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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Interview with Dr.Aarts


Washington Prism- Farid Pouya

Paul Aarts is a lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Political Science (University of Amsterdam). He is the co-editor of ZemZem, a journal on Islam, the Middle East and North Africa.
For educational purposes he cooperates with the School of International Relations in Tehran, Iran (an annual exchange programme). We interviewed him at the end of December, a few days after he and his Dutch students came back from Iran.

Washington Prism: In your opinion, what are the reasons for Mr.Ahmadinejad’s tough words on Israel? Has Iran entered into a new phase that we can term as anti-Semitic?

Paul Aarts: I think we cannot yet consider Ahmadinejad’s comments to be anti-Semitic, although it has come close to that. But the reason for his comments at this particular juncture is probably that the President has been under attack from both the reformists and, most importantly, from the conservative faction that we can call political or former political friends. One way to counter-attack is to throw in the Israel card. If, in Iran, you play that card, nobody can attack you on it. Ahmadinejad tries to attract support from the population at large and also from people in the establishment who have become his allies as a result of these remarks.
Read More

Sunday, January 29, 2006

DEMOLOGUE:Say Democracy in 4 Languages

More Democracy on the Web on DEMOLOGUE:Thanks to Mary Joyce,Domolgue talks about democracy around the world.I got opportunity to contribute to her fascinating blog and I invite you to do the same thing.We read on Deomlogue:

First, thanks to Farid Pouya, our first guest contributor, for this post on an interesting Iranian blog written in Persian. Blogger MohmadReza Vijeh criticises some Iranian religious thinkers, such as Abdolkarim Souroush. He says these people make a great mistake when they consider democracy to be equal to any law-based system. Vijeh says there have been dictatorships or feudal systems which apply (their) laws in countries and societies without being democratic!
The situation in Nepal becomes ever more dire. On Thursday, police in Pokhara fired into a crowd of protesters, injuring one man. For more on the Nepal situation read these articles and visit Democracy for Nepal, United We Blog! for a Democratic Nepal, Nepal News, and Blogdai.



Then, read these surprising Israeli reactions to the Palestinian elections : "I know what we want for the Palestinians – for them to have free and democratic elections, but only if they vote for who we want them to. What hypocrisy." says Not a Fish. "Prime Minister Abbas and his Fatah party are incredibly corrupt, it should come as no surprise that Hamas came out of the elections as the big winner." says something something.

Know anything about the state of Latvian democracy? I thought not. Take a look at this post from All About Latvia on how a conservative party is trying to keep democracy-supporter George Soros' NGO's out of the country.

Blogs, Bus Drivers & Islamic Republic

According to news many bus drivers were arrested before starting strike. Some talk about 350 people even more. One thing is clear that almost all sydicate leaders are in jail.Bus sydicate ( or their supporters) has launched a blog to cover news about strike. It is a kind of one event blog which has become more & more popular.Several blogs have constantly informed people about strike and imprisonment of sydicate leaders.Penlog,associaton of Iranian bloggers, which regroup 200 bloggers announced
from Monday morning bloggers will call humanitarian organizations around the world to ask them to put pressure on Iranian government to liberate bus drivers.

One thing is very interesting: These bus drivers wanted to negotiate about their salary and work conditions. Nobody wants to talk about democracy or freedom.Islamic Republic shows it can not manage negotiation or dialogue.Islamic Republic's founder
,Khomeyni,golden promises for Mostazafin ( Oppresed,after 26 years of revolution,have stayed dead words.Ahmadinejad's social justice slogans are bitter jokes.In 2 weeks 27th anniversary of Islamic Revolution will be "celeberated" but Islamic Republic has lost more & more its Rasion d'Etre.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bus Drivers ready for a new Strike!

Iranian bus drivers said Saturday they will start a new strike.Some of reasons are following ones: Their syndicate leader Osdanlou is still in jail,several other responsibles of syndicate have been called to go to court.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bloglogue:Dialogue between Bloggers & non Bloggers

Question is " Do u think news that we get about Iran or sensitive issues are biased? Why? and how can bloggers or non bloggers as individuals communicate non biased news?Dream or reality"?

You can join discussion by sending email to: faridpouyaATgmailDotcom
You can also send your proposition for next subject to same email.



25 Jan: Christian Alexander,Blogger,USA

Here is my brief response to your question:

Mainstream media coverage of Iran and the Middle East is biased almost no matter where it comes from, although it is important to note that some sources are much better at attempting objectivity than others. Part of this is due to inevitable differences in perspectives on various events and topics. However, political and ideological biases also play a major role. In the United States rights to free speech and free market enterprise have in many ways helped bolster journalistic integrity. However, the monopolization of media sources and the increasingly corporate nature of reporting have begun to hinder objectivity. Large media companies may not have an explicit ideological purpose, but the narrowing of diversity of competition coupled with the increasing need to make a profit off of a highly segmented market creates an environment where biased assessments are inevitable.

Blogs, by nature, act in a very different fashion from published media sources. This is because in general they explicitly acknowledge perspective. Blogs are set up as personal repositories of ideas and opinions. They lack editors, institutions and high overhead, making them much more accessible (and prone to bias). While some blogs may report on news, they do so on a personal, individual basis. Blogs can act as a positive counterpoint to mainstream news media, discussing, interpreting and redirecting their stories. Because they lack the structure of mainstream media (an issue I think Curt Hopkins might be hinting at with his reference to books), I am hesitant to rely on them as a primary source of information. However, it is clear that blogs do influence mainstream media by forcing alternative perspectives to the surface.



16 Jan:The Image of Iran
For Blogologue

By Curt Hopkins (USA)


I am no specialist on Iran. Most of my interest, aside from the problems of bloggers, which are legion, lies in a desire someday to visit the Friday Mosque in Isfahan and a romantic wish for the unlikely opportunity to drink Shiraz in Shiraz.


As a (largely former) journalist I have a perspective regarding the alleged unfairness of the “Western” media toward Iran that some do not. I doubt that Iran is portrayed as a troublesome rogue country due to the “agenda” of some cabal of politically-connected editors. Editors’ time and judgment are constantly being impinged upon less by political concerns than by economic ones. Newspapers, as an example, are rarely independent anymore. There is no longer any news judgment that could credibly be called “independent.” After several decades of consolidation and another of competition from the Internet, they are more concerned with maximizing profits through cutting expenses and achieving the greatest possible readership for their corporate owners than with promoting some politically expedient view of Iran as that place on the map that says “here be monsters.”



As a blogger, I have plenty of places to go to even out any assumed bias in the coverage of Iran. I have individual blogs by English-speaking Iranians and Iranian expatriates. I have news wires, radio and sites like Google News and Topix.



I think possibly the most important resource I have access to is a mysterious data-delivery technology that utilizes a “long tail” approach to knowledge retention and recovery. It’s called “books.” Portable, enterable and exitable at multiple points and full of a range of informational and analytical sources, they are an exciting new adjunct to the more common and time-tested electronic data systems. Because they are written over a long time, usually in private, they often feature considered opinions that are beyond the reach of the momentary influence of politics, economics or media. So, for instance, I know that Iran is the inheritor of a civilization thousands of years long; that it influenced the definitive formation of Judaism and Christianity; and that it has had military might formidable enough to hold off the armies of Greece and Rome. (I want to say one word to you. Just one word…Books.)



So, when you ask what image of Iran is presented in the West, you also have to ask, who sees this image?



Naturally, those editors I mentioned earlier are going to choose news about Iran that is at the top of the perceived scale of importance for their audience. For that reason, Iran is frequently presented as a threat to the safety of the region and the world. While there are millions of stories in Iran, the stories of uncapping nuclear reactors are stories as well, so I do not think the country is being maligned, even if it is not being portrayed in its entirety. It does not help matters that Iran currently has a president who is, (at least for the sake of argument) in possible comparison with previous Iranian leaders, not simply governing with a different set of values from the Western world, but outright nuts, or at least evincing a combination of ignorance and cruelty that would embarrass a Klansman. It is even less reasonable for an Iranian to expect positive coverage of Iran with a president like Ahmadinejad that it is for an American to expect positive coverage of his country with a president like Bush.


14 Jan
: Dr.Djamshid Assadi,Paris, Professor of Economics:

We get different news from different new agencies and media. So at the end, I believe that reporting and news, because of a relatively free competition in the democratic countries, cannot be exuberantly biased. Still, receivers of news do not understand necessarily the meaning of the reported events. They consume news, but they do not automatically comprehend. Do we understand medical reports, even when they diagnosis our own body? Certainly not. How do we expect though to realize and analyze the news we receive concerning economic, political, diplomatic or cultural issues? Especially when they are combined!
After all, can we escape biased analysis? I do not think so. Every analysis is influenced by the personal traits of the analyst. Many might call it biased interpretation.
Bloggers do not escape from the above rule. They give their own interpretations. They cannot help it. Their interest is not though an illusionary unbiased “truth”, but more interpretations, so consequently more competition and finally more choices for us, consumers.
There is another interest. Bloggers can share interpretations and cross them with more people. Hence, they might integrate more sophisticated points of view. Dialogue is the sole issue. There is no ultimate unbiased news or interpretation.


14 Jan:Shahram Kholdi,a UK based blogger and PhD Candidate, Persian Studies, University of Manchester:
I think the question that you ask is a simple one but with profound implications. It has such complex underpinnings that one has to address it from different dimensions; I would address it as follows: How much do we really that we know, that we do not know that we know, and that we do not know that we know?

Sounds Rumsfeldian? Well, you bet it does! But the situation about the Iranian-EU showdown regarding Iran's reluctance to co-operate as the EU (and the US right behind it) wishes. What is astounding for me is a new prevailing culture of "I have it on good authority" and a surge in the usage of "anecdotal" resources by colleagues and journalists, which are more or less unverifiable by the rest of the planet concerning Iran's true wishes vis-a-vis its mixed signals.

But, has it not been the case for almost twenty-five years that most analysts and scholars, journalists and reporters, and other observers have been wrestling constantly with different modules as to how best we can decipher and makes sense of the almost always incomprehensible diplomatic language of the Islamic Republic as a regime? Does Iran think with one head or two heads and then taking in one or two or three different languages expressing different ideas coming from each of these heads? Is it the expediency that has the last word or the Supreme Leader itself? Or, is it the case that there is constant bargaining going on, and then at the table of the Expediency Council, the team with the best cards at hand wins the game in all eventuality?

One of the most interesting methods that has become popular amongst analysts, more than ever, since the Presidency of Mohammad Khatami, is trying to make sense of what actually Islamic Republic's next move might be by juxtaposing different officials' speeches in one week. Such an exercise can be seen in all types of reports that put next to each other Ahmadinejad's and Rafsanjani's speeches and added to that Hojatol-Islam Seyyed Ahmad Khatami's (no relations with the previous President) during the Friday prayer sermons. Interestingly enough, we hear that "Islamic Republic enjoys a united stance over the nuclear negotiations". How can I knock it down? I would just throw an anecdotal grenade that can be substantiated by the previous speeches of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei: "Nuclear issue is our nation's fundamental right and no one is allowed to compromise it".

This quotation basically means that upon the a stern order of the Supreme Leader "all official rhetoric of the Islamic Republic on the Nuclear issue must unite". But does it really mean that Ayatollah Rafsanjani thinks that the Islamic Republic should pursue the negotiations along the hostile rhetorical path set by His Excellency President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinjed? Absolutely not! Then, we listen to the BBC's interview with Dr. El-Baradei, the IAEA's Secretary General, and informs us that Dr. Larijani called him and told him that Iran wants to continue the negotiations providing there is a clear-cut schedule is in place (!).

Speculation has almost gone rampant, and it seems we need to develop a new methodology as to what official statement exactly means when it is issued by an authority in public, or how it should be interpreted when a contradicting/complementing statement is shared by another authority with an international civil servant at another point on the same issue. This methodology need not to be an academic one, quite the contrary. It needs to be based on fundamental methods of investigative journalism. Rhetoric should be understood as rhetoric; repeated rhetoric should be identified as some type of an ideological dogma with no necessarily immediate international consequences; open and public clash of statements between different authorities (such as the ones between Rafsanjani and Khatami -former presidents- on the one hand, and Ahmadinejad, on the other hand) should be considered as summing up a true difference in direction and purpose of the Iran's international prestige and its foreign policy. Still, nothing should be blown out of proportion.

Comparative perspectives can be even more useful in helping us to understand the position of one side, Iran, against the other side, the US. When the United States of America with all different mechanisms of Foreign Policy, from the Congress to the White House, remains elusive in terms of the predictability of its next move against Iran, it should come as no surprise that the poly-centric power apparatus of the Islamic Republic is far more difficult to predict under such circumstances. Often, one reads too much or too little in the public statements that come from Iran.

What sounds to us as nonsense, often sounds nonsense because one is politically biased against it, whether it is issued by Bush or Ahmadinejad. If one does not like an American attack on Iran, one might trivialize the Ahmadinejad's rhetoric by minimizing the actual role that he can really play to influence foreign policy in Iran. If one is politically biased in favour of an American attack, one might exaggerate the rhetorical statements of Mr. Ahmadinejad with respect to the nuclear negotiations and maximize his role in influencing the Iranian foreign policy relative to his supposed closeness to the Supreme Leader.

I have so far observed similar approaches by both anti-war and pro-war bloggers and reporters. Cancelling out the exaggerations and trivializations might leave us with a little a bit of good analysis free from spin, anecdotal sources, and wishful thinking analysis. Unfortunately, it would be too little to tell us what actually is going on amongst Khatami, Rafsanjani, Larijani, Ahmadinejad, and the rest of the bunch on the Iranian National Security Council. Such blogohetorics (blog rhetoric) say nothing to us as ro whether people of Iran, those in major cities, along with the Kurds in Kurdestan, and Arabs in Khouzestan (to name a few disgruntled ethnic minorities) really do or do not welcome an American attack.



11 Jan:Lars Akerhaug, Oslo Norway, is first blogger to share his idea:In general, we witness serious problems when it comes to Western media coverage of the Middle East. The perspective is mostly that of the West as an actor, rather than that of the actors in the Middle East. This does not by default lead to a bias, but it leads to a lack of serious information, as the different perspectives are often omitted. If we look at Iran as an example, Norwegian media has in the controversy of some of President Ahmadinejad's speeches only been reporting the content and Western (including Israeli) reactions towards these, rather than discussing the real political motivations behind these statements. Many have, plausably, argued that the statements of Ahmadinejad is as much about the internal affairs in Iran that it is about Israel and the plight of the Palestinians.

It is of course reasonable to talk about the picture of the West as 'eurocentrism'. However, it is probably as well related to the sorry state of media in the Middle East in general. If we take Arab media, there are really a scarcity of real debate or coverage of real political conflicts, Al-jazeera being one notable exception to what is mostly mouthpieces of different Arab regimes. The situation in Iran might be better, but as long as media in the Middle East, and especially the large media channels does not provide insight, it is also difficult to expect that Western media will.

Blogging, and in general independent media, has been a valuable source for information. Nobody covering the situation on the ground in Lebanon and Syria, for example, could do this seriously without also reading the blogs and other independent news sources released continously in both Arabic and English (by both expats and residents). And Iran, which is one step ahead of the Arab world when it comes to internet usage, is probably neither exept this tendency. In the future we might hope that independent media would be a counterweight both to the bias of Western media as well as the servility of Middle Eastern sources. However, we should not overlook the process witnessed now in all Western countries to co-opt independent media by commercial forces. Blogging is no longer reserved for individuals and to larger and larger degree taken over by big coorperations.

11 Jan:Dr.Majid Tehranian,USA,director of the Toda Institute, Adjunct Professor of International Relations, Soka University of America of Toda,shared his thought through an email:
I believe that all media are biased. That is the nature of human understanding. We all look at the world from a particular standpoint.

But since most of our knowledge of the world today is through the media, media bias is a critical issue. Most of the media in the world today are owned by nine major transnational media corporations (see my article on Peace Journalism in Harvard Journal of Press/Politics, 7:2, Spring 2002). Since most of these corporations are
Anglo-American, medias bias also is Anglo-American.

The media bias on Iran is visible only to those who are aware of what goes on in Iran.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

BBC Filtered! 100%

Bad news is that BBC is filtered by new I.R. government's softwares! According to BBC Persian, first BBC became filtered in small towns and now finally Tehran has become a target.
Millions vistors of this site can not be in touch with news. Iranian government wants to isolate Iran with all its power!

DaralHayat:They See What They Want to See

DarAlHayat:The experts say that there are 700,000 blogs in Iran, but I've also read that there are only 100,000. The huge difference, as estimated by internet sites specialized in the blogging phenomenon, shows how shaky the information is and how much we need to be careful about dealing with information, analyzing it, and taking positions based on such information.
We can be certain that Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heads a hard-line, or extremist regime, and that successive Iranian governments have sought to control or muzzle the media. Then the blogs arrived, free of the control that exists on the traditional press. We also know that there are 70 million people in Iran, that the level of education is 90%, that 70% of people are under 30, and that the majority of bloggers are from this segment of society.
It's an undisputed fact that there is no legislation or law in Iran against blogging, although bloggers are held accountable if they deal with forbidden material, which is considerable - from western music to local politics.
If all of the above is true, then it follows that out of 100,000 active blogs (I'm not going to use the 700,000 figure), only 4 bloggers have been imprisoned thus far, and only a few dozen have been detained. This means that the government's campaign against blogs might not be as fierce as hostile western sources maintain. Or, perhaps the government has failed to suppress blogs, especially since bloggers can conceal their names if they want to. Or, perhaps the explanation is a mix of these two elements.
I'm not forgetting that I'm a journalist whose mission is to publish, not conceal. Therefore, I insist on the right of every Iranian to freedom of speech, even if it is critical. In fact, I insist on the idea that someone should criticize if he or she wants to, and I take no offense at republishing articles from the western press that criticize the Iranian regime, or express an admiration for western music. Nevertheless, I understand that the Iranian regime, or any regime in a conservative country, would like to conceal sites that promote excessive sexual openness, or insult Islam and Muslims. I'm completely convinced that the great majority of Iranians, and every people in the region, would support their governments' campaigns in these two areas.
Of course, such a campaign could cover a wider project, which is to go after political opponents under the slogan of protecting the Constitution, or safeguarding independence. This isn't acceptable at all, especially in Iran, where there is no danger to the regime from the inside. The President, with his well-known policies, won a vast majority of votes; if another democratic election were held tomorrow the result wouldn't be much different.
In other words, a regime that it is in a position of strength should tolerate any domestic opposition, and allow various things on Iranian websites. If it does so, it robs the enemies of Iran of a weapon that they always use to slander the regime, namely that freedom of speech is restricted, and that the conservatives punish such activities. In reality, this might take place, giving the accusation a kind of credibility, even if 20 people out of 100,000 or 700,000 are arrested.
I'll leave the discussion to the experts. Recently, a book by Nasrin Alavi on Iranian blogs was published, entitled "We are Iran: Persian Blogs"; it is a critical sphere but it offers useful information to interested readers. On the Global Voices Online website, Farid Pouya wrote an article last month entitled "Iranian Hezbollah Goes Blogging," in which he said that among the thousands of Iranian blogs, there are many sites pro-Hezbollah, so it's not true that every blog is run by a liberal democratic who wants regime change.
Most pro-Hezbollah bloggers use the party's name on their blogs. Pouya says that "If we like them or not they are a part of blogosphere and represent a faction of population." He notes that the term Hezbollah in the Iranian context is quite different from the Lebanese Hezbollah. "In Iran, from beginning of the revolution, pro-Islamic Republic forces called themselves Hezbollah without organizing a political party."

It appears that Hezbollah (in the Iranian sense) blogs are increasing noticeably, to the degree that their authors have organized themselves into a "Muslim Bloggers Committee," to promote their ideas and defend them against secular bloggers. Islamic blogs are responding to blogs that they consider agents of the enemies of Islam. Many women are listed among partisans of Hezbollah.
I believe that the above provides an objective picture of the state of Iranian blogs, so I find the accusations made by Iran's enemies fabricated, for the obvious reasons, even though I admit that the government in Tehran is trying to block some opposition blogs, and foreign sites through which they are relayed. The enemies of Iran, from the neoconservatives and Israeli apologists, have made Iranian blogs a sign that there is opposition to the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and there should be. However, it's not as big as the enemies of this government want it to be. All of the blogs aren't against the government, and the fact that they are mostly authored by young people means that they don't represent all Iranians.
The enemies of the Iranian regime who hear the President talk about wiping Israel off the map and returning the Jews to Europe, or Alaska, or about exaggerations in the Holocaust, see what they want to see, and are blind to the fact that computers are available to all Iranians, and that there are 1,500 internet cafes in Tehran alone.

Ahwaz & Bombs!

IRNA:Again bomb explosion injured people in Ahwaz and burned down buildings!

Monday, January 23, 2006

National Confidence Party

Karrubi launched his party,his newspaper and his site. On NCP's site there are simple instructions for people who are interested to become members. Reformist parties have always been criticised not to do enough to attract members. It seems that Karrubi tries to target this problem.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

CIA, Iranian Ayatholas and Hard Cash!

I continue my back to history news with International Herald Tribune March 4, 1980:
Carter Ignored CIA IN CUTTING IRAN ISLAM PAYOFF, Journalist says

President Carter abruptly halted CIA payments supporting Iran's Islamic religious affairs in 1977 despite warnings that the cut off would undermine the Shah, according to Politics Magazine....Mr.Drooz said that the CIA payments began in 1953 following the overthrow of the Shah by Mossadegh.The CIA assisted in restoring the Shah to the throne and began payments to the country's ayatholahs and mullahs-in essence buying support for the Shah.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Shah:Oil Companies Helped to Oust Him

In a couple of weeks Iranian government will celebrate 27th anniversary of Iranian Revolution.I started to dig into newspapers and magazines to get interesting info, a kind of back to HISTORY trip:
Jan 19 1980: International Herald Tribune: Shah said two years before he was overthrown he had heard from two different sources connected with oil companies that the regime in Iran would change.We believe that there was a plan to ensure less oil was offered to the world markets in order to bring about a price. He added One country was to be chosen for the sacrifice..It seems that the country chosen to drop its oil production was mine.
Next Back to History will about CIA & Ayatholas

Thursday, January 19, 2006

'Divine mission' driving Iran's new leader

Telegraph:
As Iran rushes towards confrontation with the world over its nuclear programme, the question uppermost in the mind of western leaders is "What is moving its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to such recklessness?"
Political analysts point to the fact that Iran feels strong because of high oil prices, while America has been weakened by the insurgency in Iraq.But listen carefully to the utterances of Mr Ahmadinejad - recently described by President George W Bush as an "odd man" - and there is another dimension, a religious messianism that, some suspect, is giving the Iranian leader a dangerous sense of divine mission.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Afghan Ambassador:Drug is Main Problem for Democracy

Mr.Tandar,Afghanistan ambassador in Belgium and responsible of afghan delegation in European Union, in an interview with WashingtonPrism said " Main problem for our new democracy is drug!He added Pressure must be upon demand and offer at same time.Afghan
drug business is about 2 billion dollars but same drugs make 300 billion euro in the West.Interview will be published soon on WashingtonPrism.org

I really enjoyed interviewing Mr.Tandar.He is very kind, smart and friendly person.
In his office we can see president's picture,afghan flag and a picture of Massoud.I wish one day we ,Iranian, can have ambassadors like Mr.Tandar!

A Student journal Banned!

According to Gooya news,Sirjan city Azad University's student journal,Blackboard, was banned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Is BBC Ok?

BBC Persian:According to BBC reporter in Tehran, most of Iranian population back Islamic Republic policy for nuclear technology and they have become disappointed regarding Western countries position.
Question is HOW SHE DISCOVERED IRANIAN PEOPLE BACK IRANIAN STATE IN THIS CASE?
ANY STATISTICS? NO
ANY FREEDOM OF SPEECH?NO

Please send serious reportes to Iran next time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Corporate Responsibility!

RSF:Corporate responsibility : Reporters Without Borders urges Internet users and bloggers to support its recommendations on freedom of expression.

On 6 January, Reporters Without Borders issued six concrete proposals aimed at ensuring that Internet-sector companies respect free expression when operating in repressive countries. The organisation calls on bloggers and Internet user to sign an online petition in support of this initiative.

To support this initiative, Sign the petition

Find out more about corporate responsibility in the Internet sector

These recommendations are addressed to the US government and US legislators because all the companies named in this document are based in the United States. Nonetheless, they concern all democratic countries and have therefore been sent to European Union officials and to the Secretary General of the OECD as well.

Reporters Without Borders’ proposals

- E-mail services :

No US company would be allowed to host e-mail servers within a repressive country*. So, if the authorities of a repressive country want personal information about the user of a US company’s e-mail service, they would have to request it under a procedure supervised by US judicial authorities.

- Search engines :

Search engines would not be allowed to incorporate automatic filters that censor “protected” words. The list of “protected” keywords such as “democracy” or “human rights” should be appended to the law or code of conduct.

- Content hosts (websites, blogs, discussion forums etc)

US companies would not be allowed to locate their host servers within repressive countries. If the authorities of a repressive country desire the closure of a publication hosted by a US company, they would have to request it under a procedure supervised by the US judicial authorities. Like search engines, content hosts would not be allowed to incorporate automatic filters that censor “protected” key-words.

Internet censorship technologies

Reporters Without Borders proposes two options :

Option a : US companies would no longer be permitted to sell Internet censorship software to repressive states.

Option b : They would still be able to market this type of software but it will have to incorporate a list of “protected” keywords that are rendered technically impossible to censor.

Internet surveillance technology and equipment

US companies would have to obtain the express permission of the Department of Commerce in order to sell to a repressive country any technology or equipment which can be used to intercept electronic communications or which is specifically designed to assist the authorities in monitoring Internet users.

- Training

US companies would have to obtain the express permission of the Department of Commerce before providing any programme of training in Internet surveillance and censorship techniques in a repressive country.

* A list of countries that repress freedom of expression would be drawn up on the basis of documents provided by the US State Department and would be appended to the code of conduct or law that is adopted. This list would be regularly updated.

Note : The purpose of these recommendations is to protect freedom of expression. They in no way aim to restrict the necessary cooperation between governments in their efforts to combat terrorism, paedophilia and cyber-crime.

The initiative

Reporters Without Borders is convinced that a law regulating the activities of Internet companies should only be drafted as a last resort, and we therefore recommend a two-step approach. Initially, a group of congressmen should formally ask Internet corporations to reach an agreement among themselves on a code of conduct that includes the recommendations we make at the end of this document. The companies would be urged to use the help of organisations specialised in freedom of expression in drafting the document. The request would include a deadline for the companies to submit their draft code of conduct to the congressmen concerned.

In the event that no satisfactory code of conduct has been drawn up when the deadline expires, or the proposed code has not been accepted by a sufficient number of representative companies, the congressmen would set about drafting a law that would aim to ensure that US companies respect freedom of expression when they are operating in repressive countries and elsewhere.

Background

Reporters Without Borders has repeatedly condemned the ethical lapses displayed by certain Internet sector companies when operating in repressive countries. Here are some examples that have caused us particular concern :

Since 2002, Yahoo ! has agreed to censor the results of the Chinese version of its search engine in accordance with a blacklist provide by the Chinese government. Reporters Without Borders also recently proved that Yahoo ! helped the Chinese police identify and then convict a journalist who was criticising human rights abuses in China. The e-mail servers of Yahoo !’s Chinese division are located inside China.

Microsoft censors the Chinese version of its MSN Spaces blog tool. You cannot enter search strings such as “democracy” or “human rights in China” or “capitalism” as they are automatically rejected by the system. Microsoft also closed down a Chinese journalist’s blog following pressure from the government in Beijing. This blog was hosted on servers located in the United States.

All sources of news and information that are censored in China have been withdrawn by Google from the Chinese version of its news search engine, Google News.

Secure Computing has sold Tunisia technology that allows it to censor independent news and information websites such as the Reporters Without Borders one.

Fortinet has sold the same kind of software to Burma.

Cisco Systems has marketed equipment specifically designed to make it easier for the Chinese police to carry out surveillance of electronic communications. Cisco is also suspected of giving Chinese engineers training in how to use its products to censor the Internet.

We believe these practices violate the right to freedom of expression as defined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was proclaimed by the United Nations when it was founded and which is supposed to apply to everyone, including business corporations. Furthermore, such ethical failings on the part of American companies damage the image of the Unites States abroad.


Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, London, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has more than 120 correspondents worldwide.

Petition to rescue Political Prisoners in Karaj

Several Iranian bloggers signed this petition to ask the world to step in to help Iranian political prisoners....
New Petition:


People of the world,
Amnesty International,
International Red Cross,
UN Human Rights Commission,
EU Human Rights Commission,

On the eighth week of the hunger strike of the political prisoners in Rejayi Shahr Prison, the government of Islamic Republic of Iran , has relocated the prisoners to facilities with harsher conditions, instead of assessing their demands.

Political prisoners in Iran live in the worst of conditions. Many of them have lost function in parts of their bodies as a result of the medieval tortures. The prisoners are constantly harassed, their cells raided and their belongings are looted regularly. Many political prisoners are kept in solitary confinements for prolonged periods. The Iranian government accepts no responsibility to provide food, medical care and even security for the lives of the political prisoners. According to different reports, drug addiction, contagious dermatological diseases and deadly illnesses such as AIDS and Hepatitis are very common among Iranian prisoners. Under these conditions is that the Iranian government has transferred the political prisoners to the cells of prisoners with heavy crimes and to confinements, where every month at least one person is reported dead in fights. The reasons for these transfers are to make an excuse for the “sudden death” of the political prisoners.

Political prisoners Afshin Baimani, Valiyollah Feyz-Mahdavi, Amir Hossein Heshmat Saran, Arjan g Davoodi, Yaser Majidi, Heydar Noroozi, Hojjat Zamani, Asad Shaghaghi, Behrooz Javid Tehrani, Mehrdad Lohrasbi and Alireza Karam Kheyrabadi have gone on hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment of the political prisoners in Iran and demand an inspection of the prisons in Iran by an International Committee.

We the undersigned support the demands of the brave political prisoners on huger strike in Rejayi Shahr prison and urge the international human rights organizations (Amnesty International, International Red Cross, United Nations Human Rights Committee and European Union Human Rights Committee) and those who value basic human rights for everyone in the world, to act against the severe human rights abuse and inhumane treatment of the political prisoners in Iran by:

-Pushing for unconditional release of all political prisoners in Iran.

-Sending delegations to inspect the prisons in Iran, meet with the political prisoners in Iran and their families and inform the world of the outcomes.




Sincerely,

Afghanistan embassador in Brussels!

I should interview afghan embassador in Brussels for WashingtonPrism on Thursday. We wish to ba able to cover more issues about this country. If you have an interesting question to ask, please let me know.I will invite him to joining blogging world too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A New Airplane Crash!

BBC:Several revloutionary gurads leaders lost their lives in a new airplane crash in Iran.At least 11 were killed.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Iranian Nuclear Program, Russia, and International Law

CDI:The confidential International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report provided to Russia and other members of the IAEA Board of Governors declares in paragraph 85: "Based on all information currently available to the Agency, it is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement."
Russia is wise to view the Iranian nuclear matter in the context of international law, which in turn requires referral to the Security Council. Under international law the "right" to nuclear energy functions more like a privilege, subject to conditions and restrictions Iran has flaunted, as indicated by the IAEA report making clear that Iran has followed a pattern of concealment and deception.

Russia also is wise in its security policy to highlight the central importance of opposing terrorism, and, despite Iranian assertions that Iran will regard Chechnya as an internal matter, Russia should not overlook Iran's track record as a state sponsor of terrorism, including having been found liable in courts of law in connection with terrorist acts.

The temptation to view the Iranian manner in terms of business opportunities should be balanced against Russia's desire to be viewed as a global leader as well as its anti-terrorist stance.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Buses Turned on Lights to Protest!

Today buses in Tehran will move with lights turned on all day to protest against detention of their syndicate leader Asdanlou!He was arrested because of bus drivers' strike.

Crash of 79: Shah attacked ME with nuclear bombs!

There is a great fiction book about Iran: Crash of 79.Book was written in 1976 by Paul Erdman and became a bestseller. Iranian Shah attacked Persian Gulf countries and announced its Empire. He was sure that western countries can not attack him because of few nuclear bombs that he had.....end of story was real tragic for WHOLE WORLD!!!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Crash of 2006

Chicago Tribune:By Marvin Zonis, a professor emeritus at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago and the author of "Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah."

Since the election of new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, Iran's leaders have taken to making unusually frank statements committing their country to mastering the entire nuclear fuel cycle, thus giving them the potential to divert enriched uranium or plutonium for constructing nuclear weapons. Here is a sampling:

"We want the fuel cycle. It is the right of all countries, including Iran."

President Ahmadinejad,

Sept. 18, 2005

"The Iranian nation does not accept that achieving nuclear science could be permitted for one country and prohibited for another on baseless grounds."

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Oct. 21, 2005

While the Iranian government's commitment to an independent nuclear fuel cycle has become all too evident, so too has their deep rooted anti-Zionism and anti-Judaism.

"Israel must be wiped off the map."

President Ahmadinejad at the "World Without Zionism" conference, Oct. 26, 2005

"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in gas chambers, although we don't accept this claim. If the Europeans are honest, they should give some of their provinces in Europe--like in Germany, Austria or other countries--to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe."

President Ahmadinejad at the Islamic Conference Organization, Mecca, Dec. 8, 2005

What is going on here?

Two conclusions seem warranted.

The Iranians are pursuing mastery of an independent nuclear fuel cycle so they can "go" nuclear when they want to go nuclear. Iran, under the Shah, began acquiring nuclear expertise in the 1960s and the country has been committed ever since to mastering the nuclear process.

Hatred of Israel and a deep disdain for Judaism is a bedrock of the Iranian revolution. Ayatollah Khomeini made no secret of his hatred and Iran is the leading advocate of traditional anti-Semitism. ("The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a 100-year-old book that asserts the Jewish cabal's plot to rule the world, is still published in Iran and even exhibited in international book fairs.) Despite being a "people of the Book," as the Koran has it, many Iranians see the Jews and Israel as a living rebuke and offense to Islam. The failure of Islamic states of the Middle East to eliminate Israel has served as a powerful psychological blow to the Iranians.

What is so menacing is the merging of these two Iranian commitments--a nuclear-armed Iran committed to the elimination of the state of Israel. While it is impossible to know with any degree of certainty if this is what the Iranians are up to, it would be folly to ignore the president's remarks and not take them with the utmost seriousness. Many, including many German Jews, made the fatal mistake of not taking a past leader's anti-Semitism seriously.

U.S. policy

American interests both collide and coincide with Iranian interests. Most important, the U.S. wishes to see Iran shorn of any nuclear capability. (But U.S. credibility as the world's leader of anti-proliferation efforts has been damaged by its decision to transfer nuclear technology to India, which also is being allowed to buy some $5 billion of U.S. weaponry--all apparently done to build up India as a counterweight to growing Chinese power.)

The U.S. sees Iran as "sheltering and supporting" Islamic radicals. President Bush has made the point that the "United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor terrorists, because they are equally guilty of murder."

Iranian and U.S. goals also collide in Iraq, where Iran seeks an Iranian-dominated Shiite government.

In some ways, U.S. and Iranian goals have coincided--both governments hated the Taliban in Afghanistan. Both governments hated Saddam Hussein. The U.S. ousted both.

President Bush has referred to Iran as an "outlaw regime." That is clear. What is not clear is what to do about that "outlaw regime."

The Israelis and their chief lobbying ally in the U.S., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have recently complained about U.S. inaction. The Israeli chief of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, warns that the world has until March to seek a diplomatic solution to the problem of Iranian nukes, after which "other means" would need to be pursued. Not long after, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon added that "Iran's enemies have `the capability' to use military force to disrupt Iran's bid for nuclear arms, adding that `before exercising it, every attempt should be made to pressure Iran into stopping its activity.'"

But the Israelis complain that despite these warnings, the U.S. failed to insist that the International Atomic Energy Agency refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible political and economic sanctions. The U.S., according to the Israelis, also failed to protest Russia's selling Iran anti-aircraft missiles, which Iran would use to protect its nuclear sites. The Israelis also worry over the permission the U.S. has given its ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to talk directly to the Iranians about Iraq. They fear that the U.S. needs Iranian cooperation to stabilize Iraq to allow significant U.S. troop withdrawals in 2006. In return, the U.S. has lessened its pressure on Iran.

All this has led AIPAC to issue an unusual criticism of Bush administration policies, warning that further delay in dealing with Iran's nuclear program "poses a severe danger to the United States and our allies, and puts America and our interests at risk."

President Bush has repeatedly refused to rule out the use of force against Iran's nuclear program. "As I say," the president said on Israeli TV in October, "all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and, you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country." The U.S. has no good options in Iran. Neither do the Israelis. But what seems certain is that those countries will have to choose among those bad alternatives and act in 2006. It won't be pretty.

Bush wants Persian to be Taught in Schools

According to WashingtonPrismIn year 2006 & 2007,Persian language will be taught in some schools in US.This project is in National Security framework in order to understand culture and language.....

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Short Stories

Ganji, Iranian jailed journalist and writer, is still in jail and according to his wife, he is very sick and life in danger.
Filtering become more efficient in Iran.More sites have become victims.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Did the CIA give Iran the bomb?

Guardian:She had probably done this a dozen times before. Modern digital technology had made clandestine communications with overseas agents seem routine. Back in the cold war, contacting a secret agent in Moscow or Beijing was a dangerous, labour-intensive process that could take days or even weeks. But by 2004, it was possible to send high-speed, encrypted messages directly and instantaneously from CIA headquarters to agents in the field who were equipped with small, covert personal communications devices. So the officer at CIA headquarters assigned to handle communications with the agency's spies in Iran probably didn't think twice when she began her latest download. With a few simple commands, she sent a secret data flow to one of the Iranian agents in the CIA's spy network. Just as she had done so many times before.

But this time, the ease and speed of the technology betrayed her. The CIA officer had made a disastrous mistake. She had sent information to one Iranian agent that exposed an entire spy network; the data could be used to identify virtually every spy the CIA had inside Iran.
Mistake piled on mistake. As the CIA later learned, the Iranian who received the download was a double agent. The agent quickly turned the data over to Iranian security officials, and it enabled them to "roll up" the CIA's network throughout Iran. CIA sources say that several of the Iranian agents were arrested and jailed, while the fates of some of the others is still unknown.

Reading Iran

Prospect Magazine,Tom Porteous:......On the one hand, there is the conservative and unelected, though pragmatic, expediency council, with expanded powers under the control of former president and senior cleric Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani, a godfather-like figure alleged to have amassed a huge fortune since the revolution, was expected to win the summer's presidential election but lost to Ahmadinejad in the last round. He remains a powerful force in Iran not only because of his role as head of the council but because of his patrimonial network of political support.


On the other hand, there is the newly elected president, a man of humble origins with support among the lower classes and strong links to the Revolutionary Guard, the Basij and probably to extremist cliques such as the Hojjatieh and the Abadgaran ("Developers"). It has become clear since his election that Ahmadinejad represents a close-knit network of factions populated by ideologues with a strong sense of entitlement (in part because of their service in the Iran-Iraq war) and resentment that they have been hitherto marginalised from power. Having grasped the presidency, this network is now seeking to assert itself and expand its power base through a mixture of populist sloganeering, backroom political manoeuvring and stealthy purges of opponents. .....

Woody Allen,George and Mahmoud

Once great Woody said There is no problem if people speak with God...But the Problem Starts when God Starts talking to People!
I think he is really RIGHT! God told George Bush to invade Iraq and God recently talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...On both cases we see the outcome!
Thank Woody for your great insight!How you are so visionary? Does God talk to u too Woody?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Iran wants to check European human rights records!

BBC Persian: "According to BBC, Ahmadinejad wants to send Iranian delegation to check human rights abuses in Europe.He says Europe can do same thing and send his human rights watcher in Iran. At the end world will judge both reports".

Honest with you there is no doubt in Europe we are witnessing human rights abuses such as racism, discrimination and so on. I think nobody denies that in Europe and people and organizations are working to improve situation.
Iran is another story,mass executions in 80s where thousands people were killed including many teenagers. Religious minorities under pressure(pressure means exclusion from job market among other things.You can add to this list more than you can think...........

Iranian President is becoming an Kafakain "personage" or in modern terms a David Lynchien one........EraserHead......maybe..........

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Lord of War

Yesterday I had a chance to go watching "The Lord of War" movie ( Nicolas Cage,Ian Holmes).Story is about a weapon trader or smuggler ( it depends how you see & judge this activity!!!).Two final sentences apperared at the end of film:" Free lance weapon smugglers or traders make a good money on their deals. But 5 governments are the biggest sellers:USA UK Russia China France. All five members of permenant members of SECURITY COUNCIL in UN!

Britain has dropped its allegation.....

January 02, 2006
The Times: Bomb allegations withdrawn
By Michael Evans


Britain has dropped its allegation that Iran has been supplying extremist groups in southern Iraq with bombs.
After a thorough assessment of the latest intelligence, military and diplomatic officials have stopped pointing the finger at Tehran, merely saying that the new technology matched bomb-making expertise traditionally found in Syria and Lebanon.

The roadside explosive devices at the centre of the allegation have an infra-red triggering system and have killed ten British soldiers since the beginning of May.

It is ackowledged that the devices or the technology to construct them must have been smuggled to Iraq across the Iranian border into Maysan province in the south, but British officials no longer say that there is any intelligence linking the bombs to Tehran or even to elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Another journal is out of game!

BBC Persian:Goverment will not permit Asia, an economic journal,to be published anymore.Newspaper site is still active: asianews.ir.

Reformist Deputy's Tough Words on Ahmadinejad

Akbar Alami is among few reformist deputies in Iranian parliament. He criticized Ahmadinejad's Foreign policy and his tough words on Israel. He considered Ahmadinejad's declaration was very helpful for Israel. According to him Billions of Dollars from Jewish organizations have been injected in Israel to fortify this country after Ahmadinejad's radical words on Israel.Alami said Iran is condemened by Internationa lorganizations, Iranian money was blocked in Italy....He also warned about Mesbah Yazdi, Ulta conservative Ayatholah, in country's affairs.

Iran takes Nuclear Stride!

Aljazeera:Iran has developed technology to separate uranium from its ore, reinforcing the Islamic republic's self-sufficiency in the nuclear fuel cycle, state television has reported.
The technology, known as a mixer-settler, is used to separate the uranium from the mined ore to produce concentrated uranium oxide - also known as yellowcake - which can then be converted and enriched in nuclear fuel work.

Amir Entezam:Iranian Mandela!

Wikipedia:Abbas Amir-Entezam(in Persian: عباس امیر انتظام) was the spokesman and the secretary of the Interim Cabinet of Mehdi Bazargan in 1979. In 1981 when he was ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran in Scandinavian countries, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, asked him to come back quickly to Tehran via an encrypted message. After coming back to Tehran he was arrested because of allegations based on some documents retrieved from U.S. embassy takeover and received life time prison from court. He was released in 1998, but in less than 3 months he was arrested again because of an interview with Tous daily newspaper, one of the reformist newspapers of the time.He is now in a home arrest situation. His message is to promote democracy, human rights and peace in Iran. Amir Entezam did his studies in USA and always rejected Islamic Republic's accusations.His letters to United Nations and Human rights organizations about torture in Iran made him known to the West.