The hacktivist collective Anonymous is backing down from its threats to target the notoriously violent Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. On October 6, some members of Anonymous announced in a YouTube video (below) that the hackers "will publish the identities and addresses of the syndicate's associates, from corrupt police to taxi drivers, as well as reveal the syndicates' businesses" unless a member of Anonymous who was kidnapped by Los Zetas during a street protest last week was released, the Houston Chronicle reports. "We cannot defend ourselves with weapons, but we can with their cars, houses, bars. It's not difficult," the Guy Fawkes-masked man says in the Spanish video.
However, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding whether or not Anonymous will still carry out the operation, called #OpCartel on Twitter. Mexican newspaper Milenio reports that Anonymous members are second-guessing themselves, worried that those who work with Los Zetas will be killed indiscriminately by rival gangs. "We can not be a reckless administrators to condemn to death those who participate, we have talked and discussed extensively by all and it was decided to remove it," two Anonymous members told the paper. Of course, Anonymous is worried for itself, too. Mexico's drug cartels have a history of gruesomely torturing and killing those who denounce them over social media, as CNN reports. However, some Anonymous members claim they're sticking to their plan. "#OpCartel is very much alive and like I said to others in private our war is on corruption on both sides of the spectrum. Vamos a GUERRA!" writes @anonymouSabu in English, arguing with other Twitter users about whether the operation is justified. In any case, there is still hope among the two Anonymous members interviewed by Milenio that future hacking attacks against the cartels will work. "Other operations are in progress, but for the moment we hope it is clear that OpCartel is false," they say.
In any case, you can watch the video announcing the hack (in Spanish) below.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.