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Anonymous confirms action against a Mexican drug cartel
After a week of various, conflicting reports, a self-identified Anonymous spokesman claims in a new video that the hackivists’ #OpCartel action is still on.
Anonymous appears to be poised to make good on its #OpCartel action against a violent, Mexican drug cartel, despite reports earlier this week suggesting otherwise.
Barrett Brown, who claimed he was spokesman for Anonymous, released a video this week elaborating on some of the details of the operations. Brown, 30, said in the video that members held a vote to go ahead with the operation after canceling #OpCartel earlier this week due to safety concerns.
Last month, Anonymous said Los Zetas, one of the most powerful players in the Mexican drug war, had kidnapped one of its members during a street protest in Veracruz. The group said it would begin publishing the names of law enforcement officials, politicians, journalists, and taxi drivers who were working with Los Zetas if the unidentified kidnapping victim was not released by Nov. 5.
Anonymous said it would collect tips about people with ties to the cartel and verify whether or not they were indeed affiliated with Los Zetas. Brown said a U.S. District Attorney was among the people Anonymous was trying to link to Los Zetas.
In the video Brown said he had gotten involved in the operations because “lives were hanging in the balance.” He told CNET he had no concerns for his personal safety.
“Oh, look, Barrett Brown is in TX. The goober had the audacity to threaten Zetas,” @agentdarkapple tweeted. “Dude better sleep with the light on.”
The Anonymous action has proven to be controversial and comes after the September murders of three people who are believed to have been killed by Los Zetas for information they posted on social networks. While the original Anonymous video calling for the release of the kidnapping victim was posted earlier this month, it was only this past weekend that it got widespread notice.
Since then, there have been conflicting reports about whether or not the operation was still on. Some have questioned the reliability of the kidnapping claims, and even Anonymous has warned that its members should only participate in the action if they are willing to “bet their lives” that they can keep their identities secure from Los Zetas, which has recruited its own hackers to help identify its online critics.
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.