Published August 26, 2012
LONDON – Hackers claiming allegiance to the Anonymous movement of cyber-rebels have defaced the website of a former British cabinet minister in solidarity with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
But former Wales and Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said Sunday that the attackers don't seem to have done their homework.
"If the reason ... is revenge for Assange's treatment, it's weird to attack me," Hain said in comments carried by the BBC. "They have not done their research because I have supported Assange and opposed his extradition."
Assange, whose website outraged U.S. officials with its spectacular leaks of classified data, is wanted in Sweden over allegations of sexual assault against two women he met there in 2010. The nearly two-year-long effort to extradite him from the U.K. has drawn worldwide attention, in part because Assange and his supporters have suggested that the Swedish sex case is a part of a Washington-orchestrated plot to drag him to the United States, where officials are weighing whether to charge him over the disclosures.
The Swedish government — and the women involved — deny the claims.
Assange's fight to avoid extradition took a dramatic turn in June, when Assange fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy seeking refuge. The ensuing standoff sparked a diplomatic crisis between Britain and Ecuador and could potentially drag on for months or even years.
Hain's website was defaced Saturday by a group calling itself Anonymous UK, whose logo consisted of a dark, headless suit against a Union Jack. The group made a variety of allegations against the 62-year-old Labour Party politician, before adding: "The UK's persecution of Julian Assange will NOT be forgotten."