Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Iran Recap - Freedom Via Internet

Since the election in Iran on the 12th of June, information about the protests and brutal government crackdowns has flowed in via the internet, particularly social media sites, and specifically Twitter. Twitter was the first place to provide information about the protests as the media largely missed the story in the beginning. Now the flow of information out of Iran has slowed due to massive arrests and violent government oppression. Along with the slowing of information, the main stream media's attention has been diverted. Yet this remains a topic that deserves continued public attention. People are fighting for their freedom under unimaginable conditions.

Here is a recap of some of the videos, stories, and information that has come out of Iran along with the role technology has played...

Total Oppression Versus Open Communication in Iran
In an early show of force students were beaten in their dorm rooms, and their rooms were trashed, computers and the like destroyed. Angered by the brutal beat downs, many professors at Tehran University protested by resigning. Hospital workers who treated the students, also disgusted by the government’s brutality, went on strike the following day to protest the students’ treatment.

Foreign media was banned, journalists have been jailed. Due to the crackdown, citizen journalism virtually the only way the story is getting to the rest of the world.

Iranian government claims that death of Neda was staged by the opposition. They prevent any form of public mourning for both Neda and the many others killed in the protests.

Soccer Team Members who wore green armbands during a game are permanently banned from the sport.

British representatives expelled from the country.

Special courts established for trying arrested protesters.

Mass show of force and violent suppression of peaceful protests continue.

Videos: The first video shows the death of Neda a young Iranian woman who has come to symbolize the Free Iran movement. She was shot while simply watching the protests, and reportedly died by her father's side. Be warned that the first two videos are very graphic and disturbing. The third video, while somewhat less graphic, but is also quite disturbing.

*VERY GRAPHIC* Young Lady Dies on Streets of Iran

*Very Graphic* Video of Iran Protests and Man Badly Beaten

Shooting of Iranian Students Caught on Camera

Massive Show of Force on Streets of Iran

Video of voter fraud in Iranian Election

June 20 Iran Protesters Face Off with Police

Crowds During June 20th Protests

Riot Police Attack Protesters in Iran

Video Showing Scope of Iranian Protests

This Week's Articles:

This week a violent beat down of protesters was under reported as the flow of information slows. CNN and the AP both had reports on this brutality...

AP Reports Iran Security Forces Again Beat Down the Opposition Protesters

Distraught woman describes the brutality to CNN, Reports of Brutal Crackdown In Iran

Article's Prior to the June 20th Protests

Concern About Khamenei’s Statements

Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran

American’s Practical Support of A Free Iran

Articles About the Role of the Internet in post-Election Iran

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, ‘Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.’ Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Following Iran Elections on Twitter – A Lesson in Freedom and Technology
Google Farsi - English Traslator: Google launches Farsi - English translator Thursday night/Friday morning. A hugely helpful tool that aids communication, and understanding of news directly from Iran.

Cable and Network News relying on Twitter: Saturday the 20th, with a government imposed blackout of foreign media CNN and others have to rely on citizen journalists along with Twitter and other social media sites to gather news. Protests are scheduled even though Ayatola Khamenei has made statements that suggest a possibly violent crackdown on protesters. Reports of tear gas used and armed police barricades used to disperse crowds.

Students Shot on Camera: A tweet linked to this video of Iranian students being shot

A graphic YouTube video of a woman's death (Neda) becomes a symbol of the movement. Trending topic on Twitter is #Neda as references to the video, and her life show how moved people were by her tragic death.

Mousavi Facebook post:
Through a post on Facebook it has been reported that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he is "ready for martyrdom."

Embassies Take Wounded Iranians: Word spreads quickly on June 20th that many European embassies are taking care of wounded Iranians. These embassies along with their address/directions were also diseminated through Twitter. The safety of the hospitals is in question, and the Canadian embassy is pressured (via use of Twitter) to open its embassy too, yet embassy remained closed on Saturday.

Iran Elections and the Internet
An interesting subplot to the Iranian elections is that the internet is providing people more information than major news networks...Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran

Since writing about the Twitter Effect in Iran, and the role of the Internet as a whole, I have also been interviewed on radio and TV. For more info on appearances, please visit the Broad Side of the Barn.

Monday, June 8, 2009

WAMS Interviews Katherine Morrison

Listen to the WAMS Radio Interview with Katherine Morrison. The interview discusses the book 'An Independent Call' and the experiences of participating in a presidential campaign. The interview is a half hour.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Political Protests

For me, one of the oddest moments of the primaries came when I wasn’t even attending an event. I had gone to the grocery store, and stopped at a light on my way out of the parking lot. I looked down at my steering wheel for a second, and when I looked up I saw the three little pigs driving down the street. I blinked hard, and then watched the pigs pull into the gas station where I was headed. The biggest pig was a pink van with pig ears, rump and tail. It was towing a trailer with a medium sized pig on it, which was hooked up to a small pig that had wheels for feet.

The pigs were protesting the amount of money spent on military and defense spending. As I pulled up to the pump next to them, I planned to say, ‘That must be a real gas hog,’ but refrained, as the driver and passenger had quite a sour expression on their faces and did not appear to possess any sense of humor (which I really think should be a prerequisite to driving the three little pigs around New Hampshire).

This brings me to my favorite guilty pleasure of the primaries and political events in general - Protesters. The all time best came several years ago when a group came to protest at UNH the induction of a gay Episcopalian minister. Apparently there were not enough Episcopal churches in the area, so they decided to protest at the local Catholic and Baptist churches. Years have passed since this incident, and I still laugh thinking about these people who traveled from miles and miles away, protesting the Episcopalians outside the Baptist church. The poor Baptists seated in the pews for Sunday worship had to be wondering why in the world protesters were picketing their church that morning.

Except from An Independent Call - From New Hampshire On...

Friday, May 8, 2009

The McCain Campaign and Illegal Immigration

The anger over Senator McCain’s position on immigration seemed a bit more pointed in South Carolina, and as just referenced, there was some anger about Senator McCain’s stance on the Confederate flag. One call I made ended abruptly when the woman on the line emphatically stated, ‘We are all illegal immigrants here and aren’t allowed to vote!’ Click. However, I did have a conversation about immigration with another woman who was concerned because the hospitals in her area were seriously over-burdened. Our discussion reflected the difficulty the whole country is having with this issue. She understood and agreed with Senator McCain that emergency medical treatment should not be denied to illegal immigrants, but she was concerned because there was also the problem of emergency rooms being used for their routine medical care. Where her adult children lived, in particular, the hospital was struggling to provide adequate care to citizens because of the stress caused by illegal immigrants.

Excerpt from An Independent Call - From NH On

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Us Now Radio Featured Guest, Author Katherine Morrison

Featured Radio Presentation

Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"

Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.

Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Call-in:  347 539-5420

Friday, May 1, 2009

Author Katherine Morrison to Discuss 'An Independent Call' on Blog Radio

Katherine Morrison will be on Central Park 7 Radio Saturday Night at 11:00 EST to discuss An Indpendent Call, hosted by 'The Dame of Truth.'

Also, she will be on Free Us Now Hear Us Roar Radio Monday Night at 10:00 EST also to discuss An Indpendent Call. Presented by PUMA United radio, Free Us Now is hosted by Betty Jean.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Good Call - Excerpt

Another good call was one with which I would have thought I’d have difficulty. The issue of torture is one that I didn’t think I’d be able to debate well because it just drives me crazy. For me, this is the issue on which I believe the base of the Republican Party is most off-track, both morally and politically. Seeing people’s reaction to this issue through both town halls and phone calls, I’m confident in saying that I am not alone in thinking that torture is simply wrong. Also, I’m not convinced that a majority of Republican voters that think torture is okay, as is often conveyed. One woman said to me that she liked and respected Senator McCain, but was voting Democrat this year because she thought President Bush and the Republicans had become sadistic.

A fellow I talked to gave me something of a perspective on where some people are coming from on this issue. He was so angered by 9/11 he basically felt the people who perpetrated that act should have no rights. Since the victims of 9/11 were given no chance to fight back, why should we have any regard for the lives of those who murdered them? I stated Senator McCain’s positions, and we went back and forth for some time on the issue of torture. He said, “I’m sorry I must be making your blood boil.”

I replied, “Oh no, that’s why we call.” He said that the rights granted by the Geneva Convention did not apply to these people. I said that Senator McCain agreed with that, but that he thought the definition of torture laid out in the Geneva Convention still held, and that he opposed torture as a human rights issue, but was not in favor of giving detainees all the rights accorded by the Geneva Convention. He again stated that he disagreed with granting detainees any rights; I said I understood, but that I’d hope he would consider that Senator McCain was the candidate best prepared to actually capture Osama Bin Laden upon entering office. He thought that was a good point, and we ended the phone call.

When I got off the phone I turned around, and John Lehman, the former Secretary of the Navy, was standing behind me. My thought was, ‘Boy, I sure hope I got that right.’ He and the fellow who ran the Portsmouth office both had big smiles on their faces, so I think I did okay.

A Good Call from An Independent Call

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just Released - An Independent Call by Katherine J. Morrison

An Independent Call, is the amusing story of a New Hampshire Independent and McCain supporter in the 2008 election. Along with a lighter take on the presidential election, An Independent Call gives an insightful look at the political parties, and the media during this two-year long process.

Epping, NH April 17, 2009 – An Independent Call is a fun and original take on the presidential election through the eyes of a New Hampshire Independent and McCain volunteer. It recounts the journey of a skeptical observer as she was converted into a die-hard McCain supporter. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. An Independent Call is a mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

An Independent Call is published by Broad Side of the Barn Publishing, and is available for purchase on their website – The author Katherine Morrison is a New Hampshire resident and blogger. She is the creator/author of, and has a background in web development.
Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is…

"A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign...attention to detail is brilliant."

For more information on An Independent Call please visit, or contact Katherine Morrison at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

McCain Supporters Canvassing Hampton

Excerpt from An Independent Call the story a New Hampshire Independent McCain Supporter

Finally, on a more upbeat note, one trait that Senator McCain shares with a good number of his fellow veterans is a wicked sense of humor. While I’d like to say that my rationale for voting McCain was all high minded, I have to admit his sense of humor roped me in in the beginning. It’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed so many of the events with veterans; I’m sure there are veterans out there that lack a sense of humor, but overall I found them quite fun to be around.

During the general election I headed out to canvas a neighborhood with a veteran named Wes. He drove; I hopped out and knocked on the doors. We were canvassing Hampton Beach, a sort of unfortunate task in late Fall to early Winter, since not a lot of people stay at their beach house when the temperature drops. The sheets given to guide us to the appropriate address were accompanied by a brief survey asking whether the occupant was home and whom they were supporting for the different elected offices. The numbering of houses and condos on these sheets could be hard to follow, as locations were not necessarily listed in numerical order. Condo complexes could be particularly difficult to figure out. For instance, 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 16 could be a different page from 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 14, and unit 15 would simply not be on the list at all. The other problem was that you often had to be allowed or buzzed into many of these condo complexes. This basically meant looking for condos, routinely unoccupied due to the season that, even if occupied, could not be accessed. Consequently, we’d just drop a stack of literature on their doorstep, which will likely be picked up sometime this coming June.

So in the process of trying to locate a particular address on Ocean Boulevard, Wes backed his car up right into a pole. Looking down, arranging literature at the time, I was startled at the hit and said, ‘Ooo!’ and looked over at Wes. Thinking, this can’t be good we both hopped out of the car and took a look at his bumper. There was a new yellow stripe down the back side of his car and he said, “Ah, it’s just paint.” Relieved that it wasn’t too serious and that the damage didn’t trouble Wes, we hopped back into the car, and started trying to figure out where our next stop was. As we headed forward we spotted the house number of the next stop; Wes hit the brakes and his coffee flew off the dashboard, hitting me in the arm and soaking my left side. This time Wes looked stunned as I sat there looking at my sweater covered in coffee. “Well, it’s not hot,” I said. He handed me towels and clearly felt badly that I was wearing his drink. I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, so I hopped out of the car again, rung out the sweater and dried it off as best I could with some towels, put it back on, and hopped back into the car. While I smelled of coffee all day, the sweater was dark so it didn’t really matter.

We got through the rest of the doors without much incident, but had trouble finding one particular side street. Finally, we found the tiny narrow street in question; we headed down to the end where we eventually spotted the number of the home on a trashcan outside of a sliding glass door. I got out, knocked on the door, and a young guy, who apparently had just woken up, and was wearing a pair of old boxers and a t-shirt opened the door, saying nothing.

‘Hi, I’m a volunteer with the McCain campaign, and…’

‘No,’ he said and he shut the door and went back to bed.

I got back in the car and said, “Obama.”

As we started to head out of the narrow street I looked back, and Wes said, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit anything… …I saw you watching.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”

On the way back to the office he said, “You did a good job.”

“Thanks. You too…”

“Except for the pole.”

“Well that and the coffee, but other than that you did a good job.”

Veteran's Good Humor

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In the Beginning It was Curiosity

Excerpt from An Independent Call the amusing story of a New Hampshire McCain supporter.

In the beginning I just thought I’d go see the different candidates at the campaign events in New Hampshire. Four years prior, not long after I moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, my sister was volunteering for Senator Kerry’s campaign. She’s a loyal and active Democrat; our parents are Republicans. We talked on the phone after the Iowa caucuses when Howard Dean screamed during his concession speech. She hadn’t heard it called the ‘I have a Scream Speech’ yet, and I said that I felt for him. I figured if I were in politics that would be the sort of thing that would take me out. It wouldn’t be scandal or corruption; I’d simply do something so embarrassing that no one would take me seriously again.

My sister told of a news clip she had just seen of a woman who had met Senator Kerry, then fainted. The video looked like a shot from the Wizard of Oz with Senator Kerry standing over a pair of feet. I was starting to realize that I had missed quite a show by not attending Primary events, so I simply thought this time it would be interesting to see. I certainly had no plans of picking a candidate early, and no interest in joining a campaign. I thought it might give me something to write about on my website, but basically I was just curious.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Independent Call

Coming from Broad Side of the Barn - An Independent Call by Katherine Morrison

An Independent Call chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain convert and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.