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Mass Arrests of Journalists Follow Iran Elections 333

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it's-a-sheikh-down dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the fact that no less than 23 journalists have been arrested in Iran in the week following the elections, making Iran one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Online activists are trying to counter this trend by giving advice for helping Iranian protesters. One problem is that Iranian leaders are trying to delegitimize the reform movement by pretending that the reformers are puppets of foreign powers, so special discretion is required for anyone wanting to help the Iranian people."
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Mass Arrests of Journalists Follow Iran Elections

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  • Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by diskofish (1037768) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:38AM (#28422013)
    Honestly, I was surprised the backlash against this didn't happen sooner. I guess this just confirms western fears that the elections in Iran were indeed a farce.
    • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:44AM (#28422121)
      I'm surprised that it hasn't been worse. The Grand Ayatollah basically dared the protesters to call his bluff when he threatened them, then he didn't do much to stop them afterwards. A-hole Oppressive Authoritarianism 101 says you crack down hard and fast. Now, the protesters have had a taste of victory and the leadership looks weak.
      • by daveatneowindotnet (1309197) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:48AM (#28422187)
        How do you say "amateurs" in Mandarin?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          They can still do that. If you read the history of these Iranian assholes, specifically the 1972 revolution, and the killings afterward. Or if you want to get totally horrified you can check out the history of the Iran-Iraq war (there's a reason Teheran and Baghdad have the largest cemetaries in the world, despite the fact muslims don't normally have graveyards at all. Those graveyards even have pictures and stories, which goes explicitly against islam, and yet these ayatollahs and even the Iraqi Sunni's su

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by citizenr (871508)

            I pray (to a God whose idea of an afterlife does NOT include slavery, not for me and not for anyone else)

            so you talk to imaginary people (or even voices in your head) and at the same time feel you are better than other crazy people?

          • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

            by demachina (71715) on Monday June 22, 2009 @05:51PM (#28429671)

            "specifically the 1972 revolution"

            I think the Iranian revolution you must be referring to was in 1978/1979.

            "then send them almost naked and unarmed into a minefield to clear a path for soldiers."

            Many of these "children" were members of the Basij [wikipedia.org]. Its a little simplistic to portray the people who join the Basij as not know what they were doing. They new about as well as anyone who joins a fanatical, fundamentalist organization, whether it be the Basij or the Taliban. Ahmandinejad came out of the Basij too. Its a little misleading to lay the misuse of martyrdom on just the current Iranian regime. Martrydom is an integral part of Islam and a number of other religions and social movements. It was integral to Japanese culture as well. The same thing happens many other places including the 9/11 hijackers and human wave attacks by the Japanese in World War II. I think I would blame the ability of organized religions to manipulate people in to doing really stupid things, and that problem is not specific to Iran, Iran's current regime, nor is it specific to Islam. America has used religion throughout its history to encourage people to get killed in wars too.

            I'm not entirely sure of the dates but I think Moussavi, the current champion of democracy and freedom in Iran today was, was in the 1980's, the Prime Minister of the Iran during part of the Iran Iraq war. I'm not positive but there is a pretty fair chance he was complicit in the human wave attacks as much as the rest of the Iranian regime you are railing against.

            The Iranian human wave attacks really aren't much different than Pickett's charge at Gettysberg and pretty much every offensive waged in World War I by the French, Germans, British, Russians and Americans. The death toll in World War I far surpassed 500 thousand. They killed that many young men in a few days. In World War I the solders might have been slightly older, and packing rifles, but they were slaughtered in exactly the same way by machine guns, artillery and mustard gas and the fact the were carrying rifles was usually pretty irrelevant. Most of them had been told by their ministers and rabbi's that heaven awaited if they didn't make it, which most of them didn't. Its a shameless ploy of most nation states and organized religions to use the promise of an after life to get soldiers to throw away the life they have in wars.

            The Iranian human wave attacks certainly were brutal but you are also somewhat over the top in how you are using it for propaganda purposes against the current regime. Iran was fighting a war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Iraq was getting a LOT of military aid from the U.S. and Britain in particular while Iran was mostly being embargoed. Iraq had vastly superior weaponry as a result and the west was also encouraging Saddam to use chemical weapons against the Iranians. One of Iran's few assets is it had more people, so use of human wave attacks may be the only thing that kept them from losing the war against Iraq. Pretty much all they did was sacrifice poorly trained, poorly equipped soldiers to clear the way for their experienced soldiers, it was brutal, but they were desperate, it did work, it isn't the first time it was done nor was it the last. All war is brutal, nit picking the details like you are doing for propaganda purposes is pretty transparent and shameless. The Allies intentionally killed millions of civilians, including women and children, in Germany and Japan through strategic bombing and no one seems to bat an eye about that, and in a lot of ways that was much worse.

            Probably just as bad as the Iranian human waves was for the U.S. and Britain to arm Saddam, encourage him to attack his neighbors(Iran) and encourage him to use weapons of mass destruction against them one decade and then wage two wars against him in each of the next two decades for attacking his neighbors(this time Kuwait) and using WMD's this time against the Kurds. It was the height of hypocrisy. The U.S. and Britain were just goading Arabs in to killing each other to gain their strategic goals, mostly control of Middle Eastern oil.

      • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:10AM (#28422613) Journal

        The problem here is that there are deep divisions among the various factions that control Iran. Khamenei is, at least on paper, the most powerful person in Iran, but he ultimately does have to answer to the Assembly of Experts. The Assembly of Experts is lead by Khamenei's chief rival; Rafsanjani. It appears that, whatever the goals of the protesters, it really is about Rafsanjani and the other commercial elites, who stand to benefit from opening up to the West, taking on Khamenei and his faction, who are decidedly anti-Western and totally anti-American.

        You can see this secret dance in odd ways; Khamenei's fawning words about Rafsanjani's, the unwillingness of Khamenei to go completely Tienanmen on the protesters (which may suggest deep divisions in the Guardian Council). Khamenei clearly thinks he is vulnerable and has to walk a fine line. Still, by arresting Rafsanjani's kids and making only slightly veiled threats against Moussavi he's trying to send the message that he still holds a lot of cards, which of course he does.

        I think the news, such as we're getting, suggests the protests are petering out. But the cat is out of the bag now. Khamenei's authority has been undermined.

    • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:46AM (#28422151) Journal

      This does not confirm that the elections were a farce. It simply confirms that Iran is not a liberal democracy. If the elections were fair and a protest erupted, there would have been a similar clampdown.

      Frankly, I don't know who to believe. The past 30 years of American history has taught me not to take my government's word at face value, and journalism isn't much better. I don't think anyone outside of Iran knows the truth.

      • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:53AM (#28422269)
        No it, doesn't confirm the elections were a farce. But there is quite a lot of statistical evidence [fivethirtyeight.com], and even the government admits to some apparent overvoting [washingtonpost.com]. Yes, it could all be coincidence (the statistical evidence allows for a less than 1% chance the chance the election results weren't made up), and it is possible that in between 50 and 170 districts, people voted outside their voting districts and therefore produced greater than 100% turnout, but it's extremely suspect all the same.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I would add that the last elections were characterized by massive arrest of opposition candidates in the last weeks before elections. The fact alone that this did not happen this time is a sign that the government had another way of cheating. Really, Iran is not used to 'fair elections'. Journalists can't work right now so they can't find confirmation of a persistent rumor, but it is said that national counting offices were run over by militants during the counting and that after that the trend changed.
      • by gubers33 (1302099)
        It is difficult to say that the elections were or were not a farce. If they were fair, I feel as though the protest would be less pronounced. As well, I don't think Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would have threatened his people like he did if the elections were fair. I think a lot of people knew the elections were rigged from the get go, but few wanted to come out and say it. I agree there would probably have been a clampdown if the elections were fair and a protest ensued, but it would have been far less severe.
      • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CrashPoint (564165) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:08AM (#28422579)

        I don't think anyone outside of Iran knows the truth.

        Hell, I doubt many people inside Iran know the truth.

      • no one in iran knows the truth, because there is no free press

        everyone outside iran knows the truth, because there is free access to a free press

        and what in your mind makes you think that the us govt can control the world media?

        well, let's go with your paranoia, and make believe for the moment the us govt really can control the media. not even just american outlets, but even the likes of news.com.au and news.bbc.co.uk: any western media outlet. this is some extreme paranoia to believe that, but let's go wit

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hitmark (640295)

          "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."

          Its not so much that the news is controlled, as that they end up reporting about what they think make most people buy their printed materials, or keep their channel of transmission tuned in...

          Its all about ad sales, and some celebrity pulling a faux pas is seen as selling more then some government pulling a fast one...

      • Re:Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:21AM (#28422807) Journal

        I don't think anyone inside Iran knows the truth either. You may not "trust journalism" whatever that means, but our journalism, with all of its flaws is far better at disseminating accurate information than anything they have inside Iran at the best of times, and these aren't the best of times.

        The people in Iran are hearing little besides rumor, propaganda, and sermons.

      • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SkyDude (919251) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:27AM (#28422903)

        I don't think anyone outside of Iran knows the truth.

        Iranians living in the US know the truth. Seek out what they have to say on Google.

        By the way, you may think the US government is FOS, but take note of the language used on many of the protester's signs. They're in English, and I don't think they are necessarily looking for attention from the Brits.

        Having worked with a former Iranian several years ago, I can tell you only what he told me - there can be terrible consequences if someone speaks out against the ruling mullahs. I, for one, would like to see this upheaval undermine the bastards that are ruling that otherwise magnificent country, populated by smart hard working people.

      • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:59PM (#28424517) Journal

        This does not confirm that the elections were a farce. It simply confirms that Iran is not a liberal democracy. If the elections were fair and a protest erupted, there would have been a similar clampdown.

        At least they had protests. We had two extremely suspect elections in a row, and US citizens did nothing. It's pretty pathetic to think that Iranians expect more democratic results from their elections than we do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by murdocj (543661)

          Yeah, we would have been much, much better off having a(nother) civil war rather than using the rule of law to decide who got to be president next.

    • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman @ g m a i l . c om> on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:49AM (#28422197) Homepage Journal

      The Iranian government was hoping to quietly sweep the issue under the rug. The Guardian Council's statement that they would look into possible election fraud was nothing more than a delay tactic. The Council had hoped that the public would wait for the result quietly. Then when the Council made their determination, the people would have cooled off and the whole matter would be swept under the rug.

      Of course, it didn't work that way. The Iranian public has been getting progressively angrier. These stalling tactics only made them madder. The Ayatollah's proclamation of "divine insight" into the election made them angrier still. Even the blood shed on the street has not discouraged them, but thrown them into a shear rage.

      Now Iran is staring down a full-blown revolution. The police have been told they can use firearms (as if they haven't been using them) and the protesters have been denounced as terrorists.

      A lot of blood is going to be shed in the next few days. And the press just happens to be considered a fair target by the Iranian government. :-(

      • Re:Surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

        by castironpigeon (1056188) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:31AM (#28422973)

        A lot of blood is going to be shed in the next few days. And the press just happens to be considered a fair target by the Iranian government. :-(

        Making the press a target is actually going to backfire on the Iranian government. Instead of the usual 15 minutes devoted to practically any international event before the next bit of sensationalist bullshit comes on the air, this attack on their own may embitter the press enough to cause them to give Iran a bit of hell for its trouble. Imprisoning or killing a few dozen reporters could mean the difference between a revolution that nobody ever hears or cares about and one that has most of the world supporting it and therefore succeeds.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        Of course, it didn't work that way. The Iranian public has been getting progressively angrier. These stalling tactics only made them madder. The Ayatollah's proclamation of "divine insight" into the election made them angrier still. Even the blood shed on the street has not discouraged them, but thrown them into a shear rage.

        Now Iran is staring down a full-blown revolution. The police have been told they can use firearms (as if they haven't been using them) and the protesters have been denounced as terrorists.

        My guess is that the regime understands what fueled the revolution that they, themselves, were a part of 30 years ago. Bloodshed only served to strengthen the revolution (that and disinformation - which we're seeing plenty of already). However, at what point does one decide that there is nothing left to lose and that blood is a gamble that must be made to preserve the current regime?

    • Re:Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:55AM (#28422321) Homepage

      this just confirms western fears that the elections in Iran were indeed a farce

      What a curious way to look at it. Here I was thinking that what the West feared was the result, not the method of arriving at it.

      If the moderate liberals succeed in seizing power (nobody laugh), will the West fear them as well just because "the elections were a farce"?

      • by fataugie (89032)

        The elections were a farce because of the current result (Amawhateverhisnameis). If the results were moderate liberals, then why would we say anything? It's got to be better than what's there now.

  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:41AM (#28422077) Homepage

    > "One problem is that Iranian leaders are trying to delegitimize the reform movement by pretending that they're puppets of foreign powers, so special discretion is required for anyone wanting to help the Iranian people."

    I agree with this idea but should we think that foreign intelligence agents in Iran are currently seriously told to stay put and do nothing ? ;-))

    Or even believe that there is no foreign intelligence agents in Iran ?

    There definitely seems to be a momentum from the people of Iran taking place although, pendulum effect at work again ?

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1273015&cid=28384711&art_pos=8 [slashdot.org]

    • by Artifakt (700173)

      How about this: The US doubtless has intelligence agents inside Iran, both US citizens and Iranians that report to our CIA. Their orders are what most agents get most of the time - to gather information, and to try to make it as accurate as possible and not to get played by one side or another. The first is a safe assumption. The second could be the case if the current administration thinks there is a fair chance things will work out well that way.

      Why would the ad

      • by ls671 (1122017) *

        > Why would the US need to interfere, when it's already reap what you sow time? I doubt 'CIA assassins' could raise the body count if they tried.

        There is much more subtle ways to influence the outcome, but if I tell you, I will have to kill myself ;-))

        I am just having doubts that agents are told to do absolutely nothing that can influence the outcome ;-)) Heck ! why not have them help the ayatollahs while at it just to make sure it is really Iran people that decide autonomously ? ;-)))

  • Marg bar Diktator! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NosPAm.praecantator.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:43AM (#28422101) Homepage

    The regime seems to be fighting the last media war. They've been very effective in deporting and isolating professionals, only to discover how irrelevant that is when thousands of phone-cams are in the streets. Their attempts at jamming and filtering have clearly been quite porous. There's no such thing as a media blackout once word of mouth goes world wide.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Their attempts at jamming and filtering have clearly been quite porous.

      The porosity may be purposeful. You'll note an article posted earlier about Siemens and Nokia providing censoring technology to Iran's government.

      FTA:

      the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection

      If they totally shut down the internet communications then there is nothing to run DPI on. By reducing their traffic but not eliminating it they have stuff to inspect.

      For more information about the Iranian firewall check out the links in the summary from Researchers Find Gaps In Iranian Filtering [slashdot.org] posted here yesterday on Slashdot. There are a couple of char

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:44AM (#28422123)

    "One problem is that Iranian leaders are trying to delegitimize the reform movement by pretending that they're puppets of foreign powers, so special discretion is required for anyone wanting to help the Iranian people."

    Regardless of what one thinks about the Ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad, it is well known that the CIA and other western powers are spending millions stirring up trouble in Iran: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1543798/US-funds-terror-groups-to-sow-chaos-in-Iran.html [telegraph.co.uk]

    This article gives some historical overview of western meddling in Iran: http://www.voltairenet.org/article160670.html [voltairenet.org]

    What many of you also fail to understand is that while Musavi is less fundamentalist than Ahmadinejad, his views are hardly one of support for "human rights" and free society. It is sorta like the difference between Republicans and Democrats - a few differences on paper but little substantial difference.

    • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:49AM (#28422201)

      Whether there are only "a few differences on paper but little substantial difference" between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi, that is not the point. The point is that the election was rigged. The fact that the mullahs felt the need to rig an election where both front-runners only have "a few differences on paper, but little substantial difference," speaks volumes about how much "dissent" will be tolerated by the Ayatollacrats.

      Best,

    • by Bearpaw (13080)

      There's some truth to that, but -- assuming the election was stolen -- it looks like even those small differences were enough for Khomeini to step in, which points up just how short he wants the leash to be.

  • Standing up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phrostie (121428) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:45AM (#28422135)

    My heart goes out to the Iranian people, but this is something they have to do for themselves.
    their governement has to learn to respect the people they govern. as one post i read had stated, "we've traded one dictatorship for another".

    if we in the west get involved there will always be accusations of puppets and strings.
    the only way for the Iranian people to earn the respect of those that run the country and the other countries of the region is to do this on their own.

    the worst is yet to come, but i wish them all the courage and strength they may need.

    • Re:Standing up (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BlueKitties (1541613) <bluekitties616@gmail.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:50AM (#28422215)
      Damn straight! These folks descend from the Persians, I know they have what it takes to hold their own. If other countries step in, it will only lead to propaganda. At this point, all we can do is watch and cheer. May the force be with you, Iranians.
    • How do you suppose the world's superpowers remain superpowers without meddling in every other country's affairs? The only reason this is happening in Iran is because somebody's put a lot of resources into it.
    • by evanbd (210358)

      It seems to me that helping them communicate (setting up proxies, opening more tor exit nodes, etc) is helpful, but not particularly open to cries of puppetry. Plenty of people are doing exactly that, and I think it's wonderful that there are simple things a quiet geek can do to help out a bit. Of course, detractors can always claim that open communication is a Western ideal, but it's become quite clear that a lot of Iranians want it as well.

      Shameless plug time: Freenet [freenetproject.org] is designed to provide anonymous, c

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:48AM (#28422189)

    I'm not asking a rhetorical question. I'm genuinely curious about what the historical precedent is for regimes to be overthrown since it doesn't seem to happen.

    My Russian friend used the colloquialism "every country is three meals away from a revolution" to describe the threshold for revolution, to make the case that nobody missed three meals during the Great Depression but did before the Russian Revolution.

    I also read Robert Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" in which Heinlein asserted that revolutions are never started or run by ordinary people, but by well organized political factions.

    There's also 1984, in which Orwell points out that revolutions always involve the middle class, and the proletariat never drives revolutions.

    There's also the wild card of alleged CIA involvement, which was behind the Orange (Ukraine) and Rose (Georgia) revolutions.

    All of these tidbits of information aren't helping me to predict the outcome of the latest situation in Iran. What's driving the protests other than the election results? Will the revolutionaries succeed?

    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:57AM (#28422371)

      My Russian friend used the colloquialism "every country is three meals away from a revolution" to describe the threshold for revolution, to make the case that nobody missed three meals during the Great Depression but did before the Russian Revolution.

      I also read Robert Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" in which Heinlein asserted that revolutions are never started or run by ordinary people, but by well organized political factions.

      There's also 1984, in which Orwell points out that revolutions always involve the middle class, and the proletariat never drives revolutions.

      There's also the wild card of alleged CIA involvement, which was behind the Orange (Ukraine) and Rose (Georgia) revolutions.

      The thing to remember is that these are the observations of writers. They may be true or they may not, being printed is no more proof of one than the other.

      If you look at the American Revolution, it was organized and financed by a faction within the elite and most privileged class of society. The colonies had not been around long enough to have as firm a tradition of aristocracy as in England so most of the American aristocrats were new to their wealth, having earned it themselves rather than inheriting rank and position from father and he from his father before him. So there was a great belief in America that the intelligent and hard-working could win their place in society, that a common man could prove his merit. Of course, there was also scorn of the common man who did not prove his virtue and remained common.

      With the French Revolution, by all accounts it did start as a spontaneous uprising and leadership positions were hewn out violently in the same fashion one would expect if a few thousand people were thrown together and dumped into an isolated wilderness.

      The other thing we've seen historically is that a conspiracy might form to kick down the door to the halls of power but they lose control of the beast they created and different people gain control of it.

      History seems to be a record not so much of grand conspiracies cunningly executed but people of greed and avarice settings events in motion that can sometimes turn out quite contrary to their expectations. WWII in Europe never would have happened if Hitler had not worked so diligently to bring it about but the results ran somewhat contrary to his expectations.

      • history is often viewed as rote tired predictable trends playing out in rote tired predictable ways

        this is an artifact of human mentality, of hindsight, of how we try to process our world. its not the truth

        in truth, history is made by a few people groping their way in the dark, unsure of their efforts, but full of a strange conviction (for their time), and every once in a while, they hit a giant fucking motherlode of popular appeal or societal structural imbalance, and send the entire world careening on som

      • With the French Revolution, by all accounts it did start as a spontaneous uprising and leadership positions were hewn out violently in the same fashion one would expect if a few thousand people were thrown together and dumped into an isolated wilderness.

        That's sort of the popular view of the French Revolution, but it's not reality. There were many French aristocrats who despised the monarchy, and the growing middle classes were, in large part, the chief victims of the taxes and inflation that had been grip

      • by sribe (304414) on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:57PM (#28424469)

        ...nobody missed three meals during the Great Depression...

        Bullshit. People on the Western Plains starved to death.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bogjobber (880402)

        The colonies had not been around long enough to have as firm a tradition of aristocracy as in England so most of the American aristocrats were new to their wealth, having earned it themselves rather than inheriting rank and position from father and he from his father before him.

        You're wrong about this. The aristocracy in the colonies was not nearly as rigidly defined as in England, but nearly all of the Founding Fathers were born into the wealthy elite. The only ones I can think of who weren't were Thom

    • by copponex (13876)

      The CIA.

      We'll find out in five years than the hundreds of millions of dollars approved last year [france24.com] were for the purpose of overthrowing the Iranian government. That'll be the second time we've ousted their government. Should be good for relations in the future, don't you think?

    • by Bearpaw (13080)

      In most situations, I think the tipping point is generally the support -- or at minimum, the lack of opposition -- of the military and/or security service(s). Of course, that just pushes the question back one level: What does it take to get the military and/or security service(s) to walk away from the current regime?

      That depends on a mix of factors concerning the priorities of the leadership of services: stability, honor, and personal benefit in terms of power and/or money. The ratio of the mix depends in

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:53AM (#28422283)
    In some countries the people would just give in [wikipedia.org] when an unelected legislature tries to overturn a majority decision.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Once again we see this come up. The problem with the "popular vote" theory about the 2000 elections is that you don't know enough. The popular vote number in the wikipedia article is based on number of votes counted. Most states stop counting absentee ballots once the difference between the candidates is greater than the number of remaining absentee ballots. Therefore, we do not know what the actual total of actual votes for each candidate on a nationwide election. Second, the U.S. Presidential election is
  • Fark has it right (Score:5, Informative)

    by ultraexactzz (546422) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:56AM (#28422329) Journal
    The reason it's so important to cut through the misinformation is that the Iranian government is now tweeting with false information, and it's crucial to keep track of what is real and what is FUD. They are taking other measures as well; there are several reports that a speech by President Obama (who has yet to speak in support of the protesters) was translated as a speech calling for revolution and the overthrow of the regime. This lets Iran claim that the protests are the result of meddling by the Western powers.

    Fark seems to be doing a really good job of cutting through the FUD and getting solid, reliable information out there. One of their users, Tatsuma, has a quite detailed and extensive analysis of the crisis, the players, and what is happening now. Their Iran threads would be a good place to start.
    • Yes, there are well meaning people there providing useful information, but in general it is an echo chamber of people caught up in the excitement who are VASTLY overestimating their positive contributions as much as they visciously disregard their potential to do extraordinary harm with mind numbing platitudes about freedom and revolution while accepting little, if any, risk or responsibility themselves. The egos are so jealously guarded to protect that sense of involvement that the constant astroturfing es

    • They'll claim it's interference by Western Powers regardless, because some people will believe it, and it's a nice bogeyman to justify their harsh repression.

      I think Obama is doing the right thing by staying out of it...Given our reputation over there any overt involvement could only make things worse...And, frankly, whoever wins, it's not going to change a lot for us.

    • by Bearpaw (13080)

      They are taking other measures as well; there are several reports that a speech by President Obama (who has yet to speak in support of the protesters) ...

      Well, yes and no. He has spoken in support of the protestors speaking out, while being careful not to publically agree with what they're saying.

      ... was translated as a speech calling for revolution and the overthrow of the regime. This lets Iran claim that the protests are the result of meddling by the Western powers.

      This is why Obama has tried to be very careful about what he says. Given that there is a history of meddling by the US (and others), anything he says is going to be seen through that filter. People calling for stronger statements by Obama seem to be unaware of that history ... or are pretending to be.

  • The only way you can disagree with me is if you are under the influence of the Great Satan. So either you agree with me, or you are obviously evil. What better argument could you want?
    • You're either for me or you're for the terrorists!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Minwee (522556)

      either you agree with me, or you are obviously evil. What better argument could you want?

      It's good to see that you finally understand how to debate on Slashdot.

      Now, here's a pop quiz. If the RIAA and MPAA sued Microsoft and Oracle over breaching the copyright of their DRM, Richard Stallman testified on behalf of the RIAA and Theo de Raadt spoke in favour of Microsoft... Who would you cheer for?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bearpaw (13080)

      The only way you can disagree with me is if you are under the influence of the Great Satan. So either you agree with me, or you are obviously evil. What better argument could you want?

      Huh. Why does that argument sound vaguely familiar?

  • Middle East Peace (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@hot m a il.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:56AM (#28422345)

    I see this happening in Iran and even though I think the human suffering during this build up to civil war (and I have no doubt civil war will erupt from this) is immense, I look at the middle east overall and I wonder if Iran having this happen to it wouldn't be the best thing for everyone. With Iran fighting within itself, it doesn't have the focus on Isreal, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq which has large issues with iran-funded militant groups. The money dries up, leaving the groups to fend for themselves, which they would find extremely difficult.

    I personally hope that at the end of this there is a more 'west friendly' regime. It seems from all accounts that most of Iran's youth are wholeheartedly embracing technology and being part of the world stage. The middle east needs an country with an people-elected islamic leader which is willing to embrace the future.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:59AM (#28422405)

    Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the fact that no less than twenty-three journalists have been arrested in Iran in the week following the elections, making Iran one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist

    23? That's it? At the RNC's and DNC's for the last decade, the cops have been putting people in holding cells by the bushels, charging them with all sorts of things like "disturbing the peace", or just simply letting them go after 24 hours.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      Not all people are journalists.

      Reporters without Borders doesn't care about non-journalists being arrested (well they might care, but it isn't what they are talking about).

    • scale

      perspective

      context

      these are some wacky concepts. try using some of them next time when you compare:

      1. cops putting rnc and dnc marginal characters with marginal concerns behind fences

      vs

      2. the sheer scale of the popular uprising in iran
      3. what is at stake: the very heart of iranian society (as opposed to nothing more than the ability to disrupt a party convention by outsiders with grudge fringe issues that don't have popular support)
      4. the modus operandi: sueable, accountable urban cops restraining peop

  • why iran hates great britain

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game [wikipedia.org]

    i understand why iran hates the usa

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_ajax [wikipedia.org]

    but what the hell: it's not the colonial era and its not the cold war anymore

    are the iranian people that deluded (or rather: the iranian government thinks so lowly of their own people) that anyone would actually believe this massive popular uprising is actually just manipulation by foreign powers?

    propaganda only goes so far, then its just downright laughable paranoid schizophrenia

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      CNN was great last night, some Iranian spokesperson having a press conference declaring that there is no freedom of speech or privacy in Western countries and declaring that hence it must be a conspiracy by western governments that iranian embassies have seen disrupted by protests and so on. And that such a thing is unacceptable.

      Because Iran has never, say, assaulted a foreign embassy and taken those inside hostage or anything like that.

      Certainly never restricted freedom of speech by locking up reporters, o

    • They share a western border with Iraq and an eastern border with Afghanistan. In the last 60 years the US has helped overthrow one of their leaders, supported one of their enemies in a pretty devastating war against them, many of our top officials have threated regime change against their government, and over the last several years we've funded various non-governmental organizations within Iran with the goal of undermining their leadership. I don't support Iran's government in the least but we've made the
      • plus a million more other observations you could have also made, real or imagined, about foreign meddling in iraq:

        1 ounce

        millions of iranians organically assembling day after day:

        1 million tons

        that's about the weight difference in terms of compelling proof about whether or not what is going on iran is anything but a completely native and original domestic movement

  • So this is the smell of "vigorous debate" in the morning.
  • How do we know? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drDugan (219551) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:11AM (#28422651) Homepage

    Frankly I think most observers have extremely little information about what is real and reliable half way around the world.

    The most reliable things I've seen so far are the large events, and the events reported independently in a similar way by several different sources: there was an election, it has led to unrest. One group in power is now in rising conflict with another group that wants power. Several people have died. Really beyond that, assertions of any particular thing day-to-day are pretty unreliable for me, and I've been reading and following this pretty closely.

    As to whether a foreign power is involved, I think that is an extremely difficult question to answer as a remote consumer of "news" and Internet reports. Any group or nation powerful enough to be involved inside Iran now would have as a prerequisite the ability to control tightly the access and dissemination of information internally and the stories released to the public, plus would probably have a desire for secrecy regarding their involvement.

    Given recent history of multiple invasions in the region, the high value of resources in the region, plus historical precedent for outside regime support (specifically in Iran) - on what basis of reliable fact does one base the conclusion of foreign involvement or non involvement in the current demonstrations and issues in Iran? What do you consider to be the most reliable sources in the current fog of conflict and disinformation? Twitter? Some random Blogger? CNN? Your government? People you know personally?

    My only point is this: Even if there were outside groups directly influencing events, how would people know about it? I don't think they would.

    • how the hell does mi6 or mossad or the cia incite millions of iranians to march in the street day after day?

      mind control rays? hallucinogens in the water supply? chemtrails? ergot in the wheat in the food supply?

      look: i don't have definitive proof that the moon isn't made of cheese. nasa is clearly a mouthpiece of the us govt and obviously it has every reason to lie about and stage fake moon landings in hollywood sound stages, and deny a hungry world such an abundant food source, or otherwise the american m

  • by goffster (1104287) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:15AM (#28422711)

    I think a large number of people (Americans especially) automatically think a dictatorship is
    a bad thing. A dictatorship is generally bad for Americans but perhaps good for other people.
    There are benefits to a dictatorship. When you have a good dictator, things are generally pretty
    good. The trick is to avoid the bad dictator.

    As an analogy, think of a software company where the CEO was voted in by all the developers.
    This software company is almost certain to never be competitive with a company that
    is run by a tight-fisted, smart, savvy CEO.

    So which company would you want to work for?
    It would depend on your goals. Do you want to make money with Stock options? Do you simply
    want to program any cool thing you wanted?

    • The trick is to avoid the bad dictator.

      You make an interesting point. The problem is that history indicates that the "trick" has rarely, if ever been, accomplished. Feel free to give examples of dictators who were not bad dictators. Based on the track record of dictators, I think it is safe to assume that a dictator is a bad dictator until evidence to the contrary is presented.

      • You have to take a look at a broader picture sometimes. Saddam Hussein was by all means a bad person, his regime was oppressive and has committed numerous crimes. Yet such power was needed to keep such country as Iraq together.
        Look at the mess that happens now that he's been hanged in a kangaroo trial. The government is weak, corrupt (not that Saddam's government wasn't) but most importantly unable to control the situation and only massive US military involvement (who are, incidentally, behind the whole mes

    • by zindorsky (710179) <zindorsky@gmail.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:32PM (#28424059)

      When you have a good dictator, things are generally pretty
      good. The trick is to avoid the bad dictator.

      That is indeed the trick. The fact is, the harm that bad dictators cause greatly outweighs any good that "good" dictators provide. And a dictator system, once in place, is very hard to get rid of.

      Also, I feel suspicious of the idea that there are "good" dictators. Some may start out good, but power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • by guruevi (827432) <evi@smo k i n g c ube.be> on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:41PM (#28424221) Homepage

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      I have worked for small companies with a tight-fisted CEO as you describe (as most dotcom's were) who didn't have to answer to nobody and the results were disastrous. You get somebody with a business degree filtering all decisions through him resulting in horrendous long meetings where you have to educate a CEO about your technical systems and issues and all-in-all the customer gets to be put on the back burner and the company fails. Look at Cuba under Fidel for a dictator that rules like that.

      The more moderate CEO has to report to the board or to somebody else (shareholders), usually has CxO's that cooperate but do not report directly to him. It's more of a democracy by the oligarchy (like Iran). Ahmed is just a sock puppet of the religious oligarchy and is there for PR purposes. The other one however threatens the current ruling class since the other one wants to be more liberal and have less to do with the higher ups (kinda like a CEO wanting to buy out the company) - that's why he 'lost'.

      Eventually Iran is going to get sick of it (either now or next election) and their religious class will have to step down (probably at the hands of a bloody revolution) - I would say all of the countries where currently religious entities (including leaders and followers) have most of the (elective) power will eventually get 'liberated' by the incoming younger generation and there are going to be some big changes. Similar to the US - the younger generation keeps getting disenfranchised by the religious 'old & faithful' voting for the same party (The Republicrat party) - eventually (I would say within the next 3-5 elections) there will be a shift to something else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jandrese (485)
      There's a quote I think you should hear:

      This is why dictatorships are doomed to failure. Without a system of checks and balances on power, the people at the top will inevitably become corrupt. History has proven this time and time again.

    • you're a dumbass (Score:4, Informative)

      by Vicsun (812730) on Monday June 22, 2009 @02:58PM (#28426525)

      Your analogy is flawed. A CEO is responsible to his shareholders and can be replaced if he does a bad job. This is more analogous to a democracy, where, in theory a leader doing a bad job can be voted out and replaced. A CEO who was such by birthright, had absolute power and held no responsibility to anyone other than himself would very likely be worse than a CEO responsible to shareholders, like a leader responsible to the people would be better than one not responsible to anyone.

      Benevolent dictators are not unheard of, but are definitely in the minority.

  • Dangerous? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xtracto (837672)

    making Iran one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist

    If the journalists are being arrested I do not see how that makes Iran a "dangerous" place for a journalist...

    Compare that to Mexico where journalists get kidnapped, physically assaulted, killed, and whatnot...

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