Saturday, June 20, 2009

Crackdown against protesters in Tehran

A violent by crackdown against protesters in Iran is underway. By way of Twitter, there are reports that hundreds have been injured, gunfire has been heard, helicopters are dumping boiling or chemical-treated water onto protesters. Many embassies have opened their doors to accept the wounded for treatment. There are reports that people in the streets are chanting "Death to Khamenei" in response to the violence unleashed against them.

Earlier, a bomb exploded in a mosque that may have been the intended refuge for Mousavi who has told a crowd that he is ready to die. Reportedly, Mousavi has also called for a national strike if he is arrested.

More here.


  1. AnonymousJune 21, 2009

    I think it is necessary to keep in mind the factor that the REAL facts might be known only many years after the actual events.

    like now about the Iran Islamic revolution - why it happened (why people rebelled against dictator Shah installed by CIA and Brits), the details etc.

    also keep in mind that Twitter has even less chance to prove who is who, because it is much more ananimous than even blogs or youtube. so, who knows who is really who - who are all those people who actually Twit about it?

    for example, it is a very well known fact that Israel has initiated the effort called "Media War" - of hiring up the people (from different countries and with different language skills) to comment in blogs, forums, everywhere. you can easily find details of that by brief searching.

    so, where is the guarantee that at least SOME percent of all these people on twitter are not similarly hired by US, or even by the same Israel ?

    therefore, I would not trust 100% the info provided by some too ananimous people on twitter. I would rather wait for the things to cool down and some proper facts checking done by proper investigative journalists - and then only I would decide whether to believe what is being reported now about events in Iran.

    remember that after 9/11 anyone who would express even slightest doubts and opine that 9/11 was an "inside job" was instantly branded as "conspiracy theorist" or even the unpatriotic, traytor etc. now however, many years later - there are a lot of people who would consider anyone who doesn't believe that it was "inside job" as a lunatic and dellusional.

    so, my point is: it takes certain time for actual facts to be known. some facts are so concealed that they are never be allowed to be known.

  2. Antipadshist,

    also keep in mind that Twitter has even less chance to prove who is who, because it is much more ananimous than even blogs or youtube. so, who knows who is really who - who are all those people who actually Twit about it?

    Twitter especially, has one advantage over traditional media. Take one of the most prominent twitter uses in Tehran, and there are so many followers of every tweet that cross-checking of facts is happening constantly. Also there are people on the ground, alternative sources on the ground, so a cross check facts is possible, even as reports come in.

    So in theory, at least, many reports ought to be better than just a few -- even assuming some are bogus. And where we have few reports from traditional media, we have generally had fewer cross-check opportunities.

  3. AnonymousJune 21, 2009

    Twitter has advantage over media - that might be correct. however it doesn't change the fact that Twitter is as easily manipulated and the info twitted on it is subjugated.

    and it is a fact that a lot of politicians use to great extent the internet, blogs, media etc.

    so, my point is: now have to be aslo careful in placing one's full believe into those sources.

    I rather prefer to follow the principle expressed by John Pilger - that the "real truth is always subversive". in this regard, I'm rather inclined to trust the poor people of Iran who has voted to elect Ahm. rather than the urban middle class who are trying to reject the results of those elections and install the Mousavi, who is said to be the "front men for mullahs and clergy".

    also a large factor here is US infulence.


    US neo-cons sniff a chance

    "the right-wing attacks have put a great deal of political pressure on the president [Obama] to take a more activist stance, and may pave the way for a domestic political backlash against him if the Iranian government ultimately represses the protesters and keeps hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in place after he won a disputed term for another four years...

    Mousavi and his supporters have never called for overthrowing the Islamic Republic, but rather have co-opted the rhetoric and iconography of the Islamic Revolution for their cause...

    neo-conservatives have been somewhat hesitant in their embrace of Mousavi, with many of them offering support for the protesters while maintaining that he is little different from Ahmadinejad and that it is Khamenei who wields real power...

    that's the whole point: the real power is neither the Mousavi nor Ahmadinejad but Khamenei.

    stupid Western public though is made believe that the current uprising is something which has to do with real democratic changes.

  4. that's the whole point: the real power is neither the Mousavi nor Ahmadinejad but Khamenei.

    I have my doubts that Khamenei is that powerful. If he enjoyed, say the strength of say, HM the King of Thailand, I don't think Khamenei would have felt the need to put his reputation on the line over the protests. If he was truly so powerful, he would not have felt it necessary to associate himself with the bloody crackdown to come.

    ... stupid Western public though is made believe that the current uprising is something which has to do with real democratic changes.

    Actually, in response to this statement, I would emphasize something you said earlier that I very much agree with. You wrote:

    I think it is necessary to keep in mind the factor that the REAL facts might be known only many years after the actual events.

    We don't really know what the uprising will bring or how much democracy it portends. As I recall, the Iranian Revolution of '79 was supported by communists, liberals, etc.

    From Wikipedia:
    Marxists groups — primarily the communist Tudeh Party of Iran and the Fedaian guerillas[58] — had been weakened considerably by government repression. Despite this the guerillas did help play an important part in the final February 1979 overthrow[59] delivering "the regime its coup de grace."[60] The most powerful guerilla group — the People's Mujahedin — was leftist Islamist and opposed the influence of the clergy as reactionary.

    Likewise the current protests are likely supported by various groups for reasons ranging from economics, to human rights, to the theological.

    So we're looking at another big stew I suspect.

    To say it's all about democracy makes no more sense to me than to say it has nothing to do with democracy. Which is to say, I think there are people protesting with various agendas, including democracy, but that's likely only part of the story.

    And as you point out, time will tell.

  5. AnonymousJune 23, 2009

    here is I think a good post about "Twitter revolution" in Iran :

    Iran Protests on Twitter: From powerful medium of the people to movement for disinformation

    "all the tips for protecting protesters outlined in the Cyberwar guide undermine the ability of Twitter users to distinguish good information from bad.

    The guide suggests that the disinformation of the Iranian regime is bad (which is true), but then argues that the disinformation of a broad Twitter public (becoming Iranian by setting your location to Tehran) is good (which is false).

    At the beginning of the protests, searching Twitter for tweets from Tehran consistently produced results. Now it is jammed with rubbish.

    That means the good information is harder to find. But, let’s be frank, it really doesn’t make it any harder for the Iranian regime to find those tweeting from the dorms of the capital.

    The cyberwar guide suggests that using only one or two hashtags will keep the conversation undiluted - when in fact the reverse is true.

    As a hashtag gains notoriety, so it dilutes the useful content (tweets from protesters in Iran)

    So what’s the point in using Twitter?

    Twitter, in its networking element, is all about viral broadcasting.... All that is lost if we simply quietly whisper who’s worth watching.

    After all, Twitter’s main social action is ‘following’. It is inter-personal spying on a mass scale.

    Iranian security people will be able to follow the people they want to even if we feign otherwise, and impede many other innocent users’ access to important voices in the process.

    also there are several articles which are quoted here which remind us that similar events a year ago in US before elections didn't create any "Twitter Revolution" or "color coded revolution", or outrage, etc. (I know, Jotman in fact DID blog about that quite a lot actually! :) )

    this article has some photos too:

    Where was the international outrage at #USelection?

    and the main point made in this one I think is much more important for the whole world than #IranElection hashtag :

    The revolution will not be golden

    "the entirety of Twitter has been hypnotised by green while Goldman Sachs transfers trillions in toxic waste to the balance sheet of those very same green iconed twitterers calling for others to be free! And yet they themselves are being imprisoned by intergenerational debt! While Goldman walks away with the biggest bonuses in their 140 year history!! This is just too awesome to be true. I am still uncertain whether to laugh or cry. Well, first let me try to appeal to the Iranian people to turn their twitter icons gold in support of those of us oppressed by the dictatorial Fed which has consolidated its power in the past week. If I can’t get them to go gold in support of financial freedom fighters, then my suggestion is go long oligarchy and short the peasants!"

  6. AnonymousJune 23, 2009

    America’s Iranian Twitter Revolution

    "That the U.S. government has an active interest in the unfolding of the “Twitter revolution” for Iran, is an established fact."

    related stuff:

    JPost Removes the Evidence and Issues a Response #IranElection

    "the onslaught of #IranElection tweets may not have been the work of “Iranian students” as claimed but rather a group of people promoting the political interests of the right-wing of Israeli politics with the aim of magnifying the social unrest which followed the Iranian election..."

    Iran's Twitter Revolution? Maybe Not Yet

    "There is this romantic notion that the people tweeting are the ones in the streets, but that is not what is happening... The hubs are generally not people on the ground, and many are not in the country...."

    The Irony of Iran’s ‘Twitter Revolution’

    "When the dust settles down on the Iran election crisis, we will see that Twitter was more useful as a media tool and not as an organizing tool...

    Calling the Iran protests a ‘Twitter Revolution’ is not only distracting but also dangerous because it reduces a legitimate broad-based grassroots movement to what’s quickly becoming a cliche...

    Do We Really Care About Democracy?

    Iranian Elections: The ‘Stolen Elections’ Hoax

    Israeli Effort to Destabilize Iran Via Twitter

    US Media Campaign to Discredit Iranian Election

    Where was the twittered outrage for #ourownbackyard?

    The Kid at the State Department Who Figured Out the Iranians Should Be Allowed to Keep Tweeting

  7. Antipadshist,

    Interesting links on Twitter.

    Reading the twitter hype, you would wonder how protests happened before the technology. And there are countless ways to manipulate social media. Which was the source of my skepticism about the Chinese netizens' campaign of 08.

    - One of the many weird things about the RNC -- that Huff Post article -- is that the "embedded" MSM journalists ignored the story. As if photographers getting arrested wasn't "news." MS journalists' behavior should be subject of inquiry as much as that of the police.


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