The Green Revolution
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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:42 pm    Post subject: The Green Revolution Reply with quote

I've spent the last couple of hours trying to gather info about what's happening in Iran right now. If you haven't been watching any sort of news sites, they're experiencing a level of turmoil/revolt only matched by the Islamic Revolution of 1979. A massively rigged presidential election which saw Ahmedinejad absolutely crush his reformist opponent is what initially started the protest, and the conservative government and police have been fighting protesters and revolutionaries for the past couple of days.

A foreign media blackout is also in effect, with all foreign journalists confined to their offices within the country or expelled from Iran. Several people within the country are providing updates via twitter while trying to remain anonymous. Twitter is now being monitored closely by the Iranian Interior Ministry, and those still providing information are thought to be in great personal danger.











(In case you didn't guess, green is the color of the reformist party.)

Ahmedinejad has also apparently left the country to attend a summit in Russia; a trip he was not expected to take before the recent violence started.

Here are a few of the twitter pages that are thought to be legitimate (there are several which are believed to be run by the government or their supporters for the purpose of misinformation, and several that are simply questionable):

http://twitter.com/persiankiwi

http://twitter.com/change_for_iran

http://twitter.com/StopAhmadi


Best of luck to all of them.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy stuff. With the right steps it can be pretty tough to stop people from posting to services like twitter. It sounds like they're playing hide the dish to keep posting.
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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a campaign going on to try to make it harder for the legitimate tweeters to be tracked down. I'm thinking of participating.

http://emsenn.com/iran.php

Basically the idea is to make/use a twitter account through a couple of proxies and set your time/place to Tehran. After that, you just repeat what the other reform tweeters are posting, without making any reference to their account, name, etc. Forces the Iranian government to chase ghosts.


Edit: These are also pretty interesting.

http://occident.blogspot.com/2009/06/grand-ayatullah-montazeri-calls-on.html

http://occident.blogspot.com/2009/06/confirmed-montazeri-questions-election.html


Edit 2:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/irans_disputed_election.html

Big series of photos taken in the past couple of days.
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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Copied and pasted from a Fark thread.

Tatsuma wrote:
Major timeline overhaul, including what has unfolded in the last few hours.

This seems to be helping quite a few people, so I'll go ahead and repost it in every threads with some adjustments. Sorry, this has reached the level of TL;DR but I really am trying to cram the most relevant information and speculation only. Everything is updated as events unfold, especially the timeline and what will happen in the future.

Suppression of Dissent - The Players

Currently, there are either two or three groups who are suppressing the students on the ground that you'll read about throughout this thread:

1. The Basij
2. Ansar Hizbullah (which I will refer to as Ansar)
3. Lebanese Hizbullah (Unconfirmed but highly probable. Der Spiegel, based on a Voice of America report, says that 5,000 Hizbullah fighters are currently in Iran masquerading as riot police, confirming the independent reports. Many different independent reports and video point that way. Even in the last hours other independent twitter feeds have declared witnessing thugs beating on people while shouting in Arabic; I will refer to them as Hizbullah)

- The Basij are your regular paramilitary organization. They are the armed hand of the clerics. The Basij are a legal group, officially a student union, and are legally under direct orders of the Revolutionary Guard. Their main raison d'être is to quell dissent. They are the ones who go and crack skulls, force people to participate in pro-regime demonstrations, and generally try to stop any demonstrations from even starting. They are located throughout the country, in every mosque, every university, every social club you can think of. They function in a way very similar to the brownshirts.

They were the ones who first started the crackdown after the election, but it wasn't enough. While they are violent and repressive, they are still Persian and attacking fellow citizens. A beating is one thing, mass killings another.

- Another group was working with them, whose members are even more extreme, is Ansar. There is a lot of cross-membership between the Basij and Ansar, though not all are members of the other group and vice-versa. The vast majority of Ansar are Persians (either Basij or ex-military), though a lot of Arab recruits come from Lebanon and train with them under supervision of the Revolutionary Guard. They are not functioning under a legal umbrella, they are considered a vigilante group, but they pledge loyalty directly to the Supreme Leader and most people believe that they are under his control. They are currently helping the Basij to control the riots, but due to the fact that they are Persians and in lower numbers than the Basij, they are not that active.

- The Lebanese Hizbullah is a direct offshoot (and under direct control) of the Iranian Hizbullah (itself under direct control of the Supreme Leader) and cooperates closely with Ansar though Ansar occupies itself only with Iran's domestic policies, while Hizbullah occupies itself only with Iran's foreign policy unless there is a crisis like right now. However, Hizbullah has been called to stop violent riots in Iran in the past.

(the following paragraph includes some speculation based on reports from ground zero) Hizbullah flew in a lot of their members in Iran, most likely a good deal even before the elections in case there were trouble. They are the ones who speak Arabs and are unleashing the biggest level of violence on the Persians so far. Another wave arrived recently and there is chatter that yet another wave of Hizbullah reinforcements are coming in from Lebanon as we speak. According to Iranians on the ground, they are the ones riding motorcycles, beating men women and children indiscriminately and firing live ammunitions at students.

What will happen

Unless the army decides to intervene in the favor of the Council and to stop the early beginnings of the new Revolution, Ansar & Hizbullah members will be the ones doing the brunt of the killing and repression with Basij as a support while also protecting government buildings and try to do crowd control. The police seems to have for the most part disbanded in centers like Tehran according to all reports, including international media. If the police decides to come back, they will focus less on protection and crowd control, so the Basij will start to crack more skulls).

Currently, this is what is happening.


Timeline (updated and revamped!)
note: I built this through both articles and twitter feeds, so I do not claim that this is a 100% factually correct representation of reality, but this is the general narrative.

14th of June - While the previous day had been witness to some protests, they were for the most part peaceful. However, as time grew the protests turned more and more violent. When the first spontaneous riots erupted, the first wave of violence was unleashed. The Iranian Riot Police was called in to support the regular police officers controlling the protests, and shortly after the Basij also took the scene, moving from a passive to active role of repression. The RP concentrated mostly around public buildings and streets while the Basij took position around student groups, especiallly universities.

- As things got more out of hand, more and more Basij troops were called in, as the police started dispersing. The riot police are less inclined (or, rather I should say the Basij are more inclined) to use violence so they retreated and leaving the place to the Basij. The repressive forces concentrated their assault mostly around the main Iranian universities, while the riot police were concentrating on protecting various government buildings such as the Interior Ministry. At least two people had been killed already.

- On the telecommunication front, this is when we started to hear more and more from twitters while videos were being freely updated to youtube (while youtube started to delete the more violent ones a few hours later). This is also the moment where the government realized what was happening, and ordered for the internet, phone lines and cellphones to be cut off, in order to avoid people communicating with the outside world.

late 14th, early 15th of June - This is the second wave of violent repression. At this point, violent riots had spread all over the main cities of Iran. The violence against citizens was not only the fruit of the Basij anymore, but also came from Ansar Hizbullah members. This is the point where firearms started being used. There were reports of a few murders but it was mostly fired in the air or on walls in order to scare away protesters in University dorms. It's also around the same time that the first reports and videos of an important number of non-Persian thugs shouting in Arabic and violently beating people with chains, clubs and electric batons (similar to cattle prods), which led to many speculating that lebanese Hizbullah members were now in Iran. Der Spiegel, through Voice of America, later claimed that 5000 Hizbullah fighters were passing off as Riot Police, validating the claims of many independent sources and twitter feeds.

- Universities have been the hotbed of protests, serving as a hub of anti-government demonstrations and preparations. 120 teachers from the Sharid University resigned in protest over the election results. Perfectly away of this, the Basij, Ansar and possibly Hizbullah members concentrated their attacks on University Dorms all over the country, storming them and beating students, destroying everything, especially computers.

- The end of the second wave came right before the beginning of the current manifestation. Things were getting quieter with only sporadic reports of dissenters being assaulted. Important to note: at this time. the Supreme Leader authorized the plainclothes militias to use live ammunition against the crowd if things were to get out of hands. By the end of the first two waves of protests, hundreds of people had been arrested.

midday, 15th of June - This brings us to the third wave, which just began around 12:30PM for those of us on the East Coast. Plainclothes militia opened fire on civilians protesting peacefully. Possibly up to 2 million protesters took the street. Chaos erupted in the streets, with reports of fighting all over Tehran and spreading over Iran as the news circulated. Pictures of people shot, some to death, finally surfaced and were published in the mainstream media. Violent and murderous repression has started. At least a twenty people had been killed at this by the end of the 15th of June.

- There is a major national crackdown on students, especially those with connections to the outside world going on right now. Students are fighting back in some areas. Telephones are being bugged and everyone twittering and sending videos outside of Iran are being rounded up. ISPs were shut down, government hackers are threatening people who twitter, and some of them have vanished in the last 24 hours.

- Eventually, the people started to fight back. First, they took over and burned down a Basij base, killing its commander. Later, a Basij shot a young man in the face in front of their HQ, at which point a policeman went to confront them. The Basij beat the policeman, at which point students stormed the compound, throwing molotov cocktails, burning it to the ground.

- During the night, the police entered certain neighbourhood to arrest public servants and force them to appear at tomorrow's pro-Ahmadinejad manifestation, but the people went out in the street and forced them out of their neighbourhoods. The Basij have kept on storming dorms. So far the reports are conflicting, but it appears that the death toll could be as high as 40 for the protesters, with two dead on the side of the repressive militias. This is the end of the third wave.

16th of June - Supporters of Moussavi have a manifestation planned for 5pm, Tehran time. Roughly the same number or more is expected to attend. People are dressed in black and told to protest silently.

- The pro-Ahmadinejad crowd however are planning a counter-demonstration at the very same place the supporters are supposed to gather at 3pm. Most agree that basically they are simply going to gather for a confrontation. Rumours are that they are taking position in buildings next to the parade and in bunkers to attack. Basij from all over the country are moving to Tehran and supporters are being bused from all over the country. A major showdown is expected to unfold.

- The crackdown on people using telecommunication is as strong as ever. Anyone with a laptop, camera or cellphone is attacked in the street by plainclothes militias. Tehran hotels are under lockdown to prevent the members of the foreign press not yet expulsed from reporting what is happening.

- As for the Iranian Government and different branches, there are rumours that many Army Generals have been arrested for plotting a Coup d'État, but this is still speculation at this point. The Supreme Leader has also called for a 10-day inquiry into the claims of fraud, but it has been widely dismissed as cosmetic. Moussavi and his supporters have rejected this, claiming that they want new elections. Khameini is now using the armed Basij as his own bodyguards, hundreds of them are surround him and his residence to protect from attempted assassinations. Ahmadinejad himself is in Russia right now, for a planned visit, and tries to pretend that everything is good as usual.

- The fourth wave of violence has yet to start, but it is expected to flare up once the Basij and Supporters see each others at Valli Asr, most likely attacked without provocation once again.

The Revolution lives on.

Demands from the protesters

1. Dismissal of Khamenei for not being a fair leader
2. Dismissal of Ahmadinejad for his illegal acts
3. Temporary appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as the Supreme Leader
4. Recognition of Mousavi as the President
5. Forming the Cabinet by Mousavi to prepare for revising the Constitution
6. unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
7. Dissolution of all organs of repression, public or secret.

Who is Grand Ayatollah Montazeri?

Ayatollah Montazeri is a pro-Democracy, pro-Human Rights Ayatollah who was at one point on the short list of possible successors of Khomeini, but became marginalized as he adopted what was seen as a too pro-Western, pro-Democracy stance.

Since the beginning of the Revolution, he has been one of the fiercest critics of the Regime, and one of the biggest proponents of women and civil rights for ALL Iranians, including much-maligned minorities like the Baha'is. In fact he goes further than the protections afforded to them under Sharia.

He is also a big critic of Ahmadinejad and has been seen for years as the best hope for Iran if he ever was to come to power, something that was unthinkable a mere week ago.

Links

For further information on the Basij, Global Security has a good article about the history of the Basij.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/world/iran/basij.htm

CNN has a good article where eyewitnesses describe the type of violence usually unleashed by the Basij.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/06/14/iran.eyewitness/index.html

Here is another good article from GS again giving more background information on the ruthless Ansar thugs.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/world/iran/ansar.htm

BBC profile of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3625155.stm

important: The Iranian government is looking for dissident twitterers, so if you have an account, change your location and timezone to tehran!
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Bulkoth
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comprehensive coverage, I've been following it a bit too, and one of the strange things is that it's not entirely clear the election was actually rigged, in fact some "experts" are saying it looks legit, or possibly even with some small reformist tampering.

I think either way it's hard to deny that the current leaders aren't doing themselves any favors with repression.

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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of what I've read has said that those "experts" work for the government. One of the blogs has also said that he/she has received several confirmations that the reformist candidate was told (by official sources) that he had won the election the night after the polls closed, only to have Ahmedinejad declared the landslide winner the next morning.


The up-to-date version of the info I posted above can be found here:

https://sites.google.com/site/tatsumairanupdate/
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Jacob
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pirate Bay and Anonomyous are supporting this site http://iran.whyweprotest.net/ for communications into and out of Iran. Don't know how reliable/good it is.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a pretty comprehensive forum.
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Jacob
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man that video of the girl who got shot was rough to watch.
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Bulkoth
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way to garner support...

Quote:
Earlier today CNN was reporting that parents of those killed in protests were being made to pay a $3,000 "bullet fee" -- an ostensible reimbursement to the government for the cost of the fatal bullet.


Also:

Quote:
Mir Hossein Mousavi is under 24-hour guard by secret police and no longer able to speak freely to supporters, film director and Mousavi spokesman Mohsen Makhmalbaf tells the Independent.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice guys. I suspect they know that support is about the last thing they'll get at the moment.
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Marcus Brody
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few members of Iran's national soccer team have been given lifetime bans from the sport for wearing green wristbands during a World Cup qualifier. Someone needs to tell the Iranian government that pissing off soccer fans isn't exactly the best way to reduce rioting.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/23/iran-football-protest-ban?stupid
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Jacob
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A few members of Iran's national soccer team have been given lifetime bans from the sport for wearing green wristbands during a World Cup qualifier. Someone needs to tell the Iranian government that pissing off soccer fans isn't exactly the best way to reduce rioting.


Meh, who cares? It's just soccer Wink
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Bulkoth
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like how you can be banned from your chosen career for having voted for a political party...
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not voting, but implied voting buy wearing colours in support of the opposing party.
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