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Anonymous Mexico stands ground in battle with drug cartels
Anonymous Mexico says it won’t back down from a planned operation against Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.
Anonymous Mexico has quashed rumors that it canceled plans to go toe-to-toe with a violent, Mexican drug cartel believed to be behind the murders of three people who posted information and criticism of the gang on social media.
A series of tweets with Twitter hashtags used to monitor crime and drug cartel activity in Mexico claimed that Anonymous was backing down from its threat to publicize the names of politicians, journalists, police officers and taxi drivers who are believed to be working with Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s biggest drug cartels.
“Anonymous OpCartel cancels crackdown on Mexican drug cartel cnot risk our partners. RT plz!” tweeted one person whose profile picture showed a figure wearing a mask similar to those Anonymous members wear.
But Anonymous Mexico announced in a series of tweets late Sunday and early Monday that the operation would continue as planned.
“The #opcartel was not suspended at all,” one tweet read.
In September, three people were found dead with notes signed by Los Zetas warning that people who posted information about cartel activities online would be killed. Many people have turned to Mexican crime blogs and social networks like Twitter to share information about the cartels. Meanwhile, the mainstream Mexican media has grown increasingly reluctant to take on the dangerous task of covering the drug cartels.
In retaliation, Los Zetas and other cartels have begun posting false information on the sites and, in some cases, have recruited hackers to help them identify people who have posted anonymous information.
Anonymous said it would begin publicizing people affiliated with the cartels if an Anonymous member that was kidnapped in Veracruz earlier this month was not released. The group also launched an attack on the Veracruz state government Web site in September to call attention to complicit elected officials.
As reported by the Daily Dot on Sunday, security officials have warned that people named by Anonymous will most likely be killed, even if the information about their ties to the gang proves to be false. Anonymous members also risk being killed or kidnapped if Los Zetas and other cartels are able to determine their true identities.
In the hours after Anonymous announced the initiative, the #OpCartel hashtag was buzzing, recording as many as 578 tweets in a single hour Sunday night.
Dave Copeland is a tech reporter whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and ReadWrite. He teaches journalism at Bridgewater State University.