Anonymous Launches #OpGtmo Campaign Aimed At Closing Guantanamo Bay

Members of the Anonymous "hacktivist" collective have launched OpGtmo, a full-bore campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. government to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

The below video, posted by Anonymous members on Monday, provides a basic overview of the initiative:

The campaign, organized under the #OpGtmo hashtag, is being undertaken in solidarity with Gitmo inmates who have been hunger striking in protest of their ongoing incarceration without access to due process, a protest that has resulted in repeated force-feedings by personnel at the prison, a practice many consider to be inhumane and unethical.

"We are outraged. We, the people and Anonymous, will not allow the most expensive prison on earth to be run without any respect for international laws. We stand in solidarity with the Guantanamo hunger strikers. We will shut down Guantanamo," the video and an accompanying statement posted on the Anon Insiders website, state.

OpGtmo is the most recent in a continuing series of "ops" by Anonymous factions aimed at addressing injustices across the world, and it was announced just one day before Tuesday's #OpUSA, a plan by Anonymous groups and various Islamist organizations to take down the websites of top U.S. government agencies and major banks.

"On May 17 to May 19, to coincide with the 100th day of the hunger strike, we urge everyone to join global actions on the ground and hacktivist protests as well as twitterstorms, email bombs, and fax bombs, in 3 days of nonstop action," the #OpGtmo statement goes on to explain.

Anonymous consistently launches such offensives, engaging in "dox drops" to expose sensitive information about the group's targets, a wide range of protests as well as hacking techniques in hopes of achieving a goal of some sort.

The Anonymous collective is a loose coalition of tech-savvy folks who have united under a somewhat-coherent ideology in hopes of making their voices heard on issues that the may otherwise not be able to impact on their own. It brings together the hivemind of the Internet with an urge to protest in a manner that has been criticized as criminal and disruptive by some, while being hailed as innovative and vital by others.

And OpGtmo is the latest in what seems to be a never-ending line of ops by various Anonymous crews. As of Tuesday, it is unclear exactly how it will go down, but the campaign is already drawing added attention to the failure of President Barack Obama's administration to shut down the controversial Gitmo facility, despite having vowed to do so during Obama's 2008 campaign.

The effort appears to be gaining support, as a related petition demanding that the president close the facility has gained more than 150,000 signatures in the 24 hours since it was posted.

Guantanamo Bay is seen by many as a dark stain on Obama's and America's record, as it has operated outside the rule of law. At least 100 inmates there are currently engaging in a systematic hunger strike, refusing to eat in order to protest their treatment and the seemingly endless terms of confinement they are being held under.

Many of the inmates have now been force-fed in an attempt to keep them from passing away, but many groups including the American Medical Association and Physicians for Human Rights have stated that the practice is unethical and inhumane. The United Nations also recently ruled that the practice constitutes torture.

Meanwhile, a rising chorus of groups and individuals is raising red flags about the Guantanamo Bay prison, calling for it to be shut down as it has become a symbol for the deterioration of the rule of law in some corners of American affairs, as well as a strong recruiting tool for terrorist groups.

The hunger strike burst into the public eye with the April 15 publication of an opinion piece in the New York Times by current Guantanamo Bay inmate Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, who has been at Guantanamo Bay for more than 11 years without being charged with or granted a trial. He wrote that he lost 30 pounds and been force-fed repeatedly since he began to participate in the hunger strike on Feb. 10, and his piece focused a spotlight on the festering issue of what to do about the inmates still being held at Gitmo.

Anonymous hopes that #OpGtmo will help move the process to close the camp along, as they wrote in their Monday statement:

"It is time for the Obama administration to admit that this is a disgrace for any civilized country which upholds the rule of law. Guantanamo Bay must be closed at once, and the prisoners should be either returned to their home countries or given a fair trial in a federal court. Guantanamo Bay is an ongoing war crime. Anonymous will no longer tolerate this atrocity."

For updates on OpGtmo, follow the official Twitter account at this link.

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