Feb. 3, 2012 at 3:24 PM ET
Anonymous posted 3 gigabytes' worth of email correspondence by attorneys involved in the case of U.S. Marine Frank Wuterich, who recently pleaded guilty to killing two dozen unarmed Iraqi women and children in 2005. Wuterich's sentence — a demotion, rather than prison time — was the reason for the "revenge" by the group, which also hacked the website of Wuterich's attorneys.
"As part of our ongoing efforts to expose the corruption of the court systems and the brutality of U.S. imperialism, we want to bring attention to USMC SSgt Frank Wuterich who along with his squad murdered dozens of unarmed civilians during the Iraqi Occupation," read a message posted Friday on the site of Puckett & Faraj, which was taken down by the law firm.
The rest of the message from Anonymous, available from a mirror version of the hacked site, said, in part: "Can you believe this scumbag had his charges reduced to involuntary manslaughter and got away with only a pay cut?" Wuterich was demoted from staff sergeant to private.
The move by Anonymous was yet another major hack revealed on Friday; in one, members of the group posted a YouTube video of a candid conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard talking about hacking suspects. In another, Anonymous claimed credit for defacing the Boston Police Department's website in retaliation for "police brutality" at an Occupy Wall Street protest.
Sam Biddle of Gizmodo wrote that "a source within Anonymous tells me all of today's strikes are indeed a coordinated effort, though not all tied to the Wuterich case."
In the Wuterich incident, Anonymous said it posted emails pertaining to the case on a file-sharing site. It also said on the attorneys' website, "When justice cannot be found within the confines of their crooked court systems, we must seek revenge on the streets and on the internet — and dealing out swift retaliation is something we are particularly good at. Worry not comrades, it's time to deliver some epic ownage."
Wuterich was accused of being the ringleader in a series of shootings and grenade attacks on November 19, 2005, that left two dozen civilians dead in Haditha, a city west of Baghdad that was then an insurgent hotspot.
The killings were portrayed by Iraqi witnesses and military prosecutors as a massacre of unarmed civilians —men, women and children — carried out by Marines in anger after a member of their unit was killed by a roadside bomb. Wuterich has said he regretted the loss of civilian lives but believed he was operating within military combat rules.
Wire services contributed to this story.