The hacker activist group “Anonymous” said this weekend that it may begin revealing the names and addresses of individuals who work for the Zetas drug cartel, in hopes that the Mexican government would step in and arrest them.
Shortly after the release, announced in a video published in Spanish and English, some members of the group were claiming that “OpCartel” had been canceled because it was simply too dangerous. Others insisted the operation would continue, calling it a “war.”
In the video, a masked actor explains that “Anonymous” embarked on the operation after one of their members was allegedly kidnapped by the Zetas.
“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 assholes,” the person explains. “For the time being, we will not 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.”
It also lays out a clear threat: “You made a huge mistake in taking one of us. Release him. And if anything happens to him, you will always remember this upcoming November 5th.”
By threatening to identify the cartel workers, “Anonymous” could be opening more than just one can of worms. Members of rival cartels could theoretically use those individuals as bargaining chips, or attack them if it served their business interests. It could even theoretically spark a greater conflict between the Zetas and other groups.
Or, it could help to facilitate a government crackdown on the cartels, which has been raging for nearly five years on the orders of President Felipe Calderon. In that time, Mexico has become one of the bloodiest war zones on the planet, with over 34,000 dead in cartel violence.
The situation has become so severe that many leading officials, including a coalition of former world leaders, have called for major changes to U.S. drug policies that ultimately inflate black market prices and make the cartel business that much more lucrative and violent.
Despite recent polling that shows an unprecedented amount of support in the U.S. for ending the prohibition of marijuana — the cartels’ biggest cash crop by far — officials in the Obama administration are not willing to do that.
This video was published to YouTube on Oct. 29, 2011.
Photo: Flickr user Jornal Sul21.
(H/T: The Houston Chronicle)