Aid And Comfort To The Enemy

Let’s see, China launches cyberattacks and conducts internet espionage against the United States 24/7/365 and our U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning China about their vulnerabilities? WTF?

China’s Infrastructure Vulnerable to Cyber Attack

Software widely used in China to help run weapons systems, utilities and chemical plants has bugs that hackers could exploit to damage public infrastructure, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The department issued an advisory on Thursday warning of vulnerabilities in software applications from Beijing-based Sunway ForceControl Technology Co that hackers could exploit to launch attacks on critical infrastructure.

See also:
SCADA Vulnerabilities Patched in Two Industrial Control Software from China
Chinese Weapon Systems Vulnerable To SCADA Hack
US warns China software risk to public infrastructure
US Warns of Problems in Chinese SCADA Software
Software bugs discovered in Chinese-made applications
China’s weapons systems have exploitable software bugs
Department Of Homeland Security Cites China Vulnerability
Exclusive: China software bug makes infrastructure vulnerable
US reveals Stuxnet-style vuln in Chinese SCADA ‘ware
Critical vulnerability in industrial control software

China is not our friend, why are we feeding the hand that bites us? Why aren’t we keeping these discovered Chinese vulnerabilities to ourselves in case we might actually need to use them in the event of escalated hostilities with China?

/and just when did the DHS become the CDHS, Chinese Department of Homeland Security, protecting the homeland of a hostile country?

Easter, Chinese Commie Style

Just a reminder, China is not a free country.

China seizes Christians in Easter raid

Dozens of Chinese Christians were arrested on Sunday when police prevented an evangelical Protestant church from holding its Easter Sunday service, as the state continued its attack on protests against one-party rule.

Security forces clashed with followers of a growing underground Protestant movement that was blocked from moving into a new meeting hall near Beijing, leading to three weeks of confrontation with the communist authorities.

Worshippers from the Shouwang, or “watch tower”, church were taken away in buses, some defiantly singing hymns. Church leaders had issued a “fire and brimstone” cry for the congregation to worship outside the building even if it meant arrest and prosecution.

See also:
China detains Protestant Shouwang devotees
China Cracks Down on Would-be Easter Congregants
Chinese police detain dozens at site of banned Easter service
China Overreaches in Crackdown on Christians
Chinese Christians face tense Easter in Beijing
China Detains Christians and Blocks Easter Service
Freedom to celebrate Easter
Chinese Christians held at Easter service: church
Cops foil Beijing church’s Easter plans
China -Shouwang devotees Arrested for Planned Easter Service
Chinese police detain Christians on Easter

Freedom of religion is a cornerstone of basic human rights.

/the Chinese communist totalitarian bastards are not our friends

When Countries Collide

China and Japan have a long history of animosity toward each other and the recent “boat collision incidents” in disputed waters are only inflaming age old territorial disagreements. Japan’s continuing arrest of the Chinese captain is further escalating this standoff by the day.

Japan-China island tensions rise

The ins and outs of the spat over a Chinese fishing boat captain

Tensions are growing daily over Japan’s arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain following his ship’s collision with Japan Coast Guard vessels in the East China Sea.

Both countries have openly criticized each other over the incident, and the escalating diplomatic spat has led to public protests, the suspension of ministerial and higher-level exchanges, and the cancellation of a concert by pop group SMAP in Shanghai.

At the heart of the problem are a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan has administration of the islands, which it calls the Senkaku Islands, but both Beijing and Taiwan claim sovereignty as well, calling them the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively. Following are basic questions and answers about the dispute:

Why was the Chinese captain arrested?

A JCG patrol vessel came across a Chinese fishing boat in Japanese-claimed territorial waters on the morning of Sept. 7.

After being warned to leave the area, the boat and JCG patrol ship Yonakuni collided. No details have yet been released as to who or what caused the collision. The Yonakuni then ordered the trawler to stop for inspection, which the Chinese captain refused, according to a JCG representative.

Later that morning, another JCG patrol ship, the Mizuki, was chasing the fishing boat to conduct an onboard inspection near Kuba Island when another collision occurred.

The Chinese captain, Zhan Qixiong, 41, was arrested the next day on suspicion of obstructing the public duties of coast guard personnel.

Japanese authorities are also looking into whether the captain engaged in unlawful fishing.

See also:
China-Japan relations sour as fishing boat dispute escalates
Japan-China row escalates over fishing boat collision
China Japan territorial spat over a fishing boat flares
Chinese fishing boat captain’s arrest reasonable
Japan rejects China’s claim over disputed island chain
Japan counsels against ‘extreme nationalism’ in row with China
China Severs Japan Ties Over Sailor Arrest
China’s Wen threatens new action in Japan boat row
China again urges unconditional release of trawler captain illegally held by Japan
Upping the Ante in China-Japan Clash
Hong Kong Activists Fan China-Japan Flames
Anti-Japan Sentiment Gains Strength in China
East China Sea Dispute: Why Japan’s Era of Quiet Power May Be at an End

Remember this? China has a history of physical confrontations at sea over disputed waters, so I’d bet good money that this latest incident was deliberately instigated by the Chinese and therefore I blame them. Japan has every right to fully investigate the Chinese captain until they get this episode sorted out to their satisfaction.

/I seriously doubt that this knock down, drag out diplomatic kerfuffle will ever boil over into a military conflict, but if it does, my money’s on Japan, last time these two countries went at it hammer and tongs, it didn’t go well for China

Chinese Dragon And American Eagle Headed In Opposite Directions

While we unilaterally disarms under Obama, the Chinese are strengthening their military capabilities, specifically gearing toward a confrontation with the United States.

China Strengthens Strategic Capability, Report Says

The U.S. Defense Department said in a report issued yesterday that China continues to strengthen its strategic capability through updates to its nuclear and missile systems, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, June 3; Anne Flaherty, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Aug. 16).

. . .

Beijing’s aggressive spending on its effort to become a top military force has been recognized for some time, AP reported. China has rejected U.S. concerns about its defense program. Frustrated by Washington’s military support for Taiwan, it has halted U.S.-Chinese military contact that could address the issue.

“The limited transparency in China’s military and security affairs enhances uncertainty and increases the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation,” the report says (Flaherty, Associated Press).

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the Pentagon document “paints an alarming picture, despite its ‘glass half full’ perspective,” the Washington Times reported.

“It is clear that China is aggressively expanding its military capabilities, which appear to be aimed at limiting American strategic options in the Pacific,” he said. “This troubling reality is inconsistent with China’s supposed interest in fostering a peaceful, stable region” (Bill Gertz, Washington Times, Aug. 16).

Read the report:

Military and Security Developments
Involving the People’s Republic of China
2010

See also:
U.S. Sounds Alarm at China’s Military Buildup
Economic powerhouse China focuses on its military might
Pentagon: China Continues to Expand Military Capability
The Chinese Military Challenge
China Could Intervene at Military ‘Flash Points,’ Pentagon Warns
China threat: Now you see it, now you don’t
Chinese military’s cyber-attack capabilities mysterious: Pentagon
China Fires Back on U.S. Report
China warns U.S. military report threatens ties
Pentagon’s China military report ‘ignores objective truth,’ says China
Chinese Government Rejects Pentagon Report on Country’s Military Ambition

I used to think that, given our vast Pacific superiority in the air, in space, and on the sea, there was no way in Hell that China would ever dare to invade Taiwan or otherwise engage the United States in a military conflict. Now, I’m no longer sure that’s necessarily true.

/every day, they get stronger, we get weaker, and the gap in the military balance of power narrows toward parity

The Incredible Ineptitude Of “Smart Diplomacy”

The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again, but the United States keeps getting fooled time after time after time. Once again, the Iranians have run diplomatic circles around the Obama Administration’s comical and ineffective “smart diplomacy”. If this was a little league softball game, they’d have to invoke the ten run rule.

Iran’s nuclear move may derail U.S. efforts on sanctions

An agreement by Iran to send much of its nuclear fuel abroad clouded prospects for U.S.-led plans to impose further economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear development program.

The proposal, brokered by leaders of Brazil and Turkey during an 18-hour session in Tehran and announced late Sunday, drew a reaction of cautious skepticism from the United States and its Western allies, who questioned whether it goes far enough to address longstanding concerns over the goal of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran says its effort is for civilian energy purposes only, but Western powers believe Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S., French, German and Russian officials all raised questions about the announcement, noting that Iran would still keep more than a ton of its nuclear stockpile and would continue enriching uranium in its centrifuges. But Western leaders also called for further study of the plan, saying it should not be dismissed out of hand.

The agreement appeared to sap some of the momentum for a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions, which looked to include restrictions on Iranian government financial transactions. Officials from Turkey and Brazil said the deal removed any need for further U.N. sanctions. The two countries currently sit on the 15-member Security Council, though neither has the power to veto a sanctions resolution.

It remains to be seen whether Tehran was merely trying to avert imminent sanctions or whether the pact could form the basis of a wider accord. In making the uranium transfer abroad, Iran would drop its previous insistence that any swaps should take place on Iranian soil.

U.S. officials face a choice of rejecting the deal and appearing intransigent, or accepting it, potentially allowing Iran to defuse mounting international pressures through an indefinite delay.

The plan calls for Iran to ship 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey under the supervision of both Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, in Vienna. In return, Iran would receive 265 pounds of uranium from France and Russia within a year for use in a small nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat the ill.

Talked Into A Trap

Nuclear Iran: President Obama’s “direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions” has, not surprisingly, led us down a blind alley. Now China and Russia are about to mug us with Turkey’s phony uranium deal.

The White House is learning that its “tough diplomacy” is a boomerang that may soon leave America nursing a very sore lump on its head.

The deal Iran triumphantly announced with Turkey and Brazil on Monday is exactly the kind of development that can give Moscow and Beijing the excuse not to agree to more sanctions. Which would mean that President Obama is left painted into a corner about what to do next to prevent a terrorist regime in the Middle East from getting nukes.

It was all smiles in Tehran as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan patted themselves on the back as peacemakers, and clasped hands with the world’s most powerful hater of Jews, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His shady re-election nearly a year ago sparked mass demonstrations and the killing of protesters by the Islamofascist regime.

In a regurgitation of last fall’s Geneva agreement that Iran ultimately backed out of, the new “fuel swap” deal would require Tehran to send some enriched uranium to Turkey. After a year, Iran would get some non-weapons-grade uranium back from Russia and France.

But Tehran says it will continue its own uranium enrichment activities, which means that when all is said and done nothing has changed.

As the Sarkozy government in France warns, the Turkey deal does “nothing to settle the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear program.” The new British government says it will continue to push for sanctions; an unimpressed Germany says what matters is Iran’s domestic enrichment.

Even the White House admits the deal resolves nothing. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ reaction was to point out that “the words and the deeds of the Iranian leadership rarely coincide.”

But China and Russia, which both have economic and geopolitical reasons to stay cozy with their trading partner, can use this deal to say in answer to President Obama’s charisma offensive designed to get them on board new sanctions: “Problem solved! Give Iran some slack.”

In the coming months, as Tehran continues to block inspection of nuclear facilities, and Moscow and Beijing refuse to approve new sanctions, what does the president do?

Reject what he was willing to accept last fall (because since then Iran has been busy enriching lots more uranium, and that makes it a different ballgame today)?

See also:
Iran’s Nuclear Coup
Iran nuclear fuel swap: how Turkey is complicating US aims
Nuclear swap deal helps prevent sanctions on Iran: Brazilian VP
Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
Iran and Turkey reach unexpected accord on enriched uranium
Iran’s unanswered questions
West not convinced of Iran uranium deal
U.S., allies critical of new deal on Iran’s nuclear program
White House Keeps Sanctions on Table After Iran Announces Nuclear Fuel Deal
Lucy Says: C’mon, Kick The Football Charlie Brown

So, let’s recap, Iran gets to keep working on their nuclear weapons program, full speed ahead, without the threat of any meaningful sanctions and, at the same time, Iran makes the Obama administration out to be an international laughingstock.

/it’s a twofer

Microsoft Cleans Up After Chinese Hack Of Google, Obama Turns The Other Cheek

Microsoft to release patch for IE hole on Thursday

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it will release on Thursday a patch to fix the latest hole in Internet Explorer that was used in the China-based attack on Google and for which an exploit has been released on the Internet since last week.

The company plans to release the patch as close to 10 a.m. PST on Thursday as possible and host a public Webcast at 1 p.m. PST, according to the security advisory.

Microsoft continues to see limited attacks and has only seen evidence of successful attacks against Internet Explorer 6, according to Jerry Bryant, senior security program manager at Microsoft.

“This is a standard cumulative update, accelerated from our regularly scheduled February release, for Internet Explorer with an aggregate severity rating of Critical,” he said in a statement.

“It addresses the vulnerability related to recent attacks against Google and a small subset of corporations, as well as several other vulnerabilities. Once applied, customers are protected against the known attacks that have been widely publicized,” Bryant said. “We recommend that customers install the update as soon as it is available. For customers using automatic updates, this update will automatically be applied once it is released.”

Vulnerable software is IE 6 on Microsoft Windows 2000 and IE 6, 7, and 8 on supported editions of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft said.

So, while China continues its relentless, covert cyberwar against U.S. and other Western commercial, government, and military targets, stealing information and secrets and causing economic and national security damage to our computer networks, guess what the Obama administration has decided to do, against the advice of U.S. intelligence officials and experts?

China removed as top priority for spies

The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing’s military and its cyber-attacks.

The downgrading of intelligence gathering on China was challenged by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta after it was first proposed in interagency memorandums in October, current and former intelligence officials said.

The decision downgrades China from “Priority 1” status, alongside Iran and North Korea, to “Priority 2,” which covers specific events such as the humanitarian crisis after the Haitian earthquake or tensions between India and Pakistan.

The National Security Council staff, in response, pressed ahead with the change and sought to assure Mr. Blair and other intelligence chiefs that the change would not affect the allocation of resources for spying on China or the urgency of focusing on Chinese spying targets, the officials told The Washington Times.

White House National Security Council officials declined to comment on the intelligence issue. Mike Birmingham, a spokesman for Mr. Blair, declined to comment. A CIA spokesman also declined to comment.

But administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new policy is part of the Obama administration’s larger effort to develop a more cooperative relationship with Beijing.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for January 2010
New IE hole exploited in attacks on U.S. firms
Microsoft Scrambles to Patch Browser
Microsoft patching “Google hack” flaw in IE tomorrow
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-002 Coming Thursday for IE Zero-Day
Microsoft to issue “Google attack” browser patch
Microsoft to issue emergency IE patch Thursday
Microsoft will issue emergency IE patch on Thursday
China removed as top priority for spies
China no longer top priority for intelligence gathering: White House
‘China no longer top priority for intelligence gathering’
China: Still an Intelligence Priority

Relax, don’t worry, the country is in the very best of hands.

/Obama’s NSC, more than a dozen morons stuffed in a four passenger clown car

The Chinese Garlic Bubble

China sees huge rise in garlic prices

Garlic prices are hitting record highs in China, the world’s biggest producer of the pungent bulbs, amid reports of a speculative bubble in the market even as people rush to buy it as a putative cure for swine flu.

The China Daily reported last week that a high school in the eastern city of Hangzhou bought more than 400 pounds of garlic and made students eat it at lunch to stay healthy.

Wholesale garlic prices in Beijing are now 15 times as high as in March, and still rising.

Jerry Lou, a Morgan Stanley China strategist who has researched the opaque market here, said speculators — fueled by the abundant liquidity sloshing around China — have moved into the small market and strategically driven up prices.

“You need a warehouse, a lot of cash and a few trucks. That’s how it works,” Lou said, describing garlic speculators’ tools of the trade. “Basically, what you do is try to arrest as much supply as possible, then you bid up the price. Moving garlic from one warehouse to the other, you make millions of dollars.”

Lou said garlic wholesalers told him that gangs that had amassed cash and credit from dealing property and stocks in other parts of the country had chosen the garlic market as their latest ruse.

See also:
Garlic outperforming gold and stocks
Hold Your Nose: Garlic Is Best Investment in China
Garlic, China’s Best-Performing Asset
Chinese Garlic Market Reeks of Speculation
Garlic run smells like speculative bubble
Garlic prices in China shoot up on flu fears
China Sees Huge Rise in Garlic Prices
Garlic Dealers Cashing In On Flu Rumours
Savvy investors pile into Chinese garlic
Strong demand for garlic in China drives up local prices
Garlic Investors Smell Money

History repeats itself.

Tulipmania

Traditionally, the buying and selling of tulip bulbs occurred during the summer months, after the flower had bloomed in May or June (depending on the type) and the bulb was lifted from the soil, to be wrapped in paper and kept dry indoors. The flower would have been viewed by then and the bulbs, themselves, inspected and exchanged before being replanted in September. A seller promised to deliver the bulb when lifted and the purchaser to pay upon delivery. In trade such as this, honor obviously was important, especially since a blossom in the summer need not necessarilty look the same the following year. Indeed, the changeability of tulips was one of their charms. But such variations could lead to deception or at least the suspicion that bulbs might not be the same as contracted.

In the planting season of 1635, as prices began to rise, there was a fundamental change in how bulbs were traded in the Netherlands. Increasingly, they were sold by weight while still in the ground, with only a promissory note to indicate details of the bulb, including its weight at planting, and when it would be lifted. The bulbs, themselves, the delivery of which was months away, were not sold, only these paper promises. Weight was measured in aasen (azen or aces), an exceedingly small unit equal to one-twentieth of a gram, or less than .0018 of an ounce. Although paying by weight was a more fair way to assess price, an immature bulb costing less than a more mature one, it also increased the price of the heavier bulb. And, because a bulb planted in September or October likely would weight substantially more when lifted (after blooming) the following June or July, it encouraged speculation. Even if the price per aas did not change, the price of the bulb, itself, could increase three to five hundred percent over those nine months, depending upon weight. Heavier bulbs, too, tended to flower earlier and have more offsets, the smaller bulblets attached to the mother bulb.

Tulips grown from seed could take five to ten years to produce a flower, those from offsets from three to five years to become flowering bulbs themselves. Because a tulip bulb may produce only one or two offsets a year and then only for several years before the mother bulb, itself, dies, one found to have offsets when lifted obviously increased in value. But a grower could not afford to sell a particularly valuable bulb too soon. To do so would limit the ability to produce any more of that variety–which is why particularly desirable flowers always were in short supply.

Variegated tulips, those with contrasting markings, such as red (Rosen) or purple (Violetten) against a white ground (or bizarden, against a yellow ground), were most favored, especially those whose color was displayed as thin feathers or flames that symmetrically ran along the center of each pedal and around the edges. This vivid coloring, which so bewitched the Dutch, was caused by a virus that infected the tulip but also weakened it and reduced the number of offsets. A complete mystery at the time, the mosaic virus was conveyed by aphids, which flourished in the fruit trees that were a feature of seventeenth-century gardens. An infected flower was said to be “broken” and there was no way to determine if, or when, a flower would break. It was an unpredictable process that only added to the allure of the tulip for the Dutch.

The cultivation of new varieties in 1634 depressed prices, and tulips became accessible to a popular market. No longer the province of professional growers and connoisseurs, they now could be purchased by small buyers, such as the weaver or spinner and other crafts and tradespeople. For a modest investment, often paid for in kind, one could speculate in the more common tulips that were the stock of mass trade. Late that year, prices then swung in the opposite direction and began to rise. To meet demand, offsets were sold, which only could be separated when the bulb was lifted. Buying in the winter for delivery in the summer became acceptable and, by 1636, a futures market had developed for the bulbs, themselves. Buyers promised to pay a specified price for bulbs in the ground at a fixed time in the future, speculating that, at lifting time, they would be worth more than the promissory note, which then could be sold to a new buyer in hope of realizing a profit. As spring approached and expectation increased, this trade in tulip futures became more frenzied, and, by November and December of that year, speculation was at its height. Prices for so-called “piece” goods (the more desirable varieties) doubled or trebled, and even the most plain and common tulips, which previously had been disdained, were bought. Indeed, these “pound” goods, which were sold in bulk, rose as much as twenty-fold. Smaller lots were offered, as well, and bulbs could be purchased by the basket, the pound, or the ace. Goods in kind were delivered at once, and cows and cloth, looms and land, shops and houses paid to secure the purchase.

At the height of this tulip mania, most transactions did not even involve the exchange of goods but became purely speculative. “Everything was worth money and so current that one could get in exchange almost anything one desired,” says Gaergoedt. “And all this with promises and vouchers, when the bulbs were in the earth” (First Dialogue). Even though buyers did not have the cash amount or sellers actually possess the bulb, there still was the expectation that a succeeding sale could be at an ever higher price. But buyers must have begun to wonder if the escalating prices of the previous two months could be sustained (and been suspicion, too, that more tulips would be grown, increasing the supply). In the first week of February 1637, when investors were not willing to go higher, the market collapsed, the bulbs contracted the previous autumn still in the ground.

As Gaergoedt, who had mortgaged his house, laments: “it has been a madness.”

In the end, tulips are tulips and garlic is garlic. Just like the Tulipmania of the mid 1630s, the Chinese garlic bubble will also collapse and all the latecomers to the speculative garlic frenzy will be left holding the clove, financially ruined.

/Devil Take the Hindmost