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Iran Moves To End "Facebook Revolution" 838

We've had a few readers send in updates on the chaotic post-election situation in Iran. Twitter is providing better coverage than CNN at the moment. There are both tech and humanitarian angles to the story, as the two samples below illustrate. First, Hugh Pickens writes with a report from The Times (UK) that "the Iranian government is mounting a campaign to disrupt independent media organizations and Web sites that air doubts about the validity of the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the nation's president. Reports from Tehran say that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were taken down after Mr Ahmadinejad claimed victory. SMS text messaging, a preferred medium of communication for young Iranians, has also been disabled. 'The blocking of access to foreign news media has been stepped up, according to Reporters Without Borders. 'The Internet is now very slow, like the mobile phone network. YouTube and Facebook are hard to access and pro-reform sites... are completely inaccessible.'" And reader momen abdullah sends in one of the more disturbing Ask Slashdots you are likely to see. "People, we need your urgent help in Iran. We are under attack by the government. They stole the election. And now are arresting everybody. They also filtered every sensitive Web page. But our problem is that they also block the SMS network and are scrambling satellite TVs. Please, can you help us to set up some sort of network using our home wireless access points? Can anybody show us a link on how to install small TV/radio stations? Any suggestion for setting up a network? Please tell us what to do or we are going to die in the a nuclear war between Iran and US." Update: 06/14 18:32 GMT by KD : Jim Cowie contributes a blog post from Renesys taking a closer look at the state of Iranian Internet transit, as seen in the aggregated global routing tables, and concluding that the story may not be as clear-cut as has been reported.
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Iran Moves To End "Facebook Revolution"

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  • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:20PM (#28327773)
    On one hand, we have the freedom and lives of millions of people. On the other hand we can help bring Twitter down. Tough choice...
    • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:36PM (#28327893) Homepage

      I'm trying to imagine the look on the mods faces who modded you insightful rather than funny.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:21PM (#28327787)

    Sometimes in some situations the only real answer is unyielding violence. Sure you can hedge on the bet that eventually enough old people will die off that Iran could become a free country but at the rate they can find new help... sometimes a peaceful revolution just isn't a realistic expectation.

    • by djdavetrouble ( 442175 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:38PM (#28327915) Homepage

      Sure you can hedge on the bet that eventually enough old people will die off

      There is always some young power hungry hateful bastard waiting to take the old asshole's spot, though.

    • by mark_hill97 ( 897586 ) <> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:41PM (#28327937)
      Even Ghandi recognized the power of violence. He once said that the best kind of person to lead in his non-violent revolution was a person who had served in the military or police. You see, he recognized that even though violence was a solution, there were other ways for him to achieve his goals. He never said violence should not be used; Only that it should be a last resort. Iranians have tried the path of peace, the problem here is: You can never get a person who thinks he has god on his side to believe he is wrong.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You can never get a person who thinks he has god on his side to believe he is wrong.

        By the way, while we're at it - the "Supreme Leader" Ali Khamenei has already called the official result of the election a "divine assessment".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 )

      You are right; sometimes some clear violence (or better; threat of violence) does work; but you have to pick your moment. Doing things badly is normally much worse than not doing them at all. Right now Iran is split 50/50 so it may not be the best moment. Any civil war could be really bloody and nasty. Unless the opposition is properly prepared, they are likely to lose. Normally there should be a long period of peaceful protest and visible repression to get people against the government. Then a deman

    • by rpillala ( 583965 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:51PM (#28328031)
      That wasn't Gandhi's bet. Gandhi's bet was that raw injustice would not be allowed to continue by inherently good people.
    • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:20PM (#28328279)

      And that is why here in America we have the 2nd amendment. The founding fathers realized that at some point, a second revolution would be needed...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 )
      It isn't that simple. A good portion of the country of Iran like their conservative government, and it is not impossible that Ahmadinejad won fairly. If there were a revolution based on this election, it would probably be the city dwellers in Tehran against the rural religious folk in most of the rest of the country. A violent revolution isn't realistic (although there are people who are trying).

      Gandhi wasn't absolutely against violence. He considered violence a tool of the weak. He said that if you
  • by russlar ( 1122455 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:22PM (#28327793)
    Leave. Now. While you still can.
  • HAM Radio (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:22PM (#28327795)
    • Re:HAM Radio (Score:5, Insightful)

      by druke ( 1576491 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:32PM (#28327865)
      Mod this up, however... wikipedia would be on the first list of medias to be blocked. Military style Ham radio is a good source of organization, easy to use, mobile (because you can't stay in one place), and not to expensive. The problem is that every other "green cell" will also need a radio IIRC. I was born after the age of HAM, but it sounds perfect for your situation. Organize, be patient, be angry.
  • Iran (Score:3, Interesting)

    by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:24PM (#28327805)
    That's right Mr. theocratic dictator. Go ahead and keep pushing down the relatively minor calls for reform and watch in horror as the demands for freedom and civil discourse grow more and more demanding, and more and more "extreme". This is how true democracies begin.

    We got rid of our idiot leadership, now Iran looks to be doing the same.

    (Bush was terrible by just about any measure - I'm an independent voter and have voted for Dems and Repubs)
    • Re:Iran (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:32PM (#28327867)

      We got rid of our idiot leadership, now Iran looks to be doing the same.

      In all fairness, you didn't get rid of your "idiot leadership", Bush left office as his second term ended. You had an opportunity to get rid of him after the first four years and you blew it.

    • Re:Iran (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wizard Drongo ( 712526 ) <.ku.oc.oohay. .ta. .ognord_draziw.> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:35PM (#28327881)

      Never mind Bush; look at your nation's founding.
      Your ancestors asked (quite nicely at first) for moderate tax relief from the British Government.
      The British ignored them.
      Your ancestors then started asking about representation in Parliament; if the current people won't change the taxes, maybe we can get some of us elected to help persuade them.
      The British still ignored them. Result: full out warfare and for the want of a 10% drop in basic tax, a few MP's and a end to the tea and cotton taxes, they lost the entire American colonies...

      The Irani people are an increasingly connected, modern and well-educated (by Middle east standards) lot. Eventually, too many lame excuses by the crackpots will push the majority into outward disobedience. Then a lot of people will get shot, and public anger will rise, eventually resulting in another revolution. Hopefully this time without the Council of Nutjobs and the Supreme unelected Loony they currently have at the top of the tree.
      Unless they start moderating towards the public opinion, it will only make this happen faster.

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:36PM (#28327885)

      The extent of the fraud perpetrated is clearly intended to send a message. If the powers that be in Iran just wanted Ahmadinejad reelected, they could have done so subtly. Give him 45% or so in round 1, to Mousavi's 39%, and then have him win round 2 with 52% or so. People wouldn't like it, but it'd at least be believable.

      No, by giving Ahmadinejad ~67% of the vote, even in Mousavi's hometown, they are very clearly sending a message to the people that their votes do not count. After such a high turnout, after so much enthusiasm, this is a clear move to disenfranchise the Iranian people, so that they don't even try to vote against the entrenched powers in the future.

    • Re:Iran (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:37PM (#28327903)

      North Korea (and several african states)


      It is possible to keep a dictatorship your entire life despite the will of the people.

      You just have to be willing to be brutal enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:30PM (#28327843)

    Does he really set policy?

    Aren't all the presidential choices pre approved?

    Will a different choice change any meaningful policies that might make a difference in Iran getting nuked?

    Seems Iran needs another revolution, not just another figurehead.

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:46PM (#28327991)

      This election would have had little impact on foreign policy, but the Iranian president does have a lot of leeway on domestic matters. Under Ahmadinejad, inflation and unemployment have skyrocketted. Rather than try to take action to fix it, he just lies about the figures (easy to do, when you control the media). That was really a key issue in the "election".

      Of course, not having a Holocaust denier as president would probably help foreign relations a bit as well.

      (Yes I know he never comes out and denies it. He just "questions" it. A lot.)

  • Tor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:37PM (#28327899) Homepage Journal
    If what is disrupted are specific sites, and not the whole internet, you can use it to get anonymous/encrypted communication with wherever you want.

    In the other hand, tor sounds too much like Thor, and if Iranian government things you are of another religion you could be screwed.
  • Use Ham/CB/FM Radio (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRagingTowel ( 724266 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:46PM (#28327989) Homepage
    I think that what momen abdullah is asking can be achieved using ham radio. Look for PSK31 for low-bandwith digital communications. Maybe "truckers" in Iran are using CB radio? You can use that as well, maybe hack it a bit. Anyway, building a simple 80-100MHz FM band transmitter is very easy to build, just hook it into a power amplifier for better coverage.
    Look at the first search result on google for "fm transmitter", this [] is what i found. seems easy enough to build with easily attainable components.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:52PM (#28328033)

    I'm afraid if you want change, it has to come from within. The Iranian people will have to rise up and displace their government, by force if necessary. Chatting about it on the net won't help, and the US is not going to at all be interested in forcing change at this point. As with pretty much any real change in life, at has to come from within. If this really matters to the people of Iran, then they have the power to change it. You CAN overthrow a government, history has plenty of examples.

    As for nuclear war, I wouldn't worry too much about that. The US isn't going to strike first, and Iran lacks the technology to deliver nuclear payloads to the US. Also, as a practical matter while Iranian leadership seems to be oppressive and such, they aren't insane. I'm sure they full and well understand what the US response to a nuclear attack would be, and nobody wants to be the ruler of a glass parking lot.

    So I wouldn't worry about nuclear war, but I would worry about Iran becoming a whole lot more oppressive. If you are Iranian, the only real solution to that is to displace your government. Sorry, but that just seems to be the fact. They've made it quite clear they aren't interested in democratic change, and the president of the US isn't interested in starting another war that the military can't sustain, nor would the US population go along with it.

    So if change matters, you'll have to do it yourselves, and yes it may be bloody. That or get out of the country, which is probably what I'd opt for. I'd like to think I could stand up and fight but realistically I'd just run away, I don't have the guts to be a revolutionary I think.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    --Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      As for nuclear war, I wouldn't worry too much about that. The US isn't going to strike first, and Iran lacks the technology to deliver nuclear payloads to the US. Also, as a practical matter while Iranian leadership seems to be oppressive and such, they aren't insane. I'm sure they full and well understand what the US response to a nuclear attack would be, and nobody wants to be the ruler of a glass parking lot.

      All it will take to deliver a nuclear weapon to the US is a ship. Maybe even just a container on a ship, routed through some other port. They certainly have that delivery capability.

      As for being the ruler of a glass parking lot, maybe not. But the rulers there care nothing for their civilian population, so whatever happens to them is a big "so?"

      What I would say is a more likely scenario is for them to set off a nuclear weapon on Israeli soil. Israel loses a city. The big question is, would the US step

  • To momen abdullah (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:58PM (#28328077)
  • Ways to help (Score:5, Informative)

    by Martin Spamer ( 244245 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:05PM (#28328165) Homepage Journal

    Some ways to subvert the censorship.

    1) anonymous web proxies that only accept inbound connections from Iran IP space.
    2) TOR servers [].
    3) Ad-Hoc WiFi networks could be used to create a Mesh networks.
    4) Multicast information, documents, video over the Mesh.

  • Make a FreedomStick (Score:5, Informative)

    by nonsequitor ( 893813 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:12PM (#28328209)

    The Chaos Computer Club made a "FreedomStick" for journalists traveling to China to cover the Olympics. It includes software that automatically uses firefox+tor etc.. More Info Here: []

  • by NightFears ( 869799 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:31PM (#28328361)

    Please, can you help us to set up some sort of network using our home wireless access points?

    I actually found this line very intriguing. Is it really possible to set up an autonomous network using any sort of commodity wireless routers? It might be a not bad idea at all in a densely populated metropolis. Probably none come with the firmware allowing to do that, but there might be open firmware alternatives. So, 3 questions:
    1. Is it technically possible to connect two wireless routers together to form a network?
    2. Is there readily-available software needed to set up a centralized/hierarchical network in this way?
    3. P2P?

  • Emergency networking (Score:5, Informative)

    by KeithIrwin ( 243301 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:37PM (#28328419)

    Unfortunately, setting up large-scale adhoc networks with 802.11b/g hardware is kind of difficult. What you'll want to look at is what's called "wireless mesh networking". Mesh networking is basically the peer-to-peer of networks. The difficulty with using 802.11b/g for mesh networking is that 802.11 standard doesn't really include any concept of a mesh. There are two types of devices: access points and clients. Access points cannot communicate with other access points. It is however, possible for clients to communicate with other clients by switching to ad hoc networking mode. So your options are thus:

    1) get a lot of people with 802.11g-capable computers to switch into ad hoc networking mode. This will allow them to connect to each other if the density is high enough (that is if there are enough people close enough). Unfortunately, the range is on the small side, so, unfortunately, this may not work that well. Part of the problem is that clients often have a lower broadcast strength than access points.

    2) set up a specifically designed mesh network. To do mesh networking in infrastructure mode, there are going to be four different types of nodes which can be used. 1) AP nodes 2) Client-Client nodes 3) AP-Client nodes 4) Client nodes

    AP nodes:
    An ordinary wireless access point can act as a hub node.

    Client-Client nodes:
    There have to be two radios for each client-client node. Both will act as clients to other networks. You'll either need one computer with two wireless cards or two computers which are connected together using some other means (or, if you happen to have an access point which can be switched to client mode (which very few can) then you could use that as a client). You can connect the two computers using an ethernet hub, ethernet cross-over cable, null modem cable, or possibly firewire (although I've never done that). The computers should each by set to bridging mode. Basically, each client will connect to a different access point and they'll then serve to connect the two access points to each-other, bridging the networks. Generally these should be on different frequencies. Although there may be some circumstances where the same frequency can be used.

    AP-Client nodes:
    There have to be two radios for each AP-client node. One will work as a client to another access point and one will act as an access point for other nodes. Generally, this will mean one computer and one access point connected together by ethernet, but there are a few other ways to do it. The computer should be set into some form of bridging mode which differs some based on operating system. The two radios will always use different frequencies unless there's a long cable-run between them (opposite sides of a building or some such).

    Now, you need to figure out how to put this together. You need at least an initial group of people to help build the network. And then you'll lay out a basic topology. You'll plot out the nodes you have available on a graph and then try to connect them together. Client-Client nodes can connect to two nodes, either AP nodes or AP-Client nodes using infrastructure mode or to other Client-Client nodes in ad hoc mode. AP nodes can have multiple Client-Client or AP-Client nodes connected to them. AP nodes cannot connect to other AP nodes unless both AP nodes have wireless bridging modes (very rare) and you can get them to work (even rarer). AP-Client nodes can connect to one AP node (infrastructure) or one Client-Client node (ad hoc) and can have multiple AP-Client or Client-Client nodes connected to them The Client nodes can be used only as stepping stones in an ad hoc connection. I.e. if two client-client nodes want to connect, but are two far from each other, you can put a Client node in between in ad hoc mode and it'll help them connect. This can be done with a string of client nodes.

    You'll want to draw all this out on a map, and possibly rearrange equipment as needed to fill in the gaps. You'll also need to decide frequencies so

  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @04:25PM (#28328859) Homepage

    The outcome of this current situation is not yet certain, at least in the short term (in the long term, revolutions are inevitable - remember what happened in Iran the last time).

    But one thing is clear: If the USA or Israel had attacked Iran, as we have basically been anticipating for the past three to four years, then this would mever have happened. An external, immediate threat would have magnetized the country and unified it behind its nationalist leader. Remember Bush's approval rating the week after 9/11?

    Contrast this with Iraq, whose oppressive regime has been eliminated by military force, and whose citizens are still engaged in a guerilla war with their "liberators".

    Sometimes, things work out only if left alone.

  • by noric ( 1203882 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @04:38PM (#28328977)
    This thread contains lots of great perspectives on Ahmandinejad, election fraud, and the Iranian presidency. Unfortunately most of the world is missing the point.

    I'd like to point that Ali Khamenei [] has been the supreme leader (dictator) of Iran for 20 years. During an EconTalk podcast [] on August 11 2008, expert Bruce Bueno de Mesquita comments that after interviewing over a dozen Iranian political specialists, his research concludes that Ahmandinejad is the 18th most powerful person in Iran.

    The Iranian president is an important and powerful person in absolute terms. In relative terms it's a public relations office. So yes, election fraud was committed. Yes, their disinterest in concealing the fraud conveys the extent to which they believe it makes a difference.

    However, everyone just take a deep breath, and understand that the electoral system and eligibility of candidates is up to the complete discretion of Ali Khamenei.
  • by BlackSabbath ( 118110 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @05:17PM (#28329313)
    The following is reproduced from the Stratfor website (

    Editor's Note: The text that follows is a translation of a letter by Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi on June 13, reported by STRATFOR cannot confirm the authenticity of the letter.

    "The reported results of the 10th Iranian presidential election are appalling. The people who witnessed the mixture of votes in long lineups know who they have voted for and observe the wizardry of I.R.I.B. (state-run TV and radio) and election officials. Now more than ever before they want to know how and by which officials this game plan has been designed. I object fully to the current procedures and obvious and abundant deviations from law on the day of election and alert people to not surrender to this dangerous plot. Dishonesty and corruption of officials as we have seen will only result in weakening the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran and empowers lies and dictatorships.

    "I am obliged, due to my religious and national duties, to expose this dangerous plot and to explain its devastating effects on the future of Iran. I am concerned that the continuation of the current situation will transform all key members of this regime into fabulists in confrontation with the nation and seriously jeopardize them in this world and the next.

    "I advise all officials to halt this agenda at once before it is too late, return to the rule of law and protect the nation's vote and know that deviation from law renders them illegitimate. They are aware better than anyone else that this country has been through a grand Islamic revolution and the least message of this revolution is that our nation is alert and will oppose anyone who aims to seize the power against the law.

    "I use this chance to honor the emotions of the nation of Iran and remind them that Iran, this sacred being, belongs to them and not to the fraudulent. It is you who should stay alert. The traitors to the nation's vote have no fear if this house of Persians burns in flames. We will continue with our green wave of rationality that is inspired by our religious learnings and our love for prophet Mohammad and will confront the rampage of lies that has appeared and marked the image of our nation. However we will not allow our movement to become blind one.

    "I thank every citizen who took part in spreading this green message by becoming a campaigner and all official and self organized campaigns, I insist that their presence is essential until we achieve results deserving of our country."
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @08:11PM (#28330349) Homepage

    Please, can you help us to set up some sort of network using our home wireless access points? Can anybody show us a link on how to install small TV/radio stations? Any suggestion for setting up a network? Please tell us what to do or we are going to die in the a nuclear war between Iran and US.

    Here's a great guide from an African organization: []

    Good luck!

    And, JM2C: I don't think either Barack or Mahmoud will fire the first nuke. Scary as it is, MAD is pretty stable. Think about how it would play out:

    America strikes first:
    1. Iran destroyed. (sorry to be so blunt, but it is a fact)
    2. Global backlash against America.
    3. America rapidly destabilizes economically (ie: much worse than now).
    4. North Korea senses weakness and takes out Seoul (probably conventional, not nuclear).

    And that's not considering anything else that would happen in the Middle East. For example, there's a good chance Israel would be destroyed. Barack understands that whole chain of events - it's not rocket science.

    As for Mahmoud? Love him or hate him, think he's good, evil, or has his back against the wall -- regardless of any of that, he's fairly smart. You don't get to his position without having a fair bit of desire for power, and the mental capacity to figure out how to get it. If he strikes first, he loses everything he has built. He knows that.

    So, build your mesh network, let's get to know each other through global social networks, and work together to stop the hatred and fear on both sides.

    But don't sweat the nukes. It won't happen.

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone