The British newspaper The Guardian has obtained a cache of 3,000 emails purported to have been exchanged between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his wife, and a close circle of advisers and friends. The personal emails allegedly show Assad dismissing his government's proposed reforms, mocking the efforts of Arab League monitors to spot military tanks besieging cities, as well as Assad's wife placing extravagant shopping orders, sometimes through intermediaries. [more inside]
The Haystack application aims to use steganography to hide samizdat-type data within a larger stream of innocuous network traffic. Thus, civilians in Iran, for example, could more easily evade Iranian censors and provide the world with an unfiltered report on events within the country. Haystack earned its creator Austin Heap a great deal of positive coverage from the media during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The BBC described Heap as "on the front lines" of the protesters' "Twitter revolution", while The Guardian called him an Innovator of the Year. Despite the laudatory coverage, however, the media were never given a copy of the software to examine. Indeed, not much is known about the software or its inner workings. Specialists in network encryption security were not allowed to perform an independent evaluation of Haystack, despite its distribution to and use by a small number of Iranians, possibly at some risk. As interest in the project widens and criticisms of the media coverage and software continue to mount, Heap has currently asked users to cease using Haystack until a security review can be performed.
Iran has shown the British what kind of people we really are: without honour and without shame, writes David Cox in The Guardian.
Our shameless culture, by David Cox (The Guardian): Iran has shown the British what kind of people we really are: without honour and without shame. The Sun, the now officially approved disseminator of British military information, notes that navigator Arthur Batchelor was "tormented" by being called "Mr Bean". Understandably, he had to cry himself to sleep. Perhaps President Ahmadinejad feared that the goody bags might just prove a step too far. But no, they were gratefully received, in a response that aptly captures the infantilisation of a people that once ruled much of the world. Navigator Batchelor has however since complained that the quality of his own bag's contents was not what he had hoped.
Iran expelled me, but its press restrictions play into the hands of the west's fantasies about Islamism: "Contrary to the fantasies of neo-conservatives, Iran is not on the verge of revolutionand, if it was, the US wouldn't be able to orchestrate it. There is no coherent political opposition or leader able to harness public discontent. A significant number of Iranians are profiting from an economic boom and are not ready to risk their livelihood for democracy protests," writes Dan De Luce, the Guardian's reporter in Tehran who has recently been expelled by the Iranian goverment.