Activism Technology

Operation KKK: Anonymous’ Campaign to Unmask the Klan

Pierre (Rennes), *n3wjack's world in pixels, flickr; Library of Congress
Written by Ethan M. Long

A faction of Anonymous participating in Operation KKK have announced that they will be releasing “the identities of up to 1000 Klan members, Ghoul Squad affiliates and other close associates of various factions of the Ku Klux Klan across the Unites States,” in a campaign called “Hoods Off”, according to a statement released online Monday.

On October 22, the group revealed over Twitter that they’ve gained access to a KKK Twitter account, and that by “Using the info obtained, we will be revealing about 1000 klan member identities.” Around the same time, they took down websites belonging to Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK, the Westboro Baptist Church, and other websites affiliated with KKK and white pride groups.

“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. You are terrorists that hide your identities beneath sheets and infiltrate society on every level. The privacy of the Ku Klux Klan no longer exists in cyberspace,” the members of the Op wrote in yesterday’s statement.

Last November, the group released a video that revealed their motive as retaliation for the Ku Klux Klan trying to frighten and instigate conflict, and threatening to use “lethal force” during the protests in Ferguson, MO last fall. “Anything you upload will be taken down. Anything you use to promote the KKK will be shut down,” the video says, while a slideshow showcasing outed members was shown.

“Nothing but a bunch of scumbags,” said one member of the Klan in a documentary about the fallout of last Fall’s doxxing. The short video includes members who have quit out of fear. One member said “It’s just a bunch of group of anarchists, they’re communists, just like in Russia, just like in China, communists.”

These Klan members were specifically in the St. Louis area. Some were former military and law enforcement members. It is not yet known whether those in this latest doxxing are in one location or scattered around the country.

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In the statement, the group directly addressed the United States Government, writing that “The American public should not be subjected to victimization by hate groups through a hate group’s protection by the United States Constitution without additional laws in place to protect potential victims of these violent organizations.”

Earlier in the statement, they wrote that they want to “make this especially clear: We are not oppressing you, Ku Klux Klan. We are not here to strip you of your Freedom of Speech. Anonymous will never strip you of any of your Constitutional rights. There is no “hate speech” exception to the Constitution. In a free society, we do have a duty to protect free thought, even when especially offensive. Your hateful ideas and words remain yours to keep. You are allowed to speak and in kind, we are allowed to respond. You are legally free to live and be any which way you choose to live and be. Keep in mind, it is not illegal nor oppressive to hurt your feelings. With that said – We are stripping you of your anonymity. Again. This is our protected speech.”

To those that believe that revealing the identities of Klan members is wrong, they simply wrote “Sorry for the inconvenience, but not really. We are trying to change our world.”

In the time between last year’s campaign and now, Operation KKK has been busy outting members of the Klan. In September, the group posted a 1927 New York Times article naming Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, as one of the members of the Klan who had been arrested during a march in the city.

While opponents of Guy Fawkes mask wearing Anonymous protesters have been quick to relate them to the KKK, this campaign has made it quite clear that there is no love lost between the groups. The Klan’s outdated sheet-based identity protection may not prove as robust as the 21st Century information gathering techniques Anonymous employs. Oscar Wilde once wrote “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Watching what Klan members and Anons each choose to do with their masks may be the truest measure of their respective humanity.

About the author

Ethan M. Long

Ethan Long is a journalist based out of Boston, MA.

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Operation KKK: Anonymous’ Campaign to Unmask the Klan

by Ethan M. Long
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