by Derek Scarlino/Love and Rage
The hacktivist collective Anonymous had recently made promises to release personal information on 1000 members of the Ku Klux Klan currently serving in elected positions throughout the United States, so when the internet was treated to a storm of activity revolving around the leaked emails and phone numbers of 23 individuals ranging from Congresspeople to city mayors today, Anonymous were immediately pinned with responsibility. That might have been premature.
The exposed numbers, emails and names can be found on separate PasteBin.com pages and were not posted by Anonymous in specific, but a Twitter user called Amped Attacks. Affiliation between the two has been denied by Amped Attacks, although they do claim to be an independent anti-hate group hacker.
The tech web site TechCrunch posted a quote from Amped Attacks Monday afternoon. Amped Attacks is not identified by name in the TechCrunch article:
“I worked for nine days to gather and verify all the information that was gathered before its release … I got the information from several KKK websites when I [hacked] them and was able to dump their database. I went through many emails that was signed up with these sites and a few of the emails that sparked my interest was the ones of the politicians in question there would be no reason for them to be signed up on any KKK website unless they supported it or was involved in it.”
Verification of the information released by Amped Attacks still needs to take place, but Anonyomous plans to reveal more than 1000 identities on November 5th in conjunction with the Million Mask March, a global protest planned for the same day. In a statement from an Anonymous press release, the group elaborated:
“After closely observing so many of you for so very long, we feel confident that applying transparency to your organizational cells is the right, just, appropriate and only course of action. You are abhorrent. Criminal. You are more than extremists. You are more than a hate group. You operate much more like terrorists and you should be recognized as such.”
There is both a history of animosity between the two groups and precedent for Anonymous’s intended actions going back to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent acquittal of Officer Darren Wilson thereafter. As the KKK threatened to use armed force against protesters in Ferguson, Anonymous hacked the Twitter account of a local KKK chapter and exposed its members. The group also alleged connections between the Ferguson PD and the KKK.
While there have been some discrepancies with the numbers, as noted by Anonymous’s Twitter followers, here is a partial list of USA KKK Politicians according to the Amped Attacks post:
Senator Tom Tillis (R), North Carolina
Senator John Cornyn (R), Texas
Senator, John Horne Iverson (R), Georgia
Senator, Dan Coats (R), Indiana
Mayor, Madeline Rogero (D), Knoxville TN
Mayor Jim Mayer, Lexington KY*
Mayor Kent Guinn (R), Ocala, Florida
Mayor Tom Henry (D), Fort Wayne Indiana
(*The mayor of Lexington is Jim Gray, the first openly gay mayor of that city)
Four of the five mayors have released statements about the leaked list, denying involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, some like Mayor Rogero citing her multiethnic background and former work with Cesar Chavez as evidence that the KKK might want little to do with her.
Official Anonymous Twitter accounts have released statements that those at the tip of the spear in what is being called #OpKKK did not release either list, that media should fact-check, but that their statements do not necessarily invalidate the posts.