05 July 2009


My friend Susan pointed out this interesting report in The Wall Street Journal about the shifting composition of the blog-o-sphere (a term I find quite infelicitous) in Iran. With all the rapture about how the opposition has used blogs and other new communication media to mobilize, it is important to remember the other uses to which political actors - say a repressive regime and its minions - can put the same technology.

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Blogger hass said...

There's no actual evidence of election fraud in Iran -- see IranAffairs.com for the compiled list of claims, none stands scrutiny.

06 July, 2009 16:38  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

I went to IranAffairs and was trying to figure out who was behind the site - to no avail. And you Haas seem to be quite determined to spread the "news" (I've seen your contributions on various other sites/blogs. Beside confronting various specific reasons why the Iranian regime might've resorted to election fraud, the folks at IranAffairs make this general observation:

As a side note: Before you automatically and unthinkingly assume that there was election fraud in Iran, ask yourself: WHY? was Mousavi, the opposition leader -- and a former Prime Minister and very much a supporter of the revolution -- such a threat to the system that they had to resort to election fraud? No, sorry, he isn't.

But why have an election if you don't want to win. The opposing candidate need not be a threat to the system for you to stuff ballots in order to win. When in 2000 there were discussions and recriminations about fraud in U.S. elections did anyone think that Al Gore was a threat to the system and that that was why the Bush-ites allegedly had engaged in fraud? In other words, this claim seems considerably overblown.

07 July, 2009 09:18  
Blogger hass said...

The left margin of the site clearly states the name of the blogger who owns IranAffairs.com. And don't shoot the messenger. People who go against the "conventional wisdom" often have to make an extra effort to be heard.

There is no reason for the regime to oppose Mousavi's election since he is not only a regime insider, but he was also specifically cleared to run for office. He may oppose Ahmadinejad, but he is not opposed to the regime as a whole, including the Supreme LEader who controls the security apparatus. So, there is no real reason why the regime would think it necessary to resort to election fraud to prevent a Mousavi victory.

07 July, 2009 12:52  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

H ~

First, I saw the blogger's name but have no idea (and he provides no information) about who he is. Nor do you provide any information about yourself. Sorry, but I have a tendency to follow the money. I am not an expert on Iran, but I do know that discussions about the situation there are not driven primarily by mere intellectual curiosity. In other words this is political. And as part of my own assessment I tend to want to know where people stand.

(2) Your response on the substantive point is unpersuasive. Does electoral fraud and corruption occur only in the face of threats to the regime itself? The fracas surrounding Bush v. Gore surely suggests otherwise.

08 July, 2009 10:08  
Blogger Dawei_in_Beijing said...

"People who go against the 'conventional wisdom' often have to make an extra effort to be heard."

That's true, except that in this case going against the "conventional wisdom" is akin to denying the holocaust. Oops, wait a minute, denying the holocaust is something Ahmadinejad's regime knows a thing or two about. Carry on then, you silly stooge.

Jim, I wouldn't be surprised if this comedian works for the Iranian regime, spreading BS in the "blogosphere."

09 July, 2009 14:28  

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