Originally published December 7 2012
How Syrian government shut down all internet traffic to the entire country
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Citizens of Syria were robbed of information from within the country and from the outside world recently as forces bent of continuing authoritarian rule there shut down the Internet.
Other countries have done so before but, says TechNewsDaily, "the manner in which it did so may be unprecedented."
Network reliability provider CloudFlare posted the blogged about the incident:
Since the beginning of today's (Nov. 29) outage, we have received no requests from Syrian IP space. That is a more complete blackout than we've seen when other countries have been cut from the Internet.
All tyrants eventually get around to shutting off the Internet
In March, Internet service in Libya went out amid the widespread protests occurring there at the time. Service was interrupted to that chaotic country twice within a two-week period.
Syrian government officials, including the Minister of Information, blamed the outage on terrorists, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"It is not true that the state cut the Internet. The terrorists targeted the Internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off," he said, citing a cut cable.
But, CloudFlare says as far as its engineers can tell, that's not true. Rather, the evidence points to a planned outage by the government.
"All 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet," said the firm's blog. The company added that when the outage occurred, connections to Syrian IP space were all withdrawn simultaneously, a move that effectively blocked all Internet traffic into and out of the country.
Not a bad deal if you're a tyrant. And it doesn't hurt if the job is made easier by the fact that you, the tyrant, control all Internet access in your country. In Syria, that access is provided through the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, which is provided solely by the Syrian government.
TechNewsDaily reports there are four telecommunications cables that connect Syria to the Internet; three are underwater the fourth runs through Turkey. But CloudFlare said it was doubtful that the disconnect was done physically.
"The systematic way in which routes were withdrawn suggests that this was done through updates in router configurations, not through a physical failure or cable cut," the company's blog said.
CloudFlare posted a video on its blog site showing the shutdown occurring in real time; viewers can watch as an entire country loses Internet access.
'Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction'
It should be noted that cutting off the Internet is one of the last acts of modern tyrannical governments. Since so much information can be exchanged online - like news reports of government-caused atrocities - in real time, tyrants attempting to hide their actions can only do so these days if they cut off the Internet. That was among the final acts by the former leaders of Egypt and Libya, President Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gadaffi, respectively, before both regimes fell earlier this year as a result of the so-called Arab Spring.
"As we have posted about recently, we don't believe our role is to take sides in political conflicts," said CloudFlare, on its blog. "However, we do believe it is our mission to build a better Internet where everyone can have a voice and access information. It is therefore deeply troubling to the CloudFlare team when we see an entire nation cut off from the ability to access and report information. Our thoughts are with the Syrian people and we hope connectivity, and peace, will be quickly restored.
Could this happen in the United States, say, during a time of martial law? It might be easy to convince most Americans that such a thing could never happen in "the land of the free," but then again, most Americans don't know that the nation's largest telecoms are cooperating with the federal government to spy on users. (see Natural News source link below)
As Ronald Reagan once said:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
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