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The Knotted Line

Evan Bissell, Author

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2011: Cooking the Frog

2011: After announcing plans to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2009 and failing to do so, President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act, ensuring the continuation of Guantanamo and expanding military detention without trial to citizens of the United States.

The Supreme Court follows up in 2012 with a decision giving law enforcement the right to strip search anyone detained before going to jail for any offense, no matter how minor. [User Created Media]

Actions for Self-Determination:
  • 1960s-'70s: U.S. military veterans, like Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, Richard Aoki, Bobby Seale and John Trudell, are central to revolutionary movements after they return from wars and are denied democratic rights. They are frequently targeted by the government through imprisonment, violence and murder.
  • 2009: "Guantanamo Bay," the video game, is quickly shuttered after a British company begins work on it. The game follows the story of someone wrongfully detained trying to escape from the prison (run by a private corporation).
  • 2010: Chelsea Manning, a private in Iraq, releases information on the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to give a more complete picture of the wars. She is arrested and held without trial in solitary confinement for nine months before being transferred to placement in a medium security prison. The files are released through WikiLeaks, an online independent media organization that publishes media and documents from whistleblowers.

Discussion Questions:
  • If a government can kill and detain citizens by choice, what are the possible actions for citizens targeted in this way?
  • Imagine you have been detained for suspicion. How do you mobilize support? What resources and economics are needed to come to your defense?
  • Consider the Supreme Court decision on strip searches in light of the Occupy Movement. How does the decision hamper the right to assembly, protest and free speech?
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