View of the Week: Brief Notations On Events Half-Way Around The World

I continue to be concerned yet fascinated by the debate over PRISM.    has been dominating the headlines in the United States.   I was quite fascinated by the hearing over the National Security Agency Budget as the head of the NSA, General Alexander was grilled by Senators. I nearly fell off my chair when the Chair of the Committee interrupted the hearing when she acknowledged a tweet by the reporter for Buzz Feed when the reporter criticized how she was running the meeting. She said, "Hi..and everything is on the table..."...and will be in touch!! The leak has forced a debate on privacy and the extent of Government Control which must happen here and now.    The power of twitter and social media was also very much in focus here.   But beyond the "daily tirades", the issue of the 4th Amendment and the fact that the NSA wants to keep "everything"  is a problem.

Beyond the shores of the U.S.,  the Middle East continues to be ever more challenging.   Iran  yet again is  at a cross-roads as shown by the depiction of it being at a critical juncture. The Economy is on the brink of total collapse. People have not been paid for months. People have lost hope and there is a lack of confidence in the system. The leading reformist in the race, Mr. Rohani, noted this. He has talked about mistakes during the last election and has noted how the current prisoners need to be freed. An interview with the former President, Mr. Khatami, has underscored it. 

The current out-going President was an absolute disaster.   It appears that Khameini, the Supreme Leader (known in Iran as the leader of the revolution) has finally realized it. It is interesting how he's stayed quiet and has underscored that he only has one vote.     He also did note that he would comment on some of the claims during the campaign after the campaign comes to an end.

Mr. Khatami has become the leader of the opposition within the Country. He has noted that he would be voting for The "Diplomat Sheikh", Hassan Rohani. The question is whether the conservative establishment will allow the true results to stand after the new elections commission certifies and the Guardian Council signs off on it. Khatami and the "reform" faction within the ruling establishment are of the view that they can continue to reform the system from within. The non-violent movement that began in 2009 continues to be vibrant as ever.

I am right now listening to analysis by Voice of America analysts on their view of internet access and the steps being taken to circumvent Government Control. What Khameini said was also telling. He urged all (including opponents of the Islamic System) to vote. The fact that he has implicitly acknowledged the challenge faced by the Country is quite telling.

There are "cyber initiatives" going on right now. A beautiful site called Vote4Zahra has been established to document some of the challenges. Gary Kasparov, the World Chess , has created a site to have a "Cyber Presidential Vote". The Voice of America analysts were skeptical about the true nature of it being secure. One thing is for sure: change is in the air. Whether they can change from within is an open question.

Beyond Iran, there is Turkey. Turkey continues to be besieged by protests. I welcome what has been announced by the Government for a referendum. I remain hopeful that Edrogan will cement his legacy and prove the skeptics wrong.

Never a dull moment....more to come in a few days.....
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