The ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous responded to threats by a Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to use lethal force against Ferguson protesters by hacking the organization’s national Twitter account on Sunday. Throughout the weekend, Anonymous had gradually revealed the identities of KKK members that lived in the St. Louis area. They had also warned the KKK that additional action would be taken against them. That action occurred Sunday afternoon when Anonymous took over the racist organization’s Twitter account and sent out the following tweet.
— Ku Klux Klan (@KuKluxKlanUSA) November 16, 2014
Prior to Anonymous hacking the Twitter account, the KKK sent out a number of tweets taunting the loose-knit organization of hackers, claiming that Anonymous was nothing but all talk and no action.
Anonymous is nothing but a bunch of wannabes. They won’t take any action. We will not be brought down by some low-lives behind a screen.
— Ku Klux Klan (@KuKluxKlanUSA) November 16, 2014
Obviously, Anonymous showed the Klan that they weren’t all talk by eventually taking control of their Twitter account. As of Sunday evening, the last tweet sent by Anonymous for the KKK’s account was still up on the timeline and had been retweeted out more than 2,000 times.
This is all in response to a flier that was passed out by a Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan last week stating that they will protect people and property from Ferguson protesters by using lethal force. Frank Ancona, the grand wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights, first spoke with the Riverfront Times, a local St. Louis newspaper, about the fliers and his intentions. He told the RFT that the Ferguson protests, which arose in the wake of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, have been great for recruiting new members to the KKK.
The story went national and Ancona even made an appearance on MSNBC’s ALL In with Chris Hayes on Wednesday. While on with Hayes, Ancona told the host that the Ferguson protests have “awakened a sleeping giant.”
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
Due to Ancona’s statements in his interviews and his insistence that the Klan was seeing a huge spike in its membership and would be a major factor during protests if Wilson is not indicted for Brown’s murder, Anonymous told the organization that they would “take off the hoods” of local KKK members and reveal their names accompanied with photos.
Starting Friday afternoon and continuing through Saturday, Anonymous used its main Twitter account to post personal information of Klan members that either live in the St. Louis area or have local ties. More than twenty individuals were revealed in the action by the group. After the mass reveal, Anonymous told the Klan that further action would be taken. It appears that the acquisition of the KKK’s Twitter account may not the end of the line for Anonymous, based on statements from its members.
— Anonymous (@occupythemob) November 17, 2014
It is debatable if Ancona and his chapter ever posed a meaningful threat to protesters and activists and if Ancona’s boasts that his organization is seeing a huge upsurge in membership are accurate. Per the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Klan is a shell of what is used to be, and there might be 5-6,000 members nationwide. Don Terry of the SPLC told the Daily Beast that the Klan is shrinking and they have zero influence as a group. However, they still should be watched as they can appeal to lone wolves who value the organization’s brand of old school racism.
The St. Louis American, a newspaper that caters to St. Louis’ black community, interviewed the three police leaders that will serve as the unified command of law enforcement providing security in Ferguson and other areas in the St. Louis metro region that protesters may gather in the wake of the grand jury decision. The three commanders all agreed that the KKK does not pose a serious threat and they aren’t concerned with them causing any additional problems during demonstrations.
“Let me handle this one,” [St. Louis County police chief Jon] Belmar said, when asked about those threats. “The only problem we’ll have if the KKK comes in is the hotels changing the bed sheets. They’re the biggest bunch of bed-wetters. Those guys are a bunch of punks.”
Whether or not the Klan should have ever be taken seriously in Ferguson, even after Ancona’s threat, is up for debate. However, one thing we know for certain is their online presence has been seriously compromised by Anonymous. On top of that, any hope of anonymity by St. Louis area Klan members has been destroyed by the hacktivist group.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).