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Communications Networking Hardware

Fourth Undersea Cable Taken Offline In Less Than a Week 499

Posted by Zonk
from the bad-week-to-be-a-backbone-cable dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Another undersea cable was taken offline on Friday, this one connecting Qatar and UAE. 'The [outage] caused major problems for internet users in Qatar over the weekend, but Qtel's loss of capacity has been kept below 40% thanks to what the telecom said was a large number of alternative routes for transmission. It is not yet clear how badly telecom and internet services have been affected in the UAE.' In related news it's been confirmed that the two cables near Egypt were not cut by ship anchors." Update: 02/04 07:13 GMT by Z : A commenter notes that despite the language in the article indicated a break or malfunction, the cable wasn't cut. It was taken offline due to power issues.
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Fourth Undersea Cable Taken Offline In Less Than a Week

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  • Cue... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:36AM (#22287790) Homepage Journal

    ...the bombs in 3... 2... 1...

    Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action, or a direct attack on Iran's about-to-launch Euro-based oil market?

    4 cuts, as far as I am concerned, is no co-incidence. I literally expect to turn on the TV and see bombs falling any day now. Economy down, turn up the war machine. It really is a common historical sequence.

    • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dattaway (3088) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:40AM (#22287804) Homepage Journal
      Well the Pentagon has recently declared the internet as an enemy weapons system.
      • by wirefarm (18470)
        [Citation Needed] --NT
        • by fohat (168135) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:54AM (#22287924) Homepage
          Here's the link that was on reddit.com on Friday regarding this info:
          http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=JES20080202&articleId=7980 [globalresearch.ca]
          • by wirefarm (18470)
            Thanks!
          • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday February 04, 2008 @03:48AM (#22288818)
            I agree that it looks mighty suspicious, but I have a hard time seeing how it could be a conspiracy. First, look at who's affected: Eygpt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Sri Lanka, even India. Don't get me wrong, I despise the White House and wouldn't trust anything Cheney said while his lips were moving, but I have trouble seeing why the United States would want to attack even one of these countries, particularly Saudi Arabia. Even if they do support and export terrorists, the Saudi leadership are close allies of the United States- we just sold them a shitload of JDAM satellite-guided bombs, after all, why would we then turn around and take out their internet access? And even assuming the U.S. or some other nation did want to attack one of these nations, why do it this way, which attacks the entire Middle East indiscriminately?

            As suspicious as it looks, I think it's just really, really bad luck. But then again, maybe I need to get with the times and be a little more paranoid.

            • by F34nor (321515) * on Monday February 04, 2008 @04:45AM (#22288994)
              Well for one thing you may be mistaking the culprit.

              Al-Qaeda's main enemy is not the US. It is Arab countries who are not conservative enough. 9-11 was about getting the US out of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA,) not about freedom or anything a vague as that. If Al-Qaeda was able to cut off Internet service to the KSA, UAE, Qatar, and etc. that would be a huge coup for Al-Qaedi. What do they object to? They object to, anything that allows people to question their limited ultra-wahabi dogma. Currently UAE is the official named target of Al-Qaeda's wrath.

              Don't forget the largest US base in the region is in Qatar.
              • by kklein (900361) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:38AM (#22289656)
                Indeed. There's nothing worse to an al-Qaeda type than a sane and prosperous Arab Muslim state. Countries like the UAE show that Islam is not the culprit; idiots and assholes are. As usual.
                • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Monday February 04, 2008 @05:01PM (#22298510) Homepage Journal

                  Countries like the UAE show that Islam is not the culprit; idiots and assholes are. As usual.
                  Whether we're talking about Terrorist Organizations (eg Al Quaeda) or The Countries That Hate Them (eg The US of A), it's always the idiots and asswholes (eg Dick/DubYah/Osama/etc) to blame.

                  The vast majority of the respective populations are not irrational, psychotic and unstable.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dhasenan (758719)
                Al Qaeda has the resources to cut undersea cables? The easiest way to do it would be a waterproof casing for a bomb, but you'd have to find exactly where the cables are, and that's not easy. Fifty feet off and nothing happens. With GPS, you have an accuracy of fifty feet unless you've got a military decoder. So you end up having to carpet bomb the ocean floor. By now, the US media would be burbling over with news of these cables having been destroyed by bombs, indicating terrorists.

                The US certainly has the
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Maxo-Texas (864189)
                  It seems to me that these cuts could be done for a million a piece.

                  They are the perfect asymetrical target.

                  Given a man, a saw, a speedboat, a scuba suit and time (to search for the cable), this seems trivial. From what I've heard, one cable leaves out of a particular town (which I know but will leave out here) in california that serves most of india.

                  And it is not like these are heavily armored cables. You are basically looking at the same problem as the pipelines in south america. Something easy to destr
    • Re:Cue... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sangloth (664575) <MaxPande AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:43AM (#22287838)
      Although I can't pretend to explain what happened with the cables, I think it's safe to say that we aren't going to war with Iran in the immediate future. It would be political suicide for any politician who supported it, (the Iraq war is no longer popular with the electorate), and we are headed to an election. If we wanted to turn up the war machine, Iraq and Afganistan both offer locations to do it at.

      Sangloth
      I'd appreciate any comment with a logical basis... it doesn't even have to agree with me.
      • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by J'raxis (248192) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:45AM (#22287856) Homepage

        It would be political suicide indeed, for a politician to start a war shortly before an election -- in which he was running. Bush isn't.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DrEldarion (114072)
          No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by bikerider7 (1085357)

            No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory.
            If another war was started, Democrats would line up in support. Gotta support the troops.
            • by dch24 (904899)
              Watch the media... they are a fairly good indicator of what Democrats are thinking.

              Republican neo-cons (my mouth feels foul, saying that) are much harder to predict. You generally only see them publicly when they are reacting.
            • by Sangloth (664575)
              Howard Dean, an essentially unknown politician with no following gained a very large amount of donations. I think reasonable people would agree that what made Dean attractive to all the donor's was that Dean was consistently against the Iraq war from day 1. While Dean did eventually fail to be nominated, his success at fund-raising had attracted the attention of other democrats. Look at Hillary's vocal defense during this election that she was not in fact voting for the war, but further action through the U
              • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Funny)

                by rucs_hack (784150) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:48AM (#22288312)
                I'd appreciate any comment with a logical basis...

                You do know where you are, right?

                it doesn't even have to agree with me.

                Ah, I see the answer may be yes.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by SL Baur (19540)

                Given how a seemingly clear cut reason to war (WMD) has been undercut, I think no democrats and few republicans would fund another pre-emptive war.

                Sadly, that's not the sense I'm getting. Of the candidates still running, only Ron Paul is anti-war and the Republicans appear to have successfully placed the meme that the preemptive war in Iraq is necessary for "safety".

                Obama is never going to be nominated, for reasons I posted eight years ago on another forum. He is being advised in foreign affairs by Zbignew Brzezinski (if I spelled that right, w00t!) and even if he is nominated and wins will be pro-war. Hillary! must prove she has a bigger strap-on

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by demachina (71715)
            "No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory."

            Not if you manage an effective propaganda campaign to con the American people in to thinking that they and their children are in imminent danger. It would be somewhat harder to do this time around because everyone is a little jaded from Iraq... It would still be quite possible to use an imagined threat from Iran to actually win an election as long as you are willing to ki
          • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by McFadden (809368) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:37AM (#22288228)

            No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory.
            The Neocons aren't Republicans by any definition of the term. They are a group of ultra-right extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party as a suitable vehicle to advance their cause. I don't think they care about what happens to the Republican Party - they're just hell-bent on carrying out as much of their destructive agenda as they can before Bush gets booted out, or (as some are predicting, although I don't believe it will happen) they declare martial law.
            • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by freedom_india (780002) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:41AM (#22288260) Homepage Journal

              They are a group of ultra-right extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party as a suitable vehicle to advance their cause.
              Why do i keep remembering William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" book?
              Somehow i have a Deja Vu sense...

              I bet EUR 100 (to be donated to Doctors without borders) that before this year runs out, we will have another major war with another country.

              Anybody willing to dare?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by anagama (611277)
            Not true. Hillary Clinton would be there to help get the bloodshed going.
      • by omeomi (675045)
        Although I can't pretend to explain what happened with the cables, I think it's safe to say that we aren't going to war with Iran in the immediate future. It would be political suicide for any politician who supported it

        Technically speaking, I'm pretty sure Bush can *start* a war without having to get approval from Congress. Continuing it requires congressional approval, but we've all seen how hard it is to stop a war once it's going...
        • I thought so too, and I remember a figure of 90 days being mentioned, but I can't seem to find the relevant passage in the Constitution.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Oswald (235719)
            I can't tell if you're being facetious or not. The law you're talking about isn't in the Constitution (and is considered by many an abdication of Congress's Constitutionally-mandated duty); it's the War Powers Resolution of 1973 [wikipedia.org].
    • by _merlin (160982)
      Either they're preparing for war or the conspiracy theories about the NSA installing wiretaps are true... Or maybe there's a design flaw in modern submarine cables that's just causing things to fail now, but that's probably just wishful thinking.

      I hope this is just a bizarre coincidence. I really don't want to see World War III. I wish the US would stop trying to impose themselves on the rest of the world. It's cost too many lives already. I was hoping that within the year Bush would be out of office a
      • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:02AM (#22287994) Homepage Journal

        I wish the US would stop trying to impose themselves on the rest of the world.

        I don't think this is the U.S. The U.S. would make sure to cut all the cables at once, therefore ensuring maximum disruption and surprise at the time of the attack. The way this is being done is slow and relatively uncoordinated. Which suggests either a probing maneuver or a lack of resources.

        The U.S. is fairly straightforward with its objectives. The brass doesn't like taking things slowly when it comes to war. The plan is to get in, blow stuff up, rebuild the critical infrastructure, then leave. It doesn't always work that way (e.g. Iraq), but it is the ideal scenario that every General and Admiral desires. Long and protracted wars are far too costly. Not just to the U.S. itself, but also on a personal level for the brass.

        Which raises the question: Who would gain from slowly cutting international Internet access in the Middle East? The myriad of plausible answers contrasted with the lack of any solid suspects scares me a hell of a lot more than any U.S. military operations. IMHO, it's in the best interest of the U.S. to find out what is going on NOW. Something big may be coming down the pipeline in the middle east. If and when it comes, it's not going to be pleasant.
        • Why not them? I can see them railing against all the infidel ideas that are carried thru the web/T.V./etc, but then again, they also use the internet heavily to recruit, and communicate with their future recruits.
          Any other players looking to make a hit? Countries vs groups?
          China - they need oil, and are thinking of themselves as a, if not the superpower.
          Russia looking to exert more influence?

          Which countries are most affected by the black outs. Do they benefit Iran, or maybe Israel

          Coincidence (probably n
        • by emj (15659)

          he plan is to get in, blow stuff up, rebuild the critical infrastructure, then leave. It doesn't always work that way (e.g. Iraq)


          1. Vietnamn
          2. Korea
          3. Somalia
          4. Iraq
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:32AM (#22288196)
          The last thing you want to do is alert the enemy that they have a potential problem and give them time to fix it. For example suppose you discovered that all military telephones were routed through a single building in a country you were going to attack. The system was supposed to have some redundancy, but they didn't know that it ends up all relying on the one centre. So what you do then is hit it coinciding with the start of your attack. Suddenly, all their communications are down and they are being attacked. Makes it hard to deal with either.

          What you don't do is send in some guy to much with it, take their communications down, then do nothing, then still do nothing as they fix it and start to work on alleviating the problem in the future. That is even less useful than just leaving it alone.

          As a precursor to military action, something like this makes sense only if idiots are running the show. Not only is it going to do no real good (who gives a shit if civilians can't get on the Internet? It is the internal military links that are the issue) but it makes it less likely that any sort of complete blackout would be achieved. I guarantee the companies involved in this aren't just going to fix the cable and go "Ok well that'll probably never happen again." They are going to try and figure out why this happened, and what can be done to prevent it.
          • It would also make sense if they cut the lines to install taps elsewhere on the lines.

            The enemy thinks the problem is gone and is even less likely to audit the communications system.

            Both strategies have their place, but you get much more information if the enemy thinks their communications are secure than you do by blowing everything up.
      • by masdog (794316)
        I realize this is Slashdot, and everything runs with an anti-American bent around here these days, but you're ignoring several other possibilities that are just as likely as a botched attempt at installing fiber taps or the prelude to a war.
    • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ivan256 (17499) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:44AM (#22287852)
      It does seem like it's not coincidence, but I just don't see the link between this and an attack on Iran. What could possibly be the connection between two cables in Egypt, and us bombing Iran? Do you honestly think that people within the agency that created this network are foolish enough to think that even several more of these cuts will stop the flow of traffic? It's more likely that a middle eastern group is doing this to reduce western influence without any real grasp on just how resilient the network is.
    • Other possibilities (Score:3, Interesting)

      by michaelmalak (91262)

      Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action

      There are other possibilities. Recall that the FBI shut down [bbc.co.uk] Muslim websites hosted in Texas on Sep. 7, 2001. Depending on who you think was responsible for 9/11, it could have either been a futile attempt to prevent 9/11, or a successful attempt to keep Muslims from organizing a peaceful or violent protest against being blamed for 9/11. Since I am in the latter camp, I was pleasantly surprised that the Superbowl we

      • It's not just Fat Tuesday, it's Super Tuesday: as of Tuesday half of the delegates to each presidential primary will be selected, and it's not impossible that we will have the winning candidates all but certain.
    • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by djdavetrouble (442175) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:55AM (#22287938) Homepage
      You're not thinking outside of the tin-foil box.
      These are obviously failed attempts to tap internet traffic.
      The NSA has long been rumored to be able to live splice [zdnet.com]
      undersea fibre optic cables.
      • by thogard (43403)
        I can do live splices about 10% of the time without the link going down on 10 gig optics without the right tools on dry land.
      • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:56AM (#22288370) Journal
        These are not failed attempts--these are diversions. It is hard to splice in without intercepting service, so the purpose of these is to make a splice further down the line indetectable. The splice goes in while service is out, then the diversion cuts are repaired and no one is the wiser.
        • [citation needed] (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grym (725290) *

          Now how do you know that? Has the NSA, CIA, or DOD ever wrote an article or given an interview on the trials and tribulations of tapping undersea lines? Or are you just confidently bullshiting on how you think it might work based upon your simplistic understanding of the matter?

          Well, let me tell you how I think it works, based upon mine. I think that the providers localize the spot of the outage by communicating to the series of regenerators both sides of the cut. Then they further estimate where the

    • Iran's enemies are currently all more Internet-savvy than Iran.

      Severing Iran's connections would hinder Iran's enemies' surveillance activities more than Iran.
    • by Casandro (751346)
      Seriously, do you really think the US television would even report on it?
      Wars aren't that popular anymore, so it's probably not a good idea to brag about it in the media.

      The war will start soon, but probably the only tv station reporting about it will be Al Jazeera International.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by letxa2000 (215841)

      Nah... if bombs were about to start falling, their internal communications would be the targets--not their international connections. What are they doing to do, send an email to call for help to repel an attack? Plus the communications would be attacked pretty much simultaneously to an attack--not days ahead of the attack.

      I'd agree that someone is deliberately doing this, but I don't think it's the U.S. and I don't think it's a precursor to an attack on Iran. There's just very little military value in

    • Re:Cue... (Score:5, Funny)

      by kestasjk (933987) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:30AM (#22288190) Homepage

      ...the bombs in 3... 2... 1...

      Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action, or a direct attack on Iran's about-to-launch Euro-based oil market?

      4 cuts, as far as I am concerned, is no co-incidence. I literally expect to turn on the TV and see bombs falling any day now. Economy down, turn up the war machine. It really is a common historical sequence.

      I think it's going to be the end of the world. The four horsemen draw near. OMG FOUR horsemen?! Coincidence? I don't think so.
  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:37AM (#22287796) Journal
    Sounds like a concerted effort to isolate muslim nations, to me. Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE. We're looking for airplanes aiming for buildings and they're attacking the world under the sea with a pair of clippers and a web cam.
  • !coincidence
  • by AchiIIe (974900) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:46AM (#22287860)
    RTFA: The cable was not cut, it was taken offline due to power problems.

    > the problem is related to the power system and not the result of a ship's anchor cutting the cable, as is thought to be the case in the other three incidents.
    • by SEWilco (27983) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:51AM (#22287900) Journal
      Don't interrupt us with facts!
    • mod parent up: 1000, Informative
    • by nysus (162232)
      Thanks for posting. Saved me for screaming RTFA!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jamesh (87723)
        That's the thing about slashdot. I could have pretended to post an excerpt that read "the US acknowledged that at least 2 of the 'broken' cables were caused by failed attempts to splice and intercept communications", and at least 2 people would have believed it!
    • by n dot l (1099033) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:03AM (#22288010)
      The entire sentence you quoted from is:

      The cause of damage is not yet known, but ArabianBusiness.com has been told unofficially the problem is related to the power system and not the result of a ship's anchor cutting the cable, as is thought to be the case in the other three incidents.
      So it's really a question of what "damage" means in this case. Are we talking about a mundane problem that happens on a regular basis (which was only reported due to all the other links going down at around the same time) or did a component that almost never fails suddenly break down under mysterious circumstances?

      Not to run against the whole "this could mean only one thing" meme, but I think it's just as likely that some old hardware sitting at the ends of that cable got stressed past its breaking point because having the other links down finally pushed it past its limits.
    • RTFA: The cable was not cut, it was taken offline due to power problems.

      Back-atcha. The article states that the cable may be offline due to power problem, not that it was taken offline. A rather significant difference. If you don't mind, I'm going to privately freak a bit until we find out who or what caused all these outages. If it's just incompetence, I'll be a happy panda. (Not to mention rolling my eyes at the all-to-common situation.) If it's more than just that...

      Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action. The fourth? The fourth is a testament to the Internet's ability to withstand damage. Even if it is the coincidence out of the bunch, that doesn't preclude enemy action. Quite the contrary, I'm afraid. :-/
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by edwardpickman (965122)
      Still a hell of a coincidence and I have to say where is the info coming from that it's down for maintainence? Same claim was made in California when there was the power crisis. They just happen to schedule the down time to coincide so there was a shortage. If it was one cut cable and one down for service I wouldn't blink, four and Occam's Razor says there's more going on here than a one in a billion coincidence. The problem is if nothing major happens we may never know why service was interrupted but I'm h
  • Oh no. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChePibe (882378) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:49AM (#22287880)
    Underwater backhoes.

    The last safe spot for the network admin has been found - and destroyed.
  • Testing the system.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GregPK (991973) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:50AM (#22287890)
    If you think about it long-term.

    If you are a terrorist and you want to cause mass chaos. How would you do it?

    You'd most likely want to create some form of confusion or distraction before hitting your main target.

    I'd think this a precursor to a bigger plot. If I was thinking along these lines I'd be cutting them and seeing what the end results are. If I could label and see which ones do what and invoke certain responses then I'd wait before doing it again. The next time I'd probably create something that acted via a timer. This way I could attack, destroy communications, then attack again creating chaos and confusion. Through a very specific set time.

    However, the counter arguement here is that anything they can do to the LAN cables we could easily counter-act with wireless transmission as Satellites are more than capable of carrying the necessary data for communication. This pretty much only isolates the European world from the internet, which isn't going to do much on the grand scheme of things.

    The Plot is probably thicker but not much by my guess. Unless the NSA is using the downtime to break the cable elsewhere and run off thier own data spying cable via the lines. I doubt it..
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Kamel (813292)
      I think you are severely overestimating the technological level of "terrorists".
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I would think terror would be less effective without the internet around to help spread the news. If a bomb goes out in california, people in new york would be a lot more panicked with their internet on than with it off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cavac (640390)
      However, the counter arguement here is that anything they can do to the LAN cables

      What do you mean by LAN cables? Like CAT5 through the ocean? While the mediteranean sea isn't exactly huge, i wouldn't call it a "local area network".

      This pretty much only isolates the European world from the internet,
      Really? When did this happen? I didn't notice it happening to me....

      Anyway, a big blackout would likely isolate the US from the rest of the world, given most network infrastructure goes through europe an
  • Order of Battle (Score:5, Informative)

    by AtomicSnarl (549626) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:52AM (#22287910) Homepage
    From Sun Tzu (IIRC):

    1. Attack the plan - Futility
    2. Attack the alliances - Division
    3. Attack the resources - Frustration
    4. Attack the army in the field - Attrition
    5. Attack the cities - Destruction

    The costs increase with each step, which is why the cities are last. Good, proactive intellegence and operatives can prevent things from happening. If not, they can foul things up so they can't happen. Communications is a resource, so it looks like step 3 is on the table.
  • I know that every time there's an internet outage at our university it's usually a backhoe. Backhoes are the natural enemy of the Internet. Anyway, this is disturbing and fascinating at the same time. The reason why the Internet was design the way it was so that it could survive an nuclear war even if the networks became fragmented. In a way this is an interesting test of the design, but it does have disturbing overtones given that it's happening in the Middle East. That being said I think there are three p
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:10AM (#22288058)
    ... and the NSA to wiretape the Intarweb from internaional waters. Sounds crazy, I know, but no more so than 4 "accidents" in a week. Mark my words, there are black-ops undersea stations anchored to the bottom ocean. Damn, there's a book in there somewhere...
  • To me, cutting cables seems like something some people in the U.S. government would do, testing its control over communications before invading a Muslim country. In the past few months, the U.S. government has been trying to get people excited about invading Iran, for example. I've taught Iranian students English as a volunteer, and people from other countries, too, and I can tell you from personal experience that many Iranians are very good people. I think the attempt to demonize them is extremely dishones
  • It could be a coincidence that four cables got cut. It could also be a coincidence that we see a clear increase in the propaganda from the "coalition" right now that the connectivity for the "enemy" is poor...
  • by afabbro (33948) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:21AM (#22288138) Homepage
    ...that the Old Ones are finally stirring. Must be part of that Cthulhu For President 2008 campaign.
  • Scrap metal? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I imagine these cables are worth a lot in scrap metal terms. Is it possible that this is all some crazy thieves in it for the money?
  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:30AM (#22288188)
    It's not an overly elaborate promotional thing for a Middle-East release of Cloverfield is it?

    I mean, we're all getting bored of the alternate reality web thingies these films do to hype themselves before release, so it sort of makes sense to kick it up a notch (bam!)
  • Iran's Oil Bourse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lekker biltong (1117517) on Monday February 04, 2008 @01:43AM (#22288270) Homepage
    According to Wikipedia, Its Oil Bourse is going live on 1-11 February after delays [wikipedia.org].

    Is it a coincidence?

    I think not.

  • by hhawk (26580) on Monday February 04, 2008 @02:02AM (#22288412) Homepage Journal
    There are four very clear reasons why no nation would want to tap into four high speed data cables.. namely to get access to the data they would need 4 more cables to bring the data back to their "office."

    They could someone reroute some of the data on the cable and even use stolen or leased lines on the existing cable for their purpose... but they couldn't steal all of the signal without a way of back hauling home (to their office).

    England has always spied on all the data it could get its hands on and the US and every other country that can, probably does as well..

    My guess if these cuts are connected it's more to force the data to route through specific nodes that anything else, and as I have said elsewhere since phone calls run on these same cables, they might not be even after internet data. Perhaps someone wants to catch someone calling home...
  • Fun with Bayes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Monday February 04, 2008 @06:18AM (#22289290)

    Today we are going to use Bayes's theorem to determine the likelihood that all of this disabling of cables is malicious. We are not calculating the likelihood of conspiracy, just how likely it is that someone out there is disabling cables with ill purpose. (Of course, how many people does it take to disable or cut a cable with malicious intent? One? Two? More than one is by definition a conspiracy.)

    First, we need a prior. Lets assume that the likelihood that someone is out there was planning to maliciously disable a cable before this latest round of disabling was about 0.0001. That's going to be our prior, 0.0001. Not very likely, and hopefully not too contentious. At this point, it doesn't really matter too much what the prior is, just that we have one. We'll see that after a few rounds of calculations, this prior washes out pretty quickly.

    Now, lets assume that any time a cable is disabled, it is only about a 1% chance that said cable was disabled with malicious intent. Considering that historically these cables are cut or disabled only once a year, this assumption means that every 100 years, some asshole (or some assholes, for the tin foil hat crowd) is going to go out there and maliciously disable a cable. I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation. I mean, every hundred years, someone burns a church, or knocks over a skyscraper with a plane, or invades a country for no good reason whatsoever. Could these cables be special in that regard? For the sake of argument, lets assume they are not special and are subject to the once-in-a-hundred-year rule.

    Now, we need to guess how likely it is that, if someone (or some people, for the conspiracy theorists) is indeed disabling cables maliciously, how many cables could he (or they, for the conspiracy theorists), cut per day? I'm thinking 0.5. In other words, every other day this person or people could cut a cable. The 0.5 number means that it is easy for a properly motivated entity who also has the proper means to cut cables.

    Remember, there is only a 1/365 chance that a cable will be cut on any given day due to an accident. We'll need to remember this to calculate the posteriors after a cable wasn't disabled back on Day 3.

    Okay, if we are all on agreement on the numbers so far, we are ready to do some Bayesian arithmetic to determine the likelihood of malicious intent.

    Day 0 (before any cables disabled): 0.0001 likelihood
    Day 1 (cable disabled): 0.0476644 likelihood
    Day 2 (cable disabled): 0.7144896 likelihood
    Day 3 (NO disabling): 0.5444762 likelihood
    Day 4 (cable disabled): 0.9835428 likelihood
    Day 5 (cable disabled): 0.9996654 likelihood

    In conclusion, the same math that runs your spam filter predicts (99.967% likely) that someone is up to something disabling all of these cables. Conversely, we have only a 0.033% expectation that all this disabling is coincidental [slashdot.org].

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

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