(thenextweb.com) If you ever thought of all anonymous Internet users as cowards behind a keyboard, it’s high time to think again. According to reports, Anonymous Mexico is going head-to-head with one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the world, the Mexican cartel Los Zetas. Not only has the hacktivist group threatened to reveal names, but it has also started making good to its threats.
How did it start?
Anonymous’ campaign against the cartel could be a response to the alleged kidnapping to one of the group’s members in the city of Veracruz, if a video published on YouTube several weeks ago is to be believed. In the video, a man wearing the famous Guy Fawkes mask expressly threatens the cartel: if the hostage is not released, the voice says, Anonymous will publicly name and shame policemen, officials, taxi drivers and journalists it believes to be linked to the cartel.
Taking action online
Although the authenticity of the video itself is controversial, a recent action seems to confirm that Anonymous in Mexico are indeed at war with the cartel. Indeed, one of Anonymous’s favorite tactics is website defacement, and it’s exactly what just happened to the website of a Mexican politician suspected of connections to the cartel, according to the local media. The page is still defaced as we write; here is what it looks like (“es Zeta” meaning “is Zeta”):
A bold and dangerous move
As you can imagine, going head-to-head with the cartel is both brave and risky. Veracruz, in particular, has been ridden with drug-related violence over the last months, spreading panic among the population (see our story 2 Mexican suspects await possible 30-year sentences for “Twitter Terrorism”).
More generally, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and bloggers. As we recently mentioned in our previous post ‘How Facebook’s name policy silenced a blogger in Honduras‘, “Narcos” have increasingly targeted bloggers and Twitter users who were using the Internet to denounce crime.
Should it be confirmed that an Anonymous member has been kidnapped by Los Zetas, this could well have been a reaction from the cartel following online posts against the organization. If Anonymous decides to go ahead and reveal names, there no doubt the cartel will try and retaliate again. In other words, hacktivists should better make sure they’re as anonymous as they claim to be.
Transcript: Anonymous from Veracruz, Mexico, and the world, we want you to know that a member has been kidnapped when he was doing Paperstorm in our city.
We demand his release. We want the army and the navy to know that we are fed up of the criminal group Zetas, who have concentrated on kidnapping, stealing and blackmailing in different ways. One of them is charging every honest and hardworking citizen of Veracruz who busts their rears working day after day to feed their families.
We are fed up of journalists and newspapers of Xalapa, Córdoba and Orizaba because they are constantly crapping on honest authorities like the army and the navy.
We are fed up with taxi drivers, commanders and “police-zetas” officers of Xalapa, Córdoba, Orizaba, Nogales, Río Blanco and Camerinos… who are chickens and have made themselves the most loyal servants of these (expletive).
For the time being, we won´t post photos or the names … of the taxi drivers, the journalists or the newspapers nor of the police officers, but if needed, we will publish them including their addresses, to see if by doing so the government will arrest them.
We can´t defend ourselves with a weapon, but if we can do this with their cars, houses, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession … It won´t be difficult. We all know who they are and where they are.
(Images with sound of explosions)
You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him. And if anything happens to him, you (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5th .
Knowledge is free. We are Anonymous. We are a legion. We don’t forgive. We don’t forget. Expect us.”