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Iranian Crackdown Goes Global 313

Posted by timothy
from the innocuous-backup-account dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tehran's leadership faces its biggest crisis since it first came to power in 1979, as Iranians at home and abroad attack its legitimacy in the wake of June's allegedly rigged presidential vote. An opposition effort, the 'Green Movement,' is gaining a global following of regular Iranians who say they never previously considered themselves activists. The regime has been cracking down hard at home. And now, a Wall Street Journal investigation shows, it is extending that crackdown to Iranians abroad as well. Part of the effort involves tracking the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity of Iranians around the world, and identifying them at opposition protests abroad. People who criticize Iran's regime online or in public demonstrations are facing threats intended to silence them."
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Iranian Crackdown Goes Global

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  • Facebook spam? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:33PM (#30338464) Journal

    I know this sounds odd, but it makes we want to get a million people who are not Iranians and put enough information on our Facebook pages to at least slow the Iranian govt. down, by making them wade through it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:49PM (#30338576)

    the best thing to do is to wait it out. this is the first time that the new generation is old enough to get involved in politics, and they made a very strong statement. over 70% of the country is under 30 due to the iran-iraq war, which basically wiped out a whole generation. this government is a legacy outdated establishment that is totally incompatible with Iran. The country was run by a foreign minority of non-Persians who used religion to control a country of children. Well, the kids grew up and they will rebel. Iran has a strong history and culture, and is too mature to put up with this crap for much longer.

  • Re:Facebook spam? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rysiek (1328591) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:53PM (#30338612) Homepage
    It might even work, you know. In 70's and 80's, while fighting our own communist regime in Poland, to help people that carried flyers and other (illegal) prints, lots of people wore backpacks, even when they didn't need them. This way the SB ("Security Service", secret police) had a hard time finding the 1 in 100 that actually had illegal flyers inside.
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @06:01PM (#30338662) Journal

    When Iran cracked down on their citizens last time, during this summer's protests, Western companies such as Siemens and Nokia provided them the technology to do this.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html [wsj.com]

    I also highly doubt they're building massive databases with worldwide surveillance on Iranian citizens -- for the purposes of going after their relatives within Iran -- with their own home-brew technologies.

    This takes some scary stuff some Iranian University students could not simply hash together -- things like deep-packet inspection of all internet traffic and massive data-mining algorithms in the scope of millions upon millions of megabytes.

  • Re:Facebook spam? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @06:03PM (#30338682)

    I have a large number of Iranian and Iranian-American friends. Many have participated in Green movement protests in the DC area. Most of them have changed their names on Facebook since the elections, and many have obfuscated their photos or replaced them with pro-Green banners.

    I thought this was probably paranoid, but given recent these developments it seems very prudent.

    What I worry is that, even with their names changed on Facebook, their old names could possibly be found via the Wayback Machine or some other web archive. Any issues here?

    (Reluctantly posting anon in case the Iranian regime starts poking through Slashdot looking for people-with-Iranian friends. Now *that* seems paranoid but...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @06:21PM (#30338810)

    When Iran cracked down on their citizens last time, during this summer's protests, Western companies such as Siemens and Nokia provided them the technology to do this.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html [wsj.com]

    I also highly doubt they're building massive databases with worldwide surveillance on Iranian citizens -- for the purposes of going after their relatives within Iran -- with their own home-brew technologies.

    This takes some scary stuff some Iranian University students could not simply hash together -- things like deep-packet inspection of all internet traffic and massive data-mining algorithms in the scope of millions upon millions of megabytes.

    Here are a few factoids for you:

    1- When it comes to computer science Iran is a world leader that is only rivaled by USA and England.
    2- Iran has the most comprehensive and sophisticated surveillance and monitoring infrastructure in the world
    3- Your assumptions about Iranian students are absolutely incorrect. Not only can they keep up with what is going on around the world, but they are leaders and innovators. For example the most successful immigrant minority in the USA is Iranians according to the CIA factbook, and Sharif University has beat MIT, Caltech, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon in programming and robotics competitions.

  • by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <eligottlieb@@@gmail...com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @06:56PM (#30339064) Homepage Journal

    1- When it comes to computer science Iran is a world leader that is only rivaled by USA and England.

    Given the existence of China, India, Japan, Israel, and Germany, I have an extremely hard time believing you.

    For example the most successful immigrant minority in the USA is Iranians according to the CIA factbook

    Link or it's a lie, given the Indian-American success stories.

  • A Little Off (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Das Auge (597142) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @07:27PM (#30339358)
    The GP was a little of in the value of liberty, but he's on the right track.

    While your example, Canada, didn't struggle to have liberty, they did earn it. As a people, they got together and chose to live in a free, open nation. Put another way, no one gave it to them. Which is the problem with Iraq. The US (my home) is trying to give it to them. That doesn't take away from the value of any such liberty, but it does bring into question the staying power of it.
  • Re:Actually (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @07:33PM (#30339402) Homepage Journal

    You know, that is pure speculation. There is absolutely no evidence that the election was rigged. Ahaminejad is very popular and has previously won election with big margins. There is no evidence that the Iranians are "realizing how bad they have been" and are changing their minds en masse. There is no evidence of a great uprising taking place inside Iran. Yes, thousands of students protested in Teheran a few months ago, which is great, but millions of people on the country-side didn't.

    But obviously, spreading the idea of an Iranian revolt is beneficial to someone. Ask yourself this: Who benefits if most of the world believes that the Iranian regime is hated by its own people?

  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @08:21PM (#30339722)

    "I don't think bloody revolution is the only path to democracy."

    It may not be the only path, but the required path is decided by the opposition.

    If they are friendly and weak, the Ghandi method works.

    If they eventually tire of their political charade, they shut it down (Gorbachev is heroic for doing this.)

    If they think they are anointed by their imaginary celestial friend, they require enthusiastic liquidation in the manner of the French Revolution.
    (A beautiful act, and worthy of emulation.)

    If they are inherently logical and nationalistic, they can be seduced by capitalism and the tasty wealth reform brings with it. (Beijing.)

  • Re:GIYUSlashdot?!? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:10PM (#30340426)

    Actually, the Iranian regime is Shia, not mainstream Muslim. Shia represent a minority (estimates vary from 5% to 15%) of the worldwide Muslim population that the Western media lumps together. Mainstream Islam (Sunni, counting for between 805 to 90%) is hugely different from Shia, although the Shia people are allowed into Sunni countries freely and without incident (roughly 100,000 enter Saudi Arabia annually to perform the Hajj to Mecca, without incident).

    In Iran, Shia are a majority, the only country in which this is the case. They are going after the traditional Muslims, who are contending that the brutality of the regime is not consistent with Sharia law, which has very clear principles. Ironically, the Western media is pointing to the Iranian regime and blaming its adherence to Sharia as the cause for the unrest there.

    Sharia law is not counter to human rights, Sharia law resulted in a 1,400 year long reign over the middle east which was described by Jewish historian Bernard Lewis as the only time man has achieved true social harmony. It's a pity that the Western media has absolutely no idea what Sharia is, but bashes it based on a few clips from some village of some woman being whipped, regardless of the fact that Sharia had no part in such instances and does not condone violence against anyone, man, woman, Muslim or otherwise. Sharia law worked for 1,400 years in the middle east, and only fell when World War 1, a European war, spilled over into the region.

    Sharia law causing global instability indeed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:42PM (#30340884)

    making threats against any person inside our countrys borders, citizen of our country or not, citizen of another country or not, is a violation of our sovereignty.

  • Re:revolt (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:43PM (#30340898)

    Iran is arguably a virulently anti-western throwback because of 30 years of sanctions slowly strangling the country.

    Argh! Fuck off already. This Ron Paulian junk pisses me off more than anything. People who didn't know shit about Iran just a couple of years ago by learning one fact about Iran's history think they know what Iranians think of west.

    The coup is FUCKING FORGOTTEN, amerite?! The real people of Iran have always blamed it almost exclusively on Britain and Ayatollah Kashani; US was and is considered a mere agent of the British perpetrators. Regardless, all of this is gone and past history. We don't hold never-ending grudges.

    The current regime and it's "President" Ahmadinejad are followers of the same ideologies as Ayatollah Kashani.

    By withholding his support, Kashani played a crucial role in the success of the 1953 Iranian coup d'état that overthrew Mossedeq. [3] [7][8] [9] Following his break with Mossedeq, he gave support to his former adversary, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. [8]. and even declared that Mosaddeq deserved to be executed because he had committed the ultimate offense: rebelling against the shah, `betraying` the country, and repeatedly violating the sacred law... [wikipedia.org]"

    We are not virulently Anti-American. I remember when Iraq was attacked people on buses and cabs talked about how lucky Iraqis are that they are getting rid of Saddam and we're stuck with the shitty regime. They wished US attacked Iran instead, yes that might seem unbelievable to followers of his majesty Ron Paul. Of course that wish changed when bombs started going off on a daily bases, US decided to stay and everything went to hell. That is basically one of the reasons Iran helped with making Iraq unstable to avoid any such wishes by people to get real.

    You should turn the TV off, get off the couch and take a trip to Iran to understand how Iranians not only not hate, but most of them like Americans.

    And lastly on sanctions, again nobody blames US. Khomeini has a famous quote that kinda translates to "US can't do shit to us". Well, the current state of Iran shows that he was very wrong, and we blame him for this mess. He created an enemy and the enemy acted like one.

    You said "arguably", so here's the argument.

  • by microbox (704317) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:12AM (#30341004)
    There is absolutely no evidence that the election was rigged. Ahaminejad is very popular and has previously won election with big margins.

    There is circumstantial evidence [pbs.org], and then there's the way the Ahaminejad and his supporters have acted. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This regime seems to be like the ZANU PF in Zimbabwe. Violent, mad, megalomaniacs.
  • Nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:02AM (#30341202) Homepage

    Read about NITV:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/24/magazine/24NITV.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

    One of the regulars on there was attacked in Los Angeles with a bat and lost an eye.

  • Re:Actually (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:15AM (#30341264)
    Who the hell voted a this up? Every single sentence of his is a lie/falsity.

    Firstly, he won last time because he was the unknown guy vs. the guy-everybody hated. This time he was generally hated for fucking up the economy and spending his time bashing the world and he ran against someone people had good memories of who handled economy great at war time and didn't let people starve.

    Secondly, in the previous election, the guy who finished last in total, came out first in his own province. That has always been the case for every presidential election in Iran. You win among your people. This time, Karroubi who got 4 million votes last election, got ~300 thousand with much larger participation and fewer candidates. He had more than that number working for his campaign and much more important, he is a Lor, and these people vote for one of their no matter what. They also hate anything that deals with Ahmadinejad, including Revolutionary Guards which ravaged their tribes for years. And somehow Ahmadinejad broke all the rules and won all the provinces and strongholds of other candidates.

    There's a lot of evidence out there, but even if Ahmadinejad came out and admitted it (which is probably what you mean by evidence) conspiracy theorists like you won't believe it.
  • by linumax (910946) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:25AM (#30341298)

    1- When it comes to computer science Iran is a world leader that is only rivaled by USA and England.

    Given the existence of China, India, Japan, Israel, and Germany, I have an extremely hard time believing you.

    For example the most successful immigrant minority in the USA is Iranians according to the CIA factbook

    Link or it's a lie, given the Indian-American success stories.

    About the most successful minority I'm not sure, but I saw a program on BBC about Iranians in America which said Iranian immigrants are the second highest educated group after Germans. They obtained that from census data.

    In terms of financial success, they are doing rather well. Anecdotal evidence of which:

    From Wikipedia on Beverly Hills [wikipedia.org]:
    Like the rest of Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills is home to a large Persian/ Iranian community. There has been a recent estimate that Iranians represent as much as 40% of the city's population and 50% of the students in public schools.[14] This estimate is not immediately evident in Census Bureau data as the Census Bureau defines the "White" race category as "people having origins in any of the original peoples of .. the Middle East .."[15]

    The former mayor, Jimmy Delshad is Iranian born too.

  • Re:Facebook spam? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:08AM (#30341822) Homepage

    Out of curiosity - did they have other items in the backpacks or were they empty?

    I'm thinking of papers that would take a while to read through but be completely legit, which would slow down things even more.

    That reminds me of an old espionage story - an US intelligence officer was frequently in Moscow (or was employed by the embassy) and now and then he went out and purchased a set of various newspapers/magazines. Sat down on a park bench and then took up a pen and marked or wrote something down. Then he started walking again and handed out a newspaper or magazine to a random person. Imagine the amount of wasted work that the KGB had to do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:24AM (#30342028)
    Runaway1956 (1322357), an Iranian apologist, wrote, "The US and the UK imposed an unwanted government on the Iranians only a lifetime ago."

    The Kremlin "imposed an unwanted government" on the Hungarians "only a lifetime ago". After the Kremlin stopped imposing that government, the Hungarians removed the unwanted government (in 1989) and installed a democratic government within 6 months.

    After the Iranians removed the unwanted government (in 1979), neither the UK nor the USA imposed another unwanted government. Within 6 months, the Iranians created a brutal Islamic theocracy.

    Iranian culture and Hungarian culture are very different. Hungarians create a democracy and a free market. Iranians create a brutal Islamic theocracy.

  • by TropicalCoder (898500) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @07:36AM (#30342434) Homepage Journal

    Iran's government seems to have an accurate grasp of the tactical situation. They must expand, and hope against hope this gives them access to more resources. Or they must die.

    Iran, unlike the rest of the world it seems, is quite aware that it's oil will stop supporting the economy before another decade passes. And smart Iranians know that attacking Iran's nuclear facilities is all but ensuring the doom of Iran's people in the all to near future. And before you say it, no Iran's oilfields won't be dry in 10 years.

    Respectfully, I think justification for Iran's nuclear program is a crock of shit. Iran has roughly 10% of the world's total proven petroleum reserves [wikipedia.org]. Iran is the world's fourth largest oil producer and is OPEC's second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia. At 2006 rates of production, Iran's oil reserves would last 98 years if no new oil was found.

    Their problem is that Iran has one of the most inefficient economies in the world. It has a large public sector, with an estimated 60% of the economy directly controlled and centrally planned by the state. The combined budgets of the religious foundations [Bonyads] are said to make up as much as half that of the central government. Combination of price controls and subsidies, particularly on food and energy, continues to weigh down the economy, and contraband, administrative controls, widespread corruption, and other rigidities undermine the potential for private sector-led growth. High oil prices in recent years have enabled Iran to amass nearly US$ 97 billion in foreign exchange reserves. Yet this increased revenue has not eased economic hardships, which include double-digit unemployment and inflation. References [1] [wikipedia.org] [2] [cia.gov]

    I would suggest that Iran has every opportunity in the world of becoming a prosperous, modern nation if they simply reformed and diversified their economy over the next 50 years. Nuclear power is the last thing they need right now. Once they achieve a modern, diversified, efficient economy, energy technologies will have advanced to the point that there will be a number of options they will be able to take advantage of, such as enhanced oil recovery techniques. Even now, there may exist other options they don't appear to have considered, such a tidal/wave/thermalcline power from the Persian Gulf or perhaps geothermal, solar or wind energy production.

    In my opinion this mad rush to develop nuclear technology makes no sense from an energy perspective, when their top priority should be economic reform. In just a few short years, if they went at that goal with the same determination that they pursue nuclear technology now, the Iranian people could enjoy prosperity and a bright future rather than the double-digit inflation they suffer now.

  • Re:Right Now (Score:2, Interesting)

    by couchslug (175151) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:30PM (#30343686)

    The Iranian people chose Islamic government and now they are getting what they asked for.

    We should let them stew until they either explode and violently take power or are defeated. Let's not forget how much savage abuse by Christians it
    took for Europe to largely free itself from superstition.

    If you don't want a priests foot on your neck, you emulate the French (and the Russians) and butcher the priest because nothing else will do.

    No one has freed themselves of Mullahs yet, but it will require the same revolutionary will to fight superstition. Unless the people of Iran kill the Mullocracy they deserve no sympathy. Jihadists are willing to kill and die, so unless those who oppose them are even tougher they will lose.
    Ghandi was effective because the British hadn't the sense to kill him. Jihadists don't have that problem.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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