Friday, April 10, 2009

 

The Significance of Cable-Cutting

An event of particular interest has been the cutting of fiber cables near San Francisco. Two observations.

First, this writer proposes that the cuts were made by someone who wanted to test the network. I agree. Remember the rash of undersea cable cuts last year? Although official explanations discounted any purposeful cuttings, those disruptions too could well have been done to test networks. Cutting a cable and then observing the extent of communication disruptions provides valuable strategic information to someone who might use it to cripple an opponent’s communications in a future conflict. It is the same as when one country flies aircraft into another country’s airspace: watching the reaction can likewise provide useful information about the other country’s air defenses. For example, how long did it take scrambled aircraft to get into the air? What types of aircraft were scrambled, and how many? What bases did they come from? Even if the undersea cables were not cut on purpose, you can bet that all the major players on the global chessboard were watching carefully and taking notes. Hence there is no doubt that many parties — even parties not involved — were carefully observing the results these recent fiber cable cuttings.

Second, it is interesting to speculate who might be behind this act. The US government has relentlessly spooked us with the “terrorist threat,” and we are constantly told that the “terrorists” are out to get us. My view is different. Terrorists out to victimize innocent Americans could have done it easily, and long ago, as this incident shows. Therefore I suspect that this is either an inside job — meaning it was done by Americans for some purpose, or the work of a foreign state actor. Needless to say, we might very well see the arrest of some suspects said to be connected with an “Islamic radical” group, or an announcement that some such organization is responsible, which would be quite handy for those promoting the “war on terror.” But real terrorists, who would want to do as much damage as possible and not care if they themselves are killed, would certainly not have stopped at something on such a small “science fair” scale, especially considering the gross vulnerability of urban infrastructure everywhere.



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