Anonymous Threatens Zeta Cartel

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In what may appear as an empty threat, the noted online hacker group published a video threat against one of the strongest and most feared of the Mexican drug cartels.

In a video statement that appears to be authentic, a masked figure demands the Zetas release an unknown Anonymous member. Failing to do so, says the figure, will result in information being released about the drug Cartel. How does this online action translate into a real-world threat? It depends. If the cartel is relying on secret links to public officials – police officers and others – exposing these might lead to arrests. But even if that didn’t work, ties to the cartel can mean danger in another form – attacks from other cartels.

The violence in Mexico is of two main types. Citizens are kidnapped and pressured through threats of violence and cartel members are subject to violence from their own organization and other gangs. The motivations to keep your activities secret then has a real-world cost, even without effective policing.

At this writing, it is unknown if the threat to expose members of the Zeta group (and those bribed by the group) is credible or not. The purpose of the video seems to be to get one particular person released. The person is thought to have been “accidentally” grabbed for ransom without knowledge about an affiliation with Anonymous.

It would be a fascinating and unexploited mechanism in the war on drug cartels if the threat works, or, if it is ignored, the consequences are as expected. Many feel that putting info online isn’t going to do much at all. But we know that cartels are paying attention to what’s appearing in blogs – a double murder in Nogales included messages about blogging or putting out negative reports, even in the blogosphere.

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