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UPDATED Iran & Twitter: Last Words on The Hell of Heaven (Shahryar)

UPDATE 12 JANUARY: Patrick Philippe Meyer has posted a thoughtful response, "Where I disagree with Will Heaven vs Josh Shahryar", which concludes: "Digital activists really need to get up to speed on nonviolent civil resistance tactics and strategies just as the latter need to get up to speed on how to communicate more securely in repressive environments."

EA's Josh Shahryar, to move beyond the myths of "security" on Iran and social media so we can continue in the task of information and analysis, offers some final thoughts to Will Heaven:

Before I get to your arguments, I want to clear something up first. My first response was rather insulting --- and it was knowingly so. You had clearly gone out of your way to insult people that I have come to know and cherish both as friends and as colleagues. These people are not 13-year olds with laptops who listen to Emo music all day and cut themselves for fun. They are experienced professionals from fields as diverse as psychology, law, journalism, medicine, politics, and information technology. And they care. So any attempt at undermining their efforts will be swiftly answered. Anyone questioning their intentions or work is going to receive a reply. And any insults hurled at them will result in ridicule for the hurler.

Iran & Twitter: Myth v. Reality of Security and “Deep Packet Inspection”
Iran & Twitter 101: Rereading A Tale of Two Twitterers
Iran & Twitter 101: Getting The Facts Right — A Response to Will Heaven
The Latest from Iran (11 January): Reading the Regime

Now let’s get to your latest, hopefully last, argument, posted on The Daily Telegraph website last Friday:

Picture this scene. In Tehran, during the summer of 2007, a group of young students – male and female – are enjoying a house party. It’s a very hot day. They are drinking, smoking pot and listening to music around a swimming pool. Then, unexpectedly, there is loud knock at the front door. Men wearing the uniform of the Revolutionary Guard barge in. The music is switched off and the party falls silent. The girls are wearing bikinis, and the boys are holding beers – they’ve all been caught red-handed. But the order given by the guards is this: every one of you with a laptop or a computer must hand it over to us now.

This anecdote – passed onto me by a trusted British-Iranian source – illustrates something very important about Iran’s authoritarian regime. For a long time, it has actively hunted for compromising hard-drive data in order to assert its control over the lives of Iranians. By confiscating the students’ laptops, the Guards gave themselves access to photos, documents and emails. Enough evidence, in other words, to prosecute (or at the very least threaten) the party-goers, who attended these sorts of events frequently.

More recent stories suggest these efforts have escalated. Take, for instance, Evgeny Morozov’s Iranian-American woman, who was asked by officers at Tehran’s International Airport to log into Facebook when she arrived there in July. At first, she denied having a Facebook account – so when they proved her wrong, they also noted down all of her Facebook friends’ names. I personally know of another Iranian who was arrested and imprisoned after posting anti-regime slogans, rather naively, on a publicly-listed Facebook profile.

I personally, as someone who looks at more substantial evidence, decline to tackle the anecdote you present. As for Morozov’s story and your other Iranian friend, yes, the regime has been actively hunting for data for years. But Morozov’s opinion about social media is pretty negative, not just about Iran but in general, and so I am not going to debate someone who has made up his mind even before tackling the Twitter Revolution. That Revolution is about awareness, not provoking a political revolt or helping it directly.

You persist:
It’s overwhelmingly clear, then, that it is dangerous for Iranians to partake in online protests on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, or to post compromising information online with the intention that it is read by a Western audience. Clearer still – as I wrote in the Daily Telegraph last week – that when Westerners encourage this communication, or provoke it, they could be putting Iranian lives in danger, especially given the prolific use of “Deep Packet Inspection” (DPI). It’s terrifying to think that a simple “re-tweet” could lead to torture, but it’s also worryingly plausible.

Your perception of what foreigners are doing for Iranians is unfounded and wrong. As for your continued worries about Deep Packet Inspection, the report about the Iranian regime using DPI is hotly contested --- have a look at Mike Dunn's dissection, posted today on EA, of your flimsy evidence or responses from professionals like David Isenberg or Christopher Parsons. DPI is not something that you can detect by simply checking systems from the outside. Indeed, About the only way you can tell if DPI is being utilized is if the user actually shows it to you.

You concede:
Now, I have received a lot of criticism for putting forward this view. The most recent from Daily Nite Owl writer Josh Shahryar, an influential#Iranelection Tweeter who has also written for The Huffington Post. His argument is forcefully made (to put it mildly), and he alleges that I have misunderstood the role played by Twitter in Iran. He writes:

Shahryar is spot on about one thing: Twitter has helped to share news about what is happening inside Iran – as I made clear in my Telegraph piece, “spreading awareness” is in theory a good thing. He is also to be commended for his efforts to conceal the identities of those Iranians who spread information online, by providing them with anonymity network software such as Tor and Freegate.

Thank you for the kind words, I certainly don’t deserve any of that. But our efforts are not concentrated on making the revolution a success. That is the job of Iranian protesters. Our job is to simply let the world know what is going inside Iran. If you have to measure our results, do it at how we have managed to spread the news about the protesters. I think there is enough evidence that that we have made a difference in that specific quest.

Instead of measurement, however, you make another fling at tearing down that effort:
But those softwares, as Shahryar admits, are only used by a “select few”. And it is foolish to think that their use guarantees safety: if the Revolutionary Guard were to find someone using the software, the consequences would be dire. “No one actually communicates with people in Iran,” he contests. “They post their stuff and they leave.” But who does he think they are posting their “stuff” for? If the regime was able to match information posted by someone in Iran with similar information being passed around in the US, does Shahryar think they would be forgiven?

Your initial argument was that Westerners are encouraging Iranians to engage in those activities. Now you’re saying not that we should stand aside but that we should intervene to discourage them from posting this information online? Who are we to do that?

"The select few" of whom I spoke  currently have software that is undetectable through even DPI. The exact nature of that software needs to remain a secret for their own safety. The other Iranians already have more primitive proxy server software that they use to access information.  They don’t post anything, but they certainly get informed.

If you genuinely have concerns about DPI, read the articles that I mentioned above. But remember this as well:

It is naïve to think that Iranians are totally dependent on Westerners to protect them. More than two-thirds of Iran’s population is young and a large majority is very well-educated. They know their way around the Internet better than some folks in Britain and the US. And they  know the risks that they face. Again, it is immature --- and rather insulting --- to think that they are kids that are being manipulated by the ‘superior’ race in the West into doing things – and rather insulting.

Insulting to them when you reach desperately for evidence that they are being manipulated by "outsiders":
The idea that, as Shahryar puts it, “we aren’t encouraging anyone” could not be further from the truth. Here are a few tweets from the #Iranelection hashtag posted in the last few days, most of which have been re-tweeted numerous times:

@houmanr: How to stop basij motor bikes #iranelection (2 days ago)
@jefryslash: ?????? ?????? ?? ???? ? ???? ?? ???? How to DEFEND AGAINT BASIJ & POLICE #iranelection in Streets #iranelection (2 days ago)
@PersianTechie: Two nails will stop basiji bike/car/truck. #iranElection (3 days ago)
@fr33dom_fighter break the basiji knees with fierce strikes w/Bat and break their pride and make them humble #iranelection (4 days ago)
@tehranweekly: take all pictures of basij agents and post on twitter &facebook so we can retweet them #cn4iran#iranelection (1 day ago)

And that was just a quick search. It seems difficult to deny that these sorts of messages --- mainly posted by Iranian-Americans -- incite those inside Iran to commit very dangerous acts. Even if they are not carried out, they could be used as evidence against those Iranians who choose to re-tweet them or post them online.

Many of those who use Twitter "on the outside" are Iranian-Americans; many still retain their Iranian citizenship, and they certainly have a stake in their homeland. However, for the very few "Westerners" who cross the line with provocation, you also note my reference to how much we --- as the members of the #IranElection hashtag on Twitter --- are opposed to such childish activities. Your argument is self-defeating: it is we, not you, who are maintaining "security".

So unable to prove danger, you choose to belittle us. More importantly, by reducing Iranians to our helpless victims, you belittle them:
The positive aspects of online activism for change in Iran have been vastly overstated. And when you consider the danger posed to Iranians by online participation – compared with what online participation has achieved – the overall result is hardly tangible, and certainly not worth the risks which have been undertaken. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his brutal regime remains in power after a vicious crackdown. Tens (if not hundreds) of Iranians have been killed, dozens tortured and raped, and many more imprisoned. The Twitter revolutionaries, however, are too proud to re-think their strategy.

You ignore any counter-arguments, including those in my previous response, and just keep on beating your own drum. But let me try one more time to make you stop.

Will, the overwhelming majority of people who were arrested, killed and beaten faced that terror on the streets while protesting. No one online is responsible for that. They willingly chose to go and engage in those activities.

If you’re suggesting that Iranians are going out to protest because we’re asking them to...then I don’t know if I should mourn the lack of your common sense or the waste of my time engaging in this debate. We weren’t even around when Iranians started protesting and they came out in millions. They want to do this. If you don’t get that, then I’m not sure what you do get.

Once more, the main purpose of the Twitter Revolution is to help spread the word about news and human rights events outside Iran.

I really hope you can eventually grasp that. Because then you won't resort --- perhaps unintentionally --- to the insult of those who have faced the risks not from our manipulation but from their bravery:
Witness the demise of @Persiankiwi, a twitter-user followed by some 30,000 people all over the world. In June, he or she (apparently from inside Iran) posted regular updates about the post-election protests. Here are the account’s final tweets:

@Persiankiwi we must go – dont know when we can get internet – they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names – now we must move fast -#Iranelection (June 24th)
@Persiankiwi thank you ppls 4 supporting Sea of Green – pls remember always our martyrs – Allah Akbar – Allah Akbar – Allah Akbar #Iranelection (June 24th)
@Persiankiwi Allah – you are the creator of all and all must return to you – Allah Akbar -#Iranelection Sea of Green (June 24th)

After that, only silence. Was @Persiankiwi arrested or tortured, even killed? Was @Persiankiwi tracked down online by the Revolutionary Guard? Tragically, we’ll never know. But for me, that silence is a powerful reminder of the dangers faced by online activists working in dictatorships. I would not encourage the activity, unless the benefits clearly outweighed the enormous risks. In Iran, I’m afraid, that is plainly not the case.

First of all, you clearly have no idea who @Persiankiwi is, even if I thank you for the concern. From what I know, @Persiankiwi is safe. If you want to pay a real tribute to @Persiankiwi, note that when @Persiankiwi was tweeting, there was no Twitter Revolution. We followed him/her as we made our decisions to support those inside Iran in distribution of information.

Here are a couple of paragraphs just to remind you of something that you have ignored in your previous opinion and your current response. More than 200 years ago, when the British tried to crush the American Revolution, peasants, innkeepers, merchants, students and ordinary folk in general knew that, if they took arms and fought for their freedom against an unjust ruler, some of them would die. Many did. But they kicked the tyrants out and took their freedom through force of arms.

The same happened with revolutionaries in South America in the early part of the 19th century and it has repeatedly happened all over the world. Just because the revolutions in the Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia were largely bloodless doesn’t mean revolutions are all going to be as peaceful. People don’t always get their rights by sitting at home and not doing anything. People have to put themselves in danger for what is dear to them. Sometimes, people die and still don’t get their rights. But the allure of having and enjoying human rights is too great.

The fact that Iranians are dying is not the fault of Westerners. It is not even a fault. It is a sacrifice that Iranians must make to gain their freedom. They know this very well. They aren’t doing it because anyone else is telling them to do it. They’re doing it because they’re humans. They’re not sheep. And humans need more than just food, clothes and a roof on top of their heads. Maybe you don’t get this, but Iranians do.

I don’t know you. You can be a perfectly nice guy in person. Criticism is just part of being a journalist. Here’s hoping next time I read something from you, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Reader Comments (27)

Bravo, Josh!

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShhh

Good to know PersianKiwi is safe. Thanks Josh.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

"But Morozov’s opinion about social media is pretty negative, not just about Iran but in general, and so I am not going to debate someone who has made up his mind even before tackling the Twitter Revolution."

That says it all, I'm afraid. Here's a recent quote from Morozov which nicely sums up an important point:

"Extraordinary as they are, we should not overestimate the usefulness of such materials [videos and photos of police brutality from Iran]. The Iranian regime has proved remarkably immune to getting a bad rap in the international press, not to mention the United Nations. Given the formidable risks that Iran's "citizen journalists" go through to record such videos, we in the West should be more cautious in encouraging them to capture the zeitgeist of the barricades."

I concur.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill Heaven


When Morozov actually engages with the issue of social media and Iran by documenting and analysing, rather than asserting, then he can be debated. The paragraph you cite has nothing beyond unsupported polemic.


January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Very good article. Have enjoyed reading the replies in your previous mssgs as well. You make good points. Keep up the good work and glad to hear @persiankiwi is safe. Let's hope that more ppl will be able to stay safe, whether they go out in the streets or post things online.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara055

Amicitiae immortales mortales inimicitias debere esse.

Please see my reply to your latest pieces on twitter and the green movement: Between Heaven and the NiteOwl: dangerous truth or dangerous deception?

Will, Morozov is building a strawman when he says that "The Iranian regime has proved remarkably immune to getting a bad rap in the international press, not to mention the United Nations." Certainly I will admit that reporting the news from and to Iran has a psy-ops effect on the regime. But this is relevant how exactly? Reason obliges us to speak logically. Strawmen are not logical. Reason also obliges us to speak with respect and friendliness. And may I remind you, kind sir, that you and I especially are required to speak with a fair degree of charity? Correction, Aquinas argues in the Summa Theologica, is a work of charity. So please let us both take this reminder not as one-upmanship, but as a friendly nudge back home -- caelitus mihi vires (if you will forgive the Latin pun).

Having said that, I want you to hear this. I have been very worried about the antagonistic nature of this interchange between you, Josh, and the twitter community. It serves no one. It least of all serves those on the streets in Iran. You know that words and ideas can be destructive when taken out of the human context. When Iranians read of this p-ss--g contest -- and, with all due respect that's what it looks like to me -- it knocks the wind out of their sails. When we at #iranelection have to respond to points of view which are no more than houses built on sand, it knocks the wind out of our sails. My goodness, we all have enough physical challenges to deal with, please let us not be in the business of breaking each other's spirits as well.

We are human -- not word machines. I have lost sleep over this. I suspect that many of my twitter contacts -- and Josh in no small part as well -- have been in the same boat. Do you think we just tweet things without thinking first? I personally can speak to agonizing moments of self-examination and self-doubt. The research, logic, and emotional strength required for this work is daunting. The general public cannot understand this because they do not see what we see. It is not available to them on the MSM. If it were not for supportive friends here in the True North, I would have folded long ago.

And that's the point, Will. Friendship. Criticism is part of being a journalist: both giving it and taking it. But are we even listening to -- let alone understanding -- each other? Common understanding is a worthy goal. Do you not agree? And common understanding is much more easily reached -- constructive criticism much more easily accepted -- in the spirit of friendship. If there is anything I can do to help in this regard, you know where I am. I will tweet you from time to time. Kind regards, Will, always -- manydrums #iranelection.

By the way, Josh, overjoyed to hear that @persiankiwi is safe.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermanydrums

[...] 11 January 2009: Josh Shahryar and Will Heaven have had a further exchange in Enduring America: Iran & Twitter: Last Words on The Hell of Heaven (Shahryar) I have posted my concerns there under [...]

Way to intense & personalized, at least to me. So insults are ok, if the other guy insulted first; and if he keeps insulting, then we are just as right to "hurl" 'em right back. Sand-box polemics indeed.... and hard to focus on the substance at hand for all the nasty, churlish "crossfire".... Will try to re-read later and just block out all the invective and dig to comprehend the concerns at hand.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpuzzled

Hi Will again! This appeared from you on your twitter timeline: Toby Young's Telegraph piece of 11 January 2009: "Three cheers for Rod Liddle."

The article itself is not relevant to this discussion, but something Young adds is. He says:

"If the history of journalism teaches us anything it’s that the single most important qualification an editor can possess is the courage to speak truth to power – and if he or she possesses this trait then all his or her vices should be forgiven... [T]he point of a good newspaper [is] to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Ready to forgive, Will? Ready to comfort the afflicted? Afflict the comfortable?

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermanydrums

@manydrums. Totally agree. But in this case it's the Twitter activists who are the "comfortable" group - many of them think they are beyond criticism. Witness, for instance, Scott Lucas's response to me on Twitter or read Josh's first post about me, both of which were very personal attacks indeed.

This is really about whether people in the West should be encouraging Iranians to post dangerous and compromising information online, given a) the Iranian regime's clear aim to hunt down dissidents using the latest technological methods and b) whether that information is really useful once it is posted. The question has to be: is it worth the risks? Should websites like Enduring America be so easily encouraging this activity which could endanger Iranian lives?

I would say no; clearly Josh would say yes. Perhaps he is simply more optimistic about how soon the regime may change, and how influenced it is by Western opinion. I know he argues that this is only about freedom of information, but what is the real aim behind that? Does he think the Iranians posting the information don't want to rid themselves of the regime? Whether he likes it or not, he is part of the green movement, not just a reporter, especially given his efforts to supply a small number of Iranians with technology which evades DPI. That's fine in itself, but this pretence that he is simply reporting the facts is disingenuous or at least naive.

I'm interested by the opinion that @persiankiwi is alive. Indeed, if this is true it is great news. But why did Scott Lucas accuse my of insulting @persiankiwi's memory? Clearly you are not all in agreement about the facts of this case.

"Again, it is immature — and rather insulting — to think that they are kids that are being manipulated by the ‘superior’ race in the West into doing things – and rather insulting."

Come on Josh, now you are accusing me of racism? This is a very low tactic. I don't think you are manipulating anyone, but I do think you are encouraging them irresponsibly. Sure "More than two-thirds of Iran’s population is young and a large majority is very well-educated." But how many only have censored internet access?

Lastly, I think the above post should be edited to include my quote from Josh. I am sure it was not taken out maliciously, but it does render a large chunk of my article fairly meaningless. I have not objected to the copyright issue, which I would be legally entitled to do, so I think it would be fair to include my entire piece.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill Heaven

SO glad to know Persiankiwi is safe. Keep up the great work, Josh.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynda

Who cares what Will Heaven thinks, says, or writes

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMove On

Not sure if anyone has seen this information but appears that @iranbaan is safe now as well (apologies if this is old news).

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

Hi Will. Thank you for your reply. I note that you agree and then preface the rest of your reply with the word "but." The word "but" operates in an English sentence to negate the clause preceding it. So, in reality, you do not agree. Now who is being disingenuous? (Whoops!)

I concede that some in twitter have made personal attacks against you. Personal attacks are never justified, (My good uncle would say that personal attacks indicate that the author has exhausted the evidence and logic he/she is able to bring to the encounter. And therefore concedes the discussion.)

I cannot apologize for attacks for which I am not responsible. I can say that I find them regrettable, unnecessary. No matter how thick-skinned we become over the years, being insulted or slighted is hurtful: another brick in the Wall. Moreover, two wrongs do not make a right.

Do you not agree that the current tone of antagonism is counterproductive and uncharitable? Whether others know better or not is something I cannot say. I cannot speak for others. I would guess that a large number of those making personal attacks are inexperienced and do not know any better. My point, Will, is that you do know better.

You also know better than to tautologize a point of view which I have already put to rest many times over. You address virtually nothing of what I have said. Moreover, you have not persuaded in the first place; merely asserted. How did that happen? Did you think I would not catch that?

I would venture to say that similar to personal attack, tautology, also indicates that the author has exhausted the logic and evidence he/she is able to bring to the encounter. And therefore concedes the discussion. Tautology, if you will, is a personal attack with white gloves on. It ignores the refutation completely. Dismisses it as unworthy without proving that it is unworthy. It too hurls another brick into the Wall.

The Wall's getting higher. Do you want to de-escalate? Sleep on it.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermanydrums


Please GO AWAY.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

[...] unless I’ve missed another exchange, Josh posted this closing response [...]

The premise for Will's view was wrong and clearly explained to him. Yet, he continues driving home his 'point'. You can't really be 'stubborn' and argue a point you're just dreaming up. I sympathize with how frustrating this must be to Josh Shahryar. It seems that Will's read a few hype articles that other writers have written. "Twitter Revolution" is really not something that exists. Someone coined the phrase in an article. Iran has a movement. Twitter is a social media internet tool. These two are facts. Anything else is just fantasy. Insinuating to block Iranians from using open internet tools as an effort save them from their own regime is absurd. The regime gets copies of fliers spread out on the streets as well. I recently heard some clueless people saying things like... "Oh my, look at those bad and mean protesters... out there and lighting fires on the streets!" This is the kind of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt that is caused by lack of sufficient information about what is really happening. In their life as protesters they know to expect to get beaten by truncheons, shot by "the authority", and teargassed. The fires are used by them as an anti-teargas measure. The smoke dissipates into the gas cloud and breathing it helps against the effects of it. To the uninitiated, we can see how that looks. Please don't waste important people's time with this ugly, dark and *evil* meme of divide-and-conquer journalism. Divide-and-conquer psychology is useful if you are seeking to extremely quickly collect a lot of truthful information about the subject without knowing about it. No one cares about journalists that don't honestly know whats going on. Sadly, it looks as though quickly collecting information wasn't the point either! That borders on the diabolical. Please stop writing FUD hype articles and let everyone get back to the real issues. The information flow out of Iran to the free world must continue, by pursuing things which block it you are only aiding the regime's spin doctors.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJasonSnitker

I have to say, i don't know anyone who didn't know persiankiwi was ok actually. Again, this all stems from one article from one author writing about "Twitter Revolution".

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJasonSnitker

Will attempting to pick fights with other analysts and reporters be enough to keep people coming back to this space once the Iranian affair calms down?

I think not.

Your cat fights with other analysts are pretentious and forced.

Stick with academic writing and leave the hissy fits for the likes of Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann. Stop being such bores.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

"Stick with academic writing"

I agree with you Chris :)

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterm. s.


Good to see you here and pleasure to cross paths and discuss issues with you.


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Thanx Scott! I hope I could find more time to come here to dicsuss issues, even if some of the people here seem not to be interested in hearing a different voice.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterm. s.

"I have to say, i don’t know anyone who didn’t know persiankiwi was ok actually."

Scott Lucas didn't. He tweeted at me, saying "you insult the memory of @persiankiwi."

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill Heaven


My comment about your "insult" had nothing to do with his/her actual status and safety, which I have known about for months. If you read my work, including the specific item on @persiankiwi and @Change_for_Iran, you'll learn that "memory" refers to commemoration of @persiankiwi's brave contribution.


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Will Heaven's point seems to be false on the face of it: Heaven seems to be saying to bearing witness to oppression is bad thing. By "bearing witness" I mean spreading information, keeping record of what has happened, and trying to understand what's really happening.

For example, by reading posts by writers like Josh Shahryar it was possible to understand much more about a complicated situation than by just reading the New York Times. I believe that understanding is a good thing.

Heaven seems to think that overall the Internet has helped the regime. He seems to be saying that the benefit of understanding is outweighed by the negative of giving the regime evidence to use again their own people. I strongly disagree, even though people have been arrested and tortured in Iran for their Internet activities. People have also been arrested and tortured for marching in protests. No reasonable person could argue that protesting injustice helps injust regimes and that all those protesters should just stay safe at home.

If Heaven is right, then all the people outside Iran who saw and forwarded the videos of Neda's death were helping the regime on the whole, because some students in Iran have probably been arrested with the Neda video on their laptops.

It seems unlikely that the regime is celebrating the Internet, instead they seem to be working as hard as they can to silence it. It also seems unlikely that the opposition to the regime is unhappy with the Internet. They (Mousavi, Karroubi, the late Ayatollah Montazeri, etc. etc.) seem to be using it every way they can think of. Who is Heaven to contradict Iran's opposition?

Of course, encouraging people Iran to commit violence from a safe place, far from any danger, is probably not helpful. But that's a much smaller point than Heaven seems to be making. Maybe Heaven should retract his essay and try again, making this much more modest point...

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBendix

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