* UPDATE: Fulfilling any decently skeptical person's expectations but failing those of info-war-mongers, including major U.S. media outlets and some heroin addict in Dallas, #OpCartel is basically a bust tonight. Here's my report from Friday.
** Originally published at World Now:
A story that at first seemed to point ominously to a dangerous new development in Mexico's drug war was spiraling into confusion Friday as social-media users claiming ties to the hackers group Anonymous announced -- and then retracted -- a threat against the Zetas cartel in Mexico.
Some Twitter users who claim membership in the secretive hackers collective said they would be carrying out the attack against the ultra-violent Zetas by revealing the identities of the cartel's associates and businesses starting Saturday.
Adding to the confusion, the reason for the supposed cancellation of the attack shifted throughout the day. Did the Zetas release the Anonymous member allegedly kidnapped in Mexico, an abduction that purportedly inspired the hackers' threat? Or did Anonymous receive threats itself and cancel the operation for the safety of its members and their families?
In the dual worlds of shadowy cartels and shadowy hackers, there is almost no way of knowing, and no way of verifying such claims.
Anyone can claim membership of the leaderless hackers group. And anyone, in theory, can start a hash-tag on Twitter and call it an "operation" -- even before a single action is taken.