Centre Party / Kronoby
The chairman of the Swedish-speaking district of Finland’s largest political party, Centre party, Peter Albäck has admitted creating a false profile on the popular Österbotten blogsite Bloggen.fi according to a report from Österbottens Tidning.
Albäck, whose blog is a considerable talking point in local politics in northern Österbotten, created a profile called ‘Mirakelmannen’ (The Miracle Man), supposedly a 27-year-old bilingual law student from Vasa. He then used it to post positive comments to entries on his own blog – particularly those critical to the Swedish Peoples’ Party (Sfp), which is the dominant force in local politics in the largely Swedish-speaking districts of Österbotten. Albäck is hoping to lead the recently formed Swedish Centre Party district to success in Swedish-speaking Finland, where the Centre party has not been a force in the past. To do so, he will need to win votes from Sfp. Albäck´s own blog on the Bloggen.fi website is used by him to pursue his throughts on politics and more often post articles that are heavily critical of SFP. He often makes very harsh reponses to anyone that does not share his ideas, regularly making personal attacks on his opponents. This has, however, made his blog a popular page on the internet – it is, it’s fair to say, far from a dull and dry read!
The bloggen.fi system allows blog-owners to see the IP-numbers of commentators. Albäck’s false identity was revealed when Albäck and ‘Mirakelmannen’ posted remarks on the blogs of other bloggen.fi users with the same IP-number. Although it is technically possible for 2 users to have the same IP-numbers, in one of the comments made under the ‘Mirakelmannen’ fake tag, the Kronoby politician wrote he was in the US where clearly it’s even less likely that another user would have the same Finnish IP-number as that of Albäck’s internet connection.
Just one and a half hours after this revelation by another Bloggen.fi user on their blog, ‘Mirakelmannen’ had deleted his blog entries and left a message stating ´Young and disappointed. Now you can find me on Suomi24 [a popular Finnish-language web portal and discussion forum] where there is nobody from SFP´.
According to the newspaper Österbottens Tidning (ÖT), Peter Albäck made telephone contact with them late this afternoon. ÖT’s reporter asked ´What comments do you have on the allegations that the computers of you and Mirakelmannen both have the same IP-number?´
Albäck responded, ´I have set a trap for them. This is a scandal. If you write something about this, then you are involved too. This is an unbelievable smear campaign that is going on against me´.
The paper reports that Albäck then went on to speak about a conspiracy against him and admitted that Mirakelmannen was an invention. The paper asked him of whom.
´We are several´, Centre’s district chairman replied.
When asked who these were, the politician acused ÖT’s reporter of working for the Swedish People’s Party. He then asserted that apart from 3 (users called) ‘X’, the SFP parliament member Ulla-Maj Wideroos is also involved in the internet plot against him,
´Mirakelmannen has, like a miracle, proved who is behind the plot against me´ said Albäck, according to ÖT’s report.
After these events, it’s hard not to call into question the trustworthyness of the Centre party’s district leader. Not only has he created a fake identity, if ÖT’s quotes are accurate, he has effectively attempted to stifle the freedom of the press. It will remain to be seen what reaction central Centre Party headquarters has on this matter. It would seem strange if they find this sort of behaviour acceptable. It’s also hard not to see how this scandal can not harm the Centre party’s chances of making a breakthrough with Swedish speaking voters in this October’s municipal election. Surely party chiefs in Helsinki will, at least, be embarrased by behaviour like this by a senior party official. Or perhaps it will get missed, as they don’t read Swedish-language papers. Watch this space… the municipal election in Kronoby municipality promises to be particularly tense and exciting!
For those that read Swedish, you can find Peter Albäck’s blog here: http://www.bloggen.fi/riksdagskandidater. The blog of so-called Mirakelmannen can be found at http://www.bloggen.fi/mirakelmannen. Österbottens Tidning’s article on this matter is located here: http://www.ot.fi/story.aspx?storyID=25144