Toledo Talk

Cyberwar guide for Iran elections

Different ways to follow what's happening in Iran. Since we have no TV other than DvDs and VHS tapes, Twitter and other Web sites are a good way to get info.



Jun 15, 2009 - Twitter streams break Iran news dam

Protestors in Iran on Monday used Twitter for battle cries and to spread word about clashes with police and "hard line supporters" of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Twitter messages, some with links to pictures, streamed from Iran despite reported efforts by authorities there to block news of protests over Ahmadinejad's claim of having been fairly re-elected.

Pictures of wounded or dead people that senders claim were Iranian protestors ricocheted about Twitter and wound up posted at online photo-sharing websites such as Flickr.

Twitter users were also slamming mainstream media outlets for not covering the Iranian election aftermath more intensely. A CNNfail threat at the US-based micro-blogging service critiqued the cable news network's coverage throughout the weekend.


Flickr photos :

PicFog - Live twitpics

Facebook :

Video :


The Translation and Interpretation Initiative for Iranian Protesters (TIIIP)

Google Translate

Big Picture photo blog

At the Boston Globe

Updating Blogs

Message Board

Why We Protest - IRAN

Nightly Green Brief Iranian Updates



Other Reads

Jun 21, 2009 - Boing Boing - Super-filtered #IranElection info for the easily overwhelmed :


Jun 15, 2009 - - Activists Launch Hack Attacks on Tehran Regime

Jun 15, 2009 - Wall Street Journal - Web Users in Iran Reach Overseas for Proxies

Jun 16, 2009 - cnet - Twitterverse working to confuse Iranian censors

Jun 16, 2009 - CNN - State Department to Twitter: Keep Iranian tweets coming

Jun 16, 2009 - Slashdot - Statistical Suspicions In Iran's Election

Jun 16, 2009 - The Daily Beast - How Iran's Hackers Killed Big Brother :

Jun 21, 2009 - Iran Revolt- the first day retold in tweets

Jun 21, 2009 - Boing Boing - Iran Election Crisis: 10 Significant Web Videos

Jun 21, 2009 - Boing Boing - Social Media in Iran: Lessons Learned

Cyberwar Guide for Iran Elections

Jun 16, 2009 - Boing Boing - Cyberwar guide for Iran elections

The purpose of this guide is to help you participate constructively in the Iranian election protests through Twitter.

1. Do NOT publicise proxy IP's over twitter, and especially not using the #iranelection hashtag. Security forces are monitoring this hashtag, and the moment they identify a proxy IP they will block it in Iran. If you are creating new proxies for the Iranian bloggers, DM them to @stopAhmadi or @iran09 and they will distributed them discretely to bloggers in Iran.

2. Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.

3. Keep you bull$hit filter up! Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don't retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting. The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.

4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become 'Iranians' it becomes much harder to find them.

5. Don't blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don't publicise their name or location on a website. These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don't signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind...

A couple other points added on Jun 16, 2009 :

6. Denial of Service attacks. If you donít know what you are doing, stay out of this game. Only target those sites the legitimate Iranian bloggers are designating. Be aware that these attacks can have detrimental effects to the network the protesters are relying on. Keep monitoring their traffic to note when you should turn the taps on or off.

7. Do spread the (legitimate) word, it works! When the bloggers asked for twitter maintenance to be postponed using the #nomaintenance tag, it had the desired effect. As long as we spread good information, provide moral support to the protesters, and take our lead from the legitimate bloggers, we can make a constructive contribution.


Jun 20, 2009


Pulling in RSS feed for my bookmarks tagged iranelection

Could not retrieve feed for


Web Ecology Project Report

The Iranian Election on Twitter: The First Eighteen Days - [pdf file]

Key Findings

  • From 7 June 2009 until the time of publication (26 June 2009), we have recorded 2,024,166 tweets about the election in Iran.
  • Approximately 480,000 users have contributed to this conversation alone.
  • 59.3% of users tweet just once, and these users contribute 14.1% of the total number.
  • The top 10% of users in our study account for 65.5% of total tweets.
  • 1 in 4 tweets about Iran is a retweet of another userís content.
created by jr on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:35:28 pm
updated by jr on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:43:08 am
    News     Comments: 14

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Comments ... #

Awesome work, jr, and thanks for taking the time to assemble all this.

posted by historymike on Jun 17, 2009 at 08:16:02 am     #  

Interesting post -

posted by SensorG on Jun 18, 2009 at 04:23:06 pm     #  

How to help now that Google Translate is available in Persian / Farsi

posted by toledolen on Jun 19, 2009 at 02:29:35 am     #  

Jun 24, 2009 update - Clashes between protesters and Iranian police seem to have intensified.

From the NY Times Breaking News The Lede Blog

Update | 1:15 p.m. [Jun 24] A reader wrote to tell us earlier that CNN had conducted a phone interview with a woman who said she had witnessed todayís events in Tehran. This telephone interview does not appear to be posted on CNNís Web site yet, but another reader points out that some of the audio of the womanís account has been posted on YouTube.

More from the Jun 24, 2009 The Lede Blog:

Update | 12:02 p.m. An Iranian blogger who seem to be writing from inside the country and has provided reliable information in the past suggests that more than one person may have been killed in todayís clashes ó and writes that one of the people he has been attending protests with has been arrested:

they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us

Lalezar Sq is same as Baharestan - unbelievable - ppls murdered everywhere -

they pull away the dead into trucks - like factory - no human can do this - we beg Allah for save us

Everybody is under arrest & cant move - Mousavi - Karroubi even rumour Khatami is in house guard -

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

Update | 11:54 a.m. My colleague Nazila Fathi reports from Tehran that witnesses who attended todayís rally outside the Parliament building say the security forces did open fire:

Hundreds of protesters clashed with waves of riot police and paramilitary militia in Tehran on Wednesday, witnesses said, as Iranís supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisted the authorities would not yield to pressure from opponents demanding a new election following allegations of electoral fraud.

It was impossible to confirm first-hand the extent of the new violence in the capital because of draconian new press restrictions on coverage of the post-election mayhem. But the witnesses reached by telephone said the confrontation, outside the national Parliament building, was bloody, with police using live ammunition.

Defying government warnings, the witnesses said that hundreds, if not thousands of protesters, had attempted to gather in front of the parliament on Baharestan Square. They were met with riot police and paramilitary militia, who struck at them with truncheons, tear gas, and guns. One witness said he saw a 19-year-old woman shot in the neck.

Update | 10:14 a.m. An Iranian blogger who appears to be one of the opposition protesters in Iran writes of todayís thwarted rally:

I see many ppl with broken arms/legs/heads - blood everywhere - pepper gas like war

they were waiting for us - they all have guns and riot uniforms - it was like a mouse trap - ppl being shot like animals

saw 7/8 militia beating one woman with baton on ground - she had no defense nothing - sure that she is dead

so many ppl arrested - young & old - they take ppl away - we lose our group

ppl run into alleys and militia standing there waiting - from 2 sides they attack ppl in middle of alleys

all shops was closed - nowhere to go - they follow ppls with helicopters - smoke and fire is everywhere

posted by jr on Jun 24, 2009 at 03:59:01 pm     #  

2:24 p.m. Jun 24, 2009 The Daily Dish blog posting that listed several tweets from today including:

"in Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat - blood everywhere - like butcher - Allah Akbar"

Twitter user Iran_Translator has been providing detailed, nightly updates at the message board under the username of NightOwl. Iran_Translator tweeted a short while ago:

"I have no confirmation on the massacre. I believe the massive beatings got lost in translation as a massacre."

The Lede Blog posted at 3:26 p.m. about the woman who called CNN:

We should note that we have no way of confirming if this person really was a witness to what happened today in Tehran. This is an interview conducted by another news organization with an anonymous caller who may or may not have witnessed these events.

posted by jr on Jun 24, 2009 at 04:15:20 pm     #  

Jun 24, 2009 tweet by Ann Curry :

Activists rounded up at night. Amnesty International: "Some have been shot and killed, others have simply disappeared."

posted by jr on Jun 24, 2009 at 04:33:35 pm     #  

Recent tweet by Iran_Translator also known as NightOwl :

Well, most people think they just fired shots indiscriminately at protesters. And killed dozens. That's not the case.

5:03 p.m. EDT update from The Lede Blog at the NY Times (my emphasis added):

The National Iranian American Councilís blog reports that ďa trusted source who attended todayís silent rally at Baharestan SquareĒ wrote to to them with an account of todayís events more like the one we heard from a reader of The Lede this morning ó and quite unlike the account of the anonymous woman who spoke with CNN:

I was there from 5:15 to 7:30. It was very tense. Being out in Baharstan was an act of defiance. No one said anything, there were only a few chants coming from outside the square. Although the police were a lot nicer, the Basij continued to be brutal. No one was allowed to stand in one place, we had to keep on moving. The moment we stood in one place, they would break us up. I saw many people get blindfolded and arrested, however it wasnít a massacre. I heard that someone was killed, however I didnít see it.

Guardian blog posting at 4:46 p.m. EDT :

Seventy members of an organisations of Islamic university professors were arrested today after a meeting with Mir Hossein Mousavi, according to website, which is affiliated with the Mousavi camp. I'm also hearing unconfirmed reports that university professors who during the campaign signed petitions supporting Mousavi have been detained.

posted by jr on Jun 24, 2009 at 05:26:22 pm     #  

Excerpts from NightOwl's Green Brief 8 report for events occurring on Jun 24, 2009:

1. The event of the day was the protest held at Baharestan Square in the late afternoon. Although the exact number cannot be fully known, my sources claimed somewhere between 5,000-10,000 people tried to join the rally. Things got violent when security forces that had been waiting there for hours moved in as soon as a small crowd had managed to gather. They used force to brutalize the protesters and scatter them faster then they could regroup. Police were also patrolling the areas around Baharestan and people were attacked even as they fled Baharestan and go to the outer edges of the area. This continued for at least two hours.

2. Force was utilized without discrimination; however, media reports about a complete massacre cannot be confirmed by my more reliable sources. What I can confirm is at least 3 people were killed; the police used batons to beat people quite viciously - leaving dozens injured, not just in Baharestan but also in the areas around Baharestan. Shots were also fired and at least 2 of the fatalities were as a result of gunfire. Tear gas was also used to disperse them. We cannot confirm the use of axes on protesters. It could have been isolated incidents. But a wide-spread use cannot be confirmed. There were reports of killings at Lalehzar as well. Lalezhzar is a park in Tehran which has been completely taken over by security forces and is being used as a quasi-de fact base. Pictures are scarce and videos cannot be confirmed at this point either. The police were checking cell phones throughout the area as well as in other parts of the city and deleting images or videos or confiscating the phone altogether.

(I have to add a personal note here. I am not anti-protester and neither am I against the freedom of Iran from the grips of such a repressive regime. The Green Briefs are VERY one-sided and TOTALLY pro-protester. However, I think the event was overblown partly because the people who participated were terrorized by the brute nature of the event and at the same time, the word 'massacre' got lost in translation a little. I apologize if you find my denial of this outrageous, but I will not confirm something like this. It could easily be a government ploy to scare people from joining further protests.)

posted by jr on Jun 25, 2009 at 12:47:39 am     #  

Jun 25, 2009 NightOwl post - "Partial list of Iranians that have been killed or arrested during the protests"

I took this from the website of the Internatoinal Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. This list is only partial, but mostly confirmed. However, still be cautious as information gets out at a staggeringly slow rate and remember, the Iranian government expertly lies.

posted by jr on Jun 25, 2009 at 02:01:35 am     #  

NightOwl's Green Brief 9 report for events occurring on Jun 25, 2009:

posted by jr on Jun 25, 2009 at 08:50:12 pm     #  

Jun 26, 2009 news:

posted by jr on Jun 26, 2009 at 05:17:18 pm     #  

Excerpts from NightOwl's Green Brief 10 report for events occurring on Jun 26, 2009 :

11. The government is continuously attacking and arresting Iranians who are using twitter to get the message out to the world. Several of our sources have so far been arrested or have stopped using twitter altogether, yet the remainder have pledged to continue until the last minute. Amidst the somber mood, some emotional moments can also be seen. One Iranian tweeted: "I would rather our Iranian youth were tweeting about Michael Jackson than having 2 face this death & horror. Lets set them free to do so."

(There is simply too much on the tweets about where Mousavi is at this point. According to last reports, he was being sternly watched by the government and his movement is restricted, but it's an ever evolving situation.)

posted by jr on Jun 27, 2009 at 12:00:56 am     #  

Jun 26, 2009, 11:57 p.m. EDT NightOwl posting titled MP Alikhani Vocally Calls the Election 'Rigged' in Parliament :

This video has been called a fake multiple times - yet it is not. Everyone points to the date at the bottom and says it's 21 years old. The date underneath is NOT March 03, 1988. It's 26 Khordad 1388, which coincides with Tuesday, June 16, 2009 when protesters were out on the streets demanding a reelection. The SAT with the date isn't for Saturday. For further authenticity, check out the speaker. It's Ali Larijani. He's only been speaker of the Majlis since May 2008. The MP in question is Hajsheikh Alikhani. The video speaks for itself. Read the subtitles for what's in it. I only certify its authenticity. This is further proof of the political divide and of the election illegitimacy. - NiteOwl

P.S. At the end, the speaker keeps saying, "You've run out of time. Please stop."

posted by jr on Jun 27, 2009 at 12:40:19 am     #  

Green Brief 11 for events occurring on Jun 27.

Some excerpts:

A prominent supporter of Mousavi was forced to confess on national TV that protests were pre-planned and that they have broken laws. More and more protesters are being prepped through intimidation and torture to make confessions.

Iran's paramilitary Basij are carrying out brutal nighttime raids, destroying property in private homes and beating civilians in an attempt to stop nightly protest chants, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also said the Iranian authorities are confiscating satellite dishes from private homes to prevent citizens from seeing foreign news.

Ahmadinejad warned the US of repercussions if it continues to meddle in Iranian affairs. He also sent out a message to the people saying that the days of liberal democracy were over. He warned that in the next 4 years he will take a tougher approach.

Tehran's district attorney stated that he didnít know how many people have been arrested so far but that he had met several at Evin Prison. The detainees are continuously under mental & sometimes physical torture. It is being reported that it's possible that the fate of the people that have been arrested would be known by the end of the week.

Amnesty International confirms on CNN: people disappearing from hospitals. Hundreds of people missing. Amnesty International asked the Iranian authorities to immediately release dozens of journalists who are at risk of torture in detention.

posted by jr on Jun 27, 2009 at 11:00:43 pm     #