British / Iranian Sanctions

The UK is to expel all Iranian diplomats following the storming of its embassy in Tehran, Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced.He said he had ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London.  Tuesday’s attack by hundreds of protesters followed Britain’s decision to impose further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.  The sanctions led to Iran’s parliament reducing diplomatic ties with the UK.  Mr Hague said he was demanding the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London, with all its staff to leave the UK within 48 hours.  “If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here,” Mr Hague told MPs.  He said there had been “some degree of regime consent” in the attacks on the embassy and on another UK diplomatic compound in Tehran.  He said all UK diplomatic staff in Tehran had been evacuated and the embassy closed.  Mr Hague said relations between the UK and Iran were now at their lowest level, but the UK was not severing relations with Tehran entirely.  Addressing parliament, Mr Hague said he was due to raise the matter at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.  “We will discuss these events and further action which needs to be taken in the light of Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons programme,” he said.  Iran’s foreign ministry called the British move “hasty”, state TV reported, according to Reuters.  It said Iran would take “further appropriate action”.  Also on Wednesday, Germany, France and the Netherlands announced they were recalling their ambassadors to Tehran for consultation and Norway said it was temporarily closing its embassy there as a precaution.  Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said the Iranian ambassador to Rome was being summoned to give guarantees of security for Italy’s mission in Tehran.  Hundreds of protesters – whom Iran described as “students” – massed outside the embassy compound on Tuesday afternoon before scaling the walls and the gates, burning British flags and a car.  Another UK diplomatic compound in northern Tehran, known locally as Qolhak Garden, was also overrun and damaged.  Iran said it regretted the incident, which it described as “unacceptable behaviour by a small number of protesters”.  Mr Hague said the majority of those taking part had been members of a regime-backed Basij militia group.  He said the private quarters of staff and the ambassador had been ransacked, the main embassy office set on fire and personal possessions belonging to UK diplomats stolen.  The US, EU and UN Security Council also condemned the attacks.

Turbulent history

Relations between the UK and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been fraught since the Iranian revolution in 1979.  Wednesday’s move brings bilateral relations to their lowest level since 1989 when ties were broken over Iran’s declaration of a “fatwa” (edict) to kill the author Salman Rushdie.  Analysts have compared Tuesday’s scenes in Tehran to the 1979 storming of the US embassy there. That ended with more than 50 US diplomats and staff being held hostage for more than 400 days.  The US and Iran have had no diplomatic ties since then – the Swiss embassy in Tehran serves as the protecting power for US interests in the country.  Last week the US, Canada and the UK announced new sanctions against Iran, including measures to restrict the activities of the Iranian central bank.  The UK said then it was severing all financial ties with Iran.  The move followed a report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog (IAEA) that said Iran had carried out tests “relevant to the development of a nuclear device”.  Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.  On Sunday, Iran’s parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK in response to the recent action.

NASA’S Horrible History

Few remember the second chimp launched into space by the United States. Even fewer remember the terrible equipment malfunction that subjected the animal to 76 electric shocks in orbit.  The chimps of space — Ham, the first primate in space, and Enos, the second primate (after Yuri Gagarin​) to orbit Earth — have a special place in our memories of NASA. These animals paved the way for the United States space program by convincing biologists that animals’ bodies *and* minds could function in orbit.  But there was a dark side to the missions. The chimps were the first to be trained by “avoidance conditioning” during which electric shocks were administered to the soles of their feet when the animals responded incorrectly in carrying out simple tasks. So, for example, the animals would be presented with three shapes and were trained to pick out the one that was not like the two others. They made their selections by pressing one of three levers that corresponded to the three symbols. On problem one below, the chimp should press the middle lever. On problem two, the chimp should press the right lever, and so on. Scientists call these oddity problems.   After Enos was in orbit, his first battery of oddity problems went as well as could be expected. After 18 problems, Enos had received 10 shocks. But on his next battery of tests, the center lever malfunctioned as did the switch controlling which question was presented. Enos kept being presented the same problem — number one above — in which the correct answer required pressing the center lever, but his center lever was broken. Enos, strapped into a space module orbiting the earth, was subjected to 33 shocks in a row, no matter what he did. The chimp kept trying to press different levers, NASA researchers record, but he kept getting shocked. Mercifully, the test ended after 35 shocks, and Enos performed normally on the other tasks he was given.  But then, as per the preexisting schedule, he was presented with the oddity problem again. Just like the time before, the apparatus malfunctioned and Enos was shocked 41 times. Even NASA scientists were amazed that the chimp soldiered on, despite the horrible malfunction.  Note that the malfunctioning of the center lever, which resulted in the subject receiving 35 shocks on the second session of the oddity problem, did not disrupt his subsequent performance. … And likewise, the 41 shocks received during the third oddity session did not affect performance during the subsequent fourth session of the CA-DA tasks. Certainly, following a malfunction of this nature, it might be expected that behavior would be disrupted, but this was not in evidence.  Eventually, Enos’ flight ended and he came back to Earth. His capsule did not land where NASA anticipated, so he was stuck in the capsule for 3 hours and 20 minutes. By the time the USS Stormes crew extracted him, “The subject had broken through the protective belly panel and had removed or damaged most of the physiological sensors,” a NASA report records. “He had also forcibly removed the urinary catheter while the balloon was still inflated.”  A little less than a year later, Enos died of dysentery. We know his body was inspected, but the location of his remains is unknown.

Anonymous Threatens NATO



NATO has poked the bear of the internet (which responded by announcing that it’s actually a hydra).  Anthropomorphic confusion aside, a NATO security report about “Anonymous”—the mysterious “hacktivist” group responsible for attacks on MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Amazon and, most recently, Sony—has led the underground group to respond by cautioning NATO, “This is no longer your world. It is our world – the people’s world.”NATO’s report, issued last month, warned about the rising tide of politically-motivated cyberattacks, singling out Anonymous as the most sophisticated and high-profile of the known hacktivist groups:
“Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership. It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted,” the report read, also asking, “Can one invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty after a cyber attack? And what response mechanisms should the Alliance employ against the attacker? Should the retaliation be limited to cyber means only, or should conventional military strikes also be considered?”In response, Anonymous issued a lengthy statement (Google-cached version; the site is having server issues currently) that says, in part:“We do not wish to threaten anybody’s way of life. We do not wish to dictate anything to anybody. We do not wish to terrorize any nation.We merely wish to remove power from vested interests and return it to the people – who, in a democracy, it should never have been taken from in the first place.The government makes the law. This does not give them the right to break it. If the government was doing nothing underhand or illegal, there would be nothing ‘embarassing’ [sic] about Wikileaks revelations, nor would there have been any scandal emanating from HBGary. The resulting scandals were not a result of Anonymous’ or Wikileaks’ revelations, they were the result of the CONTENT of those revelations. And responsibility for that content can be laid solely at the doorstep of policymakers who, like any corrupt entity, naively believed that they were above the law and that they would not be caught.A lot of government and corporate comment has been dedicated to ‘how we can avoid a similar leak in the future’. Such advice ranges from better security, to lower levels of clearance, from harsher penalties for whistleblowers, to censorship of the press.Our message is simple: Do not lie to the people and you won’t have to worry about your lies being exposed. Do not make corrupt deals and you won’t have to worry about your corruption being laid bare. Do not break the rules and you won’t have to worry about getting in trouble for it.”It goes on to warn, “do not make the mistake of challenging Anonymous. Do not make the mistake of believing you can behead a headless snake. If you slice off one head of Hydra, ten more heads will grow in its place. If you cut down one Anon, ten more will join us purely out of anger at your trampling of dissent.”Quite when Anonymous started modeling itself after fictional terrorist organizations is unclear, but the message is just the opposite: NATO is on warning. How they’ll respond to this—if they’ll respond—remains to be seen, but I doubt that I’m the only person hoping that any response will be far more measured than bringing up conventional military strikes again.

Fukushima Date Rice

High cesium level found in Date rice.  The government on Tuesday ordered a ban on the shipment of rice harvested in two more districts in Fukushima Prefecture after tests detected dangerously high levels of radioactive cesium.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the central government has instructed Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato to impose the ban on rice harvested this year in the Oguni district and the Tsukidate district, both in the city of Date.  On Monday, the Fukushima Prefectural Government announced that a combined 3,400 kg of unmilled rice harvested by two farms in the Oguni district and by one farm in the Tsukidate district contained between 580 and 1,050 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. The government’s limit is 500 becquerels.  One of the farms in the Oguni district already has sold 9 kg of the tainted rice, the prefectural government said, adding it has yet to establish the identity of the buyer. The remainder of the Oguni rice has not reached the market, it said.  None of the rice harvested by the farm in Tsukidate has been distributed, and all 1,500 kg are currently being stored by the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives​.  It is the second ban on rice grown in Fukushima Prefecture in the last two weeks. On Nov. 17, the government banned rice in the Onami district of the city of Fukushima after high levels of cesium were detected.  The prefectural government also decided Tuesday to inspect rice from about 2,300 farms in certain districts of Nihonmatsu and Motomiya where high radiation levels have been recorded.  Date is located next to the city of Fukushima, and parts of it have been designated as radiation hot spots where the annual exposure could exceed the maximum 20-millisievert limit.  “While we carried out the best inspection process we could think of, we must take the fact (that contaminated rice has been found) seriously,” agriculture minister Michihiko Kano, hinting it may be necessary to devise new processes for inspecting rice.  The government will do its best to identify the buyer of the contaminated Oguni rice, he said.  The tainted rice was detected in new tests the Fukushima Prefectural Government started conducting on rice harvested by about 1,500 farms in the cities of Fukushima and Date after the central government banned rice from the Onami district.

Manslaughter of Michael Jackson

A Los Angeles judge sentenced Dr. Conrad Murray​ to four years in jail Tuesday for the involuntary manslaughter death of Michael Jackson​.  Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Tuesday that Jackson died because of Murray’s criminal negligence, and denied the defense’s request for probation.  Murray, 58, is to serve out the four years in Los Angeles County jail, according to Pastor’s ruling. He could serve less than the four year sentence because of overcrowding in California jails.  Pastor said Murray “is and remains dangerous” due to his lack of remorse for the death of Jackson from a fatal dose of propofol on June 25, 2009. He called Murray’s behavior “experimental medicine,” and slammed Murray’s participation in what he termed  “money for medicine madness.”  “Dr. Murray created a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine,” the judge said. “The practice of propofol for medicine madness, which violated his sworn obligation, for money, fame prestige and whwatever else may have occurred.”  Pastor said one of the most disturbing aspects of Murray’s case was a slurred recording of Jackson recovered from the doctor’s cell phone.  “That tape recording was Dr. Murray’s insurance policy,” Pastor said. “It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient’s most vulnerable point.”  Murray listened to the verdict stone faced, and showed no reaction to the judge’s decision.  Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a six-week trial that presented the most detailed account yet of Jackson’s final hours but left many questions about Murray’s treatment of the superstar with an operating-room anesthetic as he battled chronic insomnia.  Jackson’s family told a judge Tuesday that they were not seeking revenge but want the doctor who killed the superstar to receive a stiff sentence that serves as a warning to opportunistic doctors.  “The Bible reminds us that men cannot do justice, they can only seek justice,” the family said in a statement read by attorney Brian Panish. “That is all we can ask as a family, and that is all we ask for here.”  The statement went on to say, “We are not here to seek revenge. There is nothing you can do today that will bring Michael back.”  Panish did not specifically request the maximum term of four years in jail for Murray but said the cardiologist should be punished in a way that reminds physicians that they cannot sell their services to the highest bidder.  Several members of Jackson’s family, including mother Katherine and siblings LaToya, Jermaine, Randy and Rebbie, attended the sentencing.  Deputy District Attorney David Walgren also asked Pastor to consider statements Jackson’s mother, Katherine, made to probation officials who prepared a report for the sentencing.  He said Katherine Jackson said she thinks about her son every morning and that his children also think about their father daily.  “`Their world collapsed when he left,”‘ Walgren quoted Katherine Jackson as telling probation officials.  Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff​ highlighted the accomplishments of Murray.  “I do wonder though to what extent the court considers the entirety of a man’s book of life, as opposed to one chapter,” he told the judge.  The doctor decided not to directly address the court.  Chernoff again attacked Michael Jackson, as he and his team frequently did during the doctor’s trial.  “Michael Jackson was a drug seeker,” Chernoff said.  Jackson’s death in June 2009 stunned the world, as did the ensuing investigation that led to Murray being charged in February 2010.  Murray told detectives he had been giving the singer nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep as he prepared for a series of comeback concerts. Propofol is supposed to be used in hospital settings and has never been approved for sleep treatments, yet Murray acknowledged giving it to Jackson then leaving the room on the day the singer died.  Murray declined to testify during his trial but did opt to participate in a documentary in which he said he didn’t consider himself guilty of any crime and blamed Jackson for entrapping him into administering the propofol doses. His attorneys contended throughout the case that Jackson must have given himself the fatal dose when Murray left the singer’s bedside.  In their sentencing memorandum, prosecutors cited Murray’s statements to advocate that he receive the maximum term. They also want him to pay restitution to the singer’s three children — Prince, Paris and Blanket.  It’s unlikely that Murray can pay any sizable sum, including the $1.8 million cost of his funeral. He was deeply in debt when he agreed to serve as Jackson’s personal physician for $150,000 a month, and the singer died before Murray received any money.

Fukushima Covered in Cesium

Some 8 percent of Japan’s land area, or more than 30,000 square kilometers, has been contaminated with radioactive cesium from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.Spanning 13 prefectures, the affected area has accumulated more than 10,000 becquerels of cesium 134 and 137 per square meter, according to the science ministry.The ministry has released the latest version of its cesium contamination map, covering 18 prefectures.Radioactive plumes from the Fukushima No. 1 plant reached no farther than the border between Gunma and Nagano prefectures in the west and southern Iwate Prefecture in the north.Ministry officials said the plumes flowed mainly via four routes between March 14 and 22 after the plant was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11.The first plume headed westward from late March 14 to early March 15, when huge amounts of radioactive materials were released following a meltdown at the No. 2 reactor.It moved clockwise over a wide area in the Kanto region. Radioactive materials fell with rain and snow, particularly in the northern parts of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures.A branch of the plume moved southward from Gunma Prefecture, passing through western Saitama Prefecture, eastern Nagano Prefecture and western Tokyo.It stopped in western Kanagawa Prefecture, where the Tanzawa mountain range rises up.The second plume headed northwest in the afternoon of March 15, heavily contaminating parts of Namie and other municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.The third plume headed northward, apparently in the afternoon of March 20.Areas in northern Miyagi Prefecture and southern Iwate Prefecture were probably contaminated when it rained between the late afternoon of March 20 and early March 21.The fourth plume headed southward from the night of March 21 and early March 22.It passed through northern Chiba Prefecture but largely skirted central Tokyo due to a pressure pattern, limiting contamination in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.It is believed that the amount of radioactive materials released from the Fukushima No. 1 plant increased between March 20 and 23, but the reasons are not yet known.In Fukushima and seven other prefectures, 11,600 square kilometers, or 3 percent of Japan’s land area, have annual additional radiation levels of at least 1 millisievert, according to Environment Ministry estimates.The government has said it will remove radioactive materials if annual additional radiation levels reach 1 millisievert or more.The science ministry has been carrying out aerial monitoring of radioactive materials since April.Helicopters fly at relatively low speeds, allowing monitoring of levels of radiation released from the ground at a height of 1 meter.Cesium accumulations in soil and radiation levels are also measured separately at selected sites on the ground.Officials estimate cesium accumulations at other locations using correlations between radiation levels 1 meter above the ground monitored from helicopters and the actual cesium accumulations at the selected sites.Cesium 137 will have a long-term impact on the environment because it has a half-life of 30 years.It was detected even before the Fukushima accident, apparently as a result of nuclear testing conducted by other nations.Still, the maximum amount found in nationwide surveys since fiscal 1999 was 4,700 becquerels in Nagano Prefecture.The science ministry’s cesium contamination map excludes the effects of pre-disaster contamination.The map will cover 22 prefectures when it is completed by the end of the year. Data for Aomori, Ishikawa, Fukui and Aichi prefectures will be added.

Obama’s Gestapo

Obama’s Pepper Spraying Cops

The growing number of video clips and photos showing police in Darth Vader-like riot gear assaulting peaceful demonstrators with everything from tear gas and mace to truncheons, point-blank shots with beanbags and rubber bullets, and of course the ubiquitous fist and club, have made a bad joke out of claims that America is either the land of the free or the home of the brave.

Scott Olson, a veteran of America’s Iraq War, suffered a severe brain injury that nearly killed him, and left him with difficulty speaking, thanks to a shot to his head by an attacking police officer in Oakland who was firing teargas canisters from a gun-like weapon. Olsen is lucky to be alive and will hopefully recover over time. A comrade, veteran Kayvan Sabehgi, who was retreating from advancing police that same night with his hands tucked in his pockets, can be seen being chased and so brutally beaten by another attacking thug cop that he had to be hospitalized for treatment of a lacerated spleen, although the cops left him writing in agony in a cell for hours before sending him to the hospital.

Old women, pregnant mothers-to-be, and even children have been hit with pepper spray, teargassed and terrorized by police goons in New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Dallas, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere in what is almost certainly a coordinated attack on the Occupy Movement being run out of Washington.

Americans have been watching these scenes of cops assaulting peaceful demonstrators in shock. They are used to seeing this kind of thing going on in Latin America or the Middle East or Asia, and our own government would always make noises of protest. Now it’s happening here at home.

President Obama, meanwhile, has remained shamelessly silent about this police-state behavior by the nation’s local police forces, all of them armed and armored with the aid of Federal Homeland Security grants, and working on the basis of “intelligence” collected by federally-funded Fusion Centers” and federally- run Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

This is the moment that Obama, who faces an election in less than a year, has to demonstrate whether he is the president of the banks that have so lavishly funded his first campaign, that continue to pour money into his current re-election campaign, and that are urging this crackdown on protests, or the people — especially the young people — who worked so hard to put him into office in the first place.

The thuggish attacks on the peaceful protesters of the Occupy Movement are even more brutal than were many of the attacks on the Civil Rights Movement marchers of the 1950s and ’60s. The only thing lacking right now from those dark days are the murders and the dogs, but no doubt we’ll be seeing those thing’s next, as the movement demanding economic justice for the 99% and punishment for the 1% builds momentum.

Back in the 1950s, an earlier president, former Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhour, witnessing the atrocities of local police in Arkansas and other jurisdictions, did the right thing. He ordered out the National Guard to defend the civil rights of young black people who wanted to be able to attend public schools and colleges, and those week-end soldiers defended the people and the Constitution and kept the cops and their dogs at bay.

Now President Obama must do the same thing. Whether or not his Department of Homeland Security and his Justice Department have been orchestrating the attacks on demonstrators in the Occupy Movement, Obama must now order out the Guard and instruct them to defend the protesters and the Constitution. It would be a welcome new assignment for the Guard, which for the past decade has been wrongly shipped out of the country to help wage imperialist wars on Iraqis and Afghans.

If he does this, he instantly wins back the army of young people who once worked so tirelessly for his historic election in 2008. If he doesn’t do it, and allows the brutality and the thuggishness to continue to escalate, his reelection hopes are toast, and deservedly so.

The Obama presidency has been one of the greatest disasters for progressives in modern history, as a man who ran for office promising change and a new respect for the Constitution, almost immediately picked up where his predecessor had left off, escalating the country’s illegal wars, enlarging the share of the nation’s wealth going to the Pentagon and to the secret intelligence services, shoveling money to the biggest banks, endorsing the torture abuses at Guantanamo and at the many CIA black-sites around the world, authorizing the summary execution of American citizens abroad, and ignoring the looming catastrophe of global climate change.

It took some time, but out of this wreckage and betrayal, a movement has arisen, led by young people — many of them the very young people who worked so tirelessly for Obama. Now they are boldly demanding a government that works on behalf of the majority, not of the rich and powerful.

For their efforts, they are being assaulted by a police force that has been turned, over the last decade of a fraudulent, trumped-up “War” on Terror, into a kind of American Gestapo, that “polices” communities with assault weapons, breaks into homes wearing masks, beats and gasses people without even bothering to arrest them, kills unarmed citizens with impunity, and considers criticism of its actions tantamount to a crime in itself, meriting assault and/or arrest.

Obama has overseen and even been the author of much of this disaster, but he still has a choice at this point: Either put an immediate stop to this outrage, by inserting the National Guard between these thugs in blue or black, and the people, and start listening and responding to the demands of the Occupy Movement, or go down to defeat next November as the man who buried American democracy and freedom.

NASA Makes a Tractor Beam

NASA may be temporarily out of the manned spaceflight game, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t preparing to realize all of our most technologically compelling sci-fi fantasies. The agency’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has awarded three researchers funding to study three different means of creating a tractor beam–a ray of laser light than can trap and pull objects in the opposite direction of the beam.

But we won’t be trapping and pulling in rebel freighters right away. These explorations into tractor beam tech are designed to produce a way for orbiting science spacecraft and planetary rovers to corral and collect small atmospheric particles at a distance. Such a tool would allow both orbiters and rovers to sample different layers of a planet’s atmosphere, for instance, or allow a probe to sample the tail of a comet without placing itself in its debris-strewn wake.

So how do you build a tractor beam? The three NASA scientists are looking at three different methods. The first–the “optical tweezers” method–relies on two counter-propagating beams that create a kind of ring-like geometry that confines particles inside. In lab tests, researchers have shown that by alternately strengthening or weakening one of the beams they can create a backward pull along the ring’s center where the particles are trapped, moving the particles opposite the direction of the beams. This method, however, requires an atmosphere because it relies on temperature differences to move the particles. It won’t work in the vacuum of space or on moons or asteroids with no atmospheres to speak of.

The second technique uses optical solenoid beams that spiral around the axis of propagation–just picture a spiral laser beam that can pull particles in the opposite direction of propagation. It does this via electromagnetic effects caused by the laser, and thus requires no atmosphere.

Then there’s the third method, which is completely theoretical. Called a Bessel beam, it basically would look like a single beam of light surrounded by concentric circles of light if you shined it against the wall. Somehow this arrangement of light induces strange electric and magnetic fields that can pull an object back in the opposite direction of the beam itself. Emphasis on the “somehow,” as we don’t really get it either.

Anonymous Threatens Mexican Cartel

Anonymous threatens violent Mexican drug ring

Mexican army soldiers stand guard around a car where a forensic team works on recovering corpses of alleged members of a drug cartel in Veracruz, on October 30, 2011 (AFP Photo / Lucas Castro)

Mexican army soldiers stand guard around a car where a forensic team works on recovering corpses of alleged members of a drug cartel in Veracruz, on October 30, 2011

Hackers with the online collective Anonymous say that they will press on with a war against their latest target despite threats of certain Death. Anonymous says they are about to battle it out with the notorious Mexican drug cartel the Zetas.  Citing an abduction of a fellow hacker as the motivation for their upcoming assault, Anonymous members say that they will release thousands of names connected with the Zetas drug cartel if their comrade is not released by Saturday, November 5. According to Anonymous hackers, they’ve illegally obtained around 25,000 emails from the Mexican government which they will leak online to out people affiliated with the Zetas through a mission they are calling OpCartel. They say that the roster they’ve managed to put together by combing through the governmental emails identify at least 75 individuals affiliated with the Zetas.  Anonymous officials say police officers and other authorities are all connected to the violent drug ring. Given the notoriety of the Zetas and the seriousness of the ordeal, leading hackers with the collective say that only veteran “Anons” should participate in the online onslaught.  Unofficial Anonymous spokesperson Barret Brown of Texas has posted a video to YouTube in which he warns rookie hackers to sit out this sting, but despite acknowledging the possibilities of an attack on the Zetas, he says he isn’t scared.

“I mean, it’s a drug cartel, they’re violent people,” says Brown. “But they’re not going to come streaming up the street in downtown Dallas and kill me.”

Others say that that might exactly be the case. Stratfor, an internationally renowned security company, tells The Guardian that the Zetas have already hired experts in an attempt to hunt down the Anonymous users responsible for the rally. According to Stratfor, this could mean “abduction, injury and death” for any hackers that are caught.  Earlier this week disemboweled bodies were founding hanging from a bridge near the border city of Nuevo Laredo, where the corpses were accompanied with signage warning social network users to keep “funny things” off the Internet. Both of the deceased were young bloggers who wrote about the drug ring.  Earlier this week, however, Brown warned the Zetas via his Twitter account that he was serious himself. “Give us back our Anonymous participant or many of you die within a week,” he tweeted.  Another Twitter user aligned with Anonymous using the handle @Sm0k34n0n also called participating in the leak as a risky maneuver and warned new members to not partake. He added, however, that trying to stop the movement from happening would mean equivocate to pledging allegiance to the Zetas.  Brown adds that this attack won’t necessarily take down the Zetas, but it will pose a problem for the drug lords. He did say, however, that it could open the door for further Anonymous assaults in the future.  “Fundamentally, there’s no way to stop the Zetas or any other cartel other than legalizing drugs, which is something that’s more of a long-term ambitious effort that Anonymous could potentially pursue,” Brown says in his YouTube video.  In the meantime, however, Anonymous officials have confirmed that they do plan to go ahead with their attack on the Zetas, regardless of whether some hackers say it isn’t the best move for the collective to make. Many Anons have already retreated and given up on the cause and no hackers have yet to provide concrete proof that they have in fact obtained the 25,000 emails they say they have in their possession.  “Are we afraid? Clearly so. Do we fear for our lives? Obviously. Notwithstanding that, we think it is time to say ‘enough,’” reads a statement posted by the group on the Anonymous IberoAmerica website. “We will go ahead with the operation, because people have asked us to.”  Brown has appeared on YouTube unmasked speaking to the Zetas and Anons and shows no sign of backing down, even with his identity out in the open for a Zetas-ordered hit. When asked why he showed his face, Brown responded “because I was asked to do so by several Mexicans who are risking their lives for this, too.”