Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, November 4, 2011

Anonymous Won't Expose Mexican Cartel's "Servants"

By Erica Naone
Latin American members of the activist hacker group Anonymous called off a planned November 5 plan to expose people associated with the Zetas, Mexico's most violent drug cartel, according to the group's blog.

In a post written in Spanish on the group's Latin American blog, the members said they had called off the action after the Zetas met a demand to release a kidnapped group member, and that: "We can say that, while bruised, he is alive and well."

The hacker group said the person was freed with a note warning that if information were released, the cartel would make the kidnapped member's family suffer, and kill 10 people for each exposed name.

Anonymous members previously threatened by video to release names and addresses of taxi drivers, journalists and police officers who they said acted as "loyal servants" to the cartel to see if that would prompt arrests.

They said they were "fed up" with the cartel's actions, particularly the alleged kidnapping. For much of the week, people claiming to be Anonymous members have gone back and forth saying the hacker action was canceled or would go ahead.

Anonymous, a loosely knit group that has attacked financial and government websites around the world, had in September claimed responsibility for orchestrating the shutdown of several Mexican government ministries, but did not give a reason for that action.

Barrett Brown, a Texas hacker who posted details about the planned action, said via his Twitter account: "I will be continuing the fight against the cartels."

Brown said via a post on Pastebin he would avoid revealing names that would trigger the ire of the Zetas but still intended to send information to the German newspaper Der Spiegel for confirmation.

"In the meanwhile, I will be going after other cartels with the assistance of those who have come forward with new information and offers of assistance," he said

Revenge of the Nerds

Chicago Tribune
"You made a huge mistake by taking one of us."

The guy in the YouTube video is wearing a red tie and a creepy, grinning Guy Fawkes mask. You'd never be able to identify who's behind the mask. Which is lucky for the guy.

"Release him," Guy Fawkes says. "If anything happens to him you will always remember … Nov. 5. … We do not forgive. We do not forget. Wait and see."

Amazingly, it's an attempt to intimidate the intimidators, the Zetas, Mexico's most ruthless crime syndicate.

The guy in the YouTube video is a member of the loose-knit Internet vigilante collective known as Anonymous. They're highly skilled computer hackers, free-range cyberbullies, pranksters and anarchists who have attacked corporate and government websites and generally wreaked Internet havoc against those they consider wrongdoers.

The Zetas supposedly have kidnapped one of Anonymous's hacker/members who had denounced the Mexican government for being in cahoots with the drug lords.

Release our geek, Anonymous threatened, or the group will publish online the names of government officials, police officers, journalists and others who, the group says, collaborate with the Zetas. Given Anonymous' tech-savvy history of coordinated attacks on corporate and government websites, this probably isn't a bluff.

It would seem the hackers have some guts, confronting the Mexican bad guys, even from behind a Guy Fawkes mask.

The Zetas don't play nice. They've tortured and executed rivals and posted videos of their grisly handiwork. They've cowed journalists and government officials with violence.

But they've haven't faced an enemy like Anonymous, which takes no cyberprisoners.

"Computer security specialists are afraid to challenge Anonymous," one security exec told The Wall Street Journal. "No one is that confident in their own systems."

Who better to confront shadowy crime lords than an equally shadowy Internet posse?

Scott Stewart of the global security consulting firm Stratfor says Anonymous's challenge to the crime cartel could yield huge benefits in Mexico beyond this case.

"If Anonymous is perceived as a safe way to pass information pertaining to cartel activities, we may see people from all over the country begin to share intelligence," he wrote. "Such human intelligence could very well prove to be far more damaging to the cartels than any information Anonymous activists can dredge up electronically."

Count us skeptical. There's some question about whether there is an actual kidnap victim connected to Anonymous and held by the Zetas. There's some question about whether Anonymous will carry out its threat. And before anyone gets too dazzled by the hackers in the masks, know that they've also threatened to attack the Web operations of various legitimate institutions, including Facebook, on Nov. 5.

That would be today, Guy Fawkes Day. Hold onto your laptop.

Contradictions mount in Anonymous threat to Zetas

Los Angeles Times

A story that at first seemed to point ominously to a dangerous new development in Mexico's drug war was spiraling into confusion Friday as social-media users claiming ties to the hackers group Anonymous announced -- and then retracted -- a threat against the Zetas cartel in Mexico.

Some Twitter users who claim membership in the secretive hackers collective said they would be carrying out the attack against the ultra-violent Zetas by revealing the identities of the cartel's associates and businesses starting Saturday.

Others, however, were reporting that the attack was canceled and warned that the operation, dubbed #OpCartel, would put innocent lives at risk.

Adding to the confusion, the reason for the supposed cancellation of the attack shifted throughout the day. Did the Zetas release the Anonymous member allegedly kidnapped in Mexico, an abduction that purportedly inspired the hackers' threat? Or did Anonymous receive threats itself and cancel the operation for the safety of its members and their families?

In the dual worlds of shadowy cartels and shadowy hackers, there is almost no way of knowing, and no way of verifying such claims.

Anyone can claim membership of the leaderless hackers group. And anyone, in theory, can start a hash-tag on Twitter and call it an "operation" -- even before a single action is taken.

The Anonymous threat, if carried out, would raise the stakes considerably in Mexico's drug war. A public list of names and businesses allegedly tied to the Zetas probably would spark an immediate burst of violence wherever the Zetas operate as rivals or authorities sought weaken or even eliminate the fearsome cartel through force.

Yet warning signals on the legitimacy of the #OpCartel threat appeared early on but were largely ignored by U.S. and Mexican news media that chose to report it.

The original video (in Spanish) makes reference to a supposed kidnapping of an Anonymous associate, but it did not offer any proof that would permit reporters to independently verify it. Neither has the alleged kidnapping been confirmed by authorities in Veracruz state.

Several calls to the Veracruz state government Friday were not returned.

The video also does not appear similar to previous Anonymous announcements reportedly made in Veracruz, which make specific references to local politicians and news outlets. In contrast, the new video threat against the Zetas uses vague language and curiously praises "honest authorities like the army and marines."

If #OpCartel does not materialize, the buzz over the threat would raise thorny questions about mainstream media coverage of such threats and the amplification of random or unfounded claims made on YouTube and Twitter.

Several prominent Anonymous Twitter accounts, including AnonHispano and IberoAnon, have denied involvement and appear to be scrambling to police themselves, arguing to rogue Anonymous hackers now that the operation is dangerous and should not be carried out.

Yet others, like AnonymouSabu, say #OpCartel is still alive. One tweet said: "I don't speak for anonymous the same way you don't -- we are two individuals. Those who want to work on the op can, and will."


  1. Well, Im glad the member got released. A tiny victory in a very big war.

  2. That's too bad they've decided to quit. Again. They might have (if their info is good) been able to deal a significant blow to those assholes. It's kind of a shame that NO ONE is willing to stand up to ANY cartel. Granted that family's would've been hurt (is it REALLY rthat hard to move the hostages family to a safe place?) and maybe a number of innocent civilians, but theres already been so many innocent people hurt by the hands of these cartels, is it really a good reason to call this off? Every war has casualties. Everyone will eventually die. Would you rather see people die at the hands of these monsters, for no other reason than a scare tactic, or see people die for a just cause? I know my answer. If many have to die to deal a crippling blow to zetas, so beit. We all know the mexican government isn't going to do it...

  3. Anon, dont give in!
    You are the only one who can stop this crime. We need the People of Mexico to raise up like they have done in te past.

    Have you orgottten how the Mexican population rose against the French, spnaish and te usa?

    We can o it again

  4. Pussies, they caved.

  5. a little money transfer...maybe?..

    in my fantasy anon is shaking down los zetaputas...

    one can always dream

  6. Easy to say they caved what are you doing to stop this travesty?
    join a neighborhood watch.
    keep track of the comings and goings of your next door neighbors.
    report suspicious activities.
    join a police auxiliary.
    Join a sheriffs pose here is one. With over fifty different Posses, there are many ways in which the residents of Maricopa County are helping support their local Officers. From assisting with animal cruelty to searching for lost hikers, these volunteers do it all
    join a border watch group like Texas Border Volunteers at click link in upper right hand corner.
    spread the word, believe it or not, not everyone knows what is really going on in mexico or the US. share my favorite site like this one and a couple more. I like the site is retired border patrol officers. has a wealth of information and although it's in spanish you can translate with your computer if you have to.
    above all be careful these cartels are high on their own supply and very unstable. they are capable of the most terrible crimes against humanity imaginable.

  7. Yeah don't quit, this is the perfect battle. Weak geeks with the power of the computer and weak pinche sicarios with the power of a gun without which they couldnt fight thier way out of a paper bag. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword (or gold AK-47)

  8. So much for these guys being 'Anonymous'. WTF use is it to call yourselves "anonymous" if they know who you are to the point of being able to kidnap your ass? These guys could have made a huge milestone in seeing how corrupt Mexico really is, and who is involved. But now it seems they are just as guilty and scared as the rest of them. They really need to change their name.

  9. IMO, the Z's will go after them with a vengeance. What would stop them? The Mexican military and security forces and US assets have not been able to stop any of it. They fear no one and specialize in mayhem and slaughter. Who knows what the truth is on either side or either story? No way to prove anything.

    One thing we do know, many people will die due to this.

    And no, Anonymous does not and never will have the power to stop drug cartels, killings, crime and the drug wars. Both sides are full of criminals.

  10. I think Anonymous is lying and total full of sh**, I don't think they ever had a kidnapped member to begin with and are saying he was "released" because of their "demands" so that they wouldn't appear to have backed down. Don't I recall them even saying the day after the very first announcement/video came out that there wasn't an actual kidnapped member, but they were still going through with their threat?

    On one hand I wish they would have followed through on their threat so the Zeta's could have permanently finished the majority of them off and scared the rest into hiding; but on the other hand it would have got many innocent people killed, so I guess this is the best outcome.

  11. It is a very risky business for the mexican ones, sure it is easy to cheer the attack on Zetas from the safety of other countries but think about those in Mexico, nevermind releasing names of people that are in no way associated with Zetas.

    When you think about it what stops from Zetas of having their man in at the internet service provider or the phone company just like Cali Carter was monitoring every single call made.

  12. they should've went ahead and told! that's the problem, people know "stuff" yet they choose to be silent. even after seeing that the silence is at the expense of lost lives...

  13. @anon at November 5, 2011 11:25 AM
    IMO, the Z's will go after them with a vengeance. What would stop them? The Mexican military and security forces and US assets have not been able to stop any of it.

    you're right, because IMO, all of the entities you just mentioned benefit financially from the activities by the cartels, not just one cartel in particular, but from all of them, so that's why they make it seem like there is a "war" and that it is getting "difficult" (on purpose) for them to win the war...

  14. Has anyone seen/read/heard a response from Los Zetas? I've looked around some but haven't come across anything - other than Anonymous' statement about what the Zetas would do if Anon went through with their threats. I find it odd that the Zetas wouldn't (openly) threaten Anon in the beginning and throughout the whole month the Anon threat was out. Also, it's strange to me that the video came out in early October without much noise, then Stratfor writes about it - and BAM - things start unfolding. Call me crazy, but some of these things aren't adding up.


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