• Blocking Objectionable Web Sites: Tehran and State Department

    December 8, 2011 // Comments Off on Blocking Objectionable Web Sites: Tehran and State Department

    Iran has blocked ”Virtual Embassy Tehran”, within 24 hours of its launch by the US, accusing the State Department of “meddling” in the internal affairs of the country.

    The State Department launched the virtual online embassy Tuesday to provide (fairly bland) information to Iranians, despite the lack of diplomatic ties, and to “work as a bridge between the American and Iranian people.”

    Accusing the US of “meddling” in the internal affairs of the country, Iran barred the website. US officials responded they were expecting this move by the Iranian government. A State spokesperson said “Many Iranians do have software and virtual private networks that allow them to work around these kinds of blocks. I think, for example, there are millions of Iranians who have access to Facebook and they”ll also be able to use these so-called VPNs to access this site.”

    It is indeed a sad State of affairs when governments block information they find politically objectionable.

    Oh yes, and this:

    The Department of State continues to block access on its own networks to any Wikileaks-related website, including select news and comment sites that have commented about Wikileaks. The cables released by WikiLeaks are of course available to anyone sober enough to operate an internet connection. But, according to the ACLU, the government has spent the last year insisting, over and over, that the WikiLeaks cables are still classified, going so far as interrogating a State Department employee (me) who linked to one of the cables from his personal blog. Now, the State Department has reversed course and acknowledged without comment that at least some of the cables can be released to the public without harming national security.

    The use of specialized software and VPNs that State recommends to Iranians to circumvent the firewall block is prohibited by the State Department to its own employees to get around State’s own firewall blocks.

    Also, a regular reader, whom we’ll call, what the hell, “Popeye,” reports that my blog is now blocked on the Navy’s unclassified network.

    Of course, sailors, State Department officials and Iranians worldwide can still watch this:




    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedin

    Posted in Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq, Other Ideas

    Maliki is Pissing on the Iraqi Constitution

    November 1, 2011 // Comments Off on Maliki is Pissing on the Iraqi Constitution

    Hold your emails– the title is not another grievance-inducing off-the-ranch remark by me, but instead comes from scholar and usually urbane analyst Reider Visser. Visser, on his blog and in his articles, is one of the more secular and steady believers that Iraq still functions under an organized set of laws (a Constitution) and that representative government is still a possibility for Iraq.

    I guess until now. The next phase of the unraveling of Iraq, it seems, isn’t even going to have the good manners to wait for the US troop withdrawal at year’s end.

    Maliki’s Shia-dominated, Tehran-friendly government (aka, the reason the US sacrificed 4479 lives and trillions of dollars) is on an anti-Sunni rampage rivaling your favorite fictional zombie apocolypse.

    Iraq’s prime minister said Saturday that 615 people have been detained in a security sweep targeting so-called members of the former ruling Baath party. Arrests on this scale terrify Sunnis, who consider use of the term “Baathists” by Iraq’s Shia-dominated government to be a coded way to refer to Sunni politicians, army officers, and other prominent members of their community. Sunnis say that Maliki uses crackdowns on Baathists as a tool to exert political pressure. The arrests coincide with a recent autonomy push by Salahaddin, a mostly-Sunni province in north-central Iraq, the latest bone of contention between Sunni political blocs and the Baghdad government.

    In other words, ethnic cleansing, the latest act in the Sunni-Shia civil war the US birthed in our 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Visser writes:

    Maliki clarifies that what Salahaddin is not really a declaration of a federal region, since this is not legally possible… But what follows is complete nonsense. Maliki says the government will reject the request for a referendum because it “is based on a sectarian grounds, intended to offer protection of Baathists, and on other unclear grounds”!

    This comment by Maliki is tantamount to pissing on the constitution. As long as they stay faithful to the procedures laid down in the law for forming regions, Iraqis can create federal regions for whatever reasons they want. No one has the right to enquire about the motives as long as the modalities are done correctly. If Maliki wants to change that – and there are good reasons for restricting federalism options so as to avoid a constant string of useless federalism attempts – he must work to change the constitution.

    It is a sorry sign of the state of play in Iraq that both opponents and proponents of the Salahaddin federal region are now making up their own laws.



    I’ll leave this space available for the State Department declaration criticizing Maliki’s actions: _______

    Welcome to your Malikistan, America. Trouble a’ brewing up ahead, better circle the wagons around Fort Apache, formerly known as the World’s Largest Embassy (c).



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedin

    Posted in Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq, Other Ideas