Could the Internet bring down the mullahocracy? The mullahs are trying to make sure there’s plenty of harm in trying. And note well: these guys were the “children of the revolution.” From the LA Times, with thanks to Anthony:
After toiling for years to silence dissent within the Iranian republic, the mullahs have turned their war against free press to the last reserve of open political debate: the Internet. Since the summer, Iran’s Web loggers, or bloggers, and online journalists have been demonized as CIA collaborators, their work whitewashed from many Iranian computers with filters….
“They suddenly felt that we were using the Internet as an alternative to the papers they’d shut down,” said Hossein Derakhshan, a 28-year-old Iranian pioneer who took the groundbreaking step of publishing online instructions in Persian to teach Iranians how to post Web logs. He moved to Toronto five years ago with his wife, a Canadian citizen. “Blogs are the only uncontrolled and totally free medium, so they have the potential to attract many people, even people who are apathetic.”
The arrest of online journalists and bloggers began last fall. The writers say they were tortured and forced to publicly denounce their work. Even technicians who worked on Web pages have been imprisoned. President Khatami has ordered an investigation into the reports of torture.
“They think that now that they’ve closed the papers they should concentrate on the Web logs,” said Ali Mazroui, Hanif’s father and a former reformist lawmaker. “They think if they close this new source of information, they’ll have control.”…
Another Internet writer, who agreed to an interview shortly after his release on the condition that neither his name nor any revealing details be given, said he’d been interrogated mercilessly, beaten and held in solitary confinement until he became suicidal.
Remembering it, his features twisted together, and his eyes brimmed with tears that soon spilled over….
“We were the children of the revolution,” he said. “We weren’t asking for radical change. We wanted to work within the system.”