Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, "Crunching the numbers," Asia Times, June 26, 2009.

[Afrasiabi cites two other statistical analyses that challenge the Chattam House findings. University of Michigan political scientist and statistician Professor Walter Mebane, a leading expert on election fraud, notes that "a model can never prove fraud - it can identify places where there may be fraud". Mebane has made a similar statistical analysis of the Iranian election. He concluded that there is "no solid evidence of fraud." In a later analysis, based on new evidence, he concluded that there is "moderately strong support" for electoral fraud in the Iranian elections. Another American statistician, Nate Silver, has concluded that the voting result was "valid based on statistical analysis." All of which indicates that no responsible and unambiguous conclusion can be reached on the basis of the fragmentary information available--hardly a basis for sending in the Marines or maintaining a blockade.

The press is not the place for this issue to be resolved. In fact, there may be no way of resolving it since the Khomeinist regime has the same institutional conflict of interest the Bush Administration had in the 2004 American case. Another Asia Times article, this one by Francesco Sisci, is subject to the same limitations. Sisci repeats the refrain that "In a modern country, with electronic devices and spotless organization, it could take days to have the final results." Canadians tend to swallow this whole even though we know well that winners in Atlantic Canada are largely known before the polls close in the West. That happens with hand-counted, paper ballots.

The crackdown on protesters and Western responsibility for attempts to destabilize Iran and cause a regime change are separate, but related, questions. -jlt]

A few days ago, just as the "color" movement's ferocious struggle to overturn the results of the 10th Iranian presidential elections was fading, it received a new lease of life via the publication of a British study [1] that casts serious doubt on the official results that saw President Mahmud Ahmadinejad re-elected.

"Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's 2009 Presidential Election" was published by Chatham House and the Institute of Iranian Studies, University of St Andrews, and edited by Iranian political scientist Professor Ali Ansari, director, Institute of Iranian Studies.

  ...the leading losing candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, had some 40,676 observers at the ballot boxes, and none has provided a formal complaint.

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