Sudan Lauches a Cyber-Army Wrapped in the Koran
“Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” — George Santayana
In a ringing blow to Iranians (one of the champions of online repression), the ruling party of Sudan has gone one step further and dressed its online dissident-crushing apparatus up in divine drag. Calling them “cyber-jihadists,” they have promised to unleash them on anyone thinking of speaking their mind in the increasingly hermetic country.
Mandur al-Mahdi, a senior official with the country’s governing (sort of) National Congress Party announced that its “‘cyber battalion’ was leading ‘online defence operations,” according to the BBC.
The “Arab Spring” uprisings that have leaped across the Maghreb into Egypt and beyond have not left the soon-to-be-divided Sudan alone. As with most of the countries in the area, Sudan too had a hashtag date for its revolution, #jan30. Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier put together a Crowdmap for the use of Sudanese protesters.
But the protests do not seem to have grown over time as they have elsewhere. On the Sudan Crowdmap, reports end on February 5.
Regardless, the government of Sudan’s warlord since 1989, Omar Al-Bashir, are intent on putting a group in place that can handle the online elements of any sustained protest movement. Other countries have not had great luck shutting down protests by controlling elements of their online communications.
By adding a dark smear of something vaguely resembling “religion” to their particular efforts at online repression, the Sudanese government is recognizing that many of the region’s hated tinhorns have been secular tyrants. They are no doubt hoping an end run around the religion question will give them the luck their brothers in the area have lacked.
Other sources: ONI