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Anonymous threat shutters Gitmo WiFi

Legal black hole becomes internet black hole

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Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the enclave of Cuban territory leased by the US government, has switched off its WiFi service and cut access to social networks for fear of attack by Anonymous.

The hacktivist group recently set #OpGTMO in train, pledging to “shut down Guantanamo”.

That's probably not a reference to the whole of the Naval base, which the US intends to keep operating. The detention facilities at the base, where many prisoners have been held for years without trial or charge, is Anonymous' target. Several prisoners at the facility are currently on hunger strike, protesting their long detention, often without charge or prospect of trial.

US President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the detention facilities during his first presidential election campaign but is yet to do so. The legal contortions used to justify the prisons' creation and the internees' detentions have proved hard to undo or remake in a timely fashion. Critics also say it remains useful for the USA to keep the legal black hole that is Gitmo alive.

Associated Press now reports that Anonymous' threat has seen the prison shut down its WiFi.

It's unclear why: the naval base does include some housing for military personnel's families, but civilian access to the base is controlled. It's hard to know if that housing is within WiFi range of the prisons, but it seems highly unlikely Anonymous operatives could get anywhere near the base's access points, making an an attack on that vector unlikely.

A ban on social media is easier to explain: who'd want Instagram pics of escaped prisoners roaming the streets if Anonymous does succeed in cracking open a Gitmo prison? ®

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