Iran’s Election Disputed, American Activism Crashes Ahmadinejad’s Web site

If you haven’t been paying attention – here is the skinny. Over the weekend, Iran held presidential elections. The incumbent, supreme leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pulled out a landslide victory. Or so it looked. Massive amounts of people organized in a visceral reaction to Ahmadinejad’s second-term victory, claiming his contender, Mir Hossein Mousavi, had been cheated. Mousavi almost immediately demanded the election results be annulled.

One U.S. blogger, Andrew Sullivan, described President Ahmadinejad’s leadership and said he is dedicated to “conflict abroad,” manipulative of “rural, religious voters,” and engaged in other abuses of “the state.” Even perhaps more illuminating, Sullivan asked whether Iranian voters can “trust the process” when they have a President who “pulls tricks” like Karl Rove.

Back in Iran, tens of thousands of Iranians took the streets in opposition to Ahmadinejad victory. Citizen journalism video reports and the use of micro blogs and hash tags(#iran #iranelections) broadcasted a raw and emotional look at what Iranian organizers, press and activists were going through in the capital of Tehran.

One YouTube user, theamirzare, who apparently just signed up on the video sharing network to post this video, sent a simple message:  “Ahmadinejad is NOT my President.” In just two days, the video has over 23,000 views.

Back in the U.S., activist bloggers chased the story with original content created by on-the-ground reporters from the New York Times, CNN and others. Tracy Viselli, a blogger at Care2, pulled together a well-organized summary of key highlights as well as a few videos from the ground. Below I posted my favorite, which is from CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. Her cameras caught one woman shouting, “People in Tehran hate Ahmadinejad! People in Tehran hate Ahmadinejad!””

Finally, on Sunday night, as hundreds, if not thousands of U.S. bloggers watched the chaos unfold, some decided to start a little chaos of their own. TechPresident broke the news that a group of cyber strategists had temporarily shut down Iran’s state-run media web site, www.IRIB.ir. The effort was lead by D.C. political consultant and new media authority, Josh Koster, who leveraged free web app called Page Reboot, to bring the site down. The customized anti-IRIB link was passed around through Twitter and list servs until finally, at 9:24 PM EST, @joshkoster proclaimed, “(PLS RT!): We just brought down Iran’s media site. 2 More: http://tinyurl.com/m42b65 http://tinyurl.com/lmgzmf #iranelection (PLS RT!)

Oh, democracy. Aren’t you fun.

3 comments

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  1. Barb

    And to think that YouTube and Twitter are two of the main sources for information coming out of Iran! Amazing times we’re living in!

  2. Mary Beth

    I applaud the Iranian people for fighting for their rights. It saddens me that we in the USA have become so complacent, so apathetic that we allowed two elections to be stolen by one of the most evil men of our day. Twitter may not have been in place in 2000 and 2004, but we had electronic means of communication.

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