The internet vigilante group, Anonymous, was said to claim that it had released “hundreds” of names and aliases of Ku Klux Klan “members and sympathizers” today, according to Raw Story.
According to International Business Times, the list contains about 400 names, but had included more. Anonymous was reportedly unsure about some of the names and decided to shorten the list for “further investigations.” The list remains unverified.
The release of KKK names coincided with a global day of protest by Anonymous members called the Million Mask March.
Four different lists of names of alleged klansmen were released from a group purporting to be Anonymous in the first few days of November. Anonymous has since denied that the lists, which were said to contain many errors, came from them, according to Raw Story. The bogus lists were said to be uploaded between Saturday and Monday and to have contained 23 email addresses and 57 telephone numbers.
After the other lists were released, Anonymous pledged to release a list of KKK names of its own. Today’s announcement appears to confirm that the group has made good on their promise.
“I am absolutely not a member of the Ku Klux Klan,” Aiken stated to the BBC. Aiken claims that a former colleague added her name to a KKK mailing list out of spite.
The portion of Anonymous that carried out the operation is known as #OpKKK. The group released a statement along with the list of names.
“We hope Operation KKK will, in part, spark a bit of constructive dialogue about race, racism, racial terror and freedom of expression, across group lines. Public discourse about these topics can be honest, messy, snarky, offensive, humbling, infuriating, productive, and serious all at once.”
Reportedly, the information obtained by Anonymous was gathered after over a year of investigations. Anonymous reports that the Ku Klux Klan has “150 cells,” which are active in 41 states. The list of klansmen released by the vigilantes reportedly contains links to social media accounts and aliases.
Reportedly, Anonymous gained access to a second KKK Twitter account, which led to #OpKKK operatives gaining access to the names and personal details of close to 1,000 Klan members.
The Million Mask March has been held annually on Guy Fawkes Day since 2012. The march was reportedly held in more than 600 locations around the world today.
Madeline Rogero, the mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, found her name included on one of the early lists that have been reportedly shown to be inaccurate.
“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,” the Tennessee mayor was quoted.
Mayor Paul Fraim of Norfolk, Virginia; Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington, Kentucky; and Mayor Tom Henry of Fort Wayne, Indiana, were all included on the earlier, inaccurate lists, and have each denied any involvement, and expressed outrage that their names were included on any such lists.
Others whose names were included on the inaccurate lists, and who have spoken out denying the allegations, include U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, Texas Senator John Cornyn, Georgia Senator John Hardy Isakson, and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis.
[Feature Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images]