Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top


Peter Hatcher wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2nd February titled:

Cyber attacks take aim at the heart of the American empire

Al-Qaeda demonstrated on September 11, 2001, how a handful of scruffy extremists could use asymmetrical warfare to damage key US assets. Now imagine that the asymmetrical warfare against the US is being waged not by a few fanatics but by one of the world's most powerful nation states.

This is why China's cyber attacks are so serious.

Peter’s article stated the obvious as far as cyber spying/ warfare goes, yet China’s alleged cyber attacks on Google have been reported and commented on across the Planet. You’d have to be a mug to think that China is the only nation engaged in cyber spying/theft etc. – what advanced nation wouldn’t be, what nation isn’t? The nature of the collective beast dictates such behaviour.

Is cyber war/spying a threat? Of course.

Are the Chinese the only players? Of course not.

The guts of Peter’s article, I suspect, was to point the finger at China and warn us of China’s tricky “Art of War” cyber games that are a threat to the West.

What did interest me, was Peter’s apologetic “expose” on the illegal relationship between Telco corporations and the US Government, and the manner in which he framed same:

More recently, the US has appealed to the patriotism of its big telecom firms to spy on customers in the search for terrorist communications.

Peter failed to mention that this spying is illegal and apparently unconstitutional. His term “patriotism” is curious. Many Americans were horrified to find out this was going on (including pensioner and returned vet organizations that for some reason or another were monitored), although a small majority of Americans were OK with these crimes, as they are being committed in the interests of national security. The spying continues and Obama supports it.

No doubt, if Peter were to discover that every keystroke, every internet site, every non cash transaction he makes is being monitored by private corporations/government in the name of national security then I’m sure he will rejoice in the “patriotism” of it all.

To date with all that government/corporate domestic spying is the US citizen any safer?

I wonder, is the fear of cyber warfare/spying going to lead to even more invasions on our privacy and do we care? The war on cyberspace – TWOCS – coming soon? Probably not, but if it does then caveat emptor.

Will all internet users be required to have government registration or a license:

I’ve got no idea what the future has in store but it appears that bit by bit we are going to find that our government and corporate suppliers are going to know (and share) a lot more about us whether we like it or not.

How they use that information remains to be seen; but a lot can happen over a decade or so. A lot has over the past ten years.

The thin end of the wedge?

Who supplies the car registration details to the private toll way and car park companies, of owners who don't pay (or can’t for whatever reason)? Why do not Australians complain that our private details are supplied by government to private companies? Why does the State Debt Recovery Office (in NSW) become the debt collector for private companies? Mmmmm.

It would appear as China slowly becomes more like us, we are becoming more like China. Anyway, a one party state is the envy of many a democratic politician. George Bush even aspired to be a dictator, and I’m sure John Howard or Kevin Rudd would be very comfortable indeed as Napoleon of “The Party”. Total control, without having to answer to the people, would have to be the desire of most politicians.

The Chinese people have surrendered their privacy and the freedom to criticize The Party, for prosperity - this is a reality, a reality most Chinese have been born into and accept. Besides, why complain when you are getting wealthier? In general they have adapted (conditioned?) to the rules and obey them habitually, usually quite unconsciously. The greater majority of Chinese people are proud of their success and generally happy. Most (I would argue) are unaware of the more subtle disadvantages that censorship/control ingrains in the psychic, but that is another discussion.

On the other hand the American people are surrendering their privacy and some of their rights (habeas corpus for one – so have we) for security reasons - a sad illusion I suspect; the Yanks are getting poorer and many are really pissed - you can’t blame them.

Today, many western democracies have evolved into two party oligarchies in bed with their corporate masters. In general the corporations call the shots and the people get screwed (some more than others). It will get worse as government debt becomes unmanageable, and the punters are taxed, one way or the other, to service that debt and bail out the too big to fail; debt peonage? Life for many in the west is getting harder as a result of corruption and inefficencies.

The west has seriously engaged in financial capitalism – an unproductive house of cards that implodes slowly as we breathe.

In China, The Party could also be described as an oligarchy in bed with corporations. In general The Party rules the corporations, yet the relationships can be nebulous, but The Party do share (some of)  the wealth with the people (some get more than others for the usual reasons) – life, for most, is getting better inspite of corruption and inefficencies.

China has engaged in productive capitalism – wealth creation in the real sense.

Competition between China and America do make cyber wars per sa a (remote) possibility; no doubt many nations have greater abilities than we (punters) know about, in the art of digital theft and destruction; no doubt those nations have also developed defenses to some degree or another. Since the first cookie and computer virus was introduced it was obvious that cyberspace was going to be a potentially dangerous place. Cyber crime has grown exponentially.

But will the real dangers (to the public) come from the threat of empirical cyber wars, or instead, the very governments/corporations that will try to make us (the public) fear cyber attack ?

Will the fear of cyber warfare (and its potential disruptions to communities) encourage us to surrender, to our governments and their corporate masters, our privacy and freedom to chat honestly and openly? How easy a false flag cyber op, nah, they wouldn’t.

Having said that, I suspect that cyber wars will only become a full blown reality in the event of an actual shooting war; a shooting war between powerful nations with sophisticated IT. To think Western democracies would take on a powerful nation is out of the question, we only take on resource rich tin pot regimes; even then the consequences are unfortunate, as recent history continues to teach us.

China would never, at this point in time, or the foreseeable future want a shooting war of any substantial type – especially with their best customer, America (therefore no cyber war, but cyber spying/theft is a current reality all across the planet, it will continue as expected, by all sophisticated nations, crime gangs and individuals so inclined).

The Yanks would also be reluctant to do make war with their Chinese bankers; the underwriters of their current (treasury sapping) military adventures. Sun Tsu would be comfortable with that. China grows strong, America grows weak – no shots fired (at China or by China).

Anyway the only way America could defeat China in battle would be to nuke them – no doubt China would reciprocate and that would be MAD. It won’t happen.

Are China's cyber attacks "so serious", as Peter claims? 

Serious? Yes of course, but not in the way we might be lead to think. It won’t necessarily be cyber attacks from other nations that will deprive us of our freedoms, privacy and wealth, it will be attacks from within - our government in “patriotic” relationship with our corporate suppliers; and because of our"conditioning" we will allow it to happen.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

TWOCS or twats?

What a valuable and sad peice of information to learn. The life blood of a democracy on life support.

Here we go - TWOCS - the noose tightens

Well well well, that didn't take long...

Today in The Washington Post:

The world's largest Internet search company and the world's most powerful electronic surveillance organization are teaming up in the name of cybersecurity.

Google and the NSA declined to comment on the partnership. But sources with knowledge of the arrangement, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google's policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans' online communications...

I just love that bit about not violating Google's "policies" or "laws" - hahahaha. 

Yep as China becomes more like us we become more like China. 

Now have a read of the above WP link and be reassured that TWOCS will be in the interests of national security and "patriotism".

Will Google play the game like AT&T did/does?

Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA. And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens.

Trapdoor dragon-spiders

A very timely post, Justin. 

It also appears quite common to turn cell phones on to listen to conversations:Cellphone spying  FBI taps

National warfare is not confined to military activities. History is full of the use of gunboat diplomacy to obtain advantages for its businesses. Nations also use sports as part of their political tools. I'm not sure whether it is that China does these things more openly and unashamedly, or we cry foul more hypocritically when they do.

In that most computer hardware and cell phones are now coming out of China, they can hardwire their trapdoors. 

The tripping up

I think the tripping up of COW and the advent of the GF meltdown shows what antagonises those in authority, when you consider the shellacking handing out to Tony Blair, for example.

We weren't supposed to know or to find out that certain things were going on, and cyberspace is a space that reconstitutes civil society, the one thing theyve sought to eradicate above all else, over the last generation. Hence the panic on the part of people like those running the current SA state government, which has just backed off of an ill-considered move at censorship by stealth of political comment in the cybersphere as an election looms on the horizon.

Justin is fairly correct in focussing on the relationship between the US and China, of course. America seeks to contain China and to prevent it accessing too much oil from Central Asia- hence Aghanistan, as the latest in a series of geopolitical wars that have made West Asia synonmous with violence.

As for the system getting into our privacy and heads, I think its been well under way for too long now.

The big hope was that Labor might have been able to stop the rot.

 But events since 2007 show Rudd Labor to be the same sort of timid Blairite Labor that has been incorporated into the system elsewhere, whilst operating as a sop or facade for those who hoped that democracy would be reconstituted.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 23 hours ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 4 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 14 weeks 1 day ago