‘Anonymous’ Abandons Attack Against Mexican Drug Cartel?

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Just days after announcing its intent to reveal information about civilians who have assisted the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, the group has seemingly backed down for fear of possible violent reprisals.

Two apparently self-identified Anonymous members, Skill3r and Glynnis Paroubek, were quoted in Mexican newspaper Milenio as saying, “We didn’t want irresponsible administrators to condemn participants [in the operation] to death. We’ve discussed it extensively and we all decided to remove it.”

(MORE: Anonymous vs. Zetas: Hackers Target Mexican Drug Cartel)

This statement follows a post on the Anonymous Mexico Facebook page that reads in part: “Our fight is not of this kind and our ideals are not in tune with that operation. The note [announcing Operation Cartel] published in many electronic media is completely false.”

The decision may be a smart one; global intelligence company Stratfor released a report yesterday claiming that “Los Zetas are deploying their own teams of computer experts to track those individuals involved in the online anti-cartel campaign, which indicates that the criminal group is taking the campaign very seriously,” a comment which comes with the extra weight of earlier internet-related murders as a warning to “internet snitches” trying to intervene in the drug war.

Despite this, it’s possible that Anonymous is split over the decision to withdraw from this particular operation; according to a tweet from Anonymous member Sabu, “#OpCartel is very much alive and like I said to others in private our war is on corruption on both sides of the spectrum. Vamous a GUERRA!” We may not know until November 5th whether or not the operation is still in existence… which, admittedly, may be part of the plan.

MORE: ‘Anonymous’ Threatens to Take Down Fox News Next Month

[via Talking Points Memo]

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.