Psywar in Iran

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“This is it. The big one. This is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media,” says Clay Shirky, professor at New York University and author of the book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. And what’s had the greatest impact? “It’s Twitter,” says Shirky.

So starts my piece in Crikey yesterday, We’re all wearing green for Iran now, apparently.

The article covers two main points.

One, this isn’t really the first time demonstrations have been organised or teargas reported via Twitter. Try Bangkok in October 2008. Try Chişinău in April 2009. And as Business Week pointed out, A Twitter revolution? Hardly.

Two, people are changing their avatars green to “support democracy in Iran” based on very little information. And as commenter Rena Zurawel claimed:

Whether it is a Rose Revolution in Georgia, or Orange Revolution in the Ukraine or a Green revolution in Iran — the source and inspiration is exactly the same: $70 million decided by the Congress to spend on so called “democratic changes in Iran”.

That last point intrigued me, so I poked around a bit.

I found this 2008 report from STRATFOR Global Intelligence: Geopolitical Diary: Iran, Psywar and the Hersh Article which is reproduced in full over the jump.

Continue reading “Psywar in Iran”

Links for 11 June 2009 through 13 June 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 11 June 2009 through 13 June 2009, gathered with tenderness and love. Especially love.

  • The Poll Cruncher | Pollytics: How trustworthy is the result of an opinion poll? This handy little tool allows you to enter the sample size and the result, and it gives you the margin of error. Assuming, of course, that the poll was conducted randomly and ethically in the first place.
  • What’s Your Professional Reputation? | Pollytics: Possum interprets the latest results from the Roy Morgan poll of public perceptions of ethics and honesty for various professions. As usual, newspaper journalists and car salesmen are down the bottom. Possum creates a nice little interactive graph showing how the result have changed each year since 1979.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four turns sixty | Inside Story: Brian McFarlane’s take on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s classic. Somehow, while talking about film adaptations and connections to Phillip K Dick, he completely fails to mention Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
  • Dear Global Service Direct, where is my Snuggie? | Crikey: Crikey‘s coverage of their interactions with the Snuggie has the potential to become quite obsessive. In a good way. However this silly exchange of emails with Snuggie’s sellers contain one of the best customer service responses ever: “I wish I could do more but I am just a pawn.” Also, a graph.
  • From little things… | RN Future Tense: This episode of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense included an interview with ActionAid Australia’s Archie Law about Project TOTO, as well as some great stuff about innovative uses of telecommunications technology in Kenya and India. Internet via bus, anyone?
  • William Langewiesche on Somali pirates | vanityfair.com: Feature article on the incident where French luxury cruise ship Le Ponant was targeted by Somali pirates.
  • louder than swahili: The blog of Pernille, a 37yo Scandinavian woman who’s been living in Tanzania since 2007, and most recently before that spent 26 months among Sudanese refugees along and across the Ugandan border to Southern Sudan.
  • A Never Ending Race | absolutelybangkok.com: Bangkok in 2015 is a paranoid short yarn from Yan Monchatre, a French cartoonist and illustrator who’s resident in Bangkok.
  • The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection | Moserware: A deep, deep explanation of what happens when your web browser creates an encrypted connection to a website.
  • mHITs: An Australian company providing the technology to pay by mobile phone. Currently seems to be limited to food and drink, and to a handful of venues in Canberra and Sydney.
  • The United Republic Consulate of Tanzania Consulate: This is, I hope, the official website of the Consulate for Tanzania in Melbourne. It’s not particularly reassuring when the home page’s title bar reads: “::Welcom to Company Name::”.
  • Rise of online mercenaries | Australian IT: Steven Bellovin, professor of computing science at Columbia University, predicts the rise of online mercenaries using techniques going back 200 years to letters of marque and reprisal, where governments commission somebody to attack another government’s assets with perfect immunity under law. The story’s a couple weeks old but still relevant.

Unreliable Bangkok, revisited

Photograph of Thai Airways International Boeing 747-400 at Sydney Airport

Just 18 months ago, I wrote about how this ordinary aircraft would change my life. And it did. This Boeing 747, or one very like it, took me on my first trip outside Australia, to Thailand. I’m about to be changed again. Dramatically.

I can’t tell you about my SEKRIT project just yet, except that it will expose me to things which are Very Different from anything I’ve experienced in my life so far. This morning, though, I’ve been re-reading the pieces I wrote when I returned from Thailand, each labelled “Unreliable Bangkok”.

You may like to re-read them with me now. I quite liked them at the time. If nothing else, the photographs are interesting. Perhaps.

My SEKRIT project will also involve international travel, but not to Thailand. I’ll be posting every day while I’m away — because that’s the point of the trip! — and more reflective pieces upon my return. Stay tuned.