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The State of Iran's Ongoing Netwar 263

Posted by timothy
from the nineties-is-way-late-for-gibson-sterling-et-al dept.
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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The State of Iran's Ongoing Netwar

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  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @03:49PM (#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.

  • by DnemoniX (31461) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @03:58PM (#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:Freedom for Iraq! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dAzED1 (33635) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @04:54PM (#28366857) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • From Tatsuma. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @04:56PM (#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 i

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:44PM (#28367377)

    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 propaganda coming out of the Western intelligence agents pretending to be in iran.

    Fixed that for you.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:47PM (#28367395) Journal

    What if instead of Iran and Tehran, it was the United States of America and San Francisco? What if instead of Iranian opposite party, it was Libertarians? What if instead of US citizens assisting Iranians dissidents, it was Chinese assisting US dissidents? Would it be a good thing, or an assault on our national sovreignty?

    Until we hear otherwise, we have a violent minority who are upset about being under-represented. We also have sympathetic outsiders who are willing to support them.

    The whole situation is pretty bitter sweet. On one hand, there are a group of people who are standing up for a Westernized idea of freedom. On the other hand, they are the minority voice in a country that for the most part seems okay with a pious, religious based social order. For democracy to work, the minority has to behave themselves and go along with what the majority has decided on.

    I'm not a big fan of the socialization of our economic system, but you don't see me organizing violent protests in the street and demanding a return to a fiscal system more in line with what was defined in the Constitution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @07:37PM (#28368265)

    And some people from in Iran were saying they were blocked with those instructions.

  • Re:hhhmmmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @09:19PM (#28368861)

    NATO troops to the east and west of Iran, a revolt going on inside Iran... what a coincidence.

    From speaking with a Persian, I don't think that matters one iota, for all the rhetoric coming out of that blow hard "I'm a dinner jacket" or whatever his name is the average Persian doesn't care what Israel or the West does. This is about Iran.

    The U.S. might be behind this (telling Israel to use its excellent intelligence service, to apply some pressure here and there), or it's a gift from the heavens for Washington.

    Mossad has openly said it would prefer Ahmedinjad to remain in power. This is where my paranoia kicks in and makes me think that this statement was carefully crafted statement by Mossad in case Ahmedinjad gets back in by underhanded or ambiguous means which could cause people to think that Mossad had some involvement with the goal of reducing the power of his rhetoric.

    China and Veneuela won't like the U.S. messing with Iran

    Once again, I don't think China or Venezuela would care so long as the new government continued to honour current trade deals. China is comfortable with the US and feels strong enough that it can reject US influences on China but beyond that China doesn't care. Venezuela couldn't do anything even if it cared, the conflict between the US and Venezuela is largely imagined in the minds of the US.

    I'm not sure about the EU, but they're watching this very closely.

    The EU is doing the same thing as the US, nothing. This is an internal Iranian problem and the US and EU governments have enough problems already, they wont do a thing. Neither will China (they are pretty insular), Russia (once again, they've got their own problems) or even India. It's good that so many US citizens wish the Persian people well but beyond words of support governments around the world will let this one sort itself out.

    Whilst your paranoia is exceptional, this is just a coincidence. The under 30 age group is disproportionately large in Iran, they have notions of fairness and freedom, they may not be the exactly same as ours but they have them never the less.

  • by enselsharon (968932) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @10:40PM (#28369341)

    The phrase:

    "the information technologies that are the mainstay of modern society can become its weapons, as well"

    is very similar to what is being said in the "Free Speech or Stone Age" meme that has sprung up:

    "Once again, the standardization and interoperability of these protocols
    that so readily enables anonymous free speech are the same qualities that
    make them so valuable to commerce. You cannot restrict access to this
    functionality and continue to take part in modern commerce."

    http://blog.kozubik.com/john_kozubik/2009/06/free-speech-or-stone-age.html [kozubik.com]

    (I recommend the entire article that is linked from the blog synopsis...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @08:54AM (#28373261)

    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.

    I like how you said this.

    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.

    I think you're wrong here. You used to need a State with lots of $$ to fight a war and deploy effective weapons. As certain items come down in price & become available, this is changing.

    For example, look at Iraq. You can go to Radio Shack, get a cell phone, some explosives and create a remotly activated bomb. Sure, they haven't driven the US out of Iraq, but it's certainly changed the game. The Tamil fighters in Sri Lanka were another example, even though they seem to have failed. Heck, look at Afganistan vs USSR in the 80s

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