Archive for February, 2013


February 25, 2013

Security Week on October 24, 2012, reported that Boeing had successfully tested a missile capable of knocking out electronic systems without blowing anything up or injuring anyone.

CHAMP, which stands for Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project, is a non-lethal missile capable of disabling enemy electronic systems without little to no collateral damage, Boeing said in a statement on Monday. The defense contractor confirmed that it conducted a successful test on Oct. 16 of the CHAMP missile on the Utah Test and Training range along with members from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate.

During the test, CHAMP approached its first target and fired hi-power microwaves into a two-story building containing rows of personal computers and other electronic systems. Almost immediately after the missile flew over the building, every piece of electronic equipment inside went dark. The television cameras set up inside to record the test also were affected, Boeing said.

Boeing tested CHAMP against seven targets over the course of one hour and it knocked out the electrical system in each building. The goal of CHAMP is to create a missile that can remotely paralyze electronic systems with minimal collateral damage. CHAMP is also designed to be very targeted so that only computers inside a specific building are affected, and not causing damage over a wider area.

There is a “real need” for a weapon capable of defeating a target without causing collateral damage to people and structures, Boeing said.

Boeing’s research team is currently analyzing data and telemetry from the test. CHAMP marks a “new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. This kind of technology may be used to disable an enemy’s electronic and data systems before the ground troops or aircraft arrive on the scene, Coleman explained.

“Today we turned science fiction into science fact,” Coleman added.


February 24, 2013

BBC News on February 21, 2013, reported on a trial in China of an elderly man accused of murder during the Cultural Revolution. Excerpts below:

The man, reportedly in his 80s and surnamed Qiu, is accused of killing a doctor he believed was a spy.

The Cultural Revolution, launched by Mao Zedong in 1966, was an era of violence against intellectuals and other alleged bourgeois elements.


Prosecutors say that in 1967 Mr Qiu, from Zhejiang province, strangled the doctor with a rope.

Charges were filed against him in the 1980s and he was arrested last year…

Mao’s 10-year Cultural Revolution was intended to produce massive social, economic and political upheaval to overthrow the old order.

Ordinary citizens – particularly the young – were encouraged to challenge the privileged, resulting in the persecution of hundreds of thousands of people who were considered intellectuals or otherwise enemies of the state.

Insults, abuse, maltreatment and homicide were common. The social order was in chaos”

“Such a trial is to make an individual the scapegoat for the party and state,” said one [Chinese blogger].

…some internet users [believed it] was a step in the right direction.

“This is good, at least it sends out the message that those who did evil will pay back one day,” wrote one user.

The state-run China Youth Daily published an outspoken editorial comparing the excesses of the period to the Nazi atrocities in Europe.

“The most shocking thing about the Cultural Revolution was the assault on human dignity. Insults, abuse, maltreatment and homicide were common. The social order was in chaos,” it said.


February 21, 2013

The Washington Times on February 20, 2013, reported that cybersecurity is to 2013 what the space program was to the 1950s and 1960s, and the United States is in an aggressive race with China and Russia to develop cyberweapons that can damage infrastructure, one industry expert says. Excerpts below:

The three nations have constructed huge inventories of technologically advanced computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and the like, all aimed at inflicting massive computer-related damages, said Scott Borg, the chief executive officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, which is a nonprofit that guides the United States on cybersecurity policy and development, according to an NBC report.

Iran is a threat, too, Mr. Borg said. The country is in process of building its own “cyberarmy,” Mr. Borg said, in the NBC report.

The acknowledgment comes at a time when the United States just learned a sophisticated Chinese military unit was responsible for hacking into 141 facilities around the world, including in America.


February 20, 2013

Washington Times on February 19, 2013, published a commentary by Victor Davis Hanson, who asked why once-successful societies ossify and decline?

Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, as historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure — and who gets the most of both — more often than poverty and exhaustion implode civilization.

One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city’s takeover by Macedon: social squabbling over slicing up a shrinking pie. Athenian speeches from that era make frequent reference to lawsuits over property and inheritance, evading taxes and fudging eligibility for the dole. After the end of the Roman Republic, reactionary Latin literature — from the likes of Juvenal, Petronius, Suetonius and Tacitus — pointed to “bread and circuses,” as well as excessive wealth, corruption and top-heavy government.

After the end of World War II, most of today’s powerhouses were either in ruins or still pre-industrial — China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Taiwan. Only the United States and Great Britain had sophisticated economies that survived the destruction of the war.

In comparison to Frankfurt, the factories of 1945 Liverpool had survived mostly intact. Yet Britain missed out on the postwar German economic miracles, in part because after the deprivations of the war, the war-weary British turned to class warfare and nationalized their main industries, which soon became uncompetitive.

The gradual decline of a society is often a self-induced process of trying to meet ever-expanding appetites, rather than a physical inability to produce past levels of food and fuel, or to maintain adequate defense. Americans have never had safer workplaces or more sophisticated medical care — and never have so many been on disability.

For hundreds of years, the outmanned legions of the tiny and poor Roman Republic survived foreign invasions. Yet centuries later, tribal Goths, Visigoths, Vandals and Huns overran the huge Mediterranean-wide Roman Empire.

Given our unsustainable national debt — nearly $17 trillion and climbing — America is said to be in decline, although we face no devastating plague, nuclear holocaust, or shortage of oil or food.

Americans have never led such affluent material lives — at least as measured by access to cellphones, big-screen TVs, cheap jet travel and fast food.

By any historical marker, the future of Americans has never been brighter. The United States has it all: undreamed new finds of natural gas and oil, the world’s pre-eminent food production, continual technological wizardry, strong demographic growth, a superb military and constitutional stability.

History has shown that a government’s redistribution of shrinking wealth, in preference to a private-sector’s creation of new sources of it, can prove more destructive than even the most deadly enemy.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His new book, “The Savior Generals,” will appear this spring from Bloomsbury Press.


February 18, 2013

Kyiv Post, Ukraine, on February 18, 2013, published a Reuters report that Valery Ivashchenko, who served in Tymoshenko’s second cabinet in 2009 and 2010, is the latest of her allies to flee Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovich came to power three years ago. Excerpts below:

Denmark has granted political asylum to a Ukrainian former acting defence minister who served under jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, a Danish government source said.

Valery Ivashchenko, who served in Tymoshenko’s second cabinet in 2009 and 2010, is the latest of her allies to flee Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovich came to power three years ago.

The Danish official, who requested anonymity, said Ivashchenko was granted a residence permit to stay in Denmark.

Ivashchenko was jailed in April 2012 for five years after being found guilty of abusing his powers in privatising a Black sea repair facility – a charge which he said at the time was politically motivated. He was released in August of that year when the jail term was converted into a conditional sentence.

After Yanukovich became president in 2010, Tymoshenko and a number of her allies in opposition faced corruption-related charges in what she has described as a campaign of repression.

One of her former interior ministers, Yuri Lutsenko, was sentenced two years ago to four years in prison on charges of embezzlement and abuse office.

Tymoshenko’s husband Olexander and another ally, former Economy Minister Bohdan Danylyshin, have both fled to the Czech Republic where they have been granted asylum.


February 16, 2013

Fox News on February 15, 2013, published an article by Charles Krauthammer on Obama’s drone war. The nation’s vexation over the morality and legality of President Obama’s drone war has produced a salutary but hopelessly confused debate. Three categories of questions are being asked. They must be separated to be clearly understood. Excerpts below:

1. By what right does the president order the killing by drone of enemies abroad? What criteria justify assassination?

Answer: (a) imminent threat, under the doctrine of self-defense, and (b) affiliation with Al Qaeda, under the laws of war. Imminent threat is obvious. If we know a freelance jihadist cell in Yemen is actively plotting an attack, we don’t have to wait until after the fact. Elementary self-defense justifies attacking first.

Al Qaeda is a different matter. We are in a mutual state of war. Usama bin Laden issued his fatwa declaring war on the United States in 1996; we reciprocated three days after 9/11 with Congress’ Authorization for Use of Military Force — against Al Qaeda and those who harbor and abet it.

Regarding Al Qaeda, therefore, imminence is not required. Its members are legitimate targets, day or night, awake or asleep. Nothing new here. In World War II, we bombed German and Japanese barracks without hesitation.

But Awlaki was no ordinary enemy. He was a U.S. citizen. By what right does the president order the killing by drone of an American? Where’s the due process?

Answer: Once you take up arms against the United States, you become an enemy combatant, thereby forfeiting the privileges of citizenship and the protections of the Constitution, including due process. You retain only the protection of the laws of war — no more and no less than those of your foreign comrades-in-arms.

3. Who has the authority to decide life and death targeting?In war, the ultimate authority is always the commander in chief and those in the lawful chain of command to whom he has delegated such authority.

This looks troubling. Obama sitting alone in the Oval Office deciding what individuals to kill. But how is that different from Lyndon Johnson sitting in his office choosing bombing targets in North Vietnam?

Moreover, we firebombed entire cities in World War II. Who chose? Commanders under the ultimate authority of the president. No judicial review, no outside legislative committee, no secret court, no authority above the president.

It’s the jihadists who decided to make the world a battlefield and to wage war in perpetuity. Until they abandon the field, what choice do we have but to carry the fight to them?

We have our principles and precedents for lawful warmaking, and a growing body of case law for the more vexing complexities of the present war — for example, the treatment of suspected terrorists apprehended on U.S. soil.

Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor.


February 15, 2013

BBC News on February 15, 2013, reported that a meteor crashing in Russia’s Ural mountains has injured at least 950 people, as the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings. Excerpts below:

Most of those hurt, in the Chelyabinsk region where the meteor fell, suffered cuts and bruises but at least 46 remain in hospital.
A fireball streaked through the clear morning sky, followed by loud bangs.

A large meteor fragment landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in Chelyabinsk region.

The meteor’s dramatic passing was witnessed in Yekaterinburg, 200km (125 miles) to the north, and in Kazakhstan, to the south.

Officials say a large meteor partially burned up in the lower atmosphere, resulting in fragments falling earthwards.

Thousands of rescue workers have been dispatched to the area to provide help to the injured, the emergencies ministry said.

The Chelyabinsk region, about 1,500km (930 miles) east of Moscow, is home to many factories, a nuclear power plant and the Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.

Many children were at lessons when the meteor fell at around 09:20 (03:20 GMT).

Video posted online showed frightened, screaming youngsters at one Chelyabinsk school, where corridors were littered with broken glass.

Chelyabinsk resident Sergei Serskov told BBC News the city had felt like a “war zone” for 20 to 30 minutes.

“I was in the office when suddenly I saw a really bright flash in the window in front of me,” he said.

“Then I smelt fumes. I looked out the window and saw a huge line of smoke, like you get from a plane but many times bigger.”

“A few minutes later the window suddenly came open and there was a huge explosion, followed by lots of little explosions.”

The Russian Academy of Sciences estimates that the meteor weighed about 10 tonnes and entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 km/h (33,000mph).

Such meteor strikes are rare in Russia but one is thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (1,250m) in Siberia in 1908.


February 13, 2013

“The Washington Times on February 5, 2013, published a clarification by the Taiwan Office in the United States, Frank Yee Wang on the China-Taiwan sea dispute. Excerpts below:

When in January three mainland-Chinese ships approached Taiwan’s Coast Guard vessels escorting a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Coast Guard ships immediately sent out a clear message by loudspeakers and in LED lights that read: “Diaoyutai is the territory of the Republic of China. Here is the territorial water of the ROC. Please leave immediately.”

The Coast Guard reiterated on the same day that in order to safeguard our country’s sovereignty and our fishermen’s safety, the administration’s principles of “no provocation, no confrontation, no evasion,” and its stated policy that “there are CGA vessels wherever there are Taiwanese fishing boats in territorial waters,” remains unchanged.

It is important to note that on August 5, 2012, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou put forward a long-term solution to the Diaoyutai Islands disputes by proposing the East China Sea Peace Initiative. While maintaining the republic’s sovereignty over the islands, the initiative calls on all parties involved to shelve disputes in favor of dialogue and jointly exploit the resources around the islets.

Frank Yee Wang is Director of the Press Division of Taiwan’s Office in the United Washington DC.


February 10, 2013

Fox News on February 6, 2013, published a comment by Erick Erickson on the drone debate in the United States. Excerpts below:

President Obama’s view of terrorists has evolved. Today it’s kill ‘em regardless of citizenship and do not worry about such small things as constitutional due process.

Civil libertarians on the left and right are aghast. Conservatives who long thought the president was softening on his commitment against terrorists have cheered. Roles have been reversed.

In other words, there need not be immediacy in the definition of “imminent.” As long as a plan is in continuation, the United States could proceed.

Hypothetically, a world leader — let us call him Saddam — invites Al Qaeda operatives into his country, which we will call Iraq for purposes of this hypothetical, to design and structure terrorist attacks on the United States. While everyone is focusing on drones and American targets, this memo also begins to justify military and intelligence forces going beyond that in order to stop terrorist attacks. This memo gives a foundation for invasion to stop imminent attacks that are not imminent, in the common sense of the word, but are in active planning.

The battlefield has shifted over the past two decades. The president has already killed one American on a battlefield with a drone. His chief role is to keep the nation safe. In the twenty-first century, in the remote caves of Afghanistan and deserts of the Middle East, it is both impractical and unnecessary to strap a speaker to a drone in order to shout down to an American Al Qaeda operative, read him his Miranda rights, then caution him to step back a quarter mile to wait for his arrest while the drone unleashes hell on all his terrorist friends.

Just kill them before they kill us. At some point, we must trust that the president and his advisers, when they see a gathering of Al Qaeda from the watchful eye of a drone, are going to make the right call and use appropriate restraint and appropriate force to keep us safe.

Frankly, it should be American policy that any American collaborating with Al Qaeda is better off dead than alive.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and editor of


February 9, 2013

The Washington Times on February 8, 2013, reported that South Korean officials are considering a preemptive strike against North Korea amid fears that the North will soon conduct a nuclear weapons test in response to a new round of sanctions by the United Nations. Excerpts below:

North Korea last conducted a short-range ballistic missile test in December. Its last nuclear test was an underground detonation in 2009.

The Hankyoreh, a daily newspaper in South Korea, reports that Jung Seung-jo, South Korea’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military would launch a preemptive attack under certain circumstances.