Saturday, 13 February 2010

Booz-Allen: "...Ensuring the long-term survival of their interpretation of the Islamic Republic ..."

Via "friday-lunch-club"

"Tough neighborhood..."
Via LR, Booz-Allen's "Persia House"/ here
"As the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on the Green Movement protestors continues to occupy center stage in both the domestic and international media, the regime is also quietly, yet swiftly, moving to lay the foundation for a totalitarian security state. The government is implementing an interlocking series of policies—encompassing the technological, legal, and social spheres—intended to tighten its control over key elements of the Iranian state.
Actions to control technology
In addition to broadening the role of internal security forces, and increasing the resources available to them, the government is accelerating efforts to filter online information coming from outside the country as well as to control access points used by Iranians to communicate with each other within the Islamic Republic.
.... Even Khabar Online—a news source affiliated with the conservative Ahmadinejad critic, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani—did not escape the filters. For instance, a Khabar Online article analyzing the president’s foreign policies was blocked while other stories on the site remained accessible.....

  • The regime also hopes that this step would insulate Iranian government communications from US scrutiny: an indigenous e-mail system would eliminate the need for Iranian government workers’ communications to be routed through servers located in the West.
  • After developing the e-mail system, the regime’s next step would likely be to move ahead on its plan, dating at least to 2008, to create a national internet.
It is important to note that, while the regime remains quite focused on countering the “Soft War” threat posed through the “enemy’s” use of information technology, it is not retreating from the very internet that is its primary enabler.
  • The recent expansion of Iran’s high-speed wireless services is a case in point, as is the continuing spread of internet cafes countrywide. Thus, regime leaders appear confident in their ability to limit the opposition’s use of these technologies while simultaneously harnessing its power to get out their own message and mobilize their hardline base.
  • Furthermore, continued access to the internet is a double-edged sword for the opposition. The government’s goal is clearly to channel users through government-controlled facilities, thus allowing it either to vet and deny service to individuals or to track the communications of those deemed threatening.
In addition to the technical aspects of this strategy, the regime is crafting legal requirements aimed at further ensuring compliance throughout the system, including by those involved in private sector web-hosting. While this is not an entirely new phenomenon, it appears to be taking on more substance and form. This is likely aimed at providing government censoring with a veneer of legal legitimacy. Although Reformists have attempted to challenge the legality of many of these actions, they appear to be having little effect.
Moves to further hardline control over education
Lastly, the regime is attempting to increase its influence over Iran’s impressionable youths and politically active university population. In addition to now maintaining a continuous police presence in Tehran’s high schools, the government is encouraging hardline Basijis to become more involved in the administration of elementary and high schools. At the university level, applicants for student scholarships or faculty positions will have to prove their loyalty to the Supreme Leader—a requirement reminiscent of the regime’s tactics, in the early days of the Islamic Republic, to purge academic institutions of “un-Islamic” and “non-conformist” elements.
The scope of these activities leads only to one conclusion: regime hardliners are moving to tighten control further over virtually every key aspect of Iranian society. Their ultimate goal appears to be not only suppressing the current opposition movement but putting into place a system that will ensure the long-term survival of their interpretation of the Islamic Republic—one that is far more totalitarian in nature."

Posted by G, Z, or B at 9:39 PM
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

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