Images, Misc

[UPDATE – 02/12/08 – The Complete Guide to the 2008 Internet Outage has been finished. It contains the most up to date information including detailed images and explanations to help unravel this cable mess. Please check it out here]

I find it humorous that the recent cable cuttings have caused another, yet another divide that we are more commonly seeing on the internet: those that “wear the foil hats” and those that don’t. While I understand where the stereotype comes from–

–I think, on the internet, it has taken on a whole new meaning. Case in point: here’s a Wikipedia article on the subject.

[UPDATE: now there is even a Wikipedia article discussing the ‘conspiracy theories’ surrounding the submarine cable damages as well.]

Even though we jest about it and throw about the term lightly, there are those in the world who believe to the bottom of their soul that they are keeping themselves safe by adorning such a hat. These people are usually a bit psychotic and often exhibit symptoms of dementia praecox.

As a person who has been unfairly grouped into this stereotypical association which exists between “conspiracy theorists” (man, that sounds spooky) and the mentally ill, let me step forward and say:

“I am not (that) crazy.”

In a world where the word ‘conspiracy’ is tossed at someone the moment they try to make an argument, it appears, at least to this author, that we setting ourselves up for failure. Isn’t it healthy and constructive to question the world around you in search of complete understanding of a particular subject?

As the internet grows exponentially greater in mass along with the human race, we are going to be faced with an world that will be growing ever smaller. It may be sooner than we think when neighborhoods, are filled to the breaking point, with humans reproducing in the closest of quarters.

We may find ourselves in a society where paranoia of even those who are close in proximity to you becomes a necessity for survival instead of the words of a “few crazy individuals.” When people are at war with one another for territory the size of a city block.

When I was in school, I learned how to ask questions and find answers. This fundamental skill grew within me from grade school through college. Yet, for some reason, those, who are considered educated among us, are able to ridicule and choose to otherwise ignore our questions whenever we start to ask. I am lucky that I work in a place which allows me to have open conversations with my peers about the world around us. I am lucky that the woman that I am in a relationship with allows me to have a similar environment in my home.

I encourage anyone reading this to try and make your life, your workplace, and your home, a similar place. Try to surround yourself with people who encourage critical thinking and who don’t take everything at face value.

I have tried to introduce evidence which may help to explain the recent events which have turned into a veritable “Cablecut-gate” that has gripped the web. Yet, there are still those who choose the simpler way out.

There will always be people who are willing to accept the simpler answer and go on with their lives. There are even those in the aforementioned group that will go to great lengths to prove their simple truth. Whether it be through books, photos, sound bytes, or even quotes from their favorite puppet on Fox and Friends (sorry, I had to), there will also be those of us who have an undying desire to search for truth and understanding in the events which shape the world around us.

If you happen to agree with me, or you’re into what is apparently the “tin-foil hat crowd,” then please read my previous posts on the subject.

…and so:

I will batten down the hatches and pull the rubber-band of my tinfoil hat down to snap against the bottom of my chin. Because I, for one, refuse to believe that this is what could have possibly occurred:


[UPDATE] – It has been reported that Ms. Gillman won. The court went on to decide that:

“…the school board and Principal David Davis [are] to notify students in writing that they had the right to express their support for equal treatment of gays in an appropriate and non-disruptive way.

However, the principal, David Davis has apparently not gotten the message:

“Principal Davis would not go on camera. He did say he’s disappointed in the judges’ decision, but he will abide by that ruling.”

[UPDATE] – A thanks to the readers for pointing out that the information within this article was wrong. At the time of the writing (February of 2008), the sources of information about this story had indicated that Heather Gillman was a gay student. This is not the case. As it turns out, Ms. Gillman, who is involved in the ACLU case was not, in fact, homosexual, but a supporter of gay rights in her school.

In addition, I would like everyone to know that no harm was ever meant towards the school, the students within this post, or to the community surrounding Ponce de Leon high school. It is horrible to think that a school (students, faculty, parents, administrators, etc.) would possibly stand behind a principal who so terribly handled a delicate situation with such intolerance and stupidity. Yet, the school still proudly lists Mr. Davis as their principal on their website.

It should also be noted that those (proclaiming their closeness to the school) who have the ability to actually do something about the problem, have taken the time to attack the writer of an article who was simply trying to bring the story to the attention of the major news outlets.

Perhaps you should consider using the time to change the school in your community and the administrator responsible.

It has been reported recently in a number of places around the internet, that there has recently been a scandal at Ponce de Leon High School located just south of Alabama in between Pensacola and Tallahassee in Florida:

(more info on the small town here)

The scandal involves a lawsuit that the ACLU has filed against the school primarily for the actions of the principal: David Davis. (

While other sites and news outlets have thoroughly covered the actual scandal, there are a few things that they have missed in the process. However, just to get you up to speed, I’ll give you a brief rundown.

First of all, here’s a picture of the person at the front of the case, Heather Gillman, standing out in front of her school:

She was suspended for 5 days from her high school. Her crimes? Being openly supportive of gay rights and reporting troubles associated with it to a school administrator started the ball rolling. Then, when Davis called for a “morality assembly,” (where a religious preacher was apparently invited) Heather Gillman, along with some other students, spoke of possibly walking out of the assembly in protest. However, they did not, and instead started to wear pro-gay symbols such as the rainbow. The principal eventually decided that her and her friends were distracting other students and acting in a way that might be construed as being a part of a secret society or gang and decided that suspension was the best decision.

I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.

As if this story wasn’t bad enough… according to Florida Department of Education, Division of Public Schools’ Bureau of School Improvements (man that’s a long-winded title for an organization) School Improvement Plan for Ponce de Leon:

“Mr. David Davis is the principal at Ponce de Leon High School. This is his first full year as principal. He has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, K-12. Mr. Todd Jones is our assistant principal. This is his first full year as our assistant principal. He, also, has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.”

So, we’ve got two principals both in their first full year of being a principal. But wait, according to them, they are:

“…outstanding leaders of our school…supportive of teachers’ needs, and they listen to teachers’ and students’ concerns.”

Unless, of course, you’re gay. That’s right. When students approached David Davis to complain about harassment received from students and faculty, he was quoted as saying:

“Well, you shouldn’t be gay.”

Way to listen to the concerns of your students.

Alright, I’m willing to play devil’s advocate. Maybe it isn’t their fault. Maybe the school has something to do with it and we can’t blame these first-year administrators. Let’s take a look at the school website to see if maybe we can figure out where these guys are coming from.

Let’s see here, well, we know the school doesn’t hate women. Because they are very careful to make sure that their most recent “Young Miss Ponce de Leon” is posted in their photos section. Maybe the mascot is a truck driver or a conservative leader or something. Oh wait… nope:

Alright then I guess it isn’t the normal views of the school to be against women, and they don’t have a mascot breathing outdated ideals down their neck. Well, it must be in the goals of the school to promote such ignorance and hatred. Let’s take a look at their map to success on their beliefs page:

“The staff at Ponce de Leon High School believes:”

“Students should successfully compete at the highest levels and should be prepared to make well-reasoned and thoughtful decisions.”

Yes, Mr. Davis: telling someone they shouldn’t be who they are is definitely setting them up to make well-reasoned and thoughtful decisions.

“The learning environment should be conducive to teaching and learning.”

But if you are gay, and your learning environment is being distracted from, you should definitely not report it to an administrator. You should just stop being gay.

“The environment should protect health, safety, and civil rights…The development of the “whole child” should be evident in the activities and instruction provided.”

I guess since the principal doesn’t technically provide instruction, he is exempt from this. Oh, and inviting religious leaders to come speak at school assemblies is definitely how I would see my children becoming a “whole child.”

“[they] visualize literate students who are seekers of meaning and knowledge and are using this knowledge to satisfy their curiosity about life’s complexities as they explore.”

But homosexuality is a bit too complex. Let’s just keep it to penis and vagina okay?

“As these students progress through the educational process, they will recognize their responsibility for changing conditions detrimental to human development, opportunity, and community. They will promote equity, tolerance, understanding, and acceptance of all people.”

Yes, and they will be taught that changing their own human condition, to fit the development, opportunity and community of Ponce de Leon can only be done through fear and ignorance.

But perhaps, the very best gem from this facility of hypocrisy comes from their self-professed mission statement. As a former educator, I know the importance that mission statement holds in a school. An educational mission statement is there to be the ultimate statement by which the faculty, and staff can look to for guidance in helping the young minds that they are responsible for.

Before I leave you with the final gem, I would like to offer some advice to those out there who are as outraged as I am about this. Recently a post hit the front page of the popular news site reddit which linked to the faculty website stating “Here are the email addresses for the staff at the school where the girl was suspended for being a lesbian. The principal is David Davis. Tell him to resign and to publicly apologize.”

Contacting the school to complain about the school is like sending an email to Dick Cheney to complain about how Bush has handled the war in Iraq. If you really want to make a difference, here are a couple more useful links:

Now, finally, I leave you with the mission statement for Ponce de Leon High School. I guess principals there have to read that in their 2nd full year of employment:

“With a philosophy grounded in the firm belief that each student is a unique person of intrinsic worth, the Ponce de Leon High School staff has a clear mission: to support an educational program which accommodates individuality rather than uniformity.

Building upon this basic belief that our students are individuals of diversified interests, aptitudes, talents and goals, we seek to offer a program which accepts each student for who he is, and offers him a diversified program of educational equity and reality-based relevance to the world beyond the classroom.

Our mission requires that our teachers gain a greater knowledge of the student as an individual and use that knowledge to assist the student in developing the potential which is inherent in each.

As educators, we pledge that this mission will be an ongoing one as we seek to make a positive difference in the lives of the sons and daughters of Ponce de Leon High School and to work hard to make the vision statement a reality.”

Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up.


[UPDATE – 02/12/08 – The Complete Guide to the 2008 Internet Outage has been finished. It contains the most up to date information including detailed images and explanations to help unravel this cable mess. Please check it out here]

First off, I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback that I have received for my last post, which illustrated the locations of the 5 submarine cables that have been damaged over the past couple of weeks. I’m glad to see that some news sites such as Slashdot featured my post and that people are starting to take a critical look at what is happening.

[UPDATE: this post was recently featured in the most recent Epic-Fu video episode. Check out the video here, and join the discussion here.]

That being said, I’m sure that everyone is eager to read the results of my findings on why these cables may have been damaged, who has to gain from the damages, and where we, as concerned citizens, should start to look for answers.

Before I begin, I would like to point out that these findings are from my own research. I am not accusing anyone of anything here. I am simply providing a resource for the rest of the internet so that people can start to investigate what may really be happening over there. There are some facts out there that are just too big to ignore. While I may not be the person capable of asking the big questions to the right people, I can still provide information for the people who can.

First of all, I want to revisit the map of the cable damages that have occurred over the past few weeks:

We have been told by various organizations that these damages are attributed to power failures or by an anchor being accidentally dragged along the ocean floor during a storm. However, it doesn’t take more than a 5th grade education to start to recognize that there may, in fact, be a pattern to what we are seeing here. When something like this occurs, it starts the mind roaming around the possibilities as to why this may have occurred.

Well, there are a few possibilities. Here are the top 4 possibilities/connections that this author was able to find in his research:

#4Big Telecom Companies

In talking to a network operations manager about the damages that have been done to the cables, the first companies that he suggested, which stand to gain from this type of damage, are the larger telecommunications companies. Especially the land-based ones. Here’s why: when a huge pipeline providing tons of information to a particular area is damaged, re-routing almost always occurs before repair. This means, that the companies which surround the outage or are within the outage area stand to benefit from the sudden jump in needed bandwidth.

So, which companies have some ties into this mess? Well, there are a few companies that popped up while doing my research. However, for the scope of this article, let’s look at Verizon Business. To start things off, Verizon partially owns the SeaMeWe-4 (along with AT&T) cable that was severed. According to them the repairs could take days but they were going to offer an alternative network as quickly as possible. Alternative meaning, routing through somewhere else. How else might Verizon be involved with this deal? Verizon Business has ownership in many of the submarine cables that have been in recent news. In addition, they began work in 2007 on a new cable that will render others obsolete. The construction for this is supposed to complete this year. (source) By Verizon Business’ own admission, they’re all about getting global:

“Global Strategic Services Still Driving Solid Verizon Business Growth…Global sales of strategic services such as IP, Ethernet and managed services continued to accelerate dramatically during the past quarter, exceeding declines in revenue on a year-to-date basis from traditional core voice and data services. In the fourth quarter 2007, strategic services generated $1.4 billion in revenue, up 25.1 percent from the fourth quarter 2006.”

With all that said, it seems very likely that Verizon would very much want these cables to be damaged. Whether it be to leverage their land-based networks or to further increase the popularity of their new cable, it’s hard to ignore the connections.

#3December 2007

In December of 2007, there were a few events that occurred related directly to the damages that we have recently seen. While these events may be unrelated and/or random, the correlation is hard to ignore.

December 1, 2007: Alcatel finished its merger with large U.S. telecom company Lucent. Why does this matter? Alcatel provides hardware and service to large telecommunications companies. In fact, according to their Wikipedia entry they are a “leading provider of optical transmission equipment, especially for submarine communications cable.”

December 20, 2007: Reliance Communications (FLAG) finishes the multi-million dollar acquisition of U.S. based company Yipes. (source) Why is this weird? Well, Yipes provides solutions for data warehousing and multimedia communications transfer. This acquisition would bring, yet another U.S. based company, tons of pull in the global telecommunications environment:

“The combination of Yipes’ enterprise Ethernet services; the private undersea cable system of FLAG Telecom, a subsidiary of Reliance Communications; and Reliance’s commitment to expansion and growth will enable the creation of a global service-delivery platform with unmatched coverage and capability.”

December, 2007: Iran announced that they were freely trading oil without the use of the U.S. dollar. More details about this a bit later in the post.

While there were other notable events in the global telecommunications field in 2007, December seemed to be particularly full of events that could possibly be related to the recent submarine cable damages.

#2Reliance Communications and FLAG

First of all, you need to understand that Reliance Communications is part of a large huge massive company that, grouped with Reliance Telecom and Flag Telecom, makes up Reliance Communications Ventures. They provide solutions for all kinds of telecommunication services for India as well as other countries. As an example (and to tie them even closer to the Middle East), in June of 2006, Reliance Communications along with Orbit Communications Company launched RiTV in the Middle East. This is an interactive multimedia solution including on-demand entertainment and internet access. (source).

Reliance Communications is the leading broadband service provider in India and part of another massive group of companies known as the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Together, they are delivering service to over 19 million subscribers. One of the companies belonging to this group is called Reliance Power Limited (RPL). Here again, we see a direct tie into a large mostly-considered U.S. company. It’s a little company called Chevron.

How big of a stake does Chevron have here? How about a 5% (that can increase to 29%) stake in RPL? (source) Why would Chevron be interested in an Indian energy company? Jamnagar. That link leads to the Wikipedia entry for the Indian state. That link, however, does not talk about how important a role RPL plays in that state — important read as: 650,000 barrels per day. But that’s just the refinery that is currently there. RPL is working on a new refinery that will have a capacity of 580,000 barrels a day. That’s 1,230,000 barrels of oil money that will be coming out of Jamnagar every day. It is expected that this refinery will be completed this year. (source)

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is far too large to try and track down the various connections that they may have to the Middle East, but, being that it is one of the companies most tightly knitted into this knot of submarine cable woes, they deserve a mention.

This brings us to the number 1 reason that this author has found which could explain the recent submarine cable damages.

#1The Iranian Oil Bourse

Through the research that I have exhaustingly done over the past few days, this is the one that has struck me as the most likely reason for the damages that have occurred to submarine internet cables.

First, a bit of background. A bourse is a, typically European, word which refers to a stock exchange. Great, so Iran is going to have their own “oil stock exchange,” but why does this matter? The Iranian oil bourse was going to be a stock market for petroluem, petrochemicals and gas. What’s the big catch here? The exchange planned on being ran with currencies excluding the U.S. dollar. If you remember from earlier in the post, Iran stopped allowing purchases of their oil with the U.S. dollar in December of 2007. So, obviously, the U.S. is not going to be happy about this. The biggest piece of information linking this to the recent damages is the proposed location of the bourse: the island of Kish. This is the island that is RIGHT NEXT TO at least two of the cuts that have recently occurred:

And the locations of the cable damages once more:

To make matters even more interesting, the bourse was scheduled to open this month.

Some of you may suddenly be thinking to yourselves that this sounds familiar. That’s because the last person who decided to stop using the U.S. dollar for trading oil was a man by the name of Saddam Hussein in the fall of 2000.

[UPDATE: To further add to this argument, this would not be the first time the U.S. would have disrupted submarine cables to further themselves in times of war or conflict. (Operation Ivy Bells) (Previous NSA Submarine Wiretaps)]

As I said before, these are bits of information that hopefully others can use as a resource to determine the true cause of these massive internet outages that we have seen over the last couple weeks. I am not blaming one source or the other. I am simply helping to increase the awareness of what may really be happening right under our noses.

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Albert Einstein

If you have additional information or updates to this, please drop me a line. My email address is writer at

Well, that’s it for this post. If you liked this one, be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or check out some of my other posts.