Re: Meet the U.S. Defense Firm Supplying Iran’s Internet

Razer Rayzer at
Mon Nov 2 11:23:03 PST 2015

On 11/02/2015 09:26 AM, Cari Machet wrote:
> its not fucking 'unusual' 
> it is hilarious though - the depth of reporting #pathetic

"Link-based reporting". It's prolly safer that way,

> On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 6:08 PM, Razer <Rayzer at
> <mailto:Rayzer at>> wrote:
>       * <>
>           Disconnect
>     11.01.1512:01 AM ET
>       Meet the U.S. Defense Firm Supplying Iran’s Internet
>     A company that works for American spies and generals has quietly
>     started providing Internet service to the Islamic Republic. What’s
>     going on here?
>     Nestled in a suburban Washington, D.C.
>     <>,
>     office park, across the street from a shopping mall, a technology
>     company that counts the U.S. Defense Department
>     <>
>     as its biggest customer is charting out a new frontier: providing
>     Internet service to Iran.
>     But GTT Communications Inc.—headquartered in McLean, Virginia,
>     just a 15-minute drive from the headquarters of the CIA and hired
>     by various unnamed U.S. intelligence agencies and satellite
>     operators—hasn’t exactly been touting its new venture.
>     The company has issued no press release about its deal with an
>     undersea cable network that sells Internet services to Iran and
>     other Persian Gulf. (One of the cables comes ashore at the city of
>     Bushehr, home to a nuclear plant that’s been the subject of
>     intense debate about its role in Iran’s nuclear program.)
>     Instead, the partnership was announced
>     <>
>     in a single tweet last May; both parties have been largely silent
>     about the deal since then. When contacted by The Daily Beast for
>     details about the deal with the Doha-based submarine cable
>     operator, Gulf Bridge International, a GTT spokesperson said the
>     agreement wouldn’t be finalized for a few more weeks.
>     And yet technical data shows that GTT was providing Internet
>     service to Iran for months.
>     The Islamic Republic has been off limits to most U.S. companies
>     for years. A complex sanctions
>     <>
>     regime
>     <>,
>     meant in part to isolate the regime in Tehran and obstruct its
>     efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, bars the sale of good and
>     services by many American companies, including through intermediaries.
>     But last year, the Treasury Department, which administers the
>     sanctions program, issued new rules (PDF
>     <>)
>     authorizing the sale of “consumer-grade Intemet connectivity
>     services.” That created an opening for GTT, as well as any other
>     American companies that want to cash in on the Iranian market for
>     Internet service, which is booming thanks in large part to a surge
>     of new mobile phone users in the country.
>     The company began providing bandwidth to Iran’s state-owned
>     telecom company, TIC, via one of Gulf Bridge’s submarines cables
>     on June 10, Doug Madory, the director of analysis at Dyn, a
>     research company that monitors Internet connectivity, told The
>     Daily Beast. Notably, that was nearly a month before the U.S.,
>     Iran, and other world powers announced an agreement
>     <>
>     to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting
>     some sanctions.
>     Only Iranian officials would know the exact percentage of Iran’s
>     Internet traffic that was flowing to and from GTT, said Madory,
>     who first noted
>     <>
>     the company’s presence in Iran last month. But, he said, the
>     Iranian Internet is effectively composed of about 5,000 network
>     routes, and at its peak in August, “GTT was handling anywhere from
>     some to all of the international traffic” to more than 1,800 of
>     those routes, or about 16.6 percent of the total.
>     So GTT was not some small-time provider.
>     Asked for more details about its work in Iran, the GTT
>     spokesperson, Ann Rote, said that she would be able to provide
>     specifics after the partnership was finalized.
>     But, Rote said, the company’s work violated no sanctions, and was
>     in line with “U.S. policy to facilitate the flow of information to
>     and from Iran.”
>         When contacted by The Daily Beast for details about the Iran
>         deal, a GTT spokesperson said the agreement wouldn’t be
>         finalized for a few more weeks. And yet technical data shows
>         that GTT was providing Internet service to Iran for months.
>     “GTT does not conduct any business in Iran or with the Government
>     of Iran,” Rote said. “Any Internet traffic coming from Iran and
>     transiting GTT’s global IP [Internet protocol] network is coming
>     indirectly from customers of wholesale or carrier partners in the
>     Middle East region.”
>     Technically, she’s right. GTT’s customer is Gulf Bridge
>     International, the undersea cable provider. But the technical data
>     strongly suggest that GTT knew—or should have known—that it was
>     providing service to the state telecom of Iran. And that’s a
>     crucial question, because while U.S. companies are allowed to sell
>     Internet service to Iran, they may not do so if they have
>     “knowledge or reason to know that such services … are intended for
>     the Government of Iran,” according to Treasury Department rules.
>     State-owned companies are also covered by that prohibition, two
>     lawyers who are expert in the sanctions rules told The Daily Beast.
>     In October, GTT was “transiting” 521 Iranian routes, Madory said,
>     meaning that at some level GTT was responsible for “propagating
>     these routes to the greater Internet.” Effectively, GTT was
>     advertising that route for traffic destined to particular Internet
>     addresses in Iran
>     But on October 5, the service abruptly stopped, apparently after
>     one of Gulf Bridge International’s cables was cut. The service has
>     not been restored, Madory said. Up until that point, it had been
>     going strong for nearly four months.
>     GTT’s service to Iran raises questions about why an American
>     Internet company with close ties to the U.S. government and
>     intelligence community would be selling off bandwidth to a country
>     that is still a major strategic adversary of the United States.
>     Despite the nuclear deal, Iran is providing the bulk of ground
>     forces to crush Syrian rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad, and is
>     part of an emerging power axis with Russia, which has launched
>     <>
>     airstrikes to keep the Syrian dictator in power and to keep
>     Moscow’s foothold in the Middle East.
>     But Iran is expanding economically—and digitally—as well. And that
>     presents an opportunity for American technology companies.
>     Since August 2014, when the Iran’s national telecom regulator
>     began awarding licenses for 3G and 4G mobile phone service,
>     subscriptions have surged, to about 20.5 million people last
>     month, Amy Cameron, a senior analyst with BMI Research, told The
>     Daily Beast. That’s about 27 percent of the country’s population,
>     the majority of which is under 30 and, presumably, eager to
>     embrace new technologies and the access to information that comes
>     with them.
>     The surge in mobile phone service is a big business, and Iran
>     needs more Internet addresses and access for all those new
>     devices, Cameron said. In addition to acquiring new service
>     routes—like the ones GTT provides—the government has also been
>     buying up Internet addresses that use the so-called “version 4”
>     <>
>     protocol, a vital, and increasingly scarce, component of the
>     world’s Internet infrastructure. And Iran plans to auction more
>     wireless broadband spectrum, which should in turn attract more
>     investment in mobile networks.
>     “All of these developments point towards Iran making concerted
>     efforts to open its Internet market,” Cameron said. Of course,
>     there are limits to that openness: Iran’s primary telecom company
>     is owned by the military, and the Tehran government monitors
>     communications for prohibited content.
>     All of which makes its affiliation with a telecom company in
>     suburban Washington even more unusual.
>     --30--
> -- 
> Cari Machet
> NYC 646-436-7795
> carimachet at <mailto:carimachet at>
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