The internet group known as Anonymous is planning a large-scale attack against the jailers of Wikileaks prisoner, Bradley Manning. Cpl. Manning has been in prison for several months, and his attorney, David E. Coombs, has reported that his client must strip nightly and lie naked in his cold cell.
In an effort at retaliation, Anonymous is targeting not just the jailers, but also Department of Defense Press Secretary Geoff Morell and chief warrant officer Denise Barnes. Â The loosely-affiliated group calls Manning a hero, and is outraged by his treatment at Quantico.
"Operation Bradical," as the effort is now called, demands that Cpl. Manning be given bed sheets, blankets and "any religious text he desires," clothes and a ball. The jailers have one week to fulfill these demands, otherwise Anonymous goes on the offensive.
Their plan? Ruin lives. How do they plan to achieve this goal? A member of the group who is not participating in the attack said they might order thousands of pizzas, reporting them to the police for drugs and as sex offenders, tricking their ISPs into canceling their internet, tampering with Social Security numbers, subscriptions to magazines, diapers, and tampons.
Yes, Anonymous plans to ruin lives by ordering thousands of tampons and diapers in the jailers' names if demands are not met.
While these threats may seem funny on the face, they are, in fact very serious. The group is protesting the inhumane treatment of a prisoner in the military jail system, who faces humiliation at the hands of his tormentors every day under the guise of security and safety.
Coombs calls the actions against Manning punitive in nature, and not precautionary, as Quantico authorities would have us believe. Manning is not suicidal. He is not a physical threat to his guards. He is kept in confinement for 23 out of 24 hours per day.
If anyone thinks that Anonymous is just blowing smoke, think again. When HB Gary Federal chief, Aaron Barr, threatened to reveal the identity of the group's leaders, it quickly hacked into the chief's email account and posted several incriminating emails Barr had exchanged with colleagues about possibly launching cyber attacks against Wikileaks. Barr's Twitter account was also hacked. As a result of the ensuing scandal that followed, Barr was forced to resign.
Vigilante justice has now officially stepped into the 21st century. And Anonymous is leading the way.