporter for WHNS-TV in Greenville that only members of the New Empire Knights would be permitted at “KKK Jam,” scheduled for July 25-27:
This event is only open for members, family members and Klansmen being Knighted. I run a very secretive Klan. The media, like you, enjoys exposing people. I have school teachers, doctors and law enforcement as members. While America by law, grants people personal freedoms, I have seen people in the past harassed by Zionist groups such as the ADL and SPLC. I’ve seen people fired for expressing their freedoms of speech and religion. I do everything I can to grant my members their safety.
Murray explained: “This event is our first official National Meeting. We Knight new members who have reached Knighthood and promote Knights to higher ranks who have worked hard for us.”
And Murray was careful to distinguish his “Knights” from other Klan groups, noting that the Imperial Klans of America and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan each have their own annual gatherings in other locales. He even requested that the reporter only use photos of his particular sect so as not to risk being associated with some lesser Klan group:
I only ask that if you show pictures from the Klan, use pictures that I send you. There are currently between 30-45 Klan groups in the United States today. I do not want a story done which shows some random Klan group. That group could be a false Klan made up of criminals, drug addicts and drunks. I will gladly send you another email along with pictures of our previous Klan events.
Murray wrote that his New Empire Knights outfit was rather new, having formed only in February of 2013: “There have been numerous Klan groups since 1948. I had ‘retired’ from the Klan in late 2010 or so. I had a meeting with some fellow Klan friends in late 2012. They voted me in as Imperial Wizard (National Leader) and the New Empire Knights was born.”
Their motives: “Like me, others were sick of these fake Klan groups made up of skinheads, jobless slobs and criminals,” Murray wrote. “We wanted a real Klan group made up of white Christians.” ( continue to full post… )
A former leader of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan will serve two years in prison for burning a cross in 2009 in Ozark, Ala., to “scare and intimidate residents of the African-American community by threatening the use of force against them.”
Steven Joshua Dinkle, 28, the former exalted cyclops of the Ozark chapter of the Keystone Knights, also will be on three years of “supervised release” after he gets out of prison under the sentence handed down Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge said the purpose of Dinkle’s conduct clearly was “to terrorize people in the community” and that his “message was one of intimidation and violence.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said Dinkle “chose to burn the cross at the very entrance to an African-American neighborhood so that anyone coming or going would see the fiery cross. He intended to intimidate the community’s residents in their own homes and neighborhood. There is no place for such conduct in our society and the department will continue to prosecute these violent acts of hate.”
U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr., of the Middle District of Alabama, echoed those comments. “It is sad that, in this day and age, people are still filled with such hate,” Beck said. “To act on such hate and burn a cross turns that hate into a crime which should not, and will not, be tolerated. Prosecuting these type crimes will continue to be a priority of my office.”
Dinkle pleaded guilty Feb. 3 to one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights, one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing, and two counts of obstruction of justice related to false statements he gave investigators.
He was arrested by FBI agents last November in Mississippi, four days after his mother, Pamela Morris, 45, the former secretary of the same KKK chapter in Ozark, was arrested. Dinkle admitted lying to FBI agents about his role in the cross burning. His mother is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 4 on two counts of perjury arising out of the investigation into the cross burning.
Court documents say Dinkle and KKK-recruit Thomas Windell Smith, whose age wasn’t provided by authorities, met at Dinkle’s home in Ozark on May 8, 2009, and decided to burn a cross in a nearby African-American neighborhood.
Dinkle wrapped a 6-foot wooden cross with jeans and a towel before driving with Smith in his truck to a nearby black community. The pair dug a hole, doused the cross with fuel and fled in Smith’s truck.
Smith pleaded guilty last December to one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights and faces sentencing Aug. 19, 2014.