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Choose Your Own Conspiracy: Undersea Cable Edition

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After three undersea cables in the Middle East were taken out last week, those who fear black helicopters started to worry. But now, with the number of broken undersea telecommunications cables in the Middle East rising to five, even sane people (and pundits) are donning their tinfoil hats to discuss what might be behind it.

The Mossad Theory: This one blames the Israeli secret service for the cuts. Problem: What the heck do they have against India?

The Muslim Terrorist Theory: Do I really need to explain this one? Problem: Terrorists like to surf the Net too.

The Bubba Theory: Fisherman are told where the cables are, but don’t care. Problem: These guys do have maps and in some cases, boats weren’t in areas where the cuts occurred.

The Pentagon Theory: The U.S. is cutting the cables to deprive Iran and Syria from the Internet. In some variations of this theory, we’re working with Israel. Problem: We’re depriving India and Kuwait, too.

The James Bond Theory: The odds of a cable getting damaged are low. Multiply that by five and the odds get even lower. Problem: The cables are vulnerable. Geography forces many of the cables to run close together, and there are about 50 repairs to these things done each year all over the world.

Personally, my bets are on an angry Kraken.

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40 Responses to “Choose Your Own Conspiracy: Undersea Cable Edition”

  1. This is an interesting conspiracy. Many people should know about this. We all know that freemasons basically run everything from drugs, to oil, to military. Maybe one day the new world order will be exposed for what it really is.

  2. The Beast

    I personally think it’s got somthing to do with the US, the US is usually the cause of most of the worlds problems in some why or another. They then use this “terrorist theory” to then push the blame on to someone else. They must not want them “youTube’ing and Google’ing” what’s going on.

  3. What would Kraken be doing in the Middle East? It’s too warm for him over there! He lives of the coast of Scandinavia. And he is already suffering from global warming. So why go to the Middle East? No, no it’s not him. Kraken is a victim of your conspiracy theory!

    It’s the Middle East man. What is an accident for the rest of the world, is normal over there. So, when it’s normal for the rest of the world, then they start worrying about accidents. They have guys like Osama to bring things back to ‘normal’.

  4. Maybe it´s a coincidence. But there are strange things happening:

    1. The cuts are not being covered by the main media as a headline; I couldn´t see for example a CNN guy repporting from Egypt or Dubai; could you?News distributed by AP to CNN and WSJ, which mentioned the cuts as an enigma, disappeared from the websites of these organizations.
    2. Yesterday in site a photo of a heavy anchor was showned as the cause of the cut#2 (Falcon cable)in Dubai; then, hours later, the photo disappeared.
    3. An article yesterday in WSJ was about only the economical problems undersea cable cuts may lead? What about the cuts themselves? Nothing.
      No creo en brujas pero que los hay los hay!!!!
  5. Krewthedral: “I Find it absurd to think that Indian internet would be taken out if Middle Eastern cables are destroyed.” First, it hasn’t been “taken out.” Second, take a look at a cable map and look at the paths of SeaMeWe-4 and FLAG’s Europe-Asia and FALCON cables. Third, take a look at Renesys’ summary of routing announcement changes as a result of the Mediterranean cable cuts.

  6. J. Ibrahim

    Five cables severed in the Middle East within ten days?; no big deal,just another day in the neighborhood. Five cables severed for US?; we would have been on “Threatcon Delta”.

  7. There were nine cable cuts in Asia between Taiwan and Japan in December 2006, as a result of earthquake activity, so this is not unprecedented.

    Not all of these recent cable issues have been cuts, and there’s a pretty definitive explanation (ship anchor) for one of the cuts (#4 below):

    1. VSNL’s SeaMeWe-4, 12.334 km from Alexandria, in the Mediterranean. Currently under repair, should be fixed by this weekend.

    2. Qtel’s cable from Haloul (Qatar) to Das (UAE), in the Persian Gulf. Probably not a cut, but damaged power system due to weather.

    3. FLAG’s Europe-Asia (FEA Segment D), 8.3 km from Alexandria, in the Mediterranean. Currently under repair, should be fixed by this weekend by cable ship CS Certamen.

    4. FLAG’s FALCON (FALCON Segment 2), 56 km from Dubai, UAE in the Persian Gulf, on the route to Al Seeb, Oman. Currently under repair, should be fixed by this weekend. This cut was due to a ship’s anchor–an abandoned 5-6 ton anchor was recovered by FLAG at the site.

    5. FLAG’s Europe-Asia (FEA Segment M), 28 km from Penang, Malaysia. Scheduled for repair on February 11 by cable ship CS Asean Restorer.

    6. FLAG’s FALCON (FALCON Segments 7a and 7b), two faults on the cable between Kuwait and Bandar Abbas, Iran, scheduled for repair on February 19.

  8. krewthedral

    I Find it absurd to think that Indian internet would be taken out if Middle Eastern cables are destroyed- there is internet in some villages of Indian where there isn’t clean water – Indian is hyper connected to the rest of the world, just look at all the outsourcing of call centers! Futhermore, the ambition of cutting communication networks is crucial to Israel and America –the ‘terrorist’ are leveraging online broadcast. It’s David and goliath – David has American gunships, David has a YouTube.

  9. Hey, I will like to point out that internet is working nearly fine in India presently. I am based in India and had read that first cable will be repaired by Feb 10. There is enough redundancy built by ISPs that internet is working fine though slowly sometimes. The hiccups were faced for initial 1-2 days!!!

  10. Wow, as many as 50 repairs a year world wide? That’s like, one a week, for the entire globe. I’m not sure how this is supposed to make anyone feel better about 4 in one week within a single region. These cables do run close together in some spots, but the damage has not all been in one location. I work in this industry. This is extremely rare. Given the political and religious climate of the region, and the absolute rarity of this event, I am personally convinced that this was no accident, especially when we are fed obviously false information about how it happened. I’m not willing to sign up to any one conspiracy theory, but we need to think about other reasons someone would do this besides making the Internet really slow for some people. Where is the traffic being rerouted to? Do those countries have the ability to tap network traffic? I bet they do.

  11. Apart from natural jokes on conspiracy theories, one shall try to figure out whether cable cuts where results of classical business-level over-optimizations (e.g. cost cuts on O&M) before looking into more profound question like “quo product” from major switch of Asian ISPs from European undersea cable branch to alternatives.

  12. Have you ever heard of a book called “Blindman’s bluff”,
    or about operation “Ivy Bells” – US submarines used to
    enter soviet (territorial) waters and place listening
    devices on under-sea cables.

    Is someone snooping on internet / other communication?
    An accident cut five cables?

  13. One cable cut is an accident.
    Two cables cut are a coincident.
    Three cables cut, maybe something’s going on.
    Four cables cut, OK, something is going on and we just don’t know what and probably never will.
    Five cables cut, see above.

    …all happening in the span of 10 days and serving mostly the MidEast?

  14. When two cables were severed, I joked with a friend in Saudi Arabia that “they” want to replace it with systems more suited for snooping. Now, five!;the joke is on me. Hey, it is the Middle East, nothing happens by accident in that region. Imagine five cables severed for US; we would have been on Def-Con 4. Cheers!.

  15. Stacey,
    What worries more then who cut them – are the results. As I wrote in a post on my blog yesterday – “The Day the Internet Went Down”

    The real problem is our dependency on hosted applications and data.
    Personally, my main communications are on Gmail, Facebook and IM. They are all hosted. I back up all my email to… Gmail. What will happen on the day the internet goes down??