OpCartel, an announced Anonymous operation to take on the Mexican drug cartel known as the Zetas, seems like it might be in line with Anonymous’s recent shift away from pursuing lulz in favor of morals-motivated attacks against pedophiles, misbehaving corporations and repressive regimes.
But despite the press that the announcement garnered, there seems to be little support among Anonymous for the action — and there’s hints that the announcement is meant to bring into being the very attack it’s actually threatening to carry out.
Anonymous has launched a number of campaigns in the last year. Operation Payback was launched against major copyright holders after an anti-piracy firm was caught using blackhat tactics against file sharers; Operation Avenge Assange targeted financial institutions that refused to allow donations to Wikileaks; and anons have been involved with #occupywallstreet. While not completely jettisoning the lulz, the operations have clearly taken Anonymous in the direction of taking a side in contentious societal issues.
The move to take on a murderous cartel also fits with Anonymous’ history of bold, apparently fearless actions of #antisec against anyone they deem target-worthy, whether the target carries guns or not.
Still everyone, Anonymous and not, seems to agree that going after the Zetas, who are known for hanging people by their own intestines, would be a new level of ambitious, and might even be the point where Anonymous would bite off more than they could chew.
But there’s some nagging problems with the video that proposes the op.
It makes claims about a kidnapping, but has no clear details. It claims the victim of the kidnapping had been part of a paperstorm op — meaning an action where posters are plastered around an area — but, there’s no link anywhere that shows that happened. Most troublesome of all, the Mexican Anons seem to want nothing to do with it, as Global Voices details.
It’s useless to ask whether OpCartel is a fraud; wherever it came from, if it picks up steam it will be an Anonymous operation. If, as many anons I talked with have said, no one will touch it with a 10-foot pole, it simply never will become one, regardless of its origin.
OpCartel looks like a perfect example of “Let’s you and him go fight,” a set-up where a third party gets the first two parties into a conflict for their own aims.
This post is part of a special series from Quinn Norton, who is embedding with Occupy protestors and going beyond the headlines with Anonymous for Wired.com. For an introduction to the series, read Quinn’s description of the project.