Censorship

Crackdown on Iranian Bloggers

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The Guardian reports that Iranian authorities are cracking down on bloggers, forcing the country's nearly one million public diarists to register with authorities or face legal consequences.

Want to start a blog in Iran? Then you'll have to register it with the government—which has recently begun to require that all bloggers register at samandehi.ir, a site established by the ministry of culture of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

All you need do is give your personal information, including your blog's username and password—otherwise it will be filtered and blocked so that nobody in Iran, and perhaps outside too, will be able to access it. This has led to an outcry among many Iranian bloggers who consider the net an independent and free forum for expression.

No word on whether Ahmadinejad's own Borat-like blog (Latest post: "First of all, I apologize for the delay of answering your question. This is due to my heavy schedules") is in compliance with the new regulations. And while his own citizens are arrested and harassed, the diminutive dictator warns his American fans against entering into a pen pal relationship with the head of a rogue state:

In regard to statement you have made, since I did not want my reply lead to any problem for you, did not send it through e-mail, because if some agents are getting into private life of the American citizens and eligitimatley (sic) control them, may create problem for you. Instead, I decided to post the reply on the web log that those who may have the same views such as yours, get the answer.

More on the Iranian blog boom here.

Back in 2004, occasional Reason contributor Marc Johnson explored the Iranian dissident and exile web community.

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  1. Amusing that Ahmadinejad allows comments like this one (for whatever reason):

    You’re are a nutcase
    I hope you die soon
    Greetings from Sweden

    I love freedom, ateism and capitalism [sic]

    http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/en/default.aspx

  2. You can tell that these comments are fake. Just from the grammar structure and lack of “a, an” etc.

    The “Americans” who post questions read just like that letter the British prisoners “wrote” a few months back.

  3. This will be honored more in the breach than in the observance, hopefully.

  4. It’s part of the Iranian social contract! If the bloggers don’t like it they can leave.

  5. I wonder if Kim Jong Il has a blog? If he doesn’t he should. You could put together a whole site of criminal nutcase blogs. You could have the political criminal section where Kim, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and Mugabe all blog and then an ordinary criminal blog with say Charley Manson, Richard Ramirez, Terry Nichols and the unibomber could blog.

  6. You could put together a whole site of criminal nutcase blogs.

    Wouldn’t that encompass about 96% of all blogs?

  7. Here’s Google’s attempt to translate the page into English:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fsamandehi.ir%2F&langpair=ar%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

    I wonder if a bot could be written to flood the site with bogus data.

  8. Greetings from Sweden

    I love freedom, ateism and capitalism

    Ahmadinejad probably left that comment up because he couldn’t believe there was someone in Sweeden who loved freedom and capitalism.

  9. I think Ahmadinejad should get his own reality show.

  10. I wonder if Kim Jong Il has a blog? If he doesn’t he should.

    Not to be pedantic, but Kim Jong Il would have a

  11. This regime is such a perfect exemplar of why fundamentalist Islam fails economically and socially.

    The whole enterprise is slowly collapsing under the weight of its own ridiculousness; their own economic minister called recent moves “economic suicide.”

    It’s hard to believe the regime can survive too much longer if the oil infrastructure is deteriorating as fast as some have claimed. That’s the only thing keep these mad hatters afloat.

  12. Now I have to see if my invitation to Ahmadinejad to come to America is published. So I can punch him in the junk.

  13. “This regime is such a perfect exemplar of why fundamentalist Islam fails economically and socially.”

    Every day my dog farts allah.

  14. Now no more can I read about Ahmadinejad making the sexytime.

  15. http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n2015.cfm

    There are some reports of unknown reliability that Zorastrianism is making a comeback in Iran. The Mullahs have discredited Islam as a religion to such an extent that the locals are starting to think about alternatives. I suppose when Ahmadinejad finally gets his wish and starts a nuclear war and succeeds in turning Iran into a glass parking lot, a few more people might reconsider Islam.

  16. “Not to be pedantic, but Kim Jong Il would have a brog.”

    My cat’s name is Black Jack and our Japanese exchange student that we have living with us calls him Brack Jack.

  17. “The whole enterprise is slowly collapsing under the weight of its own ridiculousness; their own economic minister called recent moves “economic suicide.”

    One more reason we don’t need to attack them. Just wait a little while longer and the Iranian public will overthrow the idiots.

  18. “There are some reports of unknown reliability that Zorastrianism is making a comeback in Iran. The Mullahs have discredited Islam as a religion to such an extent that the locals are starting to think about alternatives.’

    The Muslim religion was forced on the Persians in the 7th century. Many Iranians like my wife don’t like the religion because it was forced on them. My wife has always thought it was a silly religion anyway.

  19. “One more reason we don’t need to attack them. Just wait a little while longer and the Iranian public will overthrow the idiots.”

    Let’s hope your right. Of course I have hopeing the same thing about Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuala for a while now. Having all of the guns and the levers of power tends to make up for having an insane economic policy.

  20. “I suppose when Ahmadinejad finally gets his wish and starts a nuclear war and succeeds in turning Iran into a glass parking lot, a few more people might reconsider Islam.”

    Unfortunately, we will probably be the first to use nuclear arms with our wrongful preemption strategy.

  21. Jake,

    Also, the Mullahs rely on Arab thugs to keep people in line and enforce their power. I can’t beleive that goes over well with the Persians.

  22. “Unfortunately, we will probably be the first to use nuclear arms with our wrongful preemption strategy.”

    Well, frankly if the choice is nuke them or let them nuke us first, I am taking nuke them. But, that won’t happen. The U.S. will never use nukes before someone else uses them first.

  23. Wonder of wonder, he has comments turned on. I even saw a negative one, I think, about Iranian censorship. I’d urge the Urkobold to post there, but I find that I don’t want a fatwa issued in my name at this time.

  24. “I have hopeing the same thing about Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuala for a while now.”

    We have strengthened Castro with our belligerant policy towards him. This has kept him in power. Our persecution of him with our sanctions have allowed Castro to blame their economic woes on us. We need to set a good example and create friends in the world with free trade instead of a belligerant military policy and ruinous sanctions. Osama bin Laden is getting the same mileage in the Middle East by pointing to all the death we’re creating there. America is blindly acting as the best recruiter Osama could imagine.

  25. the diminutive dictator

    Look, I have no love for Ahmadinejad or for Iran’s government, but Ahmadinejad is not a dictator. The guy with the power in Iran is the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei and has been since the death of Khomeini.

  26. “Also, the Mullahs rely on Arab thugs to keep people in line and enforce their power. I can’t beleive that goes over well with the Persians.”

    I can’t either. My wife is always asking other Iranians why they put up with Arabs pushing their religion off on them.

  27. A few weeks ago I stumbled onto this site run by a young Iranian woman (http://jadi.civiblog.org/blog), which I found quite disturbing, especially the May 22 entry and this page (http://jadi.civiblog.org/blog/society).

    Sorry for the cold URLs but I don’t want any referring to get her in trouble.

  28. “Well, frankly if the choice is nuke them or let them nuke us first, I am taking nuke them.”

    How do we know they will nuke us? Actually, they would be crazy to do so because we have so much we can come back at them with. They would be commiting suicide. I know Ahmadinejaud talks big, but I think even he is smarter than that. I don’t think he would attack Israel either because they have so much they could come back at him with.
    “But, that won’t happen. The U.S. will never use nukes before someone else uses them first.”

    We did in Japan.

  29. Rattlesnake Jake says: “The whole enterprise is slowly collapsing under the weight of its own ridiculousness; their own economic minister called recent moves “economic suicide.”

    One more reason we don’t need to attack them. Just wait a little while longer and the Iranian public will overthrow the idiots.”

    You mean like in North Korea? Not that I’m advocating attacking Iran — the majority deserves the government they elect, and they elected Ahmadinejad. They have to live with the consequences. I’d feel a lot more sympathy if they elected another reformer who got ignored by the mullahs. I do feel sorry for the minority, but they’ve got to fight for their own freedom.

  30. “You mean like in North Korea? Not that I’m advocating attacking Iran — the majority deserves the government they elect, and they elected Ahmadinejad. They have to live with the consequences. I’d feel a lot more sympathy if they elected another reformer who got ignored by the mullahs. I do feel sorry for the minority, but they’ve got to fight for their own freedom.”

    The way I understand it, it is a qausi-democracy. There is no way the mullahs would let somebody who was opposed to their theocracy take control. Regarding overthrowing the present theocratic regime, the people overthrew the Shah, so they can do the same with these nuts.

  31. jh,

    the Iranian public will overthrow the idiots.” You mean like in North Korea?

    Or Cuba. It’s a valid point; it’s easy to forget the Soviet Union only fell because the Soviet leadership declined to send the tanks in to crush the protests. The Iranian mullahs give no sign of developing compunctions about murdering innocents to preserve their rule: it’s their holy mission to lead.

    What Iranians have in their favor is that their society isn’t quite as insanely militarized or impoverished as the Norks’, and perhaps most importantly they do have some civil liberties, meaning there is space for resistance to organize.

    I would prefer that Iran remain unattacked, though funding internal rebels is probably not a bad idea.

  32. “I would prefer that Iran remain unattacked, though funding internal rebels is probably not a bad idea.”

    It will be an international economic catastrophe according to Scott Ritter if we attack Iran as he points out in “Target Iran”. That doesn’t seem to matter to the neocons though or maybe they think it will be another cake walk like they thought Iraq would be.

  33. and they elected Ahmadinejad.

    Well, even Saddam held “elections.” Iran’s system isn’t quite as egregious, but it’s close. Basically, the clergy decide who gets to run; thousands of reformers were stricken from the ballots. Iranians were not happy about this, but many voted anyway.

    It’s like the old Douglas Adams joke about an alien civilization in which humans are ruled by elected lizards:

    Ford: “The people hate the lizards, and the lizards rule the people.”

    Arthur: “Them why do the people vote for the lizards?”

    Ford: “Because otherwise the wrong lizard might get in.”

  34. It is not just Iran, facism’s inevitable censorship finally arrived in the US as reporter Matt Lepacek is arrested for asking about 9/11 and reporter Chris Bollyn is convicted for exposing 9/11. This is all about the First Amendment. The US gov’t (and their corporate friends), already censor Dr. Ron Paul, arrest protesters, ban books like “America Deceived” from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. They finally are coming for the Press. Good luck, Bollyn and Lepacek.
    Final link (until the Stark County Library bends to pressure and drops the title):
    America Deceived (book)

  35. If anyone wants an interesting take on the Iranian “threat” this is a pretty good article.

  36. Uh oh, Truthers.

    Thanks for the article, Cesar. Reminds me, way back in 1999, there were reports that after soccer games hardliners would try to spur chants of “Death to America!” but the crowds would cheer “We love America!” instead.

  37. I wonder if Kim Jong Il has a blog? If he doesn’t he should.

    My suspicion is that no one in N. Korea has a computer or the Internet. If a dictator propogandizes in an empty blog and no one reads it, did it actually happen?

  38. Well, frankly if the choice is nuke them or let them nuke us first, I am taking nuke them. But, that won’t happen. The U.S. will never use nukes before someone else uses them first.

    John, you’re a poor student of history.

  39. Chris S.-

    Iran actually has their own propagandist on YouTube, now doubt backed by the government since youtube is banned from the general population. He/She continually posts stuff like “USA REGIME WAR CRIMES”, “USA REGIME INDIAN EXTERMINATION, “USA REGIME SLAVERY” etc etc.

  40. I see I was beaten to the punch by Rattlesnake Jake. Nevermind my last comment.

  41. No Chris I am not a poor student of history. Yes, the U.S. nuked Japan, but that was after a three year war that killed 100s of thousands of Americans. Moreover, no one had ever used nukes before and no one really understood what the effecs of one would be. Further, the U.S. only used nukes after the Japanese refused to surrender and the only alternative was a full scale invasion that was projected to cost another million lives.

    It is difficult to imagine those circumstances ever repeating themselves. I stand by my contention that the US will not use nukes absent the use of them by another country or perhaps the use of WMDs causing mass casualties.

  42. The Muslim religion was forced on the Persians in the 7th century. Many Iranians like my wife don’t like the religion because it was forced on them. My wife has always thought it was a silly religion anyway.

    Dude, if they were forced 14 centuries ago and they couldn’t go back all this time, then, they probably don’t want to or incapable of going back. Did it cross your mind that your wife thinks might not be representative of all persians?

  43. “John, you’re a poor student of history.”

    The only reason we used them first was because Hitler, and friends, were just slightly behind us in their development. So you’re really talking about a technicality here.

  44. The only reason we used them first was because Hitler, and friends, were just slightly behind us in their development. So you’re really talking about a technicality here.

    Huh? The Germans surrendered on May 9, 1945. We bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki early August, 1945. Hitler’s development of nuclear bombs — no matter the stage of that development — wasn’t a direct threat in August 1945. The Japanese did not have any sort of an advanced nuclear program at that point, so if by “slightly” you mean “not even close,” then you’re on to something.

  45. From the Iranian blog cited earlier: “I don’t want this as my everyday life. I don’t want to accept this regime but I am not a revolutionary. I don’t know what to do! I know that I have to STAY. I have to do something. WE have to do something… but what? blogging? Writing open letters to the government who does this? I don’t know.”

    Obviously, she should accept everything the Iranian government does because of the social contract she agreed to by not leaving. Clearly, she has consented to thugs beating women until they’re bloody, because they didn’t completely cover their hair.

  46. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, No!

  47. I wonder if Kim Jong Il has a blog?

    Well this comes close: http://users.livejournal.com/kim_jong_il__/

  48. Here’s an interesting angle, related to the story on the Iranian bloggers.
    Internet censorship in Iran seems to be less effective than in other totalitarian regimes such as China. Could this be due to the fact that U.S. sanctions prevent companies like Cisco and Nortel from selling equipment to monitor and block subversive content?

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