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.

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Crikey: Outclassed Conroy hides in his bedroom

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[This article was originally published in Crikey on Tuesday 17 February, but behind the paywall. I think enough time has passed for it to sneak out — particularly as one commenter called it “the most unworthy article Crikey has ever published”. Thanks.]

Cool newcomer. Rising talent. That’s Greens Senator Scott Ludlam as described by Crikey’s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane last year. He’s right, too.

Yesterday [Monday] I explained how Senator Stephen Conroy popped out of his lair, announced (some of) the ISPs in the internet “filtering” trials, and scurried away — leaving everyone’s questions unanswered. Perhaps he hoped the story would be buried by discussions of bushfires and the stimulus package. But no.

In an op-ed piece for ABC News yesterday, Senator Ludlam nailed why. “The interwebs never sleep,” he reminds us.

Within minutes of Conroy’s 5.25pm media release, Twitter was, well, a’twitter with speculation and then analysis. Within hours, without any central control, a consensus emerged about what the choice of ISPs meant. With its focus on small business-oriented ISPs, the trials won’t reflect the realities of home internet usage, and the government can string out the process just a little bit longer.

“Senator Conroy is trapped by something akin to a virtual hydra,” writes Ludlam.

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