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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
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shambhala wrote:
Well, hey! If it isn't Christopher Hitchens on his high horse painting a morally simplistic and intellectually lazy picture of middle eastern politics to justify preemptive military action against one of America's enemies! You don't say!? I wonder if they serve scotch on that horse? Just kidding, but go fuck yourself Christopher, m'kay?


It sucks that he threw that last paragraph in there about justifying pre-emptive action (as most conservatives are doing), but beyond that, Hitchens seemed pretty on point, if you asked me.

Iran has a repressive, authoritarian government, thanks in no small part to the ayatollah's religious fanaticism. And it should be criticized, not in a gross, nationalistic way (like John McCain would do), but in the interest of wanting people to live in a more democratic society.

From Democracy Now! today:

"Iranian Government Cracks Down on Foreign Press & Websites

Meanwhile, the Iranian government has revoked press credentials for foreign journalists and ordered journalists not to report from the streets. Much of the video footage from Iran is now coming from Iranian citizens who are posting video to YouTube and other sites. Amateur video posted on the internet earlier today appears to show members of the Revolutionary Guard firing at a crowd of demonstrators from the roof of their building in Tehran on Monday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said today it will pursue legal action against websites that it claimed were inciting people to riot, as well as the people who post material to the websites."
Post Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:32 am
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neveragainlikesheep



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2536
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An article on why President Obama is being a bit mute on the issue:

http://www.slate.com/id/2220603

The Quiet American
Why Obama isn't showing more outrage about the Iranian election.
By John Dickerson

The daily questions President Obama is getting on Iran are just the kind that irritate him. The situation is fragile. The U.S. position can't be explained in sound bites, and Obama doesn't want to talk, anyway. If he inserted himself into the story, he would be giving President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a villain to point to. It would also distract from the story—which, as it plays out, is a good one: The Iranian people are protesting for democracy. Finally, the president needs to save his meddling for a bigger problem. Despite the current uproar, the urgent problem is how to stop Iran's effort to obtain nuclear weapons. Obama doesn't want to do anything that will keep him from getting back to that quickly.

Against all of this is the fact that Iranians are being shot and clubbed in the streets. As the leader of the world's oldest large democracy, the president can't remain silent in the face of the violent suppression of people seeking freedom. So he must speak, and he did—but he wants that to be it. On Monday, he said he was "deeply troubled" by the violence in Iran. When he was asked on Tuesday about Iran, he initially expressed irritation, suggesting he'd spoken on the matter just seven hours earlier. He ultimately gave in, essentially repeating the previous day's remarks. (He now had "deep concerns.") Later in the day, he acknowledged the "amazing ferment taking place in Iran" but cautioned that "the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised."

Obama's preferred mode of public discourse is the careful, conceptually difficult 6,000-word speeches. On Iran, he's trying to adapt that deliberate, nuanced style to the rush of daily events on the biggest stage yet. If America's last president was at times characterized by heat-of-the-moment interjections that got him into big trouble—remember "dead or alive" and "bring 'em on"?—then its current president is characterized by comments measured with a fine gauge.

The pressure to say more than he wants or thinks he should has, in fact, elicited from the president the most pointed public display of his young presidency. When asked in March why he waited a few days before expressing outrage to the news that AIG executives were receiving big bonuses, he snapped (as much as Obama can) that he liked to know what he was talking about before shooting his mouth off.

When it comes to Iran, the president has extra incentive to triple-wash each word. U.S.-Iranian relations have for decades been troubled (that word again) by American presidents sticking their noses into Iran's business. Obama apologized for U.S. Cold War intervention in Iran in his speech at Cairo University this month. George Bush's effort to plant democracy in the Middle East also hangs in the air. So Obama's emphasis has been primarily on noninterference. "It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations," he said, "to be seen as meddling—the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections." Obama has not weighed in on whether the vote was fraudulent (administration officials say they think it was) or whether there should be another vote.

This careful approach has also carried beyond his views about the election to his reaction to the violence. On Monday the president said that with images of protests and beatings streaming out of Iran, he could no longer "remain silent." But he used harsher language about Ahmadinejad's past statements—calling them "odious"—than he did about the beatings and shootings in the streets: "Whenever I see violence perpetrated on people who are peacefully dissenting, and whenever the American people see that, I think they're, rightfully, troubled."

One theory explained by a top administration aide is that if the president uses harsh language now, he boxes himself in. If the leaders who are cracking down are the ones he ultimately has to deal with, he'll have to explain why he's meeting with the people he so recently judged so harshly.

Obama has been more forceful when the stakes weren't as high, as in his remarks concerning Sri Lanka or those relating to North Korea, which, as David Sanger of the New York Times explains, is a nuclear belligerent getting rougher treatment. Administration officials have compared the delicate diplomatic balance to Tiananmen Square in 1989, about which then-President George Bush used more forceful diplomatic language: "I deeply deplore the decision to use force against peaceful demonstrators and the consequent loss of life," said Bush. "We have been urging and continue to urge nonviolence, restraint, and dialogue. Tragically, another course has been chosen. Again, I urge a return to nonviolent means for dealing with the current situation." (The language didn't much change things.)

Another senior White House official says this is an over-reading and undervaluing of the president's remarks. Although the president's larger strategy is hands-off, says the aide, there was no intent to be equally tentative in the response to the violence. The proof offered is the president's comment "I stand strongly with the universal principle that people's voices should be heard and not suppressed." The president's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was asked at Tuesday's press conference whether Obama would make a more forceful statement about the violence—and Gibbs went further than his boss has. "He's deplored the violence—deplored and condemned the violence that we've seen," said Gibbs.

This raises a Jesuitical question. The press secretary technically speaks for the president. By claiming a more muscular response to the violence than the president himself has offered, has Gibbs made this stronger view the president's position? All that remains is for Obama to actually say the words. He'll get another chance soon. Despite his irritation, he's going to be asked about Iran again.

*This isn't really news to anyone with a clue, but I find it interesting that it has to even be said.
Post Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:24 pm
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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Another article concerning the issue:

Iran Activists Get Assist from ‘Anonymous,’ Pirate Bay
By Noah Shachtman June 18, 2009

Iranian democracy activists, meet your new pals: a masked protest movement best known for needling the Church of Scientology, and a group of file-sharers so infamous they’re facing a year in jail.

Anonymous Iran is a collaboration between The Pirate Bay — operators of the world’s largest torrent site, convicted in April of copyright infringement — and Anonymous, the prankster collective dedicated to exposing “Scientology’s crimes.”

The new site offers tips on how to navigate online in private, upload files through the Iranian firewall, find the best activist Tweeters, and launch attacks on pro-government websites.

This week, The Pirate Bay launched its virtual private network service that promises to mask users’ indentities online. More than 180,000 people have already signed up. Earlier this month, Sweden’s Pirate Party won a seat in the European Union Parliament, after outrage about the file-sharers conviction erupted.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/06/iran-activists-get-assist-from-anonymous-pirate-bay/
Post Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:15 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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Don't worry guys, I got this. My twitter icon is totally green-tinted and my location and dateline appropriately camouflaged. I give this thing another couple of hours, tops.

PS Hitchens is the fucking worst.
Post Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:19 pm
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billy pilgrim



Joined: 29 Apr 2007
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leifkolt wrote:
Mark in Minnesota wrote:

... it could (in extreme terms) also be characterized as an instance of the United States government explicitly endorsing the use by Iranian nationals of an American website to coordinate an act of cyberwar against their own government.


That's hitting the nail on the head.


The State Department's reply to this post: ROFL PLEASE

What do you think the US reponse would have been under Bush or McCain? It would have been much more intense sabre-rattling... this Twitter thing is so soft compared to what the alternative would be.

I will give you a little fuel to your fire though: http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/messaging/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=211600844

Kinda ironic I guess.
Post Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:34 pm
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Majawala



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
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but they could do this with phones. does twitter hide their number? wouldn't people still have access to their twitter page? the fbi could have real time updates of what they are doing.
Post Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:07 pm
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Jascha



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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I have to say CNN has actually been really good the last few days.

THat's CNN international... so I suppose it differs per region in the usa.
Post Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:11 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Alan Hague wrote:
shambhala wrote:
Well, hey! If it isn't Christopher Hitchens on his high horse painting a morally simplistic and intellectually lazy picture of middle eastern politics to justify preemptive military action against one of America's enemies! You don't say!? I wonder if they serve scotch on that horse? Just kidding, but go fuck yourself Christopher, m'kay?


It sucks that he threw that last paragraph in there about justifying pre-emptive action (as most conservatives are doing), but beyond that, Hitchens seemed pretty on point, if you asked me.

Iran has a repressive, authoritarian government, thanks in no small part to the ayatollah's religious fanaticism. And it should be criticized, not in a gross, nationalistic way (like John McCain would do), but in the interest of wanting people to live in a more democratic society.

From Democracy Now! today:

"Iranian Government Cracks Down on Foreign Press & Websites

Meanwhile, the Iranian government has revoked press credentials for foreign journalists and ordered journalists not to report from the streets. Much of the video footage from Iran is now coming from Iranian citizens who are posting video to YouTube and other sites. Amateur video posted on the internet earlier today appears to show members of the Revolutionary Guard firing at a crowd of demonstrators from the roof of their building in Tehran on Monday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said today it will pursue legal action against websites that it claimed were inciting people to riot, as well as the people who post material to the websites."


I was speaking with an Iranian woman I know yesterday. Her father was part of the 1979 protests. He and four others escaped. The rest of his group were executed. There were mass student hangings that never got coverage. Now that people are twittering and utilizing the web in order to alert the world of what's going on, the govt is forced to keep a cap on its murder spree. I wonder how long that will hold out for.

Whatever the case, this is one of those instances where technology is a tool FOR the people rather than against them. A tool for their freedom, rather than against it. It's a funny line, ain't it? Something we should always respect, remember and be careful of when Big Brother wants to lay down regulations on how we communicate and what kind of private info they should have access to.
Post Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:19 pm
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crash



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
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Jascha wrote:
I have to say CNN has actually been really good the last few days.

THat's CNN international... so I suppose it differs per region in the usa.

yeah.... big difference.

i've been following it on bbc, which has been pretty good. i saw about 10 seconds of CNN where some talking head was asking the question "is obama doing enough to support the protesters?" which of course, is only a question in the US because the republicans (esp john mccain) are getting on him for not "supporting democracy".

it's clear to anyone who has any understanding of the situation that voicing support for the protesters would have the exact opposite effect but that doesn't stop it from being presented as an open question.

hitchens is wrong about ahmadinejad being illiterate. he came from a poor family and got into a competitive school based on his high test scores. he does remind me a lot of bush though, at least in his appearance and body language. they both have those beady little eyes and obviously insincere smirk-smiles.
Post Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:37 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


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They both look like monkeys. There are monkey-like qualities to their face, eyes, and brow. Ha. What's going on here?
Post Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:39 pm
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AdamBomb



Joined: 05 Mar 2004
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Sage Francis wrote:
They both look like monkeys. There are monkey-like qualities to their face, eyes, and brow. Ha. What's going on here?


Eventually, this:


Post Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:43 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
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From Politico:
"n the wake of Friday’s election, some “Iran experts” — perhaps feeling burned by their misreading of contemporary political dynamics in the Islamic Republic — argue that we are witnessing a “conservative coup d’état,” aimed at a complete takeover of the Iranian state.

But one could more plausibly suggest that if a “coup” is being attempted, it has been mounted by the losers in Friday’s election. It was Mousavi, after all, who declared victory on Friday even before Iran’s polls closed. And three days before the election, Mousavi supporter Rafsanjani published a letter criticizing the leader’s failure to rein in Ahmadinejad’s resort to “such ugly and sin-infected phenomena as insults, lies and false allegations.” Many Iranians took this letter as an indication that the Mousavi camp was concerned their candidate had fallen behind in the campaign’s closing days."

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23745.html

From OpenAnthropology:
"Yet, some would have us believe that there is a “Twitter revolution” going on in Iran, when there is no such thing. Not only that, what is being boasted about the power of Twitter is almost entirely false. What there is instead is a rush to the finish line, a predetermined conclusion to immediately thank and praise Twitter in the context of Iran’s street protests."http://openanthropology.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/americas-iranian-twitter-revolution/


From Salon.com:
"I'm going to leave the debate about whether Iran's election was "stolen" and the domestic implications within Iran to people who actually know what they're talking about (which is a very small subset of the class purporting to possess such knowledge). But there is one point I want to make about the vocal and dramatic expressions of solidarity with Iranians issuing from some quarters in the U.S.

Much of the same faction now claiming such concern for the welfare of The Iranian People are the same people who have long been advocating a military attack on Iran and the dropping of large numbers of bombs on their country -- actions which would result in the slaughter of many of those very same Iranian People."
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/06/16/iran/index.html
Post Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:31 pm
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plestik



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So still no proof that the elections were rigged except that the possibilities were there? And what's so great about Mousavi?
Post Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:51 am
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futuristxen



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Does any of that even matter at this point? Even if the elections were legit, you've still got enough people acting on the idea that they weren't that the difference doesn't even matter. Once a revolution gets rolling, the facts behind it are usually the most irrellevent thing.

I think the Iranian people that are protesting are protesting something more than just an election. That's just the slogan that they're filtering their anger through.
Post Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:10 am
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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futuristxen wrote:
Does any of that even matter at this point? Even if the elections were legit, you've still got enough people acting on the idea that they weren't that the difference doesn't even matter. Once a revolution gets rolling, the facts behind it are usually the most irrellevent thing.

I think the Iranian people that are protesting are protesting something more than just an election. That's just the slogan that they're filtering their anger through.


I wouldn't call this a revolution, but I agree that rigged election or not, what's happening in Iran reflects real discontent on a mass scale. But I guess I'm equally interested in the obvious stake U.S. power interests have in this, to what degree the CIA is participating in this (no tin foil hat, search the mainstream news on "Iran" from May 2007) and why the U.S. media is slobbering over the techno-utopian "Twitter will set you free" narrative. And then of course the quite obvious parallels between what's happening there and the state suppression of dissent in the U.S.

It's definitely possible to not care much about Ahmedinejad vs. Mousavi, be in favor of open rebellion against the Iranian power structure, and still think the whole narrative we're getting in Western media is baloney.
Post Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:58 am
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