Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Iranian Regime Blinks, Frees French Accused

The Iranian government has capitulated in the face of intense diplomatic activity and released one of two high-profile French defendants on trial in Tehran for spying.

Nazak Afshar, a member of the French embassy staff in Iran was released from jail by Iranian authorities late Tuesday, following diplomatic efforts and pressure by the EU and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Afshar spoke by phone with the French President and with family members immediately on her release.

She is among scores imprisoned and accused in what has been widely dubbed a mass show trial. Her prosecution is set to continue despite the release. Another defendant, French teaching assistant Clotilde Reiss is still in custody.

The two women are charged with espionage and conspiracy in a Western plot to overthrow the government. France has dismissed the charges as baseless and a statement from Sarkozy's office called for all charges against both to be dropped and for Reiss also to be freed and returned to France.

Sarkozy thanked France's EU partners, and other countries, specifically Syria, as among those who provided support "in this first phase." The use of the term "first phase" indicates that French and EU authorities intend to maintain the pressure on Iran to drop all charges. The bullish tone is likely an indication that the international community feels it is likely to succeed.

In retrospect the scale of the mass trial and the decision to charge numbers of foreign or dual-citizenship defendants now looks like a serious miscalculation by the Iranian regime.

This concession to the French is a signal development showing the regime is being forced to backpedal to avoid further political fallout from the decision to mount the ambitious show trial of 110 defendants.

Sweden summoned the Iranian ambassador to advise that the European Union was prepared to take unspecified 'further steps' to secure the release of French and British nationals on trial. The Swedes, who currently hold the rotating Presidency of the EU said they considered the detentions were a move against the entire 27-member bloc.

“We called in the Iranian ambassador to the foreign ministry to reiterate and reinforce this message and tell him what kind of measures we expect from Iran. On this and other issues," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in an interview Tuesday with Swedish Radio. "I think Iran is aware that we are prepared to take steps beyond what we have already done."

From the Iranian government perspective the show trial had seemed to offer it advantages in a battle for legitimacy against political opponents.

It reinforced a propaganda line aimed at loyalists: that Western states, Britain in particular, played a key role in protests aiming for a "soft overthrow" of the Islamic regime. The hapless foreign embassy staff were incidental pawns in this narrative.

Including prominent Iranian politicians among the defendants and staging concurrent threats to prosecute leading opposition politicians was intended to intimidate an emerging coalition of political foes.

But the strategy was flawed by virtue of an excess of zeal.

Domestically the sight of a gaunt and disheveled former Vice President Mohammad Abtahi, confessing in a televised broadcast, jarred with broad swathes of Iranian political opinion. Any intimidatory effect was outweighed by the trial's appearance of being a Stalinist-era farce with unintended echoes of the regime of the deposed Shah.

A measure of the image problem is that even the State-run, PressTV website yesterday placed the word 'confessed' in italics when describing the released French woman's testimony.

But the international effects of the trial have proved to be its Achilles heel. The foreign nationals in the trial may indeed have been pawns in the eyes of the Iranian regime, but the EU could and has promoted them into a checkmate move. The inclusion of foreign embassy staff and nationals had crossed key diplomatic protocols in an indefensible manner. The EU has leveraged against that error and can compound it into damaging international isolation of the regime. Thus the backpedaling.

Repression of the type which the Iranian regime is attempting requires both brute force and political nous or savvy. The brutality has been on vivid display, but the savvy tellingly absent.

The regime continues to implement tactics which are short-term positive and long-term deeply damaging. The first example of such an error was the overarching scale of the killing and detention of peaceful protesters. A more tempered crackdown could have achieved the goal the regime sought. The second example is the scale of the now discredited trial.

These two key errors betray either incompetence, nervousness or both. They hint at a fundamentally shallow base of core regime support. Political errors like this cost support and embolden opponents. The mistakes compound the flight of capital. Money is mostly apolitical and calculatedly amoral. It will remain in a country which is a crude dictatorship, but will tend to flee a regime which can't manage the business of repression.

Despite it's street-thuggery resources and grip on the levers of law and administration, the shaky Iranian regime has two key strikes against it and seems to be floundering.

Three strikes you're out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spammers Dog Iran Twitter Activists - Again

A mass spam campaign is again flooding the #iranelection topic on Twitter. The last major spam campaign was pushing a scam called "Turbo Cash Generator", this time well organised spammers are promoting a dubious offer of a $1,000 Visa gift card at a website called

The e-researchcenter site identifies itself as a Top Notch Media, Inc. website. Top Notch Media is a ValueClick company. ValueClick is a publicly traded, international internet marketing and advertising firm, founded in 1988 and based in Westlake Village, California. Besides the e-researchcenter its subsidiary operations include Commission Junction and The company is reported to have 2008 sales of $628 million.

That level of presumed reputable corporate operations does not sit well with Top Notch Media -whose online reputation, frankly, stinks. has this warning:
These are complete crooks.... Don't fall for this scam. I did. They take your money and run... Run, run as fast and far away from this site as you can. Liars, scumbags, scam artists, crooks... I lost hundreds of dollars trusting them. carries this warning about another Top Notch Media operation:
"This company clearly has no credibility and cheats consumers out of money they are due."
But perhaps any assumption of corporate responsibility is misplaced. In March of 2008 ValueClick offered to pay $2,9 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that ValueClick subsidiary Hi-Speed Media used deceptive emails, banner ads and pop-ups to drive consumers to its websites. The company's campaign offered gifts, such as laptops and iPods.

But the FTC said consumers had to navigate “a maze of expensive and burdensome third-party offers which they were required to ‘participate in' at their own expense in order to receive the promised ‘free' merchandise”.

Given the reasons for ValueClick's prior penalization, the FTC might well be interested in the current Twitter spam campaign directing consumers to its subsidiary.

After all, the new offer to consumers visiting that website seems identical in form to the offers which cost the corporation a close to $3 million penalty last year.

To benefit from the $1,000 Visa gift card, consumers lured via Twitter to must purchase 2 Silver offers, 2 Gold offers, and 8 Platinum offers from a range of products including online credit reports, teeth whitening products and Botox.

They must also recruit two others to do the same. Tellingly, the terms and conditions note that the credit card offer may require consumers to activate the card by transferring a balance or taking a cash advance.

It all looks like what the FTC described in its prior charges against ValueClick as: "a maze of expensive and burdensome third-party offers which they were required to ‘participate in' at their own expense in order to receive the promised ‘free' merchandise”. Our archive of the e-researchcenter visa gift offer page is here.

It would be unfortunate for ValueClick if the corporation were to suffer another multi-million dollar FTC sanction. The FTC's consumer complaints form is here. Feel free to refer to this article. Feel free to post this article to the net or to popular Twitter topics.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Green Blood: Iran's True Toll of Martyrs

The official number of protesters killed to date in the Iranian uprising is widely viewed with extreme skepticism. But a firm contradictory count of the death toll has been slow to emerge.

Any failure to hold Iranian authorities to account has one key consequence: it extends to repressive forces in Iran a licence to continue to kill without fear that the full scale of these murders will be exposed. Thus placing peaceful protesters at considerable ongoing risk.

Accordingly, Sea Of Green Radio presents the first in a series of investigative reports aimed at placing the true fatality count firmly in the public domain.

Listen here mp3 audio

We interview the author of the 'Iran Revolution' weblog, which is building a careful fatality count on a case-by-case basis. We also present both an overview of the evidence to date, and a preliminary estimate of the likely final death toll.

Referenced in this Audio:

Friday, July 31, 2009

U.S. Realpolitik Readies to Betray Iran Opposition

An interesting article yesterday in the NY Times magazine by Roger Cohen, detailing the U.S. administration's maneuvering in relation to Iran. Cutting through the rhetoric of "concern" about the post-election outcome, Ross delivers this dire nugget of realpolitik:
'The Obama administration’s strong conviction, as several officials told me, is that Ahmadinejad’s election was fraudulent. But in the American interest, it is ready to overlook that and to talk. Restored relations with the Soviet Union came in 1933 at the time of the Great Terror, and with China in 1972 in the middle of the Cultural Revolution. But of course the bloodshed then — of an altogether different dimension — was not being YouTubed around the globe.'
Unlike Obama, the people of Iran are not prepared to "overlook" the theft of their democratic rights.

Much of the article revolves around Dennis Ross, a Beltway veteran with Israeli sympathies who has been drafted into the National Security Council and into the heart of Obama's Iran team. Cohen's article assures us that:
'Israel, which sees an existential threat in a nuclear Iran, has made clear that its patience is limited. The Ross team does not think Israelis are bluffing. They believe Israel views Iran in life-and-death terms.'
Israeli Zionists view everything in life-and-death terms, but no matter.

Further on, Cohen returns to the question of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities by Israel:
'It is also clear to me that a military strike on Iran by Israel is Obama’s least-favored outcome: it would inflame the region he’s trying to quiet and sabotage his outreach to the Muslim world, while perhaps only delaying Iran’s nuclear program a year or two.'
A less fawning analysis than Cohen's might take his focus on realpolitik to it's logical conclusion:
1) Obama could care less about Iran's opposition; could care less if an Israeli strike scuppers the Iranian Uprising.

2) Israel is Obama's iron fist, already licenced to strike by Joe Biden's conveniently loose mouth about Israel's national interest.

3) Hollow platitudes are Obama's velvet glove. Ignore them.
A democratic, reformist Iran right now would depolarize the War on Terror. That climate would soon lead to questioning of the rationale for Obama's Afghanistan campaign; would lead to questions also about Israeli intransigence over a Middle-East resolution.

The Iranian uprising is inconveniently four years too early. The (ongoing!) War on Terror needs a hardline Iranian government to reinforce the notion of a noble battle against maniacal "towel-heads". Zionist nationalist rationale equally needs a hardline Iranian government. A sad loss such a government would be to both the above causes.

It's not what Obama says that matters. It's what Israel does.

Get your revolution on! The clock is ticking towards this Fall.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Neda “40th Day” Memorial Rallies

Estimated 4,000+ in cemetry and up
to 50,00 in Tehran center at protests

Screen grabs of 'shooting' from the video below:

Claims are being made that this was a pistol shot.
But at 44 seconds into the video below, the officer
can be seen behind a tree --loading a cartridge:

The size is clearly too large for a pistol:

Huge muzzle flash. Likely a teargas launcher/rubber bullet:

Early video from the Memorial at
the Behesht-e-Zahra Cemetery, Tehran

Tehran center - video at approx 6pm Tehran time:

Other Videos:

50+ videos of today's protests: here and here

Major Media Reports:

Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi was prevented from joining other mourners by security forces. Police fired tear gas and beat anti-government protesters with batons. Despite riot police presence around the perimiter, thousands entered the cemetery and are now moving towards Mosala.

Parvin Fahimi, the mother of slain protester Neda Soltan was prevented from attending the memorial. According to ABC's Jim Scuitto: 'for reasons I can't say, I cannot attend the ceremony of my own daughter'.

Filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mahnaz Mohammadi were arrested today at the cemetery.

Protesters have also gatherd in Seyde Khandan, Hafte Tir, Vanak and Vali Asr. Army helicopters are reported flying over Tehran's center. Beheshti Avenue is full of people, with the crowd chanting slogans against the regime. 3,000 protesters have gathered around Grand Mosalla according to AFP.

Clashes are now reported at Vanak, Ferdowsi and Valiasr and Haft Hoz Squares.

Intense conflict between protesters and police with Basij suport in Abbasabad St.

Unconfirmed report that one person has been killed in Valiasr Street. 7:55pmTehran

Heavy clashes now across much of Tehran center. Tear gas and gunfire against the backdrop of fires lit by protesters to help alleviate tear gas effects.

Gunshots heard at Fatemi Sq. Protesters clash with army near Interior Ministry.

Unconfirmed: Mousavi spotted near Mosalla.

Protests in Isfahan, Shiraz, Tehran, and forming in Tabriz. Clashes later reported in Shiraz, Rasht, Ahvaz, Isfehan, Mashhad, Oromieh, Mahabad.

Two young men arrested and placed inside a van, but a group of demonstrators broke windows and pulled the men out of vehicle.

Intense protests continue in Tehran's center after nightfall.

Latest @ 9:50pm Tehran time

Friday, July 17, 2009

Live Blog on Tehran's Key Friday 17th July

An estimated 1 to 1.5 million took part in protest today.

Compilation Video from Today:

People make their way to prayer earlier:

Mousavi at Friday Prayers in Tehran.

Later as crowds gather:

More Videos Here. And Here

Heavy clashes reported between Pro-Khamaeni and Pro-Reformists around Tehran University. People have started protesting in nearby streets but security forces are trying to disperse them.
Tear gas & batons were used. Unprecedented scenes during prayer time.

Facebook Video of protests at Tehran Uni 1:50pm Tehran Time.

Large crowd reported heading for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting HQ.

Facebook Video of tear gas incident.

Riots all over Tehran. Heavy clashes. People mobilizing en masse. 3:30pmTehran

For the last hour, videos are being deleted from YouTube in large numbers as quickly as they are posted.

Widespread use of tear gas and knives, with stabbings being reported. Clashes reported in front of the University and around Enqelab Sq.

Thousands converging on the Ministry of Interior.

Emergency declared for Greater Tehran. Communications Shutdown.

People moving towards "vezarate keshvar" chanting: Military support us!

However army bases are reported on lockdown, precisely to prevent this.

Interior Ministry in Fatemi surrounded by up to 20 thousand, Tear gas and Basij everywhere, people are pushing in.

People shouting and screaming their lungs out --furious and not afraid.

Mashhad declared emergency. Tabriz reporting heavy clashes.

All communication from Shiraz cut.

Hundreds of thousands now on Tehran's streets. 5:30pm Tehran

Clashes spreading to all of the city central areas, gunshoots heard.

Mass street fighting with Basij taking casualties.

Numbers growing at TV station and Interior Ministry.

Via Tehran Bureau, crowds today extended from Gisha to Tehran University with an estimated 1 to 1.5 million people taking part. Largest protests since the initial Revolution Sq. to Freedom Sq. demonstration.

Karoubi Attacked at Friday Prayers > Karoubi's son: The plain clothes forces who attacked my father were congratulated by their commander on their radio!

At least 100 ppl arested today during clashes.

Protests in some part of Tehran countinued until midninght.

Rafsanjani Speaks - The People Move On


Rafsanjani's damp squib speech was a yesterday's man's address. We waited this long for.... that!?

It tainted him and all the opposition politicians who attended. They have dithered, and slowed the people's momentum.

Now, their attempt to hijack the Revolution has drowned in a lot of Rafsanjani waffle about the previous revolution; and in talk of negotiating with killers and oppressors.

The initiative is back with the people. Back with the streets.

Nothing will stop them.


"Today I will propose a solution for today's situation."

Rafsajani is telling the history of early days of Islam and Mohammad.

Rafsanjani talking about the importance of science, knowledge & ppl's rights in prophet's islamic gov.

Rafsanjani seems to be on the verge of crying! Am I hearing right?!

Now talking about how prophet was worred about differences & discord happened among his ppl b4 his death.

And YES. his voice was shaking when talking about prophet's death.

Rafsanjani talking about China. PPl: Death to China.

Rafsanjani asked them not to chant. Because of the "speical" circumstances & what's going on the nearby streets!?

Saying I was there in every moment of the revolution. I know what Imam wanted.

According 2 #iran constitution everything is done with ppl's vote. Even supreme leader.

Unfortunately #iranelection was a big loss for everyone. We need unity.

His suggestions: (1) we should return ppl's trust.

(2) everyone has to act according to the law.

(3) We should create an environment that ppl can talk and discuss.

He's blaming the guardian council. ppl (not clear which side) chanting! (Basij chanting in support of Khamenei, yet Raf keeps thanking them as though they r chanting 4 him)

He asked for releasing the detainees. AND his voice is shaking!!

He said we should try to gain the trust of those who are mourning. Although difficult.
Longer version now here.

The Revolution Will Not Be Hijacked

It's coming up to 1:30pm in Tehran right now, but already, before Rafsanjani has even begun to speak: there's a reek of sellout in the air.

That's not surprising with Rafsanjani involved. It's the sort of thing to be expected from a master political chess-player. And yes, this is politics Jim. But not as we know it.

Mousavi should know it. Greatness came out of the shadows and thrust itself opon him. That greatness rode on the shoulders of a people inspired with detestation for an oppressive government, rather than a love of Mousavi. But it was greatness nonetheless.

There is talk of working within the system. But nothing less than the departure of Ahmadinejhad and/or the no-longer-Supreme Leader will do.

Absent these systemic changes, by showing up to listen to Rafsanjani, Mousavi will cast that greatness to the winds of politics. Old politics.

The politics of the back room. The politics of vested interests. If Mousavi does this it will be a calamitous error. Iran may very well take a step forward. But it wants to take a giant leap, and Mousavi should know this.

The people know it. They have not come this far and shed this much blood to make an incremental advance. This is not about an election, nor is it any longer about Mousavi. It's about time.

It's about time, that Iran embraced it's own greatness. And the people know that. After all it is their Revolution. Over the last few weeks, while the leaders played old politics, the people were out in the streets constructing a new politics. A politics without leaders. A politics capable of solving Iran's massive national problems.

The Genie is not only out of the bottle. The Genie has smashed the bottle and has no intention of ever returning to it.

Politicians everywhere tremble at the thought.

And scramble to hijack the Revolution.

Israel Readies to Rescue Ahmadinejahd

You would think that the leaders of 'The West' would be doing their best to rein in crazy talk coming out of Israel about it's preparedness to attack Iran.

Such a move would simply hand a perfect justification to the regime to sideline opposition protests by issuing a rallying call for national unity against a foreign enemy. Exactly the line it is using in propaganda already. But with the smoking ruins of it's nuclear program as justification, it could even declare a state of war.

Curiously, such Israeli action has already been given the cover it needs: through supposedly loose talk about Israel's right to pursue it's national interest by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden; and by both Obama and Hillary Clinton deadlining negotiations with Iran at September.

It's all even more puzzling considering that even talk of such intemperate actions works against the chances of Mousavi --who has already indicated a willingness to negotiate on ensuring Iran's nuclear program remains solely for civilian use.

Not much of this makes sense if you are working on the assumption that the leaders of "The West" are keen to see the emergence of democracy in Iran.

They're not.

It makes a lot more sense if you realize the value of the dancing sock-puppet Ahmadinejhad as a propaganda justification for the neo-colonial adventures of the Anglo-American-Israeli power axis against "crazy Muslims".

When you factor in that alliance's long-term, strategic relationship with Iran's regional rival: Saudi Arabia, then the combined value of the sanctions and the pathetic government of Iran in slowing Iran's economic and political advancement also makes a lot of sense.

Doubtless we can rely on the Israeli end of the alliance to launch a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, if the regime can't suppress the uprising by September.

As one astute tweet on Twitter put it:
G8/Obama to Iran: You have until September to destroy the protests. Don't screw up.
Iran issues have in recent weeks become clouded with a dense fog of disinformation. The most pernicious of all, is the disinfo that the West loves freedom and wants the people of Iran to have a share.

Wikileaks Touts Iran Nuclear Accident Scare today reports that the website has been blocked by Iran.

Today also, Wikileaks says that two weeks ago it got a tipoff about a nuclear accident of some sort in Iran, in advance of yesterday's news that the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, had resigned.

The Wikileaks report omits to mention that Aghazadeh is a close ally of Mousavi -which might more readily explain his departure.
Serious nuclear accident may lay behind Iranian nuke chief's mystery resignation
July 16, 2009,

Two weeks ago, a source associated with Iran's nuclear program confidentially told WikiLeaks of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible however contact with this source was lost. WikiLeaks would not normally mention such an incident without additional confirmation, however according to Iranian media and the BBC, today the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, has resigned under mysterious circumstances. According to these reports, the resignation was tendered around 20 days ago.
(Julian Assange, WikiLeaks)

Taraneh: Iranian Rape Victim Reported Dead

The story of 'Taraneh' first emerged on a couple of farsi blogs.

Then it was picked up by the Huffington Post, which admitted that the story lacked verification.

According to the Post's account, Taraheh M. (Mousavi) , a 28-year-old Iranian woman was detained on Friday June 19 (incorrect -it was June 28) at the Ghoba mosque in Tehran. Taraneh, whose first name is Persian for "song," was reportedly moved around Iran's detention system and her family could not locate her.

Fast-forward to recent days, when her family reportedly got an anonymous phone call tipping them off that Taraneh had been admitted to hospital. The caller gave details of injuries to Taraneh consistent with rape. When the family went to the hospital they found that Taraneh was only briefly there, unconscious all the while.

Yesterday, the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran called for her release. Today one of the blogs originally covering the story reported that the family were informed yesterday that a burned corpse matching Taraneh’s description had been found in the desert between Karaj and Qazvin. They were threatened to keep quiet about the affair.

According to the blog report, the family went to Ghazvin and recovered her body, but are close-mouthed about funeral arrangements.

Taraneh has already been celebrated online as a victim of brutal gang rape by sub-human Basiji security forces. However, that outrage is based solely on some Twittered blog reports. No professional journalist has reported on this from immediate sources. Even the claim of rape comes only via an alleged anonymous call.

Taraneh's story is tragic. If true.

The latter is the question.
Source reports: 1 2 3 4

Thursday, July 16, 2009

245 Protesters Killed to Date in Iran

See Methodology Below - Edit: July 19th

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has just stated that the number of demonstrators killed during protests in Iran far exceeds government reports.

We present results of a methodical evaluation of news reports, showing a high likelyhood that between 245 protesters and 285 have died to date. The upper range of the fatalities is up to 485 deaths with low confidence. We also conclude there has been a systematic plan to conceal fatalities. A plan which was in place even before the killings began:

Sea Of Green Radio News:
Wednesday 15th July, 2009 at Midnight Tehran time.

Regime's Protester Fatalities Concealment Plan:
  • Allow around 35% of fatalities to enter hospitals.
  • Hide 65% of the bodies in IRGC morgues / cold-store locations.
  • Severely restrict information on detainees to make families think missing family members are detained and not dead.
  • Very slowly allow the concealed bodies to enter Iran's normal death statistics, by pressuring families to agree to dub the deaths accidental or by natural causes.

Our Protester Death Total Methodology:
  • Estimate deaths in Tehran from news accounts and unofficial hospital counts.
  • Estimate deaths outside Tehran using media reports of the severity of repression outside the capital. Allow for poor reporting of deaths outside Tehran area.
  • Include deaths both by shooting and torture / ill-treatment in detention.
  • Allow that maximum concealment would have been in the capital -where media presence and strong public communications systems made secrecy more vital.
  • Factor in that reports say relatives are perusing large numbers of photos of corpses when trying to identify missing relatives who may be deceased.
  • Allow for exaggeration and bias in reports.
See Also:
More on Methodology
The graph (v1.1) shows the cumulative confidence in the underlying news reports supporting a fatality total.

For example a single news report might say that some number of protesters were shot in, say Shiraz. How reliable is that source or news organization? Have their other reports been later confirmed by other known high confidence news orgs? How many other reports are there which reference Shiraz fatalities? What's is the overasll confidence in the acumulated reports?

Or take the Le Figaro article detailing an interview with two Iranian doctors who fled to France. The article said they claim that an unofficial tally by medical staff in Tehran counted 92 fatalities in Tehran area hospitals. What other claims were made by the doctors in that article? Did those claims turn out to be substantial or not? How does a claim of 92 fatalities in the Tehran area meshwith other news reports of hospital fatalities?

And so on. Slowly building a picture of the true number of fatalities --which is weighted to reflect the confidence in the underlying reports. We've been building the underlying data for the last month. It would take weeks to write it all up as a formal report. For now, we can just present the conclusions.

The UK, Guardian catches up with this story.
Hundreds may have died in Iranian clashes after poll, say human rights campaigners

Woman claims to have seen piles of corpses,
as tension rises in Tehran over Rafsanjani speech

Robert Tait - - 16 July 2009 14.19 BST

Hundreds more people may have died in Iran's post-election unrest than the authorities have admitted, amid allegations that the death toll has been obscured by hiding victims' bodies in secret morgues.

Human rights campaigners say anecdotal evidence suggests the number of demonstrators killed in clashes with government forces after last month's poll was far higher than the official death toll of 20 and may amount to a "massacre".

Suspicions have been fuelled after one woman described seeing corpses piled on top of each other in a refrigeration depot while searching for a missing relative. Another woman was shown pictures of between 50 and 60 people, all said to have died, while searching for her son.

The claims came as Tehran prepares for another day of tension tomorrow when the influential former president Hashemi Rafsanjani addresses Friday prayers at Tehran University. Hardline supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – who was controversially re-elected in the election on 12 June that opponents say was "stolen" – have threatened to disrupt the event, at which Rafsanjani is expected to speak in support of his ally Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated reformist candidate, who will attend the event.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran accused the government of obfuscating casualty numbers by frightening victims' families into silence. The true picture had emerged from hospital statistics and testimony from families who refused to keep quiet, it said.

"It's hard to put a figure on it because most of the families involved are scared to talk," Aaron Rhodes of the campaign told the Guardian. "But if you put together the evidence of the families that have spoken, along with eyewitness reports and data from hospitals, there could be well over a hundred fatalities."

The campaign said that on 20 June – the day after Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that the demonstrations must stop – three Tehran hospitals placed a total of 34 dead demonstrators in their morgues.

The authorities put that day's fatalities at 11. Doctors have reported being stopped from signing death certificates by military commanders, who then ordered the corpses removed.

The security forces have acknowledged carrying out more than 2,000 arrests during the crackdown on the mass protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election. Some detainees have been released but many are still unaccounted for.

The Norooz website – linked to Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Participation Front – described how a mother searching for her missing child was sent to a facility normally used for preserving fruit and dairy produce on the outskirts of Tehran. After leafing through a photograph album of presumed victims, she was shown into a room containing what she described as "hundreds" of dead bodies. "Although I didn't find my child's body, on seeing all those corpses dumped on top of each other, I passed out," the unnamed woman said.

Mousavi showed solidarity with relatives of the dead earlier this week when he visited the home of Sohrab Aarabi, 19, whose body was recovered nearly a month after he died of gunshot wounds at a mass demonstration in Tehran on 15 June.

Aarabi's mother, Parvin Fahimi – a member of an organisation called Mothers for Peace – has described how after weeks of searching for her son she was summoned by a revolutionary court and shown pictures of between 50 and 60 people, all said to have died. The pictures included Sohrab, whom she had previously thought might be in detention.

Some families have reported being harassed into signing pledges agreeing that their loved ones died accidentally or of natural causes. Others say they have been forced to declare that the victims belonged to the Basij militia, which was used to suppress the demonstrations.

In one case, a family reported receiving their son's corpse encased in concrete to hide signs of injuries.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Iran Compromise Deal in the Works

Amid reports of a possible compromise between the Iranian regime and the opposition, leading Middle-East political analyst, Professor Scott Lucas joins Fintan Dunne to discuss the potential for breakthrough, or calamity -as we head for possible opposition attendance at Tehran's Friday prayers.

Sea Of Green Radio: 'Deep Green' Iran Analysis
Tuesday 14th July, 2009 at 8pm Tehran time.

Interview Guest: Professor Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of American Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK -and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tehran. A specialist in US and British foreign policy, he has published extensively on Middle-East politics -especially on the Suez Crisis. He writes for, and is a founder of, the weblog --where he currently blogs unmissable news analysis and reporting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Anonymous Issues Fatwa to Iranian Regime

'Anonymous,' the group behind the highly successful free speech campaign against Scientology is taking an increasing part in the resistance to the Iranian government. The group has issued a free speech 'fatwa' against the Iranian regime.

That development was echoed in a move by another group related to Anonymous. Two weeks ago a message appeared on Anonymous Iran on behalf of a group called: Task Force /i/ran.

The short identification code '/i/' is likely the signature of an offshoot of the website. 4Chan is the origin of 'Anonymous.'

The posted message indicated a cyberwar campaign was imminent against Iranian government websites, especially those publishing photos of protesters in an attempt to identify. The group stated it's intentions thus:
"/i/nvade. Destroy. Kill. Win. That's our fucking plan." -- Anonymous.
The most recent move is the start of a 'Sea of Green' interent radio channel to broadcast the contents of the 'Green Brief' daily briefings on Iran developments by Josh Shahryar -currently available in text form at the Anonymous Iran forum.

Clearly, 'Anonymous' are on board with the Iranian resistance.

Expect them.

Hello, leaders of Iran. We are Anonymous.

As the eyes of the entire world hold you under close scrutiny, the eyes of the internet have taken a similar notice of your recent actions. While the governments of the world condemn you for your suppression of human rights, Anonymous has taken a particular interest in your recent attempts to censor the internet, not only for your own people, but for the citizens of the entire world.

Such suppression of dissent cannot go unpunished. By cutting off communication of the Iranian citizens to the rest of the world, you have made it clear to us that the most revered of human rights - the right to free speech - is no longer important to you. By seeking to silence the voice of the people in an election and subsequently seeking to silence criticism of such a gross cover-up, you have perpetuated the anger and rage of your people. Anonymous has therefore made it our mission to see to it that the voice of the Iranian people can be heard around the world.

Just like another authoritarian religious extremist group, Anonymous will tear down the walls of silence using only the truth - the truth that you are trying so hard to suppress by use of violence, intimidation, and fascist laws.

As your people continue to riot and to speak out against you; as you continue to beat and shoot your own citizens in the street; as you continue to lie to the face of the entire world; know that the internet is watching - and we do not like what we see.

Knowledge is free.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.

Expect us.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

People And Power: Inside the Iranian Protests

A new documentary by Manon Loizeau on AlJazeera, filmed secretly inside Iran in the aftermath of the election, confirms the details of the crackdown which Iranian activists have been blogging about. It's unmissable watching.

Iranian Opposition Under Cyberattack on Twitter

See Latest Updates Below Article

Persons unknown disrupted the #iranelection tag used by Iranian opposition activists on Twitter for almost all of Saturday 11th July. Legitimate messages coordinating political opposition to the Iranian government were drowned out by massive volume of tweet spam for a product called Turbo Cash Generator, and also for -a free domain registration service.

Twitter did not seem to respond to requests block the spam content -which is rendered the #iranelection tag unusable, especially to less experienced users. That looks like an abrogation of their corporate responsibility to protect an online system vital for free speech and political organization.

The sheer volume of tweet spam (up to 70% of tweets -see image) was counterproductive from an e-marketing point of view, so it's possible that Turbo Cash Generator was not the actual entity behind this cyberattack. Another entity may have used their product as cover for the attack.

A new anonymity software program created by Austin Heap, called Haystack is just set to launch. But that product will be undermined if the most popular Iranian opposition tag on Twitter is destroyed by cyberattack.

A Twitter account at: has been set up to help educate users on how to filter out the spam. An online activist response is being coordinated in a topic thread at the Anonymous Iran forum.

UPDATE: 12:00pm EST Sunday

After an overnight lull, the "Killer Software" spam is back Sunday. But the Twitter short links it is using, are no longer valid on's link translation system. So there is no benefit in traffic to the originator. Just disruption of the #iranelection tag on Twitter.

The originator of the spam is still unidentified.

In response to a media enquiry by me, providing details of the affiliate code being used in the spam, said it would have the spam stopped, but did not admit if the affiliate code was genuine, or if the company itself was responsible for the spam. Nevertheless the spam continues today.

UPDATE: 2:00am EST Monday

Thanks to help from Tweeters and AnonymousIran members, though spam continues on Twitter, the spam level in the #iranelection tag is now reduced to a trickle. A number of spammers have been contacted directly by #iranelection's AntiSpam team and have backed off. However, they or other spammers may show up again. We will continue an aggressive response to any spamming of #iranelection. Latest here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Live Coverage: Iran 9th July Protests

Interview Guest:
Professor Scott Lucas
Scott Lucas is Professor of American Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Adjunct Professor of the Institute for North American and European Studies at the University of Tehran; also a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for American Studies and Research at American University Beirut. A specialist in US and British foreign policy, he has published extensively on Middle-East politics -especially on the Suez Crisis. Professor Lucas is a frequent contributor to American, British, and international media. He writes for, and is a founder of, the weblog --where he currently blogs unmissable news analysis and reporting.

Protester estimate subsequent to the above audio

Based on analysis of considerable video evidence and news/tweet reports. From the reported totals at key locations - add those in these key location marches who did not make it to the center. Also from an analysis of videos depicting scenes at intersections; and reliable reports that the protests were widely scattered down to local level.

Guesstimate Methodology:
Key Locations at peak: 7,000
Surrounding these areas: 5,000
Local intersections also: 10,000 (50 by 200avg per intersection)
Local street gatherings : 3,000 (50 by 60avg per street)

Estimated Total: ~25,000 in Tehran

Image Gallery: Here NYTimes Gallery Here

Latest Confirmed Videos:

Enghelab Ave

Tehran Center

Pre 5pm Tehran - North Karegar before clashes

Latest Media Accounts:
France24 Video

Raw Trusted Source Twitter Feeds

Latest First, up to 5:00pmEST = 9:00pm GMT = 1:30am Tehran

IranRiggedElectFrom Iran: Despite being beaten, general feeling is that we WON today!

omidhabibiniaVideo: Tehran University Dorm 20.30

IranRiggedElect: RT: @IranAnon: Do not underestimate the number of protesters today just bcuz they were scattered. They were at every crossing

IranRiggedElect: RT @omidhabibinia: Clashes at Narmak and Tehran Pars, 11PM...

IranRiggedElectFrom Isfahan: FAMILIES participated in the protest, women, seniors, everyone.

lotfanVIDEO: People chanting,Mojtaba (khamanei's son) death to you, you shall never see the supreme leadership

IranRiggedElect: several srcs from #iran report: Guards, plainclothes and police seemed tired and nervous today.

IranRiggedElect: Plainclothes claimed that they are going back to Amirkabir's dorm 2night.

IranRiggedElect: Plainclothes attacked Amirkarbir Univ Dorm:

lotfan: RT @IranAnon: July 9th, tonight, in an area where allah o akbars had stopped, fortunately allah o akbars were heard again

IranRiggedElect: RT @.. Hearing VERY powerful shouts of "Allaho Akbar" here in Qeitarieh. I'm gonna go on the roof and join them. B back

MikVerbrugge: analysis:Less chants for Mousavi &against Ahmedinejad,more chants against Khamenei& Mojtaba = Escalation!

IranRiggedElect: RT @MikVerbrugge: Today's reports showed the Basiji stretched thin. Certainly due 2 multiple simultaneous gatherings.

LaraABCNews: Tehrani: police first struck people, then told them to leave. if store owners hadn't come to our rescue I don't know what would've happened

jimsciuttoABC: One eyewitness heard gunshots at Engelab Sq and saw ppl fall. Anyone else hear/see the same?

MikVerbrugge: Small groups seemed to be armed & used Molotov Cocktails.

iraniscc: friend back says: bassij used a gas that burned our skins its still red and inflamed. Confirmed RT

iraniscc: Snanadaj: ppl gathered too from 1930 oneards in main sq. but full of special forces to attck still there.

MikVerbrugge: according to contact: pockets of violent resistance are forming, dispatch transcripts show many hotspots

MikVerbrugge: thank you RT @Iranianrevolt i have same msg, armed police shooting plainclothes, from ppl claiming they r eyewitness Tehran 9:20pm

iraniscc: Tabriz: ABresan jnct and Univ.sq.hell of lot of gaurds would arrest any one suspicious.

iraniscc: a call from Mashad: ppl in Park jct. up to 7/8000 dispersed and united later

iraniscc: guards tried very much to disperse ppl in Saadat abad bazar in vain

Nico: Shootings reported. "Tweets passing around that there are heavy clashes near Azadi Square.. Word is out that 3 people have been shot by security forces."

MikVerbrugge: The #nir team protecting "friend" personalities are out of harm's way, no casualties

MikVerbrugge: Tehran Basiji reporting heavy casulaties & many units either on the run or retreat. It's like entire Tehran is an urban combat zone. Security Forces uninterrupted requests for backup & distress coming fr all over Tehran. NIR taking out unidentified snipers, trying to keep situation calm until personalities they are protecting are out.
Combined tweets ~8:53pmTehran

MikVerbrugge: From emergency dispatch of Tehran: Fire in Mirdamad getting out of control 8:30pm Tehran

IranRiggedElect: FR Tehran: clashes in Azadi, Enqelab, Vanq, Jomhouri, Valiasr

MikVerbrugg: Basij forces asking for re-enforcement in midtown

MikVerbrugge: Chaos. Distress messages from security forces being shot at requesting airborne support.

MikVerbrugge: Unbelieveable msgs coming in: Uniformed POLICE force shooting at armed Basiji militia Unconfirmed early report 7:45 Tehran

MikVerbrugge: NIR Officers engaged in armed conflicts against Plainclothed.

iranisccRT: @shab77: RT Reports ppl coming out of their homes, standing in their own streets, shouting Allah Akbar&death to dictators.

iranisccRT: @IranTweet: Iranian from Tehran, Call IranTV - situation is so bad, that police are now also attacking each other" Unconfirmed early report

lotfanRT: @BreakingNews: Reuters witness: Iranian police shoot in the air to disperse pro-reform demonstrators in Tehran; several detained.

iraniscc: Sec forces have put cars in midd of ferdowsi bt ppl still force in and chant still to UNI

iraniscc: Ferdowsi ppl take away camera of a bassij filming them.

iraniscc: Uni slogans:"I will kill the one who killed my brother".."down with dictator" SHAH SOLTAN - VELAYAT ur times up

iraniscc: ppl R boo-ing the bassij and sec force as they try to disperse them & shout.. "shah Soltan Velayat ur time is up'

iraniscc: @TehranBureau Sorry but it IS NOT quiet ! ppl are every where. Unless our friends are fooling around with all the screams and slogans !

omidhabibinia: Police Shooting Teargas at Poeple infront of Tehran University.

iraniscc: RT @shab77: RT @omidhabibinia Clashes At Vali Asr Sq. Spreading to all nearby Streets including Vila St...

lotfan: Cell network is shut down around enghelab #iranelection

iraniscc: RT @IranTweet: Accts of 100s to 1000s protesters gathering near Tehran Univ. Basij responding w/ btgs, tear gas, arrests.

jimsciuttoABC: Protesters are getting their #'s up. 100s, possib 1000s gathered at both Tehran Univ and Vali Asr Sq. Demo's growing

lotfan: Clashes At Vali Asr Sq. Spreading to all nearby Streets including Vila St...

omidhabibinia: Clashes At Vali Asr Sq. Spreading to all nearby Streets incl Vila St...

iraniscc: Vali asr ppl gathered sec forces attacked violently with everything.. ppl scattered in groups

iraniscc: From Tehran Uni to begining of Enghelab st at least 4000 ppl clapping full Bassij presence some scattred

omidhabibinia: Heavy Clashes at Vali Asr Sq. #iranelection

iraniscc: Tehran most have masks. well prep. & organized ..all clapping in unity

iraniscc: Tehran:Bassij try to prevent ppl from entering enghelab sq

lotfanRT: @omidhabibinia: Reports of Clashes at Dravzeh Shiraz, Isfehan.

lotfanRT: @IranRiggedElect: AFP: Seifzadeh and Dadkhah, HR lawyers and founders of Ebadi's rights group were arrested

jimsciuttoABC: With # of security forces & govt threats, fear possib at highest level so far. To see protesters defy that is remarkable.

MikVerbrugge: live report: Shots being heard from different parts of Tehran.

MikVerbrugge: live report: Unrest in Shiraz, Sari, Isfahan & many other cities being confirmed.

lotfan: Mashhad is reported to be very quiet

lotfan: People rallying from Imam Hossein suqare towards Enghelab

lotfanProtests in Iran on key reform anniversary #iranelection

jimsciuttoABC: Accts of 100s to 1000s of protesters gathering near Tehran Univ. Basij responding w/ btgs, tear gas, arrests.

iranisccRT: @shab77: Mashhad: protesters around the shrine. Isfahan:Ppl assembled b/w Si-o-Seh pol&Khajoo bridge.Lots of plain cloths.

iraniscc: RT @shab77: RT @fahimn Heavy Clashes at Karegar Shomali St, (Near Enghlab Sq.) Tear gas, Fire and blockage...

IranRiggedElect: AFP: Seifzadeh and Dadkhah, two HR lawyers and founders of Shirin Ebadi's rights group were arrested

iranisccRT: @Pray4FreeIran: RT @jimsciuttoABC: One witness: basij throwing protesters from pedestrian bridges in Shiraz UNconfirmed

iraniscc: girl arrested and dragged and beaten while being dragged. her hair&cloths in bad sit. taken away by bassij

omidhabibinia: Hundreds of Protesters chanting against the regime infron of Ploytechnic University, Near Azadi Sq. (not conf)

iraniscc: Enghelab sq packed with people from side streets, Basiji attacking them with batons & tear gas dick clubs

iraniscc: RT @Pray4FreeIran: RT @iran88: Clashes reported in Saatad Abad. Hundreds of protesters sitting on the ground in 12-e-Farvardin.

iranisccRT: @Pray4FreeIran: RT Choppers now in the air from Enghelab Sq thru Laleh Park.

iraniscc: Confirmed: No Mobile Network at Centrlal Tehran

jimsciuttoABC: Another witness: police throwing tear gas into buses, some protesters gathering near Tehran Univ

iraniscc: reg forces withdrawn from Enghelab and guards are put in...GOD plz help us. We have to do it

jimsciuttoABC: One witness: basij throwing protesters from pedestrian bridges in Shiraz

MikVerbrugge: live reports : Seem to be circling Cult. Inst. of Darolzahra,where the prayer service is.

MikVerbrugge: live reports : Basij & plainclothed at & around Dr. Beheshti Sq.

iraniscc: freind says; some bassij have local accent likeAstaara region: regime mobilised from all Iran for 2day

MikVerbrugge: live reports : Guards units being ordered to Dr. Beheshti Street

MikVerbrugge: live reports : Regular Security Forces ordered to leave Enghelab Sq. Guards units taking over

MikVerbrugge: live reports : Riot Guards moving to Enghelab sq - Police force being ordered back to bases.

iraniscc: Cars in Jomhouri junct. form of protest with horns.Bassij seen equipped with ax and pick batons

iraniscc: RT @Pray4FreeIran: URGENT INFO for Teargas : Im a Biochemist. Mix half vol antiacid half H2O for eyes mouth ears nose

iraniscc: @huffingtonpost CONFIRMED PROTESTS IN tehran, shiraz, isfahan, ahwaz, babol, kerman, mashhad, sari

omidhabibinia: Army Unit (IRG) Positioned infront of Interior Ministry. #iranelection