Blogging Archives

Blogging In Iran Can Get You The Death Penalty

There’s a bit of news on iafrica.com that should cause every freedom of speech loving blogger to take notice and be thankful that they live in countries where it’s safer to blog that it is in Iran.  Also, if you’re a blogger that’s even thinking about traveling to Iran and doing some blogging while you’re there, you’ll want to double or even triple your travel insurance, particularly your life insurance policies.

Just in case you thought China was the only country doing stuff like this, they’re not.  The Iranian government is working on a law that’s going to “toughen punishment for harming mental security in society” (translation: give the government more license to kill people that openly disagree with it.) They’re already blocking websites that either have sexual content, anything religious that does not agree with Islamic doctrines, and of course, anything that doesn’t agree with government approved politics.

Crimes like murder, rape, armed robbery have been on the death penalty list for a long time along with apostasy which means the act of leaving or turning away from a religion.  In Islam, deciding to quit the religion gets you the death penalty.

The bill they’re working on now is adding more to the list of death penalty crimes.  One of them is “establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy”.  This means that if an Iranian puts up a blog or a website and the government decides that it does any of those things, that person can be sentenced to death.

The language leaves them a pretty wide latitude since even if a website doesn’t touch prostitution or apostasy, they can decide to claim that absolutely anything they don’t like or that is critical or in opposition to the government constitutes corruption and again the person responsible gets the death sentence.  Thankfully, there’s ways for people in Iran to continue blogging and speaking out against the government there or even just plain speaking freely without fear of reprisals like the death penalty.

One very effective answer is Anonymous Blogging, writing a blog using anonymity tools so that the blog’s content cannot be traced back to the person writing it.  One very effective tool is to use TorBrowser.  It’s a copy of Firefox that has had it’s settings fine tuned to maximize privacy and anonymity.  It also includes a copy of TOR and all of TorBrowser’s connections are routed through TOR.

One can create an anonymous email address and use TorBrowser to create a blog on free sites such as blogger or WordPress.com.  As long as the blogger only connects to the blogging site with TorBrowser and is careful about what they write, insuring that they don’t give away any information that could be used to identify them, they can safely blog away without fear of reprisals.

Another option, and in my opinion the best option, is to use Freenet.  By publishing within Freenet anyone can be completely anonymous given care about identifying clues in the content.  They can then ask other Freenet users to copy their material and publish it on the regular web where it’s available to the whole world and not traceable back to the one who wrote it.

Either of these methods of anonymous publishing are slower and generally have a higher learning curve but the benefit is a greater degree of anonymity and untraceability.  I admit that The Freenet option is the more involved of the two however it also yields the best overall security for the anonymous publisher.  The TorBrowser option on the other hand does have the advantage that it can be installed on flash drive which can be easily hidden and used on any computer with a USB 2.0 port.

Technorati Tags: iran, anonymous email, anonymity, anonymous blogging, freenet, censorship, death penalty, torbrowser, blogging

Some Changes

I’ve been thinking about some changes to the look and function of the blog and tonight I’ve finally gotten around to actually doing some of it.  I removed the big no-google graphic and the dead monitor donate button that were in the sidebar because, honestly, they were taking up a bunch of space and not doing much, if any, good.

I want to thank my wife for getting me in gear to actually get these things done, particularly the RSS and email subscriptions, which were first put in place on her blog, Off The Cuff.

To make subscription options easier to find, I put in a larger, more noticeable RSS graphic / link and an email subscription box so you can get updates to A Peculiar Blog via email if you wish.  Both RSS and the email links are powered by Feedburner so that you know what you’re dealing with and because I’m not going to try creating and managing something do the job when Feedburner does it all for free.

Technorati Tags: rss subscriptions, feedburner, rss link, email subscriptions, site news

How To Add Links To WordPress Posts

It’s possible to do a lot of blogging without the use of links but sooner or later you’re going to want to include a link to some page you want to share or that is somehow relevant to something that you are writing about.  I’ll also grant that by and large I think that a majority of people that blog pretty much have enough know-how to do this.

However once in a while I still get asked questions about how to do these things so I thought that I would write a tutorial in an effort to make it clearer.  I’ve included screenshots to clarify what I’m saying.

Select text that will anchor the linkEnter the text of the post as you would normally write it.  Then, to make a link, highlight the text that the link will be anchored to, click the “Link” button and either type or paste the url for the link into the box that pops up.type or paste the link url here
 
 

When you click the “Link” button, a box will pop up, this is where you either type or paste the url of the page that you want to load when someone clicks on the link text.

link text with generated htmlWhen you click “Ok”, the text that you had selected before will now be wrapped in a bit of html code that makes it into a link that can be clicked on.

Technorati Tags: html, link, tutorial, wordpress, blogs, blogging

Dead Monitor Cramps Computing Style!

What do you do when you’re toiling away at the project of the moment and all of a sudden your monitor goes dark?  There’s no clicking sounds, not a whiff of smoke or a flicker of the lights.  The computer itself continues merrily along, waiting for your next input or instruction.  Checking and double-checking the connections show that they’re all good.  Cooling is ok, Etc.  The only apparent problem is that the monitor itself simply will not show a picture anymore.

Well, What I did when that happened to me late yesterday afternoon was all of the checking and testing that I could think of, followed by switching out the monitor with a borrowed unit.  However that main one is going to have to be replaced asap.  Unfortunately, like most people these days, reserves are not there for a replacement.

So I’ve decided to do the only other thing I can think of and place a shiny new Paypal donate button in the sidebar in a blatant effort to raise cash for a monitor

Thanks for your patience and we now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Technorati Tags: raise cash, broken, fundraising, broken monitor, monitor, computer monitor, raise funds

Syrian blogger sentenced to three years in jail

Just in case anyone thought that Middle Eastern nations allow their citizens freedom of expression, take a look at this brief news item about a Syrian blogger.  It shows clearly that the Syrians are among those nations who have yet to shed their mental corsets and realize that freedom of speech and expression is something that should be supported by any righteous government.

It seems that the Syrian government took offense to something that Tarek Bayassi wrote in his blog and he was arrested “for surfing sites of Syrian opposition groups and posting comments online”, charged with “undermining the prestige of the state and weakening national morale”, found guilty and sentenced to 6 years.  That sentence was later commuted to three years.

Think about it for a moment, all this guy did was look at websites that disagreed with the government and post some comments online.  While I think it’s a sad truth that we Americans have allowed a lot of our freedoms to be stolen away over the years, I’m glad that we are thus far still allowed to disagree with our government and be vocal about that disagreement.

Technorati Tags: freedom+of+speech, free+speech, syria, blogging, blogger, censorship, government+censorship, oppression, human+rights, freedom

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