Fliers distributed in Raleigh and other North Carolina cities last weekend urging residents to join the Ku Klux Klan are part of an apparent nationwide recruiting drive for the white supremacist organization with one minor twist: the phone number and websites listed trace back to a Klan chapter whose leader is a reported FBI informant.
— Adam Hudson (@adamhudson5) July 15, 2016
As reported by the Independent Weekly along with other local and national outlets, the fliers begged readers to “PLEASE JOIN BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE” and offered up a 24/7 national hotline, 336-432-0386 and two websites, kkkknights.com & loyalwhiteknights.com.
Per online phone directory whitepages.com, the 336 number has been linked to the Eden, North Carolina-based “klavern” known as the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan since 2014. One user on the site claimed the number had been attached to a Craigslist ad for a free television set.
The woman to whom the websites are registered, Amanda Barker (she has a YouTube Channel and is identified as the group’s “Imperial Kommander”) emailed the Daily Beast last week to confirm their group was behind the distribution of copies of the same flyer in San Francisco earlier this month.
Amanda Barker’s husband, Chris Barker, was identified as the “Imperial Wizard” of the Loyal White Knights in a June 2016 article from the Associated Press about the Klan’s dreams of “rising again.”
Barker was portrayed in a somewhat different light in a series of articles published just a year earlier, where he was described by freelance journalist Matt Theyer, Reuters and the Albany Times Union as an FBI informant in a case against a man who wanted to build “a mobile death ray.” Baker’s connection to the mobile death ray case has so far gone unreported in other media reports on the fliers.
That man, Glendon Scott Crawford, who said friends described him as “a cross between Darth Vader and Forrest Gump” planned to use the death ray against Muslims, but never against Sikhs or American troops. He told Barker that if used properly, the death ray “could kill the entire United Nations.”
According to the Times Union:
Crawford initially reached the imperial wizard in July after calling a Klan hotline number and sending the Klan an email explaining he was interested in “restoring our nation to greatness.”
Barker, who was facing felony charges, went to the FBI in Charlotte to inform it of Crawford’s call.
Although none of the articles from the time specifically mention which national hotline it is that Crawford called into, there’s little doubt it’s the 336 number splashed across all those recently distributed fliers.
The Enemy of My Enemy…
A once powerful organization which in the 1920s boasted more than 4 million members — about 3 percent of the U.S. population at the time — The Ku Klux Klan has been greatly reduced in both size and stature, and is estimated to have between 3,000-6,000 members nationwide, about .001 percent of the population.
In spite of its relatively small numbers, the Klan remains an eternal specter on the landscape of American life.
It’s no surprise, then, that the organization is a regular target of law enforcement, the media and groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, both of which keep close tabs on the Klan’s various klaverns.
Freelance journalist Nate Theyer has written several articles about Barker specifically — ranging from his purported endorsement of Presumptive Democratic Party Nominee Hillary Clinton to his history as an informant and his apparent pariah status among fellow Klan members.
According to Theyer, here’s what some of those fellow members had to say about Barker.
“Barker is a piece of crap. He is a fake and a liar,” said JB Elmore, the Imperial Wizard of the United Knights of Tennessee of the KKK in another interview. “Chris Barker is not a Klansman. I don’t talk to the media. I wouldn’t be talking to you, but you asked me about Barker and I will talk all night about him. He is a drunk and a federal agent.”
“Chris Barker is a drunk, a thief, a liar, and hate filled cowardly lunatic who enlists people to do what he himself doesn’t have the guts to do with his inflammatory public rallies which he doesn’t attend but sits in the comfort of his own home while putting his members in danger,” added the Imperial Wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK, Frank Ancona.
When Barker’s Loyal White Knights pulled a similar flyer distribution stunt in 2014, SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok published a lengthy piece examining the “sorry state” of the Klan. He described the “internecine rivalries that typify today’s Klan scene” which likely played a part in what he described as a decline in total klaverns nationwide since 2010.
Although Potok didn’t make the connection the case had with the Loyal White Knights, he did at the end of his report touch upon the impending trial of Crawford, and his plans for a death ray as examples of the problems posed by the Klan today.
Among those in agreement with Potok’s general assessment of the Crawford trial were members of a forum on the white supremacist website Stormfront.org, who describe themselves as “a community of racial realists and idealists.”
The SPLC lists Stormfront as an “Extremist Group;” not surprisingly, there are countless threads on Stormfront criticizing the SPLC in general and even Potok in particular, yet on one subject they appear to be largely in agreement: the Klan today is in a sorry state.
On that same thread, another forum member linked some of Theyer’s articles and pointed out that Barker himself was an apparent member of the Stormfront community.
A September 2015 post from “barker1866,” whose first post was in March of 2010, and included a link to the kkkknights.com site and listed the 336 national hotline phone number, disputed the allegations made by Theyer and other news outlets.
It should be worth noting that not all forum members were so quick to judge Barker, as “Walter Fairchild II”offered up this more generous interpretation of the events surrounding the case in response to a separate post from Barker:
The exact circumstances of the Crawford case notwithstanding, the recent flier distribution efforts do speak to an indisputable inclination of Barker’s to draw a spotlight to his cause.
As reported by Theyer and elsewhere, Barker was behind a protest in July of 2015 against the removal of the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State Capitol and has made himself available to major media outlets such as Time and The Associated Press in order to spread his views; not to mention his attempted endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Regardless of whether Barker is an FBI informant, an agent provocateur or just your average, run-of-the-mill Imperial Wizard; if you’ve got plans for a high-tech death ray, he’s probably not the guy to share them with.
One final twist: While Barker is widely identified as the “Imperial Wizard” for the LWK, which amounts to serving as the klavern’s national leader, the Daily Beast article mentioned earlier featured an interview with Will Quigg, who is described as a “Grand Wizard,” or a state-level leader for LWK.
Here’s the twist: during a demonstration in Anaheim, California in February 2016, Quigg was saved from a violent crowd of counter-protestors by Brian Levin, a Jewish man and a former employee of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The OC Weekly reported at the time that after their escape from the mob, Levin asked Quigg how it felt to be “saved by a Jewish guy.” Quigg thanked Levin, but went on to praise Hitler as a “civil rights hero” and argue that the Holocaust had never happened.