January 03, 2011, 3:28 PM — If there's one thing wrong with vigilantes and mob justice, it's that mobs get bored quickly.
The hactivist group Anonymous has chosen another target -- not a WikiLeaks-opposing corporation or government group this time, but an entire country.
On Friday Anonymous announced its disapproval of the government of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe by defacing the web sites of the Finance Ministry and DDOSing sites belonging to Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
Interesting as it would be to have the Operation Avenge Assange attack spread to include corrupt governments and elected leaders who refuse to give up power after wasting their country's resources and being resoundingly voted out of office by angry constituents, this time it ain't so.
The proximate cause of the attacks was the effort by Mugabe's government to prevent local media from publishing information from secret U.S. State Dept. cables.
Mugabe's wife hit one local paper with a $15 million lawsuit for publishing information from the cables accusing her of profiting from the sale of illegal diamonds.
Another set of cables could get the country's premier tried and executed for treason following revelations he met with ambassadors from U.S. and European countries to discuss sanctions to put pressure on the president.
The premier, Morgan Tsvangirai, leads opposition to the brutal, 30-year rule of Mugabe. He has been arrested, survived assassination attempts including being thrown from a 10th floor office window, been arrested, beaten and tortured.
Despite apparently winning a runoff election in 2008, Tsvangirai had to settle for becoming premier when Mugabe refused to leave office and there were several more attempts on Tsvangirai's life, one of which killed his wife of 31 years.
Mugabe's rule has resulted in a country that is one of the most economically distraught in Africa, with an unemployment rate above 90 percent and health-and-hygiene infrastructure so poor a 2009 cholera epidemic struck 100,000 and killed more than 4,300.
The attacks themselves were less focused and less effective than those against Visa, PayPal and others, but did have funnier pictures.