Tuesday 23 June 2009

Social networks rise to the occasion in Iran

Local Twitter nerd and computer whiz kid, Carl Butcher, has highlighted the power of online social networks in light of the flawed Iran election.

"In case you were hiding under a rock in the past week you may have missed what was happening in Iran," Carl says. "Well the big 24 hour news networks certainly did with most of us oblivious to the situation that was unfolding in Iran, after hard-line President Ahmed Ahmadinejad was allegedly re-elected in a landslide victory."

Social networks came into their own with Twitter, YouTube and FaceBook coming alive with real-time unfolding news, as it was happening on the ground in Iran. Last week, 221,000 Tweets were sent via Twitter from Iran's rebellious youth in a single hour.
The use of Twitter has been immense. While there have been 10,000 to 50,000 tweets at any hour mentioning 'Iran', it peaked midday on the 16th June at 221,744, thanks to the social media trend tracker Trendrr, we can see the scale of the #IranElection crisis discussion.
"This seems extreme, but it makes sense when you realize that it corresponds with when Twitter’s downtime was rescheduled, which had major buzz the entire day, Mashable's Ben Parr says.
The number of blog posts around the world discussing Iran has also been extra-ordinary. There are now over 19,000,000 posts discussion Iran's election, but in the 24 hours to 16th June, 2,250,000 posts were published, that's 12% of all Blog posts globally for a single day.
YouTube has been a central social media tool for informing the world exactly what’s happening in Iran, and 3000 videos were uploaded on a single day last week.

FaceBook also released a language update in Persian – the native language of Iran, in light of the demand.
"Today we’re making the entire site available in a test version of Persian, so Persian speakers inside of Iran and around the world can begin using it in their language," FaceBook said.
Google did the same a few hours earlier. "People can now translate any text from Persian into English — whether it’s a news story, a website, a blog, an email, a tweet or a Facebook message," Google said.

"It took TV news almost 24 hours before they started reporting on the situation and by then the damage had been done," Carl Butcher says.

"Breaking news coming out of Iran was that riot police and government guards were firing on crowds who had gathered for protests against the results. Real-time updates from Twitter users posting pictures and video of the violence on Facebook, were trickling out of Iran and world wide outrage ensued."

"The Iranian government put steps in place to tightly lock down Western coverage of the ongoing violence but to no avail as reports continued to leak of murders in broad daylight in full view of the public by government operatives," Carl says.

Carl says that the situation in Iran highlighted was the fact that nowadays, news will break faster online and in real-time, quicker than it will on traditional old forms of media. Gone are the days when we turned to CNN for live news coverage, when you have real people sending correspondence in real time it draws and incredible picture of what is really happening long before images are broadcast back to us on the daily news.

"Even a week later there is still continuing coverage on Twitter. Follow the "hash" tags #iran or #IranElection for more information," Carl says.

Carl Butcher, who runs his own business Carlos Computers, is one of Cairns' most prolific Twitter users, with 1,263 followers.
If you want to track what’s happening in Iran via social channels, follow this guide.


Nicky J said...

This shows the future of journalism. Great post Mike - I'm a huge Twitter fan and my June article for ITIB is on this subject!


CairnsBlog said...

Thanks Nicky,

Guess who has the Twitter name "The Cairns Post" ?

CBD Warrior said...

I'm enjoying the CairnsBlog.com twitter, myself.

Paul said...

You need to do some closer research on what is really happening in Iran, who is behind this Mousavi scumbag, and the manipulation of Twitter by forces connected with (among others) the Jerusalem Post. When I say closer research I DO NOT mean propaganda mouthpieces like CNN, ABC (Aust and US) or BBC. BBC has already been caught out using photos from a huuuge pro Ahmedinejad rally, and identifying it as an "opposition" rally.

If you are watching you will see that the son of the Shah (no less) is now being groomed by American and Israeli/Neocon interests for a return. There is so much more to this than meets the eye, and this is not about supposed election theft (real evidence of which is still yet to be presented). This is regime change by manipulation of the populace by outside forces. The Iranian Governing bodies know this well, and they know exactly who's behind it.

nocturnal congress said...

Yes, Paul, I agree. Dr. Mossadegh was deposed and replaced by the puppet Shah back in the 1950s. The ruling Mullahs would remember this very well. Once the USA gets control of Iran, they will control the lion's share of the worlds remaining oil fields. That is what it is all about.
Incidentally, you can talk to people in Iran by trawling the IRC chat sites. I have. English is taught quite widely in Iranian schools.

Paul said...


This would be good place to start for anyone who wants more that the corrupted mainstream media view of things in Iran.

Syd Walker said...

Good comments Paul and Nocturnal.

I believe, FWIW, that the Shah's regime ALSO was destabilized deliberately in the late 70s.

The history of British interference in Iran goes back well into the 19th century (check out the deal Baron Reuters got for himself if you have time - nice business for some!)

The British tended to install leaders they could dominate, then get rid of them when they got too independent. That pattern repeated a few times.

During the 20th centry, key decision-making power and influence over Iran moved from London to Washington (and ultimately, I believe, to Tel Aviv because of its growing sway over US policy). By the late 1970s the Shah, who'd been installed to replace his more independent-minded father in the 40s, was increasingly seen as a nuisance to those in control of the US media and most of its spook apparatus. While Anglo-American oil interests may well have been better served by keeping him in power at the time, Israeli goals militated against a stable Iran.

I've tried to show some of the shift that occured in a series of three that revolve around the veteran US journalist Mike Wallace. Quite clearly, by the time of Wallace's interviews in the mid-70s, the Shah was a TARGET of the US media - and no longer its darling.

The relationship between 'the west' and Iran, I fear, is therefore even murkier and more disgraceful than we've been told with regard to unfair interference in Iranian affairs. Obama's recent apology for the 1953 Mossadeq coup is interesting. Why make it now? Could it be that it helps distract from more recent destablization, in which the USA Government played a major role? I think that likely.

Before the Iranian Islamic revolution, Israel faced two rapidly industrializing and quite populous societies to the east - Iraq and Iran. Iran had a strong relationship with Eygpt and was steering a more indpendent course re Israel/Palestine.

From c. 1980 onwards, with the Shah deposed, the region descended into chaos. By 2009, Iraq is all but destroyed. Iran is not, but has been greatly weakened and isolated. None of this, IMO, is accidental; Zionists have been playing cat and mouse games with Iraq and Iran for at least a generation.

Had this interference not occured, both Iraq and Iran would, by now, be first world countries.

See Wallace's interview with the Shah - and my commentary - here.

AS for the current election, I think it more likely that the incumbent President won. See More Respect for Dr Ahmedinejad. I'd be more inclined to trust the results of an Iranian Presidential election than a US Presidential election. Evidence for frequent rorting in the latter case is far stronger.

Alison Alloway said...

Syd, I am inclined to agree with you that Ahmedinejad won fair and square. He has been demonised by the US and media machine. University education is free in Iran, however graduates are indentured to the Government for a period of a few years following. From there they are made to teach in the various schools. The Government will also fund students with post graduate studies, preferably to British or European universities. There is an emphasis on science and engineering. My own studies have revealed that Iran has made huge strides in education over the past decade. Personally, I believe the country is in a stronger state than the West knows. No doubt there are demonstrations against Ahmedinejad, however like the infamous scenes of the toppling of Saddam's statue, they have been exaggerated. The USA is again doing what it does well.... "manufacturing consent for war".

Syd Walker said...

It requires no particular talent to misrepresent and parody a subtle case, as Nick demonstrates with his snarly comment.

I'm not an apologist for the Iranian Government, Nick. But neither am I a poster boy for western imperialism and the quite grotesque influence over US/Anglo/Australian policy of one well-connected little country and its pugnacious Lobby.

The power and war-mongering role of the Israel Lobby is now well-documented, as anyone who cares to read is able to discover for themselves.

The truth is that after the Shah was kicked out, Iran went through a brief period of political turmoil, followed promptly by a vicious unprovoked military attack by the western-backed Iraqi regime (remember when Saddam Hussein was Donald Rumsfeld's best buddy?) The Iranian Government of the day (under then Prime Minister Mir Hossein Moussavi!), desperate for American spare parts and other things they found themeselves unable to obtain on the open market, were offered a backdoor trade lifeline through the Israelis, who broke the US embargo on Iran for their own devious purposes. This was the inception of the so-called Iran-Contra affair, a documented historical event that was (a) a major illegal conspiracy from the perspective of US law, and (b) a conspiracy in which Israel and some of its agents in the USA played a central role.

It's possible to overlook history, Nick, as you seem keen to show us. But if you parade your ignorance in an abusive way, expect a rebuttal.

My strongest symapthies in Iran, FWIW, are with the left, a sector of Iranian society persecuted under the Shah (with strong CIA encouragement) and persecuted again with the onset of the Islamic revolution.

Yet even though the institutions of the old Iranian left are in tatters, aspirations for more social justice that inspired the left are not. Insofar as there's a contemporary standard bearer for those ideals, it's probably Dr Ahmeninejad. It certainly isn't Mr Moussavi, a catspaw for dark elements in Iranian society (and beyond).

I understand that kids on the street in Iran may not see it that way. But a lot of people fought in world wars without having a clue why they were really fighting and who stood to benefit from their agony. Getting shot is what cannon fodder does. The people who actually dream up these cynical schemes don't like to put themselves in harms way.

nocturnal congress said...

Nick, your ignorance is appalling.
I recommend you start educating yourself on Iran. A good start is to read the American educated Sattarah Farman Farmaian's book, "Daughter of Persia." (A woman's journey from her father's harem through the Islamic Revolution.) Try also to make contact with some Iranian people living in Iran. Oh...and you can demolish your bunker now...Saddam did not have WMD.

Alison Alloway said...

Thanks Syd, nocturnal, Paul. It's good to see some of us are aware of what is really going on.

Unknown said...

Syd,Alison et al. I have actually spent some time in Iran, have you ? I have always taken a great interest in the place and you don't need to lecture me.

I'm neither ignorant nor overlooking history. I just think that your interpretation of events is one-sided and biased. Blaming all the world's woes on Western Imperialism and Zionism is simplistic.

It is interesting that Al Jazeera publishes similar reports to the situation in Iran as the main stream media like ABC and SBS. Is Al Jazeera also controlled by the Western Imperialists ?

And Nocturnal, the way you jump to conclusions, saying that I believed there were WMD in Iraq, because I express an opinion on Iran, shows that you are not really interested in facts.

I was opposed to the war in Iraq. I was happy to see the Shah kicked out and I was horrified that he was replaced by a bunch of religious nutters, who are still in charge today.

Someone who denies the Holocaust, like Ahmedinejad has, is either ignorant or evil.

Paul said...

"Denies the holocaust". Sorry if he's religiously incorrect for you Nick.

Unknown said...

What a pointless remark Paul. I have no idea what is supposed to mean.

I don't give a toss about his or anybody else's religion.

If you think the Holocaust didn't happen,that's fine. It just shows that you either don't have a clue about anything or you are deliberately distorting history and well documented facts.

You get your information from a certain Paul Craig Roberts who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.

Wow, that gives him a lot of credibility.We all know they were a bunch of double-dealing crooks.

Next you'll be quoting Nixon or Kissinger.

Are the Yanks meddling in Iran ? I'm sure they are, as are many others. Are the Iranians meddling in other people's business ? Of course they are.

My point was just that it is very simplistic to blame everything on "Western Imperialism" in general and Israel in particular. And I find Syd Walkers constant diatribes about Israel offensive and bordering on racism.

See how many iranians would instantly migrate to the land of the Great Satan, if they were given the chance..

Syd Walker said...


I apologize if my previous post didn't give due acknoweldgement to your first hand expertise about Iranian society and politics. It's just that you kept it so well hidden. There I was, thinking you were just another conformist, irrational ignoramous... it just shows how wrong we can be...

I'm not saying that a complete account of Iranian modern history can be had through a study of western imperialism. But I would argue that by leaving out the topic of western imperialism, it's quite impossible to give anything resembling a comprehensive account of Iran's modern history.

Actually, until the First World War, the Russians had a larger share of trade with Iran than 'the west'. It's quite possible that the Iranians will turn north again - and who could blame them for trying to find less fickle, malicious partners than Britain or America?

I gather you don't like me mentioning the Zionist angle to this story? Sorry about that.

You also seem to have a problem with what you assert to be my views about what you call 'The Holocaust'. If so, why not spare the rest of CairnsBlog readers and send me an email - or reply to one of my posts on my own blog? I don't mind discussing that issue, as long as it's a grown up conversation. I tried to reply in detail to Bryan Law on some of thesde contentious topics that seemed to offend him, when he rather pompously "called me out" on this blog a few weeks ago. At least Bryan uses his full name when he does stuff like that; however, he didn't bother to reply to my detailed response.

One thing I will say to you here. You've asserted I am a 'holocaust denier'. I utterly refute that claim. Apart from anything else, I believe the term is meaningless. Please don't make libelous assertions under the cover of anonymity. If you do this again I shall ask that your comments are deleted.

No, sadly I have not been to Iran. I have spent some time in other countries in the middle east.

As for your assertion that Iran meddles in other countrys' business in a way that's much the same as the USA and Britain - please show me how the relationship between Iran and Britain, or Iran and America, has been symmetrical in terms of interference. I can adduce significant, repeated intererence from Britain > Iran and the USA > Iran. What you you show by way of gross political and economic interference in the opposite direction? Anything?

You write: > "I find Syd Walkers constant diatribes about Israel offensive and bordering on racism"

If you're going to make offensive and quite untrue assertions like that, Nick, please explain how my opposition to a State that discriminates on the basis of religion/ethnicity is 'racism'?

In general, I don't post often on this subject here at CairnsBlog, except when it seems directly relevant to the topic at hand (as in this case). I do write a lot about Zionism on my own blog. So what is your problem? If it's my blog, please come and debate with me over there. Comments are enabled. If it's what I contribute to CairnsBlog, then I dispute that the term you used - 'constant diatribes' - is accurate.

It would help if I didn't need to correct crude misrepresentations of my views quite so often.

Unknown said...


The original article on the Cairns Blog was about Twitter and the recent election in Iran.

It was then asserted by "Paul" that Twitter was being manipulated by forces connected with the Jerusalem Post (read Jews).He also asserted that the mainstream media are distorting the facts of what's going on in Iran (No mention of Al Jazeera reporting the same facts).

Your assertion was that Iraq and Iran would be first world countries if it wasn't for Zionist (read Jewish) intervention. Alison dismisses what's going on as American manipulation.

My original, rather sarcastic post, made you, Nocturnal and Paul jump to immediate and unwarranted conclusions,which says more about you than it does about me.

My remark about the Holocaust was directed at Paul's and the Iranian president's views, not at you and I did not accuse you of being a Holocaust denier. I have never visited your blog, but many of your posts on this blog contain references to "the Zionists".

If you oppose States that discriminate on basis of race/ethnicity, then I can give you along list of countries other than Israel, that are also guilty of this. Why single out just the one ? You references to Zionists and :devious" Israelis certainly come across as having a racist undertone.

Dismissing "the kids on the street in Iran" as "cannon fodder", I find both cynical and callous.

As for Iran meddling in other countries. I did not say it was on an even scale as other nations interference, but it is certainly far-reaching. Just think Hezbollah !

I have met many Israelis, some nice, some not so nice, some of them appallingly racist. I have also met many Muslims of many different nationalities, some nice, some not so nice, almost all of them appallingly racist , when it comes to Jews.

Maybe it is easier for somebody with a European background to understand the enormity of what happened in Europe during WW II and the effect the Holocaust has had on peoples emotional and political views re. Israel.

I don't like racism in any form.I don't like Israelis killing Palestinians and I don't like Palestinians killing Israelis.The only way there ever will be a solution is if they learn to live together somehow. ( the Irish managed, sort of, eventually).

Interestingly,the biggest massacre of Palestinians ever, took place in Jordan and was carried out by the Jordanian army.

For Australians to say that the Israelis should give the "stolen land" back to the Palestinians is rather ironic, considering they themselves live on land stolen by the same colonial power that had a hand in the establishment of Israel.

The situation in the Middle East is very complex, with many different parties having their own objectives and interests.To assert that it is all down to an American-Israeli conspiracy is simplistic and untrue and that's why I reacted to the original posts.

I had an interesting time in Iran a long time ago and I have nothing against Iranians. I found ever Iranian regime, from the Shah onwards, repugnant. But if you go back in history a bit and read the Greek historians, you'll find this country has a long history of mad rulers inflicting carnage on their own people. That does not take anything away from their culture and achievements.The recent demonstrations just appear to be a manifestation of a large part of the population wanting to move forward and get rid of their backward thinking, autocratic rulers, and not just the result of Western manipulation.

Alison Alloway said...

Nick, I have friends I have known for years in Esfahan. Haidar has been a polling official during the recent elections. I believe him when he says Ahmedinejad won.

Unknown said...

Fair enough Alison,if that's what you have been told, but many Iranians obviously don't want him and his regime is shooting and bashing those people.I don't believe that the demonstrations are down to American-Israeli manipulation ( the Israelis apparently prefer Ahmedinejad over Moussavi) and that what's has been suggested by various posters here.I don't think Moussavi would be an improvement, but that's hardly the point. There are obviously many unhappy people in Iran who are willing to risk their lives in order to change the autocratic regime that governs them.

Syd Walker said...

Thanks Nick

You wrote:

If you oppose States that discriminate on basis of race/ethnicity, then I can give you along list of countries other than Israel, that are also guilty of this. Why single out just the one ? You references to Zionists and :devious" Israelis certainly come across as having a racist undertone.

Please name ONE country that has anything remotely resembling the Israeli State's 'Right of Return' law. One the one hand, this gives automatic right of entry and residence to people of a given (Jewish) religion/ethnic group, wherever they and their ancestors were born. On the other hand, the laws deny any right of return to people of an ill-favored (non-Jewish) religion/ethnicity. even though they or their ancestors were born and lived within the territory of the State.

Name me ONE country with comparable laws, please.

This seems to me the quintessence of supremacism and I find it repugnant. Many anti-Zionists have held a similar view - Jewish and non-Jewish - before and after 1948.

You bandy around the word ‘racism’, but I think it's a loose use of language. Israelis are not a 'race'. Nor are Jews a 'race' in any meaningful sense (even though Nazis and Zionists have shared this curious belief).

The conflict in Palestine over the last 100 years has nothing to do with ‘race’. It has to do with in-group/out-group tribalism, grounded in a pre-modern religion – and the delusional fantasy of one self-defined ‘in-group’ that it has divinely-ordained landrights and a unique mission ordained by their God. These are very odd beliefs in our modern, rational era. They are having disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, the people who share this bizarre and dangerous belief system aren’t just a group of fringe-dwellers; they include many of the world’s wealthiest people and operate a very powerful Lobby in plain sight, within all major western countries. Since 1948, they’ve had their own State; since the 1960s it’s had nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

You know anything comparable to that? A supremacist, nuclear-armed State with a multi-billionaire international support-base? A State that operates a large clandestine international spy network - and repeatedly attacks and invades its neighbours?

If you do know of anything comparable, please let me know.

If not, why profess such shock and surprise when a handful of people dare point out this rather violent elephant in our living room, on occasions when it’s relevant?

You also wrote:

Maybe it is easier for somebody with a European background to understand the enormity of what happened in Europe during WW II and the effect the Holocaust has had on peoples emotional and political views re. Israel.

What a strange comment. You don’t think Shoah Business plays well in America? I think you’ll find it does…

I do agree about the enormity of what happened in Europe during WW II – although what happened in Asia was enormous too, IMO. Which brings me to questions about what you refer to as ‘the Holocaust’.

If you plan to keep using this term as a weapon, attacking people who you say ‘deny the Holocaust’ as though they're religious heretics (Paul’s pithy comment was fair comment), shouldn’t you define what you mean by it?

Does your ‘Holocaust’ include the death, in total, of 50+ million people, killed directly as a result of World War Two? Are you referring to the obliteration of two Japanese cities with atomic bombs in 1945? How about the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of German and Japanese civilians incinerated in non-nuclear allied bombing raids? Does the 'Holocaust' encompass the 14 million Germans displaced after World War Two (the largest forced population transfer in modern history)? Does it include the millions who died in the appalling Bengali famine?

I wouldn't myself include these events in 'the Holocaust', because I don't use the term at all. But you do.

So... are those events included in your 'Holocaust', Nick? If not, why not?

Syd Walker said...

I see Nick.

You can excuse me for being confused, because when I was a boy (n Europe), no-one used the word in that way. In the 1960s we were taught at school about 'Nazi atrocites'. 'Nazi atrocities' included things like making Jewish corpses into soap (as adduced in 'evidence' at the post-war Nuremberg Trials).

If you'd opened a 'Holocaust Museum' in London in the 1960s, people would have thought it was a museum to the 'nuclear holocaust' - a possible fate for the entire generation that scared hell out of many us.

The word 'Holocaust' was capitalized and appropriated in the English language to mean what you seem to mean by it c. 1970.

The soap story, incidentally, along weth the Jewish-skin-turned-into-lamp-shades story and some other gruesome 'facts' I was taught at school, are now universally recognized as bogus by all scholars - Zionist or not.

Mind you, when I was taught history, we also learnt the Nazis shot thousands of Polish officers at Katyn.

We now know - thanks to Gorbachev's glasnost - that was a lie too. The Poles at Katyn were shot by Soviet troops, as Hitler and General Sikorski claimed at the time.

My point? Historical understanding often 'changes'. Usually, as wars recede into the past, the truth becomes better known. In the 1920s, the British establishment acknowledged some of its WW1 lies used against Germany; leading British politicians such as Lloyd George even made a grudging apology in the House of Commons.

But WW2 was different, for some reason...

Around 1970, it was decided, consciously, by some people, to 'freeze' part of WW2 history and turn it into what seems more like a compulsory global religion. You appear to be one of the many devotees of this new religion.

I make a point of not making fun of anyone's religion. It's a churlish thing to do. As long as people don't try to force their religion on me or other people, I believe in freedom of religious opinion as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19.

If devotees try to impose their religion on others, however, they cross a line, That's a clear breach, not only of Article 19, but also of Article 18 of the UDHR, which guarantees freedom of opinion for all.

I hope you don't agree with suppressing freedom of opinion? That would conflict with your support for the Green Twitter Revolution, wouldn't it?

Alison Alloway said...

A true point Syd about "historical understanding often changes." First we had Saddam gassing the kurds. Remember all those media so called journalists telling us over and over, ad nauseum "Saddam killed millions and millions and millions and MILLIONS of is own people!" Next we read where the Iranians gassed the kurds, next we read where the kurds got caught up in the cross-fire of both Iraqi and Iranian gas. The truth of course is whatever is convenient at the time.

Unknown said...

Sorry you're so confused , Syd.

I'm well aware how interpretation of history changes over the years.

Neither of us were there and we both have our own sources and background, so let's just agree to disagree.

You are very quick to jump to conclusions. What makes you think I want to suppress freedom of opinion ? Isn't that what this blog is about ?

Debate and exchange of views ? Or should we all just agree with you ?

Syd Walker said...

My interest, Nick, was to deconstruct the remark that you made:

"If you think the Holocaust didn't happen,that's fine. It just shows that you either don't have a clue about anything or you are deliberately distorting history and well documented facts."

The sentiments behind statements like this are increasingly being used to put people in jail - even as the real World War two recedes further and further into the past.

As I hope I've showed, issues of belief about the history of World War Two are much more complex than that very strident statement implies.

You allege that there was a "systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews".

I allege that there was a "systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately fifty million human beings".

You have a label for your belief, a label that was introduced into English c. 1970. People who express disgreement with your belief face legal persecution in an increasing number of juridictions around the 'free' world.

On the other hand, as far as I'm aware, it's perfectly legal to claim that no-one at all died in World War One! The worst you'll get for making suce an absurd claim is public ridicule.

What is going on here? That's my question. Why the overbearing, paranoid potency of one particular historical narrative? Is this really about history at all?

Perhaps I was quick to 'jump to conclusions' about you Nick. If so, I apologize. It's sometimes hard to know what peaople are trying to do without more information about them.

If debate and exchange of views are what you want, good on you.

FWIW, I learn heaps I didn't know before from comments posted on this blog.

Alison Alloway said...

You have a label for your belief, a label that was introduced into English c. 1970. People who express disgreement with your belief face legal persecution in an increasing number of juridictions around the 'free' world.

"""On the other hand, as far as I'm aware, it's perfectly legal to claim that no-one at all died in World War One! The worst you'll get for making suce an absurd claim is public ridicule.

What is going on here? That's my question. Why the overbearing, paranoid .......""

Syd, I also think the same as you.
Why are we seeing people persecuted for denying the holocaust, yet people can deny WW1 casualties, they can deny that the biggest calualties in WW11 were women and children, they can deny the genocide of the Australian aborigine on and on.
Most Westerners today deny the one and a half million killed in Iraq since the invasion of US troops.

Bryan Law said...

The Holocaust is always a fraught subject, and I sincerely wish that Syd and others would refrain from dragging their denial or obfuscation around it into conversations and issues for which it is not central (or sometimes even relevant).

I’ve been emotionally opposed to war ever since I can remember, and i don’t have any rigorous intellectual justification for that. I just am. In 1979 I enrolled at Griffith University (Modern Asian Studies) to put a little meat on those bones and find out more about war, how it’s waged, and how it might be stopped. Thirty years later I continue to study, learn and act.

The role of the state, and the ideas of scarcity economics, are central to the contemporary preparation for and prosecution of war.

The history of Iran since WW2 ought be teaching us the importance of strengthening civil society, and supporting those groups within civil society that will nurture democracy and guard human rights. The twitter phenomenon of recent days gives us both insight and opportunity into precisely this sector of Iranian society, and ought be considered in this light.

To drag into that analysis twaddle about zionist conspiracies is not only historically misguided, but it actively interferes with the kind of work that needs doing to intervene into and change the war footing of contemporary society.

It’s a lot like climate change scepticism. In a complicated field of study, conspiracy theorists can always find interesting factoids they claim will undermine a more sophisticated analysis. If those factoids plug into deep-seated prejudices and fears, they will always distort debate and distract people from issues about which they might otherwise achieve “progress”. So Syd can de-rail any debate by raising the Jooish conspiracy.

I just assume now that Syd will (a) condemn the Joos and (b) exonerate the ALP – and neither of those things will be strongly connected to reality. Best just to acknowledge that and move on.

Unknown said...


Holocaust is a general term to describe the death of a large number of people. It is now commonly understood to mean the extermination of Jews by the Germans during WW II.

I'm not interested in semantics. Call it Shoah, Final Solution whatever.

I brought it up in the context of what Ahmedinejad has said and my view that people who deny the Holocaust ( as defined above) are either ignorant or evil.

There is so much evidence, that is not even worth debating. It is a nonsense to suggest that this is some sort of new religion, although those who deny it act like people that belong to some weird conspiracy cult.

As for making it illegal to deny the Holocaust, I don't think that is a good idea, as it only gives more publicity to the revisionists. However, it is only illegal in a few countries and it is not hard to understand why it is illegal in countries like Germany and Austria.In some countries it comes under their "racial vilification " laws. David Irwin was denied a visa to Australia on that ground.

I'm not aware of "increasing numbers of people being put in jail", because they have publicly denied the Holocaust. Show me the statistics of all those poor revisionist historians and Neo Nazis pining away in jails.

I don't think people should get locked up or killed for denying the existence of Allah or ridiculing a Head of State, as happens in so many countries where denial of the Holocaust is common, but in these place tolerance and free speech are not high on the agenda.

Finally, in Turkey you get locked up if you say that a genocide DID take place (in Armenia).

Alison Alloway said...

Reading this triggered the memory of how the media during 2003 tried to convince people that only "smart bombs" were used during the bombing of Baghdad and that no human was injured. And people believed it!!!

Syd Walker said...

Smart bombs, clean coal and just wars. They all go together rather well, Alison. :-)

Bryan, discussing this complex issue with you is as pointless as debating the merits of rock and roll with Richard Nixon.

Nick - you keep banging on about 'racism'.

How are you getting along finding one other country with such blatantly 'racist' laws (your word, not mine) as the State of Israel?

Australia would be comparable, if we enacted laws that guaranteed citizenship to anyone with a British grandparent, while denying it to most of the Aborigines.

Iran would be comparable, if it enacted laws guaranteeing citizenship to the grandchildren of all Shia Muslims everywhere while disenfranchising millions of its original inhabitants.

Happily, for all our faults, neither Iran nor Australia are quite as naff as that. Perhaps you can find somewhere else that is?

Unknown said...

Reading what exactly, Alison ? I don't know what smart bombs have to do with anything and what the hell you are on about ? Every war is full of lies and propaganda and I think most people, unless they are total morons, are aware of that.

I wasn't banging on about racism, Syd. I was talking about Holocaust denial.

You're the one who keeps banging on about Israel at every opportunity.It is starting to look like an unhealthy obsession.

Continuing this debate is indeed useless.

"The Doors of Perception" was obviously wasted on you.

Still I agree with you that "Riders on the Storm" was a great song.

Let's leave it at that...

Alison Alloway said...

Nick, no need to be supercilious.
I was referring to reading the comments on this blog. I was merely reminding people of the outrageous lies surrounding the Iraq War. Incidentally, during the aerial bombardment of Baghdad in 2003, I was in daily contact with my friend Hamoody, a young gay IT expert in Baghdad. Hamoody kept me informed of the casualties.
Hamoody and his family are today in Syria having had to flee with over four million others, mostly Sunnis, as the Shia fundamentalist Da'awa and SCIRI Parties gained control. Da'awa has links to Iran. Saddam banned the party back in the late 1980s.

Alison Alloway said...

I should have added to my previous comment that Iran today now has a powerful presence in Iraq, something which was never anticipated by the US back in 2003. This has unquestionably hastened the US hostilities towards Iran.

Syd Walker said...

I didn't know the Iraqi refugee total is up to 4 million, Alison. That's approximately 1 in 7 Iraqis. Utterly horrific.

The Iraq War really has been a massive war crime; Afghanistan the same. It's disgusting that villains such as Tony Blair, Stephen Harper and John Howard, all of whom lied to their respective Parliaments over the 'case' for war, haven't yet faced a war crimes tribunal.

The bias displayed by pursuing Milosevic and now the Sudanese leader, while leaving these shysters to milk the lecture ciruit, makes a sad travesty of international justice.

Unknown said...


I have at no time disputed any of your comments on Iraq and Iran or the false media reporting of the war. I agree 100 % with you.

I have never supported what went on there. What makes you think I do, or that I believe everything the media tells us ?

I was writing about something very different, namely Holocaust denial by the Iranian president and the assertion that the present unrest in Iran was manipulated by Israeli and American forces . That's why I could not see the relevance of your comment.

By all means let's have a sane and open-minded debate about these issues, without instantly "tagging" people who might have different views.

It seems to me that you and Syd are so firmly entrenched on your self-righteous high horses that you immediately jump to conclusions as soon as somebody raises any objections to what is being posted here. Just because someone doesn't agree with you, doesn't make that person some right-wing conformist ignoramus, as Syd put it.

And yes Syd, let's have war crime tribunals for all those people you mention. I'm all for it. But let's not stop there. Let's include those who live peacefully in Russia now and were responsible for that other Afghan war, which laid the ground work for the one we're in now. Then there are the people who destroyed Chechnya and while we're at it , how about the Chinese that "liberated" Tibet and Mr. Mugabe. Certainly they are worth a mention too.

Syd Walker said...

Nick, the legitimate Afghan Government in the late 1970s (which included female Ministers, if I recall correctly) invited the USSR to provide military support given it's own weakening hold on government, due to CIA-funded destabilization by 'Islamic fundamentalists' based in northern Pakistan.

The Afghan Government was entitled to ask for external military assistance. Australia does the same. Australia invites US troops onto our soil - and never sees the end of them in some places.

Yet again, in my opinion, you've shown a conformist (western mass-media influenced) view of history, And yes, I did use the word 'conformist' in this thread. I did not, however, say 'right-wing'. That was your invention. I don't use that term any more, except in inverted commas. To me, it's just more political junk-speak. What matters are real issues and policies - not labels.

Tibet... Zimbabwe... I agree, there's a lot going on, on a big planet. Whatever is really going on in Tibet, however, it's unlikely to be a trigger for global conflict. Zimbabwe does not interfere in other countries affairs, as far as I've noticed.

I'm not trying to stop people talking other places or issues, outside of the middle east. Talk about what you like. I do object to people trying to curtail my ability to discuss isues that are relevant, even if they're uncomfortable. I object to the insinuation of 'unhealthy obsession'. What special insight do you have into what's 'healthy' or not with regard to someone else's political beliefs and commitments?

I note you still haven't come u with ONE country with 'racist' laws comparable to the State of Israel's.

Unknown said...

Didn't mean to come across as supercilious Alison. I'm actually quite a nice guy with strong views about certain things.

Some of the earlier comments to my post could certainly be described as somewhat supercilious though....

Syd Walker said...


In your last comment to Alison, you spoke for me. At least, I like to think I'm a reasonably nice guy. Others can better be the judge.

I have strong views, like you. I respect the right of other people to hold other views. I'm glad of the opportunity to debate those views, time permitting.

If I've struck an excessively strident tone in our dialogue, I need to correct that. It's probably born of deep frustration that the views you generally express are ubiquitous in the mass media, while contrary views, such as the views I put, are marginalized or completely absent.

This discussion would be imconceivable in any other news medium in Cairns - including 'your' ABC. Sad, but it's true.

Kudos to CairnsBlog for providing a space for unorthodox political opinions. That's what makes it the hottest part of the media in FNQ.

Unknown said...

Syd, just because some views are ubiquitous in the mass media doesn't necessarily mean that they are wrong.By the way, there been quite a few letters in the Cairns Post, which questioned/denied the Holocaust...

I respect your right to a differing view and as we have established that we are both nice guys, I think it is a good thing that we are able to express our views on this blog.

Peace and love

Syd Walker said...

Nick wrote: "I think it is a good thing that we are able to express our views on this blog."

Amen. And Awomen. And Adogs, for whom I have special regard.

Unknown said...


I missed your earlier post about Afghanistan etc. I was there at the time and remember distinctly that the place was invaded. All foreigners had to leave the country. The excuse being that a large Islamic conference would take place, but something else was brewing.

A friend of mine was stuck in Kabul without a passport, as the first bombs rained down and I was trying to get the hell out of Teheran, which was not a pleasant place right then, if you were a Westerner.

Maybe the Soviets were invited, but whom by. By that butcher that run the Afghan Communist party ? Well we can argue about THAT some other time.

We can only dream what Afghanistan would be like today, if it had been allowed to continue on the course it was following in the 70's. So much more the pity...

Alison Alloway said...

I have spent a lot of time studying the Middle East and talking to Middle East people. There are also many different websites, blogs etc to tap into. I regularly check the Iraqi Ba'athist website, as well as a Basrah (Shia) website. The number of Iraqi bloggers have been steadily declining as the country is still in chaos. Trying to contact Afghanis in Afghanistan is very difficult, although I did make contact with Ahmed who was an IT young chap working with an American Aid organisation in Kabul. Having been able to speak with so many people has given me different insights, not provided by the mainstream media machine.
I also supplement my knowledge with reading and have many books in my own library on the Middle East. I find therefore that I am inclined to support Syd's views on the Middle East, and yes I also share the same frustration that the public are being steadily fed a diet of mis-information and outright lies.

Unknown said...


The "legitimate" government in Afghanistan,hat "invited" the Soviet troops, came into being after the overthrow of the former legitimate government and the assassination of the former president (who himself had staged a coup and disposed of the previous 'legitimate' government).

I think most rational people (regardless of which media they get their information from) would accept that the Soviets actually invaded the place and that Afghanistan was just another pawn in the cold war.

But then some people would argue that the Check government "invited" Russian troops into Prague in 1968 and that the subsequent crackdown on those who wanted to get rid of the communist regime was in fact "legitimate".

Syd Walker said...

Nick - one of the nice things about having Wikipedia, which taken as a whole is both a blessing and a curse, is thatit sets a kind of nechmark about the conformist mainstream narrative of history.

So, while I don't particularly recommend Wikipedia as a rule, it's worth using it as a benchmark for 'respectable' views in the west. It's certainly not 'communist' ir 'Islamist' propaganda. The reverse, if anything, is the case.

Here's an extract from Wikipedia about the Soviet 'invasion' of Afghanistan.

The Afghan government repeatedly requested the introduction of Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the spring and summer of 1979. They requested Soviet troops to provide security and to assist in the fight against the mujahideen rebels. On April 14, 1979, the Afghan government requested that the USSR send 15 to 20 helicopters with their crews to Afghanistan, and on June 16, the Soviet government responded and sent a detachment of tanks, BMPs, and crews to guard the government in Kabul and to secure the Bagram and Shindand airfields...

After a month, the Afghan requests were no longer for individual crews and subunits, but for regiments and larger units. In July, the Afghan government requested that two motorized rifle divisions be sent to Afghanistan. The following day, they requested an airborne division in addition to the earlier requests. They repeated these requests and variants to these requests over the following months right up to December 1979. However, the Soviet government was in no hurry to grant them.

The anti-communist rebels garnered support from the United States. As stated by the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and current US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, in his memoirs From the Shadows, the US intelligence services began to aid the rebel factions in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet deployment. On July 3, 1979, US President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order authorizing the CIA to conduct covert propaganda operations against the communist regime.

Carter advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski stated: "According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, December 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise." Brzezinski himself played a fundamental role in crafting US policy, which, unbeknownst even to the mujahideen, was part of a larger strategy "to induce a Soviet military intervention." In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski recalled: "We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would...That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Soviets into the Afghan trap ... The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War."[16]

Additionally, on July 3, 1979, Carter signed a presidential finding authorizing funding for anticommunist guerrillas in Afghanistan.[17] As a part of the Central Intelligence Agency program Operation Cyclone, the massive arming of Afghanistan's mujahideen was started.[18

Yet again, Nick, I think you've mixed into your arguments essentially illogical emotional appeals ("most rational people... would accept"). It's not really a matter of rationality, first and foremost. It's a matter of knowing the history.

Very often, people who actually live through historical events don't know the real history any better than outside observers with the benefit of hindsight. I have no doubt that many westerners in Kabul at the time 'felt' the Soviets were invading. I bet that's what the BBC and Voice of America were saying too...

Unknown said...


You forget to mention that the legitimate government at the time was firsts deposed in violent coup.

The actions of the new Marxist government is what caused the mujahideen to start their rebellion. Which in turn got the Soviets involved.

My point is if a legitimate government is deposed off in a military coup and the new government then "invites" , (against the wishes of a large section of the population), a foreign army to come into the country, it would be reasonable to say that that was in fact an invasion.

I'm not disputing the American involvement.

Syd Walker said...

Nick - Afghanistan went through political turbulence in the 70s, no doubt about it.

But who's to decide whether governments in Afghanistan were legitimate or not? Was it up to London? Washington? Why?

When the Afghan Government invited in Russian troops, it was clearly the effective State authority(although it was under attack from the CIA and its proxies).

The arrival of Soviet troops was not an invasion in any meaningful sense. That was propaganda, largely abandonned even by it's authors in this day and age.

The schemers wanted to suck the USSR into 'Vietnam 2'. They brag about it.

Unknown said...

"Very often, people who actually live through historical events don't know the real history any better than outside observers with the benefit of hindsight."

You're right, but they tend to take a lot interest in these events, and read up about them, both at the time and afterwards.

And then there is "knowing the history" and of course that depends all on your interpretation of the facts and events, doesn't it.

"But who's to decide whether governments in Afghanistan were legitimate or not? "

Indeed, and if the Afghan government that deposed the previous government in a bloody coup and then "invited" the Soviets was legitimate, then it could be argued that the Pinochet government was legitimate as well. (something I would NOT agree with).