Group called Anonymous demands release of one of their own who was kidnapped by Cartel

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    Oct 31, 2011 6:43 PM GMT
    This is kind of cool - though arguably they should have done this before the kidnapping. You can watch the video at the link:

    An international group of online hackers is warning a Mexican drug cartel to release one of its members, kidnapped from a street protest, or it will publish the identities and addresses of the syndicate's associates, from corrupt police to taxi drivers, as well as reveal the syndicates' businesses.

    The vow is a bizarre cyber twist to Mexico's ongoing drug war, as a group that has no guns is squaring off against the Zetas, a cartel blamed for thousands of deaths as well as introducing beheadings and other frightening brutality.

    "You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him," says a masked man in a video posted online on behalf of the group, Anonymous.

    "We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession," says the man, who is wearing a suit and tie.

    "It won't be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are located," says the man, who underlines the group's international ties by speaking Spanish with the accent of a Spaniard while using Mexican slang.

    He also implies that the group will expose mainstream journalists who are somehow in cahoots with the Zetas by writing negative articles about the military, the country's biggest fist in the drug war.

    "We demand his release," says the Anonymous spokesman, who is wearing a mask like the one worn by the shadowy revolutionary character in the movie V for Vendetta, which came out in 2006. "If anything happens to him, you sons of (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5."

    The person reportedly kidnapped is not named, and the video does not share information about the kidnapping other than that it occurred in the Mexican state of Veracruz during a street protest.

    Anonymous draws its roots from an online forum dedicated to bringing sensitive government documents and other material to light.

    If Anonymous can make good on its threats to publish names, it will "most certainly" lead to more deaths and could leave bloggers and others open to reprisal attacks by the cartel, contends Stratfor, an Austin-based global intelligence company.

    "In this viral world on the Internet, it shows how much damage could be done with just one statement on the Web," said Fred Burton of Stratfor, which published a report Friday that probes the implications of the cartel drawing the activists' ire.

    Mike Vigil, the retired head of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the Zetas must take Anonymous seriously.

    "It is a gutsy move," Vigil said. "By publishing the names, they identify them to rivals, and trust me, they will go after them."
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    Nov 02, 2011 6:10 AM GMT
    Sadly, it was called off.

    Anonymous Cancels Operation Cartel as Los Zetas Track Hacktivists

    Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous who threatened to post identifying information online about the civilian associates of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug cartels, have backed down just days before the November 5 target date for their operation.

    The sudden withdrawal comes by way of a report in Mexican newspaper Milenio, published online Sunday night, which features comments from two self-identified Anonymous Operation Cartel participants, Skill3r and Glyniss Paroubek.

    “We didn’t want irresponsible administrators to condemn participants [in the Operation] to death,” the two Anonymous spokespeople are quoted as saying (translated). “We’ve discussed it extensively and and we all decided to remove it.”

    The pullback comes not a moment too soon. Los Zetas has reportedly begun hunting down the hackers. As global intelligence firm Stratfor reported on Tuesday: "We have seen reports that Los Zetas are deploying their own teams of computer experts to track those individuals involved in the online anti-cartel campaign, which indicates that the criminal group is taking the campaign very seriously. Those individuals involved face the risk of abduction, injury and death — judging by how Los Zetas has dealt with threats in the past"

    Stratfor earlier sounded a similarly dire note in its first report on the Anonymous campaign on October 28, writing: “Loss of life will be a certain consequence if Anonymous releases the identities of individuals cooperating with cartels… The validity of the information Anonymous has threatened to reveal is uncertain, as it might not have been vetted. This could pose an indiscriminate danger to individuals mentioned in whatever Anonymous decides to release.”

    The firm’s analysis echoes warnings given by former Drug Enforcement Agency international chief Mike Vigil, who told the Houston Chronicle on Saturday that if the hackers went ahead with their plans, those identified as Los Zetas operatives would almost certainly be targeted by rival cartels.

    A self-identified member of Anonymous Veracruz first issued the threats against the cartels in a YouTube video posted on October 6 in Spanish, then later in English, claiming that Anonymous members were sitting on personally-identifying information of taxi drivers, journalists and police officers who had worked with the cartel. The masked speaker in the video threatened to release the information unless the cartel released an Anonymous member that the speaker said had been kidnapped in Veracruz during another Anonymous Operation, dubbed “Paperstorm.”

    Milenio also references a pre-emptive text disclaimer by Anonymous floating around the Web saying that any information published about alleged cartel supporters should not be credited to the group.

    Milenio also cites various Anonymous Twitter handles as calling for the Operation’s cancellation, including a user under the name “@Sm0k34n0n.” At the time of this posting, the account appeared to be deleted.

    At the same time, Milenio points out that other Anonymous members in the English-speaking world have not thrown in the towel and are still planning on releasing incriminating information about Los Zetas collaborators on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, as originally planned.

    The newspaper quotes another Anonymous Twitter account, “@AnonymouSabu,” reportedly belonging to notorious Anonymous hacker Sabu, as tweeting the following: “# OpCartel is more alive than ever and as I told others in private, the war against corruption is on both sides of the spectrum. We are going to WAR!”