Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Pirate Bay sold to Swedish software company

Music file-sharing website The Pirate Bay has been sold.

It is set to be transformed into a legal music site that sees artists and record labels get paid for the downloads they provide.

The Sweden-based website - whose four founders and hosts were sentenced to a year in jail and fined for copyright infringement offences in April - will be acquired by Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory X AB in August.

The Pirate Bay has been sold for 60 million Swedish SEK (£4.7 million), Global Gaming Factory X AB revealed in a statement.

Hans Pandeya, CEO of Global Gaming Factory X AB said that another new change would be faster downloads and increased sound quality for users.

"In order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary," he explained.

"Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it," he added. "File-sharers need faster downloads and better quality."

In their own statement, The Pirate Bay chiefs claimed that the ethos of the site would not change despite its new legal status.

"A lot of people are worried," they said. "We're not and you shouldn't be either! The right people with the right attitude and possibilities keep running the site.

"It's time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die.

"The old crew is still around in different ways. We will also not stop being active in the politics of the internet – quite the opposite."

(Via 'NME')

Michael Jackson - Coroners Report

(From the Glasgow Herald)
The LA Coroners Department has reported that the cause of Michael
Jackson's death it at this point uncertain.
They cannot decide whether to blame it on the sunshine, blame it on
the moonlight, blame it on the good times or blame it on the boogie!!!
(Thanx Paul)

Coming soon: David Sylvian - Manafon

Girlz With Gunz # 60

RAP ahmadi nejad رپ احمدي نژاد

Iran update - Revolution 2.0 (Refresh page)

Iranian regime’s State Security Forces are suppressing Tehran residents in Park Laleh (central Tehran). A number of people have been wounded in sever crackdown by regime’s SSF, according to eyewitnesses.

“They are beating up people everywhere, drivers are blowing horns of their vehicle to protest the brutal repression” one eyewitness said.

In Tajrish square (northern Tehran) and nearby streets anti-riot units are stationed every few meters on both sides of the streets. They stop and check every passerby.

CNN: Violent protests have broken out in Tehran after Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election. #iranelection less than 10 seconds ago from web

No Velvet Revolution for Iran/Fareed Zakaria
When we see the kinds of images that have been coming out of Iran over the past two weeks, we tend to think back to 1989 and Eastern Europe. Then, when people took to the streets and challenged their governments, those seemingly stable regimes proved to be hollow and quickly collapsed. What emerged was liberal democracy. Could Iran yet undergo its own velvet revolution?

It's possible but unlikely. While the regime's legitimacy has cracked -- a fatal wound in the long run -- for now it will probably be able to use its guns and money to consolidate power. And it has plenty of both. Remember, the price of oil was less than $20 a barrel back in 1989. It is $69 now. More important, as Zbigniew Brzezinski has pointed out, 1989 was highly unusual. As a historical precedent, it has not proved a useful guide to other antidictatorial movements.

The three most powerful forces in the modern world are democracy, religion and nationalism. In 1989 in Eastern Europe, all three were arrayed against the ruling regimes. Citizens hated their governments because they deprived people of liberty and political participation. Believers despised communists because they were atheistic, banning religion in countries where faith was deeply cherished. And people rejected their regimes because they saw them as imposed from the outside by a much-disliked imperial power, the Soviet Union.

The situation in Iran is more complex. Democracy clearly works against this repressive regime. The forces of religion, however, are not so easily aligned against it. Many, possibly most, Iranians appear to be fed up with theocracy. But that does not mean they are fed up with religion. And it does appear that the more openly devout Iranians -- the poor, those in rural areas -- voted for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

There is one way religion could be used against Iran's leaders, but it would involve an unlikely scenario: Were Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to issue a fatwa condemning Tehran from his base in Najaf, Iraq, it would be a seismic event, probably resulting in the regime's collapse. Remember, Sistani is Iranian, probably more revered in the entire Shiite world than any other ayatollah, and he is opposed to the basic doctrine of velayat-e faqih -- rule by a spiritual leader -- that created the Islamic Republic of Iran. His own view is that clerics should not be involved in politics, which is why he has steered clear of any such role in Iraq. But he is unlikely to publicly criticize the Iranian regime (though he did refuse to see Ahmadinejad when the latter visited Iraq in March 2008).

Nationalism is the most complex of the three forces. Over most of its history, the Iranian regime has exploited nationalist sentiment. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power by battling the shah, who was widely seen as an American puppet. Soon after the revolution, Iraq attacked Iran, and the mullahs again wrapped themselves in the flag. The United States supported Iraq in that war, ignoring Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against Iranians -- something Iranians have never forgotten. The Bush administration's veiled threats to attack Iran over the past eight years allowed the mullahs to drum up support. (Every Iranian dissident, from Akbar Ganji to Shirin Ebadi, has noted that talk of air strikes on Iran strengthened the regime.) And it is worth remembering that the United States still funds guerrilla outfits and opposition groups that are trying to topple the Islamic Republic. Most of these are tiny groups with no chance of success, funded largely to appease right-wing members of Congress. But the Tehran government is able to portray this as an ongoing anti-Iranian campaign.

In this context, President Obama has been right to tread cautiously -- for the most part -- to extend his moral support to Iranian protesters but not get politically involved. The United States has always underestimated the raw power of nationalism across the world, assuming that people will not be taken in by cheap and transparent appeals against foreign domination. But look at what is happening in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki boasts that U.S. troop withdrawals are a "a heroic repulsion of the foreign occupiers." Of course Maliki would not be in office but for those occupying forces, who protect his government to this day. A canny politician, though, he knows what will appeal to the Iraqi people.

Ahmadinejad is also a politician with considerable mass appeal. He knows that accusing the United States and Britain of interference works in some quarters. Our effort should be to make sure that those accusations seem as loony and baseless as possible. Were President Obama to get out in front, vociferously supporting the protests, he would be helping Ahmadinejad's strategy, not America's.
Iran confirms Ahmadinejad victory@BBC

RT Police and plain clothes forces were settled across the Valiasr street to disallow the protesters to make a human chain #iranelection less than 20 seconds ago from web

US forces attempt to hijack Iranian oil field@IRPressTV

the recount took at least 3 hours. Original full count took 2hrs? #iranelection takes time to make truth even more TRUTHY half a minute ago from web
RT Iran Iran’s GC declares #IranElection results valid. Pigs fly. Planets revolve around earth. Earth's flat. Sail ocean & fall off edge. less than 20 seconds ago from Twittelator

Karoubi, repeats call for an annulment of the poll, saying it was "the only way to regain people's trust" #iranelection
less than a minute ago from web

Iran Council confirms Ahmadinejad election victory@Reuters

1:35 PM ET -- Reaction to the Guardian Council's election ruling.
Iranians on Twitter say people have begun protesting news that Iran's main election body had affirmed Ahmadinejad's victory. People have "come out on the streets... [they] are in the various city squares," one writes.@HuffPo

What is going on in the silence of Evin prison?@ReportersSansFrontieres

GO GREEN for IRAN on Facebook

If you are on Facebook,
May I suggest that you join THIS group!

The Clash of Islam and Democracy in Iran

Sunday 28 June 2009

by: Dilip Hiro | Visit article original @ TomDispatch.com

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech after casting his vote to elect a new president, at his office in Tehran on June 12, 2009. (Photo: Olivier Laban-Mattei / Getty Images)

The Islamic revolution faces the classic dilemma of all revolutions.

By marshalling the regime's coercive instruments, Iran's 70-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, has, for now, succeeded in curbing the popular, peaceful challenge to the authenticity of Iran's fateful June 12th presidential election. But he has paid a heavy political price.

Before his June 19th hard-line speech at a Friday prayer congregation, Khamanei had the mystique of a just arbiter of authority, perched on a lofty platform far above the contentiousness of day-to-day politics. In his sermon, he asserted the validity of the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while the Guardian Council, the constitutional body charged with validating any national election, was still dealing with 646 complaints about possible election misbehavior and fraud. As a result, he damaged his status as a just ruler, a matter of grave importance since justice is a vital element in Islamic values.

Furthermore, by boycotting the June 19th congregation, former presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Muhammad Khatami, as well as Mahdi Karrubi, former Speaker of the Iranian Parliament - all of them respected mullahs - exposed a deep rift in the ruling religious establishment. That bodes ill for the future of the Islamic Republic.

Khamanei has won the immediate battle, but the conflict between hard-liners and reformists is far from over. Taking a long-term view, Khamanei and his hard line cohorts face a superhuman task of countering an inexorably rising trend. Quite simply, the demographic make-up of Iran favors their reformist adversaries.

A glance at the republic's history bears this out.

Two Decades of Revolution

Between 1979, the year of the Islamic revolution, and 1999, Iran's population doubled to 65 million, two-thirds of them under 25 years of age. Those young Iranians had no direct experience or memory of the pre-Islamic regime of the Shah - its inequities and injustices, and its subservient relationship with Washington. Therefore, their commitment to the Islamic regime was less than total. Moreover, the post-revolutionary educational system had proven inadequate when it came to socializing them the way the republic's religious leaders wanted.

During those two decades, Iran's student body increased almost threefold, to 19 million. The overall literacy rate jumped from 58% to 82%, with the figure for females - 28% in 1979 - tripling. There was a remarkable upsurge in the enrollment of women in universities. Nationally, their share of university student bodies shot up to 60%. At prestigious Tehran University, they were a majority in all faculties, including science and law.

The total of university graduates, which stood at 430,000 in 1979, grew nine-fold in those years. As elsewhere in the world, university students and graduates would become a vital engine for change.

Much to the disappointment of the mullahs, a study of university students in the late 1990s showed that whereas 83% of them watched television, only 5% watched religious programs. Of the 58% who read extracurricular books, barely 6% showed interest in religious literature.

In his book, A Study of Student Political Behavior in Today's Iran, Professor Majid Muhammadi divided university students into three categories: those born into largely Islamic working or traditional middle-class households (traders and craftsmen); those born to secular, or nominally Islamic, modern middle class parents (teachers and doctors); and those raised in an environment that mixed traditional Islam and secularism.

While the first category was loyal to the regime, and the second kept a low profile, shunning politics, it was the students in the last, and largest, category who felt deeply conflicted. While linked to Islam through tradition, they were attracted to modern, Westernized culture politically and socially. In attempting to resolve the conflict, most of them became politically active, and were transformed into a force for social and political change.

By and large, university students were interested in watching foreign television programs, finding the national channels unimaginative and propagandistic. A poorly enforced ban on satellite dishes meant they could easily get access to the BBC, CNN, and the Voice of America. In the post-1999 decade, the arrival of the Internet, e-mail, blogging, YouTube, Facebook, and most recently Twitter, opened up opportunities previously not available to their older peers.

Irrespective of their social backgrounds, what indisputably impinges on the daily lives of university students and other young Iranians are the restrictions the regime tries to impose on their social and personal freedoms, including going to mixed-sex parties, holding hands with someone other than a marriage partner, drinking alcoholic beverages, listening to modern Western music, watching foreign television channels via satellite, and having extramarital sex. While reformists recognize that restricting such activities is having the singular effect of alienating the young from the Islamic Republic, their conservative opponents consider these restrictions essential to uphold Islamic morality and culture.

Not surprisingly, politically conscious university students have been striving to enlarge the arena of personal freedoms as a means of countering social repression and administrative corruption, and making the Islamic system more transparent and accountable.

Politics in Command

It was against this background that, in 1997, a presidential election was conducted. Muhammad Khatami, a reformist outsider, unblemished by corruption, proceeded to trounce his rival, Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri - the erstwhile Speaker of parliament favored by the religious establishment and perceived to be corrupt - by a margin of almost three to one. In the next election, Khatami trumped his nearest rival by a five-to-one margin.

Notwithstanding periodic setbacks due to a dispersion of power among the office of president, the parliament, and the judiciary, Khatami created an environment in which the area of social, cultural, and political freedoms expanded.

Initially, for instance, the authorities were very strict about enforcing the wearing of the hijab (a head-covering scarf) and banning the use of make-up for women, nor did they allow young men and women to sit in the same classrooms in colleges and universities. By the time of Khatami's reelection in 2005, however, the authorities were tolerating young women who flouted the strict Islamic dress code of covering themselves fully, except for face and hands. They even allowed an occasional rock concert and they were giving more leeway to non-governmental organizations.

During the first year of Khatami's presidency, the country experienced an explosion of new publications. Following a landslide victory by the reformists in the first round of parliamentary elections in February 2000, a newly bullish pro-reform press even began publishing stories of corruption in the pre-Khatami period. These proved immensely popular.

Khatami's supporters viewed this as a sign of the growing maturity of the Islamic system and the evolution of democratic governance. Before the second round of the elections could take place in May, however, a conservative-minded parliament reacted speedily. Encouraged by Khamanei, it stiffened the Press Law in April, leading to the closure of dozens of publications by the judiciary.

In the 2005 presidential contest, leading reformists were barred from the race by the Guardian Council. Deprived of real choice, most reformist voters boycotted the election. This enabled the hard-line mayor of Tehran, Ahmadinejad - a Khamanei favorite - to trounce Rafsanjani, an affluent, pragmatic conservative blemished by a reputation for corruption.

During Ahmadinejad's presidency, university classes were re-segregated by gender. The law banning satellite dishes was enforced vigorously. The morality police resorted to patrolling the streets to ensure that women wore proper Islamic dress and unmarried couples refrained from holding hands. This was but a part of Ahmadinejad's drive to return society to the early years of the Islamic revolution.

Little wonder then that, in the run-up to the 2009 presidential election, young voters rallied behind Mir Hussein Mousavi, whose academic wife, the artist Zahra Rahnavard, spoke of the hijab becoming optional for women. Mousavi promised to disband the morality police and appoint women to important government jobs.

The Nature of the Iranian Revolution

In trying to recreate the environment of the early days of the Iranian revolution in the absence of the conditions that brought about the collapse of the old order of the Shah, the country's hard line leaders are defying both human nature and history.

They are ignoring the fact that most people tend to strive only to the extent that is necessary to survive, procreate, and lead a comfortable life. More important, human beings simply cannot continue functioning at a heightened level for decades on end. Revolutions are born out of periods of acute crisis and extraordinary fervor combined with high idealism. With time, red hot zeal cools, and so does a revolution. Idealism gives way to pragmatism - and, of course, corruption.

No less than the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, bowed to inescapable reality when he accepted a United Nations-brokered ceasefire with Iraq in 1988, after endlessly exhorting Iranians to fight on for 20 years - until victory.

Such softening is common to all revolutions.

Yet in the regional context, what happened in Iran in the late 1970s had been unique. Every previous post-World War II dramatic regime change in the Middle East had come about thanks to overnight military coups. The overthrow of the seemingly unassailable Shah of Iran in February 1979, on the other hand, was the culmination of a relentless two-year-long revolutionary movement.

Globally, too, the Iranian revolution stood apart. All the revolutions of the last century, starting with the Mexican revolution of 1910, were secular and focused on changing property and class relations. Not the one in Iran.

Its leader, Khomeini, made adroit use of Shiite history and Iranian nationalism to attract ever-increasing support. He managed to unite the disparate anti-Shah forces, both religious and secular - including Marxists of various shades - by his most radical demand: the deposition of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Although his revolutionary movement included secularists, only the religious segment was capable, via the mosque, of providing a national organizational network down to the village level.

Both as an institution and a place of congregation, the mosque proved critical. Since the state could not suppress the mosque in a country that was 98% Muslim, it offered a sanctuary to the revolutionary movement. That was why Khomeini instructed the clergy to base the Revolutionary Komitehs (Committees) coordinating the anti-Shah movement in those mosques.

It was in this way that the unprecedented upheaval, claiming an estimated 10,000 to 40,000 lives (largely unarmed Iranians killed by military gunfire), turned into the successful "Islamic revolution." It became a preamble to the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran. That term "republic" - not "state" or "emirate" (as in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan under the Taliban) - in the official title was, and remains, highly significant. Thirty years on, the partisans of Mousavi are now arguing that the recent electoral fraud undermines the founding principle of the post-Shah regime: that power lies with the public.

Overthrowing an established order is a hard, bloody affair, but making a revolution stick is even more demanding. In the case of Iran, the revolutionary regime became a target of aggression when Iraq's Saddam Hussein launched his invasion in September 1980. The subsequent eight-year war helped merge Iranian nationalism into the post-Shah regime, and stabilized it.

Following Khomeini's death in 1989, the transition to his successor Khamanei as the Supreme Leader, assisted by the popularly elected president Rafsanjani, was smooth. Initially, Khamanei took his cues from Rafsanjani, a wily politician. As he consolidated his hold over the military, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and its auxiliary, the Basij militia, however, he began operating independently and drifted away from Rafsanjani.

Now, both hard-liners and reformists are competing to show their loyalty to Shiite Islam. Its founder, Imam Hussein, the Great Martyr, leading a band of 72 retainers, died in 680 AD while battling a force of 4,000 to stake his rightful claim to the caliphate usurped by his rival. The moral of this episode, which lies at the heart of Shiite Islam, is that the true believer must not shirk from challenging the established order if it has become unjust and oppressive.

Competing Loyalties to Shiite Islam

In today's Shiite Iran, the partisans of Mousavi have adopted green, the color of Islam, as their brand. They shout "Allah-u Akbar" (God is Great) and "We want [Imam] Hussein" in the streets and from the rooftops, while their leader invokes the Quran to demand justice. They are not demanding regime change, only an overdue change in the regime.

For his part, Supreme Leader Khamanei sees the hand of God in the overwhelming victory of Ahmadinejad. The riot police and Basij militia regard him as their spiritual guide and consider any challenge to his word or deed as a challenge to Islam. Ignoring massive evidence to the contrary, Khamanei has ruled out an electoral fraud on the grounds that such a possibility is inconceivable in Iran's Islamic system.

While locked in a struggle, both sides claim to be pursuing the ideal of a just Islamic state. Each remains aware of the value of martyrdom.

The Iranian security forces' beatings, baton charges, and tear gassing of unarmed, peaceful protestors, as well as mass arrests, are deplorable. It is worth noting that most of the firing of live ammunition by the security personnel seems to have been in the air. That explains why the fatalities in the massive and repeated street protests in Tehran have remained relatively low, totaling 15, according to official sources, which also claim that eight Basij militiamen have been killed. Media reports generally have cited 17 deaths of protestors so far, though rumors of higher death tolls abound.

What matters most to the government, as well as its opponents, is the number of people killed, or "martyred."

The speed with which the authorities have tried to hijack the killing of 26-year-old Neda Aghan Soltan in Tehran by a bullet almost certainly fired by a uniformed member of the security forces is illustrative. They have declared her to be a Basiji martyr, allegedly killed by pro-Mousavi protestors, who, in response, rushed to circulate worldwide the shocking image of her dying in the street.

Given its Shiite underpinning, the government remains conscious that resortomg to excessive violence could turn opponents into that most dangerous of symbols: martyrs.

Until the June 12th election - despite evidence of modest tinkering with the first round of the 2005 presidential vote - post-Shah Iran seemed to indicate that Islam and democracy could work in harmony. The upheaval since then has demonstrated that when strains between the two concepts develop, it is democracy that gets short shrift.

That is bad news for Muslims - and non-Muslims - worldwide.


Dilip Hiro is the author of five books on Iran, the latest being "The Iranian Labyrinth: Journeys Through Theocratic Iran and its Furies" (Nation Books), as well as most recently "Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources." His upcoming book, "After Empire: The Rise of a Multipolar World," will be published by Nation Books later this year.

Thanx Darren

What a surprise!

Iran's top legislative body confirms Ahmadinejad's victory in June 12 presidential election after a recount. (Reuters) #Iranelection half a minute ago from web

After the conclusion of the partial vote recount, Iran's electoral watchdog, the Guardian Council has confirmed the result of the June 12 poll.

After the announcement of the result of Iran's presidential election, which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected to a second four-year term, provoked major protests in the country, the Guardian Council set up a special committee to do a partial vote recount.

Iran's top legislative body confirmed that the recount of 10 percent of the ballot boxes carried out on Monday had shown no irregularities in the vote.

In a letter to Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli on Monday, head of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, confirmed the result of the polls, state television reported.

What a surprise!

Iran's top legislative body confirms Ahmadinejad's victory in June 12 presidential election after a recount. (Reuters) #Iranelection half a minute ago from web

Iranian updates (keep refreshing page#47)

Important news: Persian Kiwi is not arrested, but he does not have access to internet.

Saeed Valadbaygi Office of the Islamic Association of Sistan and Baluchestan University set on fire by anonymous people.

Right Now @ Tehran

  • On Parkway right now people are beeping their horns, and basij has responded by smashing their windscreens and slashing their tires
  • People had announced that they will form a human chain from Tajrish sq to Railway Today
  • The cellphones are down in Valieasr street and surronding area.
  • Police and plain clothes forces are settled across the Valiasr street to disallow the protesters to make a human-chain.
  • Daneshju Park is full of Basij and special gaurds and militia forces are being organized in the park for dealing with the possible protest or human chain.
  • Students of Science and Technology university put a photo of martyr Kianoosh Asa on the university's academic staff board..

Feminist waves in the Iranian Green Tsunami?@TehranBureau

Iran: More on “Two Twitterers” (and on the Idiocy of “The Times”)

10:50 AM -- Adventures in propaganda: Basiji "impostors." From Iran's state media: "Iranian police officials have reportedly arrested the armed imposters [sic] who posed as security forces during post-election violence in the country. Iran's Basij commander, Hossein Taeb, said Monday that the imposters [sic] had worn police and Basij uniforms to infiltrate the rallies and create havoc."@HuffPo


Monday, 29 June 2009

Iran continued...

Neda Agha Soltan Death: Ahmadinejad Orders Investigation Into Killing@HuffPo

The Thugs Who Lead Iran's Supreme Leader /GarySick

Iran 'has arrested 2,000’ in violent crackdown on dissent@TheTimes

Cannabis-Psychosis link not caused by dopamine increase

There is now growing evidence that cannabis use causes a small but reliable increase in the chance of developing psychosis. Traditionally, this was explained by the drug increasing dopamine levels in the brain but a new study shortly to be published in NeuroImage suggests that the active ingredient in cannabis doesn’t effect this important neurotransmitter.

Despite some dissenting voices, disruption to the mesolimbic dopamine pathway is widely thought to be the key problem in the development of delusions, hallucinations and the other psychotic symptoms commonly diagnosed as schizophrenia.

This has led to the assumption that the small increased risk of psychosis reliably associated with cannabis use is due to the drug increasing dopamine levels in a deep brain structure called the striatum.

In itself, this is partly based on another assumption - the virtual mantra of recreational drug research that ‘all drugs of abuse increase dopamine levels in the reward system’ of which the striatum is a part.

This new study, led by neuroscientist Paul Stokes, tested dopamine levels by using a type of PET brain scan where participants are injected with a radioactive tracer that binds to free dopamine receptors. Higher dopamine levels will mean that there are less free dopamine receptors and, therefore, lower tracer levels.


Roddy Radiation & The Tearjerkers - Desire

Slim seen here modeling the Tearjerkers log on the back of his jacket!
(I still have my Tearjerkers denim jacket but unfortunately the 'Ruth Ellis' t-shirt had to be binned after nearly 30 years!)

Smoking # 22 (For Mogodonia!)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This .gif was liberated by me!
I gave it its freedom from a site run by a thief!
If you are the original creator and/or uploader...
please get in touch for a full credit!

+ more (again)...

Thousands of Iranians ignore threats, march in rally@LATimes

Photos @Demotix

I could have settled for Michael Jackson

Hich-Kas: Bunch of Soldiers

Hip-Hop direct from the streets of Tehran, Iran. Hich-Kas drops this trak. Cultures of Resistance helped produce the video and now bringin' it. East, West, North, South. Don't matter where you're from. Beats are universal and music can be a way to understand eachother even when governments and media prefer we not make the effort

Bloggers Unite For A Free Iran

Today in Iran there are bloggers languishing in jail for attempting to get the truth out to the world of what is presently happening in their country.
To the readers from free nations please take time out to think for a moment how much you take your freedom for granted!


Sussan Deyhim - Orchestral Performance


(@ twitter)



Another long day here in the 'Exile' compound down here in downtown 'teh-ran' and about to put away the brain for another night. Please follow what goes on at the links above/
Again thanx for following.

If you follow on all the links that I have posted today again there is some very interesting reading...

Finally a message to all the people following this blog in Iran:
Any pictures or words would be gratefully accepted here at Exile...

Monastreet @ gmail dot com


Karroubi at today's rally

A picture says a thousand words...

+ more...

"The Mugabe of Iran and a prayer for Peace"

I am an Englishman, so no doubt Ayatollah Ali Khameini would call me "Satan" and "A Snake", and in return all I see is the Mugabe of Iran, a petty old man clinging to power and willing to see innocent men, women and children be beaten, tortured and murdered in order to retain his power. Is controlling other people now his obsession?

In Torquay in 1979 I taught English as a Foreign Language and some of my students were Iranians, my age or slightly younger. I still think of them as my brothers and sisters and I remember vividly the stories they told: of their hate for the puppet dictator the Shah, of their fear of "the midnight knock" when members of Savak would come to the door and take away family members, who were never seen again. The early and mid-1970s were days of fear and repression, of brutality by the secret police. How little times change, now we are back to the days of Savak, thanks to Ali Khameini and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Yes, I remember 1979 and I remember too my students' joy when the brave Ayatollah Khomeini returned to his country and gave his people a taste of freedom, for the first time in years they could speak freely to one another again of their hopes and dreams. I remember too the admiration and respect that I felt for a spiritual leader called Hossein Ali Montazeri (حسین علی منتظری), now a Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who was and still is a superior being who cares deeply for the welfare of his people. Unfortunately, after the passing of Ayatollah Khomeini, the wrong man came to power.

I should like to pay my respects to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, to my students of 30 years ago Jahla and Mohsen and all the Iranians I have known, and please, people of Iran, do not forget young ندا (Neda) and the other innocents who have been murdered these last few weeks while they were peacefully marching. It is said that Neda means "voice of the people",now you will have to speak well of her and the others who have died, speak well and remember them, and do not allow their names and characters to be dragged through the dust under the label of "terrorist", as Ahmadinejad would like. Let truth and peace shine over all, and let the souls of the dead rest in peace and love.

With respect

Graham Cunnington, UK
Comment here
Well Said!

RT IRAN Mousavi could not join people today but apparently he's spoken to them through a mobile & a loudspeaker. #iranelection #Iran
less than 10 seconds ago from web

Are Senior Clerics As Divided As Iran? Audio @NPR

Clashes around Ghoba mosque have intensified & forces are heavily beating people to disperse them. #iranelection #gr88 less than 20 seconds ago from TwitterFox

Iran update - Revolution 2.0 (Refresh page)

Iranian police clash with up to 3,000 protesters@chron

Again! BreakingNewsAP: Witnesses say Iranian police fire tear gas in clashes with up to 3,000 protesters in Tehran. #iranelection #freeiran less than 10 seconds ago from web

Influential former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, seen by analysts as a possible mediator in any effort to defuse the election row, called for a thorough examination of complaints.

He praised a decision by Khamenei last week to extend a deadline for the Guardian Council to receive and look into objections by defeated candidates, the ISNA news agency reported.

"I hope those who are involved in this issue thoroughly and fairly review and study the legal complaints," Rafsanjani said.

Breaking his post-election silence, he described events after the vote as a conspiracy by suspicious elements aimed at dividing people and the Islamic system, and also targeting people's trust in it. "Wherever the people entered the scene with full alertness, such plots were foiled," the ISNA and IRNA news agencies quoted him as saying, without elaborating.

Rafsanjani, who has occupied key posts since the founding of the Islamic Republic, backed Mousavi's election campaign and was fiercely criticized by Ahmadinejad on television.


Anti-Riot Vans Moving toward Shariati, St, Clashes at Mohseni SQ. #iranelection
half a minute ago from web

The Persian Lioness: Iranian Women in History

]مسجد قبا-شریعتی-هفتم تیر

تجمع مردم معترض به نتایج انتخابات-هفتم تیر ماه 88 رو به روی مسج
قبا واقع در محدوده خیابان شریعتی

Helicopters Flying Over ppl &Anti-Riot Police Asking ppl to leave, The Meeting is Cancled! But ppl Staying in the St. #iranelection less than 10 seconds ago from UberTwitter

Authorities are riding on motorcycles alongside the marchers, who are telling each other to walk slowly and drag their feet, a CNN producer reported. Police are telling the demonstrators to move faster, said the producer, who CNN is not naming for security reasons.

The marchers are walking from north to south down a major street, Shariati Street, near the Ghoba Mosque, where a memorial is being held in honor of a hero of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Some of the protesters are telling the police that they have the legal right to protest in peace, the CNN journalist said.

Qoba Mosque now: People started to leave the gathering. Karroubi attended. Some clashes afterwards. #iranelection half a minute ago from web

Based on reports from Ghoba mosque, it is full of people and tens of thousands of people are in nearby streets. #iranelection
less than 5 seconds ago from web
Snipers and Inteligence officers are seen on the roofs near Ghoba, an Unit of Anti-Riot Police Warned People to Leave! #iranelection less than 20 seconds ago from we

RT @RAGreeneCNN About 5000 protest silently in Tehran, slow-walking street. Link will be updated http://tinyurl.com/ldyrow #iranelection
less than 10 seconds ago from web

Hierarchy of Power in Iran

(Click on image to enlarge)
From NY Times

Sunday, 28 June 2009

پلیس ضد شورش تهران

خشونت ماموران دولتی با مردم در اعتراضات اخير

Andy and Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora - Stand By Me

The only time JBJ will appear on this blog I promise!

Whatever you are thinking Sting - Don't do it!!!

WTF #5

June 27, 2009, 12:30 pm

A Congregation of the Armed and Faithful

New Bethel ChurchPool photo by Ed Reinke Cliff Meadows, left, listening to Ken Pagano, the pastor at New Bethel Church.

The Lede is in Louisville, keeping track of events at the New Bethel Church, which has invited its members and the public to bring their firearms this afternoon in celebration of gun rights.

Update | 8:06 p.m. It was as peaceful as a family picnic, maybe even more so because everyone seemed to agree — it is time, they said, to stand up openly for gun rights, even in church, which is where they stood today.

Nearly 180 people flocked into the sanctuary of the New Bethel Church here late Saturday afternoon, some of them wearing side arms, many of them saying “Amen,” as Ken Pagano, the pastor, spoke from the sanctuary stage in front of a large wooden cross.

“We want to send a message that there are legal, civil, law-abiding intelligent people who also own guns,” he said in a 90-minute program that was part sermon, part gun-safety lesson and part display of the power of positive thinking. “There is nothing to be afraid of from a legal firearms owner.”

Mr. Pagano was not wearing a firearm. But another pastor — Charlie Hinckley, who has been the preacher at another Assembly of God church until recently and joined Mr. Pagano on the platform — was wearing his .380 Smith & Wesson on the belt of his jeans.

He said after the program that it was the first time he had worn his firearm into church. Asked if he felt weird doing so, he said, “No, considering what we’re here for.”

William Southern, 35, an irrigation specialist who attended the event, said he had no qualms about wearing his .357 magnum into church and that it wasn’t much different from carrying his cell phone.

“It almost has the same feeling, it’s about the same weight,” he said. “I didn’t pay any attention to it.”

Like many others, he said that earlier in the country’s history, preachers had been required to carry their firearms into church. “Our country started off that way,” he said. “What’s wrong with it now?”

Asked what today’s event would accomplish, he said, “Gun awareness, I hope, but in all reality, probably just a fun day.”

Update | 4:50 p.m. A banner has been unfurled on the lawn at the New Bethel Church here, where people are starting to pull into the parking lot for the gun celebration.

Sheriff’s deputies are on hand to make sure the firearms that are openly carried into the sanctuary are not loaded. (Of course, they will not check the concealed weapons that may come in because, by definition, they will not know who has them.) The festivities are scheduled to get under way within the hour.

In the meantime, here is an interesting story from The Los Angeles Times, which reports that violence in churches is on the upswing.

The Times article quotes a church security consultant saying that in the last decade, 50 people were killed and 30 wounded in 35 church shootings. In 2007, there were 6 church shootings. In 2008, there were 18.

In response to this rise in shootings, the article says, churches are turning to security companies for help and even asking members to carry guns to church to protect their security.
That very much reflects the view of Ken Pagano, the pastor here at the New Bethel Church, who is the organizing force behind the event Saturday, which will include some lessons in gun safety as well as a $1 raffle for a handgun.

Original Post | 12:30 p.m. We are just a few hours away from the bring-your-gun-to-church event here at the New Bethel Church in Louisville. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

The pastor, Ken Pagano, told us a couple of days ago that the church’s insurance company was opting out for the day, and that there was some question about whether parishioners would have to leave their guns outside. But I just spoke with Mr. Pagano, and he said he had found new insurance coverage for the day. He would not say who provided it.

“Everything is a go,” he said.

He said he still had no idea how many people might show up.

And he said he was still deluged with interview requests. He got up at 4 a.m., he said, to accommodate a network TV crew, and he was preparing for another network interview shortly. He said he had been e-mailing with some people in Bulgaria and a man in Amsterdam, who, Mr. Pagano said, told him he wants a “totally gun-free world.”

Mr. Pagano said that between 90 and 95 percent of the mail and calls about the event were positive. The negative comments, he said, were from people who do not understand that what he is doing is legal.

“This is like I’m driving down the highway and doing the speed limit of 55 and people are honking and making obscene gestures because I’m obeying the speed limit,” he said. “I’m not doing anything that’s illegal, unbiblical, unhistorical or unconstitutional, but people still want me to justify it.”

He also said that he had heard that another church in Kentucky was holding a similar event, but said he did not know where that was.


  • June 26, 2009, 2:45 pm

    A Debate Over Guns in a Kentucky Church

    Update | 7:06 p.m.

    On my way into the library here in Louisville, I was greeted by this sign.

    Katharine Q. Seelye

    It was kind of startling for someone who lives in New York City, where the guns laws are much more restrictive and there is no need (or less of a perceived need) for such signs.

    But here in Kentucky, the gun laws are among the least restrictive in the country, which makes possible an event like the one tomorrow night at the New Bethel Church, where people will be wearing and carrying their firearms into the sanctuary for a celebration.

    You don’t need a license or permit to buy or carry rifles or shotguns in Kentucky, and you don’t need a permit to buy a handgun, though you do need a permit to carry a handgun. And you can get a license to conceal your firearms, if you meet certain requirements (are 21, pass a course, etc.).

    Even with a license, there are some places where you can’t go: police department, jail, courthouse, school, daycare center or airport, to a meeting of a governing body or to a place that sells alcohol as a primarymain part of its business (that is, you can’t bring your gun into a bar but you can bring it into most restaurants).

    But bringing a concealed weapon into church is perfectly legal.

    Still, some places where guns are legal, like certain restaurants, say, or the library, don’t want them. In those cases, they have to post a sign saying specifically that concealed weapons are not allowed.
    It’s all part of a gun culture that is long entwined with Kentucky history. I was chatting about this with James C. Klotter, Kentucky’s state historian and a history professor at Georgetown College, near Lexington. He said he worried that this gun culture gave outsiders a negative view of the state.

    “Unfortunately, Kentucky has always had this image of a mountaineer with moonshine over one shoulder and a rifle over the other,” he said. Of the bring-your-gun-to-church day, he sighed. “This just feeds the image,” he said.

    But, he added brightly, “Kentucky has many cultures.”

    Update | 4:53 p.m.

    Here’s something interesting that popped up when we were researching the surge in gun sales that occurred across the country after President Obama’s election in November.

    As we noted before, the post-election surge may be tapering off. Of course, every surge tapers off, almost by definition. But what we saw here was a remarkably consistent cyclical pattern to the ebb and flow of gun sales.

    These are the numbers of instant criminal background checks that take place when a gun is bought or transferred. It’s the closest gauge there is of actual gun sales, which the feds don’t track.

    As you can see from the pattern, gun sales tend to start rising in the fall and reach their peak in December. Then they dip, dropping to their lowest levels in the summer.

    We checked with the FBI about the pattern, and they confirmed our hunch: two things are going on here. One is that hunting seasons begin in the fall, so naturally there would be more sales then. The other is the holidays. People like to give guns as presents, or at least receive them.

    So, was the spike after Mr. Obama’s election in November just part of a cyclical pattern? Was it a bit of hype by those with an interest in seeing gun sales rise?

    Yes and no. The two durable factors of hunting season and the holidays were obviously still at play. But as you can see, this surge was a record, in raw numbers, and the peak lasted a little longer than it usually does. The same thing happened with the surge in late 2001 surge brought on by 9/11. You can see from the chart that the post-9/11 peak continued longer than usual.

    In November 2008, there were 1,529,635 background checks — more than at any time since the instant check program began in 1998 — and a 42 percent jump over the previous November (there was no corresponding 42 percent rise in the population). The checks were off slightly in December, and more in January and February, then back up in March. They started to slide in April, as they typically do. But this April, they were still 30 percent above the previous April. They continued down in May, but again, that was still 15 percent above the previous May.

    So it was fortuitous for those with an interest in promoting gun sales — gun sellers, of course, and lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association — that Mr. Obama’s election was in November. The numbers were going to rise anyway; the election was icing on the cake.

    2:45 p.m.

    I’m here in Louisville (where the temp is a blistering 92 degrees and it’s really humid) to follow the “bring-your-gun-to-church” celebration here on Saturday night.

    Yesterday I wrote about Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church. He’s what some are calling the “pistol-packing pastor,” who has invited his parishioners to bring their weapons into the sanctuary, learn a bit about firearms safety, raffle off a gun and have a picnic.

    Clergy from some other churches and peace activists are sponsoring an alternative event, called “Bring your peaceful heart, leave your gun at home,” and today I visited with the organizers.

    The alternative is planned for the same time as the gun celebration, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church in Louisville’s east end, about a half-hour from New Bethel.

    The executive director of the Interfaith Paths to Peace, Terry Taylor, one of the organizers, told me that he and 18 co-sponsors planned this event because they were “deeply troubled by the idea of wearing weapons into sacred space.”

    He said they did not consider themselves “protesters,” per se, and did not want to be part of a demonstration at New Bethel. (Mr. Pagano told me he plans to set up a cordoned-off area for demonstrators outside his church.)

    Terry Taylor and Diana Fulner are coordinating the alternative event. Katharine Q. Seelye Terry Taylor and Diana Fulner are coordinating the alternative event.

    “A protest is not the way we do things,” Mr. Taylor said. “We’re not against things, we’re for things. Going and carrying signs at that event would build unhappiness and could potentially be confrontational. They have the right to do what they want. We’re going to give people an alternative that we think is better.”

    The co-sponsors include those from many faiths: Quakers, Episcopalians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Unitarians and Tibetan Buddhists. Their event, also a picnic, will feature music, chalk-painting and readings about peace. Mr. Taylor said one Quaker planned to read from the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

    No one really knows how many people will show up at either event. Mr. Taylor said he expected the gun event would “bring people out in significant numbers because it’s so odd.”

    “It’s attracting national and international attention,” he said, “but it’s not who we are.”

    He said he told Mr. Pagano about their alternative event. “To his credit,” Mr. Taylor said, “he said he felt that that’s what America is all about — we’ll do our thing and he’ll do his. Then we’ll move forward. Two different worlds.”