Iran Election Guide

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Saturday
Dec112010

Egypt and the Elections: The "Strategic Blunder" of President Mubarak's Party (Hamid)

There is no transition whose beginning is not the consequences --- direct or indirect --- of important divisions within the authoritarian regime itself. Those divisions, in Egypt, are only likely to grow.

For the National Democratic to make a strategic blunder at such a crucial moment in Egypt's history suggests a regime that is nervous, unsure of itself and increasingly incoherent.

The Parliamentary elections were the first such mistake. Whether there will be more ---- and whether the opposition manages to capitalise --- will determine the course Egypt takes in the coming, critical months.

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Saturday
Dec112010

Iran Special: Human Rights and a Political Prisoner Named Ebrahim Yazdi

Ebrahim Yazdi is Iran's oldest political prisoner, detained briefly after the June 2009 Presidential election and then again on 1 October 2010. He is reportedly in serious condition in prison, suffering from heart disease and cancer.

As we mark International Human Rights Day this week, we post an article by Barbara Slavin for AOL News and the appeal of Yazdi's family to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, sent last Sunday:

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Saturday
Dec112010

US Saturday Special: Pardon Jim Morrison, But Don't Pardon the Counter-Culture (Haddigan)

So, good luck to Jim Morrison and fans of his music; he deserves a pardon. But if you read elsewhere that it is long-deserved recognition that a lilywhite and innocent counterculture --- who, as that sickly 1971 Coca-Cola ad says, thought they could "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony", were harshly treated --- take a pause. A counterculture of "peace and love" was never anything more --- at least after the Diggers disbanded in 1967 in disgust at the way the movement was headed --- than the invention of a privileged few.

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Friday
Dec102010

WikiLeaks: A Guide to EA's Coverage This Week

Analyses

1. An EA exclusive on Afghanistan: "US Embassy Protects Contractor Over Hiring of Child Prostitutes"

2. We take apart dramatic headlines to evaluate, "Does Shell Really Have a Grip on Nigeria's Government?"

2. Josh Mull carries out a reality check: "Journalism is Not an Attack, WikiLeaks is Not Warfare"

Features and Documents

1. How the release of the documents turned into a CyberWar: "Now MasterCard's A Casualty" and "Visa, MasterCard Sites Still Offline"

3. One of our favourite strange-but-true moments: "Iran: The Regime's Ninja Assassins?"

4. A look at one of the more unusual diplomatic incidents in the cables: "Europe, Ahmadinejad, and the Worst Inauguration Protest Ever"

Audio

Scott Lucas offers an introduction to WikiLeaks and the issues over the documents in an interview with BBC West Midlands.

Friday
Dec102010

WikiLeaks Audio: EA's Scott Lucas on BBC West Midlands

I joined BBC West Midlands Radio on Thursday to give an introduction to WikiLeaks and to consider questions such as "Are the released documents a threat to national security? Do they offer valuable information in the public interest? Or both?"

The interview starts at the 42:55 mark.

Friday
Dec102010

Wikileaks and Oil Special: Does Shell Really Have A Grip on Nigerian Government?

The Guardian of London featured this October 2009 cable in their WikiLeaks coverage on Thursday: "Shell's Grip on Nigerian Government Revealed".

Well, not quite.

This is a significant document but not in the black-and-white portrayal of The Guardian. Instead, it reveals how Shell has made its political moves --- including putting its own people inside Nigeria's ministries --- precisely because it cannot be sure of "control" over Nigerian policy. 

And this is also a forthright revelation of the US Government as accomplice to Shell's efforts: "The Ambassador asked what the Embassy could do to help" the oil company with the pressure on Nigeria's legislators over the Petroleum Industry Bill.

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Friday
Dec102010

Iran Feature: Renewed Claims That Presidential Election Was Manipulated

*From Thursday, 11 June, the Ministry of Communications cut off all links between cell phones of the polling station monitors for Mousavi and another candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, and of the headquarters of the Committee for Protecting People's Votes.

*At 4 p.m. on 12 June, five hours before voting ended, Raja News, linked to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced that Ahmadinejad had been reelected with 63% of the vote, the same percentage that the Ministry of Interior and the Guardian Council late on the night of 12 June and over following days.

*Mousavi's and Karroubi's monitors were barred for many hours from the Ministry of Interior building during the evening of 12 June as the counting of votes took place. By the time they were allowed to enter, state television was broadcasting "results", even though the locations where votes were supposedly cast were not showing any numbers.

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Friday
Dec102010

The Latest from Iran (10 December): Human Rights Day

2235 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. There is still no news of three people detained during a memorial ceremony at Behesht-e Zahra cemetery last Sunday.

Other mourners, including Parvin Fahimi, the mother of the slain protestor Sohrab Arabi, were seized but later released.

Journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin has been sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of insulting the President.

In an interview with Al Arabiya television, Shamsolvaezin said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "repressive" and "a lunatic".

Shamsolvaezin is spokesman for the Iranian Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press, and also as vice president of the Association of Iranian Journalists.

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Friday
Dec102010

Thailand Special: Documents Prove Military Killed Civilians in Temple (Szep/Ahuja)

The Thai military played a larger role in the killing of civilians during political unrest in Bangkok this year than officials have acknowledged, leaked state documents show.

 A preliminary state probe into political violence in April and May concluded Thai special forces positioned on an elevated railway track fired into the grounds of a Buddhist temple where several thousand protesters had taken refuge on May 19.

Three of six people shot dead at the temple were likely killed by troops, the investigation found, directly contradicting statements by the Thai military, which has denied soldiers were responsible for the killings at the temple.

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Friday
Dec102010

Iran Special: The Latest on the Non-Release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Information from EA sources indicates that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to death for adultery, has NOT been released from prison.

The news that she had been freed followed images of Ashtiani and her son Sajad Ghaderzadeh --- who has also been detained since September --- in their home in northwestern Iran. Soon, however, another story emerged: Sakineh had been escorted from prison to home to make another televised "confession" of adultery and complicity in the murder of her husband.

Here is what we have learned:

The pictures of Ashtiani and Ghaderzadeh are from a trailer (commercial) for the Iran Today programme, which is broadcast on Fridays, on Press TV. EA sources in the Iranian state media say Ashtiani was taken "temporarily" out of prison for the programme, which will report how she contributed to the murder of her husband. (Thus, the report last night that she is saying in the trailer, "We planned to kill my husband.")

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