Report on Today’s Crackdown


Here is one of the best summations I have read of today’s events in Iran.
A couple of key things are that the government is trying to isolate Mousavi and his ability to communicate. The government is arresting key Mousavi supporters in mass. And the government is taping forced confessions of people who are stating that they were taking instructions from the UK, Israel, and other countries.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Report on Today’s Crackdown

  1. arthurdecco says:

    Outraged American: The eloquence and intelligence you’ve brought to the comments section of this particular thread, supported by your honest curiosity, insight and clarity are a breath of fresh air.
    Besides, the rhetorical shit-kicking you delivered to that quintessential wind bag, vile propagandist and unapologetic Zionist fifth columnist Wig Wag, who I have unreservedly loathed for his/her perpetually vile dishonesty since forever, brought tears to my eyes. Tears of laughter, that is…


  2. Nell says:

    Steve, I appreciate your ability to see the parallels between the scenarios. But it’s simply not the case that a person who fails to cheerlead the tactics of the Iraqi resistance thereby endorses the abuses the resistance is a response to. Acknowledging a right to resistance is very different from being an enthusiast. Excluded middle, and all that.
    You accept and endorse violent resistance. So noted.
    In practice, in the summer and fall of 2003, if you had posted a ‘good skill’ message about IEDs, you’d have been disowned and frozen out by the elite foreign policy types you rub shoulders with. That you can’t see the inappropriateness of an outsider with a platform egging on violence at a moment when the resistance in Iran has built itself on peaceful mass expression, and is turning to strikes, speaks volumes.


  3. Steve Clemons says:

    Nell, the way you frame things — If I were to reject my position, I’d
    be endorsing the rape and pillaging of innocent Iraqis by
    Occupiers. I’m already on record on this — regarding the torture,
    abuses, extraordinary rendition…not sure what you hope I might
    say. I’d never endorse Americans or any other forces doing what
    you suggest and what you’d hope I’d sign off on. Frankly, your
    statement above is bizarre. Yes, unequivocably, I advocate
    resistance when one’s lives and one’s family are at risk from
    arbitrary abuse – no matter where the source. I’m done with this
    subject. You and I are on totally different pages, and I really reject
    the norms you think are appropriate. best, steve clemons


  4. Nell says:

    I’m imagining your response to a Jordanian foundation director posting on his personal website in October 2003 (as tens of thousands of Iraqis were having their homes invaded by U.S. military; men hooded, beaten, dragged away to U.S. military prisons for more abuse including being sodomized and tortured; children and wives kidnapped in order to force the capture of relatives sought by the occupying forces):
    “Hope that citizens of Anbar province learn what they can about improvised explosive devices. Could be good skill.”


  5. Steve Clemons says:

    Nell…thanks for your concerns which you have been able to express. In this case, I stand by what I wrote. I think it’s important that those in Iran who are being terrorized in horrific ways understand what is going on in other communities — and yes, I still feel that Basiji Hunting may be a good skill to have under these circumstances…
    all best, steve


  6. Nell says:

    “Basij hunting and the account of it that came from an Iranian with first hand account is important to know about and represented a potential change in the narrative of what could happen.”
    ‘important to know about’: I said nothing disagreeing with that.
    ‘representing a potential change in the narrative of what could happen’: No kidding. That’s exactly why it should have been left to stand alone as a report (with appropriate caveats about sourcing and authenticity).
    I have profound disagreements with such tactics, but do not and have not dismissed them or the people engaged in them (_if_ the report is accurate).
    My dismissiveness is entirely directed toward the recklessness, fecklessness, and hypocrisy of someone in your position saying publicly he :: hopes that citizens in Tehran learn what they can about “Basiji Hunting” Could be good skill ::


  7. Steve Clemons says:

    Nell — sorry you are put off. I think that Basij hunting and the account of it that came from an Iranian with first hand account is important to know about and represented a potential change in the narrative of what could happen. I respect your disagreement with that – -though don’t share your level of dismissiveness. all best, steve


  8. Nell says:

    I don’t have words strong enough to express my disgust at your tweet blithely cheerleading ‘Basij hunting’. Steve, you are not just any schmo on the internet.
    First, this kind of response by the people hands the regime and its supporters the excuse they need to bring down the fullest repression (which they’re clearly committed to doing anyway, but this muddies the waters, makes it harder for people looking on to see the repression being wholly unjustified). Second, you would not for one minute take a similar attitude toward the same actions in any other popular struggle in the world. Third, cheering on violence from a safe spot here the height of immature, thoughtless behavior — something I’d expect from a 13-year-old.


  9. Bill R. says:

    It looks like there are some cracks in the system beginning to show. The Speaker of the Parliament, Larijani acknowledges the election is viewed as fraudulent:
    11:49 PM ET — Parliament Speaker: Majority of Iranians think election was fraudulent. And printed in state-run media no less!
    Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani suggests that some of the members in the Guardian Council have sided with a certain candidate in the June 12 presidential election.
    Speaking live on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Saturday, the speaker said that “a majority of people are of the opinion that the actual election results are different than what was officially announced.”


  10. Zathras says:

    Ah, well, yes (he said, trying not to make any sudden movements), but all these YouTube videos and Twitter posts are showing up on Western broadcast media because the Iranian government is not letting Western reporters cover demonstrations in the conventional way.
    Iran is not Burma, where Internet access is negligible and the government could do what it liked without anything getting out to the international media. The Iranian government has used the tools available to it to do what the Burmese government did last year, and found them not quite adequate to the task. Claims of unfairness from that government or its partisans of the moment here do not inspire sympathy.


  11. Outraged American says:

    We can all invent ourselves on the internet, so let my posts
    speak for themselves. I give you facts, you ignore them. Proof
    means nothing to the twinkies on this site.
    And by the way, I think there’s a revolution being planned in my
    neighborhood. I overheard a bunch of neighbors whispering
    about some kind of gathering tomorrow. Code word “Father’s
    Some of my neighbors have guns. Some of them are radical
    Christians. Some of them are radical Christians with guns. Most
    of them hate people who voted for Obama ( my neighbor told
    me Obama’s a secret Muslim — he read it on Twitter) and want
    a recount.
    Damn, the TV just went on the fritz. No batteries in the radio.
    Thunderstorms rolling in so internet will be cut.
    How will I know if this “Father’s Day” revolution is just on my
    block or if it’s all over the city? All over the state? All over the
    country? World?
    I won’t even be able to ask Wig Wag what’s happening!
    But I’ll just follow Wig Wag and his or her fellow travelers, you
    know the brilliant analysts who back-up every claim they make,
    and claim that what I see during the “Father’s Day” revolution is
    what everyone else in the country is seeing on their street too.
    Because after-all I’m a pretend journalist, just like all the
    Tweeters, even the ones who are are actually Iranian, twittering
    about Iran.
    That video of the pretty Iranian girl dying is all over the place. I
    weep for her, but how come I have never once seen video of an
    Iraqi girl dying as the result of a U.S. bomb on mainstream U.S.
    We rained white phosphorus down on Fallujah — no film at 11.
    The Israelis slammed missiles into schools not six months ago,
    but did we see ONE Palestinian casualty on U.S. TV?
    What gives with this sudden concern for the pretty young girls
    of Iran? After-all they’re citizens of Iran, a member of The Axis
    of Evil. The country that both parties have been trying for years
    to bomb, sanction and blockade. Suddenly, now, THE
    Oh, but we won’t waste our time shooting Iranians to liberate
    them, at least not at first. Our liberation/ death to Iranians,
    same as Pakistanis, will come from the sky, because we are the
    home of the brave and it’s really dangerous to drop a bomb on
    Iran from Nevada.


  12. WigWag says:

    “I was trained as a scientist (hard science)”
    “I also worked as a journalist, a real one not bought by the corporations”
    Yes, outraged American, and I worked as an astronaut, a CIA Agent and I played for the New York Yankees.
    “There are so many posters on here who lack all critical thinking skills”
    Right you are, Outraged American.


  13. ... says:

    i’ll go with OA’s informed comments with link over wigwags poor attempt at humour any day of the week…. wigwag usually you are more constructive and dry, but here you seem to be flipping out, which i have to admit is unusual!


  14. Outraged American says:

    I was trained as a scientist (hard science)-that article was
    impressive and its conclusions were based on hard evidence that
    the Iranian “Twitter” revolution, or civil war, or whatever, is being
    influenced by internet users outside of Iran.
    I’ll take bets you didn’t read the article or even the excerpt, Wig
    Ever heard of an ISP Wig Wag? I doubt you could fake yours. But
    techies, like the author of the article, are sourcing the Tweets to
    find that a lot aren’t coming from inside Iran.
    I also worked as a journalist, a real one not bought by the
    corporations: relying on Tweets to get the big picture in Iran is
    being one of the blind men describing an elephant. One blind
    man touching one part of the elephant, say the tusk, will have a
    different “view” of the elephant than the blind man touching the
    According to this site, Internet World Stats, that charts internet
    usage worldwide, 34.9% of Iran’s population were internet users
    in 2008.
    That’s just a little more than a third. I would venture to guess
    that the third predominately live in the cities, and skew young.
    Fewer than that total would use Twitter, so the total number of
    Iranians using Twitter would most probably end-up being a
    fraction of the population, and would be centered in urban
    So even the Tweets actually coming from Iran would be skewed
    towards young, urban users describing one part of the elephant.
    The veracity of the Tweets in any case cannot be verified without
    video corroboration.
    There are so many posters on here who lack all critical thinking
    skills. You can throw facts and statistics at them till your typing
    fingers are worn down to the bone and it won’t make one bit of
    difference. I fear for the world when supposedly erudite people
    lack, or don’t want, analytical skills.


  15. Franklin says:

    As far as the goings on in Iran, it’s hard to see how protesters can maintain their momentum without a prolonged and widely supported nationwide strike.
    The people are unlikely to win a military confrontation, but they can shut down the economy to a near trickle. Reading the tea-leaves though my guess would be that we’re likely looking at the #3 scenario touched on in a post yesterday (e.g. state cracks down violently suppresses dissent and drives public anger underground for a time).
    As far as U.S. policy goes, this is a tough one.


  16. WigWag says:

    Yes that’s right Outraged American, with phone service cut and internet service spotty the Iranian demonstrators aren’t really using Twitter. Their organizing themselves and learning where to go to demonstrate by telepathy.
    And those Iranian students putting their lives on the line; you’re right about them too, they’re just ignorant dupes of the Americans and Israelis.
    They’re not really demonstrating for freedom, they’re getting bloodied and beaten because of their affection for the Israel and the United States.
    Thank goodness we have your perceptive analysis to explain what’s really going on.


  17. Outraged American says:

    Is Iran’s “Twitter” revolution a fraud? Here’s a very interesting
    analysis, with verifiable statistics, that would say, “Yes.”
    America’s Iranian Twitter Revolution
    June 17, 2009
    …How representative are Iran’s Twitter revolutionaries? In actual
    fact, the only allegedly Iranian Twitter users who have been
    identified by other Twitter users as tweeting about the Iranian
    protests, are fewer than 45 (see one list here), most of whose
    locations cannot be confirmed and almost all of whom post only
    in English. Yet, one can get as many as 2,500 updates in a single
    minute, on one stream alone (#iranelection), and most of that
    repetitive and uninformative material is not being posted by
    anyone except for a huge mass of American Twitter users. In
    total, only a third of Iranians even have Internet access (we saw
    in the Canadian case that Internet access does not translate into
    Twitter use) and, very interestingly, the youth who are most
    associated with the protests and with Twitter use, consist of 18-
    to-24-year-olds who in fact comprise “the strongest voting
    bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups” (poll).
    The Associated Press has produced a similar analysis, noting
    that in Iran, “Internet usage is mostly still a phenomenon of the
    affluent, the youth and city-dwellers — meaning Twitter and
    other networks are used mostly by the young and liberal — and
    may overemphasize their numbers while ignoring more-
    conservative political sentiments among the non-connected.”
    Those interviewed by AP say that the Twitter hype is creating an
    illusion that Tehran is witnessing another revolution, or that
    Twitter even matters for Iranians. (See “Tweeting Iran: Elex news
    in 140 characters or less,” by Rebecca Santana, Associated
    Press, 15 June 2009.)
    So in this Twitter revolution, Twitter is not representative of
    Internet users, Internet use is not representative of a wider
    population, the youth are not representative of the youth, and
    the Iranians may not even be Iranian. Fantastic indeed, this
    power of “social media”.
    Personally, I have seen very little in the way of actual events
    being reported, and when they are, they are retweeted (repeated)
    hundreds of times over for almost an entire day. There is
    enormous volume, and little content. Hanson Hosein, director of
    digital media at the University of Washington, wrote “I’m having
    a hard time filtering through #iranelection, beyond the re-
    tweets and second-hand information passed around by
    Twitterers outside the country….We can’t take [tweets] at face
    value. It can be quite dangerous. We should be doing as much
    fact-checking as possible” (source). Michael Crowley also wrote,
    “One thing that really bothers me about these twitters and first-
    hand accounts posted on blogs is that there’s no way to verify
    them; I’ve seen several that either seemed suspect or turned out
    to be false” (source). Similarly, another blogger observed that, “If
    you, as an average news consumer, relied on Twitter you might
    believe all sorts of things had happened, which simply hadn’t,
    running a high risk of being seriously misled about events on
    the ground. You might at best, have simply been confused. You
    probably wouldn’t have thought Ahmadinejad enjoys much
    popular support at all” (source)… (ENTIRE ARTICLE)


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