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Anonymous will launch drugs cartel online assault

Hacker collective vote on OpCartel to fight unless kidnapped member is released

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A planned cyber attack on one of the most vicious drug cartels in Mexico by members of the hacker collective known as Anonymous is going ahead as planned, a spokesman for the group said today through a video posted to YouTube.

After reports that a member of the group behind the operation, called OpCartel, had announced that it was scrapped, a vote was held by everyone involved, and it was decided to proceed with the action, according to Barrett Brown, who is often the public face of Anonymous.

Brown maintained that OpCartel members were proceeding carefully, not only to protect themselves, but to insure that they identify the right people when they make their public disclosures. "It's a very careful process," he contended.

For any Anonymous members concerned that the drug cartel, known as Los Zetas, will hunt down and kill them, "this isn't the movement for them," Brown warned in this YouTube video.

OpCartel has given Los Zetas until Saturday to release an Anonymous member allegedly kidnapped by the cartel in the Mexican state of Veracruz earlier this month. If that doesn't happen, the group says it will post to the Internet the names and addresses of people associated with the cartel. The kidnap happened while the Anonymous member was handing out flyers in something Anonymous calls Operation Paperstorm. Here is a video posted to YouTube purporting to explain Operation Paperstorm.

On Sunday, a Mexican newspaper, Milenio, reported that two Anonymous members told it the operation was cancelled. The cancellation came shortly after it was reported that Los Zetas had been hiring computer experts to hunt down the hackers.

Because Anonymous is so loosely knit, it's often the case that something is done in its name and then immediately renounced by other members of the organisation. For example, the website of the former attorney general of the Mexican state of Tabasco, Gustavo Rosario Torres, has been vandalised twice. Scrawled on the site was the message "Gustavo Rosario Es Zeta" signed "Anonymous Mexico." On both occasions, Anonymous Mexico has denied having anything to do with defacing the site.

Given the amount of disorder that's surrounded OpCartel so far, there'll probably be a few more twists to this tale as the Saturday deadline approaches.


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