U.S. Congress requests ban on Chinese Tech Companies

Despite the warning from Congress, the United States allows Chinese companies to manufacture military and computer technologies which are equipped with back doors for spying purposes.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 8, 2012

Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE are a threat to American security. That’s the conclusion of a report completed by the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. Congress after a year of research.

According to the commission, it is impossible to ensure that the two groups are independent of the Chinese government and therefore can be used to undermine U.S. security. “On the basis of classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE can not guarantee their independence from the influence of a foreign state, so it poses a threat to U.S. security,” says the report.

The commission believes that the Chinese government could use these two groups for the rapid growth of economic and military espionage, or cyber attacks. Huawei has answered that 70% of its business is in China. The company works in 150 countries and in none of those it has had any problems. Of course, the United States is not any country and the behind the stage war between these two foes has not stopped.

According to U.S. research commission, the two groups did not provide satisfactory answers to parliamentary questions on their relations with the Chinese government. “China has the means, the opportunity and the motivation to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes,” according to the report to be released Monday.

In conclusion, the commission said that the U.S. “should block acquisitions and mergers involving Huawei and ZTE because they would pose a threat to the national security interests of the United States. “U.S. government systems of communication,” the commission concludes , “especially in sensitive areas should not include equipment or components from Huawei and ZTE.”

But the Backdoor is left Open

Whether the commission’s concern is legitimate or not, the truth is that the report comes too late and too short about the way the Chinese have been able to infiltrate the U.S. Huawei and ZTE are not the only two companies manufacturing equipment for the U.S. government and its military. According to current and former intelligence sources in the United States, the Chinese have now have the capacity to access much of the equipment produced in China and that is being used on American territory.

The Chinese do so by utilizing previously installed components that allow them to remotely access the equipment from abroad. This revelation was first presented by Lignet, an intelligence company that detailed how communications equipment can potentially be disabled by the Chinese. The devices installed in the machines are popularly knows as backdoors because they provide hidden access to anyone who knows how to use them.

Mundane technologies fabricated in China and other Asian countries have already been demonstrated to have secret access points which can be used by technology companies, at the request of government agencies to spy on users. The same situation occurs with military grade equipment, for example, which is manufactured abroad for the United States government. Both hardware and software can be set up to enable outsiders to get into communication and weapons systems just as government agencies use the cameras built in computers and cellphones or GPS technology to monitor people’s every move.

Backdoors installed in communication devices for consumers or government use can be exploited for spying purposes to gain control of information, movement and habits, for example. Both Huawei and ZTE have been informally accused of installing microchips and stealth circuitry to enable remote control of devices manufactured in their factories. Huawei is a Chinese corporation that occupies its resources to offer networking and communication equipment and services. This company is only second to technology giant Ericsson as a provider of mobile telecommunications equipment and software.

But Huawei’s reach goes beyond American territory. It is a key provider of equipment and services that have to do with almost everything to other developed nations. It is similar to what USAID represents for the United States. The organization is an American funded front to infiltrate other countries under the auspices of humanitarian aid. Suspicion about USAID’s activities in several countries had gotten it kicked out of several countries. The most recent one is Russia.

Well known technology companies such as Symantec held partnerships with Huawei in the past, but the security software enterprise apparently ended that relationship due to the security concerns posed by the U.S. government. Another notable client of the Chinese company is the government of Iran, which has prompted some people to think that the Iranians themselves could use the backdoors to infiltrate American infrastructure. So far, however, it’s been the Americans and Israelis who have attacked Iran in several occasions with computer bugs known as Trapwire, Stuxnet and others.

Given this scenario, it sounds logical to hear the American government talking about strengthening internet security for the sake of protecting its infrastructure. The part that is not so logical is that the U.S. government allows the same technology companies to continue manufacturing sensible portions of that infrastructure, which is what opens the door to internet insecurity. Another issue is that the Americans also intend to clamp down on internet freedom by using cyber threats as a justification to ban certain portions of the world wide web.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the use of the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Venezuelan Bill Includes Draconian Dictatorial Measures

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
June 12, 2011

A document sent to The Real Agenda and that supposedly is a draft of a bill now being discussed in the Venezuelan Congress compiles a list of the most draconian measures ever seen in Latin America. The document called “Proyecto de Reforma Constitucional: Leyes Socialistas para Venezuela“, is said to be circulating among assembly members is labeled as a preliminary draft law under discussion in the National Assembly.

Venezuelan Leader, Hugo Chavez

The document which is split in several sections, addresses issues such as private medicine and insurance companies, private education, identity and civic activities, private banking, communications, private property, currency, economy, religious practices, social practices, and others.

Regarding the issue of private medicine, the document intends to expropriate buildings and equipment from current private healthcare providers by paying them only 5 percent of the property’s market value in government bonds with a maturity of 20 years. Additionally, all private life insurance businesses will be closed and all their staff will be left out of work and with no right to a pension.

On private education, the draft bill states that all education will fall under the control of the State. All students will wear military looking apparel while attending school. It will be composed of red shirts, blue pants with a side legend that reads Bolivarian Republic and a red beret hat. While most school courses will be maintained as they are, some will be changed to give room to new ones related to “Socialism in the XXI Century”.

Under the Private Education section, the document also includes a call to socialize all property:

“Authorizing the homeless families to occupy “second homes” starting with the apartments and houses located on beaches, including those located in Clubs and then moving to the ones in urban areas.

Home owners will be forced to open their houses to families composed of no more than three members who will occupy one room in the house, reserving one room for three members of the original property owners. Property owners will be obligated to share common areas of the house with the new members.”

The draft bill also talks about issues related to citizenship and civic activities. Under the new guidelines, all citizens would receive a new identification document. Previous forms of identification will be invalidated. Anyone and everyone who participated in activism against the current president and the Venezuelan government will be denied and ID and will be considered rogue opposition to the National Assembly, the President and the Government. In addition, the parental rights of anyone under the age of 21, will be shared between the birth parents and the State.

On the matter of private banking, the Venezuelan proponents of the draft legislation intend to make all private bank workers employees of the State. The currency known as the Bolivar will change its denomination “eliminating the last tree zeros” from it. Citizens who have assets in foreign countries will be mandated to bring them to Venezuela. Having done that, no one will be allowed to own more than 7 million Bolivares in currency. All surpluses will be confiscated by the State.

When it comes to communications, cable television and other satellite based technologies will be reserved only to the State. Cell phone services and Internet access will be made exclusively available to the State. People will not be able to own or rent any of the services mentioned above. All personal computers must be registered with the State, and the government will nationalize all media in order to form one single network for the broadcast of government produced information bulletins. Current media owners will be paid 5 percent of the value of their businesses in the form of government bonds with maturity of 20 years.

In the section dedicated to private property, the document says all private property will be nationalized. “The land will be owned by the State, which through INTI will give the land to new occupants such as farmers and peasants who can not sell it, mortgage it or transfer it in any way.”

Regarding the Armed Forces, the bill proposes the creation of a popular militia which will progressively replace the current Venezuelan military force in a GESTAPO style force. All state and local police will be consolidated into one force under the power of the State. Military service will be mandatory for both men and women who will begin their service at the age of 17. These new soldiers will be available to support Venezuela and its allies such as Iran, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia in any conflict they may take part in.

On the economic front, people who hold foreign currency will be punished with prison sentences. It will be prohibited the holding of bank accounts abroad. All kinds of credit and debit cards will be eliminated within the country and for transactions overseas. “The State will impose the use of food cards to be used in Mercal. Also, the government will impose the minimum wage for all staff in state’s payroll: workers, professionals, technicians and others alike. The State prohibits the practice of professions to anyone who refuses to serve the state.”

The document ends describing limitations to religious and social practices. It says it will be prohibited to wear clothes that go against morality and decency such as miniskirts, bathing suits “thongs”, very pronounced cleavages, tight pants, etc.). All professionally played baseball and other sports will be under the control of the State. The government will restricts imports of luxury goods such as whiskey, appliances, luxury cars, etc. Also, it will be illegal to wear or spread pictures and articles that depict “imperialist influence” in all public institutions; among them Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse.

Currently, Venezuela’s Socialist Party -Hugo Chavez’ party- dominates the National Assembly, which is why it is not hard to believe that a draft bill such as the the one making the rounds in in the National Assembley now would not be approved. The document containing the reforms ends with a typical Bolivarian call: Patria Socialismo o Muerte (Socialist Land or Death).

Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez has manifested his approval of the current draft bill en several publications saying: “This is new, we are sowing the seeds of socialism. Only socialism will be a true democracy. In capitalism, democracy is not possible,” said Chavez before dismissing polls that according to him try to confuse people by separating democracy from socialism. “Democracy will never be a capitalist system, ” he added.

The Big Red Bear is Waking up and It Will Affect Us All

NASA Science

Coronal Mass Ejection

Coronal Mass Ejection

Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that’s new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting: The Space Weather Enterprise Forum at the National Press Club on June 8th.

Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, explains what it’s all about:

“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in ‘safe mode’ and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action, however, requires accurate forecasting—a job that has been assigned to NOAA.

“Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we’re making rapid progress,” says Thomas Bogdan, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Bogdan sees the collaboration between NASA and NOAA as key. “NASA’s fleet of heliophysics research spacecraft provides us with up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening on the sun. They are an important complement to our own GOES and POES satellites, which focus more on the near-Earth environment.”

Among dozens of NASA spacecraft, he notes three of special significance: STEREO, SDO and ACE.

STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is a pair of spacecraft stationed on opposite sides of the sun with a combined view of 90% of the stellar surface. In the past, active sunspots could hide out on the sun’s farside, invisible from Earth, and then suddenly emerge over the limb spitting flares and CMEs. STEREO makes such surprise attacks impossible.

SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory) is the newest addition to NASA’s fleet. Just launched in February, it is able to photograph solar active regions with unprecedented spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. Researchers can now study eruptions in exquisite detail, raising hopes that they will learn how flares work and how to predict them. SDO also monitors the sun’s extreme UV output, which controls the response of Earth’s atmosphere to solar variability.

Bogdan’s favorite NASA satellite, however, is an old one: the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) launched in 1997. “Where would we be without it?” he wonders. ACE is a solar wind monitor. It sits upstream between the sun and Earth, detecting solar wind gusts, billion-ton CMEs, and radiation storms as much as 30 minutes before they hit our planet.

“ACE is our best early warning system,” says Bogdan. “It allows us to notify utility and satellite operators when a storm is about to hit.”

NASA spacecraft were not originally intended for operational forecasting—”but it turns out that our data have practical economic and civil uses,” notes Fisher. “This is a good example of space science supporting modern society.”

2010 marks the 4th year in a row that policymakers, researchers, legislators and reporters have gathered in Washington DC to share ideas about space weather. This year, forum organizers plan to sharpen the focus on critical infrastructure protection. The ultimate goal is to improve the nation’s ability to prepare, mitigate, and respond to potentially devastating space weather events.

“I believe we’re on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather.” Fisher concludes. “We take this very seriously indeed.”

For more information about the meeting, please visit the Space Weather Enterprise Forum home page at  http://www.nswp.gov/swef/swef_2010.html