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Bad to Worse: Fifth Undersea Cable Cut in Middle East

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posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 02:45 AM
Latest brief from my company as of Monday 04/02/08:

Last week, we told you about two major incidents on submarine cables, that impacted a number of our customers. Here's an update...


SEA ME WE 4 and Flag cable systems suffered multiple-submarine cable breaks in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday 30 January.

We’ve re-routed our customers’ services onto alternative cable systems, and services continue to operate as normal.

To date, there is no information on how this cable broke. We're keeping the Major Incident team on point and are closely monitoring the cable fix situation and restoration paths.


On Friday 1 February, Flag suffered a break on its FALCON cable system between Dubai and Oman.

Flag had also previously suffered from a break on its cable between Oman and Iran - which is still to be repaired. As both of these cables were broken, it wasn't immediately possible to re-route services.

Our Major Incident team worked closely with Flag, and by Friday evening we'd successfully re-routed our customers' services onto alternative cable systems.

However on Sunday morning at 05:03 GMT, there was a small disruption to the restoration path. This caused a temporary loss of service to some of our customers. Service was fully restored at 06:49 GMT.

The Major Incident team will continue to monitor the situation, keeping a close watch on the restoration paths.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 03:19 AM
reply to post by West Coast

not the USA - once you leave US servers then - well they don`t control them do they.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 03:28 AM

Originally posted by West Coast
Riddle me this. Who owns the internet?

The internet isn't a "thing" to own. The internet as you understand it is merely a protocol for computers to talk to each other. The actual networks and hardware are seperate and independent of the internet.

The actual hardware and links are the same links used for all global communications, be they voice, data or what have you. These are owned by the myriad of private and state owned firms around the world.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 03:47 AM
Even if the 'middle east' was cut off from the internet, its all just where you're point of view sits.

For example, the cable cuts (whatever the reason) only would have broken connection 'between' the middle east and west - not taken the middle east 'offline'. Has anyone thought that the middle east would see the 'cut' as the West not having internet access? Like the glass of water is half empty or half full - Depends how you perceive it.

The cut doesn't bring down the internal infrastructure of the networks in Iran / Middle East, its more so of a separation of East vs West.

To us - they lost internet, to them, we have lost internet. Either way, its the propaganda machine at work. This does not mean to say that the separation would not be a form of tactical move to prevent east information getting out into the west if sh*t were to hit the fan.

I recall when I worked for an Internet Security Firm, a Trojan Horse by the name 'QAZ' was very cleverly written - even news articles stating it was developed by a harder programming language (C++ If I recall?), something that the 'average' script kiddie never used at the time, as they were more into the Borland Delphi or Visual Basic styles of programming.

Analysing the trojan, the IP address that the data was being sent to was a supposed 'Chinese' hacker, yet when doing analysis of the trace route (path of traffic to hacker) it was interesting to note that all the traffic from Western Australia would route through the USA before it went anywhere else through a small bottleneck ...located at Redmond! (Home of Microsoft). What I found interesting is that the data never actually furthered from the US borders, it never left american soil, it never reached China. It was propaganda. What was also interesting is that we developed traffic filtering software - it is entirely possible that the data going through Microsoft servers was 'sniffed' and collected. There was a small conspiracy on technology forums that the QAZ trojan originated from pirated Windows 2000 operating systems only, however was never proven.

What was even MORE interesting, is that Microsoft was 'hacked' by the author of the trojan horse itself - or so it was reported. Information about Windows and future code was supposedly stolen. BS.

The internet is not a 'web' as its supposed to be. Its strategically designed for filtering, control, and of course, have systems designed to contain anything that would not be in the interest of the West.

I also think that just like 'War of the World' newscast by Orson Welles in 1938, that this is a 'test' to see if such control is possible in the case of an emergency.


posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 03:52 AM
reply to post by Im a Marty

Whilst I see what your hinting at with the ME cut off/West cut off angle, but from our point of view, there has been no disruption, as we have full bandwidth and full connectivity to all DNS servers and web sites. From their point of view, they have limited bandwidth to anything outside their immediate geographic area and very limited connectivity to DNS services, limiting further their internet connectivity. Available Bandwidth for the ME is down by as much as 70%-80%, slowing traffic to a crawl.

EDIT: Don't forget, they lost telephony as well as data connectivity. This isn't all about this amorphous "internet" everyone seems to think exists.

[edit on 7/2/08 by stumason]

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 03:58 AM

From their point of view, they have limited bandwidth to anything outside their immediate geographic area and very limited connectivity to DNS services, limiting further their internet connectivity.

I think that is what I was trying to say... That they themselves have their internal infrastructure intact - but connection outside their own networks would be cut off or a limited
. Of course DNS and majority .com's and other countries outside the middle east area takes a high percentage of internet users / servers around the world - so even if it were a separation, more than likely a huge percentage of sites would be 'access denied'.


posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 04:09 AM
Here are some links from other threads on the subject. This one is about how the FBI shut down Muslim websites just before 911.

And here’s a link about undersea communications being cut as a prelude to war in the past.

I haven’t completely ruled out natural causes being the reason for the outages, for many of the reasons that Stormdancer’s thoughtful posts point out. I think we all know that the attack on Iran is coming though, and this could certainly be a harbinger.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 04:17 AM
This is a strange occournce...

I could have bought that one or two cables had been 'adcidently' cut by a anchor... but this is obsurd...

The most obvious thought that comes to mind is that this is a step towards battle, as it is not a strange thing to cut the comunications of the enemy...

I just dont know what to make of the situation...

Mabye we, the public, will know what has hapen here, mabye looking back after a few weeks, it will all make sense...

... but right now... any therory is as good as the next....

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 05:46 AM
Terrorist, hahahah. Your mean to say the US and little US or Israel are to blame. Also check on Irans oils trade that was going to happen Tuesday. Oil for anything BUT American dollars, I guess the deciders weren't having that. Can trade oil online with no internet, or look at porn. What a shame.

Prepare yourselves, it is coming.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 08:21 AM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

thanks stormdancer-- your input could well be the answer to all these cable breaks at approximately the same time.

when i worked with laying electrical cables in dirt trenches in cold locations i always snaked the cable leaving lots of slack the whole way so as to allow for earth movement.

this i learn't thru experience after having to go behind others and make repairs to their singing tight point to point cable runs that ended up eventually pulling out of the box connections at the two ends.

some electricians are tight wads and figure that its a waste of money to leave any slack.

if these 5 cables have been pulled apart by the african rift widening more i assume we should soon see some satellite info to verify this.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 08:40 AM
Normally I wouldnt be this sceptical, but didnt the US recently pose a view that the internet needed to be tackled in the same way as a military enemy? Particularly as it is the primary and most efficient way for anti-american elements to communicate and spread propaganda. All circumstantial of course.....

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 09:13 AM
So what is the current amount of cable cuts to date? So far I have read as little as 4 and as many as 9. Anyone got any sources for how many cable lines have "coincidentally" failed?

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 09:35 AM
What are countries in the M.E. saying about all of this? Has Iran actually said anything?

So far my money is on Iran themselves. I think they want to disrupt the internet in their own country, then completely isolate themselves from the rest of the on-line world - a bit like a surgeon clamping off arteries before performing a bypass (probably medically inaccurate, but you get the point...). They probably want to do this for many reasons - stopping the west from spreading propaganda, stopping their own people from having thoughts of their own and being "infected" by western influence, and of course controlling (even more) what their own people get to see and hear. Isn't this what NK does? And we know Iran and NK share a lot.

If it is a prelude to an attack of some sort by the US or Israel then it's going to have to come very soon.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 09:55 AM
reply to post by Curio

That's a pretty far fetched theory. I somehow don't think Iran would shoot themselves in the foot on the eve of a paradigm change in the way oil is sold. I think it's more likely that the American investors in these private oil companies are behind this. What precipitated the 1953 overthrow of Mossadegh? BP not getting what they felt was their fair share of profits from the fields of Iran. Britain didn't want to act but America had no qualms about a coup. Friendly dictators with friendly prices.

This star wars quote keeps flashing through my mind:

A communications disruption can only mean one thing -- invasion.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 10:39 AM
Reading this link posted earlier about tapping undersea cables gave me a thought.

What if there were taps on the cables and somehow they failed which would cause what looks like a break in the cable?

From that article it sounds like nobody will talk about what tapping fiber actually involves and maybe it can't even be done? I've always thought about some kind of device that could sit passively on the outside of the cable and somehow see the light pulses like an xray machine almost. that article makes it sounds like the cable would be actually sliced open and fitted with a tap somehow without interrupting the transmission all underwater aboard a submarine. My thought was if there are taps maybe a seal failed etc.. leaking seawater in or something which would render the whole cable broken.

[edit on 7-2-2008 by warpboost]

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 11:17 AM

Friendly dictators with friendly prices.

love it, pretty much sums up US geo-strategy in the ME, may have to steal this!

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 11:22 AM
I received this today, it might be of interest to you.

Dear Customer,
In continuation of our previous updates, we are providing you progress status on the cable repair, the cable ship Raymond Croze vessel had arrived at the cable repair ground at 2130 UTC on 4th February 2008. The repair operation is in progress with the inspection and survey of the cable fault location (SMW4 Seg 4.1 off Alexandria) with full restoration is expected to be completed by 8th Feb, 2008.

Last night, we got communication from SMW4 consortium that they have found another fault in SMW4 cable system which is a shunt fault on SEG 4.7 between repeater R7401 and BU ANN 13KMs to 27KMs away from Annaba BU at a 3000 meters water depth. To repair this fault, same cable ship would get spares from Cantania depot and is expected to reach the cable ground by 13th Feb, 2008. Tests and repair would start from 13th Feb, 2008. The exact ERT will be notified by the SMW4 NOC later.

I omitted the contact information etc. from the quote as it's of no relevance to this discussion.

Seems like repairs are underway but there's so much to do with limited resources that it takes quite a while to even get started with a fault. I wouldn't be very surprised if, after fixing the abovementioned fault, there would be a third one, and a fourth one and... You get the idea.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 11:29 AM
I'm not sure if this had been mentioned in any of the posts before, but if you buy into the whole pole shift/PX theory, then wouldnt this match up perfectly due to all of the supposed shifting plates? Half of me wants to buy that excuse, but then the other half is thinking...its probably intentional damage. Who knows, its hard to tell.

The PX thing could account for freak bridge collapses and and crazy weather, but then you have to think, if this was sabotage, isnt that above and beyond a black ops job? Is the destruction of world internet infrastructure part of the game? If that is the case then we are looking at some NWO type world policing which is very bad in my opinion.

Then there is the whole notion of a USO causing the damage. Thats a tough stance to take given the fact that aside from eyewhitness accounts, which are very good in their own right, a USO has never been caught on film. It would be pretty hard to hold them accountable for the destrcution unless you have solid evidence. Not gonna happen anytime soon.

It will be interesting to see what transpires as a result of this, and what/who the culprit really was.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 12:29 PM

Originally posted by warpboost
Reading this link posted earlier about tapping undersea cables gave me a thought.

From that article it sounds like nobody will talk about what tapping fiber actually involves and maybe it can't even be done?

I posted that article and from my understanding of it, what they claim the major difficulty is is "making sense of so much data" that goes through the cables.

But I found here a very interesting analysis.

> The article points out that even if they can tap the cable, there's another problem: making sense of that much data.

I think the later argument is just as disengenuous as the late 60's Bell System officials who said exactly the same thing about the open unencrypted microwave radio telephone links of that era. Both those microwave links and the undersea fibers contain highly structured and organized information streams - individual voice channels, T1s, T3s, IP streams, wideband data circuits are not at all difficult to extract from the composite traffic and mapping the layout of the whole river of information is by no means overwhelmingly difficult (and might be aided by quiet help from the carriers or individual employees of the carriers). And the mapping tends to be pretty static over time, or at least to change in predictable ways. Finding and recording the most interesting circuits is by no means an insurmountable task - nor is filtering out most of the stuff that isn't interesting. The only hard problem is if the NSA insists on groveling through absolutely everything sent, but this is true of their problem in general these days and not just special to undersea cables. And clearly the right undersea cables contain an awful lot of useful stuff if you are the NSA...

Also, a major difficulty would be how to send 'home' all the information you just got from a tap on an underwater cable, which is also discussed on that page:

The much more interesting problem that gets rather short shrift in the WSJ article is how the real time time critical intercepts get from a submarine hiding in stealth 1200 feet under the ocean to Fort Meade and then to policy makers. Some fraction of the traffic is still interesting after weeks or months when tapes or disks can be flown back to Fort Meade but much more of it is only useful if it is available within seconds or minutes during a crisis and not weeks or months later. Traditional microwave radio and satellite intercepts get back to Fort Meade or the RSOCs in milliseconds but as more and more traffic flows through cables that can only be tapped by hiding billion dollar nuclear submarines a lot of the timeliness of NSA operations goes away.

And an email is posted on that page saying something, which is pretty obvious but not a lot of people have been talking/thinking about it, and also resolves the problem of taping underwater cables and sending 'home' the intelligence gathered:

One key point everyone seems to have missed: more than 90% of the world's submarine cables make landfall at least once on the territory of a UKUSA nation, where tapping is a lot easier, particularly if the owner of the cable is cooperative. And there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that cooperation has taken place.

For example, much of the trans-Pacific cables' capacity is reserved for pass-through traffic, Asian traffic that is carried across North America and on to Europe, Africa or South America.

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 12:35 PM
reply to post by danx

Your last article sums up what I have been saying. It is far easier (and in the case of UK law, it is cumpulsory for telco's to co-operate and remain secret) to tap transmissions at network nodes.

To go to the trouble and expense of attempting to intercept optical fibre in mid-ocean, without being figured out, is madness and impossible.

Although I have just found out that the UK operates ships similar to the USS Jimmy Carter, so the method is there. But again, all these trans0oceanic links make landfall in Allied nations, so the intercepts can be done there where it easier to break down traffic without being figured out.

You can, without being noticed, tap anything at the node. I can listen in to any call that traverse our network with a few commands and a headset. No one would know.

To cut a trans-oceanic cable, splice in a tap, make sense of the data and get it home, without being noticed, is impossible.

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