A Wiki-Solution to Mexico’s Narco-Nightmare?

3 Nov

(Photo courtesy of gato-gato-gato)

The hacker collective Anonymous had me all agog earlier this week after I watched a video one of their members — wearing one of the eerily smiling V is for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks – had posted on YouTube. In it he threatened to expose a vast collection of covert information concerning the evil drug cartel, the Zetas, who had, he said, kidnapped one of the group’s members in Veracruz.

“You have made a great mistake by taking one of us,” said the masked man. “Free him.”

The information Anonymous said it would leak in what it is calling OpCartel includes the addresses of properties and businesses the Zetas own, along with the names and personal details of every policeman, journalist and politician on their payroll, even those of cab drivers who work for them.

I wondered if such a thing could possibly happen. The story has been vox populi in Mexico all week, according to a source. The idea that a flood of incriminating facts finally exposing all those enriching themselves through organized crime while pretending to fight it was too tempting to believe. Since the Mexican government began its blitz against the cartels, an estimated 50,000 people have died – many of them innocent civilians. Indeed, apparently Anonymous’s source is 25,000 emails stolen from the Mexican government.

But in the days following the revelation of the video, however, new articles have suggested that other Anonymous ‘hacktivists’ are saying ”Whoa.” They admitted that a) it could get them killed and b) with no real way of verifying all that data, it could allow rival cartel members to attack yet more innocent people.

Now, it seems that OpCartel is still on. At least, that is according to a form Anonymous guy named Barrett Brown, who left the group but is still in contact with them. He said that Anonymous had discussed and voted on the matter and decided, in the end, to press on.

So tomorrow, the day before Guy Fawkes Day, we will find out if the threat to blow up the Zetas (could other cartels be exposed in the future?) is real. And of course, if so, what happens next. I’m curious, but sceptical. Barrett Brown also told SecurityNews Daily that a secondary goal of the operation is “to see the Mexican people arm themselves and rise up against the cartels and their government.” It’s a great idea but I’m skeptical of that too. But at least someone is trying to attack the problem at its roots – the nexus between organized crime and the powers-that-be.


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