"Irony" is the wrong word. It's "hypocrisy".
International politics is always going to consist of covert actions on one hand coupled with righteous moral statements on the other. See, for example, the USSR talking about protecting the eastern bloc from western imperialist exploitation by, well, dominating and exploiting their countries.
Meanwhile, I'm sure we'll hear from Republicans that this is a case of Obama's flawed moral leadership, in between insisting that we bomb Iran immediately.
At the end of the day, it's about results. The people who released stuxnet presumably think it makes a war less likely by postponing a confrontation with a nuclear Iran. They might be wrong but they were doing what they thought would lead to the best outcome.
any evidence for that? In my understanding the USSR was dominating eastern bloc countries, hindering their democratic economic development by enforcing archaic hierarchical undemocratic regime. Exploiting? I haven't heard about that. Countries were pretty autonomous in all things unrelated to ideology/politics.
Just after the end of WWII the Soviets adopted a "plunder" policy with regard to occupied Eastern European countries. Forcing them to produce huge quantities of raw materials and industrial goods to be used within the USSR, extracting as much wealth from the beleaguered post-war economies as the US and allies pumped into Western Europe with the Marshall plan. They also set up "state owned" Eastern Block companies such that the USSR maintained majority ownership (up through the mid-1950s).
This pattern continued through the 1950s as the Soviets retained near direct control over Eastern Bloc economies and morphed in the 1960s into COMECON which merely provided political cover for the same sort of plunder policies up until industrial production in Eastern Europe started to become significant in the 1970s.
In October of 1956 the Hungarian people rose up and threw off their violent totalitarian government. One day later Soviet tanks were in the country's capital (in direct violation of the terms of the Warsaw Pact), within the next month 2500 Hungarians were killed and ten times as many were arrested, hundreds of which were deported to gulags in siberia or executed.
In January of 1968 Czechoslovakia elected a reformist government, which instituted many liberalizing reforms. In August Soviet tanks and forces from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact nations invaded, toppled the government, and killed any Czechs or Slovaks who stood in their way (though few were foolhardy enough to throw themselves against an army of 2,000 tanks and 200,000 soldiers).
The formalization of Eastern Bloc countries as effective satellite states of the USSR came about with the codification of the Brezhnev Doctrine in the 1960s, though it only legalized the status quo.
These are not atrocities of an ideology, however misinterpreted, these are atrocities of people and of a state.
I'm not a scholar of ex(communist) states but I'm thinking either Cuba or the former Yugoslavia. I am not aware of any attempt to bring communism into practice that could be called a humanitarian success. The other totalitarianism isn't exactly great either but it at least seems less murderous internally.
If I believed all politicians were power hungry amoral bastards then this wouldn't be that strong of evidence against communism but depressingly enough they're mostly sincere. Communism appears to be a wonderful system for social insects. Humans, not so much.
 It would be extremely surprising if they didn't show the same over representation of psychopaths as corporate executives but that still leaves 24 out of 25 politicians as moral creatures.
So it looks like they used eastern bloc resources to restore Soviet Union devastated after the war. Explainable action under their their (enforced) ideology of socialist countries mutual aid etc
Considering SU later become net subsidizer of Eastern Bloc, and that these countries were in pretty good shape right after SU dissolution, with all the limitations of "socialist economy", one-sided interpretation of history as exploitation, plunder, and atrocities and nothing more, sounds to me extremely stupid and narrow minded. As stupid as "killing his own people" meme.
I'm disgusted by people who do moral interpretations of history with today's dominating moral standards. "Let's not forget atrocities of Roman Empire, plunder, enslavement, domination, exploitation of neighboring peoples ." Whole world history is one big atrocity.
Also, people who consider Soviet Union, a primitive oriental despotism, as a communist regime, without quotation marks - have no class.
I cannot upvote this enough. I feel sad when people forget that most of the history has been rewritten to suit newer regimes, newer philosophies. And the practice is still very dominant. Howsoever informed we may try to be about past, especially past that we haven't lived through but heard about in books or media or discussions, we are still aware of only part of the story. The part that survived, the part that dominated. And what is worse, we often tend to classify some leaders as well as their supporters who have failed and then replaced by their antitheses, to have this innate evil - while forgetting that they may very well be not 'evil' in their own morality; and hence ignorance not evilness causes their evil actions.
If you're looking for a shipping manifest for raw materials from an EB country to the USSR at prices below free market rates I imagine you could find that too. But to me that's not the primary point.
"Indeed we have an even-handed relationship with the Russians. After all, we send them coal and they send us snow in return".
As an analogous example, parents, knowing that many people think in crude categories such as "drugs" and "illegal," would not simply pot in front of their children without explanation. They would not want to discover later that their kids were doing meth or shoplifting and hear, "What are you angry about? You smoked illegal drugs right in front of me. How is this different?" The parents would likely find themselves accused of hypocrisy, by their kids and by others who honestly or disingenuously failed to understand the distinctions the parents drew between smoking pot and doing meth, or smoking pot and shoplifting.
I don't know if the United States has an official stance on the acceptable use of cyberwarfare, but the fact that they chose to leak their involvement in Stuxnet rather than openly admit it and justify it suggests that they have no official policy to cite (though it may also be that they don't want to officially acknowledge responsibility for Stuxnet's collateral damage.) If there is no official articulation of policy, we really are setting unpredictable precedents that are likely to implicate us in future disasters.
I am not aware of the last time a terrorist attacked us with an F-15 or a B-2.....
The much larger issue though is that by releasing Stuxnet, the government had to release tools that terrorists could use into the wild. These can then be reverse compiled, hacked, and turned against us. That's bad news. It would be like leaving behind a large number of Predators or something in terrorist hands.
Actually it is worse than that. With actual airplanes, you have maintenance issues and costs, and the fact is that you have limited quantity and little ability to produce more. With Stuxnet, these limits are not there.
When it comes to international conflict, right and wrong are often subjective. Of course someone who is hostile towards the west is going to feel justified about his actions. If he didn't feel justified, he wouldn't maintain those beliefs. Unfortunately for him, feeling justified doesn't make you correct. While many countries dislike some of the United States' actions (often rightfully), almost the entire world hates everything about violent extremists.
If the President thinks that a cyber-attack will prevent a war, (that would be far more costly to both sides than the ones we are already in) it would be immoral for him not to take action. I don't like many of the things that Obama does, (or any politician) but he strikes me as a person who really does want to do the right thing and prevent the needless loss of life.
Out of curiosity, what makes you say this?
In the years leading up to the creation of the Cyber Command, there were many field grade officers who expressed the need for such a unit. These officers suggested that the military needed some sort of presence in cyberspace, mostly to ensure the safety of U.S. networks and partly to enable us to effectively respond to cyber-attacks around the world.
This article has a lot of good information about CYBERCOM.
My personal view is that it's a dangerous experiment in ineptitude allow the Pentagon to "defend in cyberspace" US networks. Most of the people who are tossing around such terms don't have the slightest clue what they're talking about.
It's one thing to say we're going to let the Pentagon use its procurement bucks to have defense contractors weaponize exploits in case the day arrives. But it's highly debatable whether allowing the military to get involved in US domestic networks is even legal.
Their ability to defend even their own networks for less than 10x the cost of the private sector is still an open question, much less whether or not they can defend anything having a wide diversity of traffic such as today's business and consumer internet.
Richard Marcenko, the founder of the now defunct SEAL Team 6 (got transformed into the Developmental Warfare Group) discusses the attitudes he encountered throughout his navy career in some of his earlier novels. (he does write fiction now, but some of his earlier works were based on his life.) I know that he's an extremely controversial figure and that his writing ability is questionable, but he was both a SEAL and an officer at a time when the military was just starting to realize how significant a role that guerrilla warfare would play in future conflicts.
Ironically, it was the Marines who actually had some of the earlier predecessors to black ops, in the form of the Raider Battalions in the Second World War. One of the Raider Battalions was commanded by FDR's son, which protected the Raiders from political interference, at least until FDR died.
It's not exactly publicized, but my dad told me that the first Raider Battalion, at least, was even organized as a Maoist guerrilla unit; Samuel B. Griffith, its second commander, had previously served in China and spent a great deal of time with Mao. Among other things, the unit was run democratically.t My dad was acquainted with Griffith for a time, and I don't know how much of this is public information, or even accurate, but it's what he told me.
To an average person like me (and I was a Soldier) when I think of special forces, I consider pretty much anyone who went to one of the military's most elite schools. The SEALS, Force Recon, and the actual U.S. Army Special Forces all seem to have a similar level of ability. Each of these groups has taken the absolute best soldiers that could be found and trained them to an extreme degree.
When the government thinks of special forces, they think of organizations that fall under the Special Operations Command. When the U.S. wanted Force Recon to fall under SOCOM, the commandant said "no." This is part of the reason that the Marine Corps didn't officially have special forces until recently.
I wasn't trying to say that the SEALS were the first SF unit, I guess I wasn't very clear. Most of the SF type units were around in some form well before the Vietnam War. Even the SEALS were around in the 40's, they just weren't called SEALS yet.
Every nation does it.
All fun and games until Homeland Security Theater is given new powers to raid your home and shoot your dog if they think your computer is being used as part of a botnet.
Could things get there with another nuclear enabled power like China? Maybe, in time. Iran is not an existential threat to the US, not anywhere close to what the Soviets were. The Israelis see things differently I'm sure, but this is far from the situation in 60s - 80s.
And don't underestimate the Iranian government, they are not a third-world country like some people imagine out of ignorance - I really feel sorry for the Iranian people getting caught up in this mess.
Err... while I'm not stepping in to defend the TSA, I think that to call the threat imaginary ignores recent history.
Personally I'd rate this class of threat comfortably above asteroid impact or solar flare-type disaster.
Murder victims in 2001: 15,000
Car collision fatalities in 2001: 42,000
Cancer deaths in 2001: 550,000
The only thing that's disproportionate is how we react to terrorism.
(statistics are for United States)
The question is not what's possible, but what's likely and how much it will cost. If the likelihood is low and the cost is small, then you cannot justify extravagant preparation.
An attack against civilian infrastructure is terrorism no matter who does it. It may be a singular event, part of a chain of attacks, or a prelude to a full-scale military offensive. It's still terrorism, because it terrorizes the civilian population.
Irrational fear should not dictate our budget priorities. We can certainly take some precautions, and develop contingency plans. But at the end of the day, if someone is capable and determined enough, it's going to happen, regardless of how many much money and how many contractors and consultants we throw at the problem. The best we can do is take it in stride and rebuild.
Are you arguing that there are eventualities which could be disastrous, and they need not be the product of willful malice? Then of course I agree with you.
Is your point that we can and should take all possible precautions against such eventualities, regardless of cost? That's where I take disagreement. We are, after all, arguing in the context of a larger discussion here.
Our efforts at preparedness must be in proportion to the risk, which is derived from both the potential cost and our best estimate of the likelihood. Bad things happen; it's terrible, it sucks, but it's unavoidable. We can and will bankrupt ourselves trying to swat every fly. It doesn't matter that a disaster could be catastrophic if we create a catastrophe by trying to avert every disaster.
It's easy for people to just pick up a knife at a restaurant and stab someone too. People don't spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about this though because it just doesn't happen that often.
People without any part in the original conflict is getting affected by it and then suddenly they are part of it.
That is the root of problems here.
I don't think it's fair to the families of the victims, to the people of NYC, or any peaceful, healthy person who has that threat in the back of their mind when minding their own business in public, to equate a cancer death with a death caused by a crumbling skyscraper, a burning skyscraper, or jumping out of a burning, crumbling skyscraper. I know cancer can be just as ruthless and indiscriminate, but it never has struck in such a concentrated, evil manner.
Are you implying that we shouldn't react disproportionately?
That's not to say I agree with the current level of disproportionateness or that we shouldn't be spending billions of public dollars combatting a disease that's claiming more and more people because they are now living long enough to acquire it.
The Stalin quote about "a single death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic" comes to mind here. I understand your point that terrorism is the result of direct, willful action by people with malicious intent, whereas cancer is just a force of nature. But you have no real control over either, so why make such a big deal of the former?
Not true. Even thought they need to be much smarter about it, people with guns, whom our tax dollars fund and who's power and number I fear and would like to limit, can reduce the likelihood of a terrorist ruining my life. Scientists can do the same for cancer, but unfortunately, we have more people who can fight terrorism that who can fight cancer.
We can elect leaders are vote in the marketplace to shift resources one way or the other, or be a better cancer or terrorism fighter if we are in those fields. Our individual control might be negligible, but not society's.
Our ridiculously outsized counterterrorism efforts are akin to putting a shroud around the Earth to block out cosmic background radiation. It would cost more money than we can fathom, and in the end we probably couldn't even measure the benefit. Meanwhile, the radiation you absorb from living near a nuclear plant or an old testing site is orders of magnitude greater, and yet you probably won't ever suffer a harmful effect from it.
My argument isn't that terrorism isn't real, or it isn't a threat. My argument is that it's such an insignificant threat that it fails to justify our existing efforts, nonetheless ever-more-expensive new efforts.
Also, I grew up with several major terrorist attacks against the United States, in New York (1993), Oklahoma (1997), Africa (1998), against the USS Cole (2000), and finally 9/11.
The death toll from all these incidents barely breaks 4000. More people died last week of cancer.
How many dissidents a year do you think you need to kill to suppress any opposition?
I would say that even when you factor in malicious intent we still react disproportionally, and that this is an inherent problem.
Any individual involved in any security-related field will have to work with the concept of acceptable risk at some point. The damage that terrorists can cause us is not that high compared to the way we victimize ourselves to try to prevent very modest harm.
Our reaction has become comparable to a cytokine storm in reaction to a flu virus, really. That can't be good.
Edit: As a side note, our reaction is such that it allows for what I call "grey-terrorism" vulnerabilities. If we define terrorism to only include acts which are violent or directly dangerous to human life, then leaving cardboard boxes marked "do not touch" in airport restrooms around the nation is not "terrorism." The act is not dangerous to human life. The act is not violent. The act however may be very disruptive to our airports, and it may be very good at inspiring terror.
The sorts of terrorism we are afraid of tends to hype fear over risk. Take anthrax for example. Anthrax has been floated as a biological weapon because it's unlikely to spread back and contaminate one's own area, but experiments with weaponized anthrax shows an abysmally low rate of contracting the disease (between 0.1% and 1%) and so it's nearly exclusively a weapon of fear. The very things that make it attractive as a biological weapon also make it ineffective (no person-person transmission for example).
Similarly when we look at nerve gas attacks and the problems and sole case in history, it's clear these are relatively ineffective terrorism-wise. VX may be more effective than Sarin given high-tech dispersal systems but it's also very sensitive to things like droplet size and it's not volatile. Sarin, OTOH, is volatile meaning you can expect it to dissolve in the air and spread that way. Despite that, Aum Shinrikyo would have been more successful using plain old high explosives than nerve gas, and only one of their two nerve gas attacks (the one under entirely ideal circumstances) resulted in any fatalities whatsoever.
Nuclear terrorism could be significant but I suspect you'd have to blow up a small nuke in a major city every ten years to have an effect similar to car crashes nationally. I am sorry but I just don't see that happening so as long as I don't worry about getting behind the wheel I don't give that a second thought either.
All the above being said, cyberwar by non-state actors is different. Traditional terrorist attacks seek to cripple a society or socially disrupt it by killing people and making them afraid. I don't know that this necessarily has to be the intermediate goal of what people call cyber-terrorism (which is why I don't call it that). Instead it can disrupt society and hold it hostage by, well, disrupting it directly.
Imagine if power blackouts and communications infrastructure was disrupted repeatedly. Imagine if we suddenly the power grid were taken down repeatedly. What would be disrupted? How well could we recover? What if telecomunications infrastructure was attacked as well?
People would die but that's not really the goal. Just as in conventional terrorism deaths are a means to an end, sufficiently successful attackers could hold a society hostage by holding the infrastructure hostage.
That's not entirely true. There were ~3000 terrorism-related deaths, but the point of terrorism is that it victimizes an entire society by creating a culture of fear and uncertainty. That's what differentiates terrorism from (conventional) murder.
I just disliked the "imaginary", which clearly is not true.
I'm not following you.
Nor am I saying that I think the TSA is a good thing or an appropriate response to the threats.
A power hiccup is not a problem. A systemic power failure is a catastrophe!
It wouldn't matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutually_assured_destruction
MAD doesn't prevent anything, it at best postpones things and at worst forces both sides to escalate to the point where they feel they can completely destroy the other even given significant losses (i.e. building significantly more bombs than they need to destroy the planet).
Iran is probably the worst country on the planet when it comes to supporting terrorism.
Consider that democracies in general seems to go crazy when they have active terrorism problems and throw out human rights and the law book. E.g. Germany, USA, Israel, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, etc. (The only exception afaik is India.)
It is logical because the whole point with terror is to scare civilians -- and politicians wants to be elected again. They have to solve terror problems, no matter what.
You don't have to like this, in fact no one except companies earning money doing security likes it. All choices in the real world also has disadvantages, even democracy.
Maybe you want to update your knowledge and find out what is the worst country. You will surprised to see the so calle "best" democracies there.
Every powerful country uses violence to advance it's political goals. Every powerful country kills the civilians/citizens of other countries, publicly expressing varying amounts of regret.
I might stand corrected, there.
>>Every powerful country kills the civilians/citizens of other countries
To explicitly target civilians is serious because it breaks the laws of war, etc. Democracies generally don't do that.
The "Democracies" of the world kill many innocent civilians, an order of magnitude in fact than any terrorist related event if you really want to compare the two. Not because the people running them are cartoonishly evil or anything, it simply reflects the massive imbalance of military power between us and whoever the terrorist are supposed to be. It's cloaked in talk of noble intentions and euphemistically referred to as collateral damage. I doubt it makes a difference to the populations affected whether they were an intentional target, or the gps on the smart bomb that just leveled your house glitched out.
If an airliner (or even a weapon) goes astray and kills my family, I am going to be angry, no doubt about it.
If you've deliberately targeted my family, my anger is going to be greater by several orders of magnitude.
For example, this case that was in the news today:
Suppose the phosphorous did get there through some type of negligence on one of the nearby bases (seems plausible, at least).
Are the woman and her family going to be angry? You bet.
Are they going to file a monster lawsuit? Almost certainly.
Are they going to declare war on the United States, or (try to) kill a few Marines? Not a chance in hell.
I do think intent can matter at times. Perhaps what I'm more zeroing in on is that idea that I don't find saying you didn't mean to, when you repeatedly kill civilians in very large numbers, such that certain countries have a long history of being on the receiving end of American collateral damage, as an acceptable rational/excuse. (This last part is why I think you're examples are not particularly apt)
Your intent just stops mattering as much when the body count gets to a certain number and you show no signs of changing the behavior.
How about if a junta relies on that a democracy don't want to pay those prices and creates a situation where blood will flow if they don't get their will?
Arguably, both Japan 1945 and Saddam Hussein are cases of that.
Do you REALLY want dictators to rely on using their own people's suffering to get out of e.g. sanctions or surrender? I doubt it...
Sorry for coming in late. I bother writing these answers because I used to have similar opinions as you before my hair started to fall out. You are a standin for a young berntb, I guess.
Got the answer: "kill many innocent civilians"
Sigh, it is illegal to target. In a war, civilians will die. My point was that some sides do try to avoid civilan casualities. You didn't argue against my point, you made a spin.
Then, someone isn't morally right by being weaker, so different strength have nothing to do with it.
The nuclear bombs over Japan was 1: a long time ago, 2: a complex choice (e.g. military production in cities, different standards in WWII, the target selection process, etc, etc). You condemn without discussing that.
And so on.
I am sorry, but I must say that you write simplified propaganda. Please increase quality, I want a better HN. :-(
You place a lot of emphasis on intentionality. While it's an aspect worth considering, I don't find it as nearly as persuasive as you seem to. Many military actions are undertaken knowing full well the result with be civilian causalities, often many, and they are done anyway. Like I said earlier, I don't think your distinction means much to the victims whether they were intentional targets or not.
> The nuclear bombs over Japan was 1: a long time ago,
Uh, not really. It's still within living memory for many. And I think highly pertinent when discussing current issues of nuclear weapons/proliferation.
> 2: a complex choice (e.g. military production in cities, different standards in WWII, the target selection process, etc, etc). You condemn without discussing that.
I didn't get into those aspects in the interest of brevity, and because it veers a bit too off topic. I have considered them all at length, and ultimately find them unconvincing from a moral standpoint. Also notice how any actions taken by our society, or those representing it, immediately become complex and a hundred shades of grey. I'm sure those supporting acts of terrorism make similar rationales. No one buys it in that case, and I think we should be highly skeptical when our leaders seek to justify it in ours.
> I am sorry, but I must say that you write simplified propaganda. Please increase quality, I want a better HN. :-(
I'm not sure how to respond to such hyperbole. Everything I've stated is factually true. You can disagree with my interpretation, or the implicit conclusions I've drawn, but labeling it as simplified propaganda is just silly.
You are in a very small minority there. Sorry.
I'm fine with that.
One last point worth considering - exactly what is the evidence that it is unintentional? None as far as I can tell other our leaders assert it constantly. And then turn around and do it again, repeatedly. To be clear, I don't think likely almost ever is. There's simply no advantage to it, especially in the modern information age. It's willful disregard in my opinion, which is debatably marginally better, but only marginally.
And the reason I focus on the actions of my society, the US, boils down to partly because it's my home, and there's no where you care more about than your own home. As much as I condemn the actions of Iran, or any other state, there's zero I can do about it. I'm not Iranian. I can, however, affect change here, again in the most powerful state, where it matters most. And the most fundamental principle of any moral framework is that you hold yourself to the same standards you seek to apply to others. More stringent ones, in fact, if you're serious about it.
A few levels up, I noted that democracies in general tend to go bat-shit crazy at terrorism -- and that it is probably built into the concept of democracy.
It should also be noted that modern democracies don't fight wars with each others, not even the USA. The best solution for making a better world is to work for democracy, especially in places like China which already has started to push a bit against neighbours.
It is quite unusual in not seeing a difference with killing someone by losing control of your car on the way to hospital with a hurt child -- and shooting an unarmed civilian in the face...
>>Many military actions are undertaken knowing full well the result with be civilian causalities, often many
Most westerners do believe in war laws. Here is an US-critical article. Compare it with e.g. the militias in Iraq or Hezbollah. They shoot artillery at cities, etc.
You see no difference in that -- as was noted, it makes you not only in a minority, but also arguing the same position as people that really murder children point blank. You ignore all other laws too?
They do. In practice someone is often seen as morally right just because he is stronger than his oponent (politicaly or military or in some other way).
Democracies generally try not to publicize doing that. Unless it's done with drones apparently, then you brag about it.
Because the definition of militant explicitly includes civilians in the area surrounding the targets and this was recently highly publicized I tied the two together in a flippant comment.
But I suspect you knew that already and now want to argue about the US use of drones. I'll save you the time, it's terrorism dressed in Orwellian doublespeak and it's pointless to have internet arguments about it.
If you would want to be serious (somehow I doubt it), either (a) argue against the war laws or (b) argue that usa breaks them.
Note that in this case, the terrorists target civilians and seem to use their own civilians as shields. You have no problem with that?
And Norway didn't go nuts over the Breivik
Oh, and are you aware that Israel backed
Jundullah, which is a Pakistani AlQaeda?
Command of the facts helps avoid embarrassment.
The UK gov't instituted a number of very harsh laws that severely curtailed the rights of UK citizens.
"This part allowed for the arrest of individuals without a warrant and on reasonable suspicion that they were guilty of an offence under the Act or otherwise "concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism""
Thanks for the link, I didn't know the name of the law. Also, there were some ... cough ... controversial interrogation methods in the 70s, until there was too much human rights criticism.
Anyway, I'm not an expert on the UK and IRA, but believe/assume part of the inspiration for the wonderful T Gilliam movie "Brazil" came from this.
Do you still believe in Jewish conspiracies controlling media?
Or that T-shirts of some individuals prove something about a heterogeneous country -- and are as bad as official policies in another state?!
Ah wait, you refused to touch that "logic" of yours in comment after comment...
Breivik was an individual crazy/nazi/xxx. There are hardly realistic threats for more attacks in Norway. I argued about fear of terror, not mourning after one attack.
(Edit: It is really fun that you condemn Israel for working with unpleasant groups where they have common interests -- all countries with physical threats do similar things -- but previously refused to criticise similar groups.)
And so on, sorry but I can't take you seriously.
If you want real news instead of propaganda you have to watch RT or Al Jazeera. Both of which condemn the US and Israel. Not Iran.
you know, its possible that the US, Israel, AND Iran are all doing bad things. just because Iran is not being condemned by a some media organizations does not mean it has any meaningful high ground.
why are you skeptical that iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons? if they weren't, why would they be developing secret enrichment facilities? why would "The IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution by a vote of 32–2 that expressed "deep and increasing concern" over the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program" (from wikipedia)?
and more importantly, israel and the us are clearly concerned about iranian nuclear weapons development. it seems as if private intelligence lines up with public intelligence. why are you so confident that everybody else is wrong and you are right?
Because the only people saying they are doing so are the same people who've been claiming Iran was six to eighteen months away from having a nuclear weapon since the 1980s.
And everyone whose job it is to collect and analyze intelligence on the matter says they aren't.
And I find it pretty hard to believe the US and Israel can simultaneously have sufficient capability to craft and deliver something like StuxNet to affect actual damage to the Iranian nuclear program (to say nothing of the targeted assassinations) yet somehow insufficient capability to make the best estimate on whether or not there's a weapons program.
How could the people who know which homes/cafes/shops frequented by which scientists, working in which labs, running which operating systems, using which software to drive which hardware have a worse intelligence picture than chronic war agitators and political mouthpieces with a track record of being willfully deceived by charlatans and war profiteers?
Armed with this certainty, you can now begin to answer the rest of your questions for yourself.
This is where you start discussing things: with reality and facts. I am insulted that these facts I am offering are being downvoted ten miles deep when hundreds of millions of lives are affected by the outcome of this prove-a-negative "debate".
Iran is enriching uranium. A lot of it. This is not disputed.
Iran rattles their sabre a lot, and has large domestic oil production, both of those are also undisputed.
... So you're saying you believe their story that they're enriching uranium beyond where it needs to be for nuclear power, just so they can have nuclear power? Even though they already have more oil than they can sell (with sanctions in place)? Why would they do that?
If I were in their place, I'd be going for a nuclear weapon. All of the available evidence points towards their going for a nuclear weapon. If this was just about nuclear energy, why wouldn't they play ball with the international community and save a shitload of money? Nobody costs themselves billions in sanctions in order to lose more millions in energy production by using nuclear instead of burning effectively-free oil.
You're not being downvoted because you're offering "facts", you're being downvoted for offering an unsupported opinion that people don't agree with.
I do not dispute anything you've said: enrichment is happening, Iran's government is adept at aggressive rhetoric, and Iran would be far better off militarily as a nuclear power. It would be rational for them to be one.
But nothing I have said is incorrect or an opinion. They do not have a nuke, they don't have remotely enough infrastructure or capability to get there anytime soon, and their enrichment activities are not resulting in weapons quality product. That multiple nations and media interests are claiming otherwise is unacceptable.
Their energy policy is not of any interest to me. I am interested in ending this war for the sake of peace.
1. Iran's sabre rattling is in response to the outright threats of invasion and/or military strikes by the US/Israel.
2. Iran has oil which is more economically valuable sold on the market and not burned in local power plants, arguing they have no right to nuclear power is silly.
3. Iran enriches up to 20% for use in medical research reactor that produces isotopes for cancer treatment, the entire process is monitored by the IAEA.
4. "All of the available evidence points towards their going for a nuclear weapon"
Which rock have you emerged from and more importantly, was it comfortable there? The CIA itself not to mention some very high ranking retired or otherwise members of Israel's intelligence/military have clearly stated that they don't believe Iran has nukes or is working towards them, for e.g. see:
5. They do "play ball" with the international community, they don't play ball with the US which has been threatening them for quite a while now even though it's own intelligence agency has said Iran is not pursuing a nuke.
Unless of course "International Community" in your lexicon equals the US.
oh and just a piece of advice; you shouldn't jump in if you're going to parrot unsupported claims
Because of pressure from Israeli lobby. I follow this very carefully, and most of it is propaganda to provide impunity to Israel for current and future actions.
The fact is, Iranian still unable to refine oil in industrial scale without outside help. Enriching U like any thing else becomes harder as you reach higher purity. US intelligence confirmed there has been no move to militarizing their nuclear technology.
But of course no one in media mentions that, because that goes against the narrative they want to play. That's until we go there and mess everything up, then we'll hear all these data the was there and everyone glossed over. Deja vu Iraq.
>No, we are the aggressors here and I remain highly skeptical that Iran is even trying to do develop nuclear weapons.
You may believe that but it doesn't make it so. There was a recent story about how UN inspectors found traces of uranium that were enriched higher than they were supposed to be for civilian purposes.
Weaponized uranium requires 85% isotope purity.
You realize that both RT and AJ Arabic are very, very anti-US biased? Especially RT?
RT by Putin's political structure, Al Jazeera by the Qatari Monarchy.
Any news outlet that openly condemns any nation is biased and is propaganda for whatever agenda. A news agency should be just reporting the news so the viewer can decide their feelings on the nations that the reports are about. Now if Al Jazeera wants to have that stance, then that's fine as long as everyone understands what it is that they are doing.
I have not seen any solid proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons but I have to assume that they are. It is what nations do, they will build what they feel is necessary to protect their interests. If the nations around them have nuclear weapons then most likely they feel the need to have them as well.
Also, what do you mean by "the political system of Israel and the way it's society works, is something worth fighting for"?
A political system & way of life built on the subjugation of a people, stealing their land and turning millions of them into refugees, all justified by a religious belief that their deity gave them that land over 2000 years ago?
Iran's political system has major problems, but at least they didn't emigrate from Europe to kill and drive a people off their own land and claim it as their own cuz the old testament said it was their's..
I do not compare Iran to Nazi Germany, this would mean to deny the uniqueness of the holocaust in human history.
I meant, as a German I have a moral obligation to support Israel in its fight for existance. If officials of another country talk about wiping Israel from the map, i get suspicious. You don't? I hope not.
To state, that Israels political system is built on the subjugation of a people is really rather shallow and a grave simplification. What you, Wrap, say, sounds like you think that the "palestinian people" (whatever that is or was) are the victims in that case and have done nothing to nobody. That is just wrong and i advise you to read up on the whole story.
Also, from my point of view, the right of existance of Israel is not a topic of discussion anymore. Maybe it was unfortunate to found it where it's been founded after WW2, but that is not something that can be changed now in any sensible way.
And, come on, Wrap, the Jews where "emigrating" from Europe to "kill and drive a people off their own land and claim it as their own"??? That is just ridiculous. Please get an education.
Last point about Irans political system: It does not have "major problems", it is basically run by sad men greedy for power that use religion as means of suppression. The one thing you have to give them, is that Iran/Persia was not a very aggressive country in the past. But that's it. They do oppress their people (~80 million) which you really can not say of Israel. Also they throw threats all around, and I do not think they do this just for funsies.
Edit: A karma 33 account. I've probably been trolled.
True that a finely crafted USB stick can be used to bridge an air gap, but the power grid needs to not be connected to the interent. It's a protocol layering violation: the internet depends on the power grid. If the power grid also depends on the internet, what happens when one goes down for any length of time? How long would it take to get such a system turned back on again?
Iran has one of the most sophisticated intelligence apparatuses in the world(just ask the CIA what they think about them), and incredibly talented people at their fingertips. Individuals within their organizations also have little oversight on their actions, and large amounts of cash to buy what they can't provide themselves.
Ignore them at your own peril.
But there were plenty of noob mistakes made during those attacks too. They simply haven't shown the same type of capabilities to conduct "cyber war" on the scale of the China, Russia, and the US.
I completely agree that they should not be ignored.
Moore's Law of Mad Science.
If so, then "cold" vs. "hot" would be a distinction without a difference.
I don't think the populace is generally educated to think that a "cold war" means "overt attacks on the enemy producing destruction and death." Rather, I think most people think that "cold war" means heightened political/military tension without overt attacks.
To define a "cold war" as one in which no soldiers are used is fallacious: it's a definition by non-essentials. What is relevant to war is whether there is a systematically planned and ongoing violent attacks, not whether soldiers happen to be the means of attack.
Whether certain people happen to know whether there is an attack or who is behind it does not change anything. A state of knowledge does not change the reality: someone is planning and attacking.
Wikipedia does not back your definition, as the Wiki entry leaves room for espionage, sabotage, and other actions that one might consider an "attack" but certainly do not force a declaration of war, mobilization of armies, etc.
Secondly, the Cold War is a misnomer, the US was very much involved in an open confrontation with the Chinese+Soviets in Korea, and to a lesser extent with their proxies in Vietnam later on.
Yes, the Korean war was fought under the aegis of a resolution issued by the UN security council, but it was a 'hot' war, and part of a broad push against Communist influence.
Secondly, the Cold War has two possible referents among political scientists (see the link I posted), and the one in question is not the Soviet one.
Now, these are basic facts that you are clearly wrong about. But I will get downvoted anyway. There is something very wrong with you people.
You're wrong, but at least you're not a coward.
Stuxnet is a weapon of sabotage, it is fairly direct, and yet it is not the same as an open declaration of war.
Did you miss out on Sesame Street? "One of these things are not like the other..."
No I'm not trolling. I am expected to be treated like a troll by the herd here however.
Incidentally, Wikipedia backs my definition of "cold":
"A cold war or cold warfare is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates. The surrogates are typically states that are "satellites" of the conflicting nations, i.e., nations allied to them or under their political influence. Opponents in a cold war will often provide economic or military aid, such as weapons, tactical support or military advisors, to lesser nations involved in conflicts with the opposing country."
I.e., this definition does not include direct planned and executed attacks by the nations involved. Continuing:
"The definition which has now become fixed is of a war waged through indirect conflict."
Indirect means indirect, not directly planting viruses that can destroy your factory.
> acts of espionage
> Indirect means indirect
You underestimate 'the populace'. I think most people suspect the 'Cold War' included everything up to outright war. What do you think all the CIA's Memorial Wall  signifies anyway? I imagine the Kremlin has something similar.
When coupled with recent revelations that Mr. Obama personally approves every killing of militants (for certain strained definitions of that term), the upcoming election springs to mind as a motivation. There may be alternate and contradictory reasons, all of which may be true. Many players, cross-purposes.
This could have remained hidden. Indeterminate. Who benefits from this revelation?
All the same, it's pretty stunning that the Obama administration would trade its (public) plausible deniability on Stuxnet in order to "look tough" on America's enemies. Playing fast and loose with foreign policy...great plan, guys.
For this to be included in the sudden wave of media coverage on Obama's tough stances on foreign conflicts/terrorism is pretty weighty regardless of motivation.
First, it's over. Stuxnet is out of commission and the CIA/NSA/DOD have all moved on to other programs. It's an election year and this is the kind of strong-on-Iran thing that sticks with a certain segment of voters who may question Obama's foreign policy. That's a cynical view, but Washington is a pretty cynical city.
Second, Ret. Gen. Cartwright is vainglorious. Here, he emerges as a hero.
If the information is true, it surprises me that it has stayed hidden for so long.
And lost control would imply they could not control what it did to the target, which is incorrect. It did escape to the wild, but that's not really loosing control when it was designed to do nothing harmful on non target machines.
Better to read the original, and the discussion on it: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4052330
Hard data, credible sources are what make a strong newspaper story - not a convenient message from someone who would be embarrassed if the story were untrue (something which is at least as hard to disprove in this case as it is to actually prove)
In this case "someone" is a double Pulitzer Prize winner, and what was said was something of a nature that means the editor in any reputable newspaper will demand hard evidence, i.e. he will have the names of all the sources, and confirmed with at least some of them. If the story is a fraud (possible, look up Jayson Blair), the editor would have to be in on it, and it would be a larger scandal than the story itself, which really just confirms what everybody already suspected.
The story is as good as investigative journalism gets.
And yes, reputation matters a lot in journalism. Jayson Blair is a life coach today.
It's a sketchy system, but it's the best we can get if we want journalism to remain investigative (though we may already be losing that battle).
Why does the American govt. feel it has the right to choose who can become a nuclear power or not anyway?
Oh, that and the fact that America and Israel can't trust anyone but themselves:
The US is so far away from ever putting any effort into this that Article 6 is all but unknown, and no one even remotely takes it seriously. International law is for nations without the power to effective ignore it.
I haven't made any claim about what the Iranian revolution is doing, so I don't know why I would be obligated to show you evidence regarding what they are doing. Nobody else really knows what they are doing, that is the nature of intelligence secrets in Iran and everywhere else. If the general public knew, they would not be intelligence secrets any more. That is not license for inferring whatever you want to see.
I'm certainly not carrying water for the Bush administration's attempt to legitimize 'tactical' nukes (which accounts for the entire substance of your links, as far as I can tell). On the contrary, I strongly oppose that idea. But saying stupid, obnoxious, unwise things doesn't amount to a material violation of NPT. If it did, then there would definitely be plenty of hard evidence against the Iranian regime, which routinely says things just as gob-smackingly stupid and undiplomatic and ultimately harmful to Iranians as Bush's best.
It seems that you have stereotyped me as holding a whole package of views that I do not hold, and implied that I am engaging in some kind of hypocrisy, simply because I asked for substantiation of a claim. But if I disagree with you on one thing, it does not follow that I hold all the views of your rhetorical enemies.
And your argument is that the US is in breach of NPT because Bush said stupid things about tactical nukes?
Question: at which date is a signatory in violation? What is the deadline?
The Clinton Parameters proposed a Palestinians state comprising between 94-96% of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip, with Israel annexing the remaining land, which would include almost all Israeli settlements, containing 80% of the settler population.
Things could be a lot better for Palestinians today, but a remarkable olive branch was shredded up by Yasser Arafat. The "International Community" continues his legacy by vilifying Israel every single day.
Have you read the NPT? And are you able to point to the sections that the US is in violation of along with the evidence proving that violation?
What development of nuclear weapons? They have not developed anything.
Have you read the NPT? And are you able to point to the sections that Iran is in violation of along with the evidence proving that violation?
The evidence is VERY circumstantial to most nuclear engineering professionals I would think. I think you want them taken out, not vandalized.
But yes, it certainly does seem that nary a geopolitical snafu goes by without the U.S. being involved.
Blaming the US for essentially everything, with or without evidence, is a mainstay of many countries' politics.
Historically speaking, USA is more likely to drop an atomic bomb than Iran (or any other country for that matter)
Also, you don't "lose control" of something like this, it was designed with many ways to spread. If control was lost it was during the spec/coding phase, not after deployment.
“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.
It is generally safe to assume, whether you admire the NYT (like me) or don't (like 'patio11), that there's an actual source with a credible claim to have been in the room with the President who did in fact tell David E. Sanger that this happened. People have accused the NYT of bending the truth in lots of ways, but misreporting a White House meeting is not one of those ways.
I'm annoyed to have to write this, because I'm one of the people who thought the Stuxnet thing was marvelously overhyped and unlikely to be true. Friends of mine who are much smarter than me thought the worm might have just been a cover for direct sabotage. Nope; it seems like the government was exactly as simultaneously savvy and idiotic as online pundits had claimed it was.
Sabotage via infiltration of IT: good.
Sabotage via infiltration of IT via propagating malware: not so good.
Edit: Actually it looks like these days anyone can grab RE'd source off the intarwebs, though I haven't checked to see if the downloads Google is feeding me are legitimate.
Misreporting or being given a specific leak that the administration would like to see published? Lots of incentives for the powers that be to pseudo-claim credit for this in a nudge-nudge-wink-wink sort of way.
But I see nothing idiotic about it.
Now, the question of whether these NSA advisers are -lying- as part of a propaganda campaign is a fair question. I wouldn't be shocked if they were, but everything that I have anecdotally read about Stuxnet and just using common sense, tells me--a layman on the outside looking in--that there is a pretty decent probability this is true, or at least pretty close to the truth.
Clearly, the timing of this is politically relevant. The President wants to take credit for it to boost his domestic stock in the runup to the election.
He can repeat these two key points whenever he is questioned on foreign policy:
1) I killed Bin Laden
2) I'm the guy who set the maniacal Ahmadinejad's nuclear ambitions back. The guy who is preventing the destruction of Israel.
Regardless of your political persuasion, these are potent points that have a chance to resonate with the electorate.
(fwiw: I'm not particularly in love with the NYTimes. I don't have an affinity for any particular newspaper anymore. I'm not defending the newspaper, just pointing out the likely reality as I understand it)
If the article is wrong, it would be a massive screw up. Huge. Historical. The kind of thing that would prompt a strong rebuke from the named countries and individuals.
In fact it's a remarkably well sourced article given the context and a cynical person might speculate on the timing of this revelation in regards to the upcoming election.
But yeah, it's confirmed. And I suggest you read the full NYT article (if you haven't). The Ars summary adds little value and elides many details that make the overall story more credible.
That seems like a complicated and unnecessary conspiracy theory that runs a very high risk of unraveling in an embarrassing fashion. It is not plausible.
Do you have any citations for what you are referring to here? I'd like to read more about this topic (and the NYT) if you have the info available.
"Why does the United States think it is okay to infect hundreds of thousands of computers with this virus?"
"Is it ethical to introduce security holes or exploit security holes of everyday citizens of allies?"
"Do you take responsibility for the collateral damage? Have you committed an act of aggression on nation-states you are not in conflict with? How does that affect your relations with these nations?"
I wonder if this is their easy way to set themselves up to say, "This is complicated technology, our primary goal is to stop a dangerous nation from getting a dangerous weapon. We apologize for any collateral." even if that statement was false.
Perhaps it was necessary for the virus to spread to ensure the success of the mission and that cost was accepted, but they just don't want to admit it publically because of what it would open themselves up to.
The other part that makes no sense to me is the bit about the "beacon" that would deliver info back to them over an air gap network. This is rather confusing and inconsistent with what has been seen from it, but it's not impossible.
But of course these statements went through several non-technical people and were written for a non-technical audience, so they might be based on something accurate and just sound funny.
Everyone in the hacker community knows this was coming. This is going to get much worst before it gets better. Power outages in Brazil, China/Google event last year, and stuxnet.
As the article says:
"Stuxnet is old news by now. Even the newly discovered "Flame" malware was developed some time ago. While details about these two targeted attack packages are finally emerging, the next generation of attack tools has no doubt been developed and likely deployed."
Who would be the combatants? One of the few actually interesting things that came out of the leaked diplomatic cables was that many of the major Middle East countries want Iran's nuclear program stopped, with Saudi Arabia actually repeatedly urging the US to attack.
In light of that, I'd expect that if Israel attacked it would be publicly condemned by the rest of the Middle East countries, but most would secretly be relieved.
Also on top of this what would be Russia + China's reaction be to a physical attack on one of their allies. Heck what would be the price of oil? $150 a barrel?
Then it turns out they are doing it themselves? Tut Tut. Though not really surprising.
I do feel though that with the success that lolsec had last year very few companies / governments are prepared against a concerted attempt to access their data.
> American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.
Convenient. Not only was the reporter able to secure one reliable, anonymous, highly privileged source to confirm the story, but he found multiple!
I'll wait my 50 years or whatever for the relevant documents to be declassified, in the meantime this is all just drama and guesswork, no matter how many anonymous, totally reliable sources crawl out of the woodwork.
Do you think counties summit to laws because of what? If no one can over power then, they have to abide to no law. UNis just to cut costs for the dominating military powers.
Want something done? It costs less to send some talker to tell about the power you can mobilize than to mobilize that power at once.
In my view, we never left a "might-makes-right world". It's the underlying reality of human existence and human nature. And yes, that absolutely does mean that our future holds new world wars and untold carnage. Is it a particularly happy thought? No, not really. But it's part of the human experience.
You guys need to get off the internet and into the real world a bit more.
So no, Anonymous didn't "scoop" anything.
First reference to Stuxnet being U.S. government produced? You decide.
But this NYT story is indeed a scoop. It confirms that belief and provides quite a bit more detail.
International espionage is half offence and half tact. It's not espionage if everyone finds out about it.
Quite frankly cowboy coding like that is why we'll end up with Skynet becoming self-aware.
Imagine a tank with a nice big, red button that shuts down the internal systems instantly. Now imagine that button on the outside of the tank. Sure, you could put some kind of password encoded lock on the button but it's a huge START HERE sign on the outside of the protection of the tank.
It sounds like they had something to check it wasn't outside and someone just screwed up.
I can verify that. None of my centrifuges have been blown up.
The lack of plausible deniability will lead to escalation. Once it does, national security (from the perspective of each country) will govern it's growth, not freedom.
Not really. The code would need to rely on or implement additional network (or DNS) code, and then also make a network connection; making it much more easily traced.
Either way, I think the "lost control" headline here is a bit much. Stuxnet, from the analysis performed, was harmless beyond the target network.
If your choices are between allowing Israel to start a new war in the middle east, or work with Israel on this risky new cyberweapon, I think most people would pick the cyberweapon.
Just remind them that we are the reason you exist and we can and will withdraw that support when we want to.
Those who don't know history are bound to repeat it?
Luckily this time it's a simple pc virus we can easily disassemble and counter - I think cyber war's still miles better than the alternatives.
I'm not sure how you can reasonably compare testing nuclear weapons to the supposed propagation of HIV, either. These two things have nothing in common.
It was widely known at that time that radiation was bad for you mkay, and that nuclear fission bombs were nuclear fission bombs, i.e. accelerated nuclear degradation bombs and drained all their explosive power from radiations, that kill mkay.
In the past, biological, chemical, explosive weapons were tested on rocks, plants, prisoners, personnel, unsuspecting local populations, etc. by the nazi regime, the US govt, the USSR and France - that are widely confirmed.
I wouldn't put it past THOSE people to do such a thing, would you ?
So really, if you want to say it's IMPOSSIBLE or UNLIKELY that they would've done that too, without knowing the consequences - I suppose you must be right.
That means I just used the HIV word to connect to the concept of bio weapon testing gone wrong - weapon testing gone wrong.
The reason why is that one of the most popular theories on HIV is that the US military had a part in its development.
I don't know and I don't care, those people have such a bad karma even AIDS wouldn't make much difference - just read the disclaimer next time ;)
This means you just randomly connected unrelated things.
The connection doesn't even make sense at a basic level. If the US knowingly put sailors in boats near nuclear blasts to test for radiation effects, it wasn't a mistake. It was an intentional act. It makes no sense to say that this implies that super-HIV could have been accidentally released in the wild by the US government.
> The reason why is that one of the most popular theories on HIV is that the US military had a part in its development.
Popular among conspiracy theorists, perhaps, not among the general population or among experts in the field.
This is amazingly bad logic.
The US has done some bad things.
This is a bad thing.
Therefore the US did this.