Saturday, October 10, 2015

Did Israel give China the tech to launch a first strike? (And other noteworthy items)

They're still trying to pass gas. If you need a daily laff, just visit the editorial section of the New York Times. It's the Fox News of the left, the world's foremost neocon hate sheet. THE EDITORIAL BOARD has a new piece up, chock full of lies and half-truths. They even try to bring back the canard that Assad gassed his own people.

Seriously, who is THE EDITORIAL BOARD?  We need names.

Cannonfire beat James Bamford to the punch -- by nine years! Okay, I'm being unfair: An NSA expert like Bamford surely knew out about the mysterious death of Costas Tsalikidis well before I did. But it is nevertheless the case that this humble blog published two stories about the mystery back in 2006, while The Intercept (and most of the rest of the media) has left the case unmentioned until now. (Bamford's new investigation was published in The Intercept.)

Tsalikidis was an engineer for Vodafone, a British firm which is the largest cell phone company in Greece. (That's Vodafone with an f. I apologize for any misspellings in the earlier pieces.) Here's what I wrote back then:
Tsalikidis discovered an extraordinarily spohisticated piece of spyware within his company's network. The Prime Minister and other top officials were targeted, along with Greek military officers, anti-war activists, various business figures -- and a cell phone within the American embassy itself.
The data was being transmitted to Laurel, Maryland. The Greek government kept the affair under wraps so a not to incur the wrath of Uncle. Tsalikidis was found hanging in his apartment, although nobody in his right mind believes that his "suicide" was genuine.

You may be wondering how the new Greek government has treated this affair. Bamford brings us up to date...
Last February, Greek authorities took the extraordinary step of issuing an international arrest warrant for a CIA official the Greeks believe was a key figure in the operation while based in Athens. Unnoticed by the U.S. press, the warrant was a nearly unprecedented action by an allied country. The intelligence official, identified as William George Basil, was accused of espionage and eavesdropping.
Basil was a Baltimore boy of Greek heritage (we have a "Greektown" along Eastern Avenue) who joined the CIA.

In 2004, Greece hosted the Olympics, and there was much eavesdropping to be done. American intel needed an "inside man" within Vodafone. It appears likely that Basil recruited Costas Tsalikidis, who thought that he was protecting his country from terrorists. When Tsalikidis discovered that he was really helping America spy on leading Greek politicians, he freaked out and tried to quit.

A man who thought that he was being a patriot had become an accidental traitor, only to learn that there are some jobs you just can't walk away from.

There's a lot more to the story, but you now have an entrance portal.

Did Israel help China get nuke tech?  My second 2006 post about the Greek affair quotes this strange comment, which originally appeared on another site:
i have a greek friend...that i chat with on IM. he's pretty well connected in military matters over there. i discuss world events with him to get a perspective on things. i asked him about the greek guy who was involved in this mess, and he shut up fast and emphatically refused to discuss this at all.

the only time he ever ahut up and said change the subject like that before was when i mentioned the israeli/south africa joint nuclear test in the south indian ocean. hmm.
This refers to the Vela incident, which the Israelis still pretend had nothing to do with them. See here and here.

Here's the part most people don't know: The point of the experiment was not to test the bomb but the delivery system.
In his 2006 book On the Brink, retired CIA spy Tyler Drumheller wrote, “My sources collectively provided incontrovertible evidence that the apartheid government had in fact tested a nuclear bomb in the south Atlantic in 1979, and that they had developed a delivery system with assistance from the Israelis.” Unfortunately he does little to elaborate on the event or on his evidence, except to state that the South African bombs employed a “highly accurate delivery system using gliders.”
Actually, this blather about "South African" bombs is a cover. After the fall of the apartheid regime, we learned that few South African scientists knew anything about the affair. This was an Israeli job.

Or was it an American-Israeli job? That theory would answer a lot of questions, since the way our government handled the Vela incident was pretty damned strange.

At any rate, it seems clear that the test involved a new nuke delivery system involving "gliders." It also seems clear that the Israelis knew about this technology way back in the 1970s.

Cut to: The present day. The Chinese have recently been testing a hypersonic glider system for delivering nukes. (A recent test went badly.) According to the South China Morning Post, these weapons are triangular and can travel at Mach 10. More here...
Boost-glide weapons "are launched by big rockets just like a ballistic missile is," Acton said, "but then rather than arcing higher than the atmosphere, they are put on a trajectory to reenter the atmosphere as quickly as possible. Then they just glide to the target."

Boost-glide weapons are capable of traveling on a trajectory that makes them difficult for missile-defense systems to intercept. These systems are designed to work against the high arc of traditional ballistic missiles. Boost-glide projectiles travel quickly and at a flat angle, working at speeds and trajectories that flummox existing missile defense technologies.
This tech would give China a first-strike capability.

For a while now, we have known about high-level cooperation between the governments of Israel and China. From Wikipedia:
Israel's increasing defense cooperation with China has caused concern in Western nations, particularly the United States, which is the largest foreign supplier of military equipment to Israel. Owing to strategic rivalry against Chinese rivals in Asia such as Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Vietnam and concerns over the security of Taiwan, the United States has pressured Israel against selling sophisticated equipment and technology to China.[29] In 1992, the Washington Times alleged that exported American Patriot missiles and Israel's indigenous Lavi jet aircraft technology had been shared with China, although official U.S. investigations did not substantiate these charges.[52] In 2000, Israel cancelled the sale to China of the Israeli-built Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) in the wake of pressure from the U.S., which threatened to cut off US$2.8 billion in yearly aid if the deal went through.[53] Israel's decision drew condemnation from China, which stated that the cancellation would hurt bilateral ties.[53] China’s record of proliferating arms and weapons systems has also concerned U.S. planners, as the U.S. worries that China may repackage advanced Israeli defense technologies for resale to America’s rivals and nations hostile to it throughout the world.
We should also mention the case of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy within the American intelligence apparat who heisted a whole bunch of American nuke secrets. The Israeli government, at its highest level, handed this material directly to the Soviet Union (which, in return, agreed to ease restrictions on the immigration of Jews from the USSR to Israel).

So the question I want you all to think about, boys and girls, is a simple one: Did Israel give China the tech necessary to launch a nuclear first strike?

Sleep tight!
The Chinese already had ICBMs, so handing them some sort of hyperglider wouldn't give them a nuclear first-strike capability, because they've already got it, as have all other nuclear powers other than those with heavily limited delivery systems (NorKorea, possibly India and Pakistan).

"You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can't fight us, we are Americans." -- Basil Lambrou, to "detainees" under the government of the Colonels in the Greece
This tech would give China a first-strike capability

Not against the US or Russia, it wouldn't. The whole point behind a first-strike strategy is to eliminate any possibility of a devastating counterstrike by completely destroying an opponent's nuclear capability (as the Russians planned to do to the Chinese during the Sino-Soviet War). First, China doesn't have anywhere near the number of warheads needed to do that to either of the two major powers. Second, the CEP of a glider-delivered weapon is almost certainly too great to be sure of knocking out a hardened silo. Third, most of our ICBMs are located in the middle of the country (what you bicoastal types like to refer to as "flyover country") - which means that there's a *lot* of time to plot trajectory and launch before impact (making an attempted first-strike suicidal). Fourth, none of this takes care of the "third leg" of the "nuclear triad" - SLBMs (which would also make this strategy suicidal). Fifth, even with glider-based weapons, we'd still be able to detect them on launch from their IR signature (and I assume the Russians could, too). Seventh, we still have B-1s, B-2s, and B-52s - not all of which are US-based, and some of which are in the air. Finally, US strategic doctrine has always been "launch on warning". It has been ever since the Russians set off their first nuclear weapon. We've always been deliberately vague about what constitutes "warning" - enough to discourage even preparations for a first strike. The Chinese are neither crazy nor stupid.

Yes, these might be useful against India, Pakistan or Japan. But that's really about it. And, I assure you that the Chinese are more than capable of stealing technology on their own. They certainly don't need the Israelis to help them.
I was also surprised about the Bamford piece this late. The IEEE spectrum, a technical magazine, also had a technical article years ago, in 2007, about the Greek Vodafone hacking affair.
Saw something on tv that I was only half paying attention to but the claim was that the Vela flashes were caused by cosmic dust or something like that hitting the satellite sensors; coupled with no radiation ever found or detected, the piece concluding no nuke event occurred.
"the Greek Vodafone hacking affair."
At about the same time there was another similar case reported in Italy.
The person died in a car accident.
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