“You should’ve expected us,” read the message Anonymous delivered to a Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan Monday night, Yahoo News reported Nov. 17. And with that salutation, the shadowy internet hacktivist organization signed off on its declaration of war against the white supremacist group. Within a matter of hours, their hackers shut down two major KKK Twitter accounts, rendered two websites useless, and even outed a few KKK members. They promised more of same in the coming days.
The KKK’s response? Insults, threats and warnings that they would go to the FBI. Score that a resounding victory for Anonymous.
It all started when Anonymous decided to go after the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the actual name of the chapter of the organization, when they took the questionable step last week of distributing flyers threatening “lethal force” against any Ferguson protesters in the aftermath of the upcoming grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case. The white supremacist group, which is based 75 miles south of Ferguson, Missouri, and is labeled as an active hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, took it upon themselves to defend Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who admitted to shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown back in August — but in self-defense.
A Missouri grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for months and a decision whether or not to indict Wilson is expected within days. Since Ferguson has been the center of much racial tension and unrest since the shooting, it is expected that, should there be no indictment, there very well could be violent protests.
But most of the protests in Ferguson have been peaceful. In fact, even the protests that turned violent began as peaceful protests. And it was toward that threat, that the KKK would threaten peaceful protesters, call the “terrorists,” and threaten them with “lethal force,” that prompted Anonymous’ move.
Anonymous has outed Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona, a police officer, and a number of other members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. They took over the chapter’s largest Twitter account, @KuKluxKlanUSA, after the KKK mocked and threatened the hactivivist collective. And when the KKK attempted to circumvent the takeover by opening a second Twitter account, @YourKKKcentral, and threaten Anonymous with the FBI, Anonymous simply took it over as well.
The hacktivists also took over ikkkk.com and TraditionalistAmericanKnights.com, disrupting those websites for more than 20 hours. The KKK’s website that hosts its largest message board, Stormfront, was knocked offline a number of times. Those who run Stormfront have asked for donations of IT knowledge and money to help bolster the website’s security.
But despite its threats, the KKK appears to have been no match for Anonymous. But then, the hacktivist collective has been nearly unstoppable when it has chosen a target. The relentless exposition of proceedings — or non-proceedings, as case may have been — and of multiple cases of inexplicable cover-ups in the now infamous Steubenville rape of a high school teen is an indication of their tenacity.
Regardless of the one-sided internet battle being waged, the Ferguson situation is a very real and serious one. The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, declared a State of Emergency for the state on Nov. 14 in anticipation of further unrest — and perhaps an escalation in violent acts — in the small city of a little over 21,000 people. The grand jury’s decision is expected at any time in the near future.