Hacktivist collective Anonymous has threatened to expose the identities and other personal information of members of the infamous Los Zetas drug cartel, after one of its members was allegedly kidnapped by the group during a protest in the Mexican city of Veracruz.
The plot to reveal the identities of people tied to Los Zetas, including corrupt public officials, journalists and police officers, was announced in a video posted to YouTube on October 6.
“You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him,” says a man, in Spanish, who’s wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.
“We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession,” the masked man adds.
While the authenticity of the video — and thus, the retaliatory threat — remains in question, recent actions suggest Anonymous in Mexico is, in fact, waging a war against Los Zetas. The website of a Mexican politician, Gustavo Rosario, has been defaced by the group, with a message that reads, “Gustavo Rosario es Zeta,” which translates to “Gustavo Rosario is Zeta.” The page remains up, and still shows Anonymous’ message.
What remains unconfirmed, however, is whether Los Zetas actually kidnapped a person associated with Anonymous. Unfortunately, such an action seems highly plausible, as the notoriously violent cartel has already murdered at least one person for posting anti-cartel messages online.
Because of the ruthless nature of Los Zetas, anyone who takes actions against the cartel — especially revealing names, address and other personal data about its associates — will be in grave danger.
“It is a gutsy move,” said Mike Vigil, a former official at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who spoke with the Houston Chronicle. “By publishing the names, they identify them to rivals, and trust me, they will go after them.”
Anonymous appears undeterred by this almost-inevitable threat, saying that their member must be released, or the group will carry out its plans on November 5, also known as Guy Fawkes day — a holiday detailed in the film V for Vendetta, which is the origin of the Guy Fawkes mask used by Anonymous members.
The group has big plans for this November 5. Operations expected to be carried out that day include an attempt to “destroy” Fox News, as well as Operation Cash Back, which aims to convince people to move their money out of the “big banks” and into local credit unions.
UPDATE: Various members of Anonymous are now saying that “OpCartel,” as the mission is called, as been cancelled due to the extremely serious dangers that go with exposing a violent drug cartel. But according to @anonymousSabu, a prominent member of Anonymous, OpCartel is still “very much alive,” and will target both Los Zetas and the DEA, both of which the group says are corrupt.
This could very interesting – and very deadly – very fast. Stay tuned.