Pro-WikiLeaks activists target base holding Bradley Manning

CBC News
March 10, 2011

Online group Anonymous attacks computers on marine base housing U.S. army private accused of leaking documents.

A U.S. military base is the latest target of the online activist group known as Anonymous, which has taken up the cause of Bradley Manning, the U.S. army private accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

The group’s objective is to “harass” the staff and disable the computer systems at the Quantico, Va., marine base where Manning is being held, Anonymous spokesperson Barrett Brown said in an interview with MSNBC.

The group plans to reveal personal information about base officials and disable the base’s communication networks in protest against how Manning is being treated at the base, Brown said.

“It’s sort of an unconventional, asymmetrical act of warfare that we’ve involved in,” Brown said. “And we didn’t necessarily start it. I mean, this fire has been burning.”

Manning, who worked as an army intelligence analyst and had top-secret security clearance, was arrested in May 2010. He was later charged under military law in connection with downloading classified video and documents from military servers and passing them on to a third party. The material related to U.S. military operations in Iraq and also included thousands of diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world .

He has since been moved to the military prison in Virginia, where he has been held in solitary confinement for months.

Anonymous is a loosely organized group that operates online whose members change depending on the cause the group is organizing around at any given time. It’s not the first time the group has turned their attention to the issue of the WikiLeaks disclosures.

It targeted the websites of Paypal, MasterCard and Visa, which had limited or stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and Manning’s defence fund following the release of the U.S. diplomatic cables in November 2010. The sites were disabled mostly using what is known as a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack.

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