Media Ethics, Anonymous’ KKK List, and Thom Tillis
Full Disclosure: This article has been written by more than one author, with various beliefs about Anonymous, Thom Tillis’ guilt, and media ethics. The original article is included in the text, with some additions.
I’ve debated with myself a lot today. I have my own personal opinions about the truth, and personally my morality and Tillis’ do not mix. At the same time, this must be said boldly:
There is not enough evidence to prove Tillis or any of the accused of being affiliated with the KKK.
Lacking such evidence, should the media have even reported Anonymous’ claims? True, the media can hide behind its own mask, claiming, “Well, we didn’t say Anonymous was right. We just reported what they said.” Let’s be honest — that’s almost just as bad. Once the media reports it, we give it validity. Whether we wanted to or not, we helped give leverage to unproven rumors.
Thom Tillis, I don’t like your politics. I don’t like what you’ve done to my home state. But I am sorry if Candid Slice gave validation to rumors that are not proven, particularly without evidence.
I want to repeat: I’m not siding with Tillis here. But I feel the weight of responsibility for giving any substantiation to claims made by Anonymous–or, as Anonymous has now separated themselves from the release of these names, I should more accurately say, Amped Attacks. I personally do not feel the media, Candid Slice included, should have reported Anonymous’ announcement as news. At the very least, we all should have waited a few days to fact check, see if new information arises, or give the politicians a chance to speak for themselves.
That being said, we did report it as news. As is the nature of media, everyone wants to be the first to break the story. So with respect to public record, the story we published is printed here. Another author has added a few more thoughts to the original version, regarding how such a hack would have worked, and how such a hack may not truly indicate a politician’s connections to the KKK at all. Please feel free to read it. But bear in mind the previous paragraphs. Neither our personal feelings nor our media race to be first to break the story should excuse reporting a story that is not substantiated. And Amped Attacks reports are, ultimately, not substantiated.
Now the rest of the article:
Is our own U.S. Senator Thom Tillis affiliated with the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan or is he an innocent victim of a malicious smear campaign of the lowest kind?
Hacktivist Amped Attacks, released a Pastebin dump today: A list of politicians “that are associated with either the KKK or are racist related.”
At the top of this list was Thom Tillis. Now granted, for any of these politicians, even a minor affiliation with the Klan would be a major political scandal. And it would be, with one major exception: Amped Attacks has provided no corroborating evidence to substantiate his claims.
I worked for nine days to gather and verify all the information that was gathered before its release. I got the information from several KKK websites when I [hacked] them and was able to dump their database. I went through many emails that was signed up with these sites and a few of the emails that sparked my interest was the ones of the politicians in question there would be no reason for them to be signed up on any KKK website unless they supported it or was involved in it. Amped Attacks
Here is a summary of the technical details:
- Database copies were collected from different hacked KKK websites, which included email addresses of registered users.
- These email addresses were then searched against public email addresses, including the email addresses of the the politicians in question.
It should be noted that these websites employed an email verification step as part of the registration process. It’s a common technique most of us are familiar with, where a link is sent to the requester email address to click. This step verifies that you are the actual owner of the email address you are registering with. You must click this link to become a registered user.
And for proof of his hacking skill? Upon the release of the Pastebin, Amped Attacks promptly hacked the Westboro Baptist Church website.
Tillis earned the reputation of a hard right politician during his tenure as the State Speaker of the House. His strong opposition to the Moral Monday movement fueled the sharp political divide that exists in the state today. However during his time in state politics he has never before been linked with the Klan.
— Anonymous (@WeCopWatchMob) November 2, 2015
The following politicians were named:
- United States Senator From North Carolina: Thom Tillis. Known KKK affiliated group: United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
- United States Senator From Texas: John Cornyn. Known KKK affiliated group: United White Knights Of The Ku Klux Klan.
- United States Senator From Georgia: John Hardy Isakson. Known KKK affiliated group: Original Knight Riders Of the KKK.
- United States Senator From Indiana: Dan Coats. Known KKK affiliated group:United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Knoxville,Tn Mayor: Madeline Anne Rogero. Known KKK affiliated group: KU KLOS KNIGHTS of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Norfolk,Va Mayor: Paul D. Fraim. Known KKK affiliated group: Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan:
- Lexington,Kentucky Mayor: Jim Gray. Known KKK affiliated group: United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
- Ocala,Florida Mayor: Kent Guinn. KKK affiliated group: Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
- Fort Wayne,Indian Mayor: Tom Henry. KKK affiliated group: United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
We looked up the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan website to verify its existence, but will not be posting a link to the website.
We did however take note of its stated goals:
- The goal of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is to unite White Christians through the bond of brotherhood and aid their awareness of the problems facing our country. We will show you how and when to take action (in a non violent way). The United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is a patriotic, fraternal and law abiding organization. We uphold Christian values this country was founded on. We protect these values from those who seek to remove them from our society. Our ideology is simple, self preservation and the advancement of White Christian America.
In an earlier tweet today, Anonymous news confirmed hacktivist Amped Attacks has forwarded the information he collected to #OpKKK, but did not comment on its authenticity.
The pastebin links sent to us regarding #OpKKK were sent to us by Anonymous individuals. The actual release for Operation KKK will be 5 Nov.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) November 2, 2015
Meanwhile hacktivist group Anonymous stated it will release a complete list of KKK affiliates on November 5th, the anniversary of the Ferguson protests and coincidentally, Guy Fawkes Day.
We along with many of you will be waiting for November 5th, when Anonymous has promised to release the identities of about 1,000 members of the white supremacist organization.
The release day for #OpKKK is timed with a day of global protests from a movement known as the Million Mask March. Demonstrations are planned around the world in a protest against corrupt governments and corporations.