Thursday, January 20, 2011

First they came for ...

Growing antipathy towards the issue of executions

The Islamic regime, in 2011 has stepped up its executions beyond the shameful rates of 2010 (according to an estimate, there has been an execution every 8 hours, which is 3  every day in 2011) and has adopted a different strategy on the matter. By randomly picking different regions and big and small towns to conduct the executions in ones and twos, they have flown under the radar of most human rights groups as well as media. Although the failure of prominent opposition leaders’ reaction towards these executions is a far more worrying concern. Their silence is, in my opinion, tantamount to acceptance or at best, an indifference to this crime against humanity.

But the blame should not stop at the doorstep of the leaders. Most of the activists, bloggers and opposition media have also shown scant interest in pursuing this grave matter. A part of it could be the regime’s insistence on continuing its political executions which may have increased the moral immunity of the population in Iran as well as the expatriates! A stark contrast from the last year’s fervor created on Sakineh Ashtiani’s sentence, that saw a concerted effort on part of various groups to bring the issue to the forefront of international media. A case that was not even a political one! But today, while we see an increased rate and number of executions, we hardly come across any gathering, rally or media blitz!

The regime started its murders initially targeting minorities like Bahais, Kurds and Baluchis under the guise of dealing with “armed opposition” or “conducting velvet revolution” and unfortunately many opposition groups failed to show any foresight to condemn these executions even if they did not share the ideologies or thesis of these minorities. Having seen the abysmal reaction of the opposition and their lack of unity, the regime stepped up and widened its reach and gradually included more groups and sects while on the other hand, the opposition looked more distracted and preoccupied with the high profile distractions like the nuclear ambitions, minor skirmishes between rival factions in the government and Ahmadinejad’s diversionary rhetoric.
The regime by applying tremendous amount of pressure on the families of the political prisoners, force them to remain silent and discourage whipping up the public sentiments. These families are often promised the release of their loved ones in return for their consent and silence. However, majority of these promises go unrealized and the heinous deed is carried out with no reprieve.

The only way to stop this villainy is to show as much interest and attention to this issue as we show to the other talking-points of the day such as the subsidies and nuclear talks. By publicizing the executions, spread of information on the prisoners and their pictures and keeping up the zeal most of us showed a year or so ago. By allowing the regime to get away with mass execution of those who think differently from them, we make way for more horrendous crimes against a wider populace in the near future.

Let us not forget the wise words, that I find quite apt, of Martin Niemoeller who said:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Iran to import natural gas from Azerbaijan!

I came across an incredulous and extremely shocking news today, discovering Iran, in possession of the second-largest reserves of natural gas in the world has contracted the nation of Azerbaijan, to purchase its natural gas to the tune of 1 billion cubic meter per year!!!

Yes, it is unfortunately true. The country with such tremendous reserves ought to be earning billions of dollars per year from export of its natural gas … and yet, we see, due to amazing levels of incompetence on the part of our officials and use of unqualified experts, coupled with some of the most anti-nationalistic policies in the history of our great nation, we are forced to import natural gas. All the while, our own reserves are being depleted at an alarming rate by Qatar, who shares our massive southern gas reserves!

Is there no bottom to the level of incompetence and mismanagement of this regime?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shahram Amiri's case got more curious

Remember this man who had a difficult time deciding whether he was abducted by American super-spies or he had just plain visited the United States to further his education in a university? And eventually he landed in Iran sticking to the former theory (after much oscillation, of course) and proposing an escape scenario that would befit only the best 007 movie plots, single handedly outsmarting hordes of trained American and Israeli super spies and intelligence agents?

For more details and a recap, click here:

Yes, that fellow. The same person who, on his arrival in Tehran’s airport, was hailed as a true nationalism hero who bested the best of the west. According to some reports he now languishes in a prison in Iran! Having become a pawn in the hands of the fractious regime with one side using him and personalities like him as an instrument to hurt or discredit the other factions of the dictatorial regime. God only can help this poor soul who became a tool for a set of people with utter disregard for truth or humanity.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Did the Stuxnet worm inadvertently prevent a bloody war between Israel and Iran?

Theories are rife on the subject, but one thing is pretty clear that whoever designed and produced the infamous Stuxnet worm may have prevented, or in the least, have postponed a terrible bloody war between Israel and Iran. For close to two years Jerusalem has been issuing warnings as well as threats about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions with growing intensity as talks between the western nations and Iran proved fruitless one after another, with Tehran refusing to heed the warnings and even threats of sanctions and continuously resorting to delaying tactics and diversions that eventually brought naught to the table. The west following their offer of carrots, attempted to wave the sanctions stick at Iran by stepping up their efforts to marginalize Iran with each passing UN resolution and corner the regime officials. It is a different matter that even this move proved to be porous, with Russia and China refusing to play ball until they were given more leniency in dealing with Tehran in terms of trade. But I digress.

Stuxnet was hailed as one of the most sophisticated worms or spyware ever designed which targets certain specific software and its related hardware equipment. Notably, in Iran’s case, its nuclear centrifuges. Reports show an array of A-26 centrifuges, in the Natanz plant, that were installed by 2008 were the ones that were affected by the worm and within a year, nearly half of these centrifuges were rendered useless and stopped functioning. A few months later, another large batch of the centrifuges broke down, which eventually ground the process to a near halt or severely cut into the process.

What is more curios is after this, the then Israeli deputy director of Atomic Energy Commission, Levite, remarked their efforts have caused a significant delay in Iran’s nuclear project. A statement that many believe is directly pointing at the Stuxnet worm introduction. Israel’s resources in terms of software engineering and programming is well known and is believed to be quite extensive. So much that Microsoft estimates the creation of the worm may have taken in excess of 10,000 man hours by expert level software programmers. Another interesting fact is the worm is designed in a way that it would self-destruct eventually after a specific period and it has to be introduced into the system only within that particular time frame for it to become active and do its damage. Most probably the method of introduction to the system was an infected USB or portable drive.

This worm is now spoken as the herald to a more technologically evolved and sophisticated warfare where the battle lines happen to be very different from what we are familiar with. The frontline could well be the technology that drives our society and industry. And the impact of such weaponry is on par with use of multitude of cruise missiles and more. An alternative to a more barbaric waging of war by firing missiles and aerial bombardments, but with as devastating results to the targeted population. It is indeed not beyond truth to believe this worm did what Israel has been vowing to do by inflicting great damage on Iran’s nuclear project, but without firing of a single bullet.