NEWS AND ANALYSIS:
China info warfare
U.S. intelligence agencies have obtained a Chinese military book that will provide new insights into the Chinese military’s information-warfare plans.
The book is being translated, but Inside the Ring obtained its table of contents, which reveals Beijing’s priorities for high-technology warfare using computers and electronic-warfare weapons.
The 322-page book, “Information Warfare Theory,” was published in May 2007 and written by Wang Zhengde, president of the People’s Liberation Army Information Engineering University.
Like other military and Communist Party writings, such books are not often made public, and when they are, they provide U.S. intelligence and military specialist with valuable clues to the military thinking and plans of China’s secretive military.
The book states that information warfare is the “core” of China’s high-tech military-reform efforts, which are referred to as “informationized” warfare — what the U.S. military has called the “revolution in military affairs.” It involves integrating various weapons and intelligence with advanced command-and-control systems and mobile, combined-arms forces.
Key features of Chinese information warfare are “switching freely between offense and defense,” “striking the enemy’s fatal targets,” and “instant and flexible mobility and real-time responses.”
The book also notes that outer space is “the commanding point” for information warfare, perhaps an indirect reference to China’s growing anti-satellite weapons capabilities.
The Chinese military also views electronic warfare, cyberwarfare and psychological warfare as the “main battlefields” for high-tech war.
Key technologies identified by the Chinese for information warfare include the know-how to conduct radar detection, photoelectric reconnaissance, computer-network warfare and acoustic reconnaissance.
“Assault” techniques include jamming radar and telecommunications systems, “acoustic” anti-submarine warfare and strikes on photoelectric spy satellites, as well as “network attack.”
The book also contains sections on anticipated developments, including “sky-based” information-warfare weapons and unmanned, aerial vehicle information weapons.
The Ring expects to report more details about the book in coming weeks.
The Turkish charity group at the center of the deadly Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla Sunday has been identified by U.S. officials and experts for its links to terrorism.
One of the main groups involved in organizing the six-ship flotilla is the Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties and Humanitarian Relief, known by its Turkish acronym IHH.
A U.S. official in a position to know said “some people in IHH have links to extremists.”
Terrorism specialist Evan Kohlmann said in a blog posting that he has come under fire for pointing out the terrorist links to the IHH that have been known for more than 10 years.
“The evidence in this regard is fairly weighty, and much of it comes directly from the Turkish government — not the United States, nor the Israelis,” he said.
Israeli commandos raided a Turkish ship that was part of the flotilla. The IHH was one of the main organizers of the aid ships that had sought to break a three-year Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip aimed at preventing building supplies from reaching the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Strip, and being used for military fortifications.
Nine people were killed after activists on the ship clashed with Israeli commandos.
According to Mr. Kohlmann, Turkish authorities launched an investigation into IHH in 1997 after it was disclosed that its leaders were buying automatic weapons from Islamic militant groups in the region.
In a report he wrote before the recent Israeli raid, Mr. Kohlmann said IHH offices in Istanbul were searched and security forces found firearms, explosives and bomb-making instructions, along with a jihad flag.
“After analyzing seized IHH documents, Turkish authorities concluded that ‘detained members of IHH were going to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya,’” he stated.
Mr. Kohlmann’s report quoted a French intelligence report on IHH by counterterrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who said IHH President Bulent Yildrim had directly conspired in the mid-1990s to “recruit veteran soldiers in anticipation of the coming holy war [jihad].”
The group helped dispatch some men who were sent to war zones in Muslim countries to gain combat experience.
The evidence uncovered by the French included IHH phone records showing repeated telephone calls in 1996 to an al Qaeda safe house in Milan, Italy, and various Algerian terrorist operatives elsewhere in Europe.
Mr. Bruguiere’s report identified IHH as having played an “important role” in the al Qaeda-backed Millennium bomb plot in 2000 that targeted Los Angeles International Airport.
Mr. Bruguiere said that while IHH is a nongovernmental organization (NGO), it had a “a rather close relation” to the bomb plot.
“The IHH is an NGO, but it was kind of a type of coverup in order to obtain forged documents and also to obtain different forms of infiltration for mujahideen in combat,” he said. “And also to go and gather [recruit] these mujahideens. And finally, one of the last responsibilities that they had was also to be implicated or involved in weapons trafficking.”
The failed Millennium plot involved a plan for an Algerian-Jordanian terrorist cell cooperating with al Qaeda to attack the Los Angeles airport as well as sites in the Middle East.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, said the Turkish government’s support for IHH in the latest incident is a troubling sign.
“The Turkish government has been very careful to abide by the rules and keep its nose clean and keep itself totally removed from violent groups,” Mr. Pipes said in an interview. “Now the true face of the regime is coming to light.”
Green zone lacrosse
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill has helped organize, and actually plays for, a unique sports club in Baghdad’s Green Zone: The Baghdad Lacrosse Club.
When Mr. Hill, 57, is not dodging improvised explosive devices in Iraq, he takes part in pickup scrimmages regularly at a field near the U.S. Embassy with some of the many military, diplomatic and contractor personnel and former lacrosse players who started up the informal club last year.
The players use the game for physical training and no doubt to lessen the pressures of daily living in Iraq, where terrorist and insurgent violence is an everyday risk and temperatures often hit 120 degrees.
Lacrosse is a fast-paced sport first played by American Indians who called the game “baggataway,” or “little brother of war.”
“I’m 57 and still love the game,” Mr. Hill told Inside the Ring in a recent e-mail. “We had a scrimmage Friday night, and I had the 25 members of the team to a barbecue at my house.”
Mr. Hill notes that even though he has “lost a step” from his days at Bowdoin College and the Washington Lacrosse Club, he can still run with the younger players, including his Army security guard and a few former lacrosse players who played at West Point and the Naval Academy.
The team includes some club players from Baltimore, a hotbed for the sport. Team members had their lacrosse sticks, helmets and pads shipped in from the United States.
Mr. Hill said he has no illusions about the difficulties facing Iraq as U.S. forces prepare to leave. Despite the violence, he insists people in Iraq are living better than they did under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. Development and stability will take time, he says.
On the road
L. Paul Bremer III, the first American ruler of post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, is still keeping up with the military.
Mr. Bremer, whom President George W. Bush appointed Iraq administrator after the 2003 invasion, is now on a biking trek from San Francisco to Virginia Beach. His biking partners are wounded warriors from the war on terrorism.
Here is part of an e-mail he sent to a former colleague during his Iraq days. It captures what the trip is about as the group pushed and glided the mountains of Nevada:
“After the first mountain, I rode with Frosty — Chris Frost, an Air Force [explosives ordnance disposal] expert who lost the lower half of his right leg in an EOD explosion in Iraq. He is a strong recumbent bike rider who lives not far from us in Alexandria, Virginia. He told me he’s to marry on August 21 — which turns out to be the same day that another rider, Andrew Hartzell, also of Alexandria, will marry. Andrew rode with us for most of the way to the first water stop at 14 miles.”
Mr. Bremer, 68, says the group is being shadowed by a toy hauler that serves as the chuck wagon for energy drinks and high-energy foods.
The group is due in Virginia Beach on July 24.
Mr. Bremer had a rough ride in Iraq. A key decision to disband the Iraqi army was second-guessed by Democrats and retired military officers. But much of his staff stuck by the former aide to Henry Kissinger.
“Jerry Bremer enjoys the support and confidence of his former team in Iraq because he leads from the front — then and now,” Dean Popps, a former Army official, told special correspondent Rowan Scarborough.