- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chilton on China

The commander of the U.S. Strategic Command said in an interview that he supports the idea of holding strategic talks with China on nuclear, missile-defense, space and cyberwarfare issues.

“I’m a firm believer in dialogue,” said Air ForceGen. Kevin P. Chilton, who said he learned the value of military exchanges after working on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gen. Chilton, who steps down Friday as Stratcom commander, said he was ordered at the time to quickly develop ties with Pakistan’s military, only to find that relations had been frozen for years over U.S. nuclear concerns. He was tasked with getting Pakistani military support for U.S. military basing and overflights for the October 2001 operation against al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

“I learned a very important lesson there and something that marked me for life: It’s best to have open dialogue,” he said. “It helps with transparency; if nothing else, you know who to call in crisis, or impending crisis or times of uncertainty. Many, many times it can lead to an opportunity to diffuse a crisis or inform your leadership on how things might progress.”

Efforts to develop a dialogue with China, however, have been hampered by Chinese opposition to engaging the U.S. military.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates earlier this month visited China and asked Beijing to join “strategic talks” on the four areas. China’s defense minister was lukewarm to the idea, promising only to “study” the talks proposal.

Gen. Chilton said strategic talks with China would include “all our mission areas, and [they] are areas China is clearly making investments in.”

However, the four-star general said China’s military sent a representative to a Strategic Command conference in 2009 but not last year.

He quoted Chinese Col. Yao Yunzhu, who took part in a 2009 meeting on deterrence, as telling the conference: “We [the Chinese military] don’t like being transparent, quite frankly, at this point. We don’t see it to our advantage.”

While in China, Mr. Gates invited the head of China’s strategic forces, Gen. Jing Zhiyuan, to visit the United States. The general has turned down several earlier U.S. requests.

Gowadia sentenced

Noshir S. Gowadia, a former U.S. aerospace engineer, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu to 32 years in prison for selling U.S. stealth-aircraft and missile technology to China.

The case is the latest example of what security specialists say is a Chinese intelligence assault on the United States to gain secrets and technology for Beijing’s large-scale military buildup.

Earlier Chinese spying involved obtaining secrets on every deployed weapon in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the 1990s, a case that was never formally resolved by the FBI — that of Los Angeles defense contractor Chi Mak, which compromised Navy technology.

Ken Sorensen, assistant U.S. attorney in Hawaii who prosecuted the case, told Inside the Ring that Gowadia’s 32-year prison term “sends a clear message that the compromise of U.S. classified information involving our most sensitive weapons systems will not only be aggressively pursued by the government, but will be dealt with severely by our court system.”

“The evidence in the case demonstrated that Gowadia, one of the original designers of the B-2 bomber, was first taken by the Chinese to Chengdu, the same location where they just unveiled the J-20 earlier this month,” Mr. Sorenson said, referring to China’s version of the stealth fighter jet.

“Gowadia made six trips to China from August 2003 to October 2005 for the purpose of designing a cruise missile with a reduced infrared signature,” he said.

One of Gowadia’s convictions involved giving the Chinese a PowerPoint file using classified U.S. missile-sensor data to demonstrate how his design would defeat a U.S. air-to-air missile, he said.

Mr. Sorenson said evidence showed that by October 2005 the Chinese were at least in the last stage of full-scale testing on Gowadia’s stealthy cruise-missile design.

“Cruise missiles can deliver nuclear or conventional payloads, so they are formidable weapons,” he said.

Additionally, Gowadia had disclosed to European entities his calculations of the “lock-on range” for missiles fired against the B-2 bomber.

“Suffice it to say that disclosing a scaled number of where an advanced [infrared] missile will ‘lock on’ to the B-2, arguably our nation’s most critical defense weapons system, is gravely damaging to U.S. national security,” Mr. Sorenson said.

China student spying

The CIA issued a recent internal report on China’s use of a Student Informant System (SIS) to suppress dissent at universities.

The spying system uses a “denounce and inform” model to control political debate, the report said, noting the system was launched after the June 1989 massacre by the Chinese military of unarmed democratic protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

China’s students played a major role in destroying China’s culture and system during the so-called Cultural Revolution of the 1970s, when denouncing teachers and others as anti-communist enemies swept the country.

“The SIS employs traditional political spying and denunciation techniques, seeking to create a ‘white terror’ environment on campus — in which students and teachers fear surveillance more than arrest — to achieve and maintain influence and control,” according to the six-page report, labeled “FOUO” (For Official Use Only.)

The report states that such political spying has been a key tool of communist government control, especially from the 1950s to the 1970s.

• Click here to view the report (PDF file)

“Domestic critics of the Chinese government focus more on official censorship and control of China’s new Internet-based media such as websites, online social networking tools such as Twitter, and other online resources such as bulletin board systems than on the SIS and its traditional methods,” the report says.

Most colleges and universities in China have a “student teaching information center” dedicated to student-informant-related work. Each class has a dedicated student spy who reports to the information center through e-mails, phone calls, written reports and other feedback forms.

According to the report, the spy system “soured” ties between teachers and students, with educators calling the informants “education spies.”

“Teachers reject being monitored by student informants, and worry that these students understand little about teaching methods and theories,” the report says. “Student informants worry that if they report teachers, the teachers will take their revenge and ruin the students’ academic careers.”

Some Chinese also say that promoting a “culture of denunciation” will hinder learning.

One lecturer at the Jillin Art Institute, Lu Xuesong, was suspended after a student spy reported in June 2005 that the lecturer had expressed positive views of a film about a Cultural Revolution-era dissident.

A more recent example was a student spying after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo, when students who celebrated the award on Oct. 8 had their scholarships canceled.

“University authorities also investigated students who ‘showed unusual happiness’ on the day of Liu’s award,” the report said. “Some students wondered how their students’ facial expression could be known by school authorities, and asked how many student informants had been hired.”

A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News.

The incident was described by students as “facecrime,” from the George Orwell novel “1984.”

A professor in Shanghai, Yang Shiqun, was investigated in November 2008 after two student spies denounced him as a “counterrevolutionary” because he criticized the government during his class on Chinese classics.

To resist the student spying, some Internet users in China are posting lists of student spies, prompting denunciation of them by other students.

The report says Beijing is likely to expand the spying program: “The gradual expansion of the program now under way will bring the SIS to provincial and local-level universities, colleges, and other types of schools in other regions of China.”

Saddam and terror

Those opposed to the Iraq war continue to float the inaccurate “fact” that dictator Saddam Hussein and his regime had no links to Islamic terror groups who posed a threat to the U.S.

The latest comes from former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton in his new book, “Without Hesitation.”

Gen. Shelton, an Army four-star general, briefly served under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld until his term expired and he was succeeded by Air Force Gen. Richard Myers.

Gen. Shelton does not hide his dislike for Mr. Rumsfeld, whose own memoir is due out in February. And he writes that he, like the President George W. Bush war Cabinet, believed Saddam still harbored weapons of mass destruction.

“What was bogus,” the retired general writes, “was the link that was created between Saddam and any terrorist threat to the United States.”

Perhaps that was true in regards to al Qaeda, says special correspondent Rowan Scarborough. But we now know Saddam’s regime did business with a number of terror groups. This is thanks to the work of military intelligence folks who sifted through thousands of documents seized from his intelligence apparatus after the 2003 invasion.

The papers, as reported by The Washington Times in 2008, showed Saddam supported Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, ultimately merged his group with al Qaeda.

“Iraq was a long-standing supporter of international terrorism,” said the 2008 report by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a nonprofit group working under contract to the Pentagon.

A captured 1993 memo to Saddam from his intelligence service, known as the Mukhabarat, said the agency was restarting efforts to help Islamic Jihad bring down the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

“Many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States,” the IDA report said. “State sponsorship of terrorism became such a routine tool of state power that Iraq developed elaborate bureaucratic processes to monitor progress and accountability.”