Surprise!

29 06 2009

To the delight of everyone in Iran and around the world, the Guardian Council announced today that they had completed a partial recount of the votes from the June 12th election, and the clear winner was Mahmoud Ahminadinnerjacket. Complaints and reports of widespread fraud were dismissed as “irrelevant”. Personally, I am ever so glad they have finally laid this issue to rest.

In a pig’s eye.

I’ve been torn between two competing ideas about the clerics who make up the true rulers of Iran. I originally thought that their extremely stupid machinations were merely a cynical ploy to cement their power by fomenting a modest rebellion, which grew beyond their control.

My other idea is that the various beards trying to run things- specifically including the Burrito Supreme and his midget sidekick- are actually completely clueless. They’ve been gazing into their navels and engaging in mutual self-congratulation for so long that they honestly have no idea how idiotic they appear to the rest of the world- and their own citizens.

That brings us to Rafsanjani. The former President and current Big Turban in the Holy City of Qom is a villainous old scoundrel who only truly cares about his widespread business interests. He is also the best hope for a resolution of the current unrest in the protesters’ favor. Rafsanjani despises Khameni and Ahmadinejad- partly because of political rivalry but also because their antics are hurting Rafsanjani’s businesses abroad. He has been cynically manipulating events from his political stronghold in Qom with a level of guile which would make Macchiavelli weep with envy. While the young men and women of Iran are getting beaten and murdered in the streets of Tehran and other cities, Rafsanjani has been making political capital from their blood, sweat, and tears.

There are a few good things coming out of the unrest in Iran. Among other things, some of the terrorist groups Iran has been sponsoring haven’t been getting their monthly stipends. I don’t have a link to the source material, so I will just copy-and-paste the article from ThreatsWatch below:

Iran Turmoil Causes Terrorism Economic Crisis

Aaron Klein, who has perhaps the deepest contacts within Palestinian terrorist organizations of any journalist in the world, made note Monday that the turmoil in Iran had caused the Iranian regime to miss its regularly scheduled subsitance payment to at least one group, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. As of Friday, the Iranian regime’s regular terror stipend has still not arrived, preventing the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist leadership from paying its henchmen.

This is what happens when the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism meets with conflict of its own. As an Islamic Jihad source told Klein nearly a week ago, “If money is not sent one way or another, we may have to close some agencies and bureaus.”

Oh, money is pouring out of Iran in a big way. But they’re not transfers from the terrorist regime to its foreign legions. They are transfers by businesses rushing to deposit their millions out of Iranian banks and into more stable environments abroad.

In radio interviews over the past two weeks on the situation in Iran, I ahve often asked hosts and listeners to close thier eyes and imagine the region beyond Iran’s borders when the cash cow of international terrorism is no longer there to be the lifeline of Hizballah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They starve, with their chief supplier of money, arms and training no longer available to feed them. They will be forced to rely almost solely upon the support of Arabs once the sustaining Persian money line is severed.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is tellig us this right now, either the first group to feel the effects of the people’s revolt in Iran or, more likely, the first terrorist group to actually say so publicly. Or perhaps Hamas and Hizballah had their cash flow uninterrupted by supplying reinforcement thugs for Iran’s Basij militia. It has been reported often by Iranians that there have been many Arabic-speaking forces among the Farsi-speaking Basij on the Iranian city streets. Whatever the Iranian terror cashflow dynamics, the Palestinain Islamic Jihad is feeling the pain.

There is “no shame in being poor,” they have told Klein in his most recent update. And we at ThreatsWatch concur. We in fact encourage an increased piety among the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leadership and ranks and the closure of more “agencies and bureaus.”

By Steve Schippert on June 26, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Despite the savagery of the Basij and other government-sponsored militias, the protests are continuing. Amnesty International estimates that some two thousand Iranians are imprisoned. Many analysts are coming to the realization that this revolution will not die down anytime soon. The 1979 Islamic Revolution took more than a year to come to fruition. The protesters can afford to bide their time and make plans. The government, by contrast, is under severe diplomatic pressure from abroad and economic pressure at home. There are thousands of Basij in the streets of Tehran, each one costing the government a great deal of cash and other resources. Worse, Tehran is not the only city in turmoil. The government is hemorrhaging money trying to maintain itself in the hope that the unrest can be beaten into submission and IranCo can get back in business.

One of the big movers against the Shah during the 1979 Revolution was a series of general strikes. There have already been calls for strikes by Mousavi and others. This sort of economic pressure on the government would have enormous effect, particularly for the Grey Eminence- Rafsanjani.

Of course, the American public has completely lost track of the situation in Iran. With the fickleness of the well-fed and safe and the collective Attention-Deficit Disorder of those resting on their laurels, people in the US have largely lost interest in Iran in favor of Infotainment. If it weren’t so nauseating, it might almost be funny.

Fortunately for those on the ground inside Iran, there are still those in the wider world who are paying attention. It is little enough we can do to help you, but we will do what we can. We cannot be with you in person, but we are with you in spirit. Many of us are providing proxy servers and torrents. Others are taking more active measures. We are listening. We are watching.

We will not forget.

Current status: Determined

Current music: Tuesday Afternoon by the Moody Blues





There are FOUR lights!

27 06 2009

If you can’t get ’em to join you, beat ’em until they shut up.

The government of Iran seems to be Hell-bent on destroying what little international credibility remains to them. Here are a few bits and pieces from Iran over the last few days.

This one is from Letters from Iran:

The following email in Farsi we received today (Wednesday 24th june). It is written by a doctor from “Rasul Akram” hospital in Tehran who says that some people were killed not only by one bullet as they found two or three bullets in some bodies, close to one another, showing that shooters used barrage shooting against people and not only a single
shot. A 68 year old man had 3 bullets inhis body, two on his left shoulder and one in the left side of his stomach. The doctors of the “Rasul Akram”hospital say they had been faced with 38 people killed during last week’s protests. Apparently, police took the corpse of the dead bodies out from the hospital and carried them away by truck. Most
of their families still do not know if their children have been killed. Besides, among the corpse there were some 15, 16 years old kids.

According to the email, the crew of the hospital protested in the street next to the hospital giving out the information about the violence to the people.

One has to wonder how long the government can keep up this sort of crap. The protesters have been peacefully demonstrating, for the most part. Given the strong incentive to lash back at the government forces attacking them, the behavior of the protesters has been extremely civilized.

Protesters protecting riot police.

If you must protest and demonstrate, make sure to demonstrate your humanity at the same time. These protesters have more courage than I. I doubt I would be nearly as forgiving under the same circumstances.

Message to the Basij from Why We Protest:

به شما چه اتفاقی می افتد هنگامی که رژیم می افتد؟ ما عکس شما را. میبینیم ضرب و شتم و به شما تیراندازی غیر مسلح و دانشجویان ، زنان و مردان قدیمی. وضع کردن اسلحه خود را. آزادی را انتخاب کنید به جای قتل مردم خود.

و حتی برخی از ژنرالها شما امتناع سفارشات. سوال من دوباره ، چه رخ می دهد تا زمانی که شما بیش از Rafsani طول می کشد؟ ما عکس شما را به شما خواهد شد و تقاضا برای قتل و ضرب و شتم مردم حساب شما. آزادی را انتخاب کنید.

MESSAGE TO BASIJI, REVOLUTIONARY GUARD, ARMY

What happens to you when the regime falls? We have your photos. We see you shooting and beating unarmed students, women and old men. Lay down your arms. Choose freedom instead of murdering your own people.

Even some of your Generals are refusing orders. I ask again, what happens to you when Rafsani takes over? We have your photos and will demand you account for killing and beating your people. CHOOSE FREEDOM.

Despite vicious provocation by their own government, the protesters have been models of non-violent resistance. Most outside observers and those with access to information from within Iran believe that the government is figyhting a losing battle. Even if they succeed at violently suppressing the current dissent, the social contract within Iran would be irrevocably damaged. Here is a good analysis from TehranBureau:

25 June: Possible compromise? [I also heard the same thing independently from a good source today. It is of course unconfirmed; even if true, the authorities may change their mind as well. tb]:

The following is from Mehdi Noorbaksh, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology:

There is a possibility, and I am saying a possibility, for a compromise on the election result among the involved parties in Iran in the next couple of days. I received a call from Iran late last night indicating that there is a possibility for a runoff between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad. There are a few points that we should consider in this
context.

1. The Guardian Council all but acknowledged election irregularities a few days ago and indicated that it involved 3 million votes. This body did not restrict these irregularities to a few thousand or even a hundred thousand votes, but millions. That was a face saving gesture to open the door for a possible future compromise in the event of mounting
pressure. There are other irregularities having the same nature. Many districts, up to 170, show voter turnout of 95% to 140% of the eligible voters.

2. Ali Larijani, the head of the Iranian parliament, is trying to convince the leadership on the side of the supreme leader to give national TV time to Mousavi to talk to the Iranian people. In his TV talk a couple of days ago, Larijani was critical of the Iranian national TV for not allowing Mousavi to use that medium of communication to talk to the Iranian people. He also announced that a few members of the Guardian Council were biased toward one candidate, namely Ahmadinejad, in the election.

3. There is report that Rafsanjani has succeeded to get the signatures and support of many of the high clerics in Qom denouncing the election. If they openly denounce the election that could be a colossal blow to the supreme leader, and the much diminished legitimacy of the institution of Velayat-e Faqih and his authority.

4. The Guardian Councils’ investigation of the vote fraud has been extended, possibly to gain more time in negotiating a solution to the conflict.

5. There are reports that divisions within the Revolutionary Guard are beginning to surface. There is speculation that one of the commanders, Afzali, has either resigned or been abdicated from his post.

6. Rallies are expanding in many other cities of Iran, and street demonstrations have not been diminished in Tabriz, Isfahan, Kermanshah and other cities. Although the size of the demonstrations is smaller, they are more violent and forceful.

7. The killings of demonstrators will definitely result in more defiance and bolder actions of the protesters and gain more legitimacy for the green movement and its leadership. More killings will definitely delegitimize further the supreme leader’s authority. Imposing a government, after mass killings, on the Iranian people is a much more
difficult task.

Note that many “professional” analysts are still playing catch-up with the supposedly amateur information gathering conducted by a few hundred people around the world with access to modern technology. There seems to be a great deal of wishful thinking going on on all sides. The protesters are hoping that their government will live up to its own promises. The government is hoping that the proetsters will just shut up and stop embarrassing the government. The Supreme Leader’s political rivals are hoping they can use the current crisis to remove the Supreme Leader (just like a regular leader, but with sour cream and lettuce) and bring in someone more amenable. Iran’s neighbors are hoping to capitalize on the disturbances and reduce Iran’s influence in the region. The US government is hoping to get a less hostile Iran. The hordes of keyboard warriors providing aid and comfort to the protesters are hoping for an Iran with less control over the flow of information. One of those people came up with a fairly profound quote:

The internet sees censorship as damage and automatically tries to work around it.

This self-repairing nature of internet communications is one of the reasons the Iranian government is having so much trouble cutting the protesters off from contact with the rest of the world. At present, the government has shut down all communications nodes except one in an attempt to get a handle on the protesters’ links to the outside world. All traffic has to go through a single node, and the government is trying frantically to monitor all of that communication in order to strangle the flow of embarrassing information. If they completely shut off communications, they’re going to end up like North Korea. I’m pretty sure that the Supreme Burrito and his midget sidekick aren’t stupid enough to think that’s a good idea.

So far, outside events are working in favor of the government. The gnat-like attention span of the west has been largely diverted to more trivial things like the death of a couple of so-called “celebrities”. Iran has been taking advantage of this to crack down on the protesters even harder. Several sources inside Iran are reporting that PersianKiwi has been arrested. For those who have not been paying attention, PK has been one of the more prolific and reliable sources of information from inside Iran. If this report is true, the government will have struck a blow against the flow of information from the protesters. Unfortunately for the government, the fine folks at Anonymous and 4chan have all been talking with PK for several weeks, and consider him to be one of their own. If PK has indeed been arrested, I predict a swift and savage response from the global online community.

Despite everything the Iranian government can do, news embarrassing to the government has been flooding out of Iran to the rest of the world. Private citizens around the world have been doing whatever they can to keep the information flowing and the lines of communication open. Individuals have been taking active measures against a sovereign nation’s government, and this will only get worse as the government crackdown continues. The internet community is waking up and discovering they are strong.

If PK has actually been arrested, the world might soon see just how strong they are.

Current status: Concerned

Current music: Free Will by Rush





Number One with a Bullet

24 06 2009

I think the government of Iran is losing its collective mind.

Specifically, I’m speaking of President Ahminadinnerjacket and Burrito Supreme Cumonme. They seem to be trying desperately to use the playbook from the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but they appear not to have noticed that they’re reading the script used by the Shah.

Among other smooth moves, the government has forbidden the families of those killed during the protests from holding funerals. They also ordered mosques to prohibit funeral services for the slain. This is a pretty serious departure from Shi’a doctrine, which might explain why a more senior Ayatollah appeared to refute the order by calling for a period of mourning for all the fallen. Shi’a Islam has a very significant place for martyrs, and the government there is probably trying to avoid renewed flare-ups of protests at each funeral. Note to the Supreme Nutbar and his midget sidekick: If you have to violate the tenets of your religion trying to save your theocracy, you’re doing it wrong.

Here’s another delightful tidbit from the Burrito Supreme and company. It seems a young man who was not part of the protests was shot and killed as he made his way home from school. It took his parents several days to find out what had happened and locate his body at a local morgue. When the family went to claim the body for burial, they were told they had to pay the equivalent of $3000.00 as a “bullet fee”. It turns out that the Iranian government doesn’t just murder innocents, it charges the parents a year’s income for the privilege of having their children shot by government thugs. Way to win those hearts and minds, fellas.

In other news, somebody managed to talk to a few of the people attacking the protesters. It seems the government has been offering the equivalent of $120.00 to unemployed folks from the hinterlands to come to Tehran and beat up their fellow citizens. The government puts them up at hostels in the south east of the city, then buses them in for the day’s festivities.

The news from Iran is pretty bleak today. The planned demonstrations were reportedly savagely attacked by police and Basij. Hundreds of people have allegedly been arrested, and there are unconfirmed reports of people with axes attacking protesters. Supposedly Mir Hossein Mousavi has also been arrested. These are all further signs of the government’s growing desperation, as are the extremely lame attempts to drag the US and UK into the fray. Iranian Air Farce jets conducted “maneuvers” over the Persian Gulf on Tuesday. Instead of the clashes the regime were presumably hoping for, they got a resounding yawn from the US 5th Fleet. The weak sauce attempts to provoke the British are also not working. Iran recalled their ambassador to London and expelled two British diplomats. The Brits pulled all their non-essential staff and families out of Iran and booted two Iranian diplomats out of the UK in exchange.

The government is in real trouble- regardless of whether or not they can succesfully put down the protests. In the first place, butchering or arresting thousands of young people will only create more martyrs- each of which will become a focus for further protests. In the second place, every time the government uses violence against the largely peaceful protesters, the senior clerics and other older survivors of the 1979 revolution grow ever more estranged from the government. These men lived through the Islamic Revolution, and they remember the excesses of the Shah and his regime. Many of those men are now mentally comparing the current government with the one they overthrew in 1979. It is worth noting, by the way, that the protesters are not calling for an end to the Islamic Republic. What they are calling for is the Republic to live up to its ideals. The protesters have been literally begging the Ayatollahs to intervene.

Here is a very good analysisof the tight spot the Iranian government has made for itself. Even if the Army and the Revolutinary Guard were to throw in their lot with the government and slaughter everyone on the streets (both fairly unlikely scenarios), the current government in Iran is probably doomed. There are several possible outcomes of the current unrest (in my opinion).

1- The hardliners in the government get shown the door by the more moderate clerics in Qom and the Revolution is a success. Ahminadinnerjacket goes to prison or into exile. A quorum or politburo of senior Ayatollahs take over the function of the Supreme Leader. Iran calms down internally, re-opens contact with the rest of the world,  and things get slightly better for the average citizen. This would probably be the idea situation for Iran, and nearly ideal for the US. Western governments really have much more in common with Shi’a than with Sunni Islam. A less hostile Shi’ite Iran would be a much better partner for the West than the Sunni tyrants in Saudi Arabia.

2- The hardliners continue their crackdown until the Army decides they’ve had enough (remember that all of their senior leaders lived through the 1979 revolution, too) and sides with the protesters. If the Revolutionary Guard sits it out or joins them, the government gets tossed out on its ear and the military dictates a new constitution (similar to Turkey’s). Alternatively, the Guard sides with the government, and Iran disintegrates into full-fledged civil war. This would be very bad for everyone.

3- The Army helps the government put down the protests with extreme prejudice. Thousands of protesters are killed or arrested, the rest go underground. Simmering violence with flare-ups every 40 days or so (mourning for the slain in Shi’a goes on 3, 7, and 40-day intervals), sending Iran into the same chaotic mess Iraq was in immediately after the fall of Saddam. Long term prognosis is poor, possibly ending up with a partitioned Iran along ethnic lines (Persians, Azeris, Kurds, etc).

4. Nothing much changes. The government lacks the willingness to go full retard. The protesters continue to employ Ghandi-style civil disobedience against the government. Iran’s international standing, economy, and credit drop to the level of Serbia, and all of Iran’s enemies and neighbors take advantage of her weakness- especially Saudi Arabia. The Sunni kingdom has been exerting a lot of effort to isolate and marginalize Iran because Iran is Saudi Arabia’s only real rival for dominion in the region. Aside from the religious and ethnic differences (which are fairly significant), the economic and political rivalry between the two regional powers would probably result in a diminished Saudi kingdom.

Many of Iran’s neighbors are quietly hoping that the protesters are put down. They are afraid that a successful revolution in Iran would encourage their own abused citizenry to rise up against them. This is a valid concern on their part. China has the same problem, to a lesser degree.

These other regimes have another reason to worry about a successful revolution in Iran: the sudden emergence of a new player in the realm of geopolitical intrigue. I’m not talking about Iran, or any other nation. I refer to the hordes of Cheeto-munching basement dwellers who have individually taken it upon themselves to interfere in the internal strife of a soverign nation.

Here is a nice analysis 0f the situation from a commenter named Mr. Cabron on FARK.com:

Mr. Cabron: Now, I want to clarify that I was and am in favor of such passive actions but we are stepping close to some fairly dodgy ethical territory and we need to quantify it. So far the actions in this situation have been: 

1.Overt Logistical Support: Here we have the proxy servers, Keeping communication open, protecting posters etc. This is all kosher and cannot be construed negatively by anyone other than the Irani Goverment 2. Passive Propaganda, Data Gathering and Publicity:Here we have the summary’s, collating the twitter feeds, and all the directed content and commentary that has been generated. Again, This is all kosher and cannot be construed negatively by anyone other than the Irani government.

The actions last night constituted covert agressive action against the organisms of the govermment of Iran.  Black ops if you will. This stuff all falls within the grey area of intelligence operations in that since they were in the wrong, spanking them is not quite so bad.  

1. Active Data Gathering: It would be child’s play to obtain private e-mail accounts for Irani goverment official (Yahoo,Google) and hack these accounts. These could then be used to gather data as well as to agressively plant disinformation. This is an active espionage act and would be construed as an act of agression by the Irani gov. What the MSM and the international community would do is hard to say.

2. Active Propaganda: Using e-mail lists of all irani citizens, information packets (Tats’ summary,the torrent lists, videos of goverment abuse) could be prepared and spammed to all those accounts using spambots.

But the thing is it doesn’t stop there. This is snowballing, and the internet as whole has spent 20+ years developing all sorts of nasty/effective things it could actively do against the goverment of Iran. Such as:
 
3. Active sabotage: Shutting down Websites for example. Something like an attack against a foreign internet stock exchange. These would be acts of terrorism by private citizens against the agressive Irani goverment.

The real scary part about this is that all of these acts are easily achievable with the means at our disposal. We need to really think about the consequences of the actions that we take from here on in. Anyone who thinks that it’s just the internet needs to take a step back and think.
 
He’s got a very good point, butI think it might be too late. I believe we (speaking of the interweb community as a whole) have already gone over the precipice into active measures in support of our political goals. The fact that our political goals are in opposition to the “legal” government of Iran essentially makes us terrorists (by at least one definition). The government of Iran could legally demand that the US take legal action against the individuals acting against the Iranian government within US territory.

I am not sure what the US government would be legally required to do in those circumstances. It would be viscerally satisfying for Obama to piously declare that the US government has no control over private individuals on the internet (essentially the same claim Iran makes about Hizbulla/Hamas/ et al), but that would not change the fact that we are engaged in information warfare against a sovereign government. This represents a major shift in the calculus of politics to anyone paying attention. A bunch of individuals scattered geographically around the planet can have a significant effect on any government’s ability to control the flow of information- or even to effectively gather information.

Ordinary-looking people with computers and internet access have suddenly emerged as possible assets (or adversaries) in geopolitical machination.

Welcome to the future.

Current status: Bemused

Current music: Under Pressure by Queen





Bandwidth of Brothers

21 06 2009

It is surprisingly difficult to get the average American interested in the chaos in Iran. Far too many people here are blissfully unaware of world events unless those events are shown on the major news networks. Those who actually understand why Iran is important (now that CNN, et al, are finally paying attention) is a depressingly small number. Allow me to quote one of the commenters on FARK:

Imagine this in America:

*you had to get approval from the supreme court to run for president
*we had 35% unemployment
*the VAST majority of the population was under 30
*Bush was running for re-election in last election against Obama
*You woke up and found out Bush won with 62% of the vote
*Your phone lines and internet connections were turned off by he government
*Chief Justice Roberts came out aid basically said, “deal with it”.
*You went to protest and you had the police and special “supreme court” police beating the crap out of people
*You turned on the government news and saw that the police had been dealing with “terrorists” in the streets.
*You looked in the mirror and just realized. “My government just called me a terrorist because I asked for my vote to count.”

How exactly would you feel if you just found out (came to finally realize) that your vote hadn’t even been counted, and even it had been, it wouldn’t had mattered because Chief Justice Roberts had the final say in everything anyways.

Aside from the excellent description above, there are damned good reasons why the US should be paying attention to the revolution unfolding in Iran. In no particular order, those are:

– The US has military and political efforts concentrated in several nations surrounding Iran. Because the US and Iran have been mutualy hostile since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been doing its utmost to cause trouble for the US in those surrounding countries.

– There are those in this country who would love to turn the US into a christian version of Iran. Watching the government of Iran casually deny the people their basic human rights because the Grand Poobah is supposedly speaking for God should be a wake-up call for everyone who values their liberties.

– The turmoil in Iran is a textbook example of the Four Boxes in action. Sadly, there are very few people in Iran with access to personal weapons. This severely limits the people’s ability to use the Fourth Box in defense of their liberty.

– Furthermore, the revolution in Iran should be creating a great deal of soul-searching among the US military and political leadership. Under similar circumstances, what would they do? Would military officers have the courage of their convictions (and their oaths) and refuse orders to fire on American civilians? Would political leaders be willing to defy the government under the same circumstances?

– Aside from these theoretical questions, the turmoil in Iran- and the global online response to it- should be recorded as a textbook example of how difficult it is to shut down communication links. It is theoretically possible to completely isolate any given country from the planetary lines of communication. The massive global response to Iran’s revolution by tens of thousands of individuals with internet access shows that even totalitarian regimes cannot do so easily. Information warfare is suddenly becoming a major politico-military asset. Understanding how to bypass censorship and winnow valid information from a sea of message traffic (some of it deliberate misinformation) has long been acknowledged as one of the keys to victory. A new chapter is being written in the War manuals worldwide. Failure to learn the lessons of Iran’s revolution means defeat.

Finally, the most important reason to care is the fact that Iran’s government thinks it is perfectly fine for little girls to be shot to death to keep senile religious dotards in control of the country. These despicable old men believe that god is telling them to go ahead and order religious fanatics to fire indiscriminately into crowds of unarmed peacefeul protesters, killing unarmed men, women, and children. “In the name of Allah, the beneficent and merciful, slaughter the young men and women who dare to oppose my will.”

What can you do? I’ve posted several ways of contributing to the revolution. Here is another. The most important thing you can do is pay attention. People in Iran are getting beaten, imprisoned, and killed for standing up for their rights and this matters.

iimpatch

Current status: Disgusted with my countrymen

Current music: Freshmen by Verve Pipe





Revolution Calling

20 06 2009

The die has been cast.

What passes for a government in Iran has unleashed terror upon its own people. For those of you just learning about this, it is no longer about the possibly fraudulent election lsat week. Now it is about a government treating the citizenry as enemies. Now it is about the death of innocents. Now it is about a nation of warrior poets reclaiming their souls. Now, it is about a young Iranian girl named Neda.

Neda may not be her real name. It means voice in Farsi. Neda was standing next to her father in Tehran this afternoon when a bullet struck her in the throat. She died almost instantly. Her death was captured on camera by people standing nearby. That image has been sent around the world- recently even showing up on CNN.

The people in Iran who had been protesting are now on the ragged edge of open revolt. Gangs of Basij have taken to storming into houses by night, beating everyone within and arresting hundreds of people thought to be close to the leaders of the protesters. Doctors have been beaten or shot for trying to protect the injured from the Basij. Foreign embassies have opened their doors to the wounded, because the hospitals are no longer safe.

Storm-the-Bastille

Here are some images from today’s violence in Iran.

Here is a report from Anonymous Iran.

What follows was written by Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish.

So here’s what we have:

They’re afraid of murdering too many protesters all at once. Eventually the protesters will come to understand how to work around this. They can’t open their telecomm pipes, because the minute they do 3 million people will know how and where to gather, and the world will get to see thousands of videos showing horrific instances of state violence against its subjects.

They have to open their telecomm pipes, because their economy cannot function without telecomm.

They can’t repress too much, because the cleric support base will tip against them.

Rafsanjani is waiting to find out who’ll keep his financial empire running. He’s going to come to conclude the current leadership’s promises cannot be trusted; the country is now being run by a Fascist Islamic Mafia.

So what do they do?

They turn this into a keystone-cops gulag, and still, no matter how they try to block it, the entire world is watching, and international disapproval is growing. At some point even life in Syria or Egypt will start to look better. The leadership will become ostracized in the Muslim world, and a large and influential Islamic country like Indonesia will come out with a public condemnation. Then other nations will feel emboldened. Even worse, Ahmadinejad, and to some extent even Khamenei, will now have a difficult time making uncontrolled appearances where the crowds are not bused from towns 100 miles away; every time they show up, crowds will chant them down.

These citizens are done with their leadership. The trust has completely and irretrievably dissipated, and the fear, although present, is not sufficient, especially as it becomes more clear the army will remain on the sidelines. And the mullahs have opened all the playbooks on repression and crowd control simultaneously; it’s a smorgasboard attempt at blocking the rising tide of resentment; if you’ll recall, that’s called the mullah’s-ass-on-a-pressure-cooker-lid-to-retard-fulmination rule. If things look bad with the pressure cooker, piling more mullahs on the lid will only result in a more spectacular finish.

If the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had been broadcast to the entire world, Hitler’s demise most surely would have come several years sooner. The mullahs have no way out. They are, essentially, fucked. It’s now only a matter of time. And Iran’s negotiations on their nuclear program? Suspended indefinitely due to lack of credibility; nobody will believe anything they say now.

TICK, TOCK, MOTHERFUCKERS…

I wish I could have put it so well. I will have to let the contrast between the following images speak for me.

Green

Red

Current status: Disgusted

Current music: Pavane for a Dead Princess by Ravel





Lines in the Sand

19 06 2009

Well, the Grand Poobah and Supreme Panjanderum gave his speech … sermon … whatever. I’m reasonably certain the use of lethal levels of tedium is a violation of some International Law or another. Short version: Everything is wonderful. I am the Voice of Allah, and disagreeing with me deserves death. No one disagrees with me. There are no protests, only agents of the Imperialist running-dog immoral Zionist whaaargarble ….

iranyoullgetoverit

CNN, those stalwarts, took the time to agree with the Supreme Fuckwad in every detail, setting a new low for journalistic credibility. The epic failure of the regular media sources in the US to react to the events in Iran underscores how seriously out of touch and irrelevant they are increasingly becoming. While the internet has been providing imagery, video, interviews, and real-time commentary, American media organizations have been providing a journalism-like entertainment art product. Contrast CNN’s coverage with this brief analysis by Tatsuma from FARK.com:

A relatively large crowd was present to hear Khameini declared during the prayers, while Reformist leaders called on their supporters to stay home. It was very easy to notice that this crowd was also much older than those we have seen revolting.

There were two sermons, a religious one and a political one.
– The religious sermon itself was rather short and stayed on topic. It concentrated at first on peace and tranquility, leading into the fact that the Revolution was the Will of Allah, that it was sacred and its goals were the goals of Allah. He continued by asking Allah victory over their common enemies, and that people who went against the Revolution were enemies of Allah.

– The policial speech was much longer and disjointed. He started by thanking everyone for the election, then he proceeded to blame the West, claimed that Iran was one of the most democratic country on Earth and that the results were not rigged. He claimed that while yes, there is some corruption in Iran, it’s nowhere near the UK MP expenses scandal. He then directly threatened the pro-Reformists leaders, saying that all the violence will be their responsibility. This is all the works of Zionist spies and British radio, and Hillary Clinton was responsible for Waco so Iran is better than America and the West.

There are three major statements to be gleaned from these speech, with further confirmation of a fourth. However boring and long-winded it might have been to the Western ear, it was a major milestone of this revolution, and its implications are far-reaching:

1- His declaration that the Islamic Revolution sacred, that its goals were the goals of Allah and that those who went against it were the enemies of Allah. He then asked Allah victory over the enemies.

This is major. He has in fact painted the entire reformist movement as being anti-Islamic. Due to his position, and the tone that he adopted, this is basically a death sentence delivered to those who will keep on protesting. Not unexpected, but a bold move nonetheless.

2 – He fully supports Ahmadinejad.

This is not a surprise, but he did not back down one inch. He does not give credibility to any of the Reformist claims, and says to either toe the line, or suffer the consequences.

3 – He has put the responsability of violence on the shoulders of the Reformist leaders, and openly declared that he is not going to tolerate it anymore.

This means that the repression from now on will be much more violent, and has more or less openly threatened the leaders of the Revolution that they will pay with their lives if they continue.

4 – As confirmed by Stratfor, the Revolutionary Guard has taken over from the police in all matters of domestic law and order. This effectively means that they are going to start crushing dissent as well, and that they have allied themselves to the regime.

Out of all major developments, this is the biggest one. Will the army stay Neutral, toe the line or side with the Reformists?

There seems to be a significant amount of discontinuity of meaning between these two reports. here is some more copypasta from FARK:

This is the culmination of everything the Internet represents: A global voice without borders that cannot be suppressed.
This may well mark a key moment in the evolution of a new society that has been slowly gathering together from the various pockets of the Interwebs and are now crawling from the primordial soup and onto the land and becoming a true culture that can bring about massive change on a global scale.

CNN and their US competitors appear to have utterly dropped the ball on this story- an unforgivable lapse on the part of the so-called “fourth estate”. By contrast, the supposedly-on-the-verge-of-extinction dead-tree press is actually catching up to the web in terms of information.

Since the Grand Poobah made his speech, everyone with a functioning frontal lobe (I include CNN “journalists” as a courtesy) should be aware that the government will not compromise. Regardless of whether the protesters are victorious or get gunned down by the thousands, the government of Iran can no longer exist in its curent incarnation. With so much in the balance, only fools or madmen would risk it all on one throw of the dice. It is an open question whether or not the Army will permit the indiscriminate slaughter of the people they are supposed to be protecting. There are even some doubts about the Revolutionary Guard. The doddering old xenophobes pretending to be men of God who rule Iranare either deluding themselves about the extent of their power or fatally out of touch with ground truth. This does not bode well for Iran.

The government claims that there have been 8 people killed. The number is almost certainly higher, but hard data is hard to come by- the more so as the Basij have reportedly been removing the bodies of the dead from hospitals. Here is a link to the Missing Persons forum set up by Anonymous Iran. Hundreds of protesters and those suspected of supporting them have reportedly been arrested. Many have simply disappeared. These are not the actions of a just government.

Those who wish to show their support can find graphics to download and display at this site. Those who wish to follow the protesters on Twitter can do so by following this link. Anyone who wishes to take more active measures might find this list of Iranian government IP addresses useful. Be aware that people in the US have reportedly been harassed and threatened for actively supporting those who oppose the government of Iran.

As for me, I can only watch and report. It is not enough- especially in light of the bloodbat I foresee in Iran- but it is all that is within my power. But I will not- I cannot- be silent while the best and brightest in Iran stand in silent protest against the guns and clubs of the theocratic murderers who claim to be their rulers.

We, the People of the United States, owe them at least that much.

Voices

Current status- Alarmed

Current music- Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton





Can’t Stop the Signal!

17 06 2009

Things seem to be coming to a head in Iran. The government there has all but conceded defeat in the War of Information. The Republican Guard is threatening to bring legal action against foreign websites and domains which provide aid and comfort to the protesters- specifically including Twitter.  Twitter, by the way, very kindly postponed some scheduled server maintenance (due a couple of days ago) because it was (and is) such a crucial communications route for the protesters. The fact that the Obama administration asked them nicely probably figured into the equation as well. Big props to the US Gummint for keeping a low-key, hands-off profile in this mess so far. The throngs of individuals who have been allowing protesters to use proxies on their bandwidth deserve thanks for their ongoing efforts.  Extra-special thanks are especially due to the Pirate Bay, 4chan, and Anonymous for their work in setting up literally thousands of proxies for the protesters to use- as well as other, less-than-savory means of electronically punishing the Iranian government.

Friday might be the make-or-break day for the government of Iran. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameni, has announced he will lead the Friday prayers. This almost certainly means the presence of large numbers of the Republican Guard. Many protesters plan to be in attendance, to pray for those who have fallen. It is fairly likely that mass arrests, beatings, and shootings may take place. The government of Iran may decide to attempt a recreation of the Tienanmen Square Massacre from twenty years in China. The government has already proven itself willing to destroy its own people if they get in the way. Here are a few examples:

Guardian UK blog timeline (with video and stuff)

Compilation torrent for Top 21 Pirate/Persian Bay & Anonymous Iran protester oppression videos:
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958654

Youtube videos being posted by those people trying to tell their stories at great personal risk are being taken down due to objectionable content. Many are preserving their legacy through saving and reuploading them as well as seeding them on bittorrent clients.

Police Brutality http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958415

Student murdered in Isfahan http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958443

Injuried people during rally http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958456

Police running away from protesters in Esfahan http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958474

Basij firing on a crowd of Iranian protesters http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958478

Policeman caught and then saved by crowd http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958506

Police try and fail to arrest protesters tazahor-konandegan http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958610

Girl shot by police in Teheran http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958620

Protesters burn police car http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958636/

Police open fire on crowd http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958641

Shooting in front of Police HQ in Teheran http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958650

Riot in Iran 13/06/2009 http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958676

Burning Bus http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958686

Iranian Police Beat Women http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958688

Teheran burning during protests http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4958726

My Friends That been Attacked by Special Forces http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4959998

A person That Basiji’s Shot Him From one of Building http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4959995

Police shooting on crowd (16june not the same above) http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4960197

Police injuries several protesters http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4960270

Protesters burn police station http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4960232

I got these links from a FARK.com comment thread (number 15, I believe).There are reasons why the protesters are furious with their own government- follow some of the links above to see why.

Despite my own lack of enthusiasm for the alleged government of Iran, I do not believe the US should get mixed up in the current turmoil. Our historical dealings with Iran have been less than stellar- to put it mildly. This shared history makes the one nation best capable of helping out the people of Iran against their government is therefore the nation least able to do so. Any bloodshed which occurs can therefore justifiably be laid at the feet of US Foreign Policy over the last half-century or so. We won’t be the only ones with blood on our hands, but the current charlie-foxtrot in Iran is the direct result of US meddling in Iran’s internal affairs in the 1950s.

The people of Iran have been using the Four Boxes in pursuit of liberty. They have spoken out, they have voted, and they have tried to apply Iran’s internal legal system to redress their grievances. They have peacefully protested when it appeared that their wishes were being willfully discarded by their rulers. Their government turned lethal force against them rather than follow the government’s own rules. Such a government does not deserve respect, loyalty, or obedience. It must end, by any means necessary. The people of Iran may soon be forced to open up that Fourth Box and employ it in earnest against their oppressors.

We are half a world away, and our enormous military strength cannot be used to help the protesters. We are bound by chains forged of the misdeeds of our fathers, and breaking those bonds (which is well within our power) would accomplish little more than destroy the very movement we seek to protect. So what can we- a people who love liberty- do?

All we can do is watch. We can help the people of Iran in small ways, by preventing their government from silencing them. We can show the videos, and the photographs, of their suffering and struggle. We can repeat their words to what seems to be an uncaring world. The people of Iran have spoken, and they demand the basic human liberties we in this country so often take for granted. They are willing to die in order to achieve these liberties- for themselves and their children. If their government chooses to spill the blood of thousands to deny those liberties, we must force ourselves to watch, and remember, and spread the word. Those who would rule Iran on a foundation of slaughtered children must learn that their misdeeds will not be forgotten, or forgiven. Those they seek to crush beneath their heel to silence the calls for liberty will not be silenced … because we will bear witness. And remember.

You cannot stop the signal. Not even by piling up the bodies of murdered children.

Current status: Concerned

Current music: 9th Symphony, by Beethoven