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article imageNetwork supports captive dissidents in the U.S. and elsewhere Special

By Justin King     Sep 16, 2013 in World
“Free Anons” provides support to any Anonymous-associated person, as well as other political prisoners, that have been a victim of the worldwide crackdown on activists and have found themselves locked away.
The Anonymous Solidarity Network began in September of 2011 to assist those arrested by law enforcement for activities related to the Anonymous collective. The group assists those imprisoned by providing legal assistance, commissary money, books, letters to help keep their spirits up, and by raising awareness to the plight of those arrested; in most cases, for little more than crimes of thought. Nancy Norelli, lawyer for freeanons.org, took the time to relay questions and answers to the collective.
What prompted the formation of FreeAnons?
The Anonymous Solidarity Network was formed as a corporation in September 2011 to assist Anonymous in the worldwide crackdown against hacktivists that began in earnest at that time. The persecution has continued until this day, with law enforcement using such dubious tactics as entrapment to secure cases. We collect donations to provide emergency funds, and track prosecutions and investigations.
Are there any particular people you are trying to help?
We assist anyone in the Anonymous collective, worldwide, who has been targeted by law enforcement.
Do you have list of imprisoned Anons? If so can we publish it?
We try to follow as many cases as possible through freeanons.org. and mailtothejail.org. We have mailing addresses for many imprisoned Anons at those sites. However, it is difficult to track every arrest as sometimes names are not released in the media. It is also very difficult to track the status of arrests or the outcome of a case outside of the U.S. as other countries do not publicly post this type of information.
What sort of activities do you do to try to achieve your goal?
We maintain a constant presence on irc.anonops.com #freeanons which has generously provided a home base for us for 2 years. Many people work behind the scenes there to keep us going. We are there to answer any questions or concerns about arrests or investigations.
We maintain several twitter and Facebook accounts, along with two websites, in order to spread our message. @anonymousvideo supports us by producing amazing video and media for the arrested. We collect donations to assist with emergency funds, and network with other activists and lawyers who work to support Anonymous.
Recently, Sue Crabtree of the Hammond Support Network generated a great event for us called "Dancing for Donations" which encouraged people to make some great dancing videos, in order to generate funds. It brought supporters together in a really nice way and was successful at raising emergency funds.
What do you to support the morale of those currently in prison?
Freeanons has worked with Hammond Support Network and #oppenpal to promote book drives, post card blitzes, letter-writing campaigns, rallies and jail visits for those incarcerated including support during court hearings. We send commissary money when we are able. We try to keep the cases in the media as much as possible. Additionally, we founded a new site specifically directed at those jailed, mailtothejail.org. Through that, we publish news and contact information not only for jailed hacktivists, but for activists and political prisoners like John Kiriakou.
Most of these activists are being imprisoned for strictly non-violent crimes. Why do you think their sentences are as long, and in some cases, longer than those of rapists and murderers?
The government will do everything in its power to crush informed dissent and intelligent resistance to the National Security State. The overwrought indictments these people face, and the draconian sentences we see imposed are a reflection of that. Additionally, many of these people self-identify as anarchists and the United States government has a long tradition of disrupting anarchist action.
I’ve noticed that some of the federal inmates on your list are being held in FCIs (Federal Correctional Institutes) rather than the lowers security FPCs (Federal Prison Camps). Do you have any idea why the BOP would chose to send them to the higher security prison?
The government is determined to inordinately punish these people and make their lives as unpleasant as possible in order to create fear amongst the hacktivist community.
Do you have a fund set up for donations?
People can donate through freeanons.org.
If you had one thing you could ask the general public to do, what would that be?
We ask that they follow us on twitter, visit our website, and write the jailed as often as humanely possible. Let these hacktivists know that their sacrifices and bravery are appreciated. Join us on irc. Promote our message by any means possible.
As America tries to find itself in the post-9/11 world, it is disheartening to think that organizations like FreeAnons even have to exist. The United States, at one time, was the nation that dissidents from all over the world flocked to for safety. Whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden, now flee the U.S. to find sanctuary in countries that were formerly considered totalitarian. Americans must ask themselves how far they are willing to support those behind the wire.
The United States has fundamentally changed; and just like the Twin Towers, rights of free speech and activism have disappeared from the landscape of the country.
More about Anonymous, freeanon, Anon, Solidarity, Mythbusters
 
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