By James Quigley
"The internet and social media are transforming politics around the world and here in Ireland. Never before has there been so many ways that you can help influence and make change happen through this global online community we live in." (link below)
So says Sinn Fein's 'Online Supporters' (SFOS) web page. It's proclamation and intent, accompanied with Twitter ads, seems overtly and blatantly obvious. It is a recruitment campaign for cyber warriors to be part of the 'Digital Rising'.
We know enough already about Sinn Fein's online scrutiny, abuse and bullying and we know that the practice is all too prevalent. You would think that after all the evidence of this terrible phenomenon , Sinn Fein might apologise and in so doing stamp out the practice. Unfortunately they haven't and instead by the looks of it they intend to intensify it.
Wouldn't it be interesting to see inside the online activist's instruction manual?
Sinn Fein's drive for cyber watchdogs
Sinn Fein's latest advertisements and recruitment drive for online activists is overtly militaristic. It is a command to action. It is aggressive. The above ad is a take on the iconic 1914 Lord Kitchener's First World War recruitment poster 'I Want You', a macho image symbolising authoritarianism and militarism. It is an order, a call to arms. Interestingly the colour scheme of red on yellow is a warning signal in the animal world (aposematism).
Sinn Fein's command on their web page is "Anois an t-am le gníomhú! Now is that time to act!" . And on the pages logo the symbolism is, in place of an armalite each activist is equipped with a mobile phone.
Should we be worried of this 'Digital Rising'
Paul@pauldelaney, March 2016, put up a warning on Twitter pointing out that " Everyone needs to be aware that Sinn Fein are planning an online onslaught that will troll accounts, bullying & intimidating".
What on earth is Digital Rising?'
The journal.ie said on Sept 2015 "Party supporters are also among the most active on social media. Although a recent study found that it's supporters are less likely to use Twitter than other party supporters. But Sinn Féin has also faced criticism for having so-called ‘keyboard warriors’ who have attacked abuse victim Máiria Cahill online.
Mairia Cahill's armchair Provo trolls sink to sickest depths
Belfast Telegraph wrote on March 2016 "Internet attacks on Mairia Cahill are nothing new, of course. They started up almost as soon as the original Spotlight programme detailing her alleged abuse by a suspected IRA man was broadcast back in October last year. Since then the news agenda has moved on. But the trolls haven't."
The trolling of Ann Travers
sluggerotoole.com on Nov 2014 asked " What do you think motivates people to troll you on Twitter?
Ann Travers; Wow! Big question! I really don’t have any idea, however I guess it’s because I question and support others who question. I also guess it’s because my Dad was a Judge and my sister was murdered by the IRA. they see me as “fair game”.
A Critique - Donegal a microcosm of the malaise affecting Rigt2Change Ireland
Buncrana Together on Nov 2015 Buncrana Together published an article about experiences of the control Sinn Fein had on the Right2Water/Right2Change movement and tried to show how they manipulated the campaign for it's own ends. This end being Dáil Éireann
Sinn Fein/Right2Change strategy was one of 'controlled opposition'. The party controlled, led and used the public to further their own ends. It used main stream and social media in a well honed maneuver to push their agenda and attacked anyone who dared question. Many good community campaigners fell victim to abuse and intimidation. In the end Sinn Fein was for all intents and purposes Right2Change and more or less controlled the agenda. If you questioned Sinn Fein/Right2change you were abused, isolated and ostracised.
Marginalisation, Isolation a Sinn Fein well honed tactic
The Belfast leader had once confided to a colleague on the Army Council the tactical approach he favored when going about the destruction and removal of political enemies, and it was this line of attack that he adopted to remove the Southern veterans: " 'You don't confront people,' he would say. 'You isolate and marginalize them and then get rid of them.' I often heard him say that," the figure recalled. page 178 'A Secret History of the IRA' by Ed Moloney (referring to Gerry Adams)
Why should we be worried
'Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognises no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible' wikipedia.
Not far away from Sinn Fein's obsession with control and power by the party. This domination is a quest by the party for power and the notion of online activism and Sinn Fein's documented track record in this field is akin to the control of the public's thoughts and feelings.
Even the dogs in the street know how Gerry Adams and his closest advisors have control over Sinn Fein. It is not surprising, after all, he has been it's president since the 1980's and he has been associated with secretive organisations including the IRA in the longest, intensive period of military rebellion against British occupation of Northern Ireland.
Given the history of secretive, clandestine operations of the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein's political manoeuvring and what has been recently revealed about their nefarious activities including the use of the internet to bully, abuse and attack, we may well be right to take note.
The now well chronicled facts of Sinn Fein's online cyber activities and its call to arms reminds one of the former East German secret police, the Stasi, " whose main task was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents." wikipedia