Though the jury's still out on the veracity of Anonymous' showdown with south-of-the-border bullies, Barrett Brown has emerged as the face of the hacktivist collective, which last week bit off possibly more than it could chew when it threatened the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.
Last week we told you how Anonymous drew a line-in-the-sand ultimatum, threatening to go public with the identities of local police, journalists, taxi drivers and other allies who conspire with Los Zetas if the cartel didn't release a kidnapped Anonymous member.
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Though Anonymous apparently called off their Operation Cartel (#OpCartel) after Los Zetas allegedly returned the kidnapped victim, Brown has decided to flee his Dallas home over concerns for his security. On Nov. 8, he tweeted, "I've got ex-military people releasing info on me and family. Have to leave Texas."
According to a tweet, members of #OccupyDC picked up the tab for a plane ticket to New York City after Brown tweeted "Anyone who can buy me ticket to NYC/Boston and have me pay them back in month, let me know. Transistor@hushmail.com. Home no longer secure."
Perhaps fleeing to more northern exposures was a good move for Brown — especially after a Mexican man was found decapited and dumped in the town of Nuevo Laredo, one mile from the Texas border. The man's hands were handcuffed behind his back, his body and head publicly strewn on a bloody sheet of canvas scrawled with the message: “Hi I’m ‘Rascatripas’ and this happened to me because I didn’t understand I shouldn’t post things on social networks.”
Though the man was not identified as an Anonymous member, the drug cartels have made it viciously clear that within the blogosphere there are no such things as empty threats against their operations. The cartels have long gone after journalists and public officials that have crossed them, but the recent brutal and gruesome killings of people affiliated with online and social media networks reiterates the fact that cartels are keeping a close eye on their online dissenters.