Narcos meet hackers: 2 anonymous groups spar

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MEXICO CITY — One of the world’s most secretive movements is taking aim at a just as clandestine mafia, right out in the open.

Bloggers and tweeters claiming to belong to the hacker movement “Anonymous” say they plan to expose collaborators of Mexico’s bloody Zetas drug cartel, even if some of them seem to have backed away from the plan out of fear.

Their debate is playing out on chatboards, websites and Twitter messages, many of them open to public view.

But just what they might do, as a claimed Friday deadline approaches, remains unclear, perhaps even to the loosely coordinated Internet community. Its participants generally hide their real-world identities even from one another, partly as protection from officials and prosecutors who often consider them outlaws.

Self-proclaimed members of a movement best known for hacking public corporate and government websites are now talking about attacking a drug cartel that largely shuns the Internet and has killed, even beheaded, ordinary bloggers for posting information about it.

“The problem is, hack what? There are no drug cartel websites, that I know of, that would be hackable,” said Raul Trejo, an expert on media and violence at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

In an Internet video posted last month, a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask claimed the Zetas had kidnapped a member of Anonymous in the state of Veracruz while he was handing out political pamphlets. The video doesn’t give the victim’s name, and prosecutors say they know nothing about the supposed abduction.

The speaker in the video said that if the kidnap victim is not released, Anonymous will post the names, photos and addresses of taxi drivers, police, journalists and others allegedly working with the Zetas. He did not say how the movement would get such information, but suggested it can locate and blow up cartel associates’ “cars, houses, bars and whorehouses” starting Friday.

“It won’t be difficult, we all know who you are and where you can be found,” said the masked speaker.

A statement posted late Tuesday on the Anonymous IberoAmerica website said, “We know we are risking our lives but we prefer to die standing than to live a whole life on our knees.” 

Printed on Thursday, November 3, 2011 as: 'Anonymous' group threatens to reveal drug cartel details