You are hereForums / Issues / International Affairs / The Green Revolution Chapter 5

The Green Revolution Chapter 5

By alina - Posted on 19 June 2009

Chapter 1 of this discussion here. Chapter 2 here. Chapter 3 here. Chapter 4 here.

Even the wristbands of the Green Revolution are evolving rapidly. The latest, shown above, are green and black. The black is a sign of mourning for the movement's martyrs.

Martyrs are important anywhere, but few cultures value them as strongly as the Persian culture. Martyrs were the spark that lead to the Shah's overthrow in 1979. From the first casualties to the Shah's definite ousting, a year passed. It took time, and a series of fatal incidents, before enough eyewitnesses could share testimony of the brutalities the government worked so hard to hide.

That was then. Today news, in the form of gutwrenching images and video of slayings, travels fast. And footage, unlike word of mouth accounts, leaves no room for doubt. Today, everyone is an eyewitness, and no ban on reporting can stop it.

This morning at Friday Prayers, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it very clear that any futher rebellion would be crushed. As busloads of Basij militia unloaded in Tehran, our dissident friends were faced with a crucial decision: surrender and face the certainty of a brutal and unforgiving dictatorship, or prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of achieving freedom. It didn't take long for them to decide on the latter, pending confirmation from opposition leaders, most importantly Mousavi, that they would not be alone.

Chapter 5, and the next crucial step in this revolution, begins with this brief but meaningful message:

Please join Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi tomorrow at 4pm from Enghelab Sq. to Azadi Sq. in Tehran for a crucial green protest #IranElection

Peterdang - in the last thread we discussed taking over State media as an important step.

Does taking over their websites count?

As I post this, a section of the IRIB, or Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting site has been hacked and replaced with gruesome photos of the slain and this message:

Mr ahmadinejad, for how long do we have to witness these pictures of the blood of the people, one by one dying? How far do you want to go? Just to save face?... it is the turn of the children of this water and earth, after this how far do you want to go?

It's only a matter of time before they take over the parent directory of the site, now that they're in, and this will be front page news. Martyrs.

Note: the site hosting the photos is overloaded, so they may not load.

Edit: Now that the images loaded, and I saw them, I've removed the link above to put it here with a WARNING: not for the faint of heart - link

When you live in a totalitarian regime most people feel helpless and powerless. It's analogous to an abusive relationship. Taking over the TV or some kind of state media serves two purposes. On one hand it's a communication tool that allows them to communicate with their sympathizers in the whole country, not just the capital. On the other hand it's a symbol, a major crack in the regime's wall of oppression. However, the crack is only as important as people think it is. If most in Iran don't have Internet access or don't even know what a website is then this won't mean much, or will only serve as encouragement to those in the "loop". To properly judge the importance of this I would have to be more familiar with their culture. It's definitely a crack, the question's: "Is it big enough?"

I was away from the computer for a few days so I'm trying to catch up, but the little I heard was that the ayatollah's demand for the protests to end was not "obeyed." To me, with my limited understanding of their culture, this could be even more important than taking over the TV; at least in the symbolism column. Now I need to go and read about what happened while I was gone :) 

peter, I've been following very closely, and I can tell you that the people of Iran are very very tech savvy.  Over half of the population is under 30 and well educated.  They use the internet, social networking(twitter, facebook,etc), smart phones, etc in ways that would amaze you.  Even with all of the blockages they are finding technical ways to communicate with each other and with the outside world.  It's amazing.
They have 35% Internet penetration and heavy filtering. One thing to understand about how the Internet works in Iran is that all the data goes through a central point that's controlled by the regime. If things go really bad they could literally shut down all Internet as well as cell phone access within seconds. The fact that they're tech savvy is encouraging, what's less encouraging from my point of view is that they rely on an easily controlled technology for their communication. I really hope you'll be right on this one!

I'm not tech savvy enough, in any way, to explain what I am seeing, but I'll try.  Using (mainly) twitter they are in contact with people all over the world that are building/using/finding "proxy" addresses(?) for them to use that somehow can circumvent some of control points.  Internet is very slow in those cases, but can be used sparingly.  Trusted outside people also filter through internet info and tweet it back into Iran.  There is also a big hacking war going on, with both sides attempting to hack/bring down the communication of the other.  Of course, the govt is more successful right now, especially hacking, but the protesters are doing an amazing job overall, considering how controlled their communication access is.

Iranian government is using location/time zone info on twitter to try to locate protesters.  Protesters have asked all on Twitter to change location/time setting to Tehran and their time zone to clog and confuse govt. trackers.

What would be less easily controlled technology for them to use?

Yeah, I know how it all works. Proxies are great help when you're dealing with filtering because from the filter's point of view you're not talking to twitter, but to this random computer on the Internet it (the filter) knows nothing about. Then the proxy passes your request along to twitter and back. My point is that the regime has the keys to the kingdom. Right now they say "you're trying to go to twitter land... no can do" so you're basically lying about going there to pass the filter by using a proxy. If they wanted to they could shut down the whole network / Internet and then nothing would get through; proxies won't help in this case. This cat and mouse game still works because the regime is not yet set on fighting them. They still regard them as an annoyance though they've taken much harsher measures recently. I'm thinking about what would happen when and if the situation turns to all out war and the regime would be really set on destroying them... that's my concern. I hope they can pull this off without fighting... I really do...

A less easily controlled technology would be something that's not wire bound, like radio or television. But again, maybe they'll find a completely different way of achieving their goals. There is more than one way to skin a cat. I'll keep my fingers crossed for them.

Thanks for explaining it is simple terms for me, peter.  As you can see, I don't understand how it all works, and this helps.  As a matter of fact, since everyone I know has to use a computer or phone to use Twitter, I have wondered how they could use that service with communications cut off.  Does the govt have to leave communications open to some degree in order for them (govt) to be able to use it for themselves?

There is also talk of govt possibly shutting of electrical power.

Yes, they can certainly make exceptions for the government computers. So they could shut down the Internet for everybody except for government computers. Doing this would cause a lot of disturbance to regular business which is why they probably opted to filter rather than shut down. I imagine the same would be true with cutting off the electrical power.

As far as how it works, at a basic level is simple: when you visit a website or use any kind of service on the Internet from your computer or phone you're sending off a request to a server (which is nothing more than one or more powerful computers). So your computer "talks" to another computer. Before the message gets to the final destination is has to go through several "hoops" which are called routers. You can think of these as stop lights in the information highway where the "car" is the request you're sending. Each car (request) has a source and destination, and each router (intersection) can and has to read the destination of the request (car). The router then decides which way the request (car) should go. In a free country you have many Internet entry and exit points. In Iran all the roads lead to some central government location where each request (car) is asked about the final destination; kind of like going through customs. If the request's (car's) destination is twitter the exit request is denied, or if the response's (car on the way back) source is twitter is denied as well. However, if the car says "I'm not going to twitter, but rather to server ABC" then it gets to go through. When it gets to ABC (the proxy) the request is "unwrapped" and sent to the final destination, i.e. twitter. The process is then reversed on the way back. This is like routing an interstate highway through back roads; it's going to be slow... I hope this makes sense.

If the government decides to shut down all bandwidth except their own, there is literally an army of serious hackers in and out of Iran that will break into routers if need be. The huge concern right now is what happens if all power gets shut down.

could this be our first cyberwar?  scarey thought really.. because I'm certain we are ill prepared.

There is already a hashtag or two on twitter devoted to just that, Pat; fighting this as a cyberwar.  I got there by following links of people that aggravate me, lol, and have no idea how to get back.
well.. it is, true enough, but dont you think taking out the power or water takes it to a different level?  that's the part that troubles me
That takes it to an inhumane level, if you ask me.  Of course, they don't care about that.

That is the best, easiest to understand, plain language explaination I have ever heard!  Thanks so much peter, you are now my official "go-to" guy for things that are beyond me. ;-)

I wonder if the people stand a chance against all of this, if they turn off the power?  Would the smart phones still be able to get through?

In Iran all the roads lead to some central government location where each request (car) is asked about the final destination; kind of like going through customs.

A better analogy would be the checkpoints of the old European totalitarian regimes: "Papers, please."


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Except they wouldn't say "please"
Sure they would, like the Nazis and Soviets. They wouldn't mean it, of course. ;)

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Obama: We're watching you!

Watch CBS Videos Online

An important message from the Mousavi camp:

Letter from Mousavi's spokesman

Note: Makhmalbaf is 100% legit. Mousavi named him his foreign spokesman immediately after the elections.

If you're at all following the situation in Iran, I urge you to read the letter. It explains a lot. While everything in it is important, I was most struck by the following parts:

That they continue to gather shows they want something more than an election. They want freedom, and if they are not granted it we will be faced with another revolution.

Previously, he was revolutionary, because everyone inside the system was a revolutionary. But now he's a reformer. Now he knows Gandhi – before he knew only Che Guevara. If we gain power through aggression we would have to keep it through aggression. That is why we're having a green revolution, defined by peace and democracy.

What's shaping up tonight in the twitterverse and on various Iranian blogs is becoming too emotionally loaded for me to put into coherent posts.

For further updates tonight, I recommend:

Nico Pitney at HuffPo

Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic

They are following all of the sources I've been following, and have been doing an amazing job all week.

Please keep the protesters in your thoughts and prayers. They need it now more than ever.

alina, can you still get to irc?
I'm in... can't stay too long though (very tired)
I am watching closely. Looks like the government has put it this way: any protests or harm will fall on Mousavi's shoulders. I think they are setting him up to be arrested. I am disheartened by the efforts to prevent the rallies, including tear gas and batons (or wrose to come.) Is there anything the pro-reform groups can do now? Does Mousavi have any influence with the clerics, maybe he can sway enough in his direction? Please offer some hope-I am saddened by these developments.

I'm saddened too, Izzy, and feeling rather hopeless for the protesters.  The government has effectively stopped the formation of any big rallies, and Mousavi and the other reformists have not been seen today. 

I do know that Mousavi has some influence and backing by some clerics, and that there seems to be a split among them.  But right now, it appears to me that the dictator and the Ayatollah have won. 

A short but informative report on today's highly organized police action, which prevented protesters from gathering.  Read it  here at Tehran Bureau.

From Andrew Sullivan:

The state media are putting words into Obama's mouth:

This morning a friend of NIAC who gets Iranian Satellite TV here said that state-run media showed President Obama speaking about Iran this morning. However, instead of translating what he actually said, the translator reportedly quoted Obama as saying he “supports the protesters against the government and they should keep protesting." Assuming this report is correct, it shows the Iranian government is eager to portray Obama as a partisan supporting the demonstrators.

So the Khamenei regime wants the same posture from the Obama as Krauthammer and Wolfowitz. They just don't know what they're talking about, do they?

 This shows the wisdom of the way our President is handling the situation, and the insanity of the right wing's call for harsh words from President Obama.  

The daiky Dish and Twitter is the best place to stay up to date.

Latst: President is ramping up his rethoric....he'is asking the govt. to stop the violence.


 I will not throw the first punch but I wil certainly throw the last.....President Barack Obama.

The Daily Dish is awesome, as is the live blogger at HuffPo. and niacINsight (for more general information)  Be careful at Twitter, as a lot of misinformation is also going out, as well as disguised propaganda and traps from government sources. 

It's riveting, heartbreaking, scary and inspiring, all at the same time.  I pray, and I cry.

Has anyone seen this? If this is real, wholly cow!!!!

Mousavi wins by a lot.

Hmm.  I've been following these events quite closely and haven't heard of this.  Strange especially since it was posted a full four days ago.  I'm a little skeptical about its validity.

That's why I said "if this is real". There isn't really a way to validate it, Ireport is regualr people reporting. But who knows if it is true, it could be or not.
I've been following some "in the know" on twitter, and I have seen this posted, but no one has confirmed it as valid.

This link has some very graphic pictures:

Enter at your own discretions and clik on links on site that say discretion advised. I am so sick with worry for these people, but I do want them to keep going. Otherwise they might be in for worse oppression, keep praying for them.


The Green Brief (this is number five) almost daily works through the twitter posts, along with some others, and sorts out what is real and what isn't.  I recommend reading it for a clear look at what is going on.  You'll be shocked and amazed.
Good stuff!

A tweet by an Iranian protester:

For the first time I feel democracy is near since it is not by USA , clergy or political opposition in or outside Iran.

This sums up a lot of the feelings of hope for democracy and freedom led by the people. Although some more militant groups are trying to hijack the revolution and bring violence.  (MKO being one) , the people of Iran are aware of their efforts and warning real protesters not to fall for it.  We shall see.

This also solidifies in my mind how very wise President Obama is in the way he is handling this situation.

Unrelated to the protests but it's another segment of Jason Jones' visit to Iran. Shows us the intelligence of some Iranians and the lack there of in America.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil - Ayatollah You So
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran
Dear Gretchen :  the only cities I have found with over 100% turnout are in the totally red states of Kentucky and Texas due to malfunctions in software from Wallyworld tabulating equipment, you brain dead ...  idiot!
Here is a poignant take on the election and Khamenei's response.

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Follow RFO:

TwitterCafe PressFacebook




RFO Gear

Subscribe to General RFO Newsletter

General news and announcements for We will never share or sell your email address.