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Statistical Suspicions In Iran's Election

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the funny-smell dept.

Math 512

hoytak writes "An expert in electoral fraud, professor Walter Melbane, has released a detailed analysis (PDF) of available data in Iran's controversial election (summary here). While he did not find significant indications of fraud, he does note that all the deviations from the predicted model are in Ahmadinejad's favor: 'In general, combining the 2005 and 2009 data conveys the impression that a substantial core of the 2009 results reflected natural political process... [These] stand in contrast to the unusual pattern in which all of the notable discrepancies between the support Ahmadinejad actually received and the support the model predicts are always negative. This pattern needs to be explained before one can have confidence that natural election processes were not supplemented with artificial manipulations.'" In related news, EsonLinji notes reports in the Seattle PI and other sources that the US State Department has asked Twitter to delay system maintenance to prevent cutting off Iranians who have been relying on the service during the post-election crisis. And if you would like to help ease the communication crunch, reader RCulpepper tips a blog post detailing how to set up a proxy server for users with Iranian IP addresses.

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I was suspicious (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355273)

... when Barack Obama congratulated Ahmadinejad a week early.

Come on, It's Iran already (1, Troll)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355291)

Like Iran has ever - ever done anything underhanded.

And if you believe that, I have some more kool-aid for you to drink.

Re:Come on, It's Iran already (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355443)

While he did not find significant indications of fraud

QED. The null hypothesis was not rejected, therefore your study determined nothing. Speculation is not science.

Re:Come on, It's Iran already (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355757)

Negative results are still results.

Re:Come on, It's Iran already (1, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355795)

But what we have here are non-results.
Those are, by definition, not results.

(Yes, it was rigged, what is anyone going to do about it? Riot for a bit, get beat like hippies, then cry? Yup.)

ProxyBox Virtual Appliance (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355525)

Mirror 1 [exstatic.org]
Mirror 2 [128.210.109.29]

Proxies:
Squid installed and listening on ports: 7, 13, 53, 993, 995, 3128
Polipo installed and listening on port: 8123. Polipo is routed through Tor.
Tor: port 9050 (a socks5 proxy)
Ziproxy: Port 8080 (good for low bandwidth connections. It recompress images & text.
Socat: Must be run manually, but listens on port 443 and routes through Squid.

SSH enabled, listening on ports 22,80,2222,22222
2 Users: root:#iran and iran:election. If you enable ssh to the world, change the root password (passwd). This should enable ssh tunneling.
-
I created this for people on Fark who were having problems with squid. Everyone here shouldn't have a problem. It's a bare bones (netinst) debian install with all the above installed and setup.

I did NOT put ACLs in because there are reports here: http://iran.sharearchy.com/ [sharearchy.com] that the ACL list is actually blocking some people in Iran.

And could one of the mods please change to the coral cache of Austin's website? He's already getting DDoS'd by Iran all this morning. Slashdot isn't going to help anything.

If any /.ers would like to help make it smaller, better, faster (VPN?), jjarvis98 at gmail.com

And you're free to inspect it to make sure I'm not trying to r00t you.

hai (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355293)

i love math

Re:hai (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355601)

I loves tits

Camel Jockeys are Liars and Cheats?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355295)

News at 11.

Srsly...anybody think those rag heads give a shit?

Wake me when they progress past their 6th century mentalities.

The problem of time (5, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355303)

There are a lot of issues with the data. But even before one gets to the statistical anomalies one has the basic problem of time. Iran uses paper ballots. In the past elections it has taken at least three days for Iran to count the votes. In this case, if the results are to be believed it took a matter of hours. That's just not plausible. Even if there were zero apparent stat problems, this would still be a massive red flag.

Re:The problem of time (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355355)

I think the story was that they announced the victory after they had counted some portion of the votes and seen that Ahaminejad had a significant lead.

Re:The problem of time (3, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355733)

I think the story was that they announced the victory after they had counted some portion of the votes and seen that Ahaminejad had a significant lead.

Right. After all, Khamenei's vote is "some potion of the votes."

Re:The problem of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355487)

I doubt he could have won by double digit margins by fraud alone. He just won the same way Bush won twice. He had the support of ultra coservatives in rural areas who only care about one or two issues, and played into their fears and prejudices.

Re:The problem of time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355705)

Only you could find a way to blame bush for this.

If you know anything about statistics... (2, Informative)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355517)

...you know that a small random sample of the population tells you what the general population is like to a very high degree of certainty. A random sample of 10 percent of population is virtually guaranteed to be within the margin of error of the general sample. Now the early vote counts are not exactly random sample, but it's not unreasonable to announce the result of an election with a very small percentage of the vote counted.

Re:If you know anything about statistics... (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355553)

But they didn't just announce that. They even had a claimed final total shortly thereafter which Ayatollah Khamenei confirmed. That's not explainable by a "we have a representative sample".

Re:If you know anything about statistics... (3, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355575)

It's not unreasonable to predict the results of an election with a random sample. For instance, if you are a news organization you may want to do this. However, the official results should not be based on a prediction, they should be the actual counted results. Statistical predictions have a chance of being wrong.

Furthermore, the idea of "random" sample is pretty far-fetched when you are counting votes from certain locations and the proportion of votes for each candidates varied by location. Once you have enough information to take a truly random sample you also have enough information to actually count the votes.

Re:If you know anything about statistics... (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355599)

(i should have said 'representative' sample, not 'random' sample)

Re:If you know anything about statistics... (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355759)

I'm not saying there's nothing fishy but there's no reason that votes can't be hand-counted very quickly. Let's make up some numbers. Each polling station had 10000 votes. Each polling station has 20 people to count the ballots. That's 500 votes per person. Give them 15 seconds to process each ballot. That's a little over 2 hours for a first full count. Maybe another hour to obtain the counts from all of the polling stations. And that's assuming they wait until the polls close to start counting and numbers of voters far higher than I'd expect to show up at any single polling station and a very high voter:pollster ratio.

The whole idea that manual counts require days is silly if the count is done in an efficient manner using the people already on hand running the polling places.

Re:If you know anything about statistics... (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355783)

That's correct. But the opposition candidate, Mousavi, said that he received a phone call at 2am the evening of the election indicating that he had won. When the results were announced later, it was Ahmadinejad by a landslide.

Additionally, A'nejad officially had consistent support all across the country and all through demographics. He officially did equally well in cities vs. rural areas. Mousavi was heavily favored in cities. A'nejad officially did equally well among sexes, age groups, class levels, ethnic groups, everything. Mousavi was heavily favored among young students. It's too uniform to be plausible. For example, A'nejad even beat Mousavi in Mousavi's home Azeri province, Iranian Azerbaijan. That was compared to Obama losing the African-American vote to McCain, it's just very suspect and highly improbable.

In addition to that, the other 2 candidates each officially received less than 1% of the total. In the pre-election polls each of those candidates had much higher support.

CNN has done an absolutely terrible job at covering this, the line that CNN is reporting is essentially the government's spin being reported as truth. Fox seems to be the only US network with the balls to show much protest video. The BBC's coverage has been among the best outside of Arabic media, which is difficult to receive in a lot of places. The most up-to-date information about this can usually be found in whichever fark.com thread people are currently posting in, they've gone through 9 or 10 now with several thousand posts in each. Needless to say, any respect I had for CNN has essentially evaporated. Their international coverage used to be among the best in the US, now they might as well be the US-based Iranian spin machine.

Re:If you know anything about statistics... (2, Informative)

NP-Incomplete (1566707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355897)

...you know that a small random sample of the population tells you what the general population is like to a very high degree of certainty.

Statistics allows you to extrapolate results from a small sample set if, and only if, the the entire sample set follows a known statistical model.

Solution (1, Flamebait)

Parthian (1535117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355305)

Regime Change!

Re:Solution (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355447)

Regime Change!

Acutally Dr. Melbane doesn't count as a regime, Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Statistical nothing (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355313)

They somehow managed to hand-count ~40M votes in a couple hours. It doesn't take a brain surgeon (or a statistician, in this case) to realize there's something fishy going on.

Re:Statistical nothing (4, Informative)

V50 (248015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355401)

We hand count around 10M votes in Canada in a few hours each federal election (which is around once a year these days....) You can say "well, that's Canada and this is Iran", but Iranians have the same hands Canadians do. (Well, minus those cut off due to Sharia, if Iran practices that.)

There's a good chance the election was manipulated but that's no indication at all.

Re:Statistical nothing (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355419)

Except that you have good transit systems and are counting around 30M fewer votes.

Re:Statistical nothing (2, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355513)

Except that you have good transit systems and are counting around 30M fewer votes.

Counting paper ballots is an embarrassingly parallelizable task. If you get enough people doing the counting, you could count 400M votes and sum up the results in half an hour.

Re:Statistical nothing (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355641)

Except that you have good transit systems and are counting around 30M fewer votes.

1) The counting and reporting is done right from the polling stations. Checks and rechecks, and additional audits might benefit from being able to move the ballots around efficiently, but the initial counting and reporting is very efficient.

2) The number of ballots being counted is completely irrelevant, and would make no difference in how long it takes. We allocate polling stations and staff them on a per capita basis. So if our population doubled it wouldn't take twice as long, we'd just have twice as many polling stations and staff.

(And it would cost twice as much, but there would be twice the population paying for it, so it all works out the same whether its 30M or 300M people.)

The only effort that goes up, is summarizing results, but:
a) that is largely done using computers
b) the amount of effort grows logarithmically so 300M ballots would only require a handful more staff than 30M ballots.

Really, people who think you can't run an efficient paper ballot system with a large population aren't really thinking.

Re:Statistical nothing (5, Insightful)

V50 (248015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355647)

Except that you have good transit systems and are counting around 30M fewer votes.

From what I understand, Iran has a good, or at least decent, transit system, (they aren't a third world country) and a decent communication grid.

Having 4x more votes means nothing. They could easily have 4x (or more) counters.

The US could hand count over 100m ballots in the same time frame, if you only had one election at a time, like Canada. Because you have a FREAKING CRAP TON of elections (President, Senate, House, State Senate, State House, DA, Judge, School Board, Official State Dog Walker) and often several referendums all at one time, hand counting becomes impractical. BTW, I am not bashing having so many elections, just pointing out that it is the major reason why hand counting is impractical in the US.

Re:Statistical nothing (4, Informative)

jfim (1167051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355439)

They somehow managed to hand-count ~40M votes in a couple hours. It doesn't take a brain surgeon (or a statistician, in this case) to realize there's something fishy going on.

How so? I believe the way it works in Canada is that ballots are counted at each polling station and parties are free to have a representative oversee the election process. This ensures that we have an unofficial count a couple of hours after the polling stations close. (See The Electoral System of Canada [elections.ca] , on page 34 of the PDF)

The official count comes, by law, up to seven days later, but it usually doesn't differ from the unofficial count.

Re:Statistical nothing (5, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355523)

AFAIK the official line was that the boxes were sealed and were brought to a central location for counting.

This was after the elections observers from the opposition parties were kicked out of the polling places, of course.

Re:Statistical nothing (3, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355693)

How about we compare what can be compared instead of comparing Iran to Canada? Iran has had paper elections before, how about we compare to how long it took them then to do it? Nowhere near as fast? And they didn't change anything to the way they count votes?

Re:Statistical nothing (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356073)

Take out a chess board. Starting with the bottom left, and in any order you please, place a mustard seed in the first square. Then two in the next square. Then double that in the next square. Keep going until you get to a little less than half the board (25 squares I should think). Those are your voters. If each of the inhabitants of the next lower square sums the ones above them and passes the count down to the first seed, you can see that it shouldn't take very long at all to count any number of votes.

Note: this scheme implies that all the seeds are capable of counting votes. But if you're not capable of counting votes, then maybe you shouldn't be allowed to vote.

This reads like electoral interference to me (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355329)

the US State Department has asked Twitter to delay system maintenance to prevent cutting off Iranians who have been relying on the service during the post-election crisis

What does the US State Department have to do with an election in Iran? By all means they should use their normal channels to express their views. But for me, asking twitter to keep operating for this reason is a minor example of the way other countries have long been interfering in Iranian politics.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355373)

[sarcasim] I agree. I could care less that Iranians have an outlet for their woes -- it's their fault they chose to live in such a country in the first place... How dare someone try to keep human rights in focus during this time... those a-holes. Good thing we also don't care that China likes to run people over with tanks -- geez, it's their country, they can run it however they like.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (1)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355391)

The election is over. You can't interfere in it after its over.

And since when has the US had a neutral opinion of the Iranian government? It hardly seems surprising that the State Department would do/say/support something -- like asking Twitter to delay maintenance -- that would seem to be disruptive of the existing government.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355405)

This isn't electoral interference. It is an attempt to prevent censorship and aid people who are being oppressed and persecuted. This is exactly the sort of intervention that countries should be doing: helping allow more people to talk to each other. Democracy comes most easily not when imposed by a military invasion but when people are simply given the tools necessary to talk to each other and to those from other countries. Dictators always try to censor and control communications for a reason. I'm not that happy with how the Obama administration has done things (especially in regards to civil liberties issues) but this is precisely the correct reaction. Actions that undermine censorship are very rarely the wrong thing.

It's not that obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28356027)

www.fivethirtyeight.com debunks this -- I was persuaded by the WaPo story too until I read Nate Silver's analysis. Now I say, could be, could be ...

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/06/did-polling-predict-ahmadinejad-victory.html

Above poster makes good point also -- results came too fast. Kind of like Bush v. Gore -- "we hate uncertainty so let's call it already" ...

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (4, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355407)

I don't think it's an example of electoral interference. That would be if the US tried to influence the outcome of the election. In this case they're trying to enable Iranians to communicate with each other, regardless of what that communication includes. I may not agree with a lot of things the US government does, but this is a good thing.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355427)

What? The US wants to make it easier for the protesters to organize. How is that interfering with Iranian politics? Was the rest of the world interfering in US elections by allowing ex-patriots to communicate with other Us citizens stateside ?

Also, if the protesters have to rely on Twitter uptime ... They're pretty much screwed.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (2, Funny)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355521)

Also, if the protesters have to rely on Twitter uptime ... They're pretty much screwed.

Does Twitter need to introduce the "Fail Camel" to not alienate the Iranian population?

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355533)

What? The US wants to make it easier for the protesters to organize. How is that interfering with Iranian politics?

By making it easier for protesters to organize. Consider the impact on public opinion towards protesters in Iran if they find out the protesters are being in any way aided by the US.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355691)

What? The US wants to make it easier for the protesters to organize. How is that interfering with Iranian politics?

By making it easier for protesters to organize. Consider the impact on public opinion towards protesters in Iran if they find out the protesters are being in any way aided by the US.

Well public opinion in Iran seems to be sharply divided now into supporters of Mousavi and supporters of Ahmadinejad.

I'd suggest that the opinion of the supporters of Ahmadinejad regarding supporters of Mousavi is already pretty low. I'd further suggest that they're already inclined to believe the supporters of Mousavi are influenced by Americans, the Jooooos, and the Debil Hisself.

So the State Department asking Twitter to delay maintenance downtime somewhat so that it isn't right when the Iranian protesters need Twitter the most is probably pretty low on the hierarchy of "influencing."

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355809)

They are being aided by people worldwide who want to see the current government of Iran removed and who think the election was rigged and the violence against the Iranian people is extreme. The Germans are among those lending a lot of IT help to people trying to communicate.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (3, Interesting)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355951)

It would be a lot easier for protesters to organize if U.S. export law didn't prohibit exporting cryptography software to Iran.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356057)

Consider the impact on public opinion towards protesters in Iran if they find out the protesters are being in any way aided by the US.

One extra "Death to America" sign on the next anti-American demonstration, in addition to the existing several dozen ones?

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355429)

They didn't ask so that the US could twitter Iran and demand answers. They are asking that they delay maintenance be delayed so that people *in* Iran can express their views. The US will be listening to, not sending messages. So the US is interfering by requesting lines of communication stay open during a time when mass riots and demonstrations are going. Last I checked, more communication was a good thing.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (5, Insightful)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355469)

What does the US State Department have to do with an election in Iran? By all means they should use their normal channels to express their views. But for me, asking twitter to keep operating for this reason is a minor example of the way other countries have long been interfering in Iranian politics.

Meh, The US State Department talking to a US company that provides a services that some Iranians use is hardly a particularly good example of external political influences in the middle east. If anything the big story would be if somebody actually managed to persuade Twitter to keep operating. :) But seriously, when you look at things like Operation Ajax, you can see that the US just trying to make sure Iranians have a convenient way to speak for themselves is extremely hands-off, and probably a very appropriate way to avoid having unclean hands in the situation. The previous administration would have loudly and openly run their mouth about the situation, and inadvertently marginalized the reformist element in Iran by trying to support it. Trying to make sure they can speak for themselves is probably about the best thing America can do right now.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (3, Funny)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355917)

Well, there are rumours that the DoD has comissioned for a rewrite of Twitter in ADA with an Oracle backend. And it seems that the programmers already did the code, stress tested it and it could make twitter work.
But, the formal review and inspections process will take at least 6 months, that is, 6 months *after* the developers manage to write at least 5000 pages of documents, print them, sign each page and submit the work as done.
Reports says the rewrite was really easy, after the 3 programmers learned how to dodge the meetings, by convincing the 230 Program and Project Managers that humble programmers shouldn't be allowed to go to meetings so important to the success of the project.

Re:This reads like electoral interference to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355845)

It is the business of the US State Department to be concerned with the affairs in other nations. And like any organization, it can take good and bad actions. As far as it goes, asking one company to delay maintenance so that members of the Iranian population can continue to communicate is generally on the acceptable side of affairs. Now bring me evidence members of the state department, or any organization whatsoever are manufacturing sentiments, then we can talk about things being a problem.

Apparently more than the Administration (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355937)

whose comments can be summarized as "We care for the people of Iran provided it does not offend the leadership of Iran"

Really, when are the new guys in charge here going to get it, not everyone likes you, not everyone cares if your being nice, and that line in the sand is forever movable.

The sad story is, look how most of the world is reacting, they could roll tanks over people in a square and probably get the 2016 Olympics.

It happens (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355339)

Look at Norm Coleman vs Al Franken. The original count gave Norm Coleman a slight win. In the recount, every correction overwhelmingly went for Al Franken. It happens. And on average, only 40% of eligible voters do vote, so sometimes you would expect the total number of votes in a district to outnumber the total number of registered voters. Doesn't mean there was fraud or duplicate counting.

Re:It happens (4, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355449)

Except that, amongst other issues, the turnout in this election is 60%+, and the differences weren't a few votes

Also, Ahmadinejad won in *all* his opponents' home provinces and amongst *all* his opponents' ethnic groups, which is unlikely, to say the least.

Re:It happens (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355635)

Why do you say it is unlikely? Are you guessing, or hoping, or do you have an objective reason to believe this? In this independent poll (warning: PDF) [terrorfreetomorrow.org] conducted by the Washington Post, only 16% of Azeri Iranians favored Moussavi (Moussavi is Iranian). Upon closer inspection, there are reasons to believe the election results are reasonably accurate.

Re:It happens (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355721)

It's historical. Nate Silver explained it quite well in his blog [fivethirtyeight.com] .

Re:It happens (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355871)

The guy you linked to is doing a statistical analysis, which according TFA, from a statistical standpoint, the elections were probably fair.

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355539)

You're leaving out the part where the electoral commission overseeing the Coleman v Franken recount was a partisan commission subjectively interpreting individual ballots "intent" with different criteria depending on whether the "intent" was in favor of the democrat or republican candidate.

Actually, I think it's a startlingly good example of how to commit fraud in an election--at least if you mean fraud in the sense that it violates the spirit of the law.

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355955)

Of course he's leaving that part out. That's the part he doesn't want anyone to think about.

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355921)

Where the hell do you get your news, the Huffington Post?

Coleman vs. Franken is hardly an example of a fair recount. The vote review committee was largely made up of Democrats which steered votes and were intent on accepting every ballot. Ballots that were clearly in violation of what constituted as a legit ballot were still accepted, and their "intent" was derived to be for Franken.

iow, most of the "wtf are they voting for?" ballots were considered votes for Franken, not Coleman. It's not flattering. It's either the case that the committee steered the election based on party politics and abused their authority, or Democrats hugely and disproportionately do not have the ability to fill out a ballot and yet those ballots were counted despite violating election laws.

"It happens."

If you don't know how to identify or recognize fraud, how can you make such a claim?

It's a rare case when people are principled anymore these days, and when they are, they lose, leading to more disgusting, revolting partisanship. US politics these days is about power, not legality or fairness, which makes voters feel less affinity to the results. That's the one thing about the 2000 election that remains, whether you agree with the result or not or the process or not--it transformed how the parties approach elections, such that the election is only the first stage; if it's close, bitch to hell and back and pack the process in your favor.

Anyone shrewed enough will realize this favors the Democrats--ballots will be questioned in cities, which are overwhelmingly pro-Democratic party, and with the sheer population, questionable ballots will all go one way as decided by the Democratic dominated election committee, resulting overall in shifting a close election itself.

That's a few people "packing" the results. Similar to what seems to have occurred in Iran. They have their circle of clerics. Here in the US we have city election review committees dominated by Democrats.

more protests with no info... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355409)

With all the people protesting out in the streets over there, I think it's quite annoying. I wish they'd just settle down until they know there was fraud. There is no reason to go party in the streets for days if there isn't proof of anything. People keep saying they "know" the election was rigged, but no one can back it up. I've seen 3 studies whose results all supported Ahmadinejad winning. Meanwhile, all I've gotten from the protestors was variations of "wheeeewwwww!!!" Come on guys, give me evidence!

If the US can export democracy, Coke and burgers.. (1)

Klistvud (1574615) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355461)

... why shouldn't it export economic collapses or fishy elections? Export is good for the economy.

Makes me feel good on the inside. (2, Interesting)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355467)

I'm proud to see these young people stand up for their rights and for what they believe in. It's good to see these kids fighting the good fight. (Morgan Freedman anyone?)

I'm hoping this will come to a peaceful end, but any government that steals an election should be punished, and it seems the people of Iran will have none of it.

Keep fighting guys, I only wish I could help fro way over here.

Re:Makes me feel good on the inside. (4, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355559)

Keep fighting guys, I only wish I could help fro way over here.

You can help: by keeping out of it.

Even my progressive American friends are all flag-waving and drum-beating over this. The last thing the world needs is for anyone in the United States to do anything other than say, "We really hope the Iranian constitutional democratic process works this out. As a fellow-democracy we understand that elections can be contentious, but we also understand that the Iranian people and the Iranian people alone need to decide the outcome here, without interference by any other sovereign power."

Imperialism has taken such deep root in the American mind that even the progressives take it for granted that whatever happens anywhere Americans should be taking a hand. Do you think the Swiss--a much older democracy--are doing so? I doubt it. They are probably shaking their heads and saying, "Yes, it was like that here in 1500, but we got over it and so will they."

Re:Makes me feel good on the inside. (4, Interesting)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355715)

"We really hope the Iranian constitutional democratic process works this out. As a fellow-democracy we understand that elections can be contentious, but we also understand that the Iranian people and the Iranian people alone need to decide the outcome here, without interference by any other sovereign power."

Why would the US pretend that Iran is a democracy? The US has, and accurately so, been on the record as noting that the President has no real authority in Iran and is a hand picked figured head. Iran is anything but a democracy.

I remember before the US election the US military saying it would put down any attempt at "change". Oh, wait, no that was Iran and that was last week. The only reason the clerics even allow anything resembling freedom in Iran is because they have to to empower the scientific community in hopes of gaining military and economic power. Hey, look, it's not like power is bad. It's just all these good intentions in posts like yours disappear when asked the question of whether you would be OK if the US and Iran switch places in regards to military power? I'm sure the world would be just swell in that case. I know I'd love to be forced to turn to Mecca a few times a day.
For all the hate the US gets I still can't recall a single nation having as much power (and let's be fair, compare nations to peers of the time) and wielding it so fairly. Sure, you can bitch about the current Iraq war, and some support and aid for some overthrows you might now agree with. Boo hoo! It's all-n-all pretty damn good. And still trying to get better.

Re:Makes me feel good on the inside. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355935)

Do you think the Swiss--a much older democracy--are doing so?

The Swiss work really hard at avoiding any sort of conflict, and is an exception. Plenty of other European and world entities have voiced their opinions about the Iranian election.

Also, is Switzerland a much older Democracy? Women didn't even have the right to vote until 1971. The first Swiss constitution was written in 1848, with a second in 1999. Even if they were an older Democracy, why do you suggest that this gives them more moral ground then then the US or other countries?

Re:Makes me feel good on the inside. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28356043)

the Swiss modeled their democracy after the US 1848

What A Fucking Piece Of Garbage You Are (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355657)

You filthy piece of shit.

This hilariously inept flooding of social media sites by US intelligence agencies throwing a tempertantrum over their failed attempts to illegally interfere in Iran's elections and complete pieces of garbage like you are just lapping up.

The results match pre-election poll (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355473)

The Washington Post did an independent poll [washingtonpost.com] before the election showing that the majority of the public DID support Ahmadinejad by nearly two thirds, even among Mousavi's native ethnic group, the Azeri. It seems that the only group that DIDN'T support Ahmadinejad was the internet connected (a small minority of the country), which explains why they feel the election was stolen: when everyone you talk to agrees with you, it is easy to believe that the whole world agrees with you, not just the people you talk to.

Other interesting points: most people don't agree with Ahmadinejad's policies. Quote:

more than 70 percent of Iranians also expressed support for providing full access to weapons inspectors and a guarantee that Iran will not develop or possess nuclear weapons, in return for outside aid and investment

That warms my heart. I really don't want Iran to get nuclear weapons (for purely selfish, self-preservation reasons. Don't respond to this saying, 'it is their right' because I don't care). Apparently most people voted for Ahmadinejad not because they agree with his policies, but because they consider him to be a stronger negotiator, and more capable of getting favorable concessions from the US, China, and Russia.

If these results do turn out to be accurate, Obama should call and congratulate Ahmadinejad. After all, there are things we can agree on: we want Iran to be a strong, capable, functioning member of international society, not one that tries to destroy it (of course, our views on how they should reach that goal are different, but we can work on that).

Re:The results match pre-election poll (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355579)

Responding to my own post, here is another great quote from that article that really sheds light on the nature of the Iranian people.

nearly four in five Iranians -- including most Ahmadinejad supporters -- said they wanted to change the political system to give them the right to elect Iran's supreme leader, who is not currently subject to popular vote. Similarly, Iranians chose free elections and a free press as their most important priorities for their government, virtually tied with improving the national economy

These guys want freedom. A lot. They voted for Ahmadinejad because they feel he is strong. We can learn a lesson from this: if you are running for president in Iran, make sure you can be perceived as strong. Basic marketing for Iranian Presidential Candidates. Classes start in Spring.

You think like a ReThuglican Jew (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355607)

You think like a ReThuglican Jew

Re:The results match pre-election poll (1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355827)

Nuclear weapons are a fantastic peace maker in the hands of responsible government. Your fear is of Iran, not nuclear weapons, and has more to do with the "they're different to us" Arab stereotyping than it does to any element of fact.

Re:The results match pre-election poll (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355941)

Indeed, Iranians have at times portrayed the USA as "The Great Satan," and at times they have rallies burning the US flag. I am in general against all nuclear weapons, however, if they must exist, I prefer to not have them in the hands of a country that refers to my country as "The Great Satan." It has nothing to do with Arabs: if President Sarkozy seriously calls the USA "The Great Satan" and threatens to bomb Great Britain, and his people seriously support him, I will be worried as well. You would be crazy not to worry.

Re:The results match pre-election poll (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355959)

Yeah, "Axis of Evil" is much kinder.

Re:The results match pre-election poll (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356051)

Indeed, it is 100% understandable that the Iranians want to get nuclear weapons. If I were them, I would want nuclear weapons as well. But I am not, and I am not in favor of arming people who might use those weapons on me, even if it was my side that started it.

This is not an altruistic, fair way of looking at things, it's a rational, self-preservationist way of looking at things. I am selfish when it comes to preventing people from killing me. Is that bad?

On the other hand, if you want to talk about US nuclear disarmament, I favor it. If you want to talk about actually invading Iran, I am absolutely against it.

As for the best way to create peace on earth, start here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK6k4IqIdoQ [youtube.com]
http://p5y.org/ [p5y.org]

Re:The results match pre-election poll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355841)

That hardly warms my heart. They should not wish to develop nuclear arms because otherwise there will be war. Not because they wantz moneyz now.

Re:The results match pre-election poll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355993)

We also want to exterminate the jews. Hopefully, Barack Obama and Ahmadinejad will be able to do just that.

Re:The results match pre-election poll (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355999)

the majority of the public DID support Ahmadinejad by nearly two thirds, even among Mousavi's native ethnic group, the Azeri. ... Other interesting points: most people don't agree with Ahmadinejad's policies.

That's really not surprising. Look at the U.S. Pre-election polling gave the Democrat-controlled Congress single-digit approval ratings, and then the people voted heavily in favor of putting MORE Democrats in Congress. Let's face it. People are stupid. Elections are about building the biggest personality cult, not about policies. In 1994, the people knew that "Democrats are bad." So they voted for Republicans, despite having no idea what those Republicans' policies were. In 2008, the people knew that "Republicans are bad." So they voted for Democrats, despite having no idea what those Democrats' policies were, and despite the fact that the Democrats had controlled the House for 2 years, and the people already didn't like what the House was doing. But Republicans were bad in 2008, so it was obviously their fault that Congress was bad, despite the fact that they didn't control it. The only difference between the 1994 Democrats that the people emphatically booted out and the 2008 Democrats that they emphatically cheered in was the year. The only difference between the 2008 Republicans that the people emphatically booted out and the 20xx Republicans that they will emphatically cheer in (yes, it will happen) is the year.

All those Iranians who voted for Ahmadinejad and also wanted full access for inspectors and no nuclear weapons---I'm betting they just assumed that he agreed with them because they liked him. He's strong and a good leader, so he must want the things I want. Just like Barack Obama could stand up tomorrow and say, "I'm in favor of clubbing baby seals," and thousands of tree huggers would nod their heads and say, "Yes, we should protect the baby seals," because he's just so darn charismatic and likable, they assume that he wants what they want.

Re:The results match pre-election poll (4, Informative)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356053)

The poll was done by Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion and New American Foundation. The Washington Post merely did an article on the findings from the poll.

From the survey [terrorfreetomorrow.org] linked to in the article:

TFT and KA use telephone interviewing instead of face-to-face research in Iran because of the political and social constraints inside Iran. Face-to-face interviewing in Iran can be difficult for interviewers who risk possible prosecution and imprisonment. Face-to-face interviewing also poses issues related to access to households and respondents due to social considerations. Access to female respondents across the Middle East can be challenging.

I'm not sure how much better over-the-phone polling is in Iran. Many in Iran are leery of being called by random strangers over the telephone asking them political questions. Whenever we call our relatives in Iran, we are extremely careful with what we say over the phone. More to the point, when you have a brutal regime and some random person calls and asks: "Who will you vote for in Presidential Elections?", I wouldn't be surprised if they answer in one way and vote in another.

I won't dismiss the findings of this survey outright - they did conduct a scientific polling, something that I haven't done. It's just difficult taking the survey very seriously when what you see happening in real life - thousands and thousands of bloodied protesters taking the streets and demanding change - and compare it with a polling sample of 1001 Iranians, as stated in their Methodology section on page 25 of the pdf document. I'm also thinking back to both the entrance and exit polls in the 2004 U.S. elections, where John Kerry was said to have won by a large margin, only to find that the opposite had happened.

I think it is evident that I am quite anti-Ahmadinejad and anti-Mullah and especially anti-Arab when it comes to my ancestral country. But I will concede that he won if more information is released and it points in favor of his victory.

On a different perspective.. (1)

mercurized (907818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355479)

So in some parts of the world it is just pure manipulation of an election, and in others where there is even proof of irregularities in the voting count and process, it isnt. Guess Iran should have contracted that one to Diebold, nobody would speak up then. :)

Election irregularities (4, Interesting)

V50 (248015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355585)

As a PoliSci student, I've spent a ton of time looking at election data for many countries, over the past hundred years or so. I see a lot of people jumping to conclusions based on some evidence, and not all necessarily means the election was tampered with.

Oddly, I've found a lot of people take the demonstrations in the street to be indication of fraud. What it is is indication of the belief in fraud. I'm pretty sure some people protested after Kerry lost the 2004 US election, that doesn't mean the election was tampered with (and yeah, I know I'll get some conspiracy nut reply to that with an essay.)

Several other stuff looks at odd vote shifting patterns, specifically the almost total abandonment of this one candidate in favor of the President. That is unusual, and calls to be looked into, but it's far from unprecedented. Quebec, in particular, has a history of some pretty wild swings from one party to another.

Another thing is the "rule" that as turnout goes up, the reformers do better. I've seen countless "rules" made in politics, only to be broken, because voters can act weird sometimes. It would be bucking the trend, but again, not definitive proof.

Overall, there is some evidence to suggest there may have been fraud, but as of yet, I've yet to see any "smoking gun". I saw similar analysis "prove" Kerry really won in 2004, and that didn't really amount to anything.

Looking at the whole situation, my gut tells me that there probably was some tampering, either deliberate or systematic, most likely in the process of actually voting. Basically, I think the strange results are most likely, if anything, the result of intimidation, either direct (guy waving around AK-47) or indirect (ie, Ahmed the voter chose the president because of a climate of fear).

It's very possible that Ahmadinejad won legit, even if his vote total was padded due to intimidation or result tampering. It's also very possible that there's a climate of fear in Iran, that essentially prevents a truly fair and free election from occurring. I honestly don't know much about Iran, so these are just my thoughts from being a (mostly Canadian) politics geek.

In case it's not clear, I'm not defending the Iranian results, only suggesting that I've not seen any "smoking gun" type proof, only "unusual" results, which can still happen in a free and fair election.

Re:Election irregularities (4, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355755)

"Precedent" really has very little to do with it. Quebec isn't Iran. So something happening there for understandable reasons isn't validation of something odd happening elsewhere.

Explain how Ahmadinejad won areas that have never voted for anyone but their local ethnic candidate, with the same percentage of the votes as Ahmadinejad got everywhere else.

"Doesn't necessarily mean" and "doesn't prove" is a cop-out. Nothing necessarily means anything and nothing definitively proves anything because our basic axioms of the universe could be wrong. We can't prove that there is a universe at all.

This is nothing like Kerry in 04. We're not talking about some counties shifting a couple percentage points one way or the other in an election decided by fractions of a percent. We're talking about areas going from essentially zero support for the President to handing him a landslide victory. You can't just waive your hands and say it doesn't necessarily mean anything. That needs to be explained.

We can't get a "smoking gun" because the only possible "smoking gun" proof would be held by the Iranian government, and I would think their reaction after the election indicates how willing they would be to hand said proof over.

It doesn't matter whether the election was rigged (5, Interesting)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355597)

The point is that enough of the people of Iran find the results incredible and are in general angry enough about their present conditions that they have lost faith in the current government and desire significant reforms. This won't go away, ever. Even if a complete do-over of the election is performed, the fact that peaceful assembly was denied and communications have been disrupted, among many other things, makes this a moot point.

Re:It doesn't matter whether the election was rigg (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355781)

Ya, that's sorta the point of democracy. You have to have enough faith in the system to tolerate peaceful protest, otherwise you're just a military dictatorship pretending to be a democracy. But most democracies are.....

Re:It doesn't matter whether the election was rigg (2, Insightful)

Parthian (1535117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355881)

Please note people are using this opportunity to riot against the government as whole and not only because of the election results. Let's say the people riot, who is going to take control if Ahmadinejad is overthrown? Mousavi? Who was approved to candidate for presidency by Khamenie? They are all the same shit. People are being fooled. Regime change is the only solution, go away Islamic Republic. Please come democracy or/and constitutional monarchy.

Modammad Asgari knew (4, Interesting)

fsiefken (912606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355661)

tweet: unconfirmed: Mohammad Asgari,a system administrator in the interior ministry (in charge of securing election LAN) was killed #iranelection

Proxy (4, Interesting)

scarolan (644274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355687)

I did go ahead and set up a squid proxy - how do I get the IP address to Iranians who need it without the government seeing it? I've asked this question on twitter several times over the last day, and my messages seem to just get drowned out by all the other information flooding in. Is there a trusted source who can pass the server address on to Iranian users who need it?

Re:Proxy (3, Informative)

Nebulious (1241096) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355779)

Send your proxy to me@austinheap.com. This guy is responsible for one of the best keep list for Iranians. He's the one in the final link of the story.

Re:Proxy (0, Troll)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355853)

But how would anyone know if that's just a cover for Ahmadickhead or Kockamaymie, and they'll just block it?

Re:Proxy (3, Informative)

scarolan (644274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355949)

I did email him twice but got no response. I also tailed my squid logs all night and nobody used it. I would like to help out here but am not much use if no one can find my proxy. Oh well.

What about a better solution to counter censorship (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355731)

What about using some P2P protocol with encription as the core for a new kind of Usenet specically aimed for privacy?

Re:What about a better solution to counter censors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355991)

this is called freenet........

What if they are? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355773)

So, let's say we know for sure Ahmadinedjad stole the election. Then what? What does the international community do? Sanctions? A CIA-backed coup (for once that these would be anywhere near desirable)? What do Iranians do? Overthrow him? Riot until it gets nowhere and just accept their all-out dictatorship? Serious question, I'd really like to know, and that question is never seen addressed.

Re:What if they are? (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355813)

The Iranians are good at riots, they did them so well that they managed to overthrow Iran. They'll probably go with that.

Re:What if they are? (2, Interesting)

Parthian (1535117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355869)

It seems like we have a lot of happy westerns in the western world who have absolutely no idea what is going on and still act as if they are helping to make a "change" by setting up proxies, twitter accounts and such. You western people, please tell me, why you are supporting people, who are supporting Mousavi, who have murdered thousands of Iranians during his time as prime minister in Iran when Khamenie was president and the "supreme leader" was Khomeini?. Please tell me, why you support this thief who spent BILLIONS in election campaigns? Let's say the people riot, who is going to take control? Mousavi? Who was approved to candidate for presidency by Khamenie? They are all the same shit. People are being fooled. Regime change is the only solution, go away Islamic Republic. Please come democracy or/and constitutional monarchy.

The biggest statistical red flags (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355785)

There were several of the more liberal districts around Tehran where Pat Buchanan won.

WHOOO CARES? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355817)

Iran is run by a central council of idiots anyway. Who cares what puppet they stretch over their hand?

Slashdot (0, Troll)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355825)

News for Kdawson. At least pretend that there is a relevant angle. Throw us a bone, man.

Re:Slashdot (2, Informative)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355957)

There is an article in "firehose" which could possibly be related:

http://slashdot.org/submission/1021265/Grassroots-PetitionOnlineorg-taken-down-by-DDos [slashdot.org]

It seems peitiononline.com is under ddos attack. What I thought was interesting is that their number two most popular petition is
Investigation into crimes committed by Ali Khamenei

CTS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355967)

I would have expected the paranoid, capital letter
disabled "circle times square" to chip in with one of his theocracy rants by now.

Maybe he has finally finshed his phillipino horror movie, and doen us all a favour and fucked off.

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