Still here

November 25, 2014

Still here, thinking of a real overhaul of this page. Meanwhile, busy educating myself, at a rate almost equal to my fast growing ignorance.


Back from the ashes

September 7, 2014

I’m back here. Ironically, my last post said I will be more active here. I have been active for sure.

Not as much involved with Iran as before, lost interest in the whole process. I hear that there was a conference in Berkeley today, called bridge 2014, regarding investment in Iran.

Sounds good actually. At the end of the day, iran wants to get a piece of the capitalist cake. And if it was not because of Saudis and Israelis (for good national interest reasons perhaps ) not cock blocking iran, they would have had at least a thin slice a while back.


No title since it is optional

February 19, 2013

Have not written anything for a long time. However, I am thinking of starting to write more seriously. So, my imaginary readers, stay tuned for what to come .


Iraq-Iran War and Wikileaks (Nothing Yet?)

January 22, 2011

I have been giving Wikileaks a couple of months to publish some cables regarding the Iraq-Iran war. I think millions of others who lived through the nightmare of the last classic war of the 20’th century would like to know more about that. To my disappointment neither Wikileaks nor any other media outlets who had access to the cables did publish any cables originated between 1979-1986.

If you remember (well many prefer not to, specially in the post 9/11 era ) there was nasty war going on between Iran and Iraq , meanwhile Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan and U. S decided to train Mojahedin fighters (turned into Taliban later ) to fight back. Remember Iran-contra affair? What about that?

Ironically U.S. Is in Iraq now and Iran is again the news maker. May be knowledge of this period of the Middle East’s recent history would shed some light on what is happening now. In my opinion much of what happened after 2000 was a logical consequence of what was going on before during the 80’s and 90’s and yet no interesting cable has been released regarding this period. I wonder why is that? Is Wikileaks waiting for the right time to release those cables? Or is it simply because the priority is given to 2000 and after? (however there are cables released from the late 70’s and 80’s but none concerns the Iran-Iraq war or Soviet’s invasion of Afganistan)

An initial analysis of what that has been released so far shows that the most discussed country in the ( published ) leaks is indeed Iran, so I don’t think if Iran is not an interesting topic. So why not go further and explore one of the most defining periods of relationship between Iran and the west? i.e the early years after the Iranian revolution and Iraq-Iran war.  I wonder would we see any of those cables any time soon? At least it is of grate interest to those whose 80’s years was defined by the “hard rock” music of Iraqi/Iranian bombs raping their childhood dreams.


Who vs. What when it came to Wikileaks

January 4, 2011

According to Google insights for search, the second most popular search term over the past 90 days (as of today January 3rd 2011) has been “wikileaks”. It is interesting to notice which were the top ten countries looking for the keyword:

Search for Wikileaks on Google

As you see almost all are coming from the “Developing” countries.

Now let see the search for the search term “Assange” (the founder of the website)

Serach for Assange on Google

Oh! Now almost all are from “Developed” countries.  It is also interesting to notice that the interest over time for both keywords follows the same pattern, two peaks  (one in October when wikileaks reselad the Iraq logs and one bigger one in late November when the diplomatic cables came out).

If you compare the search for “wikileaks” between Mozambique and Australia you’ll see there are more seraches comming from Mozambique, so there is a meaningful difference here.
I don’t want to draw any conclusions, but I can not help not noticing the clear difference between how the “North” and the “South” has reacted to the same political impulse.


Which countries are most mentioned in the cables published by Wikileaks?

December 4, 2010

December 9 data

After improving the method and also release of new data (since the last post, below) , here is the updated list for the top 110 countries. Note that this data, while may have indications regarding the cables, also may reflect priorities upon which certain cables are chosen to be published by wikileaks. The data is as of December 10 2010 (the third column is the percentage)

1 Iran 6844 11.44
2 Russia 4067 6.80
3 France 3836 6.41
4 China 2732 4.57
5 Afghanistan 2538 4.24
6 Spain 2502 4.18
7 Pakistan 2422 4.05
8 Iraq 2059 3.44
9 Brazil 1772 2.96
10 Israel 1663 2.78
11 United Kingdom 1621 2.71
12 Saudi Arabia 1267 2.12
13 Venezuela 1040 1.74
14 Turkey 996 1.66
15 Syria 745 1.24
16 Palestinian territories 682 1.14
17 Georgia 662 1.11
18 Lebanon 653 1.09
19 United Arab Emirates 632 1.06
20 North Korea 603 1.01
21 Ukraine 576 0.96
22 Egypt 561 0.94
23 Germany 537 0.90
24 Bolivia 529 0.88
25 Algeria 474 0.79
26 Cuba 466 0.78
27 Yemen 424 0.71
28 India 400 0.67
29 Morocco 392 0.66
30 Italy 389 0.65
31 Libya 383 0.64
32 Mexico 381 0.64
33 Kuwait 376 0.63
34 Serbia 375 0.63
35 Colombia 374 0.62
36 Argentina 355 0.59
37 Qatar 353 0.59
38 Poland 343 0.57
39 Sweden 225 0.38
40 Tunisia 202 0.34
41 Azerbaijan 201 0.34
42 Japan 189 0.32
43 Sudan 181 0.30
44 Nigeria 177 0.30
45 South Africa 172 0.29
46 Canada 169 0.28
47 Jordan 165 0.28
48 Somalia 158 0.26
49 Haiti 154 0.26
50 Zimbabwe 152 0.25
51 Armenia 142 0.24
52 Mali 139 0.23
53 Uganda 135 0.23
54 Austria 130 0.22
55 Netherlands 127 0.21
56 Niger 126 0.21
57 Croatia 120 0.20
58 Rwanda 114 0.19
59 Bulgaria 112 0.19
60 Oman 105 0.18
61 Belgium 103 0.17
62 Paraguay 98 0.16
63 Macedonia 86 0.14
64 Bosnia and Herzegovina 84 0.14
65 Djibouti 78 0.13
66 Mauritania 78 0.13
67 Honduras 78 0.13
68 Kazakhstan 77 0.13
69 Kyrgyzstan 77 0.13
70 Burkina Faso 76 0.13
71 Tajikistan 67 0.11
72 Ireland 65 0.11
73 Senegal 65 0.11
74 Uzbekistan 64 0.11
75 Angola 64 0.11
76 Bahrain 62 0.10
77 Chile 62 0.10
78 Chad 61 0.10
79 Cyprus 61 0.10
80 Switzerland 61 0.10
81 Turkmenistan 58 0.10
82 Republic of the Congo 58 0.10
83 Portugal 57 0.10
84 Western Sahara 57 0.10
85 Sri Lanka 56 0.09
86 South Korea 56 0.09
87 Panama 55 0.09
88 Belarus 52 0.09
89 Czech Republic 50 0.08
90 Ecuador 49 0.08
91 Greece 48 0.08
92 Australia 48 0.08
93 Hungary 46 0.08
94 Romania 43 0.07
95 Mongolia 35 0.06
96 Singapore 34 0.06
97 Burundi 31 0.05
98 Uruguay 31 0.05
99 Gabon 29 0.05
100 Costa Rica 28 0.05
101 Indonesia 28 0.05
102 Luxembourg 26 0.04
103 Malaysia 26 0.04
104 Cape Verde 25 0.04
105 Gambia 24 0.04
106 Hong Kong 24 0.04
107 Slovenia 17 0.03
108 Denmark 13 0.02
109 Fiji 10 0.02

pie chart as of Dec 9 2010

 

This is a d.i.y. report  on the number of times that a country is mentioned in the diplomatic cables published by Wikilieaks as of December 3 2010. The list is based on the Wikipedia article on sovereign nations. Note that this is just a computer generated report (obviously! ), and it is just based on the number of times that a certain country name (such as Canada) is mentioned in the report. However in order to better reflect the interest in a country one should also look for the name of important cities (i.e. Toronto etc…) to find out more. I guess that would be my next attempt . Moreover this is just based on the published data so far, therefore it is perhaps subject to change as more data becomes available (or not ? who knows ?), and it might partially show Wikileak’s priorities in publishing certain cables at this time. Comments are much appreciated.

Pie Chart of the Frequency of Citations for 33 Countries

And here is the list of countries mentioned least  once  (of total 28525 )

1 Iran 4454
2 Russia 2786
3 France 2759
4 Pakistan 1859
5 Afghanistan 1706
6 Israel 1193
7 Turkey 1028
8 Iraq 834
9 China 783
10 Germany 770
11 Palestinian territories 702
12 Brazil 551
13 Syria 493
14 India 478
15 Venezuela 413
16 United Arab Emirates 411
17 North Korea 410
18 Spain 395
19 Egypt 393
20 Lebanon 386
21 Georgia 365
22 Ukraine 327
23 Italy 297
24 Argentina 277
25 United Kingdom 262
26 Saudi Arabia 256
27 Cuba 207
28 Qatar 204
29 Canada 185
30 Azerbaijan 142
31 Mexico 141
32 Japan 126
33 Morocco 122
34 Sweden 121
35 Jordan 98
36 Yemen 91
37 Kuwait 90
38 Libya 85
39 Austria 76
40 Czech Republic 75
41 Haiti 70
42 Kazakhstan 67
43 Sudan 64
44 Colombia 63
45 Belgium 60
46 Sri Lanka 56
47 Turkmenistan 55
48 Ireland 53
49 Burkina Faso 52
50 Rwanda 49
51 Bahrain 48
52 Oman 47
53 Tunisia 47
54 Uzbekistan 45
55 Chad 44
56 Paraguay 44
57 Poland 42
58 South Korea 42
59 Djibouti 41
60 Greece 39
61 Cyprus 37
62 Kyrgyzstan 37
63 Republic of the Congo 37
64 Algeria 35
65 Croatia 35
66 Somalia 35
67 Romania 34
68 Uganda 32
69 Costa Rica 27
70 Hungary 27
71 Senegal 27
72 Burundi 26
73 Mauritania 26
74 Zimbabwe 25
75 Armenia 24
76 Cape Verde 24
77 Luxembourg 24
78 Mali 24
79 Netherlands 24
80 Niger 24
81 Bolivia 23
82 South Africa 23
83 Switzerland 23
84 Gambia 21
85 Serbia 20
86 Tajikistan 20
87 Bosnia and Herzegovina 19
88 Portugal 19
89 Australia 18
90 Bulgaria 17
91 Mongolia 16
92 Singapore 16
93 Gabon 15
94 Panama 15
95 Belarus 14
96 Uruguay 14
97 Chile 13
98 Indonesia 13
99 Malaysia 13
100 Slovenia 13
101 Ecuador 12
102 Nigeria 12
103 Western Sahara 11
104 Honduras 10
105 Hong Kong 10
106 Angola 9
107 Macedonia 9
108 Denmark 8
109 Fiji 8
110 Central African Republic 7
111 Lithuania 7
112 Madagascar 7
113 Sierra Leone 7
114 Ethiopia 6
115 Guinea 6
116 Liberia 6
117 Albania 5
118 Bangladesh 5
119 Grenada 5
120 Jersey 5
121 Kenya 5
122 New Zealand 5
123 Moldova 4
124 Nicaragua 4
125 Norway 4
126 Barbados 3
127 Benin 3
128 Cambodia 3
129 Cameroon 3
130 Mauritius 3
131 Dominican Republic 2
132 Eritrea 2
133 Estonia 2
134 Finland 2
135 Guatemala 2
136 Latvia 2
137 Mozambique 2
138 Slovakia 2
139 Trinidad and Tobago 2
140 Bermuda 1
141 Equatorial Guinea 1
142 Guam 1
143 Guinea-Bissau 1
144 Laos 1
145 Macau 1
146 Togo 1

Khameneh’ie got a surprise from a Math Student at Sharif U of Tech.

October 31, 2009

‌Background: There has been a meeting between “elite” [students] and Khameneh’ie and what you read is what happened in this meeting. In the education obsessed Iranian culture, the term elite that we are hearing more these days, is usually used to refer to gifted students and highly educated people. I remember from my time being there, It was very important to be in the national team for International scientific Olympiads (such as Math and Physics) every year they choose 7 students (after multiple exams ) to participate in the international competition (after one year of fierce training), those who made it to the team, are the “geek celebrities” and they all ended up going to Sharif University of Tech (an elite science and tech university in Iran) for their undergrad studies and after that to continue their education at Ivy leage schools in the US ( and usually stay there, thanks to the “elite” firendly governmnet in Iran!) . As a pure populist government, Ahmadinejad’s government tried to show himself as a “pro-elite” administration, however ironically his interior minister got sacked for having a fake PhD from Oxford. What you read below is a quick (partial) translation from Farsi of the personal account of someone who has been in that meeting and is narrating the story of a Math student at Sharif U of Tech. (also reportedly a Medalist in the International Mathematics Olympiad) who proves that his heart is as big as his brain , I wish the best for him and hope he is safe and sound. And I want him to know that our thoughts are with him.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

At the end of the meeting, Khameneh’ie asked:” is there any other questions? ”

The exact moment that Khameneh'ie pointed at Mahmood Vahidnia

Some people rose their hands and one person stood up. Khameneh’ie let him go to the podium and ask his question. This student calmly gave harsh criticism to Khameneh’ie. He introduced himself as a student in Mathematics at Sharif University of Technology. He said: those who were here as representative of “elite” students and read something from paper, were not representative of all “elite” students , we did not choose them , at this point everyone in the room applauded him and he continued

mahmud

Mahmood Vahidnia , Math Student at Sharif U

what I am going to say is different from what other friends said. I divide my question into three categories

1 – unfortunately the state-run media (“Seda o Sima”-TV and Radio) does not reflect what is going on in the country. Do you think if the media faithfully reported on what happened in this country (post-election unrest ) ? or was it distorted? although I am putting this in question form but what I really mean is clear! unfortunately when the main media and most important element in informing the public is behaving like this, we cant expect anything better from smaller media in the country. The state-run media (“Seda o Sima” ) is directly under your order and you appoint its head. So now there are only two cases: Either they do this under your order, or you don’t know what is going on there.
The question is, in the past 30 years, has our society moved towards being more Islamic and ethical? If the answer is even a partial “no” then we have to doubt our actions in the past 30 years.

2- I will raise the second problem by an analogy. In a family … if the father of the family uses violence towards the younger son, then the older brother learns to be violent towards his younger brother. Now, that you are like a father, when your attitude towards people who oppose you is like this, those under you take up the same attitude and we all know what happened in the prisons. Regarding what happened in the prisons , I remember that in one of your speeches you said that we will confront those who were responsible but …. I personally was in one of those silent protests. Plainclothes and men in uniform attacked us and beat all of us.

3 – I don’t know why in this country nobody is allowed to criticize you? I have been reading the press for the past 5 years and did not see anyone criticizing you even the assembly of experts, whose job is to supervise the leaderships action,s in practice has never criticized anything that you have done.

During his talk, Basijis tried to interrupt him shouting that time is up , stop it ,…  someone gave him a piece of paper. and he turned to Khamenhe’is and said they are telling me that my time is up , but if you allow me there is more that I want to talk about. Basijis tried to interrupt him again. Khameneh’is said well from the very beginning we were out of time, but now you can continue your questions, this was accompanied with long applause by those present in the meeting . Khameneh’s started answering him and he said we did not want this kind of issues to be raised in here and we liked to talk about problems that our “elite” are facing and talk about science and in response to the student said what we all heard on TV [note: the state media did not show the student who asked the questions but only showed Khameneh’s response ]
….
he said: who says nobody criticizes us? ! I have asked them to establish a “chair for freedom of thoughts” in universities [!!] why didn’t you do that? go and criticise ….
….

khamenei-880806-2-010
and after Khameneh’s disappeared . based on the plan there was supposed to be a prayer with Khameneh’s as the Imam but they said that the plan has changed and there is no prayer …
I did not see the student who asked the questions after that

Side Note: Interestingly a day after this incident, Ahmadinejad who was visiting the province of Khorasan, in a speech said , that “we need to change the definition of elite!” , those who can not see the difference between friend and enemy are not the elite, and it doesn’t matter what kind of university degrees they have”

Here you can see the BBC Persian report on this