September 5, 2009 11:06AM

Iran’s Stalinist Show Trials — With a Blogger’s Touch

Joseph Stalin's show trials were notorious for the fantastic confessions.  It seems just about every one of the original Bolshevik revolutionaries had been suborned by the foreign capitalists into conspiring to destroy the workers' paradise.  But these wonderfully choreographed charades look rather dated today, missing today's innovations, like blogging.

Iran's government may represent Medieval theology, but it has grasped modern technology.  Tehran has decided to provide its own version of fantastic coerced confessions via blog!

Reports the Washington Post:

The headline on the last blog item that former Iranian vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi published before his June 15 arrest -- "It was a huge swindling" -- left no doubt that he believed that his country's presidential election had been stolen.His more recent entries, from prison, have taken a different view.

"The majority of detainees know there was no real cheating," the onetime opposition leader wrote in a recent posting.

"Whoever understands present-day Iran realizes that the street riots are against Iran's glory, history and people," he wrote in another.

Abtahi has been allowed to continue blogging from his prison cell by his "good friend the interrogator," he writes, and he wants the Iranian people to know that he did not come under any pressure to change his mind about what he once decried as massive rigging by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's supporters to keep the hard-liner in office.

But Abtahi's family and friends say they don't buy it. The blog, they say, is just one more example of a pervasive campaign by the government to purge the opposition through show trials and forced confessions after protests over the outcome of the June 12 election shook the foundations of the Islamic republic. The official results showed that Ahmadinejad won in a landslide, but the opposition believes that the tally was fraudulent and has said the election should be annulled.

Who would have thought that someone could one-up Joseph Stalin when it came to the finer techniques of brutal repression?