“to start sorry spelling sorry gramma.
ok its like this i recon… cut cable leading to information u want…
move away from severed point to another point on same cabel… sever
same cable again buy splice in your own info stealing apparatus…
wait for rich fat corps to fix there own cable again… nobody knows
your info is being intercepted and stolen… vwalla. thanks for
comming have a nice day.”
Posted by: annon | Feb 6, 2008 5:12:56 PM

“I got an anonymous IM from someone who works for Haliburton in the
mideast. He says there is 3 teams of techs that are installing taps on
the mideast internet backbones. They have to break the wire to install
the tap. Normally they synchronize their work so there’s no more than
one break every couple of days. What happened was they messed up the
dates. Someone wrote down the wrong dates, and they all broke cables
for taps right around the same time because they were rushing to get a
day off to watch the superbowl.”
Posted by: Johnny | Feb 6, 2008 6:10:52 PM

it’s been done before.
Look up “Operation Ivy Bells”.
Posted by: knowledgeable | Feb 7, 2008 2:25:02 PM

From Wired How-To Wiki

After two underwater cable cuts in the Middle East in early February
severely impacted countries from Dubai to India, alert netizens voiced
suspicions that someone — most likely Al Qaeda — intentionally
severed the cables for their own nefarious purposes, or that the U.S.
cut them as a lead-in to an attack on Iran.

Then two more cables failed in the same area, one in a segment
connecting Qatar to an island in the United Arab Emirates, and another
in a link between Oman and the UAE. The former wasn’t even a cut — it
was a power failure, but you can’t keep a good conspiracy theory down;
some news sites even began reporting incorrectly that Iran was cut off
from the internet.

So how to tell if your favorite Middle East country is still online?
Don’t believe the press — run a traceroute. This simple network
utility traces the hops internet packets take as they work their way
across the internet towards your destination. It also measures how
much time the journey from point A to point B takes, both in total and
for each hop between nodes. If your packets reach their intended
destination (which traceroute will tell you) then you’ll know if those
outage reports on Slashdot are legit or not.

What You’ll Need

* A live, unsevered internet connection
* Access to a command line tool on your computer (optional)
* A browser
* The address of a server somewhere in the destination country

Step 1: Find a Test Server

To do a proper traceroute, you’ll want to pick a server that’s
actually in the destination country. To check Iran, you could just use
a website with a .ir top level domain. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blog, for
example. However, there’s no guarantee that any particular site is
hosted by a server in the country its domain name indicates.
Corporations especially tend to have servers spread out over several
countries. Official government sites are almost always a sure thing.

Step 2: Trace It!

On a Windows PC

1. Click on the Start button and choose Run.
2. In the text box, type cmd. This will bring up a command line
3. Type tracert hostname, where “hostname” is the web address of the
server you want to test.
You can also use an IP address by typing tracert x.x.x.x, where the
“x.x.x.x” is replaced by the IP address of the server.
4. Watch the packets fly across the tubes.

On Mac OS X

You can use the same steps listed in the Windows section by typing the
commands into Mac OS X’s Terminal application. Alternatively, you can
use the Network Utility that’s installed on every Mac.

1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Network Utility.
2. Click on the Traceroute tab.
3. Enter the domain name or IP address of the destination server and
click Trace.
4. Watch the packets fly across the tubes.

Step 3: Analyze the Result

As your packets travel from point A to point B, you’ll see each hop
appear on its own line. Traceroute should display the address and name
of each server or router along the way and the amount of time
(measured in milliseconds) the packets take to travel between your
desktop and that particular node. Eventually, you’ll see your packets
reach their destination. Here’s an example of some raw traceroute

5 (  9.153 ms
8.324 ms  9.992 ms
6 (  8.640 ms (  15.416 ms (  19.954 ms
7 (  207.604 ms (  17.331 ms (  9.409 ms
8 (
185.547 ms  196.288 ms
(  214.908 ms
9 (  300.511 ms  295.637 ms  310.359
ms 10 (  299.642 ms  289.998 ms
289.825 ms
11 (  297.686 ms
302.144 ms  290.565 ms
12 (  308.476 ms  298.427 ms  299.402
13 (  292.028 ms  292.011 ms  292.007 ms
14  * * *
15 (  307.571 ms  328.233 ms  327.580 ms

The times displayed are 3 pings from your desktop directly to that
node, not the time its taking between the previous node and the
current one.

Asterisks (* * *) indicate a timeout. If you see a line with just
asterisks on it, that means that the hop between nodes took longer
than 200ms. Several lines of timeouts mean the packets are being held
up, clogged or lost somewhere along the way. Blame the terrorist group
or national intelligence organization of your choice.

* Note some points on the traceroute will show a timeout because
administrators have restricted pings, and this may not necessarily
indicate a fail point. If the destination host is reachable at all,
then failures will typically be sporadic as in: * 200ms * (2 timeouts
and 1 successful). #14 above would indicate that the node is just
blocked for pings.


* To make sure your packets actually reached a server in the
intended country, you can look up the destination IP address to
determine its location. Consult the ARIN WHOIS database to dig up a
server’s location info.

* Uri Raz’s webpage has several useful tips for determining the
geographic location of servers on the internet.

* You can also use tools like IP2Location or GeoBytes’ IP Locator
to find out where a server is physically located.

* Instead of verifying the location server after the fact, you can
start out by using one of the destination country’s domain servers. To
find one, visit the listing of Root-Zone Whois information maintained
by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and click on the country
you want to reach. Under the list of Domain Servers, look for the
server with the same top-level domain as the destination country.

Portions of this how-to guide originally appeared in a post by Ryan
Singel on Wired’s Threat Level blog. Also, thanks to Kevin Poulsen for
the traceroute data and the inspiration.


Submarine Cables, Subsidiares and Subversion

[UPDATE – 02/12/08 – The Complete Guide to the 2008 Internet Outage
has been finished. It contains the most up to date information
including detailed images and explanations to help unravel this cable
mess. Please check it out here]

First off, I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback that I
have received for my last post, which illustrated the locations of the
5 submarine cables that have been damaged over the past couple of
weeks. I’m glad to see that some news sites such as Slashdot featured
my post and that people are starting to take a critical look at what
is happening.

[UPDATE: this post was recently featured in the most recent Epic-Fu
video episode. Check out the video here, and join the discussion

That being said, I’m sure that everyone is eager to read the results
of my findings on why these cables may have been damaged, who has to
gain from the damages, and where we, as concerned citizens, should
start to look for answers.

Before I begin, I would like to point out that these findings are from
my own research. I am not accusing anyone of anything here. I am
simply providing a resource for the rest of the internet so that
people can start to investigate what may really be happening over
there. There are some facts out there that are just too big to ignore.
While I may not be the person capable of asking the big questions to
the right people, I can still provide information for the people who

First of all, I want to revisit the map of the cable damages that have
occurred over the past few weeks:,52.734375&spn=99.660056,166.992188&z=2&source=embed

We have been told by various organizations that these damages are
attributed to power failures or by an anchor being accidentally
dragged along the ocean floor during a storm. However, it doesn’t take
more than a 5th grade education to start to recognize that there may,
in fact, be a pattern to what we are seeing here. When something like
this occurs, it starts the mind roaming around the possibilities as to
why this may have occurred.

Well, there are a few possibilities. Here are the top 4 possibilities/
connections that this author was able to find in his research:

#4 – Big Telecom Companies

In talking to a network operations manager about the damages that have
been done to the cables, the first companies that he suggested, which
stand to gain from this type of damage, are the larger
telecommunications companies. Especially the land-based ones. Here’s
why: when a huge pipeline providing tons of information to a
particular area is damaged, re-routing almost always occurs before
repair. This means, that the companies which surround the outage or
are within the outage area stand to benefit from the sudden jump in
needed bandwidth.,142068-page,1/article.html

So, which companies have some ties into this mess? Well, there are a
few companies that popped up while doing my research. However, for the
scope of this article, let’s look at Verizon Business. To start things
off, Verizon partially owns the SeaMeWe-4 (along with AT&T) cable that
was severed. According to them the repairs could take days but they
were going to offer an alternative network as quickly as possible.
Alternative meaning, routing through somewhere else. How else might
Verizon be involved with this deal? Verizon Business has ownership in
many of the submarine cables that have been in recent news. In
addition, they began work in 2007 on a new cable that will render
others obsolete. The construction for this is supposed to complete
this year. (source) By Verizon Business’ own admission, they’re all
about getting global:

“Global Strategic Services Still Driving Solid Verizon Business
Growth…Global sales of strategic services such as IP, Ethernet and
managed services continued to accelerate dramatically during the past
quarter, exceeding declines in revenue on a year-to-date basis from
traditional core voice and data services. In the fourth quarter 2007,
strategic services generated $1.4 billion in revenue, up 25.1 percent
from the fourth quarter 2006.”

With all that said, it seems very likely that Verizon would very much
want these cables to be damaged. Whether it be to leverage their land-
based networks or to further increase the popularity of their new
cable, it’s hard to ignore the connections.
#3 – December 2007

In December of 2007, there were a few events that occurred related
directly to the damages that we have recently seen. While these events
may be unrelated and/or random, the correlation is hard to ignore.

December 1, 2007: Alcatel finished its merger with large U.S. telecom
company Lucent. Why does this matter? Alcatel provides hardware and
service to large telecommunications companies. In fact, according to
their Wikipedia entry they are a “leading provider of optical
transmission equipment, especially for submarine communications

December 20, 2007: Reliance Communications (FLAG) finishes the multi-
million dollar acquisition of U.S. based company Yipes. (source) Why
is this weird? Well, Yipes provides solutions for data warehousing and
multimedia communications transfer. This acquisition would bring, yet
another U.S. based company, tons of pull in the global
telecommunications environment:

“The combination of Yipes’ enterprise Ethernet services; the
private undersea cable system of FLAG Telecom, a subsidiary of
Reliance Communications; and Reliance’s commitment to expansion and
growth will enable the creation of a global service-delivery platform
with unmatched coverage and capability.”

December, 2007: Iran announced that they were freely trading oil
without the use of the U.S. dollar. More details about this a bit
later in the post.

While there were other notable events in the global telecommunications
field in 2007, December seemed to be particularly full of events that
could possibly be related to the recent submarine cable damages.

#2 – Reliance Communications and FLAG

First of all, you need to understand that Reliance Communications is
part of a large huge massive company that, grouped with Reliance
Telecom and Flag Telecom, makes up Reliance Communications Ventures.
They provide solutions for all kinds of telecommunication services for
India as well as other countries. As an example (and to tie them even
closer to the Middle East), in June of 2006, Reliance Communications
along with Orbit Communications Company launched RiTV in the Middle
East. This is an interactive multimedia solution including on-demand
entertainment and internet access.

Reliance Communications is the leading broadband service provider in
India and part of another massive group of companies known as the Anil
Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Together, they are delivering service to over
19 million subscribers. One of the companies belonging to this group
is called Reliance Power Limited (RPL). Here again, we see a direct
tie into a large mostly-considered U.S. company. It’s a little company
called Chevron.

How big of a stake does Chevron have here? How about a 5% (that can
increase to 29%) stake in RPL? (source) Why would Chevron be
interested in an Indian energy company? Jamnagar. That link leads to
the Wikipedia entry for the Indian state. That link, however, does not
talk about how important a role RPL plays in that state — important
read as: 650,000 barrels per day. But that’s just the refinery that is
currently there. RPL is working on a new refinery that will have a
capacity of 580,000 barrels a day. That’s 1,230,000 barrels of oil
money that will be coming out of Jamnagar every day. It is expected
that this refinery will be completed this year.

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is far too large to try and track down
the various connections that they may have to the Middle East, but,
being that it is one of the companies most tightly knitted into this
knot of submarine cable woes, they deserve a mention.

This brings us to the number 1 reason that this author has found which
could explain the recent submarine cable damages.

#1 – The Iranian Oil Bourse

Through the research that I have exhaustingly done over the past few
days, this is the one that has struck me as the most likely reason for
the damages that have occurred to submarine internet cables.

First, a bit of background. A bourse is a, typically European, word
which refers to a stock exchange. Great, so Iran is going to have
their own “oil stock exchange,” but why does this matter? The Iranian
oil bourse was going to be a stock market for petroluem,
petrochemicals and gas. What’s the big catch here? The exchange
planned on being ran with currencies excluding the U.S. dollar. If you
remember from earlier in the post, Iran stopped allowing purchases of
their oil with the U.S. dollar in December of 2007. So, obviously, the
U.S. is not going to be happy about this. The biggest piece of
information linking this to the recent damages is the proposed
location of the bourse: the island of Kish. This is the island that is
RIGHT NEXT TO at least two of the cuts that have recently occurred:

And the locations of the cable damages once more:

To make matters even more interesting, the bourse was scheduled to
open this month.

Some of you may suddenly be thinking to yourselves that this sounds
familiar. That’s because the last person who decided to stop using the
U.S. dollar for trading oil was a man by the name of Saddam Hussein in
the fall of 2000.

[UPDATE: To further add to this argument, this would not be the first
time the U.S. would have disrupted submarine cables to further
themselves in times of war or conflict.]
(Operation Ivy Bells)
(Previous NSA Submarine Wiretaps)

As I said before, these are bits of information that hopefully others
can use as a resource to determine the true cause of these massive
internet outages that we have seen over the last couple weeks. I am
not blaming one source or the other. I am simply helping to increase
the awareness of what may really be happening right under our noses.

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and
Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Albert

If you have additional information or updates to this, please drop me
a line. My email address is writer at


Cable Cut Fever Grips the Web
Are underseas telecom cable cuts the new IEDs?
BY Ryan Singel  /  February 06, 2008

Stephan Beckert of TeleGeography Research says it’s all a bit much:

“I’m much more worried about terrorists blowing up people than
cables,” Beckert said. “If you cut a cable, all you are doing is
inconveniencing a lot of people.”

Only the first two cuts had any serious impact on the internet, says
Beckert. Those cables near Alexandria, Egypt account for 76 percent of
the capacity through the Suez canal — connecting Europe with the
Middle East, North Africa and the India sub-continent.

Once those failures sensitized a conspiracy-happy net, it was natural
that other cable failures would be found to feed the frenzy, because
they occur all the time.

“Cable cuts happen on average once every three days,” Beckert said.
There are 25 large ships that do nothing but fix cable cuts and bends,
Beckert adds.

While any severed cable is a “cut” in the parlance of telecom, most
often they’re the result of cables rubbing against sea floor rocks,
eventually cutting through the copper shielding and exposing the thin
fiber optics inside.

Normally, netizens have no idea when there are cable cuts since large
providers instantly re-route communications through other cables.

“These outages don’t usually affect end users,” Beckert said. “For
example, Verizon doesn’t just have one link across the Atlantic, they
have seven, eight or nine they can route capacity on.”

Professional terrorist fear monger Annie Jacobsen says Middle Eastern
governments are lying about the real reason for the cuts. 9/11
truthers suggested the cuts came in preparation for a U.S. government-
faked terrorist attack on the Super Bowl. Bloggers have suggested that
the cuts are cover for the NSA installing taps on the lines using the
U.S.S. Jimmy Carter. The commander, though, seems to have an alibi.

That said, even some security experts who early on dismissed
suggestions of intentional sabotage are starting to get a little

Take Columbia University Professor Steven Bellovin, a computer
security and networking expert, for one:

As a security guy, I’m paranoid, but I don’t understand the threat
model here. On the other hand, four accidental failures in a week is a
bit hard to swallow, too. Let’s hope there will be close, open
examination of the failed parts of the cables.

Last week Todd Underwood, a vice president at internet analysis firm
Renesys, told THREAT LEVEL that outages are to be be expected. But on
Wednesday, he sounded a more cautious note.

“There’s a little cause to be suspicious but there is no smoking gun,”
Underwood said.

If the cuts were deliberate, one has to answer the question of means,
motive and opportunity. Since it’s not that hard to sever an
unprotected cable, the real question is motive, according to

“Its difficult to tell what the motive would be: is it just to annoy
people?” Underwood said. “If it were targeted, the targeting is bad.
The loonies on the American left say this was us targeting Iran. If
this is us targeting Iran, we are much worse than I thought we were.”

“Are we really targeting India or Pakistan?” Underwood asked

The real answer will likely come once the repair ships begin pulling
up the cable from the sea floor to repair it in the coming days and
weeks, according to Underwood.

“Then we will know quite a bit more,” Underwood said. “Does it look
like an anchor hit or did someone take an acetylene torch to it?”




Quoth the late, great Reverend Ivan Stang of the church of the
subgenius; Attributed and expanded…
“Of all conspiracy theories out there, there is one above them all.
All conspirators pay homage to it, be they the Yeti, the Men in Black,
the CIA, NSA, IRS, the Learned Elders of Zion and even the Reptillian
Overlords from Draco. This is known simply as “The Conspiracy”… What
is it? Simply put, the attack on Conspiracy theorists using the most
negative aspects of it. A person who compares the prices of three
‘competing’ phone companies and finds them similar becomes equated
with the person that calls the radio show and says that martians are
sending robots disquised as dogs but when you cut them open you see
blood and guts and stuff because of their ‘raydeo waves’…”
Posted by: Conspiracy! | Feb 6, 2008 2:45:52 PM

You wrote:
“There are not 8 confirmed cuts. Your type of “reporting” is exactly
why I had to write this post.”

There are ***EIGHT*** (or nine if you count the “unreported one from
Jan. 23).
Two off of Alexandria, Egypt
One in the Suez, Egypt
One off of Marseille, France
One off of Dubai, in the Persian Gulf
One off of Bandar Abbas, Iran in the Persian Gulf
One between Qatar and the UAE, in the Persian Gulf
One near Penang, Malaysia

Here they are:
THREE IN EGYPT – one running through the Suez to Sri Lanka; two near
“DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–A third undersea fibre optic cable running
through the Suez to Sri Lanka was cut Friday, said a Flag official.
Two other fiber optic cables owned by Flag Telecom and consortium SEA-
ME-WE 4 located near Alexandria, Egypt, were damaged Wednesday leading
to a slowdown in Internet and telephone services in the Middle East
and South Asia.”
Here’s number FOUR: “the other in the waters off Marseille, France,
telecommunications operators said.”
Here’s FIVE: Between Dubai and Oman
“Internet provider in UAE confirms undersea cable cut between Dubai,
Oman, cause unknown”
Number SIX: near Bandar Abbas, Iran (being avoided by major media as
it’s in IRAN and will really stoke conspiracy “theories”???)
“FALCON near Bandar Abbas in Iran and SeaMeWe-4”
“FALCON Segment 7a – Fault 1st February between BND (Bandar Abbas,
Iran) and KWI (Kuwait), we are waiting for ship to go out and it maybe
fixed before going out the fault on 7b – to be confirmed.”
“FALCON Segment 7b (Bandra Abbas – Al Seeb) – E-Marine continues to
await the permit to enter the Iranian waters and current forecast for
the ship to start a work is around 19th February.”
Number SEVEN: Between Qatar and the UAE:
“An undersea telecom cable linking Qatar to the UAE was reported
damaged on Friday”
“This is the third incident of its kind in the area since January 30
since the cables were first damaged in the Mediterranean and then off
the coast of Dubai, causing widespread disruption to Internet and
international telephone services in Egypt, Gulf Arab states and south
And, number EIGHT: near Penang, Malaysia
“SeaMeWe-4 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-4) near Penang,
Number NINE: “unreported”
“The first cut in the undersea Internet cable occurred on January 23,
in the Flag Telcoms FALCON submarine cable which was not reported.
This has not been repaired yet and the cause remains unknown,
explained Jaishanker.”
So, there ya have it. At least EIGHT, if not NINE.
Posted by: EIGHT CUTS! – Search them! | Feb 6, 2008 3:23:24 PM

While we’re all throwing out wild causal speculations on events that
are themselves speculative in nature, mind if I put in my two cents?
Responding to Mr. Underwood’s (initial) skepticism, say its not a
prelude to a US attack. And in light of Sen. Rockefeller’s comments
today re: the NSA’s global operations, maybe the aim wasn’t to take
out certain cables. Just make sure that only the right ones are left
for traffic to be re-routed to.
Either that or, if not a Seawolf sub engaged in shenanigans on the
seabed (as laid out in “Blind Mans Bluff”) perhaps a less-capable,
less-skilled regional power might be attempting similar shenanigans
this time around. Its likely only their failed taps would be detected
as cable failure, and the successful taps would likely remain
undiscovered, no?
But it’s probably just a simple fact that the world is become more
wired and more unmanageable with each passing year, and accidents WILL
Posted by: SPD | Feb 6, 2008 3:34:46 PM

Easy to say that Iran has internets, but the facts beg to differ:
Let’s all just hope this is not in preparation for GWB’s last and
worst criminal offense- war with Iran.
Posted by: PluriMediaGroup | Feb 6, 2008 3:36:42 PM

Has anyone considered this as part of an elaborate man in the middle
known text cypher attack aimed at manipulating financial transactions
by altering timecode stamps? Cable splicing often involves the use of
buffers that store data and retransmit it time delayed. A tiny
fractional time variation in a financial transaction can translate
into huge amounts of money if applied many times.
Posted by: Bruce Surly, Counterpain | Feb 6, 2008 3:39:03 PM

This one has Bush bin Laden written all over it, six ways from Sunday.
Lori R. Price
Mgr., Citizens For Legitimate Government
“Hi, mom, this is Mark Bingham… you believe me, don’t you?” Mark
Bingham – Sept. 11, 2001
Posted by: Lori Price | Feb 6, 2008 4:38:26 PM

Telegeography, Inc.? A division of Primetrica? WTF? Go to their
websites: and . Read their literature and tell me
they don’t look exactly like CIA front corporations or some such
Strategic, Analytic, Intelligence (all terms from their website)
Mr. Beckert, I think you are lying.
Posted by: Free | Feb 6, 2008 4:47:10 PM

They [Iran] haven’t had internet according to that webpage for a week.
(I’ve been watching too)
Posted by: Randy | Feb 6, 2008 4:56:25 PM

@ There are 8 –
You are counting the same cuts over and over. The 3 in the market
watch include the two from the Times article. The Times report on the
Marseille cut is very likely inaccurate and was really in Egypt as
every one else reported.
That takes 3 away from your count. No one will know how or why until
the cables get pulled up.
Posted by: Ryan Singel | Feb 6, 2008 5:00:30 PM

An unknown number of cables cut AND the Maharishi died today. What it
means, I don’t know but don’t speak to me of coincidence!
Posted by: Caesar Tjalbo | Feb 6, 2008 5:05:06 PM

to start sorry spelling sorry gramma.
ok its like this i recon… cut cable leading to information u want…
move away from severed point to another point on same cabel… sever
same cable again buy splice in your own info stealing apparatus…
wait for rich fat corps to fix there own cable again… nobody knows
your info is being intercepted and stolen… vwalla. thanks for
comming have a nice day.
Posted by: annon | Feb 6, 2008 5:12:56 PM

Connecting The Many Undersea Cut Cable Dots
1) one off of Marseille, France
2) two off of Alexandria, Egypt
3) one off of Dubai, in the Persian Gulf
4) one off of Bandar Abbas, Iran in the Persian Gulf
5) one between Qatar and the UAE, in the Persian Gulf
6) one in the Suez, Egypt
7) one near Penang, Malaysia
8) initially unreported cable cut on 23 January 2008 ( Persian Gulf? )

Three things stand out about these incidents:
1) all of them, save one, have occurred in waters near predominantly
Muslim nations, causing disruption in those countries;
2) all but two of the cut/damaged cables are in Middle Eastern waters;
3) so many like incidents in such a short period of time suggests that
they are not accidents, but are in fact deliberate acts, i.e.,

The evidence therefore suggests that we are looking at a coordinated
program of undersea cable sabotage by an actor, or actors, on the
international stage with an anti-Muslim bias, as well as a proclivity
for destructive violence in the Middle Eastern region. The question
then becomes: are there any actors on the international stage who
exhibit a strong, anti-Muslim bias in their foreign relations, who
have the technical capability to carry out clandestine sabotage
operations on the sea floor, and who have exhibited a pattern of
violently destructive policies towards Muslim peoples and nations,
especially in the Middle East region? The answer is yes, there are
two: Israel and the United States of America.
Posted by: bernard shakey | Feb 6, 2008 5:17:02 PM

Ryan, I’m so glad to read an article that looks at both sides and
makes sense.
You’re correct; if it’s with motive, then the attackers’ are idiots.
Now, if I hear that an EMP goes off in Iran, then well…..well I’m
sure I’ll never hear the end of it.
Posted by: Flomaster ’95 | Feb 6, 2008 5:22:43 PM

I got an anonymous IM from someone who works for Haliburton in the
mideast. He says there is 3 teams of techs that are installing taps on
the mideast internet backbones. They have to break the wire to install
the tap. Normally they synchronize their work so there’s no more than
one break every couple of days. What happened was they messed up the
dates. Someone wrote down the wrong dates, and they all broke cables
for taps right around the same time because they were rushing to get a
day off to watch the superbowl.
Posted by: Johnny | Feb 6, 2008 6:10:52 PM

The cable cuts are designed to disrupt the Iranian Oil Bourse.
Posted by: Richard | Feb 6, 2008 6:14:23 PM

The tally is in. Johnny is our runner up for second funniest post with
“‘Anonymous Haliburton IM.” The funniest goes to ….
dorkhero for “bite marks”! Congratulations to our winners the rest of
you need to try harder next time.
Posted by: Simon | Feb 6, 2008 6:49:50 PM

The last time a mid-east country threatened to start selling oil in
Euros (Saddam 2002) we got shock and awe. This time (Iran Oil Bourse)
the response is a little more sophisticated and probably as effective.
Thou shalt not attempt to kill the flaky greenback.
Posted by: Pat | Feb 6, 2008 9:25:36 PM

wires work two ways though. maybe nobody wants anyone to see what’s
going on inside somewhere.
Posted by: ian | Feb 7, 2008 12:16:08 AM

before we go to monsters inc. what are the physics of u/w cables?
pretty heavy some whale species might be able to yank away but you’d
have to be pretty mad to be able to cut this seems beyond me – however
there was a programme on uk tv recently where it was found that
dolphins were being murdered by their own kind
Posted by: peter | Feb 7, 2008 1:18:40 AM

it was me. i cut the cable.
Posted by: jorge | Feb 7, 2008 1:48:36 AM

Ok – assuming it was the EVIL US/Israel. Why? To prevent Iran from
communicating with its vast empire? Radio still works, Sat phones/
links still work, intra-country lines still work – communications have
only been impacted and not prevented. Plus it’s a huge signal of
intent if you cut cables, then wait weeks before actually attacking.
Heck, if we’re playing conspiracy theory – I’d bet it was the Mid-East
despots themselves who cut the cables. Why let your citizens view
western values and send pictures of what is actually happening? Better
to control them by limiting their communication with the outside
Posted by: scott | Feb 7, 2008 5:28:57 AM

Here’s a variant on the conspiracy I really like! Assume the cuts were
deliberate and calculated. The effect of the cuts are to re-route
internet traffic between Northern Europe and Pakistan so
that it now traverses the USA. Who might want that?
Posted by: tinhat | Feb 7, 2008 5:34:08 AM

Israel is NOT cut off from the internet. Most people reading this
probably already know this, but I’ll explain it for the rest of you. makes it’s measurment by pinging ONE
specific address. For Iran, they use They haven’t
gotten a response from that ONE address for a few days, so they show
the ENTIRE country as offline, when really it’s just one router which
is offline or maybe just has a different address now. Check out
or, which have the same domain and are working fine.
Not only is Iran online, but the Iranian University with the bad
router address is also online.
Posted by: Stan | Feb 7, 2008 6:00:16 AM

You are all missing it! It is Diebold that is cutting the cables. That
way the Intraweb tubes won’t work and nobody will know about their
dastardly plan to re-elect ChimpyBusHitler by manipulating the votes
in Iran.
Posted by: Connect the dots! | Feb 7, 2008 6:04:23 AM

I like tinhat’s twist… Especially considering the CIA analyst’s
statement last month about cyber-hackers (OOOoooOOOOooohhhh…)
takingdown power grids in other countries.,141564-c,hackers/article.html
Which countries? He won’t say, but the CIA definitely needs to snoop
on all packets that enter and leave the US to protect us from…?
Posted by: manny | Feb 7, 2008 6:05:52 AM

I love how all these people insisting that the internet traffic report
site shows Iran really is completely offline and the people claiming
otherwise are liars have not taken the simple step of CHECKING AN
IRANIAN WEBSITE to see if it is reachable. Go on, give it a try. The
results may surprise you. Here are some links to get you started:
Posted by: Fearmonger | Feb 7, 2008 6:54:36 AM

I heard that they have found stingray barbs and saltwater crocodile
bites in the cables. Experts are theorizing that it could be a group
of rebel fish that have partnered up with a reptile militia.
Apparently, they have not liked the way they have been portrayed in
the world media over the past few years. They would have struck sooner
but travel time was longer than expected.
Posted by: getyourbone | Feb 7, 2008 7:01:02 AM

All the troother stuff aside, the USS Jimmy Carter is not the only
vessel capable of this sort of thing. and this is not the first time
this has been done. During the cold war, the US tapped a subsea cable
in the white sea that was used by the Soviets to communicate with
their missile sub bases. We tapped their communications for years
before they found the tap.
We have a number of Navy “oceanographic vessels” with ROV and
Saturation Diving capability all over the world. Any of them would be
capable of doing this as well.
Posted by: Rorschach | Feb 7, 2008 7:22:12 AM

I used to work at Bellcore (and tellabs and other places) in the field
of Optical Networks and Fiber media and components. I regard the
possibility of 4 fiber cuts (ok, three and one power outage) in such a
small area of the world remote at best.
An undersea cable is designed to withstand enormous pressures and
physical conditions, and that’s why, throughout the world, there are
only 11 cuts over the millions of deployed route-miles.
The idea of isolating Iran through this is not, I think, particularly
credible, particularly seeing that it would do far more damage to
western economies than to Iran.
The four cuts appear to my eyes to be an uninformed attempt to break
the working and protect sides of undersea BLSR (or their SDH
equivalent) fiber rings. Given their proximity to one another in both
time and space I can not ignore the possibility that this is not an
accident, and the author’s assumption that any belief on the contrary
is way below the normal standard for Wired.
Posted by: Em | Feb 7, 2008 8:04:01 AM

Iran’s global oil bourse was due to open this week – trading oil & gas
for euros and yen. Iran has no Internet access atm – witness
and, both down. It’s pretty obvious what is happening. The
oil bourse was due to start in March 2006 originally but had lots and
lots of difficulties. Hrm, I wonder who would shutdown Iran’s oil
bourse… it’s so hard to conceive…
Posted by: GreyGhost | Feb 7, 2008 8:50:27 AM

This is what is actually happening:
A rich communications tycoon was killed, and his daughter inherited
the business. She’s building an overland fibre optic link across the
Middle East, and wants to make sure it will be a success. She got a
guy that once kidnapped her to hijack a Russian submarine, and
secretly they are going around the seas of the Middle East sabotaging
cables. I’m trying to stop it all, but my BMW got cut in half by a
helicopter while I was driving along a pier.
For the daughter of the communications tycoon, The World Is Not
Posted by: JB | Feb 7, 2008 9:14:18 AM

I have never seen so many idiots posting in one spot. Iran has not
lost net connectivity. One router in Iran — the one that happens to
be used by Internet Traffic Report — is unreachable. As are dozens of
single points on the internet in many states in the region. By the
same metric, Columbia, Germany, and Florida are also now offline. 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:
(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 via ARIN
that nearly all of them are.) So the premise that Iran is “offline”
and its implication are inaccurate.

Also, to the last poor fool who said “” and “” are
1. and are both up.
2. and are not even in Iran.
And, on the Oil Bourse: Iran can still conduct the bourse WITHOUT
undersea cable connectivity. They have missed their own deadlines
three times for opening the bourse, and just because it opens with all
the rhetoric of not using the dollar doesn’t mean it will be
successful. When all you can come up with is links from Iran’s state
run press and “Dissident Voice”, you’re really reaching. You people
are an embarrassment, literally, to the notion that humans are
intelligent. Get a life, or at least a grip on reality.

Dave Schroeder
das [at] doit [dot] wisc [dot] edu
Posted by: Dave Schroeder | Feb 7, 2008 9:18:09 AM

“If you cut a cable, all you are doing is inconveniencing a lot of
people.'” You need to understand Muslim radicals’ motives. They are
isolationists. Their main motive for blowing up people in Iraq and
Israel (what they call Palestine) is not only hate, they want us to
get out. At the same time, they don’t want Western cultural
influences. When you have iTunes, (and, and a ton
of other stuff that they view as filthy (ie’s upcoming swimsuit
issue) coming over these fiber-optic cables and a sea chart that says
“Don’t Drop Anchor Here! Fiber Optic Cable”, what do you expect?
(They’ll drop their anchor)
Posted by: Ed | Feb 7, 2008 9:20:34 AM

Well, if any ill-intending evil organizations (including, of course,
all of them everywhere) haven’t considered these ideas before, perhaps
they will now. Does speculating on cutting, tapping, fund rerouting,
etc…schemes that eventually leads to someone actually doing said
scheme result in treason or conspiracy? If terrorists read Wired, see
and use your idea, could you be held accountable? If the US is the one
to use it to great terrible deadly ends, do you get a medal?
While were at it, though, we could postulate a few more evil schemes.
Perhaps cutting the wires to convince the affected country that they
need a new infrastructure, resulting in billion dollar loans and
revenue to US/USbacked contracting organizations, who would then
rebuild the infrastructure, but leaving the country with
insurmountable debt. John Perkins type jackal and Economic HitMan
Posted by: iZealot | Feb 7, 2008 9:26:06 AM

I think its part of the marketing campaign for Cloverfield.
Posted by: marcusjones | Feb 7, 2008 10:18:20 AM

The MQ-1B Predator is controlled from Las Vegas via underground and
underwater fiber-optic cables linking the ground-control stations to
Europe, where a satellite dish makes the connection directly to every
Predator in the air.
Posted by: mdubbleyou | Feb 7, 2008 10:20:26 AM

It’s not a conspiracy. It’s Godzilla.
Posted by: Ray Eston Smith Jr | Feb 7, 2008 10:54:13 AM

Ray Eston Smith Jr, it’s not Godzilla. Godzilla would be cutting
cables near Japan, not Egypt. It’s the Goa’uld.
Posted by: Dalkorian | Feb 7, 2008 12:54:22 PM

Because of the internet being cut in half, my face has eaten a yard of
sweetened bread!
Who will this madness pie?? I have links to webpages, so that proves
Posted by: Sirch | Feb 7, 2008 1:22:26 PM

A frantic young female CIA agent is strangled in the style of a
jihaidist who has been dead for many years. An American journalist
unearths a clue to the the crime. She discovers that she herself is
actually responsible for the cut of the cables!
Posted by: The Do-It-Yourself Conspiracy Generator | Feb 7, 2008
1:36:28 PM

An American agent has her throat cut in a mosque. A TSA employee
overhears a conversation about the crime; and he unravels the
complicated plot and leads the FBI to the cable cutter. Unfortunately,
he is mistaken, and soon the real cable cutter is on his internet.
Posted by: he Do-It-Yourself Conspiracy Generator | Feb 7, 2008
1:39:08 PM

There is also a great deal of information available here:
Posted by: Taolf Sujat | Feb 7, 2008 1:56:10 PM












Posted by: Fronz | Feb 7, 2008 1:57:25 PM

I told my professor that I did not do my homework cause the cables had
been sabotaged. Even she didn’t believe me… 🙁
Posted by: aloowalah | Feb 7, 2008 2:12:52 PM

it’s been done before.
Look up “Operation Ivy Bells”.
Posted by: knowledgeable | Feb 7, 2008 2:25:02 PM

Are we sure its not just cooper thieves?
Posted by: | Feb 7, 2008 2:49:32 PM

They have the internet on computers now?
Posted by: U.Pseudonym | Feb 7, 2008 5:18:03 PM

ok here it is again: ok its like this i recon… cut cable leading to
information u want… move away from severed point to another point on
same cabel… sever same cable again buy splice in your own info
stealing apparatus… wait for rich fat corps to fix there own cable
again… nobody knows your info is being intercepted and stolen…
vwalla. thanks for comming have a nice day.
Posted by: annon | Feb 7, 2008 6:51:15 PM

These events(4 to 8 cables being cut) highlight the fact that their
may, or may not be, a vast or minute conspiracy to effect some thing,
some where in the world for some purpose. I think that solves it. If
not conspiracy, then it must be the same guy who stole the cables from
the train station here in Gloucester Mass. Maybe copper thieves are
forming an international conspiracy!
Posted by: captinseafood | Feb 7, 2008 6:58:30 PM

and again so u can get in ur heads. coz its realy this simple. ok here
it is again. ok its like this i recon… cut cable leading to
information u want… move away from severed point to another point on
same cabel… sever same cable again buy splice in your own info
stealing apparatus… wait for rich fat corps to fix there own cable
again… nobody knows your info is being intercepted and stolen…
vwalla. thanks for comming have a nice day.
Posted by: annon | Feb 7, 2008 6:59:15 PM

so iran has still internet and we all just nuts tinfoil hats? good so
explain this :
Posted by: trustno1 | Feb 8, 2008 5:28:51 AM

Interview with a senior telecommunications analyst with his thoughts
on whether the cuts were intentional and the impact on global
Posted by: | Feb 8, 2008 9:10:02 AM

I don’t know why other Americans are making snarky comments about this
issue, especially on the Wall Street Journal or Wired.
If the Iran oil bourse is successful, others will follow. Americans
will then use $100 dollar bills to heat their homes, because they will
be worthless.
Posted by: wake up Americans | Feb 9, 2008 8:41:40 AM

The Internet Traffic Report page monitors ONE ROUTER at an academic
institution in Iran. That router is currently unreachable. It is ONE
ROUTER. Please go back and read my previous post. Every single
newspaper and other web site in Iran, including state controlled
media, universities, official government web sites, and even
Ahmadenijad’s personal “blog” are all up. Did you read nothing I said?
Iran has NOT lost connectivity, and never did. Therefore, your
ridiculous assertions based on this provably false claim are all

Again, please read my Feb 7 post above, and see for yourself. Sorry to
burst your little conspiracy theory bubble. (I also can’t believe that
you’re using Internet Traffic Report as “proof” of anything when all
it does is use a SINGLE POINT in any nation as a point of reference
for whether the ENTIRE COUNTRY is up or down.

By Internet Traffic Report’s measures, here are some other things that
are down:

Oh well…at least reading comments from people like yourself provides
some good humor.

Dave Schroeder
das [at] doit [dot] wisc [dot] edu
Posted by: Dave Schroeder | Feb 9, 2008 9:07:18 AM

even if i was on pirpous ham radio would spred the word like we did
with cherinoble…hams will allwas tell the truth… no govermint can
stop us ..
Posted by: Peter | Feb 9, 2008 7:38:37 PM

It would be counterproductive for Al Qaeda, since they’re all about
the propaganda videos & they really do have their geeky side with
their websites etc, I would think these groups would be last to want
their propaganda pipelines cut. Wouldn’t you need a sub to do stuff
like this? That narrows it to a handful of countries – or former
countries with large, rich, erm… ‘business interests’ with access to
abandoned military gear. I’m still trying to grasp the ‘why’ of it
all. Extortion?
Posted by: punterjoe | Feb 10, 2008 5:36:23 AM

Consider the possibility that it is connected to Iran going off petro-
dollars to petro-euros. Consider the scheduled opening of the Iranian
oil bourse. Then ask yourself which government would most hate for
Iran to go off the dollar.
Posted by: Evelyn | Feb 11, 2008 11:35:44 AM

I found a really great guide with lots of detailed pictures and quotes
Posted by: Taolf Sujat | Feb 12, 2008 9:38:39 PM

Ever since those cables have been cut, the number of spam messages I
have received has dropped to a fraction of what they used to be. Maybe
the cables should be left.
Posted by: vonbulow | Feb 13, 2008 5:04:20 PM

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