Monday, June 12, 2006
The first clues were given by two Chinese-controlled newspapers in Hong Kong, TA king paw and when wee Po. On Monday they printed articles disclosing that the plane was a Chinese version of the formidable Airborne Warning and Control System (Awacs) aircraft flown by the United States to manage air, sea and land battles.Warfare by computer hacking has been an area where the Chinese have been putting quite an effort. They may not, yet, be able to challenge the US in aircraft carriers or guns but they have no shortage of talented programmers. A few years ago there was a major power outage in Taiwan because of a "computer glitch" suspected of being hacking. For this reason I am not going to be morally righteous if it turns out (or much more likely is never actually proven to be) sabotage someone licenced to kill. On the other hand should we be righteous if something happens here.
They indicated that it was a Russian Ilyushin four-engined cargo jet, rebuilt to house a conspicuous array of radars and codenamed KJ-2000. The doomed flight, they implied, had been a test mission.
The disaster robbed China of 35 its best electronic warfare technicians, according to sources in Hong Kong. There were also five crew members on board.
With memories fresh in Beijing of a Boeing 767 bought for the use of former president Jiang Zemin and found to be riddled with eavesdropping devices, there were bound to be suspicions of sabotage.
The Communist party showed how seriously it took the crash by entrusting the inquiry to Guo Boxiong, vice-chairman of the partyÂs central military commission, who handles sensitive security matters. .....
Both America and Taiwan spend undisclosed billions trying to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds ChinaÂs military build-up, which was criticised once again last week by Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary.
Spies from Taiwan are known to have scored remarkable successes. In one recent case reported by The Washington Post, they placed in their presidentÂs hands the proceedings of a secret standing committee meeting on Taiwan policy within days of its taking place.
But the crown jewels of electronic warfare are made in America, which means that ChinaÂs hunger for secrets can be exploited by its foes. Late in the cold war, the CIA supplied faulty computer items to the Soviets, which resulted in death and destruction. So suspicions of treachery in Beijing are bound to be reinforced by the tale of intrigue and deception that unfolded upon examination of what led to the fatal end of the KJ-2000.
Does this remind anybody of the Chinook helicopter from Northern Ireland that flew into a Scottish hill & killed 30 of Britain's top intelligence officers?