Iranian Government Attacked by Internet Forces
The Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad have met the full force of a people empowered by the internet, and they are being seriously shaken. What is happening right now in Iran is fueled by the freedom of speech and organization provided by Twitter. Much of what is being reported to the outside world is provided through this service. It is one of our few windows into Iran, because the government is so severally limiting the foreign press. Read about it here in the nytimes. Thanks to twitter which delayed a scheduled maintenance downtime to deliver unbroken service to the Iranian people.
The government in Iran has been arresting western reporters. I am concerned about film maker James Longley. who was arrested in Tehran with his translator. His translator was hauled off and savagely beaten. Finally they were both released after they convinced the police that their credentials were truly real. You can read the full story here. James writes, “Eyewitnesses are reporting that fully-credentialed foreign journalists are similarly being detained all over Tehran today. The deputy head of the Ministry of Guidance just told me on the phone that other journalists have also been beaten, and that the official permissions no longer work.” James is still in Tehran, and I am following his regular up dates via the D-word to make sure he remains okay.
Even though the Iranian government is doing everything to limit word getting out, clearly it is failing. There are hundreds of pictures of mass demonstrations all over the internet. There are many terrifying accounts of violence emerging. And everyone is listening. But more importantly people are acting through the internet. In many ways people around the world are waging an internet war on Iran. Here is how they are doing it.
People are giving Iranians access to the unfiltered WWW by allowing them to proxy through their computers. You can learn to do it here. I wouldn’t do it if you are afraid of viruses, but this is almost certainly how video and pics are getting out. This is because the government has shut down access to youtube, facebook and countless other sites. The Iranian government isn’t letting so much as a photo out through the normal internet. So if you are web savvy and fearless, you might give it a try. Without these portals the videos of violence and protest would not reach the world.
Around the world a decentralized global network of people is attacking all of Iran’s state web pages. Presently none of the pages are working at all. You can learn how to participate in this attack on this blog. The site explains you can easily set up your web browser to constantly refresh Iranian government web addresses. Right now many, many people around the world are spamming Iran’s government servers with requests to download. As the Iranian government attempts to limit free speech, people around the world are limiting its ability to spread lies. Concerned people around the world through decentralized organization are conducting a war-like internet attack on Iran. Its as if the people of the world are saying no to the lies being told by the Iranian government.
What ever happens in Iran, I hope it remains peaceful. I know there has been violence already. I just hope that the people of Iran will get the change they voted for without bloodshed. I fear that may be impossible, but the Iranian people deserve democracy. We must let them know we are listening. And we must help put the Iranian government on notice that its people have spoken and it must listen. Already the Ayatollah Khomeini has ordered a recount of some ballots as a result of this pressure. Clearly the internet Juggernaut was more than he expected.
Not long ago an election was stolen in America. We all know what happened. Iran, don’t let Ahmadinejad become your George Bush. Settle the vote transparently and show the world how vital your democracy is. Nothing could raise your international standing more than this.
I just read that opposition leaders and leaders of the conservative militia have scheduled a rally in the same place and at same time today. It seems like the government is trying to provoke a nasty street fight. Pray for peace and solidarity, otherwise, who knows. People in the opposition are afraid of a blood bath. Hopefully with the world observing through the internet the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad will stay their hands. It seems the internet makes it nearly impossible to completely wipe out the freedom of speech. Special thanks to Andrew Sullivan for such great coverage.