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Fifth Cable Cut To Middle East 676

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
You may have noticed a number of stories recently about undersea cables getting cut around the world. Apparently the total is now up to 5, but the scariest part of this is that Iran is now offline. You can also read Schneier's comments on this coincidence. Update: 02/06 17:42 GMT by Z : As a commenter notes, though the country of Iran is obviously experiencing some networking difficulties, it is not offline.
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Fifth Cable Cut To Middle East

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  • by JesseL (107722) * on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:16AM (#22321034) Homepage Journal
    "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action."
    -Auric Goldfinger

    But who is the enemy?
    • by SailorSpork (1080153) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:19AM (#22321080) Homepage
      Why can I picture George Dubbya Bush in a scuba suit, holding a giant pair of sheers and screaming "I'll cut off the terrorist's interweb tubes!"
      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:31AM (#22321318) Journal
        I doubt it. If anything, we would want Iran to have 100% free and uncensored access for all citizens.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:37AM (#22321430)
          Our government doesn't want that for us so why would they want it for others?
          • by Bruiser80 (1179083) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:43AM (#22321500)
            Because an informed populace promotes change, especially when grave injustices are being done and the local government is shielding its populace from it. Elected US officials don't want an informed populace because they would be putting their own political lives on the line. That and infrastructure is expensive.
            • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:38AM (#22322186)
              (Posted in code so they can't understand it:)

              You are positing a hertofore unshown level of intelegence and understanding of the complexities of the mindset of countries other than the USA in the USA's current leadership. I respectfully suggest that they are more likely to try the direct approach, despite the accilary effects strengthening their enemies position. This seems to meet with the past record of those leaders actions.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jamstar7 (694492)
          But we'd also wanna cut off Iran's leaders, especially its military, from cheap, easy, and fast sources of information. If we were planning on attacking them, it's best to keep them confused as long as possible.

          Interesting how this is happening during the primary election cycle in the US, now, isn't it? And no, Iran isn't totally cut off. But if more cables get cut, what would that tell the astute observer?

        • by Per Wigren (5315) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:50AM (#22321626) Homepage

          I doubt it. If anything, we would want Iran to have 100% free and uncensored access for all citizens.
          Impossible. That would enable them to share music and movies. Hollywood would go bankrupt.
          • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:37PM (#22322890) Journal

            Impossible. That would enable them to share music and movies. Hollywood would go bankrupt.

            I know your just being a wiseass, but if the Iranians are sharing our music and movies then we've probably already "won". Our culture is one of our most important exports and at the end of the day it's going to be a hellva lot more effective at bringing change into that country then bullets will.

            The sooner that Americans and Iranians realize that the other one is populated by people not that much different from them, the better off we will all be. Seeing our culture is a huge first step towards realizing this goal.

            • by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @07:31PM (#22327790) Homepage Journal

              That would enable them to share music and movies. Hollywood would go bankrupt.

              . . .

              The sooner that Americans and Iranians realize that the other one is populated by people not that much different from them, the better off we will all be.


              I know some people who emigrated from Iran and eventually moved back. Why? They thought that life in "the west" was just like it was in Hollywood movies. When they ended up working part time in a gas station and found themselves getting deeper and deeper in debt (Iran doesn't accept credit... it's a cash-based society), they faced their disillusionment, cut their losses, and moved back to Iran where they felt they had half a chance at getting ahead in life.

              Iranians (to generalize profusely) aren't going to get the impression that Americans are similar to them from our popular fiction. It's the fictions (lies) that make them hate "the west" when they think about life outside of their own personal circles.
        • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:04AM (#22321812) Homepage

          I doubt it. If anything, we would want Iran to have 100% free and uncensored access for all citizens.


          A responsible citizen, yes, would want the Iranian people to take matters into their own hands, and make sure that their government leaders are accountable and responsible.

          On the other hand, if you're an American politician trying to sell a war, Fear Uncertainty, and Doubt play very well to your cause on both sides of the table.

          As it stands, I don't believe that the Iranian people are all too upset at their government. Although their approach to civil rights is a bit backwards from the Western perspective, it's been that way for several generations (and is largely the fault of previous American and European intervention in the region). Likewise, the Iranian government doesn't strike me as being all that secretive.

          I hate to defend the current Iranian regime, but I don't believe for a moment that it's remotely as bad as Bush makes it out to be.
          • by kestasjk (933987) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:19PM (#22322664) Homepage
            I think you've got a few things totally backwards here, I'll try and explain the Iranian situation in a (full-post-sized) nutshell.

            A responsible citizen, yes, would want the Iranian people to take matters into their own hands, and make sure that their government leaders are accountable and responsible.

            On the other hand, if you're an American politician trying to sell a war, Fear Uncertainty, and Doubt play very well to your cause on both sides of the table.
            First off America is pretty war weary (to put it lightly), I really doubt trying to push another war though is a great political move.
            Secondly; Bush doesn't have to please to general public, he's on his last legs whether whether or not he kindles some favor.

            As it stands, I don't believe that the Iranian people are all too upset at their government.
            It's a lot more complicated than that. Mahmoud came in promising wealth for the poor, and has delivered in many cases, but failed elsewhere. At the moment the Iranian economy isn't going well (e.g. inflation at 25%, according to non-government sources), and there has even been gas rationing (in a country with massive gas reserves!) which really didn't go down too well.
            Then you have the Islamic reforms, with headscarfs being more strictly enforced and a suppression of the clothing young Iranians want to wear. This is popular with some but not others. There's also suppression of government criticism in the media, and media also needs to be very tame (think FCC-on-steriods). (Young) Iranians aren't ignorant (as I understand Iranian education stands out from other Middle-Eastern countries by a long way); they are often pro-West and pro-reform, and they don't like the media oppression or Mahmoud jailing the students which lead protests.

            The nuclear program is an interesting one. It seems that, like Chavez, Mahmoud likes to be seen as a crusader for the little guy, even if it doesn't parallel what goes on in Iran. What's ironic is that you say Bush is stirring this up to gain some political favor, when in fact the opposite is true; Mahmoud milks the Iran vs the evil empire angle for all it's worth.
            When they reach a new threshold with uranium enrichment, or manage to launch a satellite, cue the government media's patriotic music and euphoria. (I feel I need to point out that this is actual government media, not to be confused with the tin-foil Fox-is-controlled-by-the-government "government media")

            Iran getting powerful weapons, launching satellites, and capturing British soldiers in defiance of the West is great for Mahmoud, and ever since a US report came out last year saying that they aren't pursuing nuclear weapons to the extent previously thought Mahmoud has become less and less popular.
            I've read that in Iran they joke that Mahmoud wouldn't bother with his nuclear program if the US wasn't opposed to it.

            Not only have his lesser government members begun to criticize his policy, but he recently got snubbed by the Supreme Leader of Iran himself, something which is a big political blow for him. (It's like a member of the Vatican getting chided by the Pope for something he said; it's not supposed to happen)

            Likewise, the Iranian government doesn't strike me as being all that secretive.
            Read up about Natanz and Iran's dealings with the IAEA. Even Russia, who has supported and assisted with Iran's civilian nuclear program, is now saying they are concerned about Iran's recent satellite launch.

            One thing for sure is that Iran is not Iraq 2. There aren't many parallels between them, and the biggest and most important difference in my opinion is this: In Iran Mahmoud is subject to checks and balances, he isn't a dictator and he has to watch where he treads. Economic sanctions and internal political pressure will definitely be enough, I would be astonished if it came to war.
          • by Xtravar (725372) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:20PM (#22322672) Homepage Journal

            I don't believe that the Iranian people are all too upset at their government.
            Actually, they are. It's just that our actions keep bringing them together, whereas if we left them alone they'd change drastically.

            I went to an Iran speech by Gary Sick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Sick [wikipedia.org] (former Carter adviser & author of October Surprise http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_surprise_conspiracy [wikipedia.org]) where he argued that Iranian politics is somewhat similar to American politics.

            For example, we aren't too happy with George W Bush, our current leader, yet when a tragedy happens or we are threatened, we seem to rally behind the current leader.

            The only ones who benefit from international saber-rattling are the "establishment" who would otherwise be kicked out of power. There is actually a lot of discontent with the current leadership of Iran, but by threatening Iran we only strengthen them.
          • by iocat (572367) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:47PM (#22323038) Homepage Journal

            Although their approach to civil rights is a bit backwards from the Western perspective

            All the executed homosexuals [ukgaynews.org.uk] and women beaten [wordpress.com] for not maintaining the appropriate veil angle on the street say "hi."

            Oh, so do the journalists [hrw.org] killed in detention [hrw.org] by the regime. [amnestyusa.org]

            So do the children being kids being executed [stopchildexecutions.com] by the regime.

            So does Amnesty International [amnestyusa.org], while we're at it...

            Oh, and so do the local Christians, Zoroastrians, Bahai, and Jews, who are routinely persecuted by the regime (you can do the search yourself, I'm getting nauseated looking at these links).

            Look, I understand people don't like GWB, but to insinuate that the US is somehow responsible for human rights violations in Iran, or has a somehow comprable record on human rights is insane.

            • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @01:40PM (#22323592) Journal
              Iran had a perfectly fine, democratically elected leader in the person of Mohamed Mossadegh in 1953.
              He had the outrecuidance to nationalize the oil industry, so the CIA fomented a coup against him and put the Shah in charge. The US then supported this asshole for close to 30 years, until iranians revolted in 1979.
              The revolution didn't end so swell, the mullahs took the helm eventually. But the country wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the sick US meddling. Sure, that was back in 1953, but the pattern continued in other countries over the world in the 55 years that followed. So yeah, the US is responsible, and the dumbass in chief you still have for 11 more months is apparently hell-bent on meddling still some more with Iran.
        • by risk one (1013529) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:12AM (#22321928)
          Who cares about them, doesn't anybody realize that we're cut of from the Iranian network? What will I do without Ahmadinejad's delightful blog?
        • I doubt it. If anything, we would want Iran to have 100% free and uncensored access for all citizens.

          How Utopian... and unrealistic. Iran routinely censors their population: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/archives/2005/09/14/iranian_censorship.html [guardian.co.uk]

          Unfortunately the same can't be said about their military and Islamist government that profits greatly from that wonderful connection.

          I can't believe that people are *still* protecting the Iranian government (note I'm not talking about their citizens) after all the crap they've pulled during the last two decades. Just because the US media has tuned into Iran i

          • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:44PM (#22322978)
            And who's to blame for the current Iranian government? The USA! We're the ones who installed the Shah there, and the people hated him so much they overthrew him.

            Maybe we should have left them alone to begin with. If we go to war again there, it'll be another mess, since we'll just install another bloodthirsty dictator like we always do, and thousands upon thousands will die, at our hands.

            If we want to avoid war, we just need to mind our own fucking business. How hard is that?
      • by necro81 (917438) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:40AM (#22321454) Journal
        I'd like to believe the US isn't behind it for any number of reasons. One of those many reasons that occurs to me is the precedent it sets: if we declare that cutting cables is a valid way of pursuing foreign policy, what implications does that have for the US, who has more cables than anyone, relies on their cables more than anyone, and has the most $$$ invested in those cables? Put simply, if cables become fair game, the US has more to lose than anyone else. The powers-that-be couldn't be that stupid, could they? Sure, they're stupid enough to start a senseless war that's quagmired our foreign policy and military, but to do something stupid enough to threaten our livelihood (and pr0n)? (this is a half-sarcastic, half-pleading comment. I know that they really could be that stupid.)

        Keep in mind, too, that these cables aren't, for the most part, state owned assets like radar stations or bridges - they are the private assets of companies and conglomerates, who have invested many billions in their installation. Those conglomerates are able to pursue the US for damages much more effectively than, say, Iran.
        • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:53AM (#22321660) Homepage
          I'd like to believe the US isn't behind it for any number of reasons. One of those many reasons that occurs to me is the precedent it sets: if we declare that cutting cables is a valid way of pursuing foreign policy, what implications does that have for the US

          Not that I think we're doing this, and I do believe you have a valid point. But... that's the same reason we used to have a hard-line stance against torture. I don't think we've been doing particularly well lately at considering the consequences of our actions. It seems like the powers that be are so utterly convinced that they are right that they cannot grasp the possibility that something bad may come of their actions.
        • by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:54AM (#22321670) Homepage

          I'd like to believe the US isn't behind it for any number of reasons.
          I'd like to believe that too, and I think your reasons are valid.

          My guess is Islamic isolationists. That is, those people that, ever since Qutb [wikipedia.org], believe that that West is a corrupting influence on Islam. Internet access is a prime way for such influence to occur, so they would seem to have a very strong motivation to do this sort of thing.

          Just a random theory, but none of the other ones make much sense to me.
        • by Boronx (228853) <evonreis@moh[ ]n ... m ['r-e' in gap]> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:08AM (#22321876) Homepage Journal
          You don't understand the mindset of the current American government. They believe in a unipolar world where you have to sit back and take it if they deem you should have no Internet, but they will nuke you if you so much as stub your toe against one of their cables.
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:25AM (#22321186)
      Oops. [slashdot.org]

      So when the basic, sole premise and of the story is wrong, and by extension the clear implication, where do we go from there?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by manotick (1234358)
      Connecting The Many Undersea Cut Cable Dots - 9 Or More? http://www.rense.com/general80/cable.htm [rense.com] This is quite an interesting comment. It claims there may be as many a nine cables down now.
    • by William-Ely (875237) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:48AM (#22321590)
      The plot is much more sinister than we think. Step 1: Cut cables Step 2: Post story on Slashdot Step 3: Have everyone ping Iranian servers to death to prove story wrong Step 4: ??? Step 5: PROFIT!
      • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:30AM (#22322130) Homepage Journal
        ... Step 3: Have everyone ping Iranian servers to death to prove story wrong ...

        Heh. I read that while having a few traceroutes running in other windows, testing times to a few sites in Iran. All of them do pretty well from here (Boston) as far as the sites in New York, Amsterdam, and Turkey, with ping times mostly under 200 ms. Then the packets go to numbered machines without DNS addresses, and the ping times jump to over 500 ms. I'd thought that this was probably a sign of satellite hops, but now I wonder. Maybe it's just that we've slashdotted all the routers. Ya think?

        The government site at www.iran.ir doesn't repond to pings, but it does respond on port 80 in the usual manner. It is sorta slow, but firefox doesn't time it out.

        I don't read Farsi, so I can't tell much about what it says. There are some familiar faces at the upper left, though. ;-)

    • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:52AM (#22321656) Journal
      Iran's Oil Bourse [presstv.ir] is the target. Can't have the world trading oil in non-dollar currency. Nowadays, you cut the Internet and there won't be much trading. Props to Jeremiah Cornelius for the link.
      • Bingo! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Maltheus (248271) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @05:03PM (#22326214)
        With the oil bourse set to go online before the 11th (now delayed), that is obviously why this was done. When Iraq stopped pricing it's oil in dollars, we invaded two months later. I don't think people understand the magnitude of the dollar's decline or how much an impact that has on our foreign policy. If the dollar is no longer seen as the world's primary currency, then they'll pull out the investment needed to sustain our mammoth debt. We're just about there already, but if Iran does this (and they have every right), then our economy is finished. That's why we've still talk about war all the time, even in light of the NIE. By prolonging the crash, we're just making the problem worse. Not to mention, pissing off the world in the process. We're just following the same pattern of all collapsing empires.
  • by suso (153703) * on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:17AM (#22321038) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm, let me see. Is this one it? No that's Syria. Is this it? No that's Saudi Arabia. Ah, here we go, Iran.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by s!lat (975103)
      The scary part is I think this may be right. It's just too damn "convenient" to be a "coincidence"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gaspar ilom (859751)

      Step 1: You have a large stockpile of dollars, that are increasingly not worth much.

      Step 2: Cut cables.

      Step 3: Attack Iran.

      Step 3-A: Stock Markets panick; U.S. securities start to plummet. (followed by U.S. dollar)

      Step 3-B: A whole bunch of people in and around the middle east cannot gid rid of their dollars, or U.S. securities -- they cannot buy Gold or Euros on the international market. (Satellite and land lines are jammed by re-routed, regular traffic.)

      Step 4: While a large

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:18AM (#22321066)
    ...and has NOT lost net connectivity.

    One router in Iran -- the one that happens to be used by Internet Traffic Report [internettr...report.com] -- is unreachable. As are dozens of single points on the internet in many states in the region.

    A quick perusal of, e.g., newspaper web sites in Iran [onlinenewspapers.com] finds every one I have tried working fine, including all state-run media. As is the web site of the Government of Iran [www.iran.ir] and numerous other government and press web sites physically located in Iran. See for yourself. [google.com] (And yes, I am aware that simply ending in .ir does not mean the site is necessarily physically in Iran, but you can easily verify [arin.net] that nearly all of them are.)

    I know all of you are just itching to believe it's a US information operation (I love some of the articles..."a secret Pentagon strategy called 'information warfare'" -- uh, guys, I hate to break this to you, but it's not a secret) to cut Iran off from the internet in advance of the secret Iran invasion that Bush -- er, Cheney -- is oh-so-obviously planning.

    No one ever said that one ship damaged all the cables. What was said was that a single ship probably cut two cables in a particular area off Egypt. But that has been called into doubt in that location. Unfortunately, it isn't clear exactly where some of the cables have been damaged, so simply because one area didn't have a ship doesn't mean it wasn't possible for it to be damaged elsewhere.

    Even if someone is cutting the cables, as telecom and undersea cable experts believe is unlikely, it would be better to actually consider the facts of the situation, instead of feeing the conspiracy mill with garbage like "Iran is offline" when it clearly isn't? How about waiting until the cables are raised to see what kind of damage has been caused?

    But if you want to believe one guy's blog post that "Iran is offline", which ends with:

    this author actually dug a bit deeper and found a trail that leads from the owners of most of these internet cables all the way back to some very, very large companies in the U.S. and in the U.K. Which companies you ask? Who is behind this?

    Well, that's the topic for my next post. You'll have to subscribe to my RSS feed and stay tuned for my findings. Don't worry, the wait will be short.
    ...then be my guest. How convenient! If we want to learn "which" big evil companies are behind what is obviously a US operation to cut Iran off from the internet, all we have to do is subscribe to his ad-laden blog!

    Or, we could perhaps consider that "[m]ost telecommunications experts and cable operators say that sabotage seems unlikely." [iht.com]

    Or, we could perhaps believe the facts, which is that Iran is not "offline", as I have illustrated above.

    It seems that the premise to this story -- namely, that Iran is "offline" -- is patently incorrect. So, since that is untrue, what are the motivations of people who want to believe this is a prelude to war?

    That lying about it somehow serves a greater purpose?

    Oh, and by the way, for all you pushers of the Information Warfare theory, keep in mind that it runs both ways. I wouldn't be surprised before Iran picks up on the conspiracy stories and starts promoting that itself. What a great way to detract attention from its continuing defiance of the world community -- no, not just the US -- on its nuclear processing.
    • by ahsile (187881) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:27AM (#22321244) Homepage Journal
      Omg... Get your tinfoil hat hating ass out of here. This is slashdot! Everything is a conspiracy! Iran is being slowly disconnected from the internet so that the US can bomb them and nobody will know! Because reporters couldn't ever tell us about it without the interwab!

      Sheesh.
    • by unbug (1188963) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:29AM (#22321278)

      A quick perusal of, e.g., newspaper web sites in Iran finds every one I have tried working fine, including all state-run media. As is the web site of the Government of Iran and numerous other government and press web sites physically located in Iran. See for yourself.
      Jeez, if this goes on Iran will be offline - it will be slashdotted. But maybe that was the plan all along...
    • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:40AM (#22321460) Homepage
      ...and has NOT lost net connectivity.

      Meanwhile, at the NWO headquarters:

      Underling: "President Bush, Iran still isn't offline!"
      Bush: "Dammit, Osama, what the fuck am I paying you for?"
      Bin Laden: "Sorry Sir, I'll get right on it"
      Elvis: "And get it right this time!"
    • by Farhood (975274) <farhood...basiri@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:21AM (#22322038)
      just called some family (in Iran)...asked them if their 'net was up. they said yea...asked me if mine was up. I said no...damn comcast.
  • Traffic Intercept (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichMan (8097) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:19AM (#22321082)
    Cut all the alternate paths until the traffic you desire to capture comes through your surveillance hub.

    not-so-thick-tinfoil
    • From Bruce Sterling's blog at Wired.com...

      "...Others maintain the damage signifies retribution for the impending opening of the Iranian Oil Bourse, which will allow trading in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, potentially diminishing the value of the dollar. (((As if the dollar wasn't busy diminishing itself, with or without submarines.)))

      Clearly, the political impact, should the damage be attributed to military or financially motivated activity, poses severe implications, but apart from that, the mere
  • hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:19AM (#22321098)
    The system is down. The system is down. The system is down. Down. Down, down, down, down.</strongbad>
  • by eln (21727) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:21AM (#22321122) Homepage
    I remember last time a cable cut was reported they said Iran was offline that time as well. I'm not so sure Iran is really offline now either. I have been clicking into the websites of various Iranian universities [wikipedia.org] and all of the ones I've checked so far are up, although some are kind of slow. While I guess it's possible some of them are hosting their main websites offshore, I doubt all of them are. Unfortunately, the routers here block outgoing traceroute for some dumb reason, so I can't verify for sure, but it seems like Iran is not as offline as we might think.
  • by emj (15659) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:24AM (#22321164) Homepage Journal
    He says he knows it all he will just wait until his next post to tell you all, so this is where "journalism" is heading. It's all about the money of course, but it's actually the first time it's been so clear.

    I don't think s/he has anything.
  • How many? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:24AM (#22321172)
    Didn't they say Iran was completely offline when the third cable was cut? Then I hear a fourth cable was and they were "now they're offline"! Now there's a fifth cable cut and the news is saying "Now they're REALLY REALLY offline!". And yet it still appears that they are still not offline.

    So, how many fscking cables do they have and can they please tell us exactly how many have to go down before I can't ping a single thing in Iran? I don't wanna go through this on the next 12 cables . . .
    • by gingerTabs (532664) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:32AM (#22321344) Homepage

      So, how many fscking cables do they have and can they please tell us exactly how many have to go down before I can't ping a single thing in Iran? I don't wanna go through this on the next 12 cables . . .
      Surely your military advisers would give you a better answer than /. George...
  • by Drakin020 (980931) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:24AM (#22321174)
    Iran has shown a connection of 0 for the past week or so. That doesn't mean a cable was cut does it? Just means that you cannot ping that one router. Last time I checked Iran had more than 1 router.

    Also look at this.
    http://www.internettrafficreport.com/namerica.htm [internettr...report.com]

    Does that mean Florida is offline? No it just means you cannot communicate with one of their routers.
  • riiight. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:25AM (#22321190)
    from TFA "However, this author actually dug a bit deeper and found a trail that leads from the owners of most of these internet cables all the way back to some very, very large companies in the U.S. and in the U.K. Which companies you ask? Who is behind this?"

    what. the. fuck?

    the author clearly has his tinfoil underpants and armadillo hat on. I mean come on, whilst I realize that almost everything can be turned into a conspiracy theory this is too much. Accidents happen all the time and I remember reading that some of this outage is due to routing maintenance. Occams Razor, to me the facts as reported seem simpler then some ulterior motive and cable cutting gear.
    • Re:riiight. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:01AM (#22321774)
      the author clearly has his tinfoil underpants and armadillo hat on.

      I call it Battlestar Syndrome. It's like Munchausen Syndrome (there's also Battlestar By Proxy Syndrome), except instead of trying to draw attention or sympathy, they wish to be seen as some sort of rebel ("a rag tag rebel fleet") fighting against some shadowy conspiracy. They actually thing the US is now the worst fascist dictatorship ever to exist, and that the creepy Half Life G-Man is tracking their comic book and grocery purchases with 50 special agents and six supercomputers deep beneath the Earth's crust.

      Oh boy. Here comes some more modding down by folks who can;t take a joke.
  • Top Secret (Score:4, Funny)

    by fredz1 (1196229) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:26AM (#22321208)
    It's "Operation Notwork" AKA "InterNot" it was Big Dick's idea, but I liked it... submarine, big pair of scissors, there you go. - W
  • by INeededALogin (771371) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:33AM (#22321356) Journal
    I am putting on my tinfoil hat for this post but...

    What if this is actually a US government plan. Make Hi-Tech industries from low-cost countries unstable and unusable. All of a sudden, companies panic and start to re-think the outsource planning that has been losing US jobs. What if the US is making a coordinated effort to rescue its economy by sabotaging others?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Because they could just add taxes for outsourcing work to bring the cost inline with US worker cost and let the market choose the best quality for their work instead of exploiting economic imbalances?

  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@xm s n e t.nl> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:34AM (#22321372)
    According to an acquaintance who works for an ISP, the weird thing isn't that these cables are broken, it's that all of a sudden it's news. There are always issues with submarine systems. That is why we have so many repair ships in the global fleet:

    list of [iscpc.org] ships [iscpc.org]
  • by briggsb (217215) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:35AM (#22321414)
    The conspiracy theorists just got more fodder. A low-flying plane cut Egypt's wireless Internet connectivity [bbspot.com].
  • C'mon /. (Score:3, Informative)

    by rock217 (802738) <slashdot.rockshouse@com> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:42AM (#22321480) Homepage Journal
    I thought we were better than this...one router goes down and suddenly "OMG IRAN HAS NO INTARWEBS!"

    Ok, so if Iran has _no_ intarwebs, I shouldn't be able to hit a server in Tehran right?

    http://www.iust.ac.ir/ [iust.ac.ir]
  • Flag Telecom (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ritorix (668826) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:48AM (#22321596)
    Whether the cables are being cut by ship anchors, Navy Seals or lasersharks, there are slower alternate routes. In a pinch most Gulf-region ISPs can route the other way, through Asia, under the Pacific Ocean to America. Obviously that degrades connection quality. Backup routes were contracted after the tsunami damaged so many of the undersea cables at once.

    The BBC has a decent article on the issue, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7228315.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    The cables (at least two of them) are owned by http://www.flagtelecom.com/ [flagtelecom.com], they have updates on repairs on their news page and a nice map of the cables. Their Gulf-region cables are described as a "Self healing Gulf loop, providing maximum design capacity of 1.28 Tbps. Initial launch capacity 50 Gbps.
    Four fibre pair route linking the Gulf to Egypt and India. Design capacity of 2.56 Tbps, with initial launch at 90 Gbps.
    Approx. length 10,300 km."

  • Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@@@pitabred...dyndns...org> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:52AM (#22321646) Homepage
    Bullshit. My buddy from Iran is currently chatting with me in on AIM. The cable may be cut, but Iran is far from offline.
  • by cohomology (111648) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:52AM (#22321654)
    The Iran Institute of Science and Technology ( http://www.iust.ac.ir/ [iust.ac.ir] ) is online, and their servers are physically in Iran, but a traceroute from Roadrunner in New York, NY shows traffic going the wrong way around the world.

    Tracing route to www.iust.ac.ir [194.225.228.25]

    over a maximum of 30 hops:

        1 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms 194.225.228.25
        2 8 ms 9 ms 11 ms 10.39.192.1
        3 12 ms 8 ms 7 ms gig-4-3-nycmnyg-rtr1.nyc.rr.com [24.29.98.109]
        4 8 ms 9 ms 8 ms pos-3-2-nycmnya-rtr1.nyc.rr.com [24.29.130.129]
        5 10 ms 9 ms 10 ms tenge-3-0-0-nwrknjmd-rtr.nyc.rr.com [24.29.119.106]
        6 10 ms 9 ms 10 ms 4.79.188.37
        7 23 ms 18 ms 17 ms ae-32-54.ebr2.Newark1.Level3.net [4.68.99.126]
        8 29 ms 18 ms 14 ms ae-4.ebr2.Washington1.Level3.net [4.69.132.101]
        9 20 ms 16 ms 19 ms ae-92-92.csw4.Washington1.Level3.net [4.69.134.158]
      10 14 ms 18 ms 13 ms ae-94-94.ebr4.Washington1.Level3.net [4.69.134.189]
      11 89 ms 91 ms 89 ms ae-4.ebr3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net [4.69.132.81]
      12 84 ms * 84 ms ae-93-93.csw4.LosAngeles1.Level3.net [4.69.137.46]
      13 84 ms 81 ms 86 ms ae-4-99.edge3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net [4.68.20.201]
      14 84 ms 85 ms 83 ms SINGAPORE-T.edge3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net [4.78.195.202]
      15 118 ms 84 ms 83 ms ge-7-1-0-0.laxow-cr2.ix.singtel.com [203.208.183.81]
      16 85 ms 274 ms 84 ms ge-4-1-0-0.laxow-cr2.ix.singtel.com [203.208.183.90]
      17 276 ms 265 ms 282 ms so-3-0-1-0.sngc3-cr2.ix.singtel.com [203.208.149.185]
      18 338 ms 253 ms 269 ms ge-0-0-0-0.sngtp-dr1.ix.singtel.com [203.208.149.78]
      19 254 ms 272 ms 264 ms GigabitEthernet1-1-1.sngtp-ar4.ix.singtel.com [203.208.183.114]
      20 284 ms 287 ms 303 ms 203.208.192.226
      21 298 ms 286 ms 290 ms 217.218.155.201
      22 301 ms 299 ms 292 ms 217.218.163.252
      23 328 ms 319 ms 292 ms 194.225.239.254
      24 298 ms 294 ms 303 ms 194.225.228.25

    Trace complete.

  • by Lucas123 (935744) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:06AM (#22321844) Homepage
    With all of our technology and our superior intelligence community, why would we be so naiive as to think that cutting cables wouldn't be an obvious ploy to disrupt communications among Middle Eastern countries, and so that tactic would only backfire on us? Unless, our intelligence community calculated that everyone would think it was obvious, so that we'd never do it because everyone would immediately know it was us. But then, people would realize that we knew that they knew we'd think it was an obvious ploy and therefore no one would believe we'd done it, so then they would't believe we'd done it, all just to throw them off. But then, people would realize that we knew that they knew that we'd knew they'd knew... forget it. I'm going back to sleep.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:08AM (#22321878)
    I'm sorry, I just can't believe that 5 under sea cables have been cut in so short of a time and not have it been deliberate. OK, it is possible that these have all been accidents, but who are we kidding? Seriously.

    Now, who has the most to gain from this? I would assume that these cables have already been monitored by the US, so I doubt it is the U.S.A inserting monitoring systems. Not, mind you, that I would put it past us, but I believe that they probably already had this capability. Also, I think they would be able to do it without being so blatant.

    Could it be Iranian agents purposefully cutting the internet to sever information to and from the country? Could it be the US cutting the cables, not to insert monitoring, but to actually reduce information flow? Is there a common denominator we are over looking? Is Kuwait affected? Oman? Qatar? UAE?

    If we assume it is not an accident, there must be a purpose. Is it an anti-cyber-terrorism preemptive action? It certainly an interesting set of events.
  • by CambodiaSam (1153015) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:21AM (#22322036)
    Does anyone know how often undersea cables normally have issues? Sure, 5 cuts in an area *seems* high to me, but then again, I don't have any frame of reference.

    So, what is the statistical probability of an undersea cable having a minor, major, or catastrophic issue? If it's once a week, then perhaps we have an anomoly of location, not an anomoly of frequency.

    I remember seeing some Discovery Channel show on how they end up fixing those cables, and it was rather interesting. I also have some fuzzy memory of how there are multiple boats designed to do this kind of repair work, and they are usually busy out at sea fixing *something*. I get the feeling (this is where my plea for verification comes in), that 5 cuts may not actually be TOO unusual.
  • Cthulhu? (Score:5, Funny)

    by StarEmperor (209983) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:27AM (#22322072) Homepage
    Now we know where Cthulhu stands on the issue of net neutrality.
  • by Eviliza (1136613) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:28AM (#22322098)
    As several people here have pointed out, Iran is not disconnected from the Internet. Users in Iran have been able to connect to the internet without any atypical problem... this rumor has been swirling about for a few days. I manage a Persian-language website with many readers in Iran, so I have both the motivation and the resources to check into this... we've seen no decrease in traffic from within Iran. I've also been able to find no source for this that doesn't trace back to the Internet Traffic Report, which as other has pointed out has a somewhat inexact methodology. This is the second time this has been mentioned in Slashdot, and everytime it is posted, it gives me a heart-attack... there might be a need to post a correction or at the very least to stop asserting that Iran has no connectivity without better confirmation.
  • by rmadmin (532701) <rmalek AT homecode DOT org> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:38AM (#22322184) Homepage
    First attempt I got a "503 Service Unavailable". How fitting. =)

    OH NOES! The slashdot tubes have been cut!
  • Please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ghyd (981064) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:39AM (#22322206)
    If the news is wrong, Slashdot, remove it or amend it quickly. This is not serious at all and destroys a lot of support in this site. We're not talking puppies here, so be serious.
  • by Jerf (17166) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:16PM (#22322634) Journal
    The measure of a theory of behavior is not "Does this action/occurrence further the given goal?", but "Given a hypothesis that group X is pursuing goal Y, is the action Z the best action X can take?"

    Let's take the goal of "cutting off Iran's information before an attack by the US". Does cutting the cables in this manner "further that goal"? Yes, it does. However, given that goal, would the US military consider this its best action? Hell no! If the US Military wants to cut off your internet, they're not going to give you a lead time of several days; they're going to cut off all your links within minutes, possibly seconds of each other.

    Are extremist Middle Eastern groups cutting off the cables to cut off Western influences? They would lack the capabilities to cut all cables at once, but I also suspect they'd know this was a brutally short-term situation. Most such people seem to believe that standard authoritarian government techniques are a better choice. I can't quite rule this one out as thoroughly, but it would have to be an awfully small, insular group to think this is the best choice.

    The problem with the standard metric of "does it further this goal" is that it leaves you with an excessive abundance of theories, which can't all be true, but can't be ruled out by that metric. Every event further numerous goals and sets back numerous other ones. You really need to be looking at what people consider their best actions; that tends to be much more constrained and much more accurate. Less fun if you need to see conspiracies everywhere though, but that's the price you pay for caring about truth.

    And so on. So far, I haven't really heard a good conspiracy theory yet, so I'm still judging natural event as the most likely, pending more information.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @02:31PM (#22324296) Homepage Journal
    More than 50 repairs to undersea cables in the Atlantic alone last year.

    So cool your jets people. it's not unusual. This is only a big deal with conspirators. As per usual the conspiracy nuts don't understand what they are talking about so start running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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