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UN agency: Internet Cables Possibly Sabotaged
Infowar a possibility, warns telecom organization

Steve Watson
day, Feb 20, 2008

The head of the UN backed agency that oversees international telecommunications has declared that the the cutting of a least five undersea internet cables earlier this month may be a case of sabotage.

Sami al-Murshed, head of development at the International Telecommunication Union, the organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications, has made the following comments:

"We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago."

Murshed, in attendance at a conference on cyber-crime held in Gulf state of Qatar, further commented:

"Some experts doubt the prevailing view that the cables were cut by accident, especially as the cables lie at great depths under the sea and are not passed over by ships,"

Four of the five cables have since been repaired while the status of the fifth cable is unknown.

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The cutting the cables in several different locations hundreds of miles apart aroused intense speculation, leading many to suspect that the activity represents, at the very least, a warning shot across the bows of certain Middle Eastern and Asian nations, and may even signify the imminence of a major geopolitical event.

Internet blackouts were reported in large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa after the cable connections were severed. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Pakistan and India, all experienced severe problems.

The location of the cables are on shown on nautical charts, they are also placed within maritime exclusion zones. The Egyptian government also confirmed from video footage that there were no ships in the area when the cables were cut. So whatever happened occurred entirely beneath the surface of the Mediterranean sea.

Two of the damaged cables, the Flag Europe-Asia cable and Falcon, are owned by Flag Telecom, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group. Flag Telecom has since stated that it has never had two cables down at the same time in the region.

Flag Telecom's network is also one of the "newest in existence" so it would be unlikely that the cables would break because of wear and tear or age.

The speculation continues.

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