US Must Be Sued over Cyber Attacks

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hassan Beheshtipour

In an article published on Friday June 1, 2012, The New York Times revealed that in the first months of his presidency, US President Barack Obama had secretly ordered a cyber attack with the Stuxnet virus against Iran.

This important and revealing report was based on an 18-month research which included interviews with former and current US, European, and Israeli officials and selection from the book “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” by David Sanger. The book is due to be published on Tuesday, June 5.

This report, contrary to similar contents that are mostly based on scenarios devised by the US intelligence and security apparatuses, is worth a comprehensive analysis, because for the first time, this “investigative report” reveals that the cyber operation began in the era of the former US President George W. Bush under the codename “Olympic Games”. This operation, that was designed using destructive codes with Israeli cooperation, is in fact the first sustained US cyber attack against another country.

In this respect, it is just like the 1953 coup d’état launched by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It, too, was the agency’s first overseas endeavor which led to the overthrow of the government of the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and the imposition of the dependant rule of Mohammad Reza Shah on the Iranian nation.

The only difference being that at the time Britain’s MI6, which had seen its interests compromised as a result of the nationalization of the Iranian oil, was complicit with the CIA in the plot.

According to Western sources, the destructive Stuxnet virus was created by the US and Israel and had infiltrated Iran's cyber network in 2010 with the cooperation of Germany’s Siemens company. Iranian officials said they had managed to prevent it from successfully completing its mission. In 2011, it was also reported that the US had created the data-thieving Duqu virus to steal intelligence from Iran’s vital industrial and oil and gas energy infrastructure.

On May 28, Kaspersky Lab security senior researcher Roel Schouwenberg told Reuters that a data-stealing virus, called Flame, had been discovered. He said the virus had contaminated thousands of computers in the Middle East.

This worm, he added, was part of the cyber war that has been waged in the region, but it was not clear who had created the virus.

Kaspersky Lab discovered Flame while investigating reports that a virus dubbed Wiper had attacked computers in Iran.

According to Schouwenberg, Flame contains about 20 times as much code as Stuxnet and about 100 times as much code as a typical virus designed to steal financial information.

To fully grasp the importance of The New York Times article, it is necessary to take a look at the comments of Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate. While McCain, along with the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, was on a visit to Singapore he told the reporters:

"Again we see these leaks to the media about ongoing operations, which is incredibly disturbing. Doesn't this give some benefit to our adversaries?... We know the leaks have to come from the administration. And so we're at the point where perhaps we need an investigation.”

It is clear that Mr. McCain is criticizing Obama who resorts to any means to win the election and even discloses his country’s secrets in order to get people’s votes. It seems that Obama helps the leak of such news in order to prove that his plans against Iran have not been a total failure. While helping the leak of US secret policies, Obama knows what he is doing, but McCain apparently ignores that confirming the New York Times report by him clearly proves that the US government, both under Republicans and Democrats, spares no effort to achieve its expansionist goals.

By taking this position, Mr. McCain indirectly confirms the New York Times report to prove that the United States and Israel act in unison to control Iran's peaceful nuclear energy program. Therefore, recent claims about differences between Washington and Tel Aviv are a tactic to distract the world’s public opinion from US and Israel’s triple strategy against Iran.

According to that triple strategy, the US, firstly, uses all its power to impose maximum sanctions beyond the scope of UN resolutions against Iran. Secondly, it employs all software possibilities to attack Iran's facilities and technology at all levels, including scientific and research centers in addition to oil, gas and nuclear energy production centers. Thirdly, it will insist on continuation of negotiations with Iran in order to show, for propaganda purposes, that Washington advocates peaceful solutions. Such paradoxical treatment creates practical conditions under which the world public opinion will be at loss for correct understanding of US policies.

Explaining contradictory behavior of the US is only possible if US and Israel’s policies, goals and plans with regard to Iran have been carefully followed in the past 10 years in order to reveal the contradictory nature of those policies, not only in words, but also in action.

It seems that in addition to defending itself against this undeclared cyber war which targets its national interests, Iran must launch such initiatives as filing a lawsuit with international legal authorities on the US cyberwar against Iran. Of course, due to the nature of the “cyberwar,” international laws on this phenomenon are not clear-cut yet. However, since this is the United States’ first experience in foreign cyberwar, as admitted by the New York Times, it can also be Iran's first experience in using legal defense against the US “cyber-aggression.” Some Iranian officials have already proposed this, but the issue was not seriously followed by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

All available evidence attest to the US and Israel’s “cyber-aggression” against legitimate right of the Iranian nation to peaceful technologies in all areas, including production of nuclear energy. Therefore, there is no justification for not pursuing such a lawsuit with international bodies at a time that bullying powers imagine that they can give legitimacy to any act of aggression under the cover of peace-seeking.

*Hassan Beheshtipour is a researcher, documentary producer, and a frequent contributor to Press TV. Born on June 22, 1961 in the Iranian capital, Beheshtipour received his BA in Trade Economics from Tehran University. His research topics span from US and Russian foreign policy to the Ukrainian Orange Revolution. The Iranian analyst is currently busy with research on the 1979 US embassy takeover in Tehran.

Source: Press TV

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