During a 15-month operation, HOPE not hate has managed to infiltrate one of the largest, most dangerous and extreme Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups in North America, The Loyal White Knights of the KKK.
We can now blow the lid off this vile group, which has been behind stabbings of anti-fascists, cross burnings, nationwide leafletting, and calling for harm – even murder – against blacks and gays as well as President Obama.
Winning the trust of the group and building a relationship with the Klan’s notorious and violent leader, Chris Barker, has allowed us to gather huge amounts of sensitive information about the Loyal White Knights, including pictures, names, addresses and contact details of hundreds of the group’s members and prospective members.
Once inside we came across some of the worst racism we have ever encountered and learned about their dangerous racist ideology, encountering widespread Holocaust denial and witnessing a culture which encouraged extreme violence.
Chris Barker founded the Loyal White Knights back in 2012. Since then the group has bragged about being ‘the most active Klan in America’. Barker is hated by other prominent Klan leaders and has previously been expelled by three KKK groups due to his willingness to ally himself with neo-Nazis, something many within the Klan dislike.
He proved this willingness recently when he became part of the Aryan Nationalist Alliance, an extreme and eclectic coalition of white nationalist groups, racist skinheads and Klansmen, including notorious American activists and organisations such as the founder of Aryan Strikeforce, Josh Steever, and Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party. Heimbach is a notoriously extreme character who was banned from entering the UK in 2015 by then Home Secretary Theresa May due to his extreme homophobic, antisemitic and segregationist views.
Barker (aliases James Spears and Robert Jones) is also a dangerous criminal with a record spanning nearly two decades. He has been guilty of malicious arson, possession of stolen goods and larceny, as well as being charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a woman.
After getting close to Barker and his wife we were eventually given access to details of and contact details for hundreds of the group’s members, allowing us to build a true picture of the membership. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Loyal White Knights strength draws its strength from the southern states, with a sizeable membership base in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia and of course North Carolina, where the group is headquartered.
That said, the group draws members from across America, with pretty much an even spread across the Midwest and the East Coast region and a healthy number in California. They also have lone members in Southern Australia, the UK and British Columbia (Canada).
The Loyal White Knights is an extremely violent group which has been involved in bloody clashes during the past year.
In late February members of his group held an anti-immigration demonstration in Anaheim, California at which they revealed signs reading ‘White Lives Matter’. During the ensuing confrontation with counter-protestors five people were injured and 13 arrested.
Just a few days after the fracas Barker emailed our infiltrator to brag and wrote,
“we just had a fight between our members and communist [sic] our members stabbed 3 in California”.
Five KKK members were arrested following the vicious brawl but all were later released as they were said to be acting in self-defence.
Previously Barker was involved in the notorious plot to build a ray gun to kill Muslims which his co-conspirator described as ‘Hiroshima on a light switch’.
According to digital media outlet VICE, the plan was hatched by Glendon Scott Crawford with the collaboration of Barker, until he was arrested on unrelated federal charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon – and turned FBI informant to save his own skin.
These are just a few extreme examples of the wider culture of violence we found once invited into the closed sections of group’s website. Pictures of members with firearms or holding the hangman’s noose, a symbol linked to the lynching of black people, were common place, as were jokes and memes about hanging and running over black people.
During the operation we were also sent resources including magazines and leaflets. Some simply showed a hooded figure with the words ‘Our Race Is Our Nation’ (a reference to infamous white power themes of groups such as the World Church of the Creator) while another attacked Jews and showed a hooded figure, backed by the Confederate Flag with the words, ‘Help Save Our Race; Everything we cherish is under assault by ZOG’ above it. ZOG is an abbreviation of ‘Zionist Occupation Government’ which is an antisemitic term and conspiracy theory that states that Jews secretly control world power.
However, the most extreme leaflet we were sent encouraged acts of violence against gay men. It showed two stick figures engaging in anal sex with the title ‘Stop Aids: Support Gay Bashing.’ Under the picture it read ‘Homosexual Men And Their Sexual Acts Are Disgusting and Inhuman’. Not content with extreme and violent homophobia the leaflet finishes on a racist note reading, ‘Ban Non-White Immigration. Outlaw Haitians – Deport Mud People’.
The Loyal White Knight’s tendency towards violence is born from a toxic racist ideology. We saw long articles about ‘How to be a nigger’ and mocked-up pictures of Obama being hung. We were also given access to a list of members who were expelled from the Klan for violations ranging from drug use to sleeping with ‘a JEW Whore’ or sleeping with a Mexican, to watching Asian porn, or having a ‘mixed child’ and therefore being a ‘RACE TRAITOR’.
An important part of the group’s racism is extreme antisemitism. During our operation Barker wrote to us explaining his views on Jews. It ‘is a shame what is going on with our mother Europe’ he wrote. ‘The Jews are also doing the same here in America. They said there [sic] goal was to destroy the White Race. Here they are doing just that by brain washing our people through the media.’
He proceeded to deny the Holocaust, writing:
‘Because here people still believe 6 million kikes were killed by the Germans. Even though scientists have proven only 1.2 million Jews died in Aushwitz [sic] camp. Mostly from disease plus American bombs we thought it was a German base. But now America pays and all of Europe pays billions to the evil state of Israel.’
However, not content to direct his ire solely at the Jews he also wrote to us about Muslims, explaining how he had heard that in Europe, ‘the Muslims are raping our white women’ and sent us literature about America’s race war.
Thankfully the modern Klan movement is a shadow of its former self. Long gone are the days when they had as many as four million members and could stage huge demonstrations in Washington such as in the 1920s.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre estimates that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members active at the moment, split across dozens of different and sometimes competing Klan’s.
Our investigation has shown that while the Klan may have diminished in size groups like the Loyal White Knights of the KKK have lost none of the extremeness and still harbours a desire for extreme racist violence.