Haystack: ‘A new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran’

Dare I say it, “green hat” hacker extraordinaire Austin Heap (See SF Chron a few weeks ago) and a group of domestic and foreign techie folks wanting to help Iran have announced the upcoming release of Haystack. Heap writes on his blog that it’s a “new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called Haystack, will specifically target the Iranian government’s web filtering mechanisms.”

I’ll be reporting on Haystack and broader continued tech efforts to help Iran on tomorrow’s Tuesday’s edition of PRI’s The World.

In a related story, Dutch MPs are getting involved in helping Iran from the tech side.

A motion passed the Dutch House of Representatives on Friday, July 3, calling for the Netherlands (and the EU) to ban the sale and provision of Internet filtering technology to Iran. They have allocated €1 mil of government money for this purpose.

One of the leaders of this motion is Berkeley-born Japanese-Dutch MP Mariko Peters, an MP in the Netherlands’ House of Representatives. She’s with the GroenLinks party. There’s also been support from Han Ten Broeke of the VVD party — an economically conservative party.

Not tech-related, but still really important, is this:

NYT: Leading Clerics Defy Ayatollah on Disputed Iran Election

July 5 2009

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN and NAZILA FATHI

CAIRO — An important group of religious leaders in Iran called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate on Saturday, an act of defiance against the country’s supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the country’s clerical establishment.

A statement by the group, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, represents a significant, if so far symbolic, setback for the government and especially the authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose word is supposed to be final. The government has tried to paint the opposition and its top presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, as criminals and traitors, a strategy that now becomes more difficult.

“This crack in the clerical establishment, and the fact they are siding with the people and Moussavi, in my view is the most historic crack in the 30 years of the Islamic republic,” said Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University. “Remember, they are going against an election verified and sanctified by Khamenei.”

Read the rest here.

And finally, relating to my recent radio report about Twitter confusion in Iran:


[Doonesbury, July 4 2009 ; via HuffPost]