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Caru On February - 21 - 2011

Ever since the disputed Iranian elections of 2009, I have believed that Ahmadinejad was fraudently elected. Why? Because that’s what I was told. Allegations of vote tampering were repeatedly asserted. There were protests on the street. The narrative seemed true. However, I have recently realised that, considering how the MSM media lied about Egypt, is lying about Wisconsin and has lied about nearly every important issue in the last decade or so, the narrative about the Iranian elections may also be false, or at least exaggerated.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I do not in any way support the repressive Iranian regime. I’m just unsure as to whether Ahmadinejad was elected or not. To satisfy this truth craving I’ve recently been meandering through articles and essays concerning the 2009 election and its outcome. Through the course of this journey I have encountered very emotive arguments for and against the allegations of fraud, leaving me none the wiser as to who is actually correct. However, I also found this:

http://brillwebsite.com/writings/iran2009election.html

This incredibly in depth essay seems to objectively rebuke every allegation of fraud against Ahmadinejad and in favour of Mousavi. It provides logical and reasonable explanations, it points out misinformation and fallacies, it contains numbers that appear to add up. It is either a fantastic piece of investigative journalism, or the most brilliant piece of propaganda that I have ever seen. Either way I invite you to read it with an open, but vary wary, eye.

I still don’t know who won that election, but I’ll be dammed if I allow somebody else to make up my mind for me.

“Never assume the obvious is true.” ~  William Safire

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Categories: News & Politics

Written by Caru

I don't really have anything of note to put in here... Oh, I won a bar of chocolate once.

46 Responses so far.

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  1. ghsts says:

    Caru keep your doubt as long as you can, in questioning all truths, all facts you may never fall victim to the hubris that destroys progress and enlightenment from both sides.

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  2. KQuark says:

    Well I know Gore won in 2000 but that didn’t seem to matter.

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  3. Caru says:

    Khirad, you’ve mentioned that you see issues such as this one as distractions. What do you think that we should be focusing on?

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    • Khirad says:

      Human rights, human rights, and human rights.

      18 Tir 1999 wasn’t just about the closure of a newspaper.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18_Tir

      2003 wasn’t just about a hike in tuition.

      http://articles.cnn.com/2003-06-15/world/iran.protests_1_students-protest-iranian-students-student-news-agency?_s=PM:WORLD

      And, 2009 was larger than the election. It always was!

      In Iran it has often been said, especially in the last two decades, that all it will take is a spark. Whether stolen or not, 2009 was such a spark.

      How much “Where is My Vote?” or mention of Ahmadinejad have you heard in the past week?

      It is now:

      مبارك، بن علي -- نوبت سيد على
      Mubarak, Ben Ali -- nobat-e Seyyid Ali
      Mubarak, Ben Ali -- it’s your turn Seyyid Ali [Khamenei]


      مرگ بر خامنه ای
      Marg bar Khamene’i
      Death to Khamenei


      Burning the image of Khomeini and Khamene’i


      And, they are singing not only Yar-e Dabestani, but Ey Iran, as well. The original revolutionary national anthem.


      ?feature=21a15b1b1267376277302dc568a56397

      You should be focusing on this within the past week (and I plan to get to it in an article):



      Even Ali Larijani was more blunt than usual, giving an ominous warning (I have translation somewhere):


      http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2011/02/after-tunisia-egypt-and-25-bahman-clear.html

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      • KQuark says:

        Yes that’s most important but whether Ahmadinejad’s current rule is legitimate or not is also important because like it or not it’s tied somewhat to the legitimacy of the dissent. Not as much inside Iran but to the rest of the world.

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        • Khirad says:

          Ahmadinejad is a symptom of the current system.

          People in the West need to realize that -- I know I make a point of it every chance I can get.

          Supreme Leader, Supreme Leader, Supreme Leader.

          I must say I love this though:

          Flynt Leverett and Mahmoud, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
          kowsar.jpg

          I know we love to follow his crazy antics and he gets good ratings for his incendiary rhetoric, but that’s also just what he wants. He’s a clown. He’s not without power, but Khamenei is where it’s at.

          He’s near irrelevant and is having a hard enough time with his battles with the principlists over the budget and the Big Man Khamenei himself with his and Mashaei’s little Iran School versus Islam School gimmick. (he’s been marginalizing himself, in other words)

          Don’t get me wrong, they still hold Ahmadinejad in contempt, but strangely, it’s almost better Mousavi didn’t win -- he would have been reined in like Khatami was, undermined, stonewalled, and neutered, leading to more apathy.

          But this way the stakes have been raised. They’re not asking whether or not the administration is legitimate. Some (how many I can’t honestly say) are asking if the faghih is.

          When they were saying death to the dictator, for a long time people assumed they meant Ahmadinejad. Over time it has become a little clearer that he was a proxy -- for the young especially. Remember that even accidentally sitting on a picture of the Supreme Leader was a punishable offense. That taboo has definitely been broken the last year and a half.

          Dissent doesn’t need to be tied to the election. It only needs to be tied to the deaths, arrests, rapes, beatings, morals police, Chain Murders (and 1988 massacres before that) and being called foreign agents for 30 years if you disagree.

          Khatami once said:

          When we don’t accept someone, we make of him a counter-revolutionary, a monarchist, corrupt, pro-Western, a threat to national security and an apostate. Then, if some ignoramus says this counter-revolutionary must be killed – well, they kill him.

          The fight here if not for the regime to fall or be radically reformed is at the very least for reason and true plurality to triumph. Civil society, as Khatami had run on. Can you imagine? He was wildly popular for running on a platform of rule of law! Of hardline thugs not getting away with state-sanctioned murder!

          I suspect it’s moved a little beyond the call for tepid changes though. They’ve been there and done that. Even Mousavi and Karroubi know that -- as their statements over time have progressed into more pointed criticisms (while carefully never actually crossing the line).

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          • choicelady says:

            I met a woman, tortured in Iranian prison, and, though she did not say it, I got the definite feeling she’d been raped as well. She is here in the US in recovery as a victim of torture. So yes, Khirad -- it simply no longer matters if Ahmahdinejad was “elected” or not. It goes well beyond that.

            Parenthetically, I’d like to add that one jaw-dropping HP troll whined that why was it 1 million in Egypt is a Revolution, but 1 million Tea Party people (actually more like 87,000) was NOT? My question which disappeared, was how good we FINALLY got admission from a ‘bagger that they DID seek to overthrow a DULY ELECTED administration by force and violence (definition of treason, BTW). So from that point of view in a democracy, yes, elections do matter. In Iran where elections seem to change very little -- not so much.

            I will never be able to tell that young woman how desperately sorry I am. She said to us she could not relate to any of us at all. And she is, of course, correct. There is nothing any of us could say or do for her -- we will never, Insh’allah, know what she has experienced. Never. I just hope that everywhere uprisings are succeeding there is REAL change, REAL freedom, REAL endings to torture and fear. The mechanics of how they get put in place are of less interest to me than that they are. It must end now.

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    • ADONAI says:

      Lindsay Lohan?

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  4. Khirad says:

    You’ll forgive me, but I’m just too tired to pull up all my 2009 resources or argue what I think is besides the point anyway -- whoever won or not, the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran guarantees free association and free assembly in articles 26 and 27.

    There’s quite a few holes in Eric A. Brill’s piece, who is a writer, I should add, for the premier apologist site, Race For Iran. For those whom aren’t familiar with these American supporters of human rights violations:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-shahryar/the-real-race-for-iran-hu_b_625225.html

    I, for the record, am agnostic. There is no way to prove it either way, and that is how they like it. Mohsen Rezaei’s intitial objections sure raised my eyebrows though (he was the pragmatic conservative candidate and former IRGC commander for 16 years). The Ministry of Interior’s numbers do not have to cohere to local tallies. And, they can be made to anyway. It’s why in Khatami’s first election, Rafsanjani’s daughter took a coterie with her to make sure no shenanigans occurred.

    This past time around, Ahmadinejad had stacked the Ministry of the Interior and provincial Governors (an article I’ve lost, but which was hard to brush aside), and that should raise eyebrows too. Anyone who has taken the time to read about all the electoral fraud in the past would not bat an eye that this could have been stolen. I find Eric A Brill’s handle on electoral history in IRI history tenuous, or, just disingenuous. I have a few books for him to read.

    Unless, of course, he thinks the election of Rafsanjani in 1989 with 94.5% of the vote was completely clean, as well. To be honest, I wonder if Khatami really won his second election in 2001. Since Banisadr (impeached for being too moderate) and Rajai (assassinated by the MeK), Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami and Ahmadinejad have all won reelection. I think that for one of them to lose would say that the velayat-e faghih was faulty. Ergo, it would say that this vice regency of God was not in line with God’s perfection (Ray Takeyh does a better job than I explaining this weird logic).

    Even had he won (and it would have been slimmer, if past performance is any clue) -- there is a concerted contempt for democracy.

    The Chatham House is of course the most famous for the election fraud theory:

    http://www.juancole.com/2009/06/chatham-house-study-definitively-shows.html

    As were Nate Silver’s:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/06/iran-does-have-some-fishy-numbers.html

    These are partly what Eric A. Brill was responding to, if I recall correctly.

    If we wanna even get into polling, pieces like this must also be considered.

    Study Reveals Ahmadinejad Supporters in Rural Areas No Longer Back Him
    http://www.insideiran.org/featured/study-reveals-ahmadinejad-supporters-in-rural-areas-no-longer-back-him/

    And that Ahmadinejad knows Azeri is bullshit to explain his performance in East Azerbaijan Province. Does he also know Luri? How the hell did he win Lorestan Province (Karroubi’s home) with those preposterous numbers? To win that big would have practically required Karroubi’s relatives to vote against him! Never mind the questions of how Ahmadinejad got a doctorate.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/03/ahmadinejad-and-his-men-embodiments-of-fraud-and-corruption.html

    More counterpoints.

    Why Ahmadinejad Did Not Win
    Muhammad Sahimi

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/06/why-ahmadinejad-did-not-win.html

    Iran’s Stolen Election
    Ahmad Salamation

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/07/irans-stolen-election.html

    Who Won the Disputed Iran Election? (pretty good rundown)
    James the Hype

    http://www.dissectednews.com/2010/05/who-really-won-the-disputed-iran-election.html

    And since, way too much material such as this has trickled out (some from Persian sites I can’t find anymore).

    Audio Reveals IRGC’s Interference in Presidential Election
    http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/audio-reveals-irgc%E2%80%99s-interference-in-presidential-election/

    WINEP is really an arm of AIPAC, so take it with a big grain of salt, but be that as it may, this provided some valuable key structural points.

    http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/06/irans_voting_manipulation_indu.html

    Bottom line. They are not free in the first place, with the Guardian Council vetting candidates -- and the Guardian Council being but an organ of the Supreme Leader (whose preferred candidate has been made crystal clear). No free election includes issuing warrants before the vote for Mousavi aides and the storming of their offices and the cutting off of cell phone/SMS services (the same befell Khatami, whose Reformists had not been so gutted at that point from oversight power).

    Furthermore, the Supreme Leader violated all protocol in not waiting the requisite weekent for a full count (of which it is NOT computerized! How did they get a hand count THAT FAST?!) and declaring Ahmadinejad the president during Friday Prayers following the election. The irony is, is that it is within the realm of possibility Ahmadinejad could have won (though this would have been against all previous trends, and nearly unprecedented in avoiding an outright runoff). The polls are worthless, especially the Terror Free Tomorrow one, which was taken before the Mousavi campaign had even taken off. Never mind refusal rates and non-answers (everyone in Iran knows how to speak in code over the phone). The University of Maryland one is also interesting, if you actually read the full thing. It actually doesn’t prove anything, but even a bit of the opposite, actually!

    But, on the more general leftist confusion, of which, thank god, you are not a part.

    Iran and Leftist Confusion
    by Reese Erlich

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/06/28-10

    Left is wrong on Iran
    Hamid Dabashi

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/956/op5.htm

    America’s Misguided Left
    Muhammad Sahimi

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/07/americas-misguided-left.html

    Chomsky on Iran

    http://www.worldpress.org/Mideast/3391.cfm

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    • Caru says:

      Dabashi’s article is especially informative.

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    • ADONAI says:

      I just don’t think it really matters.

      Once Iran nukes Israel, we’re all dead anyways.

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      • KillgoreTrout says:

        I don’t think that will ever happen. Because of the sheer stupidity of such an act. Assured mutual destruction is still a very valid principle.
        Nuking Israel would mean the total destruction of Iran.
        I know there are christian fundamentalists that would like nothing better. it would support their insane belief in Armageddon.

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      • Khirad says:

        Or the other way around.

        By the way, here’s a whole other subject of which I think is being played up way too much and which I could let loose the links on, as well.

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    • Caru says:

      Thank you, Khirad. I was afraid that this might have been a propaganda piece.

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      • Khirad says:

        Listen, it’s not without merits. I don’t want to be disingenuous myself. It’s important to hear these points out.

        But I’m admittedly biased and Eric A. Brill is not on my good side. And while not all the points are false, they are very selective.

        The thing that bugs me most about the Leveretts and Race For Iran, for whom he writes in part, is they hide behind this “true objective” mask, when they are anything but.

        They’ve repeatedly mocked those who have died at the hands of the Intelligence Ministry, Guards, and Basij.

        But, make up your own mind.

        Don’t let just my emotion persuade you.

        Edit, I just found this too, on my theory of Khatami’s second election (whom I do like, I should mention).

        According to official statistics gathered by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm, there were 12.9 percent more registered voters at the time of Mohammed Khatami’s 2001 victory than there were citizens of voting age.

        http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/06/21/iran.vote.survey/index.html

        So what we end up arguing if that could win an election. To get beyond such questions of fraud, which everyone accepts there will be to some extent, if you wanted to rig an election, wouldn’t you pad the numbers to, ironically, make fraud a non-issue?

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  5. JackRusselTerrier says:

    Do you know who really won the recent elections in The United States?

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  6. jkkFL says:

    I went to AlJazeera to pick up their views on the election:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201122053957526278.html
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/2009613181040285185.html
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/200961111422655588.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/06/irans-rural-vote-and-election-fraud.html
    I have added a brief comment from PBS..

    I see no indication to accept the theory that the election was fair; and my reading these articles have not changed my mind.

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  7. St James says:

    Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from this is to stay out of the
    foreign revolution business.

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  8. PocketWatch says:

    I just flash-read the whole paper concerning the Iranian election. Whew! I smell a rat, and not necessarily on the side of the winner. Why has the loser insisted that a do-over take place while ALSO insisting that no serious fact-finding, or even cursory looks take place?

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the current Iranian regime, but it appears that 62% of its people are. That’s what -- it seems to me -- the US and others are concerned about in Egypt and elsewhere these days.

    Just because WE don’t like a country’s regime and politics, doesn’t mean THEY shouldn’t like it.

    The only criticism I can find in the whole piece is that it doesn’t seem to address the possibility of coersion BEFORE the election (vote for X, or you’ll have serious issues!).

    If what the article says is true, or even somewhat true, the vote was correct.

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    • Khirad says:

      Eric A. Brill is the consummate apologist. Such inconvenient facts are brushed aside. He also twists reality.

      Who said they wanted no fact finding? And who says they’ve offered no evidence? LMAO! Like that evidence would be acknowledged if it were presented!!! It begs credulity.

      I don’t care what the US policy on Iran is.

      No political system can survive by relying on coercion, imposition, and guardianship, and only those governments that rely on the people can achieve stability.

      The Islamic Republic is neither Islamic nor a republic; it is a military government.

      – Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri

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      • PocketWatch says:

        Khirad,

        Since I don’t know enough to really have a certain (as in factually based) opinion, and know nothing of the players, I bow to someone that has more expertise.

        On the face of it, this guy makes a compelling argument. When faced with an article like this, it is nearly impossible to track down quotes, references, and the like. It would take days, and who’s to know if THOSE are valid or the complete set of facts?

        Which brings up another point… I contend that the US (or any governemt, for that matter) government’s foreign policies are generally driven by State Dept. Bureauocracy, not the politicos that come and go, including the President. Experts with experience. Or so it seems… am I miguided in thinking that?

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  9. ADONAI says:

    The people of Iran don’t seem to care for him. That woman didn’t get shot at a pro-Ahmadinejad rally.

    And 85% is a pretty goddamn big total to win no matter where you are.

    But maybe he is legit. Just too much circumstantial evidence going against it though.

    Either way, he seems like a loudmouthed idiot.

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    • Kalima says:

      Or that this was never said by Neda’s mother before the gathering of the dead on the 30th of July 09.

      ““You can’t blame young people for going out and wanting to feel free,” Neda Soltan’s mother Hajar said in interview published by the Australian broadcaster ABC.
      Hajar Soltan (translated): I want to thank politicians and leaders from every country at all levels who remembered my child. Her death has been so painful. Words can never describe my true feelings.
      But knowing that the world cried for her, that has comforted me. I am proud of her. The world sees her as a symbol and that makes me happy.
      It was all about being young and feeling passionate about freedom. She wasn’t political. She didn’t belong to any party or group. She didn’t support any faction. Every other young Iranian was there and she was one of them.
      She was very special. She finished high school and then got married. Philosophy and theology were her favourite subjects. She was a spiritual person. She believed in God. She loved music.
      You can’t blame young people for going out and wanting to feel free. She had dreams like any other young person but she wasn’t given the chance to make her dreams come true.
      But there was one dream she spoke about very openly – that she longed to become a mother. She used to ask me, how does it feel to be a mother? What is it like? And this for me is the most painful thing of all. She got married but she never had a child. She lived with her husband but they separated after three years and for the past couple of years she was living with me.”
      For all of our burdens, we should also remember how lucky we are to be living in relative freedom day in, day out.”

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    • Caru says:

      He won at about 62% of the vote, as I remember.

      Agreed, he’s a tool.

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      • ADONAI says:

        Where did I get 85%? Oh well, I just remember it being a ridiculous number and people being REALLY pissed off.

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        • Caru says:

          It wasn’t that he won by a ridiculous number, it was that he wasn’t predicted to win by the pundits.

          And the people were angry because he supposedly stole 3 million votes -- which the article says isn’t true.

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          • Khirad says:

            Sorry, but it WAS that he won by a ridiculous number -- in constituencies that were quite suspicious.

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          • ADONAI says:

            62% is a landslide. The most any American President has won by is 61%

            From what I read at the time it happened, people couldn’t understand how he got so many votes. How he won by so much. Had it been a close race, I wonder if people would have been so quick to blame.

            But the pieces I read seemed to suggest that he had no chance,like you said. And they based that on polling and just asking people.

            They were amazed he won a single region let alone the whole fucking country! Unless all those people; American, British, Iranian were wrong, which I doubt, he stole that election.

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            • ADONAI says:

              I’ll do that Caru. I have yet to see a convincing argument but you have me intrigued.

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            • Caru says:

              I thought the same, but now after reading the article I’m not so sure any more.

              You should have a flick through it. It’s got hyperlinks to different sections.

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