SinoDaily describes the information Taiwan's Turncoat General is said to have passed along to China:
. . . documents Lo handed over to China included details of the Po Sheng (Broad Victory) command, control and communications system that Taiwan is buying from US defence contractor Lockheed Martin for US$1.6 billion.
They said Beijing is believed to be extremely interested in learning more about the project, which gives the Taiwanese military some access to US intelligence systems.
Other information leaked by Lo reportedly covered the army's procurement of 30 Boeing-made Apache AH-64D Longbow attack helicopters and the army's underground optical fibre network.
Google must have figured out I was perusing sites about rare earths after China recently cut off its supply, both to Japan and to the West. So today, AdSense intuited that I might wish to see a banner ad for this site (a Mongolian rare earth mining venture).
Give them credit: that "Checkmate China!" slogan certainly DOES attract one's attention...
The company's transport lines do that, as well. Can anyone spot which neighboring country they AVOID sending cargo through? Why, it's almost as though they anticipate China might engage in politically-motivated export interruptions, or something . . .
Bright lads. Noticing that China's notorious unreliability as a supplier represents a unique marketing opportunity -- for the competition.
Flash forward almost 3 months to the day, when a Chinese submarine struck the sonar array of the U.S.S. John McCain. It sounds like the collision took place in Philippino territorial waters, but it's possible it occurred in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone instead.
Either way, I'm pretty sure Manilla didn't grant Beijing permission to operate there. Which clearly demonstrates that to the Chinese, only China's naval territory is inviolable.
Last weekend, a report by researchers at the Munk Center of the University of
Toronto revealed "GhostNet," a computer espionage virus that had infected around
1,300 computers worldwide--including many "high value" targets where diplomatic
and national security information was stored . . . Experts disagree on whether the evidence proves China's guilt or merely suggests
it overwhelmingly. [emphasis added]
Nice turn of phrase there. The Chinese government's reaction was certainly telling. Chinese officials COULD have calmly announced that **ahem** freelance hackers must be at fault, and that they'd launch an investigation to find those responsible.
Instead what the world heard was the shoe on the table. LIES, LIES, these are all LIES!Those devious CANADIAN schemers are trying to start a new COLD WAR for their own malicious purposes!
Very . . . Kremlinesque. China launches Cold War-style cyber attacks -- then accuses the VICTIMS of its attacks of trying to start a Cold War.
Gelernter outlines why China's cyberwarfare was so difficult to uncover:
The focused nature of the attack helped it succeed. Businesses and other
organizations that detect viruses are less likely to notice and get hold of a
new virus that attacks a mere thousand computers instead of hundreds of
thousands. Until the target organizations do get hold of the virus, they can't
analyze it and use "signature detection" and related techniques to warn users
when infected cyberstuff arrives on their machines. [emphasis added]
GhostNet reminds us that the new Cold War won't be
fought with the threats and weapons of the old one. Americans might have less
trouble keeping in mind occupied Tibet, the war on Chinese Christianity, the
imprisonment and torture of political dissidents and members of Falun Gong, the
one-child-only decree and other specimens of PRC tyranny if they didn't find
Asian-on-Asian violence so deucedly boring. Instead of paying attention to those
issues, we simper about mutual respect and cooperation--without acknowledging
the fact that China is today the world's most powerful Evil Empire. The Soviets
favored large armies and nuclear arsenals, but China is our new Cold War enemy,
and her favorite weapons will also be novel: financial weapons, trade weapons,
cyberweapons. Welcome to Cold War II. [emphasis added]
Ill-informed be the reader who relies on Taiwan's China Post for knowledge of this subject. From an editorial on March 24th:
The 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS - The Foreigner], to which the U.S. is not a signatory . . .
Wrong. President Bill Clinton signed the treaty all the way back in 1994. What IS true is that the American senate has never RATIFIED the agreement.
A distinction without a difference? Hardly, as we shall next see:
But the U.S. does not subscribe to [UNCLOS] rules on [Exclusive Economic Zones].
Wrong again. Ever since the Reagan administration, the American government has committed itself to abiding by the terms of the treaty -- EXCEPT for the provisions governing deep sea mining. So the U.S. DOES subscribe to UNCLOS rules on EEZs (for the most part), despite the fact that America hasn't ratified the agreement.
(And, just to make this clear, those deep sea mining provisions are utterly irrelevant to the current disagreements America & China are having over China's EEZ in the South China Sea.)
[An American research ship's visit to China's EEZ] could be even more provocative than the USNS Impeccable's mission that led to the recent standoff.
Beijing's stance on its EEZ over the Impeccable incident should give the Columbia University scientists pause for thought. Right or wrong, it has accused the U.S. of violating international and Chinese laws by conducting surveillance in its exclusive zone.
Much of this is not merely wrong; it's wrong BY DEFINITION. The Post makes the incredible claim here that the Impeccable's surveillance mission was an American provocation, REGARDLESS of whether China's legal arguments are right or wrong.
That's tantamount to saying that ANYTHING is a provocation, just as long as Beijing says it is. International law don't mean squat, in other words.
We can dismiss out of hand the Post's bizarre implicit claim that China's whims make it the ultimate authority on international law. But we should be willing to admit that if the UNCLOS prohibits intelligence-gathering in EEZs, then international law is on China's side. And, and if this is the case, then the presence of the Impeccable in China's Exclusive Economic Zone WAS an American provocation.
Conversely, if the UNCLOS doesn't prohibit such intelligence gathering, then international law is on America's side. Which makes the Impeccable incident, in actuality, a CHINESE provocation.
Let's go to the treaty to decide for ourselves, shall we?
Part V of UNCLOS describes the rights and jurisdiction of coastal states over their EEZs. The reader will find that there is nothing -- NOTHING -- in this part of the treaty forbidding naval surveillance in Exclusive Economic Zones. Oh sure, you might find that Article 60.5 permits coastal states to establish 500 meter "no-go" zones around oil rig platforms and the like. Which of course is interesting and commonsensical, but has no bearing on the Impeccable case.
If one looks a bit back in the treaty, one DOES find that Part II, Article 19.2 (c) prohibits acts "aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of
the coastal State". But Part II of the treaty deals only with TERRITORIAL SEAS, which international law defines as extending 12 nautical miles from land (UNCLOS, Part II, Article 3).
Since the Impeccable was operating 65 nautical miles (120 kilometers) from Hainan Island (and not 12 nmi), it was within China's EEZ, not China's Territorial Seas. Therefore, the relevant part of UNCLOS is Part V, not Part II.
Ergo, the Impeccable was well within its rights under international law to conduct intelligence operations. By interfering with those operations, it was China that was the provocateur, as I have demonstrated.
Let's go back to the Post's editorial, which in spite of getting all this wrong, does manage to get at least ONE thing right:
A U.S. survey vessel is risking another confrontation in the waters around China when it arrives in the region this week . . .
The operators of the [civilian] research ship, the Marcus G. Langseth . . . have permission to conduct a seismic survey of the ocean floor from the governments of Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan. Beijing was not informed.
This IS true, because Part II, Article 56.1 (b) (ii) of the UNCLOS clearly states:
In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State has . . . jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this Convention with
regard to . . . marine scientific research. [emphasis added]
Thus, while international law was on America's side in the case of the Impeccable conducting intelligence work in China's EEZ, it's on CHINA'S side if the Langseth performs marine research in those very same waters without Chinese permission.
May seem strange that coastal states can legally prevent innocent research but not OPEN SPYING within their EEZs, but there you go. It wasn't me who drew up the document.
UPDATE: Interestingly enough, the Marcus G. Langseth's mission is being conducted mostly for Taiwan's benefit. From the Langseth's pre-survey statement:
This project will provide a great deal of information about the nature of the earthquakes around Taiwan and will lead to a better assessment of earthquake hazard in the area. The information obtained from this study will help the people and government of Taiwan to better assess the potential for future seismic events and may thus mitigate some of the loss of life and economic disruptions that will inevitably occur.
UPDATE #2: During her Jan 13/09 confirmation hearing, Hillary Clinton revealed that the Obama administration will press for U.S. ratification of the UNCLOS. (You'll have to scroll down almost halfway through the transcript, to her question session with Senator Murkowski)
CLINTON: Yes, [ratification will be a priority for the administration], and it will be because it is long overdue, Senator.
The Law of the Sea Treaty is supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
environmental, energy, and business interests. I have spoken with some of our --
our naval leaders, and they consider themselves to be somewhat disadvantaged by
our not having become a party to the Law of the Sea.
Our industrial interests, particularly with seabed mining, just shut up. I mean, there's nothing that they can do because there's no protocol
that they can feel comfortable that gives them the opportunity to
pursue commercial interests. [emphasis added]
Seems pretty damn arrogant for the Secretary of State to dismiss America's mining companies so rudely. Reminded me of an old song, from back in the day:
I notice Samuel L. Jackson has his own unique take on some of the lyrics. Heh.
[Mar 30/09: A commenter informs me that Mrs. Clinton wasn't telling the mining companies to shut UP; she was really trying to say that the mining companies had shut DOWN their deep sea operations. You gotta admit though, the words, "shut up," really leap off the transcript.]
UPDATE #3: Enough fun stuff. Here's an article by Robert D. Kaplan that ought to be required reading. Somewhat sensationally titled, "How We Would Fight China," the fighting Kaplan refers to is more like the Cold War kind. Written in 2005, some of it's obviously out of date -- concerns over the possibility that Taiwan might unilaterally declare de jure independence have surely given way to concerns over Taiwan's Finlandization by its neighbor to the west.
What we can probably expect from China in the near future is specific
demonstrations of strength—like its successful forcing down of a U.S. Navy EP-3E
surveillance plane in the spring of 2001. Such tactics may represent the trend
of twenty-first-century warfare better than anything now happening in Iraq—and
China will have no shortage of opportunities in this arena. During one of our
biennial Rim of the Pacific naval exercises the Chinese could sneak a sub under
a carrier battle group and then surface it. They could deploy a moving target at
sea and then hit it with a submarine- or land-based missile, demonstrating their
ability to threaten not only carriers but also destroyers, frigates, and
cruisers. (Think about the political effects of the terrorist attack on the USS
Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, off the coast of Yemen in 2000—and then
think about a future in which hitting such ships will be easier.) They could
also bump up against one of our ships during one of our ongoing Freedom of
Navigation exercises off the Asian coast. The bumping of a ship may seem
inconsequential, but keep in mind that in a global media age such an act can
have important strategic consequences. Because the world media tend to side with
a spoiler rather than with a reigning superpower, the Chinese would have a
built-in political advantage.
UPDATE #4: Move over China Post, the Beeb gets it wrong, too.
Once more people: the Impeccable was operating in China's Exclusive Economic Zone, NOT its Territorial Sea. Like the China Post, the BBC gets the two hopelessly confused.
UPDATE #5: The pre-survey statement of the Marcus G. Langseth is quite explicit about what route the ship will be taking:
The survey would take place from March through July 2009 in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Taiwan, China, Philippines, and Japan, in water depths ranging from <100 to >1000 m. [emphasis added]
It seems highly unlikely that Columbia University would have accidentally overlooked the importance of asking the Chinese for permission to conduct the survey.
So it's speculation time. Perhaps the reason the Chinese were not approached was that the U.S. Government wished to send them a message: If you're not going to abide by the terms of the treaty, then why should WE?
China's intelligence service gained access to a secret National Security
Agency listening post in Hawaii through a Chinese-language translation service,
according to U.S. intelligence officials.
According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, China's
Ministry of State Security, the main civilian spy service, carried out the
operations by setting up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii that
represented itself as a U.S.-origin company.
The ruse led to classified contracts with the Navy and NSA to translate some
of the hundreds of thousands of intercepted communications gathered by NSA's
network of listening posts, aircraft and ships.
service used intelligence officers and supporters to identify Chinese Americans
with access to secrets who would be approached and offered free visits to China,
often to meet relatives. The Chinese would then use the visit to attempt to
recruit the Americans as spies. [emphasis added]
One of the unstated corollaries to Kagan's piece in the Policy Review is that China can be expected to play the role of the "Arsenal of Autocracy." Some evidence for that over at the Weekly Standard (allowing that Islamofascism represents a peculiar kind of autocracy):
The Pentagon has known since last August that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
had supplied Chinese-made C-802 antiship missiles with advanced antijamming
countermeasures to Hezbollah in Lebanon. One slammed into the Israeli destroyer
Hanit killing four sailors on July 14, 2006, during the Lebanon war.
This year, many truckloads of small arms and explosives direct from Chinese
government-owned factories to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been
transshipped to Iraq and Afghanistan, where they are used against American
soldiers and Marines and NATO forces. Since April, according to a knowledgeable
Bush administration official, "vast amounts" of Chinese-made large caliber
sniper rifles, "millions of rounds" of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades
(RPGs), and "IED [improvised explosive device] components" have been convoyed
from Iran into Iraq and to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Why China is "doing it" need not be a mystery. In 2004, Beijing's top America
analyst, Wang Jisi, noted, "The facts have proven that it is beneficial for our
international environment to have the United States militarily and
diplomatically deeply sunk in the Mideast to the extent that it can hardly
extricate itself." It is sobering to consider that China's small-arms
proliferation behavior since then suggests that this principle is indeed guiding
Chinese foreign policy.
An article on China's history of developing them, and its motivation for doing so:
“Far more than any other country, the U.S. depends on space for national and
tactical intelligence, military operations, and civil and commercial benefits,”
as Robert L. Butterworth, president of the space consultancy Aries Analytics,
recently put it. This “provides a clear incentive for attacking American
spacecraft.” Such an attack on American satellites would not have to be very
extensive to be devastating—as long as it were well-planned. “Even a small-scale
anti-satellite attack in a crisis against fifty U.S. satellites (assuming a mix
of targeted military reconnaissance, navigation satellites, and communication
satellites) could have a catastrophic effect not only on U.S. military forces,
but [on] the U.S. civilian economy,” according to a recent report by China
analyst Michael Pillsbury. [emphasis added]
Three American responses are discussed, with the author concluding that active defense is the best policy:
The chief failing of the diplomatic approach to dealing with the new reality of
space weapons is that it is blind to the reason a potential adversary like China
would seek access to space in the first place—namely, the desire to be able to
inflict a crippling blow against U.S. military and economic might by
decapitating its surveillance and communications abilities. Those pushing for a
new treaty or a code of conduct have yet to explain why China would abandon
capabilities that threaten the “soft underbelly” of American military power. The
Chinese regime clearly aspires to develop such capabilities; there is little
reason to believe it would negotiate them away.
The United States should instead adopt an active defensive posture, beginning by
expanding and invigorating the research and technical base needed to defend or
replenish space assets. In the absence of defensive systems, the United States
government would do well to invest in small satellite development and rapid
launch capabilities. The combination of the two, once achieved, changes the
strategic calculations of prospective adversaries. Instead of achieving
strategic surprise by decapitating America’s critical space-enabled weapons, an
adversary would only have attained a momentary advantage. Unfortunately, the Air
Force and Department of Defense budgets show little intention of investing in
From a journal called The New Atlantis. Which sounds a little New Age-y to me, but I guess it's based on a Francis Bacon book written in 1626 about a utopian society coping with the advantages and problems of science and technology.
(Favorite quote: "The Chinese foreign ministry rejected [last month's Pentagon] report as 'brutal interference' in internal affairs and insisted that Beijing's military
preparations were purely defensive.")
[Whale feces pioneer Rosalind Rolland] began taking along sniffer dogs that can detect whale droppings from as
far as a mile away. When they bark, she points her research vessel in the
direction of the brown gold, and as the boat approaches the feces—the excrement
usually stays afloat for an hour after the deed is done and can be bright orange
and oily depending on the type of plankton the whale feeds on—Rolland and her
crew begin scooping up as much matter as they can using custom-designed nets.
#5: Coursework Carcass Preparer
Remember that first whiff of formaldehyde when the teacher brought out the frogs
in ninth-grade biology? Now imagine inhaling those fumes eight hours a day, five
days a week. That’s the plight of biological- supply preparers, the folks who
poison, preserve, and bag the worms, frogs, cats, pigeons, sharks and even
cockroaches that end up in high-school and college biology classrooms.
#3: Elephant Vasectomist
What’s one foot across and sits behind two inches of skin, four inches of fat
and 10 inches of muscle? That’s right: an elephant’s testicle. Which means
veterinarian Mark Stetter’s newest invention—a four-foot-long fiber-optic
laparoscope attached to a video monitor—has to be a heavy-duty piece of
equipment to sterilize a randy bull pachyderm.
Anyway, about a week ago, we started our first tour in several years in
typically grand fashion, playing at a computer store in New York City. We had to
cut down on the pyro effects for this show, due to the low ceilings. But I think
it was a nice way for people to get to see us up close and check their e-mail at
the same time. We played a short set which was billed as "acoustic" because at
least one of us played an acoustic instrument. The after-show debauchery
included intense discussions with the sales staff about the upcoming release of
the Apple phone.
And then we have a short break from "the road" before heading off for a few shows in Europe, which has become overrun with Europeans in recent years.