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Bush Counter-Terror Official on Stuxnet: ‘Israel Likely Did It’


A Bloomberg interview with Richard Falkenrath, former counter-terrorism official in the Bush administration points specifically to Israel as the most likely source (see 2:04 of this video) of the Stuxnet computer worm:

It is theoretically possible that the U.S. did–that the U.S. government did this.  But it’s a very remote possibility.  More likely, frankly, is Israel–that Israel did it.

For the U.S. to launch a malware attack like this is a very risky thing to do, because it can’t really be controlled.  It can spread beyond the place that’s being targeted.

Which brings us to a critical issue that none of the journalist or bloggers I’ve read who’ve covered this story have mentioned: if Israeli cyberwarriors from Unit 8200 or the Mossad (or both) created Stuxnet, it becomes yet another example of state-sponsored Israeli terrorism running amok.  Even if you concede Israel’s right to target Iran’s nuclear facilities in this way (which I’ll concede here only for the sake or argument), you have the problem of the tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in damages caused to the industrial systems of at least four countries (Iran, Pakistan, Indian, Indonesia).  This map details the infections spread by country.

This is a mirror image of the damage caused by the Mossad to the sovereignty and reputations of all those countries damaged by the Mahmoud al-Mabouh assassination when it forged passport documents in the names of citizens of these nations.  One might argue there was some legitimacy in destroying an Iranian nuclear facility possibly designed to create a nuclear weapon.  But for a nation like Israel to collaterally damage key production facilities of these other nations is unconscionable.  Falkenrath clearly believes this is the reason it is unlikely the U.S. pulled the Stuxnet trigger.

Of course, it will be difficult if not impossible to firmly identify the source of the infection since, unlike physical crimes, this one leaves little traceable evidence.  In that sense, Israel or whoever created this menace, has perpetrated almost the perfect cybercrime.  But let’s make no mistake: this is a crime especially against those countries victimized by it who were innocent of any involvement in Iran’s nuclear program.

In fact, one of the world’s leading cyber security experts notes the downward slide that Stuxnet represents:

“This malicious program was not designed to steal money, send spam, grab personal data, no, this piece of malware was designed to sabotage plants, to damage industrial systems,” he said.

“I am afraid this is the beginning of a new world. [The] 90’s were a decade of cyber-vandals, 2000’s were a decade of cybercriminals, I am afraid now it is a new era of cyber-wars and cyber-terrorism,” Kaspersky added.

The problem with Israeli moral calculus is that for the Mossad and Israel’s leaders the end of damaging Iran’s nuclear capability justifies any collateral damage.  I hope that the world’s cyber security experts and political leaders will make clear that this is not a moral calculus they share.  The danger of not taking a strong stand against this is that not only malicious computer hackers will exploit this deadly new development in the history of malware, it will lower the threshhold for other nations who may contemplate deploying such weapons against their own enemies in future.  Think of it–what’s to stop an ambitious Islamist hacker from “improving” on Stuxnet and targeting a critical U.S. production facility to wreak havoc on a power plant or even nuclear plant?  What’s to stop China from a similar attack against Taiwan?  Or Pakistan or India from similarly attacking each other if they were on the verge of war?  You can think of any number of possibilities here.

And it could be Israel that has unleashed this escalating menace on the world.  It’s leaders should realize that what goes around can come around.  While Israel has one of the world’s most sophisticated cyber warfare capability, that does not mean that it is invulnerable.  Certainly, it would be a very difficult target.  But for every Natanz that Israel may target there is a Dimona.  No one should forget that.  I am not advocating such an attack.  But it stands to reason that a nation injured by Israel might target its own critical facilities in revenge.  Is this the sort of cyber brinksmanship that we want to see?

In regard to my speculation that Natanz had to be the target of this attack because of its key role in uranium enrichment, which could lead to an Iranian nuclear weapon if it were pursuing such a goal, another cyber-security expert confirms my thinking:

• Stuxnet appears designed to take over centrifuges’ programmable logic controllers. Natanz has thousands of identical centrifuges and identical programmable logic controllers (PLCs), tiny computers for each centrifuge that oversee the centrifuge’s temperature, control valves, operating speed, and flow of cooling water. Stuxnet’s internal design would allow the malware to take over PLCs one after another, in a cookie-cutter fashion.

“It seems like the parts of Stuxnet dealing with PLCs have been designed to work on multiple nodes at once – which makes it fit well with a centrifuge plant like Natanz,” Rieger says.

While some have argued that Bushehr may’ve been the likely target of Stuxnet since Russian contractors working there originally introduced the worm, it wouldn’t be hard to infect a computer at Natanz once Bushehr was infected.  So it could’ve begun in Bushehr and spread to Natanz with the latter being the ultimate target.  But Paul does make some interesting arguments that Bushehr might make an attractive target as well.   My money is still on Natanz as being the primary goal.  I suppose too it’s possible that Israel’s may’ve devised a twofer, infecting and damaging both facilities.

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post about an Iranian report conceding extensive Stuxnet-related damage to its industrial plants, Paul Woodward reports this from Iranian media:

Iran’s Mehr News Agency adds:

The director of the Information Technology Council of the Industries and Mines Ministry has announced that the IP addresses of 30,000 industrial computer systems infected by this malware have been detected, the Mehr New Agency reported on Saturday.

“An electronic war has been launched against Iran,” Mahmoud Liaii added.

This computer worm is designed to transfer data about production lines from our industrial plants to (locations) outside of the country,” he said.

He also announced that a working group composed of representatives from the Communications and Information Technology Ministry, the Industries and Mines Ministry, and the Passive Defense Organization has been set up to find ways to combat the spyware.

This adds an interesting filip to what I’ve been reporting about the goal and intent of Stuxnet.  Till now, reports have speculated the purpose of the infection was to sabotage Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant.  But it seems entirely possible that while it was doing that an additional goal was to study the entire industrial process by which Iran was pursuing its nuclear ambitions.  This would be a possible goldmine of information for Israel in mapping out Iran’s level of progress and what particular technical avenues it was pursuing.  This might allow Israel to discover how close Iran was to nuclear break-out (if it is pursuing a nuclear weapon).  It might also enable Israel to prepare defenses against Iran’s nuclear goals or even suggest ways of attacking Iran again somewhere down the line.

The possibilities are endless.

Thanks to Paul Woodward for his stellar analysis, which I’ve in part adopted and in part taken in some slightly different directions.  H/t David Ehrens.

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{ 106 comments… add one }

  • hophmi September 26, 2010, 3:20 AM

    I’m not sure why this makes you so upset. In the first place, this would hardly be the first example of state using a computer virus. The Russians have done it a number of times.

    Second, I’m pretty sure the US is involved. I’ve heard more than once Americans talk about the sabotage that was going on to slow down Iranian nuclear progress.

    Third, isn’t it preferable to bombing the country? Iran has made crystal clear that Israel is a target. It has repeatedly violated international law by threatening a UN member state. Why shouldn’t Israel monitor its nuclear facilities and attempt to sabotage them without killing people?

    • Yakov September 26, 2010, 5:55 AM

      There’s another benefit. Any collateral damage is financial, it can be reimbursed by some means, thus leaving Iran the only real target.

      the “let’s not unleash this new horrible weapon” argument doesn’t hold water.

    • Shirin September 26, 2010, 8:28 AM

      Iran has made crystal clear that Israel is a target.

      Iran has done no such thing. Furthermore, unlike Israel, which seems addicted to aggression, Iran has not attacked or invaded another country in nearly three centuries, and has shown no indication that it plans to do so any time in the foreseeable future.

      And finally, there is as yet no actual evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, or that it intends to do so.

      • Shai September 26, 2010, 8:48 AM

        Regardless of whether there is evidence or not, what do you personally think Iran wants?

        In any case, you have to remember that even if you (or any of us) haven’t seen evidence, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, or that these aren’t Iran’s intentions. You’d have to be in an Intelligence org. to be able to tell.

        • Dovit September 26, 2010, 7:46 PM

          And what do YOU personally think Israel wants? I’m not talking about their propaganda about “protecting their borders” and all that crap. I’m talking about their continued aggression against all of their neighbors and their very obvious desire to not only push out all of the Palestinians, but to capture all of the land between the Nile River and The Euphrates. Israel is not planning on stopping it’s aggression and land grabs. They are out to murder all of their neighbors.

          And of course, as you said, you have to remember that even if you (or any of us) haven’t seen evidence, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, or that these aren’t Israel’s intentions. You’d have to be in an Intelligence org. to be able to tell.

          • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 9:08 PM

            They are out to murder all of their neighbors.

            This is a vast overstatement & I urge you to constrain yr statements to what we know to be true. Israel is guilty of many things, but this particular statement goes too far.

          • Shai September 27, 2010, 12:36 AM

            I actually think Israel wants to maintain the status quo for as long as possible, since it enjoys a relatively calm security state and general prosperity.

            But what does this have to do with anything?

      • hophmi September 26, 2010, 12:15 PM

        @ Shirin:

        “Iran has not attacked or invaded another country in nearly three centuries, and has shown no indication that it plans to do so any time in the foreseeable future.”

        Isn’t it time to retire this line? Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which have attacked their neighbors. It has been behind some of the terrorism in Iraq as well.

        “And finally, there is as yet no actual evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, or that it intends to do so.”

        No, there’s none at all. Especially if you’re the type who won’t be convinced until the Iranian parade a nuclear device in front of you.

        • mary September 26, 2010, 12:23 PM

          There is no proof that Iran funds or assists Hamas in any way, and in fact it is ideologically unlikely. As for Hezbollah, well, so what? Hezbollah is the only effective military unit keeping Israel’s aggression in check. As for who attacked whom, please give us a break from the old “Israel needs to defend itself” bromides, and I’ll refrain from going into the subject of who is actually the aggressor, ok?

          This week Iran offered to purchase enriched uranium rather than manufacture its own. Gee, I wonder why they’d do that.

          • hophmi September 26, 2010, 12:28 PM

            “There is no proof that Iran funds or assists Hamas in any way, and in fact it is ideologically unlikely.”

            You’re incorrect.

            http://www.haaretz.com/news/ahmadinejad-iran-will-support-hamas-until-collapse-of-israel-1.253714

            http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3512014.ece

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4739900.stm

            That’s just for starters.

          • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 5:58 PM

            Who cares. YOU mean to say that Israel doesn’t receive precisely the same type of help fr. the U.S.? And far larger amounts of help I might add.

            If you’ll agree to end U.S. military aid to Israel I’ll lobby for an end to support by Iran for Hamas & Hezbollah. Deal?

          • Shai September 26, 2010, 1:54 PM

            This week Iran offered to purchase enriched uranium rather than manufacture its own. Gee, I wonder why they’d do that.

            It’s funny you bring this up, I have been pondering this lately.

            I think it might be some ingenious masterplan to achieve nuclear capabilities (for peaceful purposes or otherwise) for free.

          • mary September 26, 2010, 7:06 PM

            You mean maybe like Israel?

          • hophmi September 26, 2010, 7:11 PM

            @mary: I’m not sure where you got the idea that Israel built nuclear weapons for free.

            Simply ask yourself why no one seems to fear Israeli nukes but virtually the entire Western world and the Middle East fear an Iranian nuke.

          • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 11:13 PM

            Simply ask yourself why no one seems to fear Israeli nukes

            My God! You can’t be serious! Are you really? If so, I’m absolutely dumbstruck. Unfortunately, you can’t read an Arabic newspaper or a Persian one. The entire Middle East is petrified of Israel’s nukes. Why don’t you know this? Because you’re in yr insulated pro-Israel cocoon.

            I don’t claim there aren’t nations who’d be equally frightened of an Iranian nuke. But the latter is theoretical, which the Israeli bomb is a fact. Most reasonable people are much more frightened of a real threat than a theoretical one.

          • mary September 26, 2010, 9:24 PM

            hophmi, sorry, but these are allegations. And Iran basks in them. Of course Ahmadinejhad says Iran “supports” Hamas, but where is the proof? Iran revels in the perceived street cred it gets from those who believe it is actually lifting a finger to help anyone.

            Hamas is the child of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a Sunni Muslim organization. Iran is a Shia Muslim government and the Brotherhood has held longstanding negative attitudes towards Shia Islam, as much of the Muslim world does. It’s a huge ideological stretch to imagine Iran and Hamas being brothers in arms.

            On the other hand, Syria, which is a secular government, has no qualms about giving tangible support to both Hamas and Hizbullah, who are Sunni and Shia organizations respectively.

        • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 8:04 PM

          Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which have attacked their neighbors. It has been behind some of the terrorism in Iraq as well.

          Excuse me. Israel’s generals & leaders have boasted about bombing Lebanon & Gaza back to the dark ages & done so. They’ve boasted about obliterating Iran’s nuclear plants & overthrowing its leaders. And you tell me Iran has nothing to worry about & no need to concern itself w. funding proxies???

          And when you come up with definitive evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon would you let us know. I’m not saying it isn’t. But even the Mossad, which has done its best at planting fake proof in the world media, hasn’t been able to prove this. Nor can you. But we DO know that Israel has nuclear weapons. And we DO know that it created an “improvised one” & planned to use them if it lost the 1967 war. So don’t tell me the fear is only on one side. Arab & Muslim states in the region have just as much right to be petrified of an Israel which has lost its mind (an Israeli phrase btw) & gone nuclear rogue.

    • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 8:25 PM

      The Russians have done it a number of times.

      Lame argument. The Russians used cyberwarfare to take down Georgian gov’t websites, but not to destroy Georgian infrastructure or industrial plants as Israel has done. This is a massive escalation in cyberwarfare. Massive. To pretend otherwise merely shows where yr loyalties lie.

      isn’t it preferable to bombing the country?

      No, unless you tell me it’s perfectly OK w. you for any Muslim nation or hacker to do the same to Dimona. If that’s OK w. you then I’m down widit. If not, then I prefer diplomacy & negotiation which gets both sides close to where they want to be w/o any warfare of any kind, cyber or otherwise.

      Iran has NEVER threatened Israel in the way Israel has threatened Iran. Iran has never said it would attack Israel in a first strike. Israel has.

      • Sepehr Aziz September 28, 2010, 11:19 PM

        Excuse me, but leading chants of “marg bar israel” and promoting very strong rhetoric regarding the annihilation of the jewish state is considered by most people to be a threat. Israel has never attacked iran directly OR by proxy, but Iran has funded, trained, and ordered hizbulla to attack israel on more than one occasion.

        • Richard Silverstein October 1, 2010, 12:34 AM

          Iran has funded, trained, and ordered hizbulla to attack israel

          “Ordered” Hezbollah to attack Israel? When? What proof do you have? None. Lies & distortion are not tolerated here.

      • Chaya October 2, 2010, 10:03 AM

        Richard said:
        Iran has NEVER threatened Israel in the way Israel has threatened Iran. Iran has never said it would attack Israel in a first strike. Israel has.
        ============================

        Saying he wants to wipe us off the map isn’t threatening us??? We have never threatened Iran!!

        And concerning Iran/Hamas ties

        http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/57/the-iran-hamas-alliance

        • Richard Silverstein October 2, 2010, 3:47 PM

          We have never threatened Iran!!

          I have posted verbatim statements by senior Israeli ministers & generals threatening to wipe Iran off the map or the equivalent thereof. Israel has indeed threatened to do to Iran what Iran has never threatened to do to Israel. And those cabinet ministers & generals have NEVER said that they would only attack Iran in self defense. They’ve never said they would not attack first or not engage in a pre emptive attack. Iran’s leaders have only made bellicose statements threatening Israel with direct physical harm in the context of an Israeli first strike.

          You simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Shirin October 3, 2010, 1:00 AM

          Saying he wants to wipe us off the map isn’t threatening us??

          How boring you are. He never said he wants to wipe you off the map or anything remotely like that.

    • Peter Attwood September 27, 2010, 12:19 AM

      Care to tell us when iran has threatened any UN member state? Please don’t tell us how Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel from the map, since what he said was quoting Khomeini in stating that the Israeli regime must pass from the pages of time. Mistranslating something in that way is slander, which is not necessary when the truth is with you.

      In contrast to Iran, which has not attacked anyone in the past 250 years, Israel attacks others all the time, and makes a point of waging war against civilians and civilian infrastructure. It even spent 90 minutes in 1967 trying to sink the USS Liberty, killing 34 American soldiers and wounding 170 more. It attempted in 1980 to assassinate US Ambassador John Gunther Dean in Lebanon. It bombed American facilities in Egypt in 1954 to blame the Egyptians and bombed Iraqi jews in 1950 to make them flee to Israel. It hired Jonathan Pollard to steal valuable military secrets from the United States and then sold the information to the Soviet Union and others. Why must this regime get all kinds of special favors from us, being weighed with different balances and measured with a different yardstick from anyone else? WEhat is the state of Israel to the United States except trouble, as even David Petraeus recently blurted out?

      • Shai September 27, 2010, 1:14 AM

        Iran, which has not attacked anyone in the past 250 years

        I think you have an extra digit there, buddy.

        WEhat is the state of Israel to the United States except trouble

        Highly arguable, but often believed to be a Middle-Eastern proxy.

        • Peter Attwood September 27, 2010, 1:32 AM

          Where is the extra digit? When do you think Iran last attacked anyone?

          • Shai September 27, 2010, 2:38 AM

            I suppose you meant initiated attacks. Iran HAS attacked (Operation Ramadan among others), but that was during war.

        • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 1:32 AM

          What are you talking about? When has Iran directly attacked another country?

          • motheroffour September 27, 2010, 6:55 AM

            I seem to remember this small thing called the Iran – Iraq war, for starters….

          • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 12:03 PM

            Iraq started the war, not Iran. Iran was the defender. How quickly people forget history, if they ever knew it. Did you? Nah.

          • Peter Attwood September 27, 2010, 9:41 AM

            It’s true. I don’t count counter-attacks against an aggressor attacking anyone. If I break in your house and start beating you, no court will say you attacked me when you fight back.

          • Shai September 27, 2010, 4:58 PM

            If I break in your house and start beating you, no court will say you attacked me when you fight back.

            http://overlawyered.com/early-years/february-2003-archives-part-3/#0226a

            I found it amusing.

          • Deïr Yassin September 28, 2010, 1:27 PM

            #Peter Attwood)
            “If I break into your house and start beating you, no court will say you attacked me when you fight back”.

            You mean like ‘I’ being Israel, ‘you’ the Palestinians, and ‘court’ the US and in general the Western world ??

      • Michael Brenner September 27, 2010, 11:31 AM

        On the Iran-Israel threat issue:

        @Peter: I do not understand why Ahmadinejad threatening to wipe Israel off the map is not a threat because he was quoting Khomenei, who said that Israel must pass from the pages of time. When a country has committed terrorism against Jews in Argentina (which everyone seems to have forgotten about), funds groups in Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq, and says things like this, it’s a threat in my book. Combine this all with repeated Holocaust denial, and you’re dealing with a scary situation. It’s much more than garden-variety “We hate the Zionists” talk from the Iranian leadership.

        What would you deem a threat? At what point does Israel get to take Iran seriously in your book?

        As far as your litany of examples where Israel has targeted civilian infrastructure (I defy you to point to a war in the last 50 years where civilian infrastructure was not targeted), your “John Gunther Dean” example needs to be supported by some kind of proof, because this is something that apparently only Dean believes. It’s a conspiracy theory with no evidence I’ve seen, as is his claim that Israel was involved in the killing of the Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan.

        @Richard: “The Russians used cyberwarfare to take down Georgian gov’t websites, but not to destroy Georgian infrastructure or industrial plants as Israel has done. This is a massive escalation in cyberwarfare. Massive. To pretend otherwise merely shows where yr loyalties lie.”

        With all respect, Russia has been accused of more than this, and while Stuxnet is new, I do not see it as a “massive escalation in cyber warfare.” It was bound to happen at some point. Cyberwarfare is pretty cheap.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/17/topstories3.russia

        http://defensetech.org/2009/01/30/russia-now-3-and-0-in-cyber-warfare/

        http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/georgia-takes-a-beating-in-the-cyberwar-with-russia/

        • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 12:20 PM

          Ahmadinejad didn’t threaten to wipe Israel off the map. That is a mistranslation & at any rate (for about the 20th time here, pls. don’t repeat falsehoods already uttered by others & rebutted numerous times) he was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini who made the original statement which was that Israel should disappear from history or some such similar statement. Do not mention this false claim again here.

          It has not yet been proven whether Iran committed the Argentina attack. They may have or may not. But to claim that this is proven is another falsehood, which violates my comment rules.

          Of course Israel should “take Iran seriously.” But doing so and destroying it or overthrowing its leadership or bombing its nuclear facilities is another thing entirely.

          Whatever Russia has done it has never done anything as ambitious as Stuxnet. And again, I’ll prefer the opinion of experts about the worm being a massive escalation in cyber warfare to yr opinion any day.

          • Michael Brenner September 27, 2010, 1:13 PM

            “Do not mention this false claim again here.”

            With all due respect, it was a mistranslation that was Iran’s own Islamic Republic News Agency. But it’s really beside the point. Whether he said “vanish from the pages of time”, he has done everything he can, rhetorically, at least, to promote his belief in that position. After all, the line before that one talked about a new wave of attacks in Palestine destroying the Israeli regime.

            “It has not yet been proven whether Iran committed the Argentina attack.”

            They are the main suspects and both the Iranian government and Hezbollah were formally charged in 2006. But, you’re right, like the USS Liberty, which you consistly allow people to claim is proven despite many, many claims to the contrary, it has never been proven in court.

          • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 3:46 PM

            I’m not gonna argue with you about this again. The discussion is done. And I’ve got news for you–if Israel continues along the same path it’s traveled for the past 40-60+ yrs. it WILL disappear fr. the pgs of history & the fault will lie with Israel itself & its leaders for this.

            No, they are suspects. And a suspect is not guilty, he’s only a suspect. You know the diff. bet. the 2 so don’t make this mistake again. Be precise in yr claims. And accurate. That includes discussions of the U.S.S. Liberty which I don’t think I’ve talked about on this blog perhaps once in 8 yrs. Don’t confuse me w. other readers. That too is sloppy.

          • Michael Brenner September 27, 2010, 9:45 PM

            I’m not confusing you with other readers. You called me out for the Iran Argentina bombing allegation but you didn’t call Peter out for the USS Liberty allegation or the completely lacking Dean allegations.

          • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 11:37 PM

            I thought Peter’s argument was a lot more persuasive than yours. Israel attacked the Liberty plain & simple. We can argue why. But the plain fact is that Israel did it.

            The Argentina bombing isn’t as clear cut and certainly not proven in a court of law.

  • Dave Boxthorn September 26, 2010, 6:01 AM

    I’m puzzled why you call this ‘terrorism’. You can’t point to a single living thing or a single piece of property getting so much as a scratch from this action.

    • dickerson3870 September 26, 2010, 10:00 AM

      RE: “I’m puzzled why you call this ‘terrorism’.” – Dave Boxthorn
      FROM WIKIPEDIA:

      …The term “terrorism” comes from French terrorisme, from Latin: ‘terror’, “great fear”, “dread”, related to the Latin verb terrere, “to frighten”
      …since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism: “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.” [4]

      SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_terrorism

      • dickerson3870 October 1, 2010, 6:48 PM

        RE: “You can’t point to a single living thing or a single piece of property getting so much as a scratch from this action.” – Dave Boxthorn
        FROM PAUL WOODWARD, WAR IN CONTEXT, 10/01/10:

        …Jeffrey Carr, author of “Inside Cyber Warfare,” describes what he believes is the first example of Stuxnet’s destructive power: the loss of India’s INSAT-4B communications satellite which shut down in July. The satellite’s control systems use Siemens S7-400 PLC and SIMATIC WinCC software, both of which are targeted by Stuxnet…

        ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://warincontext.org/2010/10/01/israel-smart-enough-to-create-stuxnet-and-stupid-enough-to-use-it/

        • Richard Silverstein October 2, 2010, 12:47 AM

          Carr presents hardly any evidence to support his claim, but then goes on to claim that the fact that India’s satellite was allegedly downed by Stuxnet is proof that it’s more likely to point to a feud bet. China and India, & not Israel & Iran. Just not credible imo.

    • Donald September 26, 2010, 12:00 PM

      It seems insane for any technologically advanced country to countenance this sort of activity. Are we supposed to think that America is invulnerable? And if we did this or if we supported (or are perceived as supporting) Israel if they did it, it’s going to blow back on us. And I’m not looking forward to that at all.

      As for the word “terrorism”, you’d better believe we’d be calling it that if an Iranian agent did this to us or to Israel. Playing around with the operating system of a nuclear facility–yeah, we’d all stay real calm about that, I’m sure. And if they “only” mucked around with software in banks–why, of course we’d just laugh it off. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 8:11 PM

      Dave, you’ve got five hasbarists in this thread trying to make the same stupid argument. Can’t you guys get yr targets straight instead of piling on like this. It makes it clear that you guys are all programmed to say virtually the same thing. This “line” must’ve been cooked up in Hasbara Central at the MFA. Could you give some feedback that you need a new line for yr next set of comments?

    • dickerson3870 September 29, 2010, 4:05 PM

      RE: “I’m puzzled why you call this ‘terrorism’.” – Dave Boxthorn
      MY COMMENT: So, if Iran managed to do something like this to Israel (without so much as a “scratch”, but with a bit of ‘collateral damage’ to a number of “western” countries) you would not consider it terrorism? Why not?

  • Cary September 26, 2010, 7:25 AM

    So what should Israel do given Iran’s threats to destroy the “Zionist entity”? No sane person doubts their intent to develop nuclear weapons. Sanctions are not working and it would be irresponsible to the point of negligence to wait and see if Iran could be talked out of their intents. If Israel were to bomb the sites, one could only imagine the opprobrium that Israel would be subjected to. The argument about the Dimona site is rather specious; cyberterrorists do not require a rationale or pretext to attack Israel’s sites. Oh, and by the way, Pakistan is no bystander in this matter, having supplied Iran with much nuclear technology. Finally, the only thing the Mossad did wrong in eliminating al-Mabouh was get caught.

    • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 8:31 PM

      Iran’s threats to destroy the “Zionist entity”?

      It has never threatened to destroy Israel or the Zionist entity. It has said it would counterattack if attacked by Israel & inflict great damage on Israel. It has also expressed confidence that Israel would destroy itself or that it would disappear fr. history. Those are entirely diff. statements than the fictional ones you claim.

      it would be irresponsible to the point of negligence to wait and see if Iran could be talked out of their intents.

      No, it would irresponsible to the pt of negligence to do the things that Israel has done & plans to do against Iran. That would be truly irresponsible & illegal.

      The argument about the Dimona site is rather specious;

      No, YOU are rather specious. The Dimona argument is entirely on point. Would you accept the right to sabotage it if you accept Israel’s right to sabotage Natanz?

      Finally, the only thing the Mossad did wrong in eliminating al-Mabouh was get caught.

      Justifying murder & terrorism is a violation of my comment rules. If you commit any further violation you will be banned. READ the rules!

  • lally September 26, 2010, 9:20 AM

    From A7 News Briefs:

    “Iran: Virus Hasn’t Affected Bushehr Plant

    Reported: 14:44 PM – Sep/26/10
    Follow Israel news briefs on and

    An Iranian official said Sunday that the Bushehr nuclear facility has not been affected by a computer virus that has struck the country’s banks and government institutions. The “stuxnet” virus was first reported last June. An American expert quoted on Israel radio Sunday said that the virus was too sophisticated to have been the work of a band of hackers, and appeared to have had many resources invested in it, “resources available only to a nation-state.” He said that he was unaware of any activity by the U.S. in spreading the virus, and that if any country was behind it, it was probably Israel.

    The virus has affected only equipment manufactured by Germany’s Siemens, which has done a great deal of work in Iran.”

    • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 7:47 PM

      Bushehr has suffered repeated construction delays and rumored sabotage. The Iranian statement doesn’t wash.

      • lally September 26, 2010, 10:26 PM

        I’m interested in the disparity of the targeted systems; this is the only mention of Iranian banks and “government institutions” I’ve seen thus far. The Iranian claim that personal PCs were infected could very well be true; I expect reflexive obfuscation when it comes to things nuclear.

        If there is a widespread attack, I would guess that the Siemans vehicle is only responsible for the industrial nodes. If banks, etc (plus?) are involved, the threat to the State could be incalculable. IF.

        If the Iranians were really clever, they would be transparent about the systems affected and let worldwide supergeekdom do it’s sluething best……

        BTW, Debkafile is insistant that this is a joint USA/Israel Operation something-or-other.

        Could be.

        • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 11:19 PM

          Again, you’re not reading my posts about this. AP quotes the Mehr news agency saying that Iranian nuclear scientists were meeting to both assess the damage caused to their systems & end the threat. Could you do us all the favor of reading my posts before making errors you wouldn’t need to make if you did so?

          Debka???!!! Whatever you tell me they say, is 180% different in reality. That’s a hard & fast rule. I hereby renounce my own joint U.S.-Israel theory, which I didn’t much believe anyway.

          • lally September 27, 2010, 1:14 PM

            You have misconstrued my posts and interpreted them as adversarial. They aren’t.

      • Paul September 26, 2010, 11:07 PM

        Wikileaks reported an nuclear accident at Bushehr in July, maybe June, which was before this cyber attack was public knowledge. I think the Iranian statement is clearly a cover and that there was indeed an nuclear accident.

        • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 11:16 PM

          Once again, READ the articles linked in the various posts I’ve published & you’ll learn how ill informed you are. Stuxnet was first discovered in July, 2009. Your timeline doesn’t make sense.

          • Paul September 27, 2010, 11:11 AM

            Actually, I was agreeing with your contention that the Iranian story “doesn’t wash.” Wikileaks claimed in July that there was an accident without noting any cyber attack which suggests either they didn’t know about the attack, didn’t connect the two, it had yet to be revealed, or that the attack was not yet common knowledge. They claim, on July 17th, that they got the report 2weeks earlier which would be July 3rd. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, perhaps not. But you are a little testy in your response to a supporting post. perhaps you misread it. In any event, hardly worthy of “I’ll informed etc.

          • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 12:15 PM

            If I misunderstood you, I apologize. Sometimes if you add a sentence to yr original comment like the first one in yr comment above it would make things clearer to me.

          • Paul September 27, 2010, 12:00 PM

            Ah, I see 2009, not 2010. My timeline was indeed off. Still testy which cannot be good for you, but more understandable.

  • Zach September 26, 2010, 11:03 AM

    Richard

    In this post you have gone a little too far in excitement and speculation. I agree with most of your posts in this blog and value them highly. I think that your coverage of the Shabak, Anat Kam case and many others is very important to the promotion of Democracy in Israel. But, the tone of this post suggests to me that you may have lost objectivity, something that may endanger the credibiility of your other posts. You don’t want to become Debka. Based on parts of this post, it seems that you will find any ridiculous argument to counter any action associated with the Israeli government. First, the use of the word “Deadly” with respect to this attack. This is not a deadly development. None of the reports i have read have mentioned that this malware led to any deaths anywhere in the world. Second, it is not “new” either. On many occasions we have heard of cyber warfare and Israel (if it is the perpetrator) is not the first one to have used it. Thus, the whole premise of your argument that an action by Israel will bring legitimacy to others to employ cyberwarfare is ludicrous. Your whole “what’s to stop” paragraph could have been written a month ago, before we knew of Stuxnet, and not tied to any Israeli action. Such warfare has existed for a long time and will exist in the future. So, to peg Israel responsible for all these potential attacks?? Come on.

    Some of the arguments and ideas in this post do make sense. But, there are others that seem to only be made to superficially bolster an agenda.

    • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 7:45 PM

      the tone of this post suggests to me that you may have lost objectivity, something that may endanger the credibiility of your other posts.

      Now, this is a somewhat sophisticated approach. I’d call it Hasbara concern troll vintage. Zach professes to some concern for my reputation for objectivity and my credibility. He’s really concerned about preserving my reputation. I AM touched. Deeply.

      But Zach, I’ve got news for you. Bloggers are not “objective.” They have a pt of view & they’re proud of it. I try to be fair, accurate, & base my arguments on facts. But objective is something newspapers strive for & fail to achieve. This isn’t a newspaper.

      There’s about as much danger of me becoming Debka as there is of me devising the next generation of Stuxnet, in other words, nil. But you do seem to be familiar with Debka & I think we know why.

      Based on parts of this post, it seems that you will find any ridiculous argument to counter any action associated with the Israeli government

      Now you’re back to conventional hasbarist form.

      the use of the word “Deadly” with respect to this attack. This is not a deadly development.

      The reports indicate that a similar such warm caused a deadly explosion in an oil pipeline. We don’t know whether the worm caused any deaths or not in this particular case. But we know other less sophisticated ones have. “Deadly” if you look it up in the dictionary doesn’t only refer to something that kills something or someone. Look it up & learn about the language.

      Second, it is not “new” either.

      I beg yr pardon. Stuxnet IS new. You don’t know s(&t fr. shinola.

      the whole premise of your argument that an action by Israel will bring legitimacy to others to employ cyberwarfare is ludicrous.

      As usual, you have misread my argument. I didn’t say that this worm would cause other nations to use cyberwarfare against their enemies. I said it would encourage them to use this precise worm & its successors against its enemies. Instead of merely attempting to thwart internet access & government websites as previous efforts have done, future attacks will adopt Israel’s strategy & attempt not only to destroy an enemy’s power system, infrastructure, but also to attack industrial processes that will have deadly consequences. This is something that has not been done before, at least not that we know. But it will be now thanks to Israel.

      In this comment you haven’t made a single substantive argument rebutting a single thing I’ve said. You are pathetic. But nice try. Tell your professor of hasbara studies he should give you a B- for effort.

  • anon September 26, 2010, 4:40 PM

    The other plan was a preemptive nuclear strike, either way, we will not go again as lambs to the slaughter.

    • mary September 26, 2010, 4:52 PM

      Paranoia will destroy ya.

      Your comment is perfect for illustrating the strength of the hasbara circulating around in Israel. When are you going to learn to get along with your neighbors? it would go much further toward keeping you safe from “slaughter” than a preemptive nuclear strike.

  • uncle joe mccarthy September 26, 2010, 5:10 PM

    i love how all the experts insist that it must have been created by a nation state…yet the most destructive pieces of malware in history were created and spread by guys sitting in their mom’s basements

    fyi, the worm doesnt have to be intentionally placed…just transferred from a usb jump drive…which got infected from a computer that was infected, but benign

    and it is a good question why high security facilities are working on windows based systems

    im sure that siemens has made their software and hardware linux compatible

    • Richard Silverstein September 26, 2010, 7:58 PM

      the most destructive pieces of malware in history were created and spread by guys sitting in their mom’s basements

      NO, Stuxnet is the most destructive piece of malware ever developed. And every cybersecurity expert who’s spent his entire career doing this says it was perpetrated by a nation state. And you, lame one that you are, attempt to argue that Stuxnet is like Cornflicker or any number of worms which have preceded it, thus ignoring the wisdom & analysis of experts w. far more brains and experience than you in this particular field.

      Do you realize you only make a fool out of yrself when you do this? But I guess it won’t stop you fr. trying.

      And I’m warning you if you EVER attempt to post a comment like the obnoxious one you did about the Sheikh Jarrah Sukkah you’ll be outa here so fast your head will spin. Don’t play with me.

  • hophmi September 26, 2010, 6:32 PM

    @Richard:

    I’m just replying to the lady who claimed that there’s no evidence Iran supplies and supports Hamas and Hezbollah, which is frankly simply not true, and it flies in the face of this nonsensical narrative that Iran is somehow a peaceful country. It’s simply not, and there’s a reason most of the West and the Middle East fears this regime.

    Of course, Israel receives help from the US. I don’t happen to agree with the suggestion that receiving help from the US is the same as receiving help from Iran, but to say “who cares” is kind of missing the point. A heck of a lot of people care, actually.

    Even if you believe that Israel uses Iran to deflect attention from the Palestinian situation, you have to admit that Iran plays its role as boogieman awfully well.

  • mary September 26, 2010, 8:50 PM

    If anyone has anything to substantiate their assertion that Iran supplies Hamas with weapons, I would like them to post a link. The thing is, they won’t find anything other than conjecture.

    This thread is just ripe for the old “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” nonsense which has already been discussed ad nauseam. It’s vintage hasbara, it’s been overplayed to the hilt, and it’s quite boring to go over it all again.

    • Shai September 27, 2010, 1:07 AM

      I simply don’t understand what makes you think it’s so unlikely Iran doesn’t supply Hamas with weapons. Inside information??

      For me, this is really just Occam’s razor. If it looks like it wants Israel to suffer, and says Israel is deserving of it, it probably furthers that idea. So maybe this is not “nonsense” after all.

      As for Hamas and Iran having different ideologies… again, this maybe a simple “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” case. We do know, after all, that they supply Hizbollah with arms.

      • mary September 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

        Logic, Shai. Pure and simple logic overcomes conjecture every time. Whether or not you think I have “inside information” is irrelevant. I’m not alone in my opinion; there are a lot of us who refuse to simply be spoonfed by state propaganda machines or the news media and prefer to look objectively at the issues.

        The Arab states have a lot of back doors, and they have a much larger stake in supporting Hamas and Hizbullah than Iran does. If nothing else, that should at least get you to thinking.

        • Shai September 27, 2010, 4:37 PM

          It gets me thinking, and I’m a man of logic myself. Don’t get me wrong – I am not expressing certainty one way or the other. And saying you’re not alone in your opinion doesn’t mean much. Nobody is.

          My logic tells me that if a country says Israel is deserving to be wiped off the pages of history, and there is proof that it provides groups ideologically opposed to Israel with arms, then logically, the notion that “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” is not nonsense as you describe it.

          Obviously it is arguable; but far from being nonsensical.

          • mary September 27, 2010, 4:44 PM

            Obsess much?

          • Shai September 27, 2010, 5:05 PM

            …Seriously? That’s what you have to say?

            Could you even pretend to attempt to listen to anything but your own tired rhetoric? At the very least you should concede the possible existence of errors in what you BELIEVE to be true. I do. Even though I’m not alone in my belief.

          • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 6:19 PM

            It is indeed arguable & not certain or nearly so. Iran views its aid to Hezbollah as a defense against Israeli aggression. It is seeking to rein in Israel’s regional agenda & power. This is a feature of almost all regions of the world including our own. The littler guys attempt to rein in the big guys and cut ‘em down to size.

          • mary September 28, 2010, 2:58 PM

            The problem is, other than what our governments tell us (and we’ve caught them in an infinite number of lies) we do not have a single shred of credible, substantiated evidence showing just what Iran is supposedly doing to “threaten” Israel. We have not seen Iran attack, or threaten to attack, either Israel itself or its planes, ships or people. The antagonist in the tensions between the two countries is Israel, plain and simple, which has been engaged in bellicose rhetoric and sword-rattling for a number of years. It’s manipulated the fear underlying the “war on terror” to persuade American politicians to abandon reason and restraint and seriously discuss a preemptive attack against Iran, for no other reason than that it is “possible” Iran may be thinking of developing a nuclear weapon.

            This is just plain unacceptable to any reasonable person. Considering that Israel so successfully manipulates American politicians, it is even more disgusting to read or listen to the endless incitements to more violence, because Israel is so hellbent on being the region’s petty kingpin and due to its never-ending existential paranoia.

            Just as Hamas is automatically referred to as a “terror organization” by the US media, Iran is automatically depicted as the center of the ridiculous “axis of evil” and so how do we ever get any glimpse of what is actually true? Media bias, hasbara, political machinations all combine to keep us under a fog of misinformation.

          • Shai September 28, 2010, 6:51 PM

            I agree with you about the Israel and US bias about Hamas and Iran, and Israel’s paranoia problem. But there’s one thing I have learned: the more I know, the more I understand how much is still unknown to me.

            For us, the ones who are left in the dark, this comes down to likelihood of events. So if you ask me, I think it’s much more likely that Iran is in fact aiming to possess nuclear bombs than what you suggest.

            You think our governments lie to us. Let us go with that line of thought for a moment. The US and Israel concocting a tale about a nuclear Iran, under the guise of “war on terror”. Why would they do this? For what purpose? If Iran isn’t a threat, why would so our governments let so many resources go to waste? Why would an Intelligence body spend time developing a brutal worm? And if Iran is indeed a peaceful country, why won’t it allow its monitoring? Wouldn’t it be wise to accept that when its nuclear facilities are in real danger of being bombed pretty much any second? Why won’t it show evidence that it is NOT aiming to develop nuclear weapons?

            As for Israel’s manipulation of American politicians… as you say, discussing a preemptive attack against Iran for no other reason other than the possibility of Iran’s bad intentions is unacceptable to any reasonable person. Have you considered the option that they were convinced once credible, yet classified, evidence was shown to them?

          • mary September 28, 2010, 7:12 PM

            Shai,
            Sheer stupidity, fear and desire for power along with hegemonic ambitions have been the pattern of governments since time immemorial, and Israel is certainly no exception.

            Israel has itself refused to sign the NPT and has refused to allow inspection of its nuclear program, hiding under an “ambiguity” which would be unacceptable if it were the policy of any other country on earth.

            So why should Iran comply? Especially when Israel has proven itself to be more of a loose cannon in the region than any other country, and much more so than Iran?

          • Shirin September 28, 2010, 11:50 PM

            If a country says Israel is deserving to be wiped off the pages of history…

            What country has ever said that? Oh, I see, you are trying by twisting something Ahmadinajad said to suggest that Iran said that as a country. Except for starters those were not Ahmadinajad’s words. He was quoting something the late Ayatullah Khomeini had said on Jerusalem Day one year (sorry, I don’t recall which year), and neither of them was referring to Israel. The occasion was Jerusalem Day. The subject was Jerusalem, and the reference was to the occupation of Jerusalem, not to Israel per se. Khomeini’s statement was that one day the Zionist regime in Jerusalem would vanish from the pages of history. In other words, Jerusalem would be freed from the Zionist occupation just as it had been from the occupation of the Crusaders, and others. There as no reference that could reasonably be interpreted as Israel deserving to be wiped off the pages of history.

            The US and Israel concocting a tale about a nuclear Iran, under the guise of “war on terror”. Why would they do this? For what purpose? If Iran isn’t a threat, why would so our governments let so many resources go to waste?

            Are you seriously asking this question? Have you managed to forget the great existential threat that Iraq supposedly posed to the United States in particular and the world in general? Have you forgotten Iraq’s fearful WMD’s, which could be delivered to the United States on intercontinental drones, and launched at Israel, Europe or whomever on 45 minutes’ notice? Have you forgotten hat the dreaded Iraqi WMD’s included nukes? And have you forgotten Saddam Hussein’s deep friendship with Osama bin Laden, and how literally within minutes of the 9/11 attacks elements in the U.S. government were trying to tie Iraq to those attacks?

            The U.S. and Israel expended a lot of resources concocting a tale about a nuclear Iraq with a stockpile of WMD’s, the means to deliver them, and the will to share them with Osama bin Laden. So, why would you be surprised that they would try something similar with Iran?

            if Iran is indeed a peaceful country, why won’t it allow its monitoring?

            In fact, as a signatory to the IAEA Iran HAS allowed monitoring, and very intrusive monitoring at that.

            If Israel, on the other hand, were indeed a peaceful and civilized country, why does it refuse to sign the IAEA, and why does it refuse to allow any monitoring at all of its well-known nuclear weapons facilities?

            Why won’t it show evidence that it is NOT aiming to develop nuclear weapons?

            It has shown such evidence, but basically Iran is being asked to prove a negative, which as we all know is impossible.

  • Michael Brenner September 27, 2010, 7:45 AM

    This is getting a little long but I’ll simply say a couple of things:

    @Richard: Please don’t jump on me for being a “hasbarist.” I’m responding to two arguments that were made here. The first is that Stuxnet is an example of terrorism and that Israel is behind it. The second is the argument made by Mary that Iran is not fundning proxy groups, for which I provided several links.

    @Mary: I think it’s a little simple to say that the Shi’ite-Sunni divide disproves what most of the world believes is a relationship between Iran and Hamas and Iran and Hezbollah. And with respect, one of the articles quoted Hamas militants as saying that they had been sent to Tehran for training. That’s not conjecture. That’s a fact. Since I have had the displeasure before of proving something this way, only to have a partisan insist that I am wrong and that I should provide “more evidence” and “more articles”, I will rest on what I already gave you. It’s up to you to send me a link to something that controverts my evidence.

    @Richard: I don’t think Israel thinks in terms of counterattacks on Dimona because I think they would assume that if Iran or any other enemy could attack Dimona with a computer virus, they would. I would also simply say (and the Guardian article supports me) that prognosticating on who devised the worm is difficult. If we’ve learned anything over the past ten years about computers and technology, it’s that one person really can change the world and that computer nerds are often way ahead of governments. And I’d also reject the label of cyberterrorism here. As per the Guardian article, some experts called this a state-sponsored cyber attack and some called it simply a modern form of espionage. No one died here.

    Second, Woodward reports that the malware was calibrated to strike a specific target and limit proliferation.

    Finally, re your last paragraph, the best evidence I’ve seen that this was state-sponsored is that it apparently required knowledge of industrial processes to design, though it appears the Siemens company is not too careful with its secrets.

    Either way, I think it is preferable to bombing Iran.

    • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 12:11 PM

      The Guardian is a single article & most experts quoted in the world press have been willing to say that either Israel or the U.S. is the culprit. I don’t think caution in this is warranted. It just cries out for them to be seen as the culprits unless you can present better & more credible evidence than the multiple experts I’ve read who’ve explained the origin along these lines. Your claim that a hacker sitting in his basement could do this is disproven again by experts w. far more knowledge than you. So stop talking garbage & read them. They know better.

      “Terrorism” doesn’t only apply to killing people. Read your dictionary. This was state sponsored terror. You can call it sabotage if you like. But I’d use a stronger word. And we don’t know that no one has died. We can guess that perhaps this is so. But the worm caused major damage to Natanz & this could easily harm real people if not there than the next time such a stunt is perpetrated (& it most certainly will be by Israel or someone else learning the lesson taught by Israel here).

      The worm didn’t limit proliferation. It’s now in many countries.

      I don’t know if you’ll say the same thing the next time Hezbollah attacks an Israeli target upon which it could easily say (but won’t): “this is for Natanz!” Then you won’t be so sure of yrself.

      • Michael Brenner September 27, 2010, 2:18 PM

        “The Guardian is a single article & most experts quoted in the world press have been willing to say that either Israel or the U.S. is the culprit.”

        Have they? In any event, the Guardian is not known for its caution on such matters.

        “Your claim that a hacker sitting in his basement could do this is disproven again by experts w. far more knowledge than you. So stop talking garbage & read them. They know better.”

        I don’t think anything has been disproven by experts. At least one has suggested that one does not need a government for this. I read your sources, including Woodward. Expert are not always, right, you know.

        “You can call it sabotage if you like. But I’d use a stronger word.”

        You’re welcome to call it what you like, but I don’t think most people would use the terrorism definition. We can appreciate your point without recourse to charged language.

  • eyal September 27, 2010, 10:45 AM

    Dear Robert,

    Back is 1948 Israel faced mortal threat from its Arab neighbors and the Palestinians who set out to destroy it. As late as 1973, this repeated itself again.

    I argue that Israel has every right to defend itself by any means and against any perceived threat.

    Israel is not just any paranoid / imperial nation (like the USA for example or the Europeans until not too long ago) that sets out on dubious military operations just for oil, minerals, trade rout domination etc.

    How can any sane nation disregard Iran’s military build-up given their actions?

    Eyal

    • Richard Silverstein October 1, 2010, 12:40 AM

      Israel is not just any paranoid / imperial nation (like the USA for example or the Europeans until not too long ago) that sets out on dubious military operations just for oil, minerals, trade rout domination etc.

      Actually, it is just like other paranoid nations in that it sets out on dubious military operations for regional hegemony in order to guarantee its interests.

  • Yotam September 27, 2010, 12:06 PM

    Here’s an Israeli data security expert’s take on stuxnet and its creators (hebrew):
    http://it.themarker.com/tmit/article/12434

    Basically, he is highly dubious of the assertion that Israel is behind stuxnet, noting that in some respects the worm’s design is in fact too rudimentary to be the product of a serious intelligence agency.

    • mary September 27, 2010, 4:37 PM

      Israeli data security? Well, now there’s an objective source.

      • Shai September 27, 2010, 4:44 PM

        The author is not affiliated with Israel in any way other than being its citizen… unless you are suggesting -all- Israelis can’t be objective.

        • Shirin October 3, 2010, 12:55 AM

          Well, that changes everything. I mean, someone who is only affiliated with Israel by being its citizen must be by definition not only objective, but also completely honest.

  • Peter Attwood September 28, 2010, 2:48 AM

    Jack I don’t see why you expect Richard not to publish your post when you’re proving by it his thesis, that you’re a fool. Most folks don’t object to being proven right.

    It seems to me that if killing the internal opposition and despising women’s rights were a real problem, then you would think it’s a real problem in Israel, which is one of the biggest centers of the world-wide trade in trafficked women, and which regularly murders peaceful demonstrators.

    Since you have no objection to American and Israeli missiles being able to reach European capitals, which Israel in fact does target, why should not Iran be able to do the same? The chances of an Iranian first strike are zero, so what’s the problem for those who do not attack Iran first? Before I’m inclined to be worried about Iran, I’ll give thought to those countries that habitually bomb and invade others. It’s nations like that that are the gravest danger in the world, just as the kids on the playground that actually beat up other kids just because they can are a bigger problem in any school than those kids that only strive to defend themselves.

    • Jack September 28, 2010, 5:54 AM

      Peter: My claim is that Richard, so do you and Mary, are basing a firm belief upon half-facts while ignoring important facts. I think that you honestly believe that you represent some kind of high moral standards, while in fact you are recklessly supporting violence and denial of human rights, just as long as they are committed by anyone but Israel, who is the source of trouble in our world and is to blame for anything.
      Richard justifies Hizbullah attack on Isreal in retaliation to a computer code discovered in Natanz. Hizbullah rockets kill people, and they do not separate between men women and children. This is what I claim, pretending to have high moral standards.
      You compare Iran to the beaten up child at school, while ignoring the role Iran plays as a de-stabilizing factor in arab countries. Exmaples: supporting terrorists acts in Egypt against tourists and plans to fire at ships in the canal Suez, supporting suicide bombers in Iraq against US troops and Iraqi government, transforming Lebanon into it’s pet country while influencing it’s internal politics and killing moderate politicians (Rafik Haririr). I call your forgiving attitude towards Iran- naive and reckless. Wake up, Iran has become the neighbourhood gangster.
      You think that letting Iran have nuke would make this world a better place? I beg to differ. You think that launching rockets at Israel would prevent unfortunate killing of peace activists? I beg to differ. You are only promoting more death of innocent people.
      The vision you have on a perfect, utopian world is not science fiction my friends. It is a horor film.

      • mary September 28, 2010, 3:10 PM

        You are making a rather convoluted argument – just who is the perpetrator of aggression here, and who responds?

        Who is the antagonistic force threatening the Iraqis? Who invaded Iraq under cover of lies? Does this make the Iraqi people criminals for fighting back?

        What was it that produced Hizbullah and Hamas? Would they have been created in a vacuum? I think not. Are they possibly a response to Israeli killing of Lebanese and Palestinians? Resistance movements are formed, of course, to resist occupation.

        Whose human rights am I supposedly denying, by pointing out these facts?

        • Jack October 2, 2010, 12:07 PM

          Dear Richard
          I’d like to know what do you think about Mary’s statement implying Hamas and Hezbolla are resistance movements formed to resist occupation.

          1. Do Hamas and Hizbullah have the right to kill Israelis only in Gaza and Lebanon? Or is any Israeli living in Israel a legitimate target of suicide bomb (being part of the Israeli country and probably serving it’s occupation in these areas)

          2. What about Israelis who live outside Israel? Probably some of them support Israel, giving funds etc. Would you convict a Palestinian / Lebanese who killed few Israelis in New York?

          3. Can Hamas and Hezbullah kill jews? There are many jews who support Israel. Is killing them considered resisting occupation? Would you convict the Hezbulah for bombing the jewish center in Argentina a decade ago?

          4. If a country supports Israel, how should Hamas and Hezbullah treat the citizens of that country?

          5. As we all know, Israel had evacuated it’s bases in Lebanon in 2000, and the UN had approved that Israel does not keep any occupied territory in Lebanon. Is Hezboullah rocket launching to Israel still considered resisting occupation and how? If yes, can other resistance movements continue their war after their teritorial claims had been settled? (for example- is it OK that Algeires fire rockets to France, which occupied it for long?)

          6. Hamas and Hezbullah have never accepted the UN decision to give the Jews a state of their own (29.11.47) and have clearly stated that all of Israel is an occupied territory. So suppose that I am an Israeli peace activist eager to end occupation, should I immigrate from Israel, and which country would you propose be keen to accept me?

          I am intrigued to know your point of view on the subjects.
          Thank you.

          • mary October 2, 2010, 3:20 PM

            Jack, I didn’t “imply”, I stated it quite clearly. In fact, it’s common knowledge to the whole world, except maybe not to Israelis.

            When was the last time a suicide bomber attacked inside Israel, and when was the last time a Hizbullah rocket landed there?

          • Richard Silverstein October 2, 2010, 3:51 PM

            Israel DOES hold Shebaa Farms which is either Syrian or Lebanese depending on how you figure it. Plus Israel holds hundreds of Lebanese prisoners, some for decades & many not even tried for their alleged offenses. There are plenty of outstanding grievances bet. Lebanon & Israel which do not allow you to claim Hezbollah has no reason for hostility to Israel.

            I have no interest in answering any of your trollish questions. Besides, I’ve already answered a good number of them in previous comment threads & am not going to regurgitate for you. Why don’t you answer your own questions in your own blog & stop acting like a troll here?

  • Jack October 2, 2010, 11:53 PM

    Dear Richard
    You constantly suprise me with your vast knowledge of the fine details of the Israeli- Arab dispute. I am here only to remind you and your readers of some facts that should not be forgotten. For example, that Hezbullah regards all of the Jewish state as occupied territory, and loudly calls for the destruction of Israel. The solution would be to send the jews back to their European home countries.
    Claiming that Shaba farms or prisoners are the reason for hostility is just an excuse to keep the huge military force it built with Iraninan support.
    The dilemma Hezbullah provides Israel is as if someone would tell you “Richard, my dispute with you is over 100$, but in any case I would do my best to kill you”. Would you pay 100$?

    Though you aggressively evade the questions above, I think that you did make a fair impression of your belief. As you support Hezbullah and Hamas “defense” against occupation, and as Hezbullah and Hamas consider all of Israel an occupied territory, it is evident that you do not accept the existence of Israel and would rather see the jewish state wiped of the map, bluntly speaking.
    If I have got you wrong, please do correct me. If I have got you correct, why are you going round-round speaking of contributing to Israeli democracy, improving the world etc? Why use disguise?

    • Richard Silverstein October 3, 2010, 1:29 AM

      Claiming that Shaba farms or prisoners are the reason for hostility is just an excuse

      I see. So if that’s the case for Syria and Lebanon, then why shouldn’t Israel return the West Bank. Arabs can easily argue that retaining this land is “just as excuse” as well. In other words, if retaining the settlements as part of Israel is important to you then regaining Shebaa Farms is a perfectly legitimate grievance for Syrian & Lebanon. Would you be happy if Britain retained New York City after the Revolutionary War and refused to return it? Would that be simply “an excuse?”

      it is evident that you do not accept the existence of Israel and would rather see the jewish state wiped of the map, bluntly speaking.

      You’re a liar, have made a major comment rule violation & future comments will be moderated. READ MY COMMENT RULES.

      • Jack October 3, 2010, 4:42 AM

        I think that I have got your intentions perfectly right Richard, but if I didn’t maybe some of your other readers haven’t got you correct so you better explain- which parts of Israel do you define as “occupied”?
        It is misleading to describe Israel as interested in keeping the west bank forever. The analogy you gave is also misleading- it would be more correct if the goal of USA independence war was not only to gain independce in America, but also to conquer Britain.
        Israel’s former prime minister Sharon had declared that the occupation in the wesst bank and Gaza should be ended and had initiated evacuation of settlements.
        Isreal contemporary prime minister Bibi had declared that he seeks a solution where a palestinian state co-exists besides Israel.
        The parties they represent, along with more left wing parties, represent about 80% of the Israeli Jewish population, which supports peace, agrees to a Palestinian state but expects the peace would be achieved in negotiations not by suicide bombs.
        On the other hand, Hamas and Hezbullah leadres which are only “resisting occupation” clearly say that there would not be any long term existence of Israel.

        Am I the only one seeing the difference between the intentions?

        • Richard Silverstein October 3, 2010, 7:59 PM

          It is misleading to describe Israel as interested in keeping the west bank forever.

          No. not misleading at all, in fact apt & true.

          Israel’s former prime minister Sharon had declared that the occupation in the wesst bank and Gaza should be ended

          That’s not true & either you’re an ignoramus if you really believe this or else you’re being deliberately misleading. Sharon never said anything about ending the West Bank occupation or withdrawing from settlements. There was an assumption among many that had he lived this might’ve happened. But he never explicitly made his intentions known.

          Isreal contemporary prime minister Bibi had declared that he seeks a solution where a palestinian state co-exists besides Israel.

          I don’t give a flyin’ fig what ol’ Bibi said. I care what he does. He’s an expert liar & dissembler. When he actually declares a Palestinian state or says it’s OK by him for a specific one to be founded on a specific date then I’ll believe him, not before.

          Hamas and Hezbullah leadres which are only “resisting occupation” clearly say that there would not be any long term existence of Israel.

          Am I the only one seeing the difference between the intentions?

          Hamas says nothing of the sort. And yes, you’re the only one who sees what isn’t there.

  • Chaya October 3, 2010, 3:45 AM

    Who is Israel supposed to give the ‘west bank’ back to?? The ones who had it before was Jordan. And before that it was the British. And before that the Ottoman Empire. So, who is Israel supposed to ‘give it back’ to???? And it isn’t the ‘west bank.’ It is Judea and Samaria. It is Abbas who wants to practice apartheid by saying that no Jews should be allowed within his ‘palestinian entity.’

    • Richard Silverstein October 3, 2010, 7:54 PM

      Who is Israel supposed to give the ‘west bank’ back to??

      Lame sophistry & evasion. Pitiful.

      Here, it is the West Bank and Occupied Territories, or if you prefer the precise Hebrew translation, “Conquered Territory.”

      Actually, the Palestinians will certainly allow settlers to remain as long as they accept Palestinian citizenship & sovereignty.

      • Ebenezer December 3, 2010, 2:26 PM

        I don’t understand. I know about the treatment of Christians and Jews in other countries with majority muslims — Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Yemen, Jordon Egypt, Sytra, etc. There are also problems in India, Russia, Southern Thailand,etc. with other religions (Hindu, Buddhism)

        Yet from your ssatement, it looks as if Jews would have no problem remaining where they are in they put their land under Palestinian rule.

        I am not trying to start anything, but instead am seriously puzzled. What would keep them from suffering the fate of the Coptics in Egypt or the Catholics recently burned to death in Iraq?

        • Ebenezer December 3, 2010, 2:27 PM

          Make that “statement” and “if they put their land…:

        • Richard Silverstein December 3, 2010, 4:31 PM

          You’re seriously arguing that religious minorities are only attacked in majority Muslim countries? Perhaps ignoring the persecution of minority religions in nations too numerous to mention but including Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland (in the past), China (Falun Gong and Tibet), U.S. (Muslims). So let’s dismiss fr. the beginning the heart of yr racist premise that Muslims are more intolerant of other religions than followers of other religions.

          As for how Jews would be treated in Palestine, there are already Jews like Rabbi Menachem Froman w. excellent relations w. Hamas & other Palestinian groups who is prepared to live in the new Palestine. If he’s confident of his security do you have a right to impose yr own prejudices & declare him wrong?

          You make a serious error in generalizing fr. yr own limited knowledge of reality & assuming that what are really yr own personal prejudices would be realized in Palestine. Learn more about the situation on the ground here before you develop yr convictions.

  • Jack September 27, 2010, 9:32 PM

    Is there a reason why my comments are being moderated for such a long time? Makes me wonder perhaps you publish only comments which are supportive or which you find easy to handle.

  • Richard Silverstein September 27, 2010, 11:33 PM

    Yes, because you comments are full of lies, racism, and atrocious smears. If you wish to comment here you will have to read the comment rules & adhere to them. That includes not subsituting opinion or propaganda for fact. Calling me a servant of Iranian propaganda is a lie that is not acceptable here. And if you continue attempting such smears you will not only never be published here you will end up losing any privileges ever to do so.

    This isn’t a debate society in which you sling your anti-Muslim hash & others sling their own hash back at you. That seems to be what you’re looking for. But you won’t find it here.

    As for claiming I only publish comments that agree with me–either you can’t read or you’re too lazy to note that almost half the comments published here disagree w. me, some vehemently so. But those commenters manage to debate the issues and not engage in propaganda as you have.

  • Jack September 28, 2010, 12:54 AM

    Dear Richard
    Excuse me, why can not I state in your blog that Iran is killing the internal opposition and violating women rights? Let your readers decide if that is anti-muslim smear.
    Isn’t there at least some point in mentioning, as a response to claims that Iran is only defending itself againt Israel, that Iran long missiles program is developing to reach far more than to cover all Israel, further to include also Europe and North America? Let’s argue if that is hash.
    Isn’t it relevant to post a citation from the NY Times, about Iran’s activities in an arab country- Egypt – in response to Mary’s claim that Iran does not provide Hamas with weapons?

  • Jack September 28, 2010, 12:54 AM

    Dear Richard I’d like to see if you publish this post, or are you attempting to correct the world in your own unique way- a perferct world, where no voices accuse you for basing your firm beliefs on half-facts and ignoring other facts.

  • Patrick McCreed October 25, 2010, 12:27 AM

    PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION.

    read the rules!
    You can only reply here if you agree with Mr. Silverstein.

    Come on!

    Now, how do you like your tea Mr. SilversStein , Sir?

  • mary September 29, 2010, 12:28 PM

    Iran’s internal politics are not the issue. Are the US and Israel supposed to be the world’s moral police, do “killing the internal opposition and violating women’s rights” stir some kind of righteous indignation that justifies preemptive strikes? Since when is regime change an acceptable premise for destroying a country?

    What are the US’ long missiles capabilities? And Israel’s? Is military domination a legitimate reason? Or do we just make up the justification after the fact, such as we did in Iraq after it was painfully clear there were no WMD’s?

    Sounds to me like you’d be happy to wipe Iran off the map, just because of what they “might” do.

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