Would-be hacker vandalizes Vietnam Memorial site

A person or persons claiming to represent Turkish interests have defaced a Vietnam War memorial site run by vets.

A Vietnam War memorial Web site run by veterans was defaced in recent days by a "hacker" who left messages attacking the US, Israel, Armenia and the Kurds, the Washington Post reported in Thursday's issue.

According to the Post, visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site who searched for casualties by date were redirected to a page that displayed the Turkish flag, a short video, and messages in both Turkish and English. One of the messages in Turkish read in translation: "Is there any equal or likeness to our martyrs at Gallipoli?"

The newspaper assumed the message referred to the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. In 1915, an Allied attempt to force passage through the Dardanelles to supply Russia was defeated by the Turks, whose Ottoman Empire had sided with Germany and Austria-Hungary against Britain, France, Russia and others.

Both Kurds and Armenians were targeted by Turks for genocide in this and the previous century.

Someone identified as "Turk Defacer" took responsibility for the hack, which was reported to the site by several hundred visitors. The group that operates the site, the 4/9 Infantry Manchu (Vietnam) Association, removed the defacement and restored the site late Wednesday.

Zone-H, a Web site that maintains the world's largest defacement database, had no listing for the hack. Searches there for known hackers going by the name Turk Defacer located two, but neither had been pegged with a defacement this year.

The site was hacked less than two weeks after the physical Vietnam Veterans Memorial was defaced with an unknown oily substance that National Park Service police said had been splashed on at least 14 of the 140 polished granite panels. Names of the men and women who died or were declared missing are etched on the panels.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the wall, has offered a US$5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator, while the Park Service is cleaning the soiled panels.

Prominent Web sites are regularly vandalized by hackers. Last month, for example, the United Nations' site was plastered with messages accusing the US and Israel of killing children. The name of the group that assumed responsibility for that defacement had been previously linked to Turkish hackers.

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