Anonymous Goes to War Against Drug Cartels
These people have bigger huevos than you or me, my friend.
Online activist group Anonymous has decided to go after the one group that thinks it is untouchable: violent Mexican drug cartel the Zetas. This is roughly equivalent to Anne Frank walking into Hitler's office and punching him in the face with a beehive.
Anonymous has accused the Zetas of kidnapping one of their members, nearly a month ago, in Veracruz, Mexico. In response, Anonymous called on the Zetas to release their member or face their greatest fear: the outing of all public officials who are members or the Zetas, or who take bribes to allow the Zetas to operate in their region. This includes police officers and journalists, as well as public officials.
“You made a great mistake in taking one of us," said the group in a statement. "Release him and if something happens to him, you [expletive] will remember the 5th of November.”
The fifth of November is Guy Fawkes Night, the infamous night of plotters and revolutionaries. Since Anonymous is often portrayed as a human body with a Guy Fawkes mask covering his/her face, the symbolism is very fitting.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that it is unlikely that the Zetas will release the kidnapped anonymous member; if anything, the threat makes it likely that he will be killed, even if he is not related at all to the protest group. It's entirely possible that the Zetas will use their advantages — government protection, vast fortunes, and fear-mongering — to track down and kill the anonymous members who dare threaten their empire.
Of course, it's even more possible (and entirely likely) that the men and women of Anonymous will outsmart the drug cartel, embarrass them and their associates, and publicly out the police who allow them to commit crimes, the politicians who cover their butts, and the journalists who cover it all up in the media.
The group has already gone after one alleged Zeta supporter. Former state prosecutor Gustavo Rosario Torres was outed when his website was hacked and taken over by Anonymous members, who wrote "Gustavo Rosario is a Zeta" atop a picture of jack-o-lanterns.
Because of the consequences of getting caught, Anonymous Mexico is warning its more junior members and those without a high skill level to stay away from the operation. It's simply too risky for anyone who might not know EXACTLY what they're doing to go out and screw around with the Zetas. This isn't the FBI or some other bumbling US agency; these people are lethal, they are drug lords, and they make Scarface look like a kid's movie.
Folks who can identify members of the Zeta cartel can submit the member's name here.
Geoffrey Ramsey, and expert on the drug cartels and other organized crime units, writes about this in the Christian Science Monitor.
"On another level, the incident is an illustration of the role that fear plays in the Zetas' exercise of power. Anonymous members' doubts about the operation are well-founded, as the Zetas are generally thought of asthe most dangerous drug cartel in Mexico, who carry out brutal public revenge on their enemies. But as the hacking collective decided to go through with the operation, the Zetas could be in a highly vulnerable position. If they give in to Anonymous' demands and free the kidnapping victim – presuming he or she exists – then they risk opening themselves up to further challenges to their authority.
"This is especially important to the Zetas, as they don't have the support base that other groups (like the Sinaloa Cartel in the Sierra Madre, or the once-mighty Familia Michoacana in Michoacan) possess. Conversely, if they don't turn over the kidnapping victim, then they risk damaging much of the connections that keep their business together in the Veracruz area."
“We believe it is high time to say enough to the terrible situation caused by the falsehood of the government and lack of scruples of people who do not care about the welfare of their fellow human beings,” Anonymous Mexico posted.
So, what happens next? Will the Zetas release their victim? Will Anonymous risk death to out the Zetas? Will the operation, which can be followed on Twitter via #opcartel, even happen? Some have claimed it is a hoax, while others say it is a trick to out Anonymous members in Mexico. For now, all we can do is sit, wait, and see what happens next.
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