Who knows what really happend in the Iran election? I’m not going to pretend that I know, but the clues are very interesting… I will quote the article:the fog machine
Iran, Social Media and the Rise of Genetically Modified Grassroots Organizations
The Fog Machine
By JACK Z. BRATICH
Occasionally, an event gushes through media channels, spectacularly belying the notion that news outlets have major ideological differences. The current surge is a Green Wave, emanating from Iran. But there is more going on here than a uniform support for the anti-Ahmadinejad forces. We are witnessing something older, what media scholars have called the “technological sublime”. In this quasi-mystical sentiment, each media development brings with it a promise for a new age, even revolutionary. The twittering enthusiasm over the role of social media in the election protests has invoked this archaic link.
Let me say upfront that
1) I’m not interested in supporting Ahmadinejad’s regime nor the theocracy that would be preserved whether he or Mousavi were elected. These internecine battles within a religious state, resulting in a palace coup at best, are not my concern.
2) I don’t disagree that there are democratic aspirations circulating on the streets and in the air from Iran. Any mass mobilization of opposition will contain these and a variety of other impulses, including patient Shah-era vestiges and neoliberal/traditionalist hybrids. The point is to not mythically dissolve these differences into a wave.
3) Most importantly, I do believe that networks, technical and social, have a role to play in composing and organizing oppositions. I fully support a number of domestic cyberactivist projects, so there’s no use Luddifying me. Rather, the point is to understand the contexts and alliances that shape an event. Every network has a number of layers: it’s time to unpeel one that involves some not-so-new patterns.
We can start with a telling anecdote. State Department advisor Jared Cohen earlier this week emailed the co-founder of Twitter, requesting that they postpone a scheduled maintenance downtime. The reason? It was a critical moment for the demonstrators, and service needed to go uninterrupted. Twitter complied. The fact that a US government official is able have such pull, while not surprising, tends to get lost in a green wave of reports about social media belonging to “people power”. Who gets to place these calls and get results?
Cohen’s access should be even less surprising, given his role in State Department efforts to harness the power of social media. To wit, his role as press contact for the Alliance of Youth Movements. Launched in late 2008 with a Summit in NYC, the AYM gathered together an ensemble of media corporations, Obama consultants, social network entrepreneurs, and youth organizations, under the auspices of the State Department. Representatives came from Media Old (MTV, NBC, CNN) and New (Google and especially Facebook). The AYM produced a Field Manual and a series of How-to videos (How to Create a Grassroots Movement Using Social-Networking Sites, How to Smart Mob, How to Circumvent an Internet Proxy). The goal was to have youth leaders from around the world learn, share & discuss how to build powerful grassroots movements.
A few months ago, I wrote about this Alliance, calling it a “Genetically Modified Grassroots Organization” (GMGO). Neither wholly emerging from below (grassroots) nor purely invented by external forces (the Astroturfing done by public relations groups), these emergent groups are seeded (and their genetic code altered) to control the direction of the movement.
Through the How-to videos we are incessantly reminded about the code of this genetically modified activism: Make sure you avoid violent extremism. Respect property. Use leaders. Speak forcefully without being incendiary. Avoid obscenities and violent imagery. Use as your model Cold War Latin American anti-Communism (anti-Castro, -Chavez, -FARC).
On a side note, I wonder is they use diebold machine in Iran?