Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anonymous report suggests Ahmadinejad voters may be deserting him

Jim Sleeper reports from one of his prior students, currently reporting out of Iran, that many who voted for the Tienanmen government are now realizing that Ahmadinejad was planning a coup and consolidation of power and is well on his way to getting there. So they are not supporting Ahmadinejad's apparent agenda.

Combine this with the very effective non-violent revolution that is being waged against the Ahmadinejad and it is both the seeds and the desired result. The government does not dare kill a lot of the revolutionaries (because that's what they are) because they are working to delegitimize the government. The bodies of protesters shown in the media will also greatly delegitimize the Ahmadinejad government. It is right out of the playbooks written by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and the Orange and Green Revolutions in eastern Europe (which Vladimir Putin has roundly denounced as Western-inspired.)

A similar set of protest actions in Tiananmen Square twenty years ago did not work because the Communist government of China was able to shut down communications outside China and then totally repress the story of Tiananmen Square. The 1999 Iranian protests were also shut down by the government, but with the new forms of communication, the Iranian government has been unable to keep the news and pictures from getting out to the rest of the world.

The government's efforts to repress the news of what they are doing to spreading the rest of the world simply aren't working, and apparently the Iranian government has a very sophisticated Internet control operation. What's happening, though is that they cannot keep up with the workarounds that the younger computer uses are developing. The government closes off access to one website, the protesters twitter everyone the URL of another website, and everyone goes there. Twitter, apparently, cannot be shut off. Nor can access to overseas URLs be shut off on a blanket basis.

The result is that the Ahmadinejad government's repression measures are themselves being fed back to the Iranian population to delegitimize the government, and the government can't keep up with the various news sources. So the Ahmadinejad government is being forced to delegitimize itself.

We'll see if it works this time.

One thing to consider - this is not a sudden conflict caused by the election. There are two sides, the government and the protesters, and both have prepared their actions very much in depth. The kind of highly disciplined demonstrations the protesters have been conducting do not happen out of someone's hip pocket. Similarly, the Ahmadinejad government appears to have prepared their coup attempt long before the election. On both sides it it a media war with the government having the monopoly on using force. It's a fascinating conflict.

I wonder if the U.S. has a modern enough Internet system to successfully conduct a similar set of protests? Our broadband system is technologically behind that of most other industrial nations now and as well as that of many developing ones. (That's because of the phone company monopoly and the way Congress is bought and paid for by lobbyists.)

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