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April 17, 2013 1

Language In Ricin Letters Not So Mysterious

Fed­eral author­i­ties have inter­cepted let­ters sent to Pres­i­dent Obama and Mis­sis­sippi Sen­a­tor Roger Wicker that have tested pos­i­tive for ricin in pre­lim­i­nary or follow-up tests.  Ricin is a poi­son derived from cas­tor beans that oper­ates as a deadly toxin when ingested or swallowed.

Sen­a­tor Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Extrem­ists in the United States, espe­cially on the far right, have long been fas­ci­nated with ricin.

Accord­ing to an FBI bul­letin obtained by Fox News, the ricin-laced let­ters were sent from Mem­phis on April 8 and both con­tained the phrase “to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent part­ner to its con­tin­u­ance.”  Both let­ters were signed “I am KC and I approve this message.”

The iden­tity of “KC” may not yet be known, but the lan­guage that he used does have a source.  The sen­tence about see­ing a wrong is actu­ally a quo­ta­tion that traces back to an obscure chi­ro­prac­tor, John Ray­mond Baker, from Longview, Texas.  Baker claims to have orig­i­nated the quo­ta­tion for a Web site he cre­ated to express griev­ances about a major insur­ance company.

Over the years, vis­i­tors to this site picked up the quo­ta­tion and began using it else­where.   Activists and extrem­ists across the polit­i­cal spectrum—from right-wing extrem­ist groups to the left-wing Ani­mal Lib­er­a­tion Front—have repeated Baker’s nos­trum, both with and with­out attri­bu­tion.   They typ­i­cally use it as lan­guage to jus­tify or ratio­nal­ize their actions.

Baker him­self noticed this phe­nom­e­non as early as 2006, observ­ing that “now, peo­ple are using it about all kinds of injustices.”

No evi­dence has emerged to sug­gest that Baker him­self might in any way be con­nected to the ricin let­ters.  Clearly, though, some­one has exploited his lan­guage in order to jus­tify their poten­tially deadly actions.

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March 28, 2013 1

White Supremacists To Stage Protest Over Memphis Parks

This Sat­ur­day, March 30, mem­bers of a North Carolina-based Ku Klux Klan group and other white suprema­cists will stage a protest at a cour­t­house in down­town Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, to protest that city’s deci­sion to rename three local parks bear­ing names related to the Con­fed­er­acy. In ral­ly­ing sup­port for the protest, Chris Barker, the “Impe­r­ial Wiz­ard” of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (LWK), told fol­low­ers that the gov­ern­ment was attempt­ing to “erase all that our Anglo Saxon Race has to be proud of.” Fol­low­ing the protest, the LWK plans to host a cross-burning on pri­vate prop­erty at an undis­closed location.

A num­ber of Klan groups reacted with anger in Feb­ru­ary 2013, after the Mem­phis City Coun­cil voted 9–0 to rename Nathan Bed­ford For­rest Park, Con­fed­er­ate Park and Jef­fer­son Davis Park with less offen­sive titles. Of the three, the park named after For­rest had been the most con­tro­ver­sial, as prior to the Civil War, For­rest had been a slave trader, and dur­ing the War was a gen­eral who had been asso­ci­ated with the mas­sacre of African-American sol­diers. After the war he became the first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan. 

Klan reac­tion fol­low­ing the vote was pre­dictable. James Moore, the LWK’s Grand Dragon for the Realm of Vir­ginia, posted a YouTube video of him­self attempt­ing to describe the City Council’s unan­i­mous vote as a “con­tin­u­ing cul­tural geno­cide [against] white Amer­i­cans.” Frank Ancona, the Missouri-based leader of another Klan group, the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Amer­i­can Knights, claimed that “nig­gardly politi­cians” had “declared WAR on our White Con­fed­er­ate Heroes and History.”

Barker launched a cam­paign ask­ing his mem­bers and those of other Klan groups to call Mem­phis city coun­cil mem­bers to protest the deci­sion, even pro­vid­ing Klans­men with their phone num­bers and e-mail addresses. Frank Ancona urged his own mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in “call­ing these degen­er­ate scum ASAP and let’s make them sorry they ever made this ridicu­lous deci­sion.” Some city coun­cil mem­bers have reported receiv­ing such communications.

On Feb­ru­ary 14, Tamra Crow­der sub­mit­ted a per­mit on behalf of the LWK for  the group’s pub­lic protest.  Other white suprema­cists soon joined in.  On March 10, the National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM), a neo-Nazi group based in Detroit, Michi­gan, announced that NSM leader Jeff Schoep would speak at the Mem­phis event.  NSM mem­bers from Texas, South Car­olina and Geor­gia also plan to attend. The North­ern Mis­sis­sippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Arkansas-based Inter­na­tional Key­stone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Louisiana-based neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations have all also claimed that mem­bers would attend.

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