Monday, May 26, 2008

Mars Society Celebrates NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Success

Mars Society Celebrates NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Success

Members of the Mars Society around the world gathered tonight to cheer on the Phoenix Mars Lander team, with "Mars Parties" in locations as far-flung as Paris and San Diego. The events, designed to simultaneously raise public awareness of this important mission and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the teams who are making it a success, reached their climax when the lander sent back confirmation of its successful descent.

Mars Society Celebrates NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Success
Rendering of Phoenix Lander, courtesty JPL Solar System Visualization Team
"The thrill within a group of people watching such an historic event taking place on another planet is simply awe-inspiring," said Gerry Williams, founder of the Mars Society San Diego Chapter. "From the moment the spacecraft hit the atmosphere to seven minutes later when she landed, not one person in the room could breathe - they were all perched literally on the edge of their chairs, myself included."

The Mars Society would especially like to congratulate the mission's Principal Investigator, Peter Smith, who also serves on the society's Steering Committee.

"Landing a craft safely on another planet is one of the greatest challenges in modern engineering," said Mars Society Executive Director Chris Carberry. "The Mars Society sends its heartfelt appreciation to ev eryone at NASA, JPL, and the University of Arizona. The data collected from this mission could have a tremendous impact on planning for future human missions. We hope that the presidential candidates will use this success as an opportunity to express their unqualified support for future human and robotic missions to Mars and other destinations."

The first of NASA's new Scout missions, Phoenix is exploring new scientific and project management territory. The lander will be the first to explore the poles of Mars, which the currently orbiting Mars Odyssey craft has determined have high concentrations of water ice, a valuable resource both for any potential indigenous life and any future human explorers. It also represents the first time that a mission has been chosen from among competing ideas presented by organizations outside of NASA, an idea which has been championed by The Mars Society for the last 10 years.

"At its founding convention in 1998, the Mars Society called upon NASA to implement a program where groups from across the scientific spectrum with creative ideas for new Mars exploration missions could compete, with the best selected for implementation," said Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin. "In 2000, NASA embraced that concept by establishing the Mars Scout program, and the terrific Phoenix mission has been the result. We're very proud of the role we have played in bringing this about, and look forward with great excitement to the discoveries that Phoenix may bring."

A detailed discussion of the Phoenix Lander's mission will be presented at the 11th Annual Mars Society Convention , to be held August 14-17 at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Interested parties can register for the convention online .

For further information about the Mars Society, visit our website at . Your donations are welcome.

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This and other news can be found at The Mars Society Web site here .


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mars And Beyond

It is a proud and incredible moment. The Phoenix lander made a successful touchdown on the surface of Mars. This culminates years of hard work and preparation. It also is a big change from 1999 when a similar probe costing almost $1 billion US dollars crashed because of a computer programmer error.

I was able to watch the whole process on the very fine NASA television channel. What a glorious day it is for all people here on Earth.

We are closer now to answering the big question:

Are we alone in the universe?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

20% Of South Africans Seriously Considering Leaving

20% Of South Africans Seriously Considering Emigration Edit Delete
A couple of years ago, the Mexican government got some very disturbing news. Thirty five percent of the college graduates would leave for the US tomorrow, if they could. Imagine the impact on a society with such a large portion of the professional people leaving.

Now we see that 20% of the South Africans aged 18-44 are seriously considering leaving. This is the most economically productive portion of society.

All of us know the old saying: "The grass is greener on the other side." I am sure that every language and dialect on the planet has the same saying.

Before you start packing up, please allow me to share my experiences as one who has emigrated a couple of times in my life. Many years ago, immigration laws were easy in most places in the world including the USA. Societies still are looking for highly-skilled workers. In the old days, such workers found it easy to gain a work permit and permanent residence in a new country. This is not the case today.

Please allow me to share the experiences of my wife. She was born in Argentina. She got an honors diploma from the University of Buenos Aires medical school. She became an oncology specialist in Argentina. She got so good that she was invited to present papers at international medical conferences all over the world.

We met in 2000. We decided that we were right for each other. After much talk, I convinced her to come to the USA and marry me. Let us look at what happened next in two dimensions-getting papers in the US and getting a US medical license.

It would appear easy for her to get papers because she was marrying a US citizen. We got married and then began the application for a Green Card. We hired an attorney. We had to produce a massive number of documents to prove that we lived together including copies of bank statements, utility bills,etc. After we got together a massive packet of documents, we were called into an interview one morning. Fortunately our interviewer was a very nice lady. She was clever and asked a couple of trick questions including the name of the three kids from my first marriage. Once Elena answered all of these questions, the rest of the interview was pleasant and we got approved.

Elena went to get her work permit and Social Security card so she could work. The documents were full of mistakes and Elena had to go back twice to fix them. Several months later her Green Card arrived at our old house and got lost. We had a hassle of several months to get the Green Card reissued and sent to the correct address.

The next step is the process was to get Elena US citizenship. We got a massive packet of documents to complete. We had to provide years of copies of bank statements,electricity bills, and other documents to prove that we lived together. The whole process was hell on earth and literally killed me. When Elena was sworn in as US citizen in June, 2006, we both were proud.

Now let us go to Elena's battle to get a US medical license. Despite her 16 years as a doctor and all of her credentials, she was told that they did not count here in the USA. Elena had to start over from scratch. Once she ahd her work permit and Social Security card, her first job was a medical assistant working in a clinic that served the very poorest people in Oakland, California. She worked in an area with street gangs and plenty of violence. He second job was at another clinic serving low income people in East Palo Alto, California. It was another area full of street gangs and much violence.

While working these two menial jobs, Elena had to take 3 rigorous examinations that US medical students have to take to be considered for a medical residency and a medical license. This was very hard for a person whose first language was Spanish. Despite all of this, Elena's test scores were in the top 5% of the US. They were equal to scores of Harvard and Stanford medical school graduates.

When Elena finished all of these tests, she then had to compete for a place in a medical residency program. 98% or 99% of the US medical school graduates get accepted for a residency program. Only 20% of foreign medical school graduates get accepted for a US medical residency program.

Elena beat the odds again and got accepted for a medical residency program at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Francisco. The next three years were unimaginable hell. Elena often had to work 30 hour workdays and keep up a pace meant for young people in their 20s.

We also had to go through three years of hell to get her a California medical license. This was a mass of paperwork and numerous trips to the state capital. Elena also had to undergo an FBI background check that would have normally been done for an astronaut candidate or someone applying for a cabinet job.

At the end of all of this process, it had cost us $30,000 US to take Elena from a lady getting off the plane to a medical doctor with US citizenship.

Elena now is a doctor with a high income. She has a beautiful house, car, etc. She has job security and financial security. But she has to work 70 hours per week to get this. She is also separated from her family and friends. When she lived in Argentina, she went to work at nine and worked until one in the afternoon. She took a long lunch. She would then work until four in the afternoon on light administrative work. The evening was free for social events with friends and playing sports.

Let us look at South African problems vs the US as follows:

1) Electrical black outs. These happen in the USA also when demand gets high. This is because environmentalists blocked the construction of new electricity generating plants.

2) Crime: If you go to many major American cities like Miami, LA, Detroit, etc, you will find that homicides, gang violence, car hijackings, and violent home invasion robberies are common.

3) Housing costs: If you are lucky and own a R1,000,000 house with the bond paid off, you could sell it and end up with roughly $130,000 US. Perhaps you could buy some sort of house for that amount of money in some small American town. If you want to live in LA, San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, etc., you will need to pay $600,000 to $700,000 US to get a decent middle class house. With no employment or credit history in the USA, you would have problems getting a bond.

If you are not highly skilled and with a lot of cash in your pocket, this whole process will be much worse. Please think and investigate carefully before you leave SA.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Time In Hell/Refinancing A House During The Mortgage Meltdown

To all of my readers, I have nothing but the deepest sympathy and compassion for the one million American families who have lost their homes due to foreclosure. This crisis has affected millions of American people. Six million more of us could face foreclosure as loans reset and interest rates creep up over the next two years.

Three months ago Elena and I went out bravely to refinance our home. We have a subprime loan from Country Wide Home Loans. We went first to them. They urged us to refinance immediately despite the fact that we would have had to pay a $23,000 prepayment penalty. They loaded our credit files with all sorts of inquiries. They came up with no solutions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the late Congressman Tom Lantos (Bless their hearts) got the Federal Housing Administration to raise their loan limits from $417,000 to $729,000. We could now go out and get a government guarantee to get our home refinanced.

My wife has credit scores of over 700. She has been a doctor for 24 years. Our family income is in the top 3% of the US and in the top 1% of world's income. By the way, we earned that by some incredible hard work and sacrifices. We thought it would be an easy matter to get a new loan.

I hit the internet to find a lender with FHA specialization. None appeared in California. Two FHA specialist firms appeared on the East Coast. I interviewed both of these companies and chose National Future Mortgage,Inc. in New Jersey.

We went to work in earnest. The first challenge was an appraisal. Property values have dropped as a result of the bad real estate market. City Wide Appraiser appraised the house. They did a really professional job. We got a value that reflected a decline in the market but was fair,rigorous and professional.

We then had to submit a ton of papers for the FHA to look at including W-2's,bank statements, etc. Our CPA allows us to file separately and allocates income. Therefore my wife's W-2 does not match her tax return data. FHA could still turn us down for this reason.

Our second challenge was the second lien we have on the house with Wells Fargo Bank. Real Estate and loan brokers warned me that they were very tough and blocked many refinance deals. I am a man who refuses to take no for an answer. I did a lot of research and located their Loan Subordination Department. Much to my surprise the manager of the department called me and was most helpful.

In these bad times, Wells Fargo still generates a profit for their share holders. They are making a lot of real estate loans. They survive because they try to look at each customer as an individual.
Their staff and managers are a group of ladies and gentlemen and professionals. They still could demand that we pay an additional $50,000 to lower our loan to value ratio. I think they will be more reasonable.

When I got out of the US Navy 35 years ago, I started my career helping people to get mortgage loans. I know how to prepare professional presentations. I know lenders. I do not quit when I have a problem with an 800 number that does not work or gives a bad answer.

My wife and I are in a household with two post graduate degrees and an incredible income. We know the finance industry. What worries me is all the average people out there with just a high school education and a family income of $50,000 to $75,000 per year. What hope do they have of navigating through all of these obstacles to avoid foreclosure????????????????????

Posted By ohomen171 to OHOMEN171 at 5/11/2008 03:58:00 PM

Zimbabwe's Corrupt Land Grab Will Seal Mugabe's Fate

Meant to strengthen, land grab weakened Zimbabwe's Mugabe
Few benefited from the redistribution of farms. Now the issue for a possible MDC government is whether a small circle of powerful people will retain ownership of seized land.
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 11, 2008
HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- When Ishmael Dube got his own small plot of land, it felt like justice. He'd grown up a black child under a racist white regime when this country was called Rhodesia. Half his youth was gobbled by darkness: war and prison.

He got the farm in 2000, two decades after Zimbabwe's independence from Britain, when President Robert Mugabe urged liberation war veterans to invade white farms. For the war veterans, it was a time of exhilaration and violence. For white farmers, it was a time of bitterness and terror.

"When the land invasions started happening, people were excited," Dube said. "When we were fighting, land was one of the things that we were fighting for."

But Dube lasted just one year; farming was much more difficult than he had expected. After 12 months, the veterans were evicted from the land by a ruling party heavyweight.

Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, often draws on land, history, blood and race in the bitter liberation rhetoric that peppers his speeches. He called the March 29 elections a new phase in the war over land, describing the opposition as British puppets poised to give back property to white farmers.

But the dire warnings are no longer working. Even many of the war veterans, who helped Mugabe oust the British and stay in power for nearly three decades, aren't listening. And that could mean the end of the liberation hero's long reign.

"People have seen through that kind of cheap propaganda," Dube said.

Mugabe's rhetoric about land and the liberation war now has a tiny, but extremely powerful, circle of supporters: the cronies who still have farms, mainly Mugabe relatives, ministers, generals, judges and intelligence, police and security chiefs. Many of them own several farms, most of them unproductive.

"Mugabe is now losing, because of his greed," said Percy Gombakomba, 53, a war veteran and former bureaucrat in the president's office. "I believe that if Mugabe walked in the streets, he would be stoned.

"People ask, 'Why did you go to war? What were you fighting for?' If you say you were fighting for the land, they will laugh at you."

So few have benefited from the redistribution that Mugabe's broader support has been undermined among traditional allies such as the war veterans. But he was careful to ensure that the top military and security commanders, on whom he relies for protection and survival, got one or more farms.

With Mugabe looking increasingly precarious, analysts believe that in the end it will be the "securocrats," the 20 or so commanders who form the strategic Joint Operation Command, who will determine whether the president goes.

Mugabe began the land seizures in 2000, after he faced his first serious political threat: the emergence the year before of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change from the union movement, supported by white farmers.

Last month, Mugabe's regime began a new wave of evictions of the few remaining white farmers after it lost control of parliament for the first time since independence in 1980. He sent out security forces in a campaign of intimidation against farmers, opposition supporters and activists.

But many influential Mugabe supporters in the ruling ZANU-PF party don't believe the violence is working this time. Most believe that Mugabe will lose an expected second round of voting in the presidential election.

"I think we allowed corruption to go uncontrolled to the extent that it affected the majority of the people," said one influential ruling party figure and war veteran who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said public support for Mugabe had eroded because of corruption in the ruling elite.

"They're saying if you live with thieves and protect them, you are also a thief."

One reason Zimbabwe's economy imploded was Mugabe's failure to manage the expectations of war veterans. The more he revisited the liberation war rhetoric, the more the veterans expected pensions, land, businesses or jobs.

War veteran Gombakomba said Mugabe should have given them "a good reward" for their wartime sacrifices.

"That's why we thought of grabbing the farms. People had to jump into farms before they saw any fruits of the liberation struggle," he said. But after Mugabe paid out lump sums to war veterans in 1997 and pledged monthly pensions, the Zimbabwe dollar collapsed, never to recover.

When they seized farms in 2000, war veterans such as Dube had no idea how to farm. There was no hope of bank loans for equipment without title deeds to use as security.

Agricultural production, the country's biggest export earner, fell and the economy lurched further into crisis.

Gombakomba and eight war comrades invaded a farm near Lake Kariba. He said the owner had fled to Zambia. But like Dube, he did not last long.

"The thing is, I was never a farmer myself," he said. "I didn't know what farming was, to tell you the truth. And there was no equipment, no financial support. It was difficult. And that's when we began to understand that farming was not a picnic.

"We had the place for two years. We wanted to put in soya and maize but when we were ready for plowing, a big man came from the president's office and we had no power and we were chased off.

"One by one, all the farms were given to these bigwigs."

Belatedly, Mugabe's regime is trying to the counter the widespread cynicism over the redistribution with promises to hand over more farmland.

Twice before the recent elections, a ruling party chief offered Dube and his friends a new farm in place of the one confiscated in 2001. They refused, seeing it as a belated effort to buy back their support.

"He tried to convince us to return," Dube said. "But even if we went back to the land, what were we going to do? There's no equipment. We simply said we were angry with the first decision."

As the farmer-generals contemplate the ruling party's defeat, what worries them most is losing their farms. When it comes to land, most of them distrust MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the senior ruling party figure said.

Without a clear guarantee from Tsvangirai to army commanders that they can keep the land, "there will be chaos."

"And if, as soon as he comes in, he tries to reshuffle the army, he won't be able to control them. There will be chaos, serious chaos."

Dixon recently was on assignment in Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Opposition Actually Won In Zimbzbwe/Comparisons With Iran In 1979

I finally saw the data from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The MDC and a splinter party got over 55% of the vote. They won.

Please go back to 1979 and Iran. The Shah had oil wealth and an incredible military machine. He had the dreaded SAVAK intelligence agency. He launch a campaign of terror and intimidation on opponents. It failed and he had to flee the country. Mugabe's terror and intimidation campaign will not work.

Please note the text below:
Ministry of Security SAVAK

Shah-an-Shah [King of Kings] Mohammad Reza Pahlevi was restored to the Peacock Throne of Iran with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1953. CIA mounted a coup against the left-leaning government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq, which had planned to nationalize Iran's oil industry. CIA subsequently provided organizational and and training assistance for the establishment of an intelligence organization for the Shah. With training focused on domestic security and interrogation, the primary purpose of the intelligence unit, headed by General Teymur Bakhtiar, was to eliminate threats to Shah.
Formed under the guidance of United States and Israeli intelligence officers in 1957, SAVAK developed into an effective secret agency. Bakhtiar was appointed its first director, only to be dismissed in 1961, allegedly for organizing a coup; he was assassinated in 1970 under mysterious circumstances, probably on the shah's direct order. His successor, General Hosain Pakravan, was dismissed in 1966, allegedly for having failed to crush the clerical opposition in the early 1960s. The shah turned to his childhood friend and classmate, General Nematollah Nassiri, to rebuild SAVAK and properly "serve" the monarch. Mansur Rafizadeh, the SAVAK director in the United States throughout the 1970s, claimed that General Nassiri's telephone was tapped by SAVAK agents reporting directly to the shah, an example of the level of mistrust pervading the government on the eve of the Revolution.
SAVAK increasingly to symbolized the Shah's rule from 1963-79, a period of corruption in the royal family, one-party rule, the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners, suppression of dissent, and alienation of the religious masses. The United States reinforced its position as the Shah's protector and supporter, sowing the seeds of the anti-Americanism that later manifested itself in the revolution against the monarchy.
Accurate information concerning SAVAK remains publicly unavailable. A flurry of pamphlets issued by the revolutionary regime after 1979 indicated that SAVAK had been a full-scale intelligence agency with more than 15,000 full-time personnel and thousands of part-time informants. SAVAK was attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, and its director assumed the title of deputy to the prime minister for national security affairs. Although officially a civilian agency, SAVAK had close ties to the military; many of its officers served simultaneously in branches of the armed forces.
Another childhood friend and close confidant of the shah, Major General Hosain Fardust, was deputy director of SAVAK until the early 1970s, when the shah promoted him to the directorship of the Special Intelligence Bureau, which operated inside Niavaran Palace, independently of SAVAK.
Founded to round up members of the outlawed Tudeh, SAVAK expanded its activities to include gathering intelligence and neutralizing the regime's opponents. An elaborate system was created to monitor all facets of political life. For example, a censorship office was established to monitor journalists, literary figures, and academics throughout the country; it took appropriate measures against those who fell out of line. Universities, labor unions, and peasant organizations, among others, were all subjected to intense surveillance by SAVAK agents and paid informants. The agency was also active abroad, especially in monitoring Iranian students who publicly opposed Pahlavi rule.
SAVAK paid Rockwell International to implement a large communications monitoring system called IBEX. The Stanford Technology Corp. [STC, owned by Hakim] had a $5.5 million contract to supply the CIA-promoted IBEX project. STC had another $7.5 million contract with Iran's air force for a telephone monitoring system, operated by SAVAK, to enable the Shah to track his top commanders' communications.
Over the years, SAVAK became a law unto itself, having legal authority to arrest and detain suspected persons indefinitely. SAVAK operated its own prisons in Tehran (the Komiteh and Evin facilities) and, many suspected, throughout the country as well. SAVAK's torture methods included electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting brokon glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails. Many of these activities were carried out without any institutional checks.
At the peak its influence under the Shah SAVAK had at least 13 full-time case officers running a network of informers and infiltration covering 30,000 Iranian students on United States college campuses. The head of the SAVAK agents in the United States operated under the cover of an attache at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, with the FBI, CIA, and State Department fully aware of these activities.
In 1978 the deepening opposition to the Shah errupted in widespread demonstrations and rioting. SAVAK and the military responded with widespread repression that killed thousands of people. Recognizing that even this level of violence had failed to crush the rebellion, the Shah abdicated the Peacock Throne and departed Iran on 16 January 1979. Despite decades of pervasive surveillance by SAVAK, working closely with CIA, the extent of public opposition to the Shah, and his sudden departure, came as a considerable suprise to the US intelligence community and national leadership. As late as September 28, 1978 the US Defense Intelligence Agency reported that the shah "is expected to remain actively in power over the next ten years."
However, it was no surprise that SAVAK was singled out as a primary target for reprisals, its headquarters overrun, and prominent leaders tried and executed by komiteh representatives. High-ranking SAVAK agents were purged between 1979 and 1981; there were 61 SAVAK officials among 248 military personnel executed between February and September 1979. The organization was officially dissolved by Khomeini shortly after he came to power in 1979.
Sources and Resources
SAVAK in IRAN - A Country Study Library of Congress Federal Research Division
A 'great venture': overthrowing the government of Iran by Mark Curtis Lobster #30, December 1995
HISTORY OF MOJAHEDIN [Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran ]
Khomeini's Incorporation of the Iranian Military Mark Roberts NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY McNair Paper 48 January 1996
"Judgment; An Analysis of Savak", by General Hashemai, the former head of counterespionage of Savak who in Savak for 22 years. Unfortunately this book is only available in Farsi.

SAVAK (Persian: ?????, short for ?????? ??????? ? ????? ???? Sazeman-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar, National Intelligence and Security Organization) was the domestic security and intelligence service of Iran from 1957 to 1979. Its headquarters were in Tehran. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks. It has been estimated that by the time the agency was finally dismantled in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution, as many as one third of all Iranian men had some sort of connection to SAVAK by way of being informants or actual agents.[1]
1 History
2 Operations
3 Post-Revolution and Fardost
4 SAVAK Directors
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

[edit] History
SAVAK was founded in 1957 to strengthen the Shah's regime by placing political opponents under surveillance and repress dissident movements. SAVAK had the power to censor the media, screen applicants for government jobs, "and according to reliable Western source [2], use all means necessary, including torture, to hunt down dissidents." [3]
According to a book published in Iran after the revolution, reputedly written by Hussein Fardust, a high level SAVAK official, SAVAK was created with the help of American and Israeli advisers who devised the agency to closely model after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[4]
After 1963, the shah expanded the security organizations, including SAVAK which grew to a total of over 5300 full-time agents and a large but unknown number of part-time informers.[5]
The agency's first director, General Teymur Bakhtiar, was dismissed in 1961 and later became a political dissident. In 1970 he was a victim of assassination by SAVAK agents disguised to look like an accident.
Hassan Pakravan, director of Savak from 1961-1965, had an almost benevolent reputation, for example, dining with the Ayatollah Khomeini while Khomeini was under house arrest on a weekly basis, and later intervened to prevent Khomeini's execution, on the grounds it would "anger the common people of Iran".[6] After the Iranian Revolution, however, Pakravan was among the first of the Shah's officials to be executed.
Pakravan was replaced in 1965 by General Nematollah Nassiri, a close associate of the Shah, and the service was reorganized and became increasingly active in the face of rising Shia and Communist militancy and political unrest.
A turning point in SAVAK's reputation for ruthless brutality was an attack on a gendarmerie post in the Caspian village of Siahkal by a small band of armed Marxists in February 1971. According to Iranian political historian Ervand Abrahamian, after this attack SAVAK interrogators were sent abroad for `scientific training to prevent unwanted deaths from `brute force.` .... Despite the new `scientific` methods, the torture of choice remained the traditional bastinado used to beat soles of the feet. Its "primary goal was to locate arms caches, safe houses and accomplices ..." [7]
Abrahamian estimates that SAVAK (and other police and military) killed 368 guerillas between 1971-1977 and executed something less than 100 political prisoners between 1971 and 1979 - the most violent era of the SAVAK's existence. [8]
One well known writer was arrested, tortured for months, and finally placed before television cameras to `confess` that his works paid too much attention to social problems and not enough to the great achievements of the White Revolution. .... By the end of 1975, twenty-two prominent poets, novelist, professors, theater directors, and film makers were in jail for criticizing the regime. And many others had been physically attacked for refusing to cooperate with the authorities. [9]
By 1976, this repression was softened considerably thanks to publicity and scrutiny by "numerous international organizations and foreign newspapers." In 1976, Jimmy Carter Was elected president of the United States and he "raised the issue of human rights in Iran as well as in the Soviet Union. Overnight prison conditions changed. Inmates dubbed this the dawn of `jimmykrasy.` .... " [10]
After the Islamic Revolution former directors Pakravan and Nassiri were tried by inadequate Revolutionary 'Courts' and executed by the Revolutionary Guard.

[edit] Operations
During the height of its power, SAVAK had virtually unlimited powers of arrest and detention. It operated its own detention centers, like Evin Prison. In addition to domestic security the service's tasks extended to the surveillance of Iranians abroad, notably in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, and especially students on government stipends. The agency also closely collaborated with the American CIA by sending their agents to an air force base in New York to share and discuss interrogation tactics.[11]
SAVAK agents often carried out operations against each other.[citation needed] Teymur Bakhtiar was assassinated by SAVAK agents in 1970, and Mansur Rafizadeh, SAVAK's United States director during the 1970s, reported that General Nassiri's phone was tapped. Mansur Rafizadeh later published his life as a SAVAK man and detailed the human rights violations of the Shah in his book Witness: From the Shah to the Secret Arms Deal : An Insider's Account of U.S. Involvement in Iran.
According to Polish author Ryszard Kapuscinski, SAVAK was responsible for
Censorship of press, books and films.[12]
Interrogation and often torture of prisoners
Surveillance of political opponents.

[edit] Post-Revolution and Fardost
Further information: Human rights in Islamic Republic of Iran
Hossein Fardoust, a former classmate of the Shah, was a deputy director of SAVAK until he was appointed head of the Imperial Inspectorate, also known as the Special Intelligence Bureau, to watch over high-level government officials, including SAVAK directors. Fardust later is rumoured to have become director of SAVAMA, the post-revolution incarnation of the original SAVAK organization.
SAVAK was closed down shortly before the end of themonarchy and the gain of power by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1979. Following the departure of the Shah in January 1979, SAVAK's 3,000+ central staff and its agents were targeted for reprisals; almost all of them that were in Iran at the time of the Iranian Revolution were hunted down and executed, only a few who were on missions outside of Iran managed to survive.[citation needed]
SAVAK has been replaced by the SAVAMA, Sazman-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Melli-e Iran, later renamed the Ministry of Intelligence. The latter is also referred to as VEVAK, Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar, though Iranians and the Iranian press never employ this term, using instead the official Ministry title.[citation needed]
According to some sources, the new organization is structurally identical to the old one and retains many of the same people, but there is no reliable proof of these allegations.[citation needed]
Many books have since been published about the pre-revolution status of Iran politicians, based on the documents found in SAVAK's offices.