OpGTMO: Anonymous launches global anti-Gitmo action
The hacktivist collective Anonymous kicked off ‘Operation Guantanamo’ to mark 100 days of the Gitmo hunger strike with a series of “twitterstorms, email bombs and fax bombs.” Protests have been held outside the White House demanding the camp’s closure.
What was characterized as a large group of protesters took part in an demonstration outside of the White House on Friday, with activists donning orange jumpsuits and black hoods to bring attention to the plight of the detainees. Several arrests were reportedly made after protesters ignored police orders to disperse, though the exact number of those detained remains unknown.
The three day campaign, which got underway on Friday, is intended to “Raise Awareness in social media of the human rights violations going on at Guantanamo, the indefinite detention of prisoners, many of whom have been cleared for release years ago.”
In a statement released earlier this month, Anonymous expressed their solidarity with the hunger strikers, vowing they would “shut down Guantanamo.”
They instructed supporters of their global action to use the tag #GTMO17 when the countdown clock struck zero. Soon after that the trend topped Twitter ratings.
As a part of the twitterstorm, the group sent out a series of lines to be re-tweeted which highlight reported abuses at the camp.
"’The United States is slowly killing men in a prison that should never have existed.’ #GTMO17”
"’They’re not going to be brutalized into submission, and I think the net result will be some of them will die.’ #GTMO17”
“’When that tube goes up your nose, your eyes begin to water, as it passes through the back of your skull...’ #GTMO17”“
’86 detainees have been cleared for release or transfer, but
efforts to send them home have stalled, making them more
The Anonymous website also posted phone numbers for the White
House, the United States Southern Command and the Department of
Defense, urging supporters to ‘phonebomb’ officials with calls
about the camp.
The group has characterized the detention facility as a
concentration camp, casting aspersions on a series of alleged human
right’s abuses ranging from force-feeding to the practice of
compulsory cavity searches for detainees prior to any meeting with
their lawyers. It has further lambasted US President Barack Obama
for wavering on his 2009 promise to shut down the camp, which the
collective described as
Inmates at Guantanamo initiated the hunger strike in early February over alleged mistreatments, including the mishandling of their Korans. Out of the camp’s 166 detainees, 102 are currently taking part in the hunger strike. Thirty of the prisoners are being force-fed, a practice which the UN human rights office condemned as “torture” and a breach of international law, and three have been sent to the detainee hospital for observation.
The swelling ranks of those demanding the prison’s closure has among its ranks not only internet activists, but those who have inside knowledge of the camp and its operations.
A lawyer for a Guantanamo detainee called on the US Justice Department Friday to publish pictures of his client, who was injured in a confrontation with guards. Moath al-Alwi, a prisoner from Yemen, was hit in the leg, chest, shoulder, and left elbow in the April 13 incident, according to the Associated Press.
Ramzi Kassem, Alwi’s attorney, said Justice Department officials have yet to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Government records have described Alwi as a member of Al Qaeda and bodyguard to Osama bin Laden. He has yet to be charged after nearly 12 years in Guantanamo.
“At such close range, it is well known that rubber-coated steel bullets can be lethal and should therefore never be employed,” Kassem said Friday.