Iranian Activists, DigiNotar, and Mullah Surveillance

September 9, 2011

DigiNotar debacle that is a global security disaster , has shocked many ordinary Iranians, while many Iranian activists are not shocked nor surprised. But in these days, many Iranian activists talk about the DigiNotar disaster and the Mullah Surveillance in Iran. Some of them write about their experiences. Some of them try to advise caution, and write about how Iranians can avoid the Mullah surveillance. They treat the Mullah surveillance and the current threats with great caution. “Living in Iran, especially as an activist, even a non-political activist, badly needs not being ignorant and negligence; you always should be too cautious. Even a little stupid mistake can have a very high price. Iran is not like the rest of the world. You could be tortured, raped, or killed in the Mullah prisons, or assassinated in the streets (like Kahrizak’s doctor), if you were ignorant about the Mullah surveillance and the dangers of living in Iran under the Mullah regime. Even writing about environmental problems, economic problems, social problems, etc can have a very high price. So, Iranians should be aware of all possible problems, and then choose a proper solution for themselves “, some Iranian activists say. “The world should know about our dreadful conditions in Iran, and help us as mush as possible. The world should understand the real meaning of living in Iran. But many threats are global threats, and all activists around the world should be aware of them. All governments can become Big Brother”, they add. Some Iranians say: “the online life in Iran, is not like any other part of the world. In Iran, you should try to remain offline as mush as possible; and when you are online you should carefully and constantly watch everything. Living in Iran is like living in the Orwellian society. Now we live in a new version of ‘1984’ in Iran.”

“A large group of Internet users who are not sensitive about their online communications are the main target of the Mullah attacks and the Mullah dirty tricks”, some Iranian activists say. They add: “The Mullahs had a ‘pilot project in 2007 against the women rights activists. The online communications of women activists were monitored. Their emails and weblogs were hacked, their comments were collected and used in courts. Women who had been tried in courts later spoke about how the contents of their personal emails and blogs had been read in the courts against their defense . Now, the rights activists in Iran are not shocked nor surprised. We have learned that we might be hacked even while breathing !” Some Iranian activists advise caution and say: “We should try to be very cautious about the Mullah attacks, by: -Ignoring contacts with international media, especially by phone lines, Skype, etc (Email is the only safe tool; if you want to have an interview or any contact with international media, the only safe tool is Email; Of course a safe and unknown Email) -Avoiding being online for a long time; It’s very dangerous that you remain online for a long time -Ignoring all suspicious or unknown emails, spam or non-spam -Remaining anonymous. It’s very important that you don’t talk about your activities even with your family -Being suspicious about all anti-filter softwares or VPN connections”. Some Iranian activists warn Iranians about not using personal firewalls and not monitoring connections. They say: “If you have not any reliable personal firewall in your system, you can be sure that you have committed suicide ! and many Mullah IPs, and Chinese IPs that work for the Mullahs, etc, i.e. those who attack your system constantly, can hack you very easily, in less than 30 minutes ! Monitoring all your connections is another important matter. You should be too cautious about the data your system send and the date your system receive. Many spy tools or anti-filter tools that have been hacked, threaten you. But if you are not sensitive about your send and receive, you can be sure that you are the best victim for the Mullah attacks !”

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“The Mullahs make use of ‘Social Engineering’, and have many spies. They have many mercenaries inside and outside Iran. Each Iranian community in all around the world, and each big or small town of Iran, have its own spies and mercenaries that work for the Mullahs. These Mullah agents are unknown and unrecognizable. They are like you, and other ordinary Iranians. In 2009, some arrested people reported: ‘Some boys (girls) that were exactly like us, with Green bracelet, pretended that they were protesters; We thought they are friend and trusted them, but after a while we found that they were Mullah agents, but it was too late’. In many cases, the Mullah agents are hot girls, or some Iranian expats who say: ‘We are anti-Mullah and live in the US (Europe)’. But you should not trust anybody. An algorithm that works well for Iranian activists is: ‘Everybody (each Iranian) is a Mullah agent, unless you can be sure that the opposite is true ‘. When the number of the people who know about your activities, your identity, or your life grows, you can be sure that it increases your risks exponentially. You can easily guess how dangerous the social networking websites are”, Some Iranian activists say. But it’s not the whole story. Some Iranians activists warn Iranians of working with the pro-Mullah western media and Iranian Baboon’s websites . They say: “The western media that support the Mullahs, like BBC Persian or VOA Farsi and many other mainstream media, are very dangerous for Iranian activists. If you work with them, you can be sure that you increase your risks astronomically. Working with the Iranian Baboon’s websites is much more dangerous. You should not be member of Iranian Baboons’ websites, like Balatarin.com. The Mullah agents are very active in the Iranian baboons’ websites, and there are many reports that the administrators of many Iranian baboons’ websites work for the Mullahs. They report your identity and everything to the Mullahs. Many active members of the Iranian baboons’ websites were arrested, only because they were ignorant of these important facts.”

So, it’s very important that you try to stay really anonymous. “Except a very few close and trustful friends, no one should know about your activities or your identiry. Your trustful friend is some one that will not speak to any body, even his/her own family, about your activities. Your trust friend is some one that under any condition will not sell you to any body. So, you should choose your trustful friends very carefully, and then all other people should be considered as your enemy, or potential enemy. It’s the logic of living in Iran, if want to be speak or write about anything in Iran”, some Iranian activists say. Another group of Iranians activists talk about a Mullah dirty trick: “using of Hot trap”. They say: “The Mullahs set ‘Hot trap’ for stupid boys and horny men ! or for stupid naive girls . They send you an email that says, for example: ‘I’m a woman and I want to know you better, and help you in your great struggle for the freedom and democracy’ or ‘I’m a girl and I hate the Mullahs. I love you and your work. We can become great friends’, etc. The stupid men that fall into the Mullah ‘Hot trap’ and make contact with these hot girls, would say hello to their torturers after some months !” And finally some Iranian activists say that you always should be ready for arrest, and defending your cause and your views. “You can not be sure that they will not reach you. The number of threats is very large. You should try to reduce and minimize you risks, but you can not avoid and eliminate all the risks. In Iran, being a simple activist is a great risk ! And only the dead people, or the mute sheep, have no risk !! So, you should be ready to defend your views and your cause”, they say. They also add: “You need foreign support. The international community should know you and support you. You should have some foreign friends. Your foreign friends, that can be your readers, your remote unknown friends, etc should not remain silent and the world should know about you and your tragedy. In this way, maybe you have more chance to survive ! Living in Iran, is really living in the Orwellian society” It’s really ridiculous. Living in Iran, is really so ridiculous, so pathetic, and so dangerous. But all above-mentioned matters are important for all activists around the world, not just for Iranians activists. All activists around the world, can be victim of the Big Brother’s attacks. But our situation in Iran, is not comparable with other parts of the worlds, even with China.


Obama’s Jobs Speech: Rhetoric or Change ?

September 9, 2011

Finally Obama showed a little courage ! “Obama said Congress had to choose between millionaires and teachers : he knew what Americans wanted. He said: ‘This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math … The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy’. Opinion polls show rising dissatisfaction with the response of the Republicans in Congress. While Obama’s popularity has slipped to new lows, he is still better liked that the Republicans . Democrats stood frequently to applaud what was a strongly partisan speech while, for the most part, Republicans sat in grim silence. The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said: “This isn’t a jobs plan. It’s a re-election plan [!!]” If Republicans in Congress block his plans, Obama has a Plan B, proposing to go out on the campaign trail blaming them for obstructionism”, the media reported. The first American comments were interesting: “We need growth and jobs. Not cuts and rightwing ideology. Boehner looks uneasy. Excellent sign. I liked his idea about tax credits to companies who hire people who’ve been unemployed for 6+ months. Helluva good speech. Best he’s given since he got elected. The Republicans would rather see the USA collapse than Obama get another term. The stimulus would be popular and would succeed in creating jobs. The Republicans are offering up a bag of mixed nuts and austerity as the alternative “. Here are excerpts of Obama’s jobs speech in Congress:

“Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse … the millions of Americans who are watching right now: they don’t care about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by -giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college … for decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the deck too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington hasn’t always put their interests first … The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning . Those of us here tonight can’t solve all of our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives. I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working . It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business . It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away … Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut . And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012″

“Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America? There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now. The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools … Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong … We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and dignity of a summer job next year . And their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty. Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job … The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and Republicans in this Chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again – right away . Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen hundred dollar tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket … if we refuse to act, middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We cannot let that happen. I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away .”

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“And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: the American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. And here’s how: … A week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan -a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run. This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts; by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid [!]; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share … Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns . But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it . But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary – an outrage he has asked us to fix. We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share … Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs here in America . So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?” Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both. This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.

“We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build, out-educate, and out-innovate every other country on Earth … To help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with Federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4% -a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices … If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: ‘Made in America.’ … If we provide the right incentives and support and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that are sold all over the world. That’s how America can be number one again … Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations. Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I will continue to work with Congress to get rid of it. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. We should have no more regulation than the health, safety, and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that common sense test . But what we can’t do what I won’t do is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe that’s a race we can win . In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America. Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world. But there has always been another thread running throughout our history a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.”

“We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future – a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set. Ask yourselves – where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance? How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result? No single individual built America on their own . We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities … I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box. But know this: the next election is fourteen months away. And the people who sent us here -the people who hired us to work for them –they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months. Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now . I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It shouldn’t be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it -to be persistent- to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it … I also ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option … These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America”