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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran's Twitter Revolution - Not Unlike America's

Before I was providing security technology I was a TV terrorism analyst on and after 9/11. I have to say what is happening in Iran is HUGE - it is the first time in over 30 years that reformers in Iran have a shot at breaking the grip of religious extremists.

And it was made possible by the most unlikely of heroes, a program called Twitter.

What is happening in Iran is also strangely similar to what happened in the U.S. in November 2008--the battle between the forces of reform and those of the conservative status quo that had been in power. Iran's economy is in a shambles after four years of mismanagement, as was the U.S. economy. Iranians are tired of the religious police who are always harassing women for showing their hair and couples who just want to walk and talk together much less hold hands.

One commenter to the last blog said that he thought two hours was plenty of time for the Iranians to count millions of PAPER ballots. Then he blamed the outcome on the Bush administration. I was no fan of the Bush era, but he had nothing to do with vote fraud by the Ayatollah's in this so-called election.

This is a digital revolution as well as a political one. It is the first time a dictatorship could be brought down by something called Twitter.

In the old days dictators had it easy - just cut off the phone, TV and radio signals and the protesters were finished. The Internet can also be cut off and filtered (e.g. China)-- but for some reason the one thing the Iranian government cannot stop are tweets coming from Twitter.

It's made all the difference. Iranian protesters are able to communicate and coordinate because of this technology that didn't exist a short time ago. It has enabled them to mass over one million people while the Iranian Ayatollah's had to bus in people to wave the flag for conservative Ahmadinejad and his religious allies that stole the votes of millions of Iranians.

There is really nothing we Americans can do about Iran - meddling would only help the conservative Ahmadinejad (who was elected the first time after George W. Bush said not to vote for him). We can encourage the UN to be a vote recount monitor. We can also hope and even pray that the pressure of reform is too great for the hard-line Ayatollahs's that have kept Iran isolated from the world community as it sought nuclear weapons and supported terrorism.

Reform has the potential to change Iran's direction. And new technology like Twitter is making change possible. Who knows what the next new technology will make possible.

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