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Bergman: Bibi Will Send Israeli Bombers on Their Way [to Iran]


More bragging from Mossad sources and their journalist friends in the Israeli media about the proficiency with which they have attacked both Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its nuclear program.  It’s very hard to know whether this report is part of Israeli intelligence psyops campaign or whether the hints, allusions and claims in this report are correctly attributed to the Mossad (or both).  In some places, the report either spins tales I’ve never heard before, thus making them suspect; or it is downright wrong (e.g. in claiming we don’t know how Stuxnet infected Iranian computers not even connected to the internet).  But despite the breathless, and frankly offensive self-congratulatory tone of the report (e.g. the most recent Teheran assassination was a “parting gift” from outgoing Mossad director, Meir Dagan), along with lots of scary mood music (including the requisite Arabic music), I find some of the material suggestive and worth addressing.

Among the insinuations is that a massive Israeli intelligence campaign against Iran resulted in four major Revolutionary Guard plane crashes in a single year (2003), a 2005 explosion at an Iranian nuclear site, and “disappeared” nuclear scientists.  This Nana report acknowledges claims made here and elsewhere that Ali Reza Asgari was kidnapped by the Mossad in 2007.  It notes that in the same year another Iranian nuclear scientist died of inhaling poison gas.  In 2008, Iran further claimed it had exposed a spy ring run by the Mossad.  It also notes the two other Iranian nuclear scientists assassinated in the past few months in Teheran.  The one scientist who survived these attacks did so, the report trumpets, “by dint of a miracle.”  Part of this campaign was the explosion at the Imam Ali missile base in which tens of military personnel were killed.  The final coup de grâce is Yossi Melman’s claim that Iran reported the Mossad had outfitted squirrels with transmitter chips and located the animals in sensitive areas from which the intelligence agency could monitor these sites.  Melman snickers at the preposterousness of the claim, but also notes that it could be true.

israeli war planes

Ronen Bergman predicts Bibi will send Israeli jets 'on their way' to Teheran

Correspondents interviewed like Ronen Bergman, Melman and former Mossad personnel paint a picture of an Israeli sabotage campaign striking almost at will at Iranian military infrastructure and even the heart of its brain trust.  Allusions are made to Hollywood spy movies like James Bond and claims made that Israel’s derring-do even surpasses them.  Melman points to an Iranian intelligence apparatus allegedly beset by paranoia (with no proof offered of course) “to the point of ridicule” for years due to these attacks.  A former Mossad operations officer practically brags at Israel’s ability to “turn” key Iranian figures or else “conclude their lives in ways that are unanticipated.”  How’s that for Israeli spy jargon?

There is a suspect claim that Stuxnet is the first computer worm which has caused actual physical damage in the real world.  Perhaps there are others with more experience in these matters who can tell us whether this is a false or true claim.  Further, the TV news story makes a claim I’ve never heard before, the virus was “controlled” from two computers in Malaysia and Denmark “under cover of the websites of local soccer clubs” in those places.  Thousands of other computers throughout the world were hijacked and each new computer strengthened the worm’s capacity to infect and sabotage the Iranian systems.

Another suspect claim is that thousands of Iranian documents fell into the hands of the west in 2002, which convinced the world that Iran was pursuing a nuclear bomb.  In fact, these documents were likely frauds concocted by the Mossad to prove a claim that they wished the world to believe.  The news report makes no mention of the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate which states “with a high degree of probability” that Iran stopped any WMD program it may have conducted in 2003.

The Nana correspondent notes a meeting exposed in a Wikileaks cable, between Meir Dagan and Bush-era State Department official Nicholas Burns in which Dagan urged the U.S. to join Israel is purusing regime change in Iran.  Dagan declared that one of the ways to do this was to support dissident ethnic minority groups like Jundallah, Beluchis, and Kurds, and political opposition like Mujahadeen e-Khalq.  The report does great damage to the Green Movement by implying that the June Iranian elections almost led to the type of revolution advocated by Dagan (with the unspoken implication that Israel somehow may’ve played a role).   A Mossad source further adds that George Bush allocated $400 million to sabotage the Iranian regime “from within.”  Again, there is a hint that the U.S. may’ve been funding the Iranian opposition.  All of these accusations are ones made by the Iranian authorities themselves at the time.  So either the TV journalist is insinuating that Iran was right, or he’s talking out his rear-end.  Take your pick.

The former Mossad operations officer makes the claim that Iran is so riven by ethnic division that this alone could facilitate the disintegration of the current regime:

This is fertile ground for making a lot of noise [with the implication that the Mossad is facilitating some of the "noise"], and it’s happening.

The TV reporter declares the efforts to topple the Iranian regime are “without precedent.”  Can someone correct me if I’m wrong–I thought most of the world was on the same page and that we weren’t doing regime change.  Did this guy miss the memo or does he know something we don’t?

Ronen Bergman, near the conclusion of the report makes a startling prediction, made more so by the fact of his known closeness to Mossad sources:

If the U.S. and the west does not institute far heavier pressure on Iran [to end its nuclear program or topple the regime], at the end of the day Benjamin Netanyahu will be left with no choice, and despite the deeply troubling consequences of such a process, but to order [Israeli] bombers on their way [to their Iranian targets].

The report closes by noting that Iran’s nuclear program is one of the greatest threats of the 21st century.  They’ve been reading too many Mossad press releases–oh that’s right, Mossad doesn’t do press releases.  I guess it has other ways of insinuating itself and its views into Israeli consciousness.  Frankly, this report seems at least in part a love letter to the incoming Mossad director, Tamir Pardo:  you’ve done well, keep up the good work.

It’s precisely what is wrong with the Israeli approach to Iran.  Israel believes it is capable of doing whatever it wishes and that it will succeed in doing so whatever the odds.  It ascribes to itself almost superpowers to achieve such results.  There is no sense of contemplation or caution or pragmatism in the Israeli approach.  It is all-out hand to hand combat with the adversary regardless of consequences.  Again, it reminds me of Samson in the Philistine temple.  To get his revenge he topples the pillars of the building thus killing himself and everyone in it.  Is that what the world wants?

The rest of the world, especially Barack Obama, will have to understand that Ronen Bergman is no fool.  He knows whereof he speaks.  He’s telling Obama that Bibi will attack Iran.  And what will Obama do about it?  What will he do to prevent it?  Of course, there is always the possibility that Bergman is telling us precisely what the Mossad wants us to hear (and not necessarily what the Israeli government will actually do).  Frankly, it’s hard to know who to believe.  But one thing’s for sure, reports like this full of bravado and serious-sounding nonsense, both reflect Israeli attitudes and highlight the danger they represent to stability in the Middle East and the world.

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  • Yakov December 19, 2010, 3:20 AM

    “There is a suspect claim that Stuxnet is the first computer worm which has caused actual physical damage in the real world.”

    take a look at this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_pipeline_sabotage

  • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 9:18 AM

    The Psy-Ops have been going on for decades and because of Israel’s Nimrod-like hubris, they are too thick to realize the whole world yawns at their threats and rolls their eyes. But you know who is really wide-eyed? The Pentagon. They DEFINITELY don’t want to engage Iran, and Israel is like the loose cannon at this point that could potentially cause catastrophe to 307 million Americans for its own gain.

    Another thing about Psy-Ops, everyone knows you don’t announce attacks. Even the Notorious B.I.G.: “Israel ain’t gon’ do shi’ son!” – a piece by Tony Karon from 2008:

    http://tonykaron.com/2008/06/29/israel-to-bomb-iran-dont-believe-the-hype/

    So, who is biting the bluff? Definitely the American people, who don’t want a war with Iran, and definitely the Pentagon for the same reason.

    Now for the reality:
    Iran domestically manufactures 4 different classes of AShMs of Chinese origin with advance guidance and every kind of delivery system, plus a lot more naval assets, including, but not limited to, mines, mini-subs, high speed torpiedo boats — all designed for Shallow environment of the Persian Gulf. Geography also favors the Iranians — just look at a basic topography and you will see a huge stretch of mountains overlooking the Persian Gulf. Any entanglement would be a severe disaster for the US Navy. The first sign of an incoming US attack would be the evacuation US Navy from Persian to Sea of Oman.

    Indeed, whenever Israel rattles its rusty sabre, the US ships up anchor and get the hell out of there. As Richard Pearce pointed out: “It might have something to do with the fact that, although the theoretical strength of the US military far exceeds what Iran has as a standing military, what the US can, under any realistic scenario, task with attacking Iran is far less than what the Iranians could bring
    to bear almost immediately after being attacked”

    Originally, Iran bought 300 to 400 HY-2 Silkworm missiles from China, then started producing them themselves. This is a big AShM with a 500kg warhead, but fairly slow. These
    plus the domestic variety with a range of 50km are stationed all around the Straits of Hormuz, Iran’s territory. Then Iran built a domestic version with a turbojet engine and dual seeker with 350km range, land launched only.

    The Kowsar is a light missile short range up to 20km with a 30kg warhead based on the Chinese C-701 and TL-10, they are fire and forget with either active radar, IR or TV guidance, land, sea and air launch. Hezbollah hit one of the Israeli ships in 2006 with one of these.

    The Noor that comes in 2 versions based on Chinese C-801 and C-802, solid fuel and turbojet with range of 50 to 200km and dual seeker, active radar and IR. This is in the same class as the US Harpoon with a 165kg warhead, land, sea, air and submarine launched.

    Finally, the Nasr is based on the C-705 and TL-6, medium sized, with a 110kg warhead, a range 25km to 75km, and air, land, and sea launch capabilities. Not to mention the C-803, a supersonic AShM under development. Or the SS-N-22 – google “Sunburn Missile”.

    All of the above are confirmed by intelligence reports and publicly available defense circulars. Perhaps Israel should try that “intelligence” thing every once in a while before embarrassing itself and sinking further into the isolation hole.

    By the way, Mossad’s bragging is tantamount to yet another, of many, Israeli threats towards Iran, illegal under international law. Like that ever stopped them lol

  • Shmuel December 19, 2010, 10:45 AM

    The Mossad hasn’t done any bragging at all – that’s been done on their behalf by this blog who seem to act as their mouthpiece on all their operations, accurate or not.

    I’m sure many mossad agents are smiling when they read here and elsewhere about their alleged operations, often thinking how useful it is to their purposes that others think they actually did what is alleged (deterrant).

    And other Western secret services are probably smiling thankfully that their “illegal” operations have been blamed on the Mossad and that they got away scot-free.

    • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 1:23 PM

      If you don’t believe Mossad & their media facilitators haven’t done any bragging then you haven’t watched the video. I’m merely reporting what is in the video, & I’m doing so w. a very healthy dose of skepticism. So I’m afraid it’s your complete misunderstanding of both the video & my blog that is YOUR problem. But it’s not OUR problem. So we’ll leave you off in a corner somewhere where you belong.

      Can you present any real credible evidence that any of these operations were perpetrated by any other entity than Mossad? I’d really like to see it.

      • Shai December 19, 2010, 3:55 PM

        Can you present any real credible evidence that any of these operations were perpetrated by any other entity than Mossad? I’d really like to see it.

        Although I do believe with high probability that Mossad did carry out this operation, that’s not really a fair question or one that proves anything. Not being able to provide evidence that someone else did it in no way indicates or even makes it more likely that it was Mossad who did.

        • kalaam December 19, 2010, 4:31 PM

          of course you’re right … BUT if someone does provide credible and substantiated “evidence that someone else did it” that would also not prove that mossad wasn’t on it too …so all in all … the question is unfair, convoluted, and begs the answer … .

      • uncle joe mccarthy December 19, 2010, 4:04 PM

        there has yet to be credible evidence pointing the finger at any one person or entity…and you know it

        everything up to this point are allegations and assumptions

        cant prove a negative…its like asking someone who doesnt beat their wife, when did they stop

        • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 4:56 PM

          So you’re saying this Israeli news segment is a fraud in its entirety? And you know this how?

          My allegations are offered by sources with privileged information. I’m open to equally authoritative information fr. you that rebuts this.

          • Yakov December 19, 2010, 5:26 PM

            Since you (obviously) won’t reveal your sources, they’re as credible as any other source.

            Is this news segment a fraud? There’s no way to tell really. It’s based on interviews with two people: Bergman and Melman. Both are experienced, well educated journalists. However, none of them have any connection or first hand knowledge of any Mossad operations whatsoever.

            They are probably very knowledgeable about operations of the distant past and fed with Mossad’s “party line” about current events which they try to interpret to the best of their ability.

            The bottom line is that anywhere between 5 and 95% of this segment could be true. As you put it, ” Melman snickers at the preposterousness of the claim, but also notes that it could be true”. That’s pretty much all that can be said about this news segment.

          • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 10:19 PM

            Since you (obviously) won’t reveal your sources, they’re as credible as any other source.

            Oh, bull. As credible as Debka? MEMRI? Even J. Post? You know my sources are credible. You know they’re hardly ever wrong. So if you have a credible source with as exclusive an access as someone in Ehud Barak’s political inner circle then belly up to the bar. Otherwise, don’t waste our time.

            It’s based on interviews with two people

            Then you missed good parts of the interview. There were interviews w. a former Mossad operations named Shomron, an IDF former general, & I think I saw Ephraim Sneh in there as well. Boy, you miss a lot don’t you?

            And Melman & Bergman’s Mossad connections are quite good. All you have to do is read Bergman’s book to know he has good sources (though clearly I disagree w. Bergman about Iran).

        • Rehmat December 20, 2010, 4:19 AM

          To understand Mossad one must read “Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad”.

          http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0499/9904122b.html

    • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:23 PM

      What is this? Another “we’re only fooling ourselves cause no one is as dumb as us” ambiguity doctrine? Oy vey…

  • Rehmat December 19, 2010, 10:48 AM

    Not without the active help of Washington.

    General Giora Eiland have recently admitted on Army Radio: “Israel does not know how to beat Hezbollah”. Now, if the so-called “world’s fourth powerful military” cannot beat a bunch of freedom-fighters who has no tanks, halicopters, F16s, navy ships or F-35 stealth fighter planes – how could Israeli Jewish army can fight a strong conventional army equipped with homemade modern armament and with a 8-year active war exprience with Iraq and its western backers?

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/eiland-israel-does-not-know-how-to-beat-hezbollah/

    • Shai December 19, 2010, 4:01 PM

      Let’s play a game.

      Say you needed to beat Hezbollah, how would you do that?

      • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 4:53 PM

        Why would you need to “beat” Hezbollah? I reject the term. YOu need to figure out a way of living w. Hezbollah. Best way of doing that is signing a peace agreement w. Lebanon & Syria & forcing Hezbollah to change fr. a military to a purely political movement.

        • Shai December 19, 2010, 6:56 PM

          You seem to have missed my point. I don’t think it is “needed”. I’m asking for the sake of showing how the IDF being the “world’s fourth powerful military” [sic] has nothing to do with its inability to beat a “bunch of freedom-fighters. Not without ridiculously huge collateral damage it can’t.

          Hizbollah at this point is pretty much the beating heart of Lebanon. It is intertwined with virtually every field of the country – from education, to medicine, to infrastructure, etc.; and of course, security.

          And to be honest, I’m not at all convinced Hezollah would disarm and become a purely political movement even if a peace treaty is signed with Syria and Lebanon.

          • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 10:29 PM

            Hizbollah at this point is pretty much the beating heart of Lebanon

            NOpe, don’t agree. Hezbollah is the beating heart of the south, still not of the north. Hezbollah doesn’t rule Lebanon, not by a long shot.

            I’m not at all convinced Hezollah would disarm and become a purely political movement

            As I’ve said here countless times, it doesn’t matter what Hezbollah wants. After a peace treaty there are no proxy powers to provide weapons & training. NO ideological motivation to continue resistance. No Iran or Syrian funding their weapons purchases & ideological fervor. The people of Lebanon will expect results fr. Hezbollah & its political competitors in these changed circumstances. So like countless revolutionary movements before them they either adapt to new conditions or they fade into history. I think they’re smart enough to adapt. But who knows?

      • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:24 PM

        Disarm their platform: resisting Israeli aggression of their homeland.

  • Gene Schulman December 19, 2010, 11:23 AM

    Well now that our retired General PersianAdvocat has taken out and dusted off his uniform to instruct us on the true scenario of the imminent war with Iran, not! I will venture to say that his background information is merely idle.

    Who says nations don’t announce attacks? Afghanistan was foretold, Shock and Awe in Iraq was telegraphed. And so on.

    The decision is not up to Israel, anyway. It is a pure U.S. plan to change the regime in Iran, and Israel is only the advance post staking out the claim. Rest assured, if there is an attack it will be fully backed and condoned by the U.S. government.

    • Kalea December 19, 2010, 1:17 PM

      Given all that Mossad is up to in Iran, I’m sure the Iranian people appreciate that Iran has enough readiness to defend them and their country from a foolish Israeli attack given that the latter’s been lobbying fiercely for the U.S. to destroy Iran’s economy completely, once again assist in interfering through regime change in Iran as it did in the case of the Shah, and giving Israel the green light to send it’s nuclear bunker busters over there.

      Israel should think twice upon the stupidity of any of this. I’m sure the vast majority of Iranians would support their government in every way should their country be attacked.

      With all the radicals running Israel lately, Israel is an incident away from war.

    • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:25 PM

      For 10 years, Gene?

    • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:29 PM

      And yes, I agree, Iran knows there is substance to this threat, and has used the last ten years to amply prepare for it.

      How will anyone stop Iran from blocking the Strait of Hormuz? That’s a checkmate within hours.

      • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:32 PM

        To elaborate on this, that means Iran’s nuclear program will not be stopped. China won’t sit aside while its necessary oil supplies from the Middle East are laid to waste. This will ignite a war to end wars.

        Albert Einstein’s WWIV prophecy will come true.

  • Anthony December 19, 2010, 3:50 PM

    are these people retarded? dont they read the news coming from iran on the increasing of infighting between various political figures? dont they read about the economic mismanagement of the regime?

    • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 4:52 PM

      No, I’d say if anyone’s retarded it would be the person who wrote the comment to which I’m replying.

      • Anthony December 19, 2010, 5:42 PM

        What’s your problem? I’m merely trying to point out the absurdity of the war advocates arguments. All they will do is give lifeline to a deeply fractured regime.

        • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:49 PM

          Richard gets attacked on this site on a regular basis and your message was ambiguous and easily misconstrued. You are in the right vein, however, that an attack would create a solidarity not present today. Not only that, it won’t even stop the nuclear program, and it will give Iran a justification to do as it pleases.

          • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 10:24 PM

            Some commenters use shorthand to convey ideas & unless you know the commenter & what his or her views are beforehand, shorthand can be misconstrued as it was here.

        • Richard Silverstein December 19, 2010, 10:20 PM

          That wasn’t at all clear fr. yr comment.

    • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 6:26 PM

      Do I read the propaganda? Yes. Do I bite on it like you? No.

  • John Yorke December 19, 2010, 5:33 PM

    A general comment this, applicable in almost all such instances.

    We are human beings, not machines.

    Of course, there are times when we appear to function like machines and react as predictably as they do. Even our logic can have a certain machine-like quality about it. But we are better than machines because we are able to rise above that level of consciousness, acquire different perspectives, adopt approaches to problems that would otherwise confound the cleverest among us. Computers or no computers, it’s still up to us to get the job done.
    And when it isn’t, then that really is the time to start worrying.

    Our real difficulty lies in the fact that we can be so remarkably SLOW about the process. We seem to meander around these problems as if we had all the time in the world; we pontificate, we castigate, we point out the deficiencies in others, flaws and failings that are all too often to be found within ourselves.

    In the majority of such cases, it is ourselves that we need to overcome; it is our own too rigid outlook on matters that has to be challenged and redirected. Only in this way do we demonstrate our mastery of the moment, our superiority over dilemmas that would ordinarily result in the defeat of lesser beings.

    Time, therefore, to look within ourselves, to take account of the many false starts and dead ends that have marked our journey in this conflict. Is it our destiny to be overwhelmed by the position we’re in, to stand idly by while the passage of yet another year brings with it no solution and no peace?

    If it is, then we will have failed. And, in that failure, we fail ourselves and all the generations that have gone before us. Worst still, we fail our children to whom we must bequeath this additional burden – along with so many others.

    It may be they will have the courage to do what we will not. In any event, let’s hope they don’t make quite so big a mess of things as we seem to have done.

  • dickerson3870 December 19, 2010, 8:41 PM

    RE: “Israel believes it is capable of doing whatever it wishes…It ascribes to itself almost superpowers…” – R.S.
    MY SNARK: The next thing you know, Israel will be claiming that it, not Ore–Ida, invented Tater Tots®.

  • Strelnikov December 19, 2010, 10:03 PM

    Haven’t you heard of Isra-Tots?

    Seriously, if they are planning to send F-15s to bomb Iranian targets, then they have to be ready to see one of those pilots paraded on Iranian TV. If drones instead, then prepare to see a shot-down drone displayed in a Tehran square like that mangled U-2 was in Moscow in the early 1960s.

  • PersianAdvocate December 19, 2010, 10:45 PM

    One thing most people don’t know about Osiraq is the actual story: that Mossad figured out the Iraqis would go out to lunch and TURN THEIR RADAR SYSTEMS OFF. Saddam was a bad manager/general. The Iranians, not so much.

    Israel must be careful not to believe its own propaganda. Instead, it should heed Sun Tzu’s words:

    “Therefore, there are five factors of knowing who will win:
    1- One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious [Israel's answer is always: fight; Iran? Not so much.];
    2- One who knows how to use both large and small forces will be victorious [Iran has stratified its forces, just the Basiji militia alone number 12 million, and besides the bulky conventional superweapons bought from China and Russia, it has created its own drone line and small armaments/vehicles];
    3- One who knows how to unite upper and lower ranks in purpose will be victorious [Israel's attack will unify Iran and also create havoc for those Jews in the diaspora ];
    4- One who is prepared and waits for the unprepared will be victorious [Where is that Minister of the Interior these -days? Are there more fire retardants around now or just the 2nd word sans suffix?];
    5- One whose general is able and is not interfered by the ruler will be victorious [Iran has a slight advantage here in that the Supreme Leader has the final say about everything - but allows the Generals to make the military commands wholly and aids them politically; whereas in Israel you have a coalition that's divided, and a political system that is completely dependent on big brother, who won't give the red light and will probably seek to minimize association once the shots are fired and there is no going back].”

    Recall that Iran captured British navy men and no one did a thing but plea for them back. They were treated very well and sent off in a PR parade, with brand new tailored suits.

    Sun Tzu continues, “Therefore I say: One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be in danger in a hundred battles. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes win, sometimes lose.”

    Israel has the ability to reconcile with the entire world, but it has to stop exporting arms (it’s #1 export) and death (I changed my mind, this one is #1).

  • medawar December 20, 2010, 1:26 PM

    I don’t think that Iran can be attacked successfully with any non-nuclear US weapon that I know about, unless Americans are prepared to actually mobilize the entire economy for war and use several hundred, rather than a few dozen, aircraft, something which seems out of the question.

    If there is something that I don’t know about and its capabilities happen to be relevant, then something may happen. But the resources being talked about in connection with an Israeli-US attack on Iran, simply don’t look adequate to me.

    The Australians had a programme to develop advanced means of neutralizing WMD (especially chemical weapons) inside the enemy’s storage bunkers, which suggests that there was nothing suitable on offer from the Americans. The weapons shipped to Israel by America since 2006 would simply smash the bunkers and distribute whatever was inside to the four winds.

    There has to be secret technology, or huge and economically surprising secret resources, or it’s all bunk. Or Israel is about to bite off more than it can chew.

    Above all, there would need to be an almost unimaginable improvement in target location and selection, compared with 2006.

  • seashell December 20, 2010, 4:53 PM

    Richard – I come in the spirit of sharing Stuxnet research, which we have done several times in the past, starting at TPM. :-)

    First of all, start with Symantec’s Stuxnet Dossier:

    Stuxnet is of such great complexity—requiring significant resources to develop—that few attackers will be capable of producing a similar threat, to such an extent that we would not expect masses of threats of similar in sophistication to suddenly appear. However, Stuxnet has highlighted direct-attack attempts on critical infrastructure are possible and not just theory or movie plotlines.

    From the Command and Control section (p.17 in the pdf):

    Two command and control servers have been used in known samples… pointed to servers in Malaysia and Denmark…

    Newsweek’s Shadow War, which was written with assistance from Ronen Bergman.

    “Stuxnet is the start of a new era,” says Stewart Baker, former general counsel of the U.S. National Security Agency. “It’s the first time we’ve actually seen a weapon created by a state to achieve a goal that you would otherwise have used multiple cruise missiles to achieve.”

    Microsoft estimates that building the virus likely took 10,000 man-days of labor by top-rank software engineers. Unlike most of the worms and viruses that wreak havoc on computers, this one was not designed to spread far and wide, doing damage wherever it landed. It is structured to target a specific set of devices manufactured only in Finland and Iran that are used to determine the speed at which the centrifuges rotate. If that speed is not modulated perfectly, vibrations make the machines break down, as indeed they have.

    UN: Iran Halts Uranium Enrichment; Unclear Why from the AP on 11/23/10:

    Diplomats first told the AP of a temporary shutdown of Iran’s enrichment program on Monday. They also said they did not know why the thousands of centrifuges stopped turning out material that Iran says it needs to fuel a future network of nuclear reactors.

    Essentially, the above research is agreed on by the people studying Stuxnet and Iran and I’ve run into the same stuff from different sources. Everything else you’ve talked about in this thread is beyond anything I’ve read so far. I hope this helps with the Stuxnet part of your inquiries.

    • Richard Silverstein December 20, 2010, 8:04 PM

      I come in the spirit of sharing Stuxnet research, which we have done several times in the past

      You actually come in the spirit of having yr own political agenda, rather than innocently sharing research. And I have no idea what you mean by “doing so several times in the past.” I’m not familiar w. any comments you’ve ever posted here except a few in the past few days whose unspoken agenda was to prove the devastating power of Stuxnet to take out Iran’s nuclear program or some such nonsense.

      The danger of parachuting into a blog’s comment threads is that you make mistaken assumptions. If you Google Stuxnet here you will find scores of sources & 10 posts about Stuxnet. I assure you I know almost everything a layperson can know about it. But after all that research & reading I view the worm differently than you. Next time, do some research before you make assumptions about what I know or don’t know.

      I don’t necessarily accept former Bush era intelligence officials as the most credible sources on this issue. It is debatable whether Stuxnet is as powerful as a Cruise missile. A delay of a few months in Iran’s program as Bergman & others have posited is not what Israel expects its missiles & bombs to achieve if it attacks.

      “Thousands of centrifuges” makes it appear that Stuxnet destroyed all Iran’s centrifuges. Roughly 3/4 of Iran’s centrifuges are not currently working. 1/4 would be if Iran had them in use. We don’t know what happened to the remaining 3/4 though Stuxnet could’ve been the culprit for many of them. Again, this will cause a delay in the program. It is not a catastrophic failure, but rather a troubling but momentary glitch. And I say this not because I want Iran to get a nuclear weapon (if that is indeed it’s intent, which is debatable). But because there is only one way to deal w. Iran’s nuclear program–to negotiate. Sabotage & war will not work.

      • John Yorke December 21, 2010, 3:41 AM

        The presumption is that the Stuxnet computer virus was brought into being for the express purpose of delaying or stopping progress on the Iranian nuclear program. How successful that effort has been is hard to evaluate just now but adherents of this sort of cyber-strike may view it as a legitimate form of attack. Others, it appears, are not quite so sanguine.
        To some extent, it matters very little since, as with the Wikileaks revelations, the deed is done, the monster has been set free and, for good or ill, there the matter rests, awaiting its next manifestation.

        In a situation where one worm can be created for destructive purposes, another such creation might very well bring about the opposite result; a healing process, active so long as the worm itself survives all attempts to terminate its function. With that in mind, the most casual reading of the situation would require that this specimen be of an extremely resilient nature.

        Here the ideal worm should be entirely visible, a program not afraid to advertise its presence and whose purpose, primarily, is to stabilise rather than to wreck anything; a worm to be feared and welcomed in equal measure.

        And just what would require so much stability?

        The next Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, assuming one does emerge, must be a prime candidate. There has always been something very erratic about all these undertakings; too much fragility, no stamina, no finality and certainly no peace. So many tend to wither on the vine, the smallest gust of wind and they collapse in disarray. They need a proper backbone to survive, to endure everything the conflict can throw at them – even to the extent of throwing something back.

        As in the martial art of Judo, into which I was once briefly and somewhat painfully inducted, throwing your opponent is best accomplished by letting him do most of the work, channeling his attack to gain the best advantage. That no one seems to have learnt that lesson here is a sad commentary on our otherwise extremely inventive species.

        After six decades of head-to-head battles, it’s strange that very little in the way of new techniques has evolved to advance the cause of peace. By contrast, in the field of conflict, new variants in the dealing of death seem to crop up all the time.

        In the blast of war, is it always too much to hope for a change in the direction of the wind?
        Even if such were the case, it would have to be of whirlwind force to have the desired effect.

        Where, I wonder, does one find a whirlwind these days?

        [

      • seashell December 21, 2010, 2:18 PM

        You actually come in the spirit of having yr own political agenda, rather than innocently sharing research. And I have no idea what you mean by “doing so several times in the past.”

        Along with the instance I have already linked to, I also remember the ‘Pomper’ website saga, again from TPM:

        Seashell: That’s terrific research on those images & I’ll certainly follow up w. the copyright holders & w. Blogger. In fact, my lawyer says… (read more)

        I’m not Jewish, or even religious. I am following the Stuxnet story because I’m in IT, not because I have a political agenda regarding it. Whatever else surrounds Stuxnet, the code itself is newsworthy on its own. While Googling around the other day, I happened upon this blog, for the first time in a while, and thought that you were asking questions in your posts, or looking for some answers on Stuxnet. For example:

        There is a suspect claim that Stuxnet is the first computer worm which has caused actual physical damage in the real world.  Perhaps there are others with more experience in these matters who can tell us whether this is a false or true claim.  Further, the TV news story makes a claim I’ve never heard before, the virus was “controlled” from two computers in Malaysia and Denmark “under cover of the websites of local soccer clubs” in those places.

        As for Langer’s alleged comment about Stuxnet being “more effective” than a huge air strike, I’ve read almost everything Langer has written on Stuxnet & haven’t seen a statement remotely like this. So bring us the exact quote & then we’ll judge yr so far specious claim.

        Because I had admired your knowledge and thinking on Israel and Iran in the past, I hoped to help from an IT standpoint.

        By the way, you questioned the credibility of “former Bush era intelligence officials”. If you were speaking of Richard Clark, please be advised that he was the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, a cabinet level position, under Clinton. His position was demoted by Condi Rice and Cheney because he tried to keep their focus on al-Qaeda and terrorism prior to 9/11, rather than on China and Iraq. His newest book, Cyber War, was published this year. He currently teaches at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

        I’m sure that Ronen Bergman is everything you say he is. However, he is not an expert on coding. Neither am I, but I can follow along with Langner’s and Symantec’s descriptions of Stuxnet, and no matter what else you choose to believe, it is an awesome work of coding.

        • Richard Silverstein December 21, 2010, 4:31 PM

          If you were speaking of Richard Clark

          Richard Clark is of course someone with some probity & credibility. But you quoted Stewart Baker, not Clark. I wouldn’t trust Baker’s opinion on Stuxnet or anything else.

          Ronen Bergman is an expert on Israeli intelligence matters. Since Israel created Stuxnet & is certainly tracking the damage it has done, ROnen Bergman has credible background & sources to judge how much damage the worm has done. Langner may know computer security & Stuxnet. But he doesn’t know Mossad or Unit 8200 which undoubtedly created it.