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 04 November 2008 through 09 November 2008

Stilgherrian’s links for 04 November 2008 through 09 November 2008, gathered via Twitter and spat onto the page with love and some lemon juice and garlic:

Page 161

I noticed this blogging meme over at Quatrefoil’s place and thought I’d give it a try. The results are surprising.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 161.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Use what’s actually next to you.

And the sentence is:

“Sensitive site exploitation will continue.”

That sentence doesn’t make a lot of sense by itself, but the next one adds all the context you need:

So far there had been no WMD stockpiles found.

The book is State of Denial: Bush At War, Part III by investigative journalist Bob Woodward. It’s been months since I read it but for some reason it’s still on my desk.

This afternoon the BBC reports that unnamed “US officials” have evidence that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear reactor. Here we go again. I think I might listen to some classic Detroit techno instead.

The $400 Billion Gift

Catching up on news from earlier this week, I’m astounded to read the real reason the US stock market rallied:The US Taxpayers just lent the Biggest Banks and Hedge Funds in New York $400 Billion in exchange for ‘mark to market valued’ sub prime mortgage securities that are probably nearly worthless (being so far down on the claims chart in a bankruptcy). This is a ‘silent bailout’ of the Republican’s biggest contributors that is going to be much more expensive than the S&L Rescue package of the early 90s. At least Bush Sr proposed the S&L bailout in the sunlight. Bush Jr, Paulson and the Fed are doing the bailout without asking our permission. What does ‘pork barrel’ John McCain think of this corporate welfare?”

Rebranding America with Obama

Photograph of burned-out KFC store

When your business’ reputation sucks, what do you do? Re-brand it!

Jon Taplin reckons American business is hoping to revive “Brand USA” by supporting Barack Obama as a presidential candidate. In Reviving Brand America, he says:

It is getting very hard to be an American company in much of the world (see photo). Whenever they are pissed off in Karachi, they burn down the KFC. George Bush’s War has made competing against European and Chinese manufacturers like wrestling with one arm tied behind your back. So like any smart CEO, the elite has decided we need a re-branding of America with a charismatic man of colour at the front.

Exhibit A is the New York Post’s endorsement of Obama this morning. I would take it as a given, that Rupert Murdoch saw this editorial before it was published. Exhibit B is MSNBC. I promise you, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would not be given the free rein to criticize both Hillary and Republican hypocrisy, unless Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE had not given the OK. I obviously think this is a rational move on the part of American business — and I know its not like they all met at some private club to decide this. I just think this is the consensus vision, well outlined by Andrew Sullivan a couple of months ago.

But is American business that concerned with their nation’s international image? Or is Taplin spot on?

Indeed, was the success of Kevin Rudd in Australia’s 2007 election partially the result of our stagnant image overseas?