• SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 20: Red carpet is seen outside race control during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 20, 2012 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 20: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa Crown Prince talk to the worlds media in the paddock following practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 20, 2012 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 20: (L to R) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Zayed Rashed Al Zayani the Director of Bharain International Circuit, Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa the CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board and McLaren shareholder and Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain International Circuit walk in the paddock during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 20, 2012 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 20: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa Crown Prince talk to the worlds media in the paddock following practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 20, 2012 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain steers his car during the second free practice ahead the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security around the Formula One circuit at the start of the controversial Grand Prix racing weekend. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain steers his car during the second free practice ahead the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security around the Formula One circuit at the start of the controversial Grand Prix racing weekend. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • Mercedes Grand Prix driver Nico Rosberg of Germany steers his car during the second free practice ahead the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security around the Formula One circuit at the start of the controversial Grand Prix racing weekend. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 20: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren drives during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 20, 2012 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Event workers looks on from the stands during the first free practice ahead the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security around the Formula One circuit at the start of the controversial Grand Prix racing weekend. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • A policeman patrols in the paddock during the first free practice ahead the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security around the Formula One circuit at the start of the controversial Grand Prix racing weekend. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
  • Bahrain policemen check a reporter's bag and camera at a gate of the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Bahrain organizers hope to host the race this weekend despite protests and political unrest in the area. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • Security guards check vehicles at a checkpoint outside the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 20, 2012. Bahrain organizers hope to host the race this weekend despite protests and political unrest in the area. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • MANAMA, BAHRAIN - APRIL 19: A sign announcing one day before the start of the Bahrain race weekend stands during previews for the Formula One Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on April 19, 2012 in Manama, Bahrain. (Photo by Vladimir Rys Photography via Getty Images)
  • A riot police officer walks past an advertising board promoting Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix in Manama, Bahrain, Thursday, April 19, 2012. Nervous shop owners closed their doors and security forces fanned out across Bahrain's capital Thursday in attempts to quell widening unrest that threatened to overshadow the return of the Formula One Grand Prix to the Gulf kingdom. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
  • A Bahraini Shiite Muslim, shows his midriff covered in buck shot allegedly sustained during protests, at an Al-Wefaq opposition group press conference in the capital Manama, on April 19, 2012. Shiite-led street demonstrations have turned increasingly violent, as the ruling Sunni Khalifa dynasty continues its crackdown on dissent in a desperate effort to portray that all is well in the island kingdom ahead of the Grand Prix Formula One race which takes place on April 22. AFP PHOTO/STR ==BAHRAIN OUT== (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
The group of hackers known as Anonymous issued a press release last night announcing their intent to hack and take down the official website for Formula One at formulaone.com for the duration of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Their reason? To protest the increasingly violent crackdown on the people of Bahrain by their own government.

As of this writing, formulaone.com is down as promised and another website, F1-racers.net, is displaying a message from Anonymous that claims responsibility.

In its press release, Anonymous addresses Bernie Ecclestone, president and CEO of Formula One, directly, promising the following:

Anonymous will turn your web site (www.formula1.com) into a smoking crater in cyber space. We will also jam your phone lines, bomb your E-Mail inboxes – and wreck anything else of yours we can find on the internet.

The group also calls upon fans of F1 to ignore the race by either not attending in person or watching it on television. They also appeal to the drivers themselves to protest the race by not crossing the starting line at the beginning of the race.

Last year's Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to civil unrest, and despite the increasing frequency of protests and severity of their crackdown leading up to this weekend's race, it has not yet been cancelled. As a result, activists, now including the Anonymous group, are using the motorsport's worldwide popularity to gain attention for their cause.

Scroll down to read the press release from Anonymous in full.
Show full PR text
Anonymous Press Release – Operation Bahrain

Thursday – April 19, 2012 7:00 PM ET USA

Anonymous has watched with growing alarm the incredible human rights abuses of the Bahrain regime. We have watched this tyrannical government tear gas it's own people literally to death, with over 30 fatalities so far. We have watched as thousands of innocent protesters and activists have been jailed. We have suffered with our dear friend @AngryArabiya on Twitter as she watches her father slowly die of a hunger strike in prison to protest the atrocities committed by the regime of this "king" of Bahrain. We have witnessed doctors and nurses imprisoned for simply treating the wounded protesters that your security forces have brutalized. And finally we have suffered in outrage the ignorance and out right lies of mainstream media regarding what is REALLY happening in Bahrain.

1) This is NOT a Shia uprising against a Sunni government. It is a popular and peaceful revolt against the medieval concept of absolute monarchy. It is a movement that spans all strata and sectors of society, and all religions in Bahrain. It is a movement that demands only freedom, justice – and democracy.

2) This government is not quelling violent protests, it is brutally and violently crushing peaceful dissent.

3) This government is NOT legitimate. It is a tyrannical, barbaric – and human rights violating dictatorship. And ANYONE doing business with this regime have the blood of Bahrain's Freedom Martyrs on their hands.

For over a year now, we have as a global movement concentrated our efforts in Libya and Syria, leaving Anonymous Bahrain to to defend their fellow citizens in cyber space. This will no longer be the case. As of tomorrow, Friday – April 20, 2012 the entire global Anonymous will begin to take up the cause of the Bahrain Revolution. The King of Bahrain be warned, we are about to unleash the worst shitstorm you have ever seen – and your time as dictator is over. We will help your people remove you from power, and we will see you tried in the Hague for your many crimes against humanity.

The occasion of Anonymous re-launching Operation Bahrain will be this despicable Grand Prix Formula One race to be held in Bahrain tomorrow through the 22nd of April. Mr. Eccelstone, you are either one evil mother fucker to hold your race in support of this regime (The Kings family are actually investors and make direct profit) – or else you have been lied to and are ignorant of the atrocities committed by these tyrants. In either case, beginning tomorrow – and lasting for the duration of your race we are going to fucking educate you on the truth in a way you can not ignore.

Beginning tomorrow, and lasting for the duration of this race – Anonymous will turn your web site (www.formula1.com) into a smoking crater in cyber space. We will also jam your phone lines, bomb your E-Mail inboxes – and wreck anything else of yours we can find on the internet. You can god damn well expect us. And to anyone in the world who watches this race, either in person or on television – you also have the blood of the Bahrain Freedom Martyrs on your hands. Turn your face away from this abominable entertainment, and join us online to defend the brave protesters fighting for their freedom in Bahrain.

Finally, we join with Anonymous Bahrain in asking that all the drivers in this race protest this evil regime by refusing to cross the start line at the beginning of the race. Internet Freedom Fighters around the globe, join us this weekend and fight for freedom and justice in Bahrain: irc.voxanon.net #OpBahrain

We Are Anonymous – We Are Everywhere – We Are Legion – We Never Forget – We Never Forgive – EXPECT US SIGNED - Anonymous

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