Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ahmadinejad Is Declared Victor in Iran


TEHRAN — The Iranian government declared an outright election victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday morning, and riot police officers fought with supporters of the opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, who insisted that the election had been stolen.

After a mostly quiet morning in Tehran, Moussavi supporters began filtering onto the streets. By early afternoon, thousands had come together, many of them wearing the trademark green of his campaign, chanting angrily that they would fight on as Mr. Moussavi had urged them to do on Friday night when he claimed that he had won and that there had been voting “irregularities.”

“I am the absolute winner of the election by a very large margin,” Mr. Moussavi said during a news conference with reporters just after 11 p.m. Friday, adding: “It is our duty to defend people’s votes. There is no turning back.”

A statement posted on Mr. Moussavi’s Web site on Saturday morning urged his supporters to resist a "governance of lie and dictatorship," according to The Associated Press.

But the Iranian authorities, already on alert, moved quickly to head off any concerted street demonstrations. Thousands of police officers could be seen moving into central Tehran, wielding riot batons and charging straight into the biggest concentrations of protesters. It was unclear whether there were any serious injuries.

In recent days, Mr. Moussavi’s supporters were predicting a wide victory, citing voter surveys. And Mr. Ahmadinejad, the hard-line incumbent, had appeared on the defensive, hurling extraordinary accusations at some of the Islamic republic’s founding figures.

Iran’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that final results gave Mr. Ahmadinejad 62.6 percent of the vote, with Mr. Moussavi receiving 33.7 percent. The ministry says turnout was a record 85 percent of eligible voters.

Though there was no word of Mr. Moussavi’s whereabouts on Saturday, statements on his Web site made clear that he was contesting the official line.

"I’m warning that I won’t surrender to this manipulation," he said, adding that the election outcome “is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran sacred system and governance of lie and dictatorship."

He warned "people won’t respect those who take power through fraud" and said the decision to declare Mr. Ahmadinejad the winner was a "treason to the votes of the people."

The conflicting claims, coming after an extraordinary campaign that saw vast street demonstrations and vitriolic televised debates, seemed to undermine the public legitimacy of the vote and to threaten unrest.

The emotional campaign was widely seen as a referendum on Mr. Ahmadinejad’s divisive policies. It pitted Mr. Moussavi, a former prime minister who has pledged to move Iran away from confrontation with the West, combat economic stagnation and expand women’s rights, against Mr. Ahmadinejad’s economic populism, social conservatism, and hard-line foreign policy.

Many women, young people, intellectuals and members of the moderate clerical establishment backed Mr. Moussavi. Mr. Ahmadinejad drew passionate support from poor rural Iranians as well as conservatives.

At his news conference, Mr. Moussavi cited irregularities that included a shortage of ballots. He accused the government of shutting down Web sites, newspapers and text messaging services throughout the country, crippling the opposition’s ability to communicate during the voting.

Fraud has been a prominent concern for Mr. Moussavi’s campaign, with many of his allies warning that Mr. Ahmadinejad could use the levers of state — the military, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Basij militia — to cajole or intimidate voters, or even engage in outright fraud. In 2005, Mr. Karroubi, who is also a candidate in this election, accused the Basij of rigging the vote in Mr. Ahmadinejad’s favor.

At his news conference, Mr. Moussavi called on the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to help the country reach a “favorable conclusion.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final authority over affairs of state, appears to be the only figure who could mediate between the two camps in the event of an open confrontation over the legitimacy of the vote. But it is not clear how much he knows about the crisis, or what role he might play.

Mr. Khamenei met on Friday with Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a cleric, former president and backer of Mr. Moussavi’s who had warned the supreme leader in an unusual open letter on Tuesday about the possibility of election fraud, according to a political analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the gravity of the situation.

While casting his ballot earlier in the day Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei had said that people were using texting to spread rumors, but it is unclear if that is why the services were shut down.

Amid the confusion overnight, a reformist Web site called Fararu said Mr. Moussavi was talking with the two other candidates, Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Rezai, to discuss the situation. Mr. Karroubi is a reformist cleric and Mr. Rezai is a conservative and the former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Tens of millions of Iranians crowded voting stations throughout the day, with long lines forming outside some polling stations well before they opened at 8 a.m.

Polls were originally due to close at 6 p.m., but voting was extended by four hours.

The strong showing appeared to be driven in part by a broad movement against Mr. Ahmadinejad that has spurred vast opposition rallies in Iran’s major cities over the past few weeks. Many reform-oriented voters stayed away from the polls in 2005, and now say they are determined not to repeat the mistake.

According to Iran’s election rules, if none of the candidates won more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers would have competed in a runoff in a week. Most analysts had assumed that the election would go to a second round, but in recent days, the extraordinary public support for Mr. Moussavi had led to predictions that he could win the presidency in the first round on Friday.

Iran’s president is less powerful than Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final authority over affairs of state. But the president wields great power over domestic affairs, and Mr. Ahmadinejad has skillfully used the office as a bully pulpit both at home and abroad.

As voting began on Friday morning, journalists gathered to watch Ayatollah Khamenei cast his vote in a mosque near his home in southern Tehran. Just after 8 a.m., a set of brown curtains opened and the leader emerged, a gaunt 69-year-old with glasses and a long white beard, with a black turban on his head and a black clerical gown draped around him. The journalists, mostly Iranians, gasped and then chanted a religious blessing.

The supreme leader presented his identity papers to an official standing nearby, cast his ballots and then gave a brief speech in which he praised the vigor of the election campaign.

“I am hearing about a vast participation of people, and I hear there are even gatherings at night,” the ayatollah said. “This shows the people’s awareness.”

Ayatollah Khamenei’s position on the presidential elections has been a matter of intense speculation. He has not endorsed anyone, but offered a description of the ideal candidate that sounded very much like Mr. Ahmadinejad.

A number of voters seemed anxious about the possibility of vote-tampering.

“I put one name in, but maybe it will change when it comes out of the box,” said Adel Shoghi, 29, who works as a clerk at a car manufacturing company and voted at a mosque in southern Tehran.

Like some other supporters of Mr. Moussavi, Mr. Shoghi seemed uneasy about making his position too explicit in public. But he said he favored Mr. Moussavi because Iran needed more civic freedoms and because Mr. Ahmadinejad worsened Iran’s pariah status internationally, making life hard for Iranians who travel.

His brother Mansoor, 27, said he had just voted for Mr. Ahmadinejad.

“He is more with the people, and he has a plain way of living,” he said, echoing comments made by many of his supporters.

Half an hour later, Mr. Moussavi arrived at the mosque to cast his vote, surrounded by a thick, shouting crowd of aides and photographers.

“This is a golden opportunity for us,” he said, as photographers jostled for position and voters struggled to hear. “All this unity and solidarity is the achievement of the revolution and the Islamic republic,” he said.

He left soon after, with his admirers in the courtyard still chanting, “Hail to Muhammad, the perfume of honesty and sincerity is coming.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad voted at another mosque, in southeast Tehran.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Drug Tunnel

Iran's democratic genie is out of the bottle

From The Times

Martin Fletcher

June 12, 2009

Instead of being a formality, these elections have seen an explosion of pent-up anger against President AhmadinejadMartin Fletcher
Iran's presidential election was not supposed to be like this - days (and nights) of giddy excitement and political mudslinging and anarchic scenes of a sort that the tightly-controlled Islamic republic has not seen since the revolution.

It was meant to be a formality. The Guardian Council, a body of senior conservative clerics, would select a handful of candidates with impeccable Islamic and revolutionary credentials. The country would go through the motions of democracy to impress the outside world and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would duly be re-elected, as every other incumbent president has in the republic's 30-year history.

How could the Israel-hating, US-bashing, nuclear weapon-chasing President lose when he was backed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, by the Revolutionary Guard and its volunteer Basij militia, by state-controlled television and a nationwide government machine?

The Guardian Council selected three male candidates - a hardline conservative and two relative moderates - to oppose Mr Ahmadinejad, and rejected 470 others, including 42 women. All three were political insiders: Mir Hossein Mousavi was a former prime minister, Mohsen Rezai a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards and Mehdi Karoubi a former parliamentary Speaker.

Then, suddenly, everything spun out of control. Perhaps it was the unprecedented series of six live television debates in which Mr Ahmadinejad and his rivals let loose, hurling charges of corruption, fraud, cronyism and mendacity at each other. The deep rifts between the radical and moderate conservatives in Iran's political elite had never been exposed in this way before.

Perhaps it was Mr Mousavi's daring decision to let his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, defy precedent by actively campaigning for him, and to appear on campaign posters holding her hand. Mr Mousavi is grey and lacklustre, but those actions sent out unmistakable signals to reform-minded women and young people.

Or was it the behind-the-scenes efforts of Hashemi Rafsanjani, the wealthy and powerful President from 1989-97? He was routed by Mr Ahmadinejad in 2005, hates his brand of radical conservatism and clearly has scores to settle. Using Mr Rafsanjani's money and muscle, Mr Mousavi's campaign bypassed the state-controlled media and began to bombard the Ahmadinejad-hating urban middle classes with e-mails and text messages.

Whatever the reason, Mr Mousavi's campaign took off. The youth of Tehran and other cities took to the streets in huge numbers. They flocked to Mousavi rallies in their tens of thousands. They turned the capital into a seething sea of green with their ribbons, headscarves, balloons and bandanas. They festooned the city with posters and banners. Until the small hours of each morning they packed squares, blocked junctions and careered around town in cars with horns blaring and pop music blasting.

The Islamic republic has never seen such sights before. It was almost open rebellion, an explosion of pent-up anger after four years in which the fundamentalist President and his morality police cracked down on dissent, human rights groups, and any dress or behaviour deemed unIslamic. “Death to the dictator,” young men and women roared at Mousavi rallies. “Death to the Government.”

Mr Mousavi is an unlikely champion for such people. He is no reformist. He promises some social and economic liberalisation, and to do away with the hated “morality police”, but he is not challenging the political system. At 68, and distinctly lacking charisma, he is more Bob Dole than Barack Obama. Mousavi-mania is less a reflection of his popularity than of the loathing most educated, urban Iranians feel for a messianic President who has curtailed freedom, embarrassed Iran internationally and squandered record oil revenues through reckless spending.

In 2005 many liberal Iranians refused to vote, partly because they did not want to legitimise a political system that they abhor, and partly because they were profoundly disillusioned at how the conservative establishment had thwarted the reform efforts of their previous champion, President Khatami. But they will turn out in huge numbers today because they cannot contemplate four more years of Mr Ahmadinejad. “Now you and I vote so he will be defeated,” was the text message sent to millions of mobile phones after campaigning ended yesterday.

Iranian democracy, for all its obvious flaws and limitations, suddenly looks vibrant. Against all odds, there has been furious and open debate between the candidates, and a passionate and vociferous public engagement that has eclipsed even the US presidential election last year. The street-level controntations between the two armies of supporters have been astonishingly peaceful, with lots of good-natured banter and scarcely a scuffle.

Who will win is anybody's guess. There are no dependable opinion polls. Mr Mousavi should romp to victory in the big cities, but Mr Ahmadinejad, the self-styled man of the people, still has legions of devoted followers among the poor, the pious and the peasantry. Mr Karoubi and Mr Rezai will, respectively, split the moderate and conservative votes. Mr Mousavi's supporters fear widespread vote-rigging.

Nor is it easy to predict where Iran goes from here. The election has split the ruling Establishment as never before, with its leading members openly trading accusations and insults. It has laid bare the great chasms in Iranian society - traditionalists against modernists, rural against urban, devout against secular. After the insurrection of the past two weeks, after such extraordinary manifestations of popular discontent, it is hard to see how the fractured regime can put the genie back in the bottle.

It is possible that violence will erupt if Mr Ahmadinejad is declared the victor and Mr Mousavi's supporters cry foul. It is likely that Mr Mousavi will fail to meet his supporters' sky-high expectations, partly because the Supreme Leader remains the real power in the land and partly because he is, in truth, a flawed vehicle for their hopes and aspirations.

Only one thing is certain. Iran will never be quite the same again. “We are in a new phase in this country and civilisation,” Saeed Laylaz, a respected political consultant, said as his compatriots prepared to vote.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day Veteran Recounts 'Longest Day' 65 Years Later

I've interviewed presidents, prime ministers, celebrities and superstars, and it's been a privilege to talk to them all. But I'm not sure I would put any of them on a par with a man called Arthur Seltzer, a man whose story is as inspirational as it is humbling, the story of an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.

Not that Arthur was alone in his endeavors. He was one of tens of thousands of young Americans who on June 6, 1944, took part in the D-Day landings, an unprecedented invasion that took so many lives, but ultimately saved the world from being crushed under the Nazi jackboot.

Arthur, 84, of Cherry Hill, N.J. has only recently begun to talk about his traumatic experiences, and only then because his granddaughter unwittingly forced him to. She was doing a school project on the Holocaust and asked him if he knew anything about it. Arthur knew more than his granddaughter could have imagined. She wrote about his experiences and got an "A" for her assignment. She then called Arthur and told him she had told her teacher he'd be happy to come in and talk about his experiences. Arthur was terrified, not of standing in front of a class full of kids, but of reliving some of the most horrific memories of his life in public. But, being the man that he is, he couldn’t let his grand-daughter down, so he stood in front of them and told them the story he is now also sharing with FOX News, the story of what he calls "the longest day of my life."

On June 6 1944, Arthur Seltzer, then just 19 years old, a communications specialist with the 4th Signals Battalion, was attached to a unit of the 29th Infantry. As they approached Omaha Beach at dawn the men on Arthur's landing craft signed a dollar bill — 36 signatures, a signal of their bond, a lucky dollar in Arthur seltzer's pocket. Minutes later they were in the water.

"We were in the 3rd and 4th wave going in," says Arthur, "and we were told not to go out the front of the ship but to go over the side of the ship so I had 60 pounds of equipment on my back, soldiers had their stuff and so over the sides we went. I can't swim. I wasn't worried about getting shot, I was worried about not drowning. When we finally got to the beach there was no craters for us to hide in and naturally machine guns up there were firing. Omaha got the name 'bloody Omaha' because the only thing you could see was soldiers lying on the beach that were dead, blood all around you."

I asked Arthur what thoughts were going through his head as he waded through the blood-red water and on to the beach, also littered with the bodies of his dead comrades.

"Well basically I believe each one was trying to say where can I go to be saved, where can I hide, where can I be that I won't get hit."

His main objective, he said, was simply to stay alive.

Arthur did stay alive, and later on that fateful day he saw the sergeant whose idea it had been to sign the dollar bill, a dollar bill Arthur has kept to this day.

"He says, 'You and I are the only two survived from that landing craft,' and I said to him. 'You mean you lost your whole squad?' and he says, "Yes I lost my whole squad."

Arthur Seltzer's war did not end on D-Day. He went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, forever known as the greatest battle of the war, and on April 29, 1945, Arthur, who is Jewish, was with the American troops who discovered the Dachau concentration camp.

Arthur describes the scene as, "Dead bodies all around, naked skeletons, people dressed in these uniforms with black stripes, they were half starved, the odor was so bad you could hardly take it. The odor of death."

Six and a half decades on, Arthur still suffers from post traumatic stress. But he's learned to talk about his experiences, to pause when he needs to, to relieve the tension by pulling at a rubberband he wears on his wrist, something he did regularly during our hourlong conversation.

When I asked him how he deals with these anniversaries he became particularly emotional.

"Every June 6 the first thing I do is put my flag out." Arthur then paused, clearly struggling with the memories. "That's very important to me. It's a bad day for me." At this point he stopped, the tears began to flow and he pulled at the rubber band. Eventually he gathered himself and said simply, "It brings back a lot of memories."

But Arthur Seltzer also told me he is ready to move on. "It's a different generation." I asked him whether we should forgive but not forget, to which he replied, "That's correct. You never forget any anniversary, you don't forget the friends you lost when you served over there you don't forget the people who gave their lives to make this country a free country."

Arthur Seltzer is not just an American hero, he is a world hero. As someone born in Britain I could have been born into a country where German was the first language, where Nazis ruled, had it not been for the efforts of Arthur and so many Americans like him. On this anniversary I owe him, and every D-Day veteran, a huge debt of thanks. We all do. To steal NBC anchor Tom Brokaw's book title, they truly are The Greatest Generation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Young Con Anthem

An Internet rap video that claims to reflect true conservative values is quickly becoming a cult success.

"The Young Con Anthem," created by two Dartmouth students, has received more than 115,000 views and has been featured on The Huffington Post, USA Today and a variety of blogs across the political spectrum.

Students David Rufful and Josh Riddle made a rap video that they say was intended to spread the views of the Young Conservatives, a group started by Rufful and Riddle with "a devout mission to spread the love and logic surrounding true conservatism," according the organization's Web site.

Rufful and Riddle, both due to graduate in 2012, came to Dartmouth from the Northfield Mount Hermon School, a private school in Massachusetts.

"We didn't think it would blow up to be this big, but it was kind of a way for us to express a pretty unique view," Riddle said in an interview with The Dartmouth. "We kind of wanted to spread the love that's behind the conservative movement."

In the rap, Rufful and Riddle, who perform under the names Serious C and Stiltz, respectively, discuss the origins of their conservative values, saying: "Three things taught me conservative love / Jesus, Ronald Reagan plus Atlas Shrugged."

"I take the way I want to have relationships and my morals from the Bible and Jesus, the idea of supply side economics from Ronald Reagan and from Atlas Shrugged, "Riddle said in an interview, "obviously, I don't agree with all of [Ayn Rand's] religious philosophies, but it's all about the power of the individual."

Riddle said his views are "more valid" because of the diverse influences that contribute to his conservatism.

The video was meant to start a dialogue about politics, Riddle said, not to offend any group. At one point in song the lyrics say: "Don't matter if you're gay, straight, Christian, Muslim / There's one thing we all hate, it's called socialism."

"I just hope that people understand that in no way are we trying to hate on anybody," Riddle said.

The online response to the video, which currently has a 1.5 out of five rating on YouTube, has varied. One commenter on the conservative blog Hot Air expressed approval for "the message, the messengers and the media."

A commenter on YouTube, however, disagreed.

"And this folks ... is why we become Democrats," the commenter wrote.

Rufful said that there has been "hateful commentary" in response to the video, particularly from liberal bloggers.

"There's been death threats -- waking up to a video of a guy with a skull, that's not really what we were looking for," he said, referring to the YouTube video response from a user named NikolaiRaged.

Scott Johnson, a contributor to the conservative blog Power Line, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1973, praised the video in an interview with The Dartmouth.

"I thought it was heartening to see some very bright young people who have thought about the issues and are reacting to current events trying to communicate in a way that is contemporary and good humored," Johnson said.

Power Line posted the "Young Con Anthem" video on its web site Saturday.

"I certainly appreciated what they had to say, and I couldn't believe how funny it was and how biting it was," Johnson said. "I was just laughing about it all day."

Both Harrison Davies, president of the College Republicans, and Bret Vallacher, president of the College Democrats, said they had not heard about the video until they were asked to comment by The Dartmouth.

"I have to admit, at first I thought it was funny and actually a Colbert-esque satire," Vallacher said after watching the video. "Yet, as this tirade staggers on, it tragically exposes the completely irreconcilable views of modern day neo-conservatism."

Rufful said he came up with his alias, "Serious C" because he is "seriously Christian and conservative," according to the group's Web site. Riddle, who is 6' 9" tall, was called "Stiltz" by his friends because of his height.

"We don't claim to be rappers. We're not pursuing a rap career," Rufful said when asked if the duo had any plans to create other videos. "Spreading the conservative message is more of our goal."

The YouTube video was shot on Dartmouth's campus in the Rockefeller Center and Occom Commons.

Tatiana Cooke is a reporter for The Dartmouth and a contributor to U-Wire.

Young Con Anthem

Click here for news story on the video

J.D. Salinger Sues Fan Over 'Catcher in the Rye' Spinoff

Monday , June 01, 2009


J.D. Salinger is taking another fan to court.

The 90-year-old creator of "The Catcher in the Rye," as protective of his copyright as he is of his privacy, is seeking an injunction against the writer, publishers and distributor of a spinoff of the author's famous novel.

Lawyers for Salinger filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, seeking to force a recall of what it says is a copycat book titled "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye," by someone writing under the name John David California. It also seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit said the right to create a sequel to "The Catcher in the Rye" or to use the character "Holden Caulfield" belongs only to Salinger. The lawsuit says Salinger has "decidedly chosen not to exercise that right."

Besides California, identified in the court papers as "John Doe," the lawsuit also cites Windupbird Publishing, an obscure company allegedly based in London; a Swedish publisher, Nicotext; and SCB Distributors, based in Gardena, Calif.

In "60 Years Later," scheduled to be published in Britain this summer and in the United States in the fall, a character very much like Caulfield is 76 years old, an escapee from a retirement home and identified as "Mr. C." The novel is dedicated to Salinger and the author is a character in it, too, wondering whether to continue Caulfield's story.

"The Sequel is not a parody and it does not comment upon or criticize the original," Salinger's lawsuit alleged. "It is a ripoff pure and simple."

The lawsuit presented California as a mysterious, unsavory character, of uncertain name and location. "His precise whereabouts are unknown, despite due investigation," according to the court papers.

Aaron Silverman, the director of SCB Distributors, said that California was a resident of Sweden and provided The Associated Press with a phone number. Reached by the AP, a man identifying himself as California said that he lived outside of Goteborg, Sweden. He called the legal action "a little bit insane" and said that Salinger had control over the names of his characters, but not over his style or perspective.

"To me, this is a story about an old man. It's a love story, a story about an author and his character," said California, who added that John David California was his pen name. He declined to give his real name and said that he did not intend "John David" as an homage to Salinger, whose full name is Jerome David Salinger.

"I did not mean to cause him any trouble," California said.

A recluse living in rural New Hampshire, Salinger has not published in a book in decades and has rarely been heard from in public — expect when taking legal action.

In 1982, he sued a man who allegedly tried to sell a fictitious interview with the author to a national magazine. The impostor agreed to desist and Salinger dropped the suit.

Five years later, another Salinger legal action resulted in an important decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court refused to allow publication of an unauthorized biography, by Ian Hamilton, that quoted from the author's unpublished letters. Salinger had copyrighted the letters when he learned about Hamilton's book, which came out in a revised edition in 1988.

Salinger did not appear in court in those cases and is not expected to for this lawsuit.

His legacy is duly praised in Monday's court papers. Salinger is "identified as the acclaimed author of numerous works of fiction" and "Catcher in the Rye" is called "one of the all-time classic American novels, achieving phenomenal critical and commercial success."

The papers boast of the novel's continued popularity, noting that on it currently outsells such favorites as "The Da Vinci Code," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

China Blocks Twitter, Flickr, Others as Tiananmen Anniversary Looms

Tuesday , June 02, 2009

Beijing turned up the volume on the "Great Firewall of China" Tuesday, blocking nearly a dozen Western Web sites and search engines.

Thursday is the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and as a foretaste, Chinese users were denied access to Blogger, Flickr, Twitter, Livejournal, Tumblr, the Huffington Post and Microsoft's, Hotmail, its MSN Space blog tool and its new search engine Bing, according to various reports.

"Looks like Twitter has been GFWed in China," tweeted Mimi Xu, or @MissXu, a Hong Kong-based tech entrepreneur who noticed she wasn't getting responses from mainland friends, using the common Twitter acronym for "Great Firewall of China."

The block of YouTube, which began in March after Tibetan activists posted clips, according to London's Guardian newspaper, continued.

"The 3 web services I cant live without — Twitter, Flickr, YouTube — are all blocked in China," tweeted Stephen Lin, a Chinese blogger who tweets as @flypig.

Some third-party Twitter desktop clients were working, letting users get around the block, but others were down.

"This is so frustrating. Now I feel China is exactly the same as Iran," wrote one financial professional in Shanghai, according to Reuters.

The Times of London noted that Twitter has let Chinese users write terms that are blocked on Web sites, such as "6/4" for the date of the Tiananmen massacre or "Charter 08" for a well-known pro-democracy dissident manifesto.

"Twitter is a new thing in China. The censors need time to figure out what it is," blogger Michael Anti told another Chinese blog last week, according to the Times. "So enjoy the last happy days of twittering before the fate of YouTube descends on it one day."

"I want to point out that the Chinese Twitterland is funnier than the English one, for a Chinese tweet can have three times the volume of an English tweet, thanks to the high information intensity of the Chinese language," he added.

Twitter limits users to 140 characters per "tweet," but in Chinese one or two characters can make up an entire word.

Two former targets of Chinese ire — Google and Wikipedia — were apparently not affected. Nor were Facebook or MySpace.

"Since is blocked in China while is not, is it implying that Google is doing better Gov Relations than MS?" wondered Lin.

Britain's Daily Telegraph noted that "old" media was also being subjected to Tiananmen-related measures.

BBC World viewers in China saw TV screens go black when reports on the anniversary were aired, and pages were cut out of the Economist magazine and Financial Times and South China Morning Post newspapers.

The BBC reported that prominent dissident Wu Gaoxing, a leader of the 1989 democracy movement, was arrested over the weekend and was still being held.

China has said that 241 people were killed in the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Unofficial estimates of deaths range from 400 to 5,000.