Fake Ku Klux Klan tries to launch Ferguson race war from cyberspace: American extremist politics fueled by digital revolution .
By Nate Thayer
August 26, 2014
Imperial Wizard of the New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Charles ‘Chuck’ Murray of Abbeville, South Carolina wasted no time trying to fan the flames of racial conflict, alarming an already overwhelmed citizenry and law enforcement and attracting widespread media attention when they announced they were dispatching armed Klan members to patrol the streets in Ferguson, Missouri.
But, despite attempting to launch a race war from cyberspace, Imperial Wizard Murray and his Ku Klux Klan faction, in fact, do not exist outside the internet.
The New Empire of the Knights of the KKK is a fictional creation of men hunkered behind a computer screen somewhere in cyber space, in a 21st century version of extremist political activism fueled by the digital revolution.
Despite widespread media attention and jitters in law enforcement agencies, dozens of incendiary events said to have been held by the New Empire Knights of the KKK claiming they have dispatched armed cadre to the racially fueled tinderbox of Ferguson, Missouri in recent days never happened. And cross burning’s at rural locations over the last months held in several states by the KKK group also never happened, extensive interviews with law enforcement officials, leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, documents, and more than 40 interviews conducted from Missouri to South Carolina during a two-week investigation shows.
“As far as we are concerned, Charles Murray and his Klan group don’t exist. We absolutely have no information about a Charles Murray or a Klan group by that name anywhere in the county. Believe me, we did considerable research,” said the Sheriff of Abbeville County, South Carolina, Ray Watson, in an interview Monday. “We went out hunting. I talked to the right people in Abbeville who would know–who have been involved in this sort of thing in the past–and they have no clue. They never heard of this Murray fellow or his New Empire Klan. And they would know.”
“We are raising money for a cop who shot a nigger criminal,” Imperial Wizard Murray announced, adding a mobilization of Klan members from “3 different Klan factions,” had descended on Ferguson and nearby towns to “patrol” Ferguson and “protect white business”. Murray warned anyone who objected: “We have guns (and more).”
“With the police state in Ferguson, we will be holding our fundraiser in Sullivan City, MO. Donation of $10 and up. All money will go to the cop who did his job against the negro criminal.”
Murray announced he had mobilized his Klan cells from 18 states to gather their weapons and descend on Missouri; that his KKK was “patrolling” the streets of Ferguson “to protect white businesses”, and that his KKK would be holding a strategy rally and fundraiser in nearby Sullivan County, Missouri. He posted photographs of armed men in masks gathered in Ferguson and nearby Missouri towns and said he and his Klan troops were in Ferguson and surrounding areas.
The KKK faction posted photographs of armed men in masks gathered in Ferguson and nearby Missouri towns.
The calls to fan the flames of racial strife in Missouri sparked thousands of media articles and forced law enforcement to mobilize already overextended resources to prepare for the worst.
“Of course we heard about these Klan guys saying they would be coming to Sullivan. We watched it closely over the weekend and working off of our own intelligence nothing happened as far as we saw,” said Gary Tolke, the Sheriff of Franklin County where the city of Sullivan is located, in an interview Monday night.
The New Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and self anointed Imperial Wizard Charles Murray have not just drawn the ire of law enforcement and local citizens–they are the target of particular derision from other Ku Klux Klan leaders across the United States.
“There is a huge fraud being perpetrated by so-called Charles Murray and his New Empire Klan raising money for Officer Darren Wilson,” said Frank Ancona, the Imperial Wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, headquartered in Missouri, in several interviews over the weekend. “This group does not exist. New Empire Knights is a complete scam and fraud. There is talk of their supposed rallies but where is the evidence? No one has ever been to one. Has anyone ever seen them drop any fliers? The media should do it’s job and verify a story before reporting the rantings of a lunatic as the gospel truth.”
When contacted to ask for his comment on evidence suggesting he doesn’t exist, New Empire Knights of the KKK Imperial Wizard Charles ‘Chuck’ Murray responded to a reporter’s inquiry: “You can write what ever. Say we don’t exist. Say I’m a fake Imperial Wizard. Say I’m a black guy making this up. You want proof? You want an interview? Do this. Go outside. Take a rope and hang yourself.”
Mr. Murray was responding via a Gmail account and refused to talk by telephone or meet in person.
In the 18 months since the New Empire of the Knights of the KKK was said to be ‘founded’ in February, 2013, claimed as headquartered in Abbeville County, South Carolina, no one has ever met, talked to or seen “Murray” or any of his Klan confederates; no one has witnessed a single event he claims to have held in several states, including South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and, most recently, Missouri; the Klan Imperial Wizard’s name is not “Charles ‘Chuck’ Murray”; the photograph he has publicly posted as himself is, in fact, of a man from Brisbane Australia; the internet website postings of photographs of his Ku Klux Klan leaders prove to be fraudulent labeled pictures of real people unrelated to any KKK organization; and the dozen KKK rally’s alleged to have been held in several states never occurred; and the photographs said to document these events, in fact, show falsely identified other events unrelated to the New Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The incendiary rhetoric of the New Empire of the Knights of the KKK to mobilize supporters to spark an armed race war in Ferguson, has forced governments and law enforcement to devote increased resources and vigilance, and frightened and outraged already jittery citizens from South Carolina to Missouri.
As of today, Murray and his KKK group claim they are “Somewhere In Sullivan” county, Missouri, near Ferguson, having gathered armed cadre for a rally and fundraiser his website contends is to “Stop Negro Crime and the Jewish Media Cover-Up” and “Donate to help stop negro crime.”
Shortly after the shooting death of a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer, the New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan announced they were raising money as a “reward” “for killing the thug nigger” to give to Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
“I have been Sheriff for 25 years and we haven’t had any indications of any Klan activities. The area we thought this weekend might be where an event could take place, nothing happened. There was no activity. There is one man who has indicated in the past he has associations with them–the KKK–we watched him closely. We are aware of him. He has indicated he has a problem with black people, but nothing this weekend,” said Gary Tolke, the Sheriff of Sullivan County, in an interview Monday night.
“These Klan guys are claiming they had a rally here this weekend. But we have not had any reports nor has anybody seen them or any activity,” said James Bartle, a reporter for the Sullivan Independent News. “This town was wound tight and very concerned. But it was a quiet weekend–no issues from any side. We saw no evidence of an Klan anywhere in our county–and, believe me, everybody was on the look out.”
“Recently the City of Sullivan elected officials and staff were made aware by citizens and various media sources of a scheduled gathering of the Ku Klux Klan to be held in the Sullivan area….I want to emphasize that we have not, or will not, endorse or condone any activity based on hatred, more specifically any activity based on hatred towards any ethnicity,” said Sullivan Mayor Thomas D. Leason in a statement.
A detailed investigation of the extremist racist group said to be based out of Abbeville County South Carolina shows that none of the events the New Empire of the Knights of the KKK claims to have held since it was formed in February, 2013 –including this weekends supposed event in Sullivan County, Missouri–have, in fact, taken place.
In fact, evidence shows that none of the leaders of the internet fueled extremist group are real people.
No one has ever talked to or met with the fictional Imperial Wizard “Charles ‘Chuck’ Murray or seen him and none of the more than a dozen purported Klan actions by the New Empire of the Knights of the KKK in South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and this week in Missouri, among several other states in recent months–including cross burning’s, rallies, and other gatherings advocating racial superiority of protestant Caucasians–have actually occurred, according to law enforcement, Ku Klux Klan leaders nationwide, and local residents from Missouri to South Carolina.
The photo of the Invisible Wizard Charles Murray is actually a photo of a 56-year-old man who lives in Queensland, Australia.
The photograph the New Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan posted of its “Kentucky State Grand Dragon” James Roberts, in truth, depicts a Tennessee businessman with no connection to the KKK who was enjoying post church sponsored softball game beers with his teammates–all of whom were not amused they had been depicted as supporters of the KKK on the internet.
And all of the Ku Klux Klan faction’s photographs they say document their rallies and cross burnings are proven as photographs of other events taken elsewhere and well before the events alleged to have been organized by the New Empire Knights of the KKK.
When the media is effectively reprimanded by the Ku Klux Klan, it suggests that the hyperbole fueled by the quest for headlines and web page hits has overtaken fact checking as a priority for the national press coverage on hot button issues such as Ferguson, Missouri in recent weeks.
“There is no evidence that Charles Murray’s group exists–none. No one has ever met him or seen him or talked to him,” the Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona said.“I talked to the older members of the Klan around the country. No one has ever heard of the guy. I think it’s just him. I have people all over Missouri. No one has heard of this guy and he hasn’t contacted any of our people.”
The affable Klan Imperial Wizard Ancona forwards an attempt at a kinder, gentler version of the KKK. His Traditionalist Knights are not “enemies of the colored and mongrel races”, he says, adding “Another huge red flag about Murray and his New Empire Knights KKK is there would be no way in Hell that the Ferguson police officer would publicly accept money from the Klan. I don’t think the Klan should be giving money to the police officer. Hell, he would be an idiot to accept money from the Klan. That would make the cop look bad.”
The New Empire Knights in South Carolina
The New Empire of the Ku Klux Klan claim that they are a nationwide organization with chapters in 18 states and headquartered in rural western South Carolina.
In late July, on the eve of the outbreak of violence in Missouri, the New Empire Knights of the KKK claimed to hold a “National Jam” at its headquarters in Abbeville County, South Carolina. The prelude to the event drew significant media and law enforcement attention and community protest.
But local residents and officials, and importantly, other South Carolina KKK leaders, insist the Klan group is a fiction–the work of someone or a few people huddled behind computers who could be based anywhere in cyberspace.
“I have yet to find another Klansman who knows anything about this guy Murray or his New Empire Knights. I think he is just trying to con people out of money,” said Michael Clarke, the Grand Dragon for the Traditional Knights of the KKK in North and South Carolina in a series of detailed interviews on Monday.
“Every Klan I have ever known has contact with other groups. Plus, Abbeville has enough Klansman in it that they would know if other Klan’s were in town. There is a strong brotherhood. There are plenty of Klansmen who have been around for 35 or 40 years–and they have never heard of this guy Murray or his Klan group.”
Abbeville County, South Carolina Sheriff Ray Watson, whose jurisdiction includes a rural section of the state long familiar with an active Ku Klux Klan, says he is perturbed by the national media attention the purported Ku Klux Klan organization headquartered on his turf has gained.
Among other things, he considers it bad manners they haven’t come and introduced themselves. “If this guy exists and they are a peaceful group, he would have contacted me first so there would not be any misunderstandings. If I were him, I would want to introduce myself to the Sheriff, because he is going to want to be on friendly terms with me,” the clearly not amused Sheriff Watson said in a thick South Carolina drawl that emphasized both his authority and local roots.
“When they said they were going to have a rally here in Abbeville County last month there was a lot of community concern,” said Sheriff Watson. “They would need our protection. I said: “Until you come on down to the Sheriff’s office and shake my hand and introduce yourself, I don’t believe you exist.”
Sheriff Watson has a broad spectrum of people who agree with him–from other factions of the Ku Klux Klan to reporters who have dug into the story to community residents who have had their nerves jangled by the Klan rhetoric.
“If I was the sheriff, I would be ticked off, too,” said Traditional Knights of the KKK for North and South Carolina Michael Clark in an interview Monday evening. “They call us the invisible empire, but I have yet to meet any law enforcement that didn’t know we were coming into town. There are out-of-state plates and increased traffic and these are rural areas and small towns. People notice everything. If they were having a rally, everyone would have known about it, including–especially–the sheriff. I guarantee you, law enforcement would have known.”
It is not only the South Carolina sheriff and local Klansmen who are convinced that Charles Murray and his Klan group are fictitious. Several other leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, law enforcement officials in Missouri, and numerous documents acquired during an investigation show that the New Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are a product of the digital revolution and exist only in cyberspace.
An intrepid South Carolina reporter, Frank Bumb, Staff Writer for the Greenwood, SC Index-Journal pressed Murray on why he was so secretive while reporting on the upcoming KKK rally the New Empire Knights of the KKK announced they were holding on the weekend of July 25–shortly before the shooting in Ferguson which sparked international attention.
“I asked him for proof he existed. To my knowledge there is no proof. The (Abbeville) county and city couldn’t find anything. I couldn’t find anything. The awful thing is it was so ludicrous I found it humorous. After I asked him for proof because he wouldn’t use the telephone and there were no property records, he posted a nasty message saying: ‘The Jolly Jew reporter wants proof.’ There were rumors these guys were a hoax. I asked him: “Can you hold up a piece of paper with the local paper and date to prove you are who you say you are and send it to me?”
Bumb asked the Klan leader by email: “Several of your postings point to your desire to remain a “secret” group and one post says “Keeping a secretive membership is what keeps us safe,” and “People know very little about us. That’s the way I like it. We are called the “Invisible Empire” for a reason.” In light of that, why did you publish your proposed KKK Jam,” asked Bumb of the Greenville Index-Journal.
“We are not a “secret” group per say. I have my picture posted,” Murray responded in an email.
The local Fox News station did not perform as diligently.
When asked if they had ever interviewed Charles Murray or saw any evidence that the KKK rally happened, a Carolina FOX News TV reporter said: “We didn’t have video per se. We did talk to people who saw increase traffic in the area. For every reporter who has covered this story, it has been a challenge.”
The KKK Imperial Wizard Murray wrote to Fox News South Carolina nighttime news anchor Cory Alcorn in May of this year: “Mr. Alcorn,….I know from experience, the media will edit and show only what they want to show. That is why I am answering questions via email and not by phone. I only ask that if you show pictures from the Klan, use pictures that I send you.”
FOX News broadcast on the evening television news the picture sent to them of Invisible Wizard Charles Murray. But the photo, which Murray posts of himself, is not of anyone from South Carolina or even the United States.
One irate reader to the KKK blog, Dean McCloud, wrote on August 19, 2014 “Only pussies hide behind sheets…….” Murray responded, using the Ku Klux Klan factions moniker “newempireknights” 7 minutes later: “As a third degree Klansman, my face is on the website. So, I don’t understand your point?”
In fact, the photograph is of 50-year-old Gary Michael Machin of Queensland Australia who went missing on April 25, 2008 and who was found two months later, on July 2, 2008 alive and well.
“Yes, that is me in the picture. Uh, no I am not the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Kentucky,” responded James Walczak, after a long pause when asked by a reporter who emailed him the picture posted Walczak that identified him as “James Roberts”, the Kentucky Grand Dragon of the Klan.
“I don’t know what to say. I don’t have the words. It is appalling that someone would promote hate and ID me as something I am not. To use me–or anyone–to promote hate is a horrible, horrible thing to do to promote their hate. I am speechless.”
The Tennessee businessman said “That picture is, heck, at least 10 years old. I think it was the final softball game of the season for our church league” adding “I don’t even live in Kentucky. I will be contacting my lawyer on Monday morning to get a cease and desist order. This is the strangest thing I have ever heard. I do not want my name promoting hate.”
The photographs of the Georgia state “Grand Dragon” at a picnic said to take place in 2013, in fact, are photographs of a KKK supporter arrested at the University of Kentucky several years earlier.
The original picture that they used on their website of their Imperial Klud–the Klan vernacular for a Christian chaplain– Steve Williams is also a fake. The photo of Imperial Klud Steven Williams, is, in truth an Arizona man, Raymond Luyk, who also has no connection with the Ku Klux Klan.
On May 21, 2014, Imperial Klud Steve Williams wrote “A little about me — I’ve been active in the Klan since 2007. I hold a Masters in Theology and currently run a small church (100-125 members per Sunday). I also run a small online business. I’m a husband and father of two. I am the
The photograph for the New Empire Knights of the KKK “Imperial Nighthawk/Grand Dragon of Texas Scott Franklin” is actually a picture of Joseph Lozito, a New Jersey man who fought off a crazed subway attacker in New York City in 2011.
A photograph posted on June 27, 2013 by the New Empire Knights of the KKK as their “First Cross Lighting by the New Empire Knights 3-3-2013; Georgia” is actually a cross burning by the Bayou Knights of the KKK outside Smackover, Arkansas taken on March 3, 2005 in a 2006 photo taken and copyrighted by Mike Fox/Think First Media
“Now I have never been to a Klan rally or intend to ever go to one, but if I were this Murray fellow, I would want to introduce myself to the Sheriff, because he is going to want to be on friendly terms with me,” said Sheriff Ray Watson of Abbeville County, South Carolina.
“That weekend (of the purported Klan rally in Abbeville on July 25), we had our people out. On Friday night, we had six or seven extra officers out on duty. On Saturday night, we had 20 extra officers out. There was nothing going on. There is one old property we thought might be a location, but it is all overgrown with weeds and there was nobody there. You bet we checked out whether this guy Murray or his Klan were real. We even did a threat assessment. We classified it as ‘medium to low’, because there wasn’t a dime of evidence that these guys exist. He doesn’t own any property. Several weeks before the Murray rally, we did have a couple of counties in upstate South Carolina who had Klan leaflets dropped in people’s yards, but they weren’t from here,” added Sheriff Watson.
“Until Charles Murray walks in here and shakes my hand and introduces himself–which would be the polite thing to do and in his interest if he is real,He would want to do that for his own protection–Until he stands in front of me and introduces himself, I won’t think he exists.”
“He could be some guy holed up behind his computer somewhere in the county, but we don’t even know that is true,” said Sheriff Watson. “He could be from anywhere.”