Social media is bouncing with new information released on November 2, identifying many to be active members of the Ku Klux Klan. However, If You Only News has learned that at least some of that information may be tragically flawed.
Note that there are two different lists circulating on online media right now, and that come from two different sources. One of them was released on Twitter on November 2 in an Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) project dubbed “OpKKK,” and promised to release the names of members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Today’s partial list has been eagerly awaited on with high anticipation.
Another much smaller list, though, was released online on October 31. And it came from another source – an individual hacker using the Twitter name of “Amped Attacks,” and who openly states he has no affiliation with Anonymous or any other groups that may be releasing similar data.
The listing from Amped Attacks is notably different from the one released by Anonymous, too. For example, it only lists nine people, all of whom hold elected offices (although Amped Attacks told If You Only News that more might come from his data). Four of the nine are U.S. senators, while the remaining five are mayors. Not one of those nine names is on the list that Anonymous released today, either.
When contacted by If You Only News, Amped Attacks stressed his independence from others who accumulated data with similar claims:
I am one man who acts on my accord. I am in no way affiliated with Anonymous or any other hacktivist group.
When asked how the information was acquired, Amped Attacks said it was via “data base dumps” from KKK and other racist sites:
I did simple injections on well-known KKK websites and was able to gain access to several of their databases, and their emails (were) linked back to the politicians in question.
However, Amped Attacks’ list seems flawed – very, very flawed. Four of the five in those nonpartisan offices of mayor are quickly identified as Democrats, for example. And while no one’s saying that racism is Republican-exclusive, these Democrats have records that demonstrate an opposite of discrimination. The same goes for that mayor who can be identified as Republican, too.
Here’s the list of mayors Amped Attacks released, along with the facts that indicate they have nothing to do with the KKK:
Madeline Anne Rogero (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Amped Attacks says he got Rogero’s contact information from a website of the Ku Klos Knights, a KKK affiliate in Tennessee. Rogero’s personal history is anything but racist, though. For example, both she and her husband (who is of a different ethnicity than her) worked for labor unions that specifically represent minorities and migrant workers. That doesn’t sound like the Klan, now does it?
Rogero responded today with this Facebook posting:
Given my background, my interracial family, my public record and my personal beliefs, this would be hilarious except that it is probably being seen by a lot of people who have no idea who I am.
Paul D. Fraim (Norfolk, Virginia)
Fraim’s contact information was found on the website of the Traditionalist American Knights, Amped Attacks says. But Fraim is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, which is affiliated with NRA-enemy Everytown For Gun Safety. That’s not very Klannish, either.
Fraim posted on his Facebook page:
This report is a hoax and is absolutely false.
Jim Gray (Lexington, Kentucky)
The Lexington Mayor’s name was found on the contact list of the United Northern and Southern Knights, according to Amped Attacks. Gray has been active with the Democratic Party, and from a progressive viewpoint, for practically his entire life.. He was even elected to be national delegate of the party when he was only 19. This morning, the mayor told his city’s NBC affiliate:
This allegation is false, insulting, and ridiculous. I have never had any relationship of any kind with the KKK. I am opposed to everything it stands for.
Tom Henry (Ft. Wayne, Indiana)
Amped Attacks’ claim that Henry is with the United Northern and Southern Knights isn’t holding, either. Henry is another Democrat, and his first mayor’s race victory was credited to his outreach to minority voters. He even created a new job position in the city specifically to improve communication with non-whites. Rob Dible, who managed Henry’s recent reelection campaign, told If You Only News about the allegation:
It’s obviously absurd and completely false.
Kent Guinn (Ocala, Florida)
The Ocala mayor has affiliation with the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK, Amped Attacks alleges. But the record of this mayor, who’s identified as Republican, doesn’t demonstrate discrimination or partisanship. For example, Guinn enforced laws that made local businesses take down the Tea Party’s “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. And that’s not very Klan-like, is it?
He told a local reporter that the claim is false, and that police would investigate this claim of any KKK affiliation, too.
Please recall that Amped Attacks says he got these names from email listings on KKK websites.
If You Only News pointed out that anyone could have added those email addresses to the sites, but Amped Attacks stood by his data. And when contrasting information about the mayors was pointed out, Amped Attacks remained adamant. He said:
In order for their emails to have been added to the site, they would have first have signed up with the websites to show some form of support.
His statement still doesn’t acknowledge that anyone could have added those names to the website’s list, however. And it doesn’t explain why none of the nine names listed by Amped Attacks were on the list released by Anonymous, either. It knocks down source credibility, and some might interpret that he knowingly provided false information.
The data released by Anonymous might not be entirely accurate, either. Note this image from its datasheet, which specifies South Carolina’s Rep. Joe Wilson:
See that link to a 2009 Daily Beast article listed in the second line? That six-year old article says Republican Wilson is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which it calls a “seemingly benign front group for a more sophisticated version of the Ku Klux Klan.” Now, that’s not saying the SCV is some great, non-racist group (in fact, some of its chapters have taken obviously racist angles over the past 10 years or so, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center), but it’s not the KKK.
International Business Times researched the Anonymous list, too, and found this insinuative SCV-instead-of-KKK association multiple times.
As a result, Anonymous’ database might not be entirely accurate in its “KKK affiliated” claim, either, or could indicate it was compiled from a subjective standpoint.
Featured image via Library of Congress