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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 3-Oct-2010
3-Oct-10 News -- Iran arrests several 'nuclear spies' related to Stuxnet invasion

Web Log - October, 2010

3-Oct-10 News -- Iran arrests several 'nuclear spies' related to Stuxnet invasion

Thousands of anti-China Japanese protesters accuse China of invasion

Iran arrests several 'nuclear spies' related to Stuxnet invasion

Iran's intelligence minister announced on Saturday that a number of 'nuclear spies' have been arrested, in conjunction with appropriate measures to counter all destructive moves by "hegemonic powers" in cyberspace, according to Iran's state-run Press TV news service.

At the same time, the Tehran Times quotes Iran's national prosecutor as saying that Iran's sworn enemies, the United States and Zionist regime, have launched a "soft war" against the Islamic Republic.

It's not known for sure how much real damage the Stuxnet computer virus has done to Iran's computer systems, or to the Bushehr nuclear plant. The Iranians say little real damage has been done, though they admit that some 30,000 personal computers have been infected by the computer. But one thing is certain that the Iranians are really "freaked out" by the whole situation. It's possible that the arrest of the "nuclear spies" was just a sort of publicity stunt to reduce the level of public anxiety.

I've talked to a number of people and read various news stories about Stuxnet and Iran, and it turns out that there are quite a few theories -- all unconfirmed -- about what happened, besides the obvious theory that Israel attacked Iran with Stuxnet.

One theory is that the Russians are sabotaging Bushehr. According to this theory, the Russians built Bushehr for Iran, but they really don't want to allow it to start operating, because it could violate nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

Another theory is that a large non-governmental group is China is attacking Iran. There have been stories in the past of Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting each other's computer systems as a sort of competition, so this could be the next great move in the game.

According to Debka's weekly subscriber-only newsletter (forwarded to me by a subscriber), Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is absolutely furious about the attack, and is certain the U.S. is behind it, either directly or indirectly:

"As Tehran gropes in the dark for a solution to the crisis caused by the malignant Stuxnet cyber worm to its vital strategic systems, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reported by DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Iranian sources as having warned Syrian President Bashar Assad when they met last in Damascus that he is gearing up for military revenge. Tehran's allies Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza should get ready, he said. for Israel to take it as an opportunity to attack them.

Their conversation took place Saturday, Sept. 18, three days after word of the software invasion surfaced.

Our sources add that the Iranian president admitted he did not know who was responsible for the cyber attack - and may never find out - but he is certain that either Israel or the United States, or both, launched it to stop Iran's nuclear program in its tracks. Even if it was Israel, he said, Washington would have known and approved.

Ahmadinejad described the damage to Iran's nuclear and military resources as more devastating than the Israel raid on Syria's plutonium reactor at A-Zur exactly three years ago.

He reminded Assad that then, too, Israel and the US had worked together to destroy the Syrian-Iranian nuclear plant under construction by North Korea. Israeli cyber commando units, he said, simultaneously raided additional Syrian nuclear facilities and made off with nuclear materials, equipment and software which they passed to the United States."

The Debka newsletter goes on to say that Ahmadinejad is so furious that he's planning some kind of attack on Israel in the next couple of weeks, and that he's warning Syria's president Assad to be prepared.

It's worth pointing out that Debka, which has contacts within Israel's intelligence agencies, has frequently predicted either an imminent attack on Israel by Hizbollah or Syria, or an imminent attack by Israel on Hizbollah or Syria. Is there any reason to believe that this new prediction is any more accurate?

I certainly don't know the answer, but it's also worth pointing out that tensions in the region are sky-high because the Mideast peace talks are about to collapse. As we reported yesterday, it appears that Mahmoud Abbas is about to resign as Palestinian Authority president, and while we're talking about rumors, there have been many lately about Abbas's talking with Hamas leaders, and a possible détente of some sort between Hamas and Fatah.

There have been three Mideast wars in the last four years, and it's not too soon for a fourth one. Even if a war is not imminent, the collapse of the peace talks IS imminent, and with Iran under attack by Stuxnet, it's unlikely that things will simply go on as they have before. Some major change of direction seems certain, but we'll have to wait and see whether it will be war or something else.

Additional links

With China's nationalism increasing, as we reported last week, it's not surprising that recent events are also resulting in increased Japanese nationalism, with respect to the disputed islands. On Saturday, thousands of anti-China protesters chanted slogans against China, including, "We will not allow Communist China to invade our territory." CNN

France's public sector unions held mass protests against France again on Saturday, protesting the proposed rise in the retirement age from 60 to 62. France 24

China's premier Wen Jiaboa is visiting Athens, and is promising to set up a multi-billion dollar fund for investments by Chinese firms in Greece. Greece hopes to get bailed out by this and similar deals, and the Chinese hope to establish a base for trade with Europe. Bloomberg

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Oct-10 News -- Iran arrests several 'nuclear spies' related to Stuxnet invasion thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Oct-2010) Permanent Link
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