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The State of Iran's Ongoing Netwar

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the nineties-is-way-late-for-gibson-sterling-et-al dept.

Censorship 263

An anonymous reader writes "Following disputed elections in Iran, opposition groups and activists have turned conventional protests into a major threat to the ruling government. The low-intensity protest movement is rapidly becoming the first true netwar of the 21st century. Opposition protesters have shown that within a few hours or less, the information technologies that are the mainstay of modern society can become its weapons, as well. This article examines the current situation in Iran and the part played by new media technologies and strategies, showing how far the theory and practice of netwar has advanced since the concept first emerged in the late nineties."

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263 comments

Impressed (5, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365929)

TFA was one of the best written, well thought out blogs I've ever had the pleasure to read. Indeed JournalSquared should be invited to be an admin here at /.

Fark (4, Informative)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365939)

Hardly any time to post. Spending most of my time on Fark

Re:Fark (5, Informative)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366045)

Offtopic?

Threads on Fark have reached over 20K posts. People are setting up proxy servers to allow outgoing Twitter messages (bypassing Iranian firewall filters), with several people giving out do-it-yourself proxy kits. There is an active Go Green campaign and protests planned in many cities. Posting of relevant Twitter messages to keep everyone informed.

Somewhat on the forefront of the Netwar I would think.

Re:Fark (2, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366827)

Here, here. Fark has stepped up to provide explanations and filter through the noise, and 4chan has stepped up to provide technical support and services to keep communication open. I'm actually a little surprised that Slashdot is as quiet as it is, considering the technical knowledge that it's known for and the many cries over censorship. This is censorship at its greatest, and no one here seems to want to lend a hand to the people who need some help getting around it.

From Tatsuma. (5, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366895)

This statement started off as a paragraph or two in the early threads...
-
Very worrying report: Supreme Leader Khameini has called for Friday Prayers where he will be present. There are fears that the IRG is going to have a massive presence and that this might be a trap, but on the other hand not attending makes the reformists enemies of Islam and worthy of the death penalty. There are also reports that other Reformist candidate Karoubi and his entire party leadership were arrested.

Nothing much has happened in the last hours aside of that. There are reports of clerics and ayatollahs meeting in the holy Shiite city of Qom in order to plan to overthrow Khameini as supreme leader, as well as a more and more pro-dissenters stance from the army, but we have nothing substantiated so far. I will yet update this tomorrow, adding further information about various other groups operating in Iran right now and relevant to this revolution.

I really am trying to cram the most relevant information and speculation only. Everything is updated as events unfold, especially the timeline and what will happen in the future. If you want to link this, here is the website, updated as the situation changes:

https://sites.google.com/site/tatsumairanupdate/ [google.com]

All twitter posts about the army being involved are false as I am writing this Warning, new twitter feeds are most likely government members trying to spread misinformation, ignore them! Also, there is a handful of good twitter feeds, but please do not publicize their usernames, they are in enough danger as it is and they don't need more publiclity. Those in the know will c/p their entries. Major timeline overhaul, including what has unfolded in the last few hours.

Suppression of Dissent - The Players

Currently, there are either two or three groups who are suppressing the students on the ground that you'll read about throughout this thread:

1. The Basij
2. Ansar Hizbullah (which I will refer to as Ansar)
3. Lebanese Hizbullah (Unconfirmed but highly probable. Der Spiegel, based on a Voice of America report, says that 5,000 Hizbullah fighters are currently in Iran masquerading as riot police, confirming the independent reports. Many different independent reports and video point that way. Even in the last hours other independent twitter feeds have declared witnessing thugs beating on people while shouting in Arabic; I will refer to them as Hizbullah)

- The Basij are your regular paramilitary organization. They are the armed hand of the clerics. The Basij are a legal group, officially a student union, and are legally under direct orders of the Revolutionary Guard. Their main raison d'Ãtre is to quell dissent. They are the ones who go and crack skulls, force people to participate in pro-regime demonstrations, and generally try to stop any demonstrations from even starting. They are located throughout the country, in every mosque, every university, every social club you can think of. They function in a way very similar to the brownshirts.

They were the ones who first started the crackdown after the election, but it wasn't enough. While they are violent and repressive, they are still Persian and attacking fellow citizens. A beating is one thing, mass killings another.

- Another group was working with them, whose members are even more extreme, is Ansar. There is a lot of cross-membership between the Basij and Ansar, though not all are members of the other group and vice-versa. The vast majority of Ansar are Persians (either Basij or ex-military), though a lot of Arab recruits come from Lebanon and train with them under supervision of the Revolutionary Guard. They are not functioning under a legal umbrella, they are considered a vigilante group, but they pledge loyalty directly to the Supreme Leader and most people believe that they are under his control. They are currently helping the Basij to control the riots, but due to the fact that they are Persians and in lower numbers than the Basij, they are not that active.

- The Lebanese Hizbullah is a direct offshoot (and under direct control) of the Iranian Hizbullah (itself under direct control of the Supreme Leader) and cooperates closely with Ansar though Ansar occupies itself only with Iran's domestic policies, while Hizbullah occupies itself only with Iran's foreign policy unless there is a crisis like right now. However, Hizbullah has been called to stop violent riots in Iran in the past.

(the following paragraph includes some speculation based on reports from ground zero) Hizbullah flew in a lot of their members in Iran, most likely a good deal even before the elections in case there were trouble. They are the ones who speak Arabs and are unleashing the biggest level of violence on the Persians so far. Another wave arrived recently and there is chatter that yet another wave of Hizbullah reinforcements are coming in from Lebanon as we speak. According to Iranians on the ground, they are the ones riding motorcycles, beating men women and children indiscriminately and firing live ammunitions at students.

Other Players

Decided to create this section in order to give a wider range of explanations for people who might not be too familiar with Iran's internal politics and structure.

The Police

Iran's police is not dissimilar to your run-of-the-mill law enforcement in other dictatorships, with the difference that they are not generally as brutal and repressive. This is because the Basij are generally in charge of these activities, meaning that Iranian policemen generally concentrate more on the law and order aspect of Iranian daily life.

Today, it is thought that the Iranian police numbers close to 60,000 members, in contrast with up to a million Basij members. This is one of the reasons why we hear much more about the plainclothes militia than we do about the police right now, the other being that the Basij and Ansar are much more willing to violently assault their fellow citizens than even the regular police force. This is not as much a testament to the decency of your average police officers as much as a damning report of what the Basij and Ansar thugs are like.

There are also subdivisions and extra-legal forces attached to the police force. The major subdivision would be the riot police (So-called Unit 110) who are actually much more violent than regular police officers, but also in much, much smaller numbers. There is also VEVAK, the secret police. Very little is known and confirmed about them, except their extreme tactics include murder, kidnapping and torture.

The Army

In Iran, there are actually two armies. They are divided between Artesh and Pasdaran.

Artesh is the regular Military apparatus of the Republic. Their numbers, including reservists, go up to a million members, but only half of them have received anything more than very basic training. As it is often the case in police states, there is very little known and confirmed about the structure of the Army itself.

They were created prior to the Iranian Revolution, in fact this army has existed in one form or another, and is a continuation, for more than 2,500 years. This is not as impressive as it sounds, however, as they often underwent drastic changes, there is no real links between the current incarnations, and the top echelons were most often purged when new rulers took power. In fact, in the last 100 years, those purges happened between two or three times, depending on the count, the last time centered around the time of the Islamic revolution, when most generals were forced to flee, killed, or killed while in exile.

Artesh took the brunt of the military casualties during the Iran-Iraq war, the army is considered to very nationalist and not extremely religious, which explains why they have declared their neutrality and refusal to repress the situation, as they see their purpose to defend the Iranian population.

Everyone agrees they will be the ultimate key to this Revolution when they finally decide to take a side, or alternatively force the Pasdaran to stay on the sidelines with them.

Pasdaran, also known as Iranian Revolutionary Guard

The Iranian Ground forces (I will focus on them, as the Navy and Airforce are currently irrelevant, will update if the situation changes) have been estimated between 100,000 and 130,000 units total. As always, truth most likely resides somewhere in the middle. They are, much like the Basij and Ansar, subservient directly to the Supreme Leader, and ideologically created in the spirit of defending the Islamic Revolution ideals and Republic, not Iran per se. They also control the Basij.

They are a child of the revolution, and they are more geared toward guerilla warfare than they are for military engagements. They are also the force responsible for training the various terrorist groups financed and supported by the Iranian government. They are fanatically devoted to the Republic through intense indoctrination.

The elite troops are called Quds. They are considered the elite of the elite, but they only number between 2000-6000, although rumours say that they are twice or three time as big. They are, however, rumours and quite unlikely.

Ultimately, the Revolutionary Council and the Supreme Leader will call on them if they think they are on the verge of losing power, however it is unlikely that the army will just stay on the sidelines if this happens.

The Guardian Council, formerly known as The Revolutionary Council

The Revolutionary Council was created by Ayatollah Khomeini shortly before the Iranian Revolution. Since then, they have sat as the real authority of Iran. The Guardian Council is made up of 12 Ayatollahs, and they are the ones who dictate every little facet of Iranian life, making the position of President mostly irrelevant, as they do not take any major decisions without first asking permission from Khameini and his cronies. They do not have any qualms about hiding this, as the head of the Council is called "Supreme Leader".

The very goal of this revolution has become not only to elect Moussavi as President, but also elect Grand Ayatollah Montazeri as Supreme Leader. GA Montazeri has been calling for a separation of Mosque and State, and transferring most powers of the Supreme Leader to the President, including control of the Armed Forces.

The Grand Ayatollahs

The Grand Ayatollahs are Shiite clerics who first attained the position of Ayatollahs and then, through their knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence, attained a supreme position and are regarded as the most important voice in Shia Islam today. They center around the holy Shiite city of Qom, though some live outside Iran.

What will happen

Unless the army decides to intervene in the favor of the Council and to stop the early beginnings of the new Revolution, Ansar & Hizbullah members will be the ones doing the brunt of the killing and repression with Basij as a support while also protecting government buildings and try to do crowd control. The police seems to have for the most part disbanded in centers like Tehran according to all reports, including international media. If the police decides to come back, they will focus less on protection and crowd control, so the Basij will start to crack more skulls).

Currently, this is what is happening. Regarding the repression of dissent.

As for the political scene, the majority of Grand Ayatollahs who expressed an opinion on this have sided with the protesters/against the results of the election. They are GA Ardebili, GA Montazeri, GA Shirazi, GA Golpaygani and GA Sanei. The only Grand Ayatollah who has sided in favor of the election results is Khameini, who is also the Supreme Leader of the Revolutionary Council, and the facto ruler of Iran.

Timeline
note: I built this through both articles and twitter feeds, so I do not claim that this is a 100% factually correct representation of reality, but this is the general narrative.

14th of June - While the previous day had been witness to some protests, they were for the most part peaceful. However, as time grew the protests turned more and more violent. When the first spontaneous riots erupted, the first wave of violence was unleashed. The Iranian Riot Police was called in to support the regular police officers controlling the protests, and shortly after the Basij also took the scene, moving from a passive to active role of repression. The RP concentrated mostly around public buildings and streets while the Basij took position around student groups, especiallly universities.

- As things got more out of hand, more and more Basij troops were called in, as the police started dispersing. The riot police are less inclined (or, rather I should say the Basij are more inclined) to use violence so they retreated and leaving the place to the Basij. The repressive forces concentrated their assault mostly around the main Iranian universities, while the riot police were concentrating on protecting various government buildings such as the Interior Ministry. At least two people had been killed already.

- On the telecommunication front, this is when we started to hear more and more from twitters while videos were being freely updated to youtube (while youtube started to delete the more violent ones a few hours later). This is also the moment where the government realized what was happening, and ordered for the internet, phone lines and cellphones to be cut off, in order to avoid people communicating with the outside world.

late 14th, early 15th of June - This is the second wave of violent repression. At this point, violent riots had spread all over the main cities of Iran. The violence against citizens was not only the fruit of the Basij anymore, but also came from Ansar Hizbullah members. This is the point where firearms started being used. There were reports of a few murders but it was mostly fired in the air or on walls in order to scare away protesters in University dorms. It's also around the same time that the first reports and videos of an important number of non-Persian thugs shouting in Arabic and violently beating people with chains, clubs and electric batons (similar to cattle prods), which led to many speculating that lebanese Hizbullah members were now in Iran. Der Spiegel, through Voice of America, later claimed that 5000 Hizbullah fighters were passing off as Riot Police, validating the claims of many independent sources and twitter feeds.

- Universities have been the hotbed of protests, serving as a hub of anti-government demonstrations and preparations. 120 teachers from the Sharid University resigned in protest over the election results. Perfectly away of this, the Basij, Ansar and possibly Hizbullah members concentrated their attacks on University Dorms all over the country, storming them and beating students, destroying everything, especially computers.

- The end of the second wave came right before the beginning of the current manifestation. Things were getting quieter with only sporadic reports of dissenters being assaulted. Important to note: at this time. the Supreme Leader authorized the plainclothes militias to use live ammunition against the crowd if things were to get out of hands. By the end of the first two waves of protests, hundreds of people had been arrested.

midday, 15th of June - This brings us to the third wave, which just began around 12:30PM for those of us on the East Coast. Plainclothes militia opened fire on civilians protesting peacefully. Possibly up to 2 million protesters took the street. Chaos erupted in the streets, with reports of fighting all over Tehran and spreading over Iran as the news circulated. Pictures of people shot, some to death, finally surfaced and were published in the mainstream media. Violent and murderous repression has started. At least a twenty people had been killed at this by the end of the 15th of June.

- There is a major national crackdown on students, especially those with connections to the outside world going on right now. Students are fighting back in some areas. Telephones are being bugged and everyone twittering and sending videos outside of Iran are being rounded up. ISPs were shut down, government hackers are threatening people who twitter, and some of them have vanished in the last 24 hours.

- Eventually, the people started to fight back. First, they took over and burned down a Basij base, killing its commander. Later, a Basij shot a young man in the face in front of their HQ, at which point a policeman went to confront them. The Basij beat the policeman, at which point students stormed the compound, throwing molotov cocktails, burning it to the ground.

- During the night, the police entered certain neighbourhood to arrest public servants and force them to appear at tomorrow's pro-Ahmadinejad manifestation, but the people went out in the street and forced them out of their neighbourhoods. The Basij have kept on storming dorms. So far the reports are conflicting, but it appears that the death toll could be as high as 40 for the protesters, with two dead on the side of the repressive militias. This is the end of the third wave.

early 16th of June - Supporters of Moussavi have a manifestation planned for 5pm, Tehran time. Roughly the same number or more is expected to attend. People are dressed in black and told to protest silently.

- The pro-Ahmadinejad crowd however are planning a counter-demonstration at the very same place the supporters are supposed to gather at 3pm. Most agree that basically they are simply going to gather for a confrontation. Rumours are that they are taking position in buildings next to the parade and in bunkers to attack. Basij from all over the country are moving to Tehran and supporters are being bused from all over the country. A major showdown is expected to unfold.

- The crackdown on people using telecommunication is as strong as ever. Anyone with a laptop, camera or cellphone is attacked in the street by plainclothes militias. Tehran hotels are under lockdown to prevent the members of the foreign press not yet expulsed from reporting what is happening.

- As for the Iranian Government and different branches, there are rumours that many Army Generals have been arrested for plotting a Coup d'Ãtat, but this is still speculation at this point. The Supreme Leader has also called for a 10-day inquiry into the claims of fraud, but it has been widely dismissed as cosmetic. Moussavi and his supporters have rejected this, claiming that they want new elections. Khameini is now using the armed Basij as his own bodyguards, hundreds of them are surround him and his residence to protect from attempted assassinations. Ahmadinejad himself is in Russia right now, for a planned visit, and tries to pretend that everything is good as usual.

midday 16th of June to early 17th of June - The fourth wave of violence has started, and was expected to flare up very soon. It surprisingly was quite mild. Pro-Moussavi supporters said that there were even more people today protesting against the regime, though raw numbers are hard to get. If this is true, it means there are more than 2M protesters in the street right now. They are dressed in black and protesting silently and without violence so far. Other reports that only 250,000 were in the street, possibly scared by the Basij and propaganda.

- The Basij, surprisingly, did not attacking the march itself but rather assaulted dorms again. It looks like they are using the march as a diversion. In Tehran proper, 2000 Basij are waiting to storm the male dorm, and they are backed by IRG helicopters, which seems to send the message that the IRG has broken from their undeclared neutrality toward tacitely supporting the Regime.

- The crackdown on telecommunications is starting to suffocate all of Iran. As of now:

* Gmail and GTalk are shut down
* Yahoo is shut down
* AIM is most likely shut down
* Phone lines are down
* HTTPS and other such protocols are down
* Iranian ISPs have been shut down
* They are trying very hard to close down the Iranian connexion to twitter and giving proxies they control in order to track down people
* Cellphones and SMS are shut down

People are also receiving phone calls from the government saying "We know you were in the protests".

Night fell on Iran, and the Basij were roaming, attacking passerbys at random. They had also surrounded dorms and stormed them once again.

morning of the 17th of June - With the end of the fourth wave of violence, we are currently in a wait and see mode. As of right now, there are many rumors involving clerics, Ayatollahs and the Army plotting to overthrow the government, semi-confirmations from credible twitterers, but nothing concrete so far. These would be extremely big development, so it's better to treat them with caution.

The revolution lives on. Long live the revolution!

Demands from the protesters

1. Dismissal of Khamenei for not being a fair leader
2. Dismissal of Ahmadinejad for his illegal acts
3. Temporary appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as the Supreme Leader
4. Recognition of Mousavi as the President
5. Forming the Cabinet by Mousavi to prepare for revising the Constitution
6. unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
7. Dissolution of all organs of repression, public or secret.

Who is Grand Ayatollah Montazeri?

Ayatollah Montazeri is a pro-Democracy, pro-Human Rights Ayatollah who was at one point on the short list of possible successors of Khomeini, but became marginalized as he adopted what was seen as a too pro-Western, pro-Democracy stance.

Since the beginning of the Revolution, he has been one of the fiercest critics of the Regime, and one of the biggest proponents of women and civil rights for ALL Iranians, including much-maligned minorities like the Baha'is. In fact he goes further than the protections afforded to them under Sharia.

He is also a big critic of Ahmadinejad and has been seen for years as the best hope for Iran if he ever was to come to power, something that was unthinkable a mere week ago.

He has also come out with a statement saying that policemen who beat on protesters and follow orders will not be forgiven under Islam, and that even if the government cuts the lines of communication with the outside world, that it was too late and the truth was getting out

Re:Fark (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366913)

Posting of relevant Twitter messages to keep everyone informed.

It's been said before, but if this ends up working, we can't say twitter is completely useless anymore.

Freedom for Iran! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28365943)

Can you please post what we can do in order to help the Iranians throw over their dictatorship?

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365969)

Call the White House. Tell Obama to meddle. Get your friends to call as well.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365997)

So wait.... We shouldn't have interfered in Iraq whenever almost the exact situation was going on, yet its perfectly ok to do the same thing in Iran?

Re:Freedom for Iran! (2, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366069)

the situation in Iraq was no where close to the situation in Iran. Millions of Iranians haven't been killed by the Iranian government in the last decade, for example. Iran isn't targeting ethnic groups for extermination, and doesn't have a long history of killing dissidents. In fact, the dissidents biggest weapon right now is going up and giving the Basij hugs - seriously.

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (0, Troll)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366135)

Actually, what you describe is indeed what happened in Iraq (with only marginally quibbling differences).

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (4, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366261)

precisely. Re-read what I wrote.

Iraq - killing off ethnicities, millions of dead Iraqis, dissidents were made public examples of, their families killed.
Iran - nothing remotely like Iraq.

In Iran, dissidents are out in millions, hugging the Basij. In Iraq, dissidents were shot in high percentages. While people in Iran are being killed right now, it's substantially less than of 1% of the dissidents that are protesting. Phenomenally different situation.

Which is why, if you look at what I was responding to, the question of whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is not really relevant to whether we should go to Iran. They are different situations.

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366423)

Iran is a considerably different place than Iraq was under Hussein. Under Hussein, Iraq was effectively a one-man dictatorship. Iran's governing structures are considerably more complex. Khamenei is the effective ruler of Iran, but there's considerable interplay with other high-level bodies, in particular the Guardian Council and the Assembly of Experts. There's a lot more jostling and scheming for influence than we are often aware. While, on the face of it, this may look like the beginnings of a revolution, I'm wagering it's more likely a coupe by former president Rafsanjani [wikipedia.org] , who has close ties with Mousavi, and who is likely looking to unseat Khamenei and install himself as the Supreme Leader.

This is the saddest part of all of this. There are plenty of reasons for the Iranian people, or at least the middle and upper classes, to loathe Ahmadinejad, but if these proto-revolutionaries think they're fighting to take back Iran from the Ayatollahs, they're sadly mistaken. Mousavi is very much a loyal servant of the current regime, with many connections with the Guardian Council, certainly more than Ahmadinejad.

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (5, Informative)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366647)

You must have missed the part where several Grand Ayatollahs have come out against the election results, and only 1 is backing it. And where part of the demands of the dissidents is that Khamenei - who first blessed, then condemned, then blessed again the results - be removed. In fact, there is substantial talk about the fact that Khamenei clearly does not have Allah's voice if he is changing his position; once he blessed it, he really should have stuck with that. The double reversal greatly harms his reputation, both inside and outside of Iran.

I even tossed together a wiki page about the stances of the various Marjas. [wikipedia.org] And L-rd have mercy, I'd love to have help editing it. There's a lot of things to try to filter, and most of those official pages are in languages I unfortunately cannot read.

This isn't a simple "nothing will change" situation anymore. Even Mousavi is likely to be temporary now, considering he was only allowed to run because Khamenei approved him.

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366749)

Let me put it this way. If Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are turfed tomorrow, the Islamic regime will still be there. There may be some changes, but at the end of the day, and unless an actual proper, focused revolution occurs, the differences won't be substantial.

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (2, Interesting)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366857)

The fact that a pro-democracy, pro human-rights, even pro women's-rights Grand Ayatollah ( Montazeri ) is likely to become the new temporary Supreme Leader while a new constitution is written means nothing to you?

Again, I suggest you start digging a bit deeper. Revolutions don't require extensive bloodshed, this one seems to be doing fairly well considering - using mostly hugs. Who said this isn't a fullscale revolution?

Re:Freedom for Iraq! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28367047)

And L-rd have mercy

Religious taboos tend to be stupid, but this one is the silliest.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366289)

situation in Iraq was no where close to the situation in Iran

They do share a substantial border. And there was plenty of talk of *cough*Iranian interference*cough* with Iraqi affairs, to mention nothing of Lebanon.
However, the cute Cairo corner into which BHO has painted himself means that he has to continue W's hands-off-ish policy.
Sort of a lose-lose situation for the POTUS, really.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366635)

We shouldn't have interfered in Iraq whenever almost the exact situation was going on

Not to endorse GPs recommendation, but when, exactly, was "almost the exact situation" going on in Iraq? Particular dates and description of the similarities, please.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (0, Flamebait)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366791)

So wait.... We shouldn't have interfered in Iraq whenever almost the exact situation was going on, yet its perfectly ok to do the same thing in Iran?

Learning from history? What are you, NOT american?

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366011)

I think meddling would probably be the worst thing to do. What is Obama going to do? March troops in? Bomb Tehran? Drop propaganda? I think just about any direct US involvement can only work to the regime's favor at this point.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (2, Insightful)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366285)

Maybe we could use reverse psychology. Obama could call Ahmadinejad, congratulate him and offer his full support. Mmmmmm. It would have worked better if G.W. was President because he could also publicly ask for pointer about how to steal an election in such a decisive way.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366343)

Offer to arm the Iranian insurgency. The bad guys are already armed.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366541)

Offer to arm the Iranian insurgency. The bad guys are already armed.

While some aspects of the US have appeal to some elements of the Iranian opposition, the US government is not exactly the most trusted institution among Iranians, and there is a serious risk that any visible connection between the US government and the Iranian opposition would do much to discredit that opposition among Iranians.

The situation would be somewhat different if, with the backing of its mass membership, the Iranian opposition were seeking the involvement of the US.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366589)

Great idea ... because arming opposition groups has never turned out badly for the United States in the past.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366489)

Besides, if you want real democracy in the Middle East this is the best thing you could possibly hope for; thousands of Iranians marching in the streets demanding to be heard. The Iranian people, it would seem, actually want this to happen for themselves, as opposed to someone else doing it for them. The US should keep lines of communication open when they have jurisdiction over them, say to the world 'We sure hope the rightfully elected leader will come out on top', and stay the hell out of it.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366495)

Obama could offer congratulations to Ahamawhatever, thereby giving him the kiss of death. Jimmy Carter did to the Shah back in the 70s and it worked like a charm to discredit him among his people and pave the way for the Ayatollah.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366577)

I think by the late 70s, the Shah's own ruthless tactics had more than convinced the Iranian people that he had to go.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (0, Flamebait)

Darby (84953) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366595)

The shah being a brutal fascist thug and a puppet of America is what discredited him and paved the way for the Ayatollah. It was us toppling their government and installing that scumbag in the first place that caused the reaction that led to the current theocracy in Iran.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366177)

Wrong. http://ktracy.com/?p=3935

Re:Freedom for Iran! (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365985)

Can you please post what we can do in order to help the Iranians throw over their dictatorship?

Not much.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366031)

Can you please post what we can do in order to help the Iranians throw over their dictatorship?

If you have the bandwidth (with a verizon fios account for example), run a proxy server that gives unlimited access to IP addresses from within Iran.
Here's How. [austinheap.com]

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366189)

DO NOT USE HIS ACTUAL DOMAIN.
http://blog.austinheap.com.nyud.net:8080/ [nyud.net]

He's been getting DDoS'd from IRAN and other sources long before people posted his web page on slashdot.

This site also has a bit cleaner information. http://iran.sharearchy.com.nyud.net:8080 [nyud.net]

I imagine the worst problem right now (and I've seen it first hand), is people that think they're helping but don't forward the ports, so they e-mail people the IP and it takes time to verify that what they setup is/was useless.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366507)

If you think Iran's problems will be solved via bandwidth, twitter or facebook, you are being misled. Iran has major problems that date back a few decades; freedom of speech is not going to solve them.

You are being fed misleading news that will convince you that freedom of speech is the solution to everything. We practice freedom of speech in the US on a daily basis and where are we headed?

The reason why these two parties are battling isn't because of Internet censorship, this country has had problems way before any type of internet service was even available to the people. Let's assume for a moment that the opposition wins the election and that Internet censorship is no longer and freedom of speech has become a right; picture that for a moment, do you really believe that everyone will go home happy and call it a day? Hardly so; apparently half of the people want one thing that has nothing to do with the Internet, and the other half want something else.

Egypt has Internet access, it is one of the poorest countries in the wold, ruled by a president who will only leave upon his death. I can name many other countries that have Internet connections as well, yet people lead miserable lives.

What is needed is a solution, starting with of course internal Democracy. Let's see what plays out.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366517)

If you think Iran's problems will be solved via bandwidth, twitter or facebook, you are being misled. Iran has major problems that date back a few decades; freedom of speech is not going to solve them. You are being fed misleading news that will convince you that freedom of speech is the solution to everything. We practice freedom of speech in the US on a daily basis and where are we headed? The reason why these two parties are battling isn't because of Internet censorship, this country has had problems way before any type of internet service was even available to the people. Let's assume for a moment that the opposition wins the election and that Internet censorship is no longer and freedom of speech has become a right; picture that for a moment, do you really believe that everyone will go home happy and call it a day? Hardly so; apparently half of the people want one thing that has nothing to do with the Internet, and the other half want something else. Egypt has Internet access, it is one of the poorest countries in the wold, ruled by a president who will only leave upon his death. I can name many other countries that have Internet connections as well, yet people lead miserable lives. What is needed is a solution, starting with of course internal Democracy. Let's see what plays out.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366075)

This is actually quite simple:

Nothing

Seriously, stay out of it. The Iranian government is already accusing the US of interfering in internal issues, and has lodged an official complaint through diplomatic channels. This is mostly propaganda, but honestly the best thing we can do for them is to stay out of it.

In fact, if you see your local politician wanting to do something, tell them to shut up. You're not friends to the people of Iran, and speaking up with your opinion is something they don't want to hear.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (5, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366215)

You're not friends to the people of Iran, and speaking up with your opinion is something they don't want to hear.

We don't need to speak our opinions, we just have to help the Iranian people voice theirs.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366539)

At the moment the iranian civilians are hostages.

When people are hostages, you generally don't piss off their captors.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366247)

People are people first, and citizens of their respective countries second.

If they ask for help, and I'm able to do anything, I won't hesitate to do so.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366281)

Oh by all means.

That's my point though - they're asking us to mind our own business. Set up proxies to help communicating, but that is IT.

A public statement out of the US right now in support of the protesters will HARM the protest.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366677)

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didnâ(TM)t speak up because I wasnâ(TM)t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didnâ(TM)t speak up because I wasnâ(TM)t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didnâ(TM)t speak up because I wasnâ(TM)t a Jew;
And then... they came for me... And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Re:Freedom for Iran! (3, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366949)

"In Iran, first they (probably) rigged an election, and millions of people spoke up"

Oh wait...

Re:Freedom for Iran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366941)

I dunno. If I was fighting a war of some sort, I think one of the biggest ice breakers would be what I thought was my "enemy" actually tells me that they support my positions and what I'm trying to do.

Best thing Americans (not America, the government) can do, is post support for the movement. Fuck what you think the Iranian government thinks and does "diplomatically". Show the people you support them. You might just build some bridges that way, instead of your "do nothing" approach.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28367031)

Seriously, stay out of it. The Iranian government is already accusing the US of interfering in internal issues, and has lodged an official complaint through diplomatic channels. This is mostly propaganda, but honestly the best thing we can do for them is to stay out of it.

So... because an authoritarian government might complain about it, we should stay out of it, for the sake of Iranians? That makes sense if we were talking about military force. TALKING about the situation, on the other hand, in no way hurts Iranians.

It will create diplomatic tension between the US and Iran? Hmm... That's new. Wait, no, not new, the other thing "pretty standard."

If I did have strong criticism of the Iranian government, you know what wouldn't make me want to keep it to myself? Knowing that they didn't want to hear it.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366295)

Sign up for twitter.
Change your Time Zone and Location to Tehran.

Re twitter stuff from trusted sources, paraphrasing it and not attributing it to them. It'll make it harder and jack up the noise of people looking for the actual tweeters.

E-mail CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS etc and ask them why this isn't being covered more.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366783)

If you sea some bitch in a berkar, kick her fat ass. Then stomp on her 19 shitskin brat's. Show them dune coons their's no fun in fundimentalism.

Re:Freedom for Iran! (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366807)

Can you please post what we can do in order to help the Iranians throw over their dictatorship?

The point is not to overthrow a dictatorship, but simply make sure everyone is being heard there. What the Iranian people decide to do should have no bearing on what we do, given their sovereignty should be respected.

If... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365953)

If Iran doesn't want to be known as a tyrannical society with as of broken government of that of North Korea, if it wants to get respect for a (peaceful) nuclear program, they have to stop this oppression, let there be free speech. Heck, if this throws Iran into chaos and the president really wants what is best for Iran, he will step down and let the opposition leader take control.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366155)

pretty much sure thats not going to happen so long as religious clerics are in power instead of an actual real democracy

2nd net war (5, Informative)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365977)

I the 1st net war of the 21st century was between Russia and Georgia. If you recall Russia executed ddos attacks on Georgia to stop communications during their invasion.

Re:2nd net war (1)

GammaStream (1472247) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366187)

Almost right, Russia's already had experience of how to use the net as a weapon from it's experience of Estonia. http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2007/05/massive-ddos-attacks-target-estonia-russia-accused.ars [slashdot.org] ">Ars Technica.Certainly shutting down the communications infrastructure of a country is not a new idea though. TV station are normally on the list of secondary targets (primary ones being military) in any war. What I think is new though is the use of mainstream websites such as twitter, youtube and facebook. An interesting questions is how does this play with western companies adapting their technology in repressive regimes desires to see certain content filtered. Is it better that youtube is present in a country, filtered but at least able to provide some service to disseminate content bythose being repressed?

Re:2nd net war (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366327)

I seem to recall there being some buzz in the independent media about Georgia invading South Ossetia, the mainstream media keeping quiet and then Russia saying they'd "defend" South Ossetia from Georgia at which point the mainstream media went "ZOMG TEH RUSKIES ARE INVADING GORGIA!!1"

/Mikael

Twitter showing some value (1)

two_stripe (584918) | more than 4 years ago | (#28365993)

As much of the foreign media has been shut out of Iran and communications have been cut and/or monitored in much of iran, twitter has become a major source of news coming out of iran. As much as many here on slashdot like to bash twitter, its clear that social networking tools such as twitter and facebook can be immensely useful in this sort of repressive situation. The traditional media have struggled to cover this, and there has been a lot of criticism of outlets such as CNN for not being on the ball.
The Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com] has a good blog covering much of the news coming out of twitter and blogs and some reporters still in iran.
The Guardian [guardian.co.uk] has perhaps the best reporting of the mainstream media, with a live blog that covers official reporters and some unofficial sources.

Re:Twitter showing some value (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366601)

As much as many here on slashdot like to bash twitter, its clear that social networking tools such as twitter and facebook can be immensely useful in this sort of repressive situation.

The same was true earlier of blogging from within Iraq in the lead up to and during (especially the early part of) the recent Iraq War, and even usenet and other contemporary internet outlets in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. That new media that are not at the top of the regimes radar are of particular utility in getting out information when those in control are trying to keep tight control of information is hardly a new effect, and the reason it is nearly universally true where such media exist should be obvious.

Re:Twitter showing some value (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366965)

A common comment I see here is "Facebook groups achieve nothing" in respect to groups that have been setup to protest some specific issue.

This type of comment misses the point, of course a Facebook group wont directly influence say some political point, but because Facebook group joins are viral in that one person joins, their friend sees the cause, they join and so on these groups do spread the word about issues to people who wouldn't otherwise be aware.

These new Web 2.0 tools are excellent not for direct action but for spreading the word, the situation in Iran with Twitter has demonstrated this in an impressive manner.

Presumably, should a full blown war start, we'd see countries using these tools to intentionally spread misinformation and propaganda among the civilian population perhaps in an attempt to cause panic or similar because of course, methods of spreading information virally can be abused as well as used.

any story about this that doesn't mention Fark... (5, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366007)

Anyone that writes a story about this that doesn't mention Fark specifically needs to do a bit more research on the subject. Tats(uma) obviously gets quite a bit of credit, but he wasn't the only person there keeping up with the tweets. Fark (and oddly, 4chan) became major filters for finding the real data for the first several days. I'm amazed at the people who still don't know there's effectively a civil war going on in Iran, since CNN and other mainstream media didn't really start reporting on it until yesterday.

The other bit is, because mainstream media has to hedge their bets - they have something to lose, where sites like Fark [fark.com] aren't even media sites, so they have nothing to lose - CNN and such has to worry about whether the dissidents will be successful. Because if they aren't, then you've pissed off the people still in power. Media blockout is one thing, but there was reliable reports of many deaths long before MSM was reporting there being only a single death.

BTW, Iranians still need proxies for their twitter updates. If you have the ability...

Also, one of the ways people have been trying to make it more difficult for the Iranian police to track down dissidents is by changing their twitter location and timezone to that of Tehran. Feel free to do that too.

But yeah, twitter is the only thing able to make it out right now, considering.

Re:any story about this that doesn't mention Fark. (3, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366323)

BTW, Iranians still need proxies for their twitter updates. If you have the ability...

I brought a couple of them up, but can't get in contact with anybody to distribute them, who do I need to tell?

Re:any story about this that doesn't mention Fark. (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366543)

This might seem a bit unnecessary, but readily handing out names to someone that replies to a comment isn't necessarily a good idea, what with the Iranian authorities actively looking for dissidents.

I'd suggest checking out the latest fark thread and either finding the info there, or just posting the question. Someone will likely email you if you ask for it. I'm not sure I trust my own people-vetting skills. It's easy to find the info there at fark though, and thanks for the proxies :)

Re:any story about this that doesn't mention Fark. (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366619)

You make a good point.

You can google my username if you want, though. I've been active on this board, fark, reddit, HN, etc. for like...8 years.

I'll troll fark though, thanks :) (i think that me @...heap.com is probably getting slammed with emails right now, in fact, they're probably spamming the shit out of him).

Re:any story about this that doesn't mention Fark. (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366673)

ah, that sucks...because that's the name to give if someone gives a name :/ I bet he'll have to get a new account after this. That, and the next time I'm in his town, I've got a beer for him. Or hell, her - I dunno. Tats can probably give you info to; check his profile on fark for contact info.

Re:any story about this that doesn't mention Fark. (1)

ivoras (455934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366961)

Hmm.... there's information missing here. It would presumably be trivially easy for the Iranian government to:

  1. Cut landmines, or at the very least, if the Internet is a vital part of their economy or government activities, to filter the source IP addresses to only the government computers, presumably all accounted for and with known users.
  2. Do the same thing with telephone landlines.
  3. Block all wireless carriers' Internet access, in case the information is spreading via GPRS, 3G, whatever, or simply shut down the wireless carriers for the moment in case it's "that serious" and they can't do #1 to the voice calls and SMSs.
  4. Block their borders, in case dissidents regularly leave the country every few hours to report via unblocked Internet / whatever, then come back inside.
  5. This leaves only the a) direct satellite two-way links, which are extremely uncommon, and b) people mooching Internet access around the borders. The latter can be dealt with.

The Internet is not magical. There have to be landlines. Landlines are wires. They can be cut. So how exactly is a reactionary government famous for interfering with people's lives, based on religious rules, having trouble keeping the Internet from its territory? I see two possible ways: 1) they're trying to play the "nothing wrong here" show to the rest of the world, who would maybe get suspicious of the country suddenly cut Internet access, or 2) there is a significant number of illegal landlines, with their own "fiber to the curb" distribution nodes for the dissenters. Both seem unlikely since they probably don't care about 1) and Someone Would Notice infrastructure of the size needed for 2).

Can anyone give more details?

Re:any story about this that doesn't mention Fark. (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28367045)

The Iranian government has been actively seeking out and destroying sat dishes. Some still remain. While wireless is easy to block, it's not easy to block completely - not when your own police force has disbanded, the military is refusing to do anything, and you're left with little more than the few extra thugs. Granted, your thugs have guns, and the population does not, but your thugs are also the less educated, generally rural types. Hick thugs versus educated urbanites, and you don't think some of those kids can find a way to get past the firewall Iran put up? Esp if you help out with a proxy for them?

More Western FUD against Iran (0, Troll)

hessian (467078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366015)

The West thinks in binary terms: free/not-free.

Life is more complicated than that.

When we find someone obstructing our interests, we round of millions of useful idiots [wikipedia.org] to begin clamoring for "freedom," and use that to passive-aggressively unseat the regime.

All while we are increasingly banning our own freedoms here in the West, and might be better off with a goal of "an organized, thoughtful society" instead of the nebulous "freedom."

Re:More Western FUD against Iran (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366375)

The West thinks in binary terms: free/not-free.

The East thinks in binary terms: Infidel / Faithful

Muhammad's children did not build this Internet, hessain. You are leeches on the products of "nebulous" freedom, and a couple billion in ARPA funding.

Go pray or something.

Re:More Western FUD against Iran (2, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366397)

That's pretty condescending and ignorant towards thousands of people marching and risking death for their own freedom and right to representation.

The West thinks in binary terms: free/not-free. Life is more complicated than that.

Maybe life isn't more complicated than that, people just try and make it so with their excuses and delusions.

I say the peaceful protests in Tehran should be an example to people who are either apathetic or violent when confronted with problems.
They seem to be following in the footsteps of Ghandi or MLK.

What a bogus, binary statement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366433)

You just lumped "The West" into a big pile. What a bogus, binary statement. "The West" is far more complicated then you suggest.

The West thinks in binary terms: free/not-free.

Clearly not, since "The West" consists of dozens of different autonomous nations, a narrow spectrum of different governments and different degrees of freedom. We're constantly bickering about which Western nation is the most free/not-free, and we're constantly bickering about influence and business in Iran, among other topics.

Re:More Western FUD against Iran (4, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366499)

The West thinks in binary terms: free/not-free. [...] All while we are increasingly banning our own freedoms here in the West

We like our romanticized idea of freedoms. Our governments are slowly taking away freedom, so we would have a harder time justifying major rebellion. Too many people are complacent and vote our power-hungry politicians back into office. But in non-free states, we see an opportunity for people to unite to create a fresh start, to realize that romanticized ideal that our governments have tarnished. Sure, things aren't as simple as "the government dictates everything" or "do anything you want", but the closer you get to that stark contrast, the easier it is to get people to act together. No one here is trying to decide things for the Iranians, but to give them tools to better decide things for themselves; we are not forcing western ideals on anybody.

I know idealism has little to do with reality, but if you want to talk about how corrupt or controlling governments are you need to establish a baseline, so why not let that be freedom? Given that a proper government should always work to improve things, it makes sense for the ideal model to be something we cannot quite achieve.

Just because I say every government should work for freedom doesn't mean I think governments should minimize control in all cases. In the extreme example, communism might maximize freedom if less control meant people become abused by the upper class and become virtual slaves. Communism may minimize freedom if the people can generate a higher standard of living through their own economic choices. People simply need to have the ability to speak up about the current government and have the means to change it if there is a better way to establish fredom for the people.

Re:More Western FUD against Iran (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366745)

I don't think you need to bring "Western" ideals of freedom into this.

We are talking about a situation where 80% of the citizens in a nations capital are up in arms about the actions of their government (that figure is from TV last night, interview with a Dutch reporter who was in Tehran 'til Sunday - no I haven't verified that number), and a government that is trying its hardest to do damage control, both interior and exterior. You can voice/frame an opinion about that situation without attaching any ideals of "Western Freedom (tm)" to it.

I don't get your reference to useful idiots. You seem to think that the public opinion of NATO countries has a large influence on the domestic policies of all the world. I would argue that it is rather the other way around, because immigrants (even second or third generation) are (in general) still somewhat attached to their home country, and "Western" countries happen to have the most diverse ethnicity. If not that, then are you perhaps implying that the people running the streets of Tehran are merely puppets, orchestrated by a massively organized opposition?

All while we are increasingly banning our own freedoms here in the West, and might be better off with a goal of "an organized, thoughtful society" instead of the nebulous "freedom."

I'm sorry, did you just use the (very real) story of Iran to push your own agenda about (supposed) loss of freedom in your own backyard? I'm sorry, but your boogeyman is very misplaced in this thread.

Final note: it is mostly the USA that thinks binary, mainland Europe is much more nuanced than USofA. I think it's because of their two-party system (or roots of Christian zealotry) that Americans rarely ever find other ways of looking at issues. Then again, I'm European so I may be biased in my views as well (see! I'm nuanced).

Even though you present yourself as a balanced mind, the fact that you think that there's only one flavour of freedom and people must be for or against it, I feel I must ask: are you by any chance American?

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366035)

How many divisions does the Internet have?

Re:Question (2, Funny)

tomjen (839882) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366201)

A couple of thousands highly skilled minutemen, and a several hundred million zombies.

How many divisions does the Internet have? (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366409)

Depends - how many armed Iranians are likely to switch allegiance?

A Vernor Vinge novel come to life. (5, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366047)

Belief Circle Clash in progress.

Last year's bunch of guys in Guy Fawkes masks taking on the Cult of Scientology was just the warmup. This year, the sport of nerds is geopolitics.

This week, we had Twitter [twitter.com] replace CNN for live coverage of breaking news, Fark [fark.com] replacing the talking heads for analysis, Anonymous [slashdot.org] being linked to from The Pirate^WPersian Bay [thepiratebay.org] for ways to distribute images of preconfigured proxy servers, and to distribute video, and, the rest of /b/ actually helping by selectively flipping the DDOS switch on and off on Iranian government websites.

It's like Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End [wikipedia.org] come to life.

Re:A Vernor Vinge novel come to life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366863)

I had the same deja vu feeling as you. Along with the tweeters changing theirnlocation and time zone to tehran GMT +3:30 as friends of privacy would have done. Also the Little Brothers book by Corry Doctorow and the paranoid linux distrib with preinstalled darknet make much more sense in such a context.

yaaaaaa, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366079)

Wow, so listening to a bunch of people whine over twitter, facebook and youtube is considered a war these days? this is largely different than ddos attacks during the georgia / russia conflict.

I'm sure the military and police are scared. I'm sure they are also monitoring your communications.

Also I didn't read the article, because revolution and change still only happen in the physical medium ... usually with weapons.

ProxyBox, Proxies and how you can help. (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366091)

Not long after the first requests for proxies went out, went out the requests for "So how do I configure this again?".

So I created ProxyBox [exstatic.org] [mirror] [128.210.109.29] to help people get stuff setup quickly. It has squid (listening on a multitude of ports), tor, & ziproxy. It was quick and dirty (and the file size shows). Not to mention I'm just a Mechanical Engineer, not a security expert. This was meant for the fark crowd and not for the slashdot, I'm sure everyone here is more than capable of setting up some proxies.

Austin Heap [nyud.net] has been distributing the Proxies to Iranians on the inside via twitter and such. (Twitter [twitter.com] ) his biggest problem right now is ssh servers inside of Iran to make sure that proxies work. Supposedly he's also been able to set up VPNs on fast connections. But work is slow because the internet is slow and he's down to 1-2 SSH boxes ATM.

They've already started blocking ports 80,81, 3128 & 8080. And starting to send fake RESETs on TCP connections (Comcast anyone?).

How you can help:
Well I'd like some help making ProxyBox a ton smaller. If DSL can get a full GUI in 50MB, there's no reason ProxyBox should be 400MB. I'd also like to turn it into a LiveCD or LiveUSB so it can be set up by anyone not just with VirtualBox. (jjarvis98 at gmail.com)

Tor is being used quite extensively. Some people have setup exit nodes and had their connections filled with people hitting nothing more than twitter, facebook & youtube. Set up an exit node or bridge if nothing else.

Supposedly UDP and ping still work fine. So some people are looking into TCP over UDP [jankratochvil.net] or I was also thinking about Ping Tunnel (Tcp over Ping) [cs.uit.no]

#irantech on irc.freenode.net is a bit unorganized but it's working for now.

Re:ProxyBox, Proxies and how you can help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366581)

Would Proxybox be more useful then something like Freenet?

Not to mention 4chan but... (4, Interesting)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366151)

Those mischievous denizens over at 4chan have apparently managed to throw up over 9000 proxies and waged a very effective series of denial of service attacks against the Iranian government. Somebody send those guys some Redbull and Cheetos!

Re:Not to mention 4chan but... (4, Funny)

UID30 (176734) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366329)

...Somebody send those guys some Redbull and Cheetos!

Hot Pockets. All you got. Seriously.

Re:Not to mention 4chan but... (3, Informative)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366837)

Is denial of service on Iranian government sites such a hot idea?

They might hassle the government a little bit, but they also might gum up the tubes being used by regular folks to do things like post body counts and whatnot to Twitter (of all the ridiculous places).

Something to consider.

A state being able to defend itself less (5, Insightful)

kyliaar (192847) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366199)

against an irate populace is something that is one of the main pillars of our constitution.

The Declaration of Independance and the Right to Bear Arms were both very much about this. Basically, the Bill of Rights as a whole was meant to shore up the rights of the populace to defend itself against an abusive government.

It is very interesting to see that the Internet has changed the battlefield enough to level it in certain areas. Really since the mechanization of warfare, no populace could really effectively stand up to the military might of a state.

Let us help! (1)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366381)

It is up to every individual to assess the situation and decide, but I for one when I hear people living under a theocratic appointed-for-life dictator protest that they are being denied even a modest voice in running their country, and ask for my help, I am inclined to give it.

Net access will help clarify facts, for starters. I have just heard an oral report that the number of dead is not 1, as the regime claims, but more like 30 or 40. I have no way of verifying this as it is, but if we provide communication channels to the Iranian people we might obtain videos and testimony. Piercing the veil of secrecy and fear that supports oligarchs.

Listen... (0, Troll)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366401)

Everyone who thinks they are helping by siding with the Iranian opposition has a very poor understanding of Iranian politics. It doesn't matter whether it's from the government or whether it's from regular Western citizens, helping the opposition figures does not help the United States in any way. It just puts a different face on the same anti-Western government. The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi is on economic policy not foreign policy. What makes you think that if they opposition was successful in their political ambitions that they would become pro-American? Did they become pro-Israel after Israelis sold them weapons during the Iran Iraq war?

Re:Listen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366467)

Iranians are shia and persans. This means that they dislike sunnis and despise arabs. Just ask any Iranian his opinion on arabs : this won't be pretty.
Ahmadinejad is for the reconciliation with the arabs and for a united shia/sunni front against the western world. It's better for us if arabs/sunni and persians/shii continue their infighting.

Re:Listen... (1)

SOOPRcow (1279010) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366659)

Progress is progress. Where ever people fight for more liberty the free people of the world should stand behind them. While it may not result in all the freedoms we can hope for it still puts the fear of the people into the government, which is never a bad thing. Also, for Iran economic policy can quickly become foreign policy. Being cut off from the rest of the world via sanctions has not helped there economy at all.

Re:Listen... (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366751)

Everyone who thinks they are helping by siding with the Iranian opposition has a very poor understanding of Iranian politics. It doesn't matter whether it's from the government or whether it's from regular Western citizens, helping the opposition figures does not help the United States in any way. It just puts a different face on the same anti-Western government.

  1. I'm not American.
  2. Even if I were American, why would I not want to support democracy in principle, even if the results weren't in my favour?
  3. Even if I were only interested in Realpolitik, wouldn't I rather deal with a legitimately elected government than an illegitimate one? Legitimate governments tend to be more moderate and more, uh, sane.

Re:Listen... (4, Informative)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366763)

I'm thinking that you in fact have a very low understanding of Iranian politics. Otherwise you would know that the Iranian President only wields so much of the power. The real seat of power rests with the Supreme Leader, for now this is Ayatollah Khamenei. Mousavi isn't a moderate as far as such terms may apply but he is way closer to the center than Ahmadinejad. The likely successor of Ayatollah Khamenei, if the revolution succeeds, would be Ayatollah Montazeri. Who is pro-Democracy, pro-Human Rights and one of the biggest proponents of women and civil rights for ALL Iranians, including much-maligned minorities like the Baha'is. In fact he goes further than the protections afforded to them under Sharia. He would be the one calling the shots.

Re:Listen... (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366785)

helping the opposition figures does not help the United States in any way

People who are lending their support are not trying to help the United States, they're trying to help the Iranians. This isn't about the US.

What makes you think that if they opposition was successful in their political ambitions that they would become pro-American?

Because the Iranian people would realize that the American people, if not the American government, are willing to step up and help them out when they ask for it. There have already been messages from Iranians acknowledging the support they're getting from Americans and expressing their surprise and gratitude, even while acknowledging a lack of coverage by US media. If the Iranian people understand that the American people are their friends, they will be considerably less likely to view America as an enemy and considerably more likely to oppose an anti-American viewpoint by their own government.

This is more about Americans bonding with Iranians than it is about the US government bonding with the Iranian government.

Re:Listen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366805)

The point is, though, people are having their freedom stomped on over there. Regardless of politics, standing up against oppression is what America and humanity in general should be all about.

Re:Listen... (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366945)

The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi is on economic policy not foreign policy.

An Iran whose economic regulations and corruption keep it poor is more dangerous than a prosperous Iran, because if they are prosperous they have more to lose from hurting their trading partners, and there is less need for the government to do "wag the dog" things to distract the populace from the poor economic situation.

At the same time, I don't suspect that Iranian support for Hezbollah, etc., is going away any time soon.

Who Benfits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366545)

Its clear nothing gets done for the people.
Things do get done in the name of the people to advance other agendas.
Proof, the whole liberation of Iraq. "We must invade to liberate the poor oppresed people of Iraq"
It was the same crap we here today. "Help the poor peole of Iran"

Now take a look at this: http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/proof-israeli-effort-to-destabilize-iran-via-twitter/
Looks like the US and her friends are busy again trying to get what THEY want.

Maybe next time... (1)

space_hippy (625619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366561)

I'm glad this didn't happen in the US for our last Presidential election. But maybe next time, riots for 2012!!!

Re:Maybe next time... (1)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366853)

You must be thinking of 2004...right? I can't tell if you're serious, or just a troll.

Low-intensity? (4, Informative)

chrylis (262281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28366667)

These protests are only low-intensity if you count that the protesters aren't starting violence. There have been literally millions of protesters in each of several cities--and these are the ones who are coming out despite the very real threat of attack from paramilitary forces.

Twitter Revolution (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28366937)

And so it begins.
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