In a surprise admission today, at the retirement party of the Chief of the Israeli Armed Forces, Gabi Ashkenazi, he celebrated as one of his achievements that Israel was behind the “StuxNet” attack on Iranian nuclear centrifuges and an air attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor. This was published in The Haaretz (translation to English here) as well as later in The Telegraph.
This is significant as all Western countries have always denied any involvement in these attacks. It is particularly notable as StuxNet, a weaponized worm, has been used as justification for a worldwide clampdown on the Internet and citizen’s fundamental liberties here in the West.
The New York Times has previously speculated in the United States and Israel having developed StuxNet in a joint effort, citing reliable sources. However, the head guy taking pride in the attack in a public admission is nothing short of shocking. It is a pure revelation.
StuxNet was a weaponized worm specialized in destroying hardware for centrifuging and enriching uranium. Special pieces of its weapon code made it target only specific enrichment installations — those in Iran. It caused the centrifuges to literally spin into pieces.
If done within a country, this attack would give a prison sentence of many years. When done between countries as a sanctioned effort by an organized armed force, it is quite undisputably an aggression act of war.
When I was at a NATO hearing in the European Parliament recently, clampdown on civil liberties on the net were discussed with StuxNet-type events as a background. A senior Member of the European Parliament in the audience complained that the military and NATO regarded the West as victims of StuxNet in its rhetoric, whereas the rest of the world would probably view the West as the aggressors.
Today’s admission confirms that the West were indeed the aggressors. This makes for a very bad case for cutting down on civil liberties in the aggressing countries.
UPDATE 2: The retiring General didn’t admit to it in person in an interview; rather, it was part of an achievement celebration video displayed at his retirement party. This makes it even larger, as it was not a slip of the tongue but something prepared by many people in quite some time.