Wednesday, June 17, 2009

HOPE! The bright light of non-violence in Iran.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that armed forces in Iran, from the front line soldiers to the top ranks, are no longer willing to be associated with the Basij elements that are brutally repressive. There were rumours several days ago that some senior officers had been arrested and shipped to a prison camp because they were rebelling against the idea of such brutal violence. The most important point here is that there continue to be daytime rallies in the capital that are ~hundreds of thousands strong.
Of course, we shouldn't raise our hopes too high- there are undoubtably some military officers who feel threatened, and can only respond with beatings and murder, and there is always a source of disaffected young man willing to buy into ideology in return for employment and status.
However, these young men have families, have mothers who no doubt remember that the funerals in '79 served to do nothing but open Iranians heart to the revolution then. Some accounts:
From a Western journalists first-hand account, filed this PM:

"It was interesting that the special forces - who normally take the side of Ahmadinejad's Basij militia - were there with clubs and sticks in their camouflage trousers and their purity white shirts and on this occasion the Iranian military kept them away from Mousavi's men and women.

In fact at one point, Mousavi's supporters were shouting 'thank you, thank you' to the soldiers.

One woman went up to the special forces men, who normally are very brutal with Mr Mousavi's supporters, and said 'can you protect us from the Basij?' He said 'with God's help'.

It was quite extraordinary because it looked as if the military authorities in Tehran have either taken a decision not to go on supporting the very brutal militia - which is always associated with the presidency here - or individual soldiers have made up their own mind that they're tired of being associated with the kind of brutality that left seven dead yesterday - buried, by the way secretly by the police - and indeed the seven or eight students who were killed on the university campus 24 hours earlier.

Quite a lot of policeman are beginning to smile towards the demonstrators of Mr Mousavi, who are insisting there must be a new election because Mr Ahmadinejad wasn't really elected. Quite an extraordinary scene.

There were a lot of stones thrown and quite a lot of bitter fighting, hand-to-hand but at the end of the day the special forces did keep them apart.

I haven't ever seen the Iranian security authorities behaving fairly before and it's quite impressive."

By the way, the journalist is one of the brave souls who has defied the ban on Western Media reporting."

From an Iranian twitter feed:

"Saw police wear green scarves riot man was crying
Well I want to find email addresses of doctors and link them too the medic.
Doctors are trying to get to rural areas, as there is less support there
Far as eye can see people in every corner people everywhere...revolution is close to end... Ghandi would be proud
I cannot count the numbers too big
When all these troubles behind us I will get my camera back and go to the park with my daughter"

"Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”-Mahatma Ghandi

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interesting Iran tweets:

  • Military summary: high ranks confused and fragmented, middle ranks leaning toward revolutionaries, low ranks split and angry, feel betrayed.
  • thr R plenty of gd questions, but it feels lk we're ALWAYS limited to 140 characters..
  • Election official seen in green and attacking lone Besiji worker in Tabriz
  • It is good you all are being wary of sources- including me. But asking me to verify myself seems a bit silly.
  • is doing a great job, now has multi-gigabit VPN. E-mail for details
  • REMINDER: You can RT my name and encourage people to follow - I can't be touched by Iranian regime.
  • New private #Iran proxy server up *BULLET*PROOF* for 72-96 hours, need 50 people in #Iran who need accounts,
  • nothing special, Sirens, motorcycles, smock & smell of burnt stuff.
  • it is now dawn in tehran - streets are quiet - we must move from here - this was good internet connection but not ours - #Iranelection
  • last night thousands stayed in streets between Parkway and Vanak sq until after 2am
  • only baseej militia and Etellaat folowing orders - they cannot contain country without Army
  • unconfirmed - military has refused orders to shoot protesters -
  • several arrests today after tracking thru twiter proxys
  • The most circulated email today was asking people to keep their door open for those escaping from riot police

Good English language sources for Iran developments. Annotated list.

I'm adding another great source for deeper analysis:
An astute mideast prof providing good context. For e.g. his most recent post explains how Mousavi became a reformer in the late 80s because of his protest against violent repression of dissidents.

So I'm making this for my own reference, but anyone can't read Farsi first-hand might be interested in the following, so I annotated it as best as I could, and encourage you to pass it on to anyone who is hungry for info:
Andrew Sullivan is aggregating personal messages addressed to him coming out of Iran, and also links to insightful Western analysis. Has some good tweet aggregation too
Nito Putney is basically doing the same thing as the Dialy Dish, and I tend to refresh these two most often, they are all over the story, and if you can keep up with them, you won't miss much in the 'breaking news' category.
Another grat aggregator, especially good for breaking news.
Washington-based Iranian-American community. Same as above, provides a lot of the quickest translation from Farsi, and good background from people- for e.g. right now they have annotated pictures describing which elements the plainclothes officers belong to.
Less frequently updated than above sources, but good aggregation and analysis
Juan Cole is a middle east prof- so he has some good explanation of how the various power factions in the Iran gov't are working right now. His earlier posts have provided very good explanations of how, and why, the vote was rigged.
An independant hub started by a harvard journo for Persian and Western media reports- very good, professional reports.
The Gaurdian is one of the few (along with the NYT, which you can get to from The Lede, above) Western media sites that is actually nimble enough to publish long pieces with good analysis- that are supporteed by on the gourn twitter facts, and aren't out of date.
This used to be a really good source for twitters coming from the Teheran area- but there are now many, many messages coming from Western sources who have changed their twitter location to Teheran. They have done this so that Iran's security forces can't pinpoint legit Iranians twittering- hopefully its working. The traffic is still interesting, and probably close to mirroring #iranelection at this point.
Community Persian blog, written in English.
Good source on the latest development- that there will be a recount.
A bio of the Supreme Leader, which I haven't taken the time to read- anyone who does, I'd love to hear if there is anything that may shed some light on his future actions.
"How to setup a proxy for Iran citizens- also has links for other OSes...this is important, because the proxies can no longer be tweeted, since that is effectively making them public for the security forces to block.
Also see: for some guidelines, like don't DDOS when the whole internet link is close to shut down.

Some good twitter:

[ 7 good twitter sources redacted out of concern that re-posting may endeanger them- please personally email me if you would like to follow them. Some are general opposition feeds, some have heartbreaking first hand accounts of current events]