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Monday, June 29, 2009

Iran Revolution Needs You

After the previous frivolous post, I wanted to write and say that even though the MSM is obsessed with celebrity deaths, there are some websites that are continuing their excellent coverage on Iran and I'm still tracking the uprising day and night. Not everybody has the kind of patience I have, to track through all the Twitter posts and sift the real stuff from the crap (and there's a lot of crap), but I have learned many, many things.

If you want a reputable place to go online to get the latest news, I suggest following Nico Pitney on Huffington Post, who continues to live blog. He has now started separating his posts by day, so you can click here to keep up with his Monday post.

Andrew Sullivan is also doing an excellent job keeping up with Iran developments here. And you can get great information at Anonymous Iran.

In Twitter, I've been following the #IranElection hash tag, but it can get weighed down with spam, and it's become pretty dangerous to click on links and to retweet information, unless you really, really know the source. Since I've been tracking Twitter from the beginning of the vote debacle, I know who the real insiders are and I've followed them so that I can just get their posts versus wading through #IranElection. I've noticed that they don't always add the hash tag to their posts, so it's important to follow them separately. If I know you, and you want to know who those people are and how to follow them, just leave a comment here and I will email you. If I don't know you, I won't respond.

A few of the old reliables in Iran have dissappeared from Twitter. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that they are either in hiding, arrested or dead. If they had resurfaced under a new name, I would have known. The Iranian government may have been able to obstruct or slow down access to the Internet for their citizens, but they have not been able to stop them electronically. Instead, they do some simple research based on the user's IP address and other available information, and go and arrest them. Geeks from all over the world have united in setting up proxy servers on their own machines using Tor, which allows Iranians to mask their IP addresses and appear as if they are Twittering from another country. It's easy to download Tor but I have yet to figure out how to make my laptop a server, even though the instructions online are great. The problem is, I'm staying in other people's homes and the Internet here, for instance, is way too slow for me to set up a Tor relay. Tor relays takes bandwidth away from your own usage, since you are allowing other people to hop on and use your bandwidth, so this would not be cool for me to do.

If you are interested in setting up a Tor relay, you can go here for downloads and go to Anonymous Iran's Tor page and go check out Ian's Brain for step-by-step setup instructions with graphics. Even without the Iran crisis, I use Tor when I'm outside of the US to mask my location so that I can watch US TV online, such as The Daily Show and Colbert Report, so it can be useful for you outside of this situation. If you don't want to do this yourself, then donate to AVAAZ.org's fundraiser to supply anonymous bandwidth to Iranian protesters.

In general, I believe there is no turning back because the will of the people is incredibly strong and the world knows too much now. Iran's current regime is and will continue to crack down. They have the guns and the money. But the movement has people in huge numbers, and if united, they can overcome the guns and the money. They need encouragement though, so if you can post a tweet of love and encouragement (avoid nasty comments about the regime and any encouragement towards violence) and append the #iranelection hashtag to your tweet, this is a grand gesture, believe me. It helps drown out the spam tweets, and it lets the Iranian people know that they are not alone.

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