A standard strategy of blackening the name of an individual or group is to make connections between that individual or group with the illegal or threatening behaviour of others.
Here’s the vice president of the Garda Representative Association Ciaran O’Neill speaking on RTE (5th report) about the relationship between Gardai and water protesters.
People want to see Guards working in their community but when you have a number who are brought off to monitor a protest to ensure that it’s peaceful it does drain other resources and communities are being deprived of policing because of it.
The message here is clear: Those who engage in peaceful, democratic protests are depriving communities of police protection. The clear suggestion is that such protests should stop.
There seems to be a sinister element that are trying to get themselves involved with the protests. It would appear that there is an element that have very nefarious reasons for being there that are anti-establishment, that are trying to cause trouble and are bringing good people whose intentions are just to protest peacefully and are creating violent situations.
Police officers have an obligation to inform citizens, and particularly those involved in the water protests, of who exactly these sinister elements are. What are their motives, their strategies, how exactly are they manipulating peaceful protesters. Throwing out vague references about ‘sinister elements’ without evidence mirrors the political strategy of mainstream political parties.
We have a job to do…but we have people, particularly in respect to the water protests, who are trying to identify members of An Garda Siochana. We’ve had rewards offered to identify where they live and to identify their families and that shouldn’t be happening, that’s not peaceful, that’s not protesting in a proper way, that’s threatening, intimidating.
Threatening a police officer is, to my knowledge, a crime. The Gardai should investigate and bring charges if sufficient evidence is found but it is disturbing to witness a police officer lump in peaceful protesters with a tiny minority who may be breaking the law.
It is reasonable to claim, I believe, that the water protests in Ireland involving hundreds of thousands of citizens are probably the most peaceful, most law abiding protests in recent world history.
Which raises the question – Why is the establishment so determined to blacken the reputation of those involved in such democratic protests?