Cyber activists linked to the Anonymous collective are mobilizing to oppose legislation that would allow the military to indefinitely detain US citizens suspected of terrorist activity on American soil.
Known as NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) FY 2012, the legislation also permits the Pentagon to transfer suspected terrorists – even though they are US citizens – to Guantánamo Bay.
In response to the pending legislation, Anonymous has doxed Robert J. Portman, a Republican senator from the state of Ohio who supports the controversial Act.
“He made himself a target as an advocate of the NDAA,” the group wrote in an online communiqué.
“We are truly disturbed by the ludicrous $272,853 he received from special interest groups supporting the NDAA bill that authorizes the indefinite detention of [American] citizens on US soil. Robert J. Portman, we plan to make an example of you.”
The Act, which President Barack Obama now supports, has come under heavy fire from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as human rights activists.
“It’s something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration,” Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch told The Guardian.
“It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent.”
However, Senator Lindsey Graham believes the Act is necessary, simply because terrorism suspects should not be treated the same as regular criminals.
“We’re facing an enemy, not a common criminal organization, who will do anything and everything possible to destroy our way of life,” said Graham.
“When you join al-Qaida you haven’t joined the mafia, you haven’t joined a gang. You’ve joined people who are bent on our destruction and who are a military threat.”
Senator Rand Paul disagreed with Graham’s assessment and emphasized that “detaining citizens without a court trial is not American.”
“We’re talking about American citizens who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo Bay and held indefinitely. It puts every single citizen American at risk,” he warned.
“Really, what security does this indefinite detention of Americans give us? The first and flawed premise, both here and in the badly named Patriot Act, is that our pre-9/11 police powers were insufficient to stop terrorism. This is simply not borne out by the facts.”