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Anonymous Mexico takes on the Zetas

The Americas Post - Machetes aren't the only tools used for hacking. Photo credit: YouTube

An online video was released this week threatening Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel with public exposure of their friends in the police and media, unless the group frees a kidnapped member of the international hacker movement known as “Anonymous.”

The YouTube message signed by Anonymous “Veracruz, Mexico and the world,” said it is “tired of the criminal group the Zetas, which is dedicated to kidnapping, stealing and extortion,” and threatened to strike back using information instead of weapons.

The video claimed to be able to name police officers, journalists, taxi drivers and others on the Zetas payroll.  Referring to an unidentified kidnapping victim in the coastal city of Veracruz, it says: “You have made a great mistake by taking one of us. Free him.”

The hacker group, which takes credit for attacks on corporate and government websites worldwide, threatened to act if their activist is harmed or not freed by Friday.

“We cannot defend ourselves with weapons, but we can with their cars, houses, bars,” the message said, alluding to property held by cartel supporters. “It’s not difficult. We know who and where they are.”

“Information is free,” it says. “We do not forgive. We do not forget.”

An official with the Veracruz state attorney general’s office, who asked not to be named, said the office could not confirm authenticity of either the video or the  kidnapping.

An oil state on the Gulf of Mexico with a port city of the same name, Veracruz has suffered a burst of drug violence recently in a battle between the Zetas drug cartel, and its competitors.  Dozens of bodies have been found in recent weeks, including 35 dumped in rush-hour traffic on a major road in Boca del Rio.

Since July two other Internet announcements have introduced a group called the “Mata Zetas,” or Zeta Killers, who authorities speculate are aligned with the powerful Sinaloa Cartel.  Others have questioned whether the group’s members are paramilitary vigilantes taking justice into their own hands against the Zetas.

The latest message, featuring a spokesman wearing the trademark Anonymous theater mask, was first reported Friday on the website of the global intelligence think tank Stratfor but reportedly uploaded to websites early this month.

In its analysis of the video, Stratfor said anyone exposed by Anonymous as a Zetas collaborator — correctly or not — could be targeted by rival gangs, and the Zetas might respond by attacking Internet activists regardless of any affiliation with Anonymous.

Three bloggers were killed recently in the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas by Zetas who blamed them for releasing information about the gang on the internet.