One of my oldest hobbies has been the correspondence and exchange of ideas and philosophies and happenings with others around the world on their cultures, customs, traditions, experiences, and knowledge. This is no exception and is a direct feed through our secure text based medium of my colleague in Iran’s prose and declarations:
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (01:48):
The results of Iranian presidential elections are becoming clear, the most important being that it was not an election. M. A. gets “re-elected” with a huge margin although it was clearly impossible. Election stolen, last glimmer of democracy died down, not because _he_ was elected but because he was _assigned_ the title despite the realities of Iranian public opinion. This is no more a misrepresenting democracy–it’s a confirmed oligarchy. A sad day.
P.S. I am embarrassed for what little confidence I had in these elections.
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (01:56):
Do you expect much public turmoil now?
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (02:05):
No. Whoever assigned the man the title will keep him safe. That’s written in the Qur’an 🙁
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (02:08):
And, what are a bunch of people compared to another bunch of people smaller in number by an order of magnitude but trained for organized violence? Sheep to dog? Sailor to the cat o’ nine tails?
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (06:53):
2:00 AM local time Mir Hossein Mousavi announced his victory in partial results. According to reliable inside sources Ayatollah Ali Khamenei contacted and congratulated him on the victory.
8:00 AM same day M. A. was declared leading by ~14,000,000 votes. M. H. M. released a video message to the nation declaring the Ministry of Interior as “betrayers of the nation’s vote.”
The three rivals of president incumbent went to meet the Leader. M. A. himself is said to have travelled to Qom to meet Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. M. H. M. said that he does not consider the election valid and he will fight it by all legal means.
Participation rate was over 85 percent, including many expatriates who would never vote under normal circumstances. ~40 million out of ~46 million eligibles. A record figure in history of Iran and recent history of democracy. The only other election with similar participation rate was the referendum for institution of the Islamic Republic. Latest polls before the election prediced M. H. M.’s landslide victory. Currently announced results are the reverse of poll predictions.
All access roads to Ministry of Interior buildings have been blocked. Riot police is stationed in all universities across the country. A “maneuver” for police forces has been announced to take place as of tomorrow. Universities are closed for two days from today.
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (13:34):
One of the clearest, most well-informed articles on IRGC I have encountered:
> The Revolutionary Guards’ Role in Iranian Politics
> By Ali Alfoneh | Middle East Quarterly
> Monday, September 1, 2008
— American Enterprise Institute (for Public Policy Research)
— (parenthesization mine, the article contains one non-lethal factual error
that I can immediately recognize and one lethal conceptual error)
Current status: the rule of a military cabal, not a bunch of old clerics, over Iran was consolidated yesterday. Every decision, whether or not deemed favorable by other countries of the world, will have little connection to Iranian public opinion. From this day on the Iranian people shall not take blame for “any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damgaes (inlcuding, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption).” At least one decade of decline is insured. THIS… IS… SPARTA!
In other words, they tried their best for implementing change by non-violent means. Their efforts were ruined by a minority who have no reservations regarding employment of violence. That minority will be responsible for bloodshed.
> […] we in this country tend to take such things as fair elections for
> granted […]
You in that country tend to take too much for granted, don’t you? Fair elections is not really a good description of what takes place in any democracy but I grant that you normally witness balanced elections in the US.
Balanced doesn’t imply fair.
This election was one of kind. There is little doubt, or I have little doubt, that at least 15 million votes have been rigged. The extent of manipulation is unprecedented even in Iran. Only sheer military power can support such a big lie. Application of military power to elections is something that began happening 4-5 years ago. Before that only bureaucratic and religious influences were at work.
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (13:42):
An IRGC/Basij office/station appeared out of the blue in one of the free spaces in front of where I live. It wasn’t there last time I looked out of the window two days ago. Those spaces belong to the residential block and are normally used for community activities or are rented to small businesses that provide repair/renovation services to residents.
I can hear gunshots and people shouting right now. It’ll be futile but it makes the night full of quite interesting sounds.
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (14:19):
Text messaging has been disabled for two days now. Cellular network is almost unserviceable. My brother’s Motorola A1200 reports that it can only receive calls. I can’t contact any of the cellphone numbers of my contacts including those I know are in areas with excellent coverage; not even from a landline. Internet access has slowed down to bytes per second.
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (16:21):
People are shouting “Allah-o Akbar” and “Death to the Dictator” under my window. Internet is painfully slow. Takes minutes for each line to go through.
on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 (16:41):
Shouting and other sounds can’t be heard anymore. Internet connectivity is a little bit improved.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (09:49):
Sparse rioting continued until noon. Sharif Univeristy of Technology–http://www.sharif.edu, one of the few (the only?) non-US university(/ies) around the world that use .edu gTLD instead of .ac.[country-code]–is under siege. I have eyewitness report that students have set fire to the faculty of industrial engineering and created blockades in at least one building. It will be subdued very soon, with minimum casualties. The students were allowed to thrash their own campus and release anger. IRIB networks are in hyper-propaganda mode.
Another readable article on IRGC, same author:
> Iran’s Parliamentary Elections and the Revolutionary Guards’ Creeping Coup
> By Ali Alfoneh | AEI Online
> (February 2008)
Right now, ~6:00 local time M. A. is giving a speech. Lies in every single breath of his. Welcome the new representative of junta. Like M. A. declared, “a new era has begun.” No more theocracy, enter military government. Vali-e Asr square is jampacked with specially commissioned militiamen that hail him. He styled himself “a drop in the ocean of Iranian nation” and warned opponents, “you are facing the nation and have no choice but to surrender.” THIS… IS… SPARTA!
P.S. Remember 1953? This is where it led. Call the boy, tell him he should take responsibility for knocking her up with the abomination that crept out of the womb two days ago.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (15:26):
From nearly 4 hours ago until an hour ago, ~23:00 local time, large crowds were once again out shouting “Allah-o Akbar” and “Death to the Dictator.” They don’t have the courage to do any serious damage, though. I don’t think any “green revolution” will take place.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (15:57):
BREAKING NEWS: TEHRAN IS ON FIRE!
Tell everyone you can. Spread the news. I have eyewitness report of people killing a guard.
M. A. is consistently identifying himself and his cabal with “the nation” and “the people.” Says, “the elections belong to the people.”
No news from the provinces.
A blockage is created by people in the middle of Vali-e Asr square.
Complete information blackout by the IRIB.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:00):
Mir Hossein Mousavi has announced that he will lead a public demonstration from Azadi Square towards the Ministry of Interior tomorrow. There will be hundreds of thousands there.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:10):
The chart files the Ministry of Interior has released contain discrepancies.
Ayatollah Sane’i, highly influential cleric, has come to Tehran.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:16):
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:16):
Latest rumors on Twitter.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:19):
Unrest in Rasht, Ahvaz, Bushehr, Tabriz confirmed.
Shahroud is quiet, my contact says.
Ahmadinedjad.ir under DoS attack.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:24):
Confirmed: over a thousand protesting students declared they won’t leave the premises of Sharif University of Technology.
Mousavi and Karroubi have called for revocation of the election.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:26):
By saying, “tell everyone you know,” I mean it. I really mean it. Few read this, I know. I have other venues, too. But if you read this tell everyone you know really or virtually about it. It can make a little difference.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:27):
You are witnessing another Tiananmen. Live. The outcome is not as clear as Tiananmen, though.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:36):
Associated Press video story. This is before things got much hotter a few hours ago.
Rumors say a police station in Tajrish, Tehran has been occupied by people.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (16:52):
Riot police vandalizes public and private property, government accuses protesters:
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (17:08):
Gary Sick’s analysis:
Too busy to review it in full. Suffice to say there are mistakes in there but there is also a very to the point insight.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (17:39):
FarsNews, one of M. A.’s mouthpieces, brought down under DoS.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (17:56):
BBC montage video of riots. It got a lot worse by nightfall.
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (18:11):
Friends analyzing results say histograms of results by city demonstrate abnormalities for the two candidates with smallest number of votes (Karroubi and Mohsen Rezaie). Statistical variances of results for the two with most votes (M. A. and M. H. M.) drastically differ with those of the two with least votes.
Claim: votes for the top two candidates cannot have come from a “natural” sample space.
Rumor: Sharif University of Technology board of trustees and 125 professors resign in protest.
Highly unlikely rumor bit:
> BREAKING: Israel Launches Possible Strike . . On Iran?
on Sun, Jun 14, 2009 (18:16):
Logging off for tonight. Gonna sleep tight while others fight the fight.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (05:23):
I really hope it won’t succeed the way Ukraine’s succeeded. Last thing I want is a Soros-backed “revolution” that gets the Gas Princess to the top and is commended by a US president. On that I agree with the IRGC and M. A. Rather, I hope for another election to be held, votes counted for real, and the Islamic part of the Islamic Republic eroded slowly but surely through friction with reality.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (05:24):
These riots hail from mixed motives. They are real grassroots acts of opportunity and, unfortunately, lack organization. That makes their messsage rather unclear, ranging from that young man’s childish (and dangerous) “WE WANT FREEDOM” (and to a BBC camera, heh!) to older still-believing people’s “Imam [Khomeini] wouldn’t want the country this way.”
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (05:32):
No more shouting that I can hear today. Internet connectivity continues to suck
Things will get heated towards afternoon. Mousavi-led protest demonstration, hopefully better organized than the sparse rioting of last two days, will begin at ~16:00 local time. Nominally, the Ministry of Interior should issue a permit for any demonstration but Mousavi has said the demonstration will take place with or without one and threatened that if police forces attack people he will take it to Khomeini’s mausoleum. That mausoleum somehow represents the revolution itself. If its sanctity isn’t respected by the Islamic Republic, currently possessed by the IRGC cabal, it’s going to create a lasting negative image. Of course, the IR has no real respect for a dead and buried man but, well, we’ll see.
IRIB still in hyper-propaganda mode. They’re showing “people” who are “opposed” to “thugs and vandals” disrupting the “normal functioning of the city.” They’ll settle down before Friday, I guess. At the moment, “everything under the sun is in tune” according to IRIB… “but the sun is eclipsed by the moon” according to reality.
Ahmadinedjad’s relaxed composure is quite unsettling. He clearly has the air of a man in charge and backed by tens (or hundreds?) of thousands of war-ready servicemen trained in what the IRGC touts as “asymmetric warfare.” His cabal has the upper hand in every matter and the leader–from now on and probably since quite some time ago–is at most one member of the cabal. He declared yesterday to the nation that “some unrest and dissatisfaction” is natural after “every election” and that “peaceful protesting” by “the losing side” will be tolerated. My translation: “do what you want, it is the way it is, and it’s going to stay that way.”
I’m beginning to think perhaps a majority subconsciously “want” M. A. for president. It’s hard for me to believe as I don’t know one person who would vote for him but then I don’t know many persons. There is little doubt, for me at least, as to the rigging of 10-15 million votes–that’s a very wide margin, what do you expect of guesswork, rumors, and “unofficial news”–but I think perhaps those 10-15 million people whose votes were manipulated are still hesitant enough about what they want to not take any action. For the time being, most Iranian people want peace, quiet, and leisurely living. In my book, those wants don’t breed change (compare with the US and tell yourself about it).
It occurred to me that in a sense the IRGC deserves the power it has. It consists of war veterans in upper echelons who began as foot soldiers and fought for eight years and survived the harshest conditions known to humankind. In middle echelons there are young/younger servicemen and volunteers who spend a lot of their life training in violence. While that may not be the most honorable thing it certainly has an impact on their fitness for taking power in their hands. Power is inextricably entwined with violence. They offer their minds and bodies to the military god; a reward for the offering is not at all unexpected.
Anyhow, the IRGC coup aspect stands. It is a coup and a coup de grace. These days I’ve been telling those to whom I talk that these elections had Iran on a tip balanced between a Taiwan path and a North Korea path (you really need to know about Taiwan’s post-WWII history before you can comprehend the difference, it’s not the difference your average US media outlet wants to emphasize). The coup pushed Iran down the North Korea slope. A friend, whose analysis I trust more than my own, insists that the complexity of Iran’s political sphere will make a North Korea scenario impossible and twist the coup in very unexpected ways. It is very probable that IRGC not only dealt the normal structure of Islamic Republic the coup de grace but also got itself in an existential hassle. One decade of decline ahead and after that one
decade of very strange things. Expect two decades of interesting news, if you think you’re going to live that long–I really don’t count on that in the case of my own person.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (09:09):
Permit denied to protest demonstration. Mousavi and Karroubi nevertheless announced that they will appear at the site to “invite people to keep calm” and asked people to show their dissatisfaction by any means while observing a “principle of no conflict.”
I contacted my ISP and complained about poor service. The tech staff told me their upstream bandwidth has been significantly reduced by DCI, a subsidiary of the national PTT, which provides access to the outside world.
Press TV, FarsNews, and similar M. A. endorsing websites that were easily accessible are now inaccesible. Community DDoS works. FarsNews does not respond and Press TV’s says “server is too busy.” If DDoS worked on TV broadcasts…
Cellular services that were fully restored by last night are either overloaded or being deliberately bogged down.
Title: Website for News of Mir Hussein Mousavi after the Unhealthy Tenth
Top left corner displays a black ribbon featuring a common prayer for the dead: “we are from god and to him we shall return.” Mousavi chose this as the motto of his post-election campaign and said he will consider himself dead and live for resurrecting the “ideals of the revolution” and realizing “the will of the people.”
First headline says: “every night, 22:30 to 24:00, cries of Allah-o Akbar until the election dispute is resolved.” This is very similar to what happened in 1979. Common people who didn’t engage in armed combat did the crying out.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (09:24):
BREAKING NEWS: CONFIRMED GATHERING AT AZADI SQUARE
I have eyewitness report from Azadi Square. Thousands have gathered. It’s going to be unbreakable by normal riot control means. Will easily escalate to hundred thousand protesters.
If you read this get this out to everyone you know. Use every means of communication you have. The farther the news reaches the more effective it becomes.
Instantaneous news of the post-election campaign. In Persian. Please spread this through any online venue you have access to. It will end up being read by the right person.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (09:37):
> 16:52 — thousands of people are on foot moving towards from Vanak
> Square saying they will demonstrate regardless of any permits as they
> have nothing to lose.
I have a direct report from someone present at Azadi Square. Tehran’s east-west arterial connection road is filled with people. No cars. Estimated presence over a hundred thousand.
Photos of yesterday’s clashes. Use the side arrows for navigation between photos.
IRIB denies any popular support of these riots, calls protesters “opportunist elements supportive of no candidate commanded by the enemy.”
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (09:39):
Photos show many plainclothes for-hire thugs beating people, wielding guns, tasers, batons, tear gas, and knives.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (09:46):
Tehran University’s dormitory complex, home to some thousands of students, place of the largest riots after the revolution, under militia siege.
Rumor: some individuals from Basij have helped people yesterday and confronted other militiamen.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (09:50):
It has been established that a purge took place within the IRGC a few years ago. Unexplained craches of a number of military airplanes that invariably carried influential players from IRGC’s high command. A single faction took over the IRGC and consolidated its power.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (10:30):
> 18:42 — [M. H. M], who had been arrested by security forces for a short
> time after results of the election were announced, accused the government
> of [election] fraud and manipulating votes and said: “we will continue our
> movement until revocation of the results and holding of a new election.”
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (10:47):
I have recognized these types of security forces in action up until now:
1. normal soldiers, mostly conscripts, called in from barracks
2. normal policemen, employees who work for pay, try to avoid conflict
3. riot police, work for pay, trained, moderately equipped
4. Basij volunteers, young, zealous, most likely to get hurt in action
5. Basij thugs, better trained than most volunteers, closer to command
6. guards, connected to the Leader’s “Beit” (household), highly trained
plainclothes anti-riot, most likely to harm people
7. professional for-hire thugs, sick characters, pathologically dangerous
8. SWAT teams, most professional, least likely to cause unnecessary harm
Remains to be seen if IRGC’s special forces will have to intervene.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (11:25):
> 19:05 — people shout out slogans: “Ahmadi Pinochet, Iran will not be
> Chile,” “we told you, cheat and Iran will see the Day of Judgment.”
> 19:08 — “Beware Ahmadi, we are the nation not ‘thugs.'”, “As long as
> Ahmadi is there, everyday will be like today.”
> 19:14 — a crowd numbered in millions, more than Bahman 22nd, and they
> haven’t been brought here on commissioned buses, they weren’t given
> complimentary money, neither served food, despite the menace of anti-riot
> forces, gathered and protested peacefully, now are going home, people show
> Mousavi’s victory to each other.
Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami, Abtahi (a young cleric, writes a high-impact Persian weblog “webneveshte-ha” meaning “web-writings,” Khatami’s close associate) appeared and spoke.
NOTE: Bahman 22nd is the anniversay of the revolution. Bahman is the 11th month of Iranian calendar, the Jalali calendar. Every year since the revolution Bahman 22nd has seen the largest demonstration of Iran and probably the largest demonstration to recur each year anywhere around the globe.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (11:34):
> 19:50 — tonight, at 22, the cries of Allah-o Akbar will make the
> betrayers of the nation’s vote tremble.
> 19:51 — tomorrow, gathering at 17, Vali-e Asr Square
This form of protest has not been experienced before in Iran. It’s getting interesting.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (11:43):
There’re many more lines at that address. I’m already behind. Will update when critical news arrives.
— (redirects to a BBC photo set)
The street depicted runs east-west across Tehran for around 25 kilometers. My contact who was there told me the street was packed with people. Photos speak for themselves.
IRIB in total denial. Even under the last king of Iran the national TV, IRIB’s predecessor, didn’t exhibit such complete detachment from reality.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (12:15):
Great cause for concern in many photos of beatings: one young man is being beaten by many heavyset thugs, passers by don’t help, try evading the whole thing. Apathy looks almost cruel when the apathetic is that close to the scene. Still, I myself am apathy incarnate so perhaps I don’t get a say there.
These events got me thinking and reconsidering many things. Good for me. I’m going to build me a stronger fortress of excuses for not getting engaged in reality.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (12:55):
I see black smoke rising from where must be Azadi Square. It’s getting dark but the smoke is unmistakable. Probably burning tires. People are shouting “Allah-o Akbar.” I hear both distant cries and shouts from just under my window.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (13:14):
My contact is moving away from Azadi Square. Saw five people shot. Confirms BBC Persian’s report.
IRINN said tomorrow candidates’ representatives will meet with the Guardian Council. Someone from the Ministry of Interior emphasized the election’s health. There will probably be a re-counting but I don’t expect that to change the final outcome.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (13:17):
BBC report. My contact’s testimony sets the minimum wounded/dead people count at five.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (13:24):
I think this “carefully considering file complaints” thing is a scam. The cabal is trying to buy time. They didn’t expect such massive popular reaction. The only hope is for people to continue protesting elentlessly. Given a week the cabal will reorganize the forces it commands and crush the slightest voice of protest.
These are words in English. Accessible to nearly everyone around the world. If you have a website, weblog, any other form of online presence please do put these up. Tell everyone you meet online or in real life. Let everyone have a glimpse of these. Direct them to read these. Direct them to read BBC reportage, at least. Spread the news. The right person will hear it.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (13:30):
Cellular voice services are nearly fully restored. Disruption seems to have been limited to areas where protesting people gathered. My contact can easily initiate and receive calls away from Azadi Square.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (14:22):
The city seems to be calm right now.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (14:27):
” It’s amazing to have such a close account of events while they are happening.”
Wouldn’t have happened if it were in a place without Internet access. The person who acted as Iran’s first delegate to BITNET and oversaw Iran being first connected through EARN should be commended. He’s a distinguished mathematician who teaches at Sharif University of Technology and UC, Berkeley.
Now tell me how it is in the national interest of the US for Google, Yahoo!, and other major providers of free online services to deny me most of their newer services and to remove Iran from their lists for “place of residence” despite their unwillingness to do so (for business reasons) because they are afraid the US government, the Congress, the judiciary, or some vigilante hawk might pounce on them any minute with an entirely absurd lawsuit.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (14:39):
“I’m curious what folks think of Ayatollah telling the runner-up to be peaceful and kinda shutup?”
Too many Ayatollahs here. If you mean the Leader “folks” have _always_ thought of him as:
1. benefator (these are his underlings, the 12,000 strong guard army of the
household, and the last line of defense)
2. god’s shadow on Earth (these are his devotees, few but stubborn)
3. a respectable old cleric who cares but is sometimes misinformed by members of his court (these are older religious poeple, they cheer quite honestly when he visits their city/town/village, they may proceed to try to inform him how the government, which they see as seperate from him, has wronged them)
4. head of the looting gang (these are opportunists, they like him because by getting close to him and/or swearing fake allegiance they can reap benefits for which they haven’t made an effort)
5. an old, boring geezer with religiopolitical agenda and little understanding of reality (these are like more than half the population, normally they aren’t very political, they are polarized only around elections or when poked by politicians)
6. the supreme evil (these are a strong minority with a big voice but little power, most of them young or very young, the most recent generation who don’t remember the times he was a popularly elected president or before that when he was a soldier)
These are all “folks.” Whether they are the violent guards or their young victims they are “folks” and are generally “in it” for some perceived personal advantage.
P.S. I actually know a 70 year old man with a long well-groomed beard much like Ali Khamenei’s who lives in a small village, farms, fahsions a green skullcap because he considers himself descended from Shia Imams, has a large framed photo of himself as an volunteering, exceptionally aged soldier which he has put in a most visible place in his home, and remembers Khamenei as his once comrade in arms.
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (15:10):
Latest updates from my contact: during protests 5-6 hours ago some Basij recon units in Sharif University that identified victims for future harassment and fear incitement operations severely beaten or killed by people.
Rumor (very likely true): homes of many have been contacted by phone, a recorded message warned them they have been spotted in protests and threatened with “severe response.”
on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 (15:10):
Once again, if you have any form of online presence put these up there, please. It will make a difference; a real difference. Tell everyone you know. Ask them to do it in turn. Doesn’t matter where you are. in a huge city or a small town or a village. Words will reach the right person.
Picture of at least one wounded young man on BBC.