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Iranian Authorities Urge Public To Identify Protesters Online

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, the Iranian authorities have paid the country's opposition activists a twisted compliment.

The militia's "Center for Investigation of Organized Crime" website, which calls on the public to help track down protesters, has turned the opposition's grassroots tactics against them.

Sympathetic viewers are asked to scroll through pages of photos and stills from video taken during the recent protests and identify the individuals by name or address.

A grim red circle appears around the faces of the victims -- teenagers to dissident mullahs to activist Iranians living abroad -- and a special stamp indicates those "identified."

The authorities seem to have taken their lead from, an opposition site that also uses a red circle in shots of government forces, particularly those working undercover during recent clashes, so that other activists can identify them.

Despite efforts on Facebook, comments from Andrew Sullivan, and cyberattack instructions, the site has managed to protect itself fairly well from attacks (indeed, it claims 99 percent uptime).

-- Kristin Deasy

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