More political interference on Huawei

Written By: - Date published: 4:00 pm, March 13th, 2019 - 24 comments
Categories: China, military, Propaganda, spin, Spying, telecommunications, uk politics, war - Tags:

Here’s another one for the select committee reviewing foreign interference. Visitor from Britain Charlie Parton of the Royal United Services Institute was on Morning Report this morning telling us to avoid Huawei because they are Chinese and different from us. At least he does us a favour by making it clear the matter is political not technical.

To their credit, Radio New Zealand introduced his session by saying that “This is despite the head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre saying strict controls could offset any risks with using Huawei.”

Given the massive cluster-f**k that is Brexit, quite why we are expected to take any notice of political advice from anyone in the United Kingdom is beyond me.

Morning Report describes the Royal United Services Institute as independent. If you believe that you know there are fairies in the bottom of the garden. It is a haven for retired generals and intelligence operatives masquerading as diplomats. Just another organ of British soft power.

It was the venue last  month where UK Minister of Defence Gavin Williamson  gave his extraordinary speech where he warned that the United Kingdom was going to bring “hard power” to Asia with the Navy’s flagship carrier HMS Elizabeth and its complement of the massively expensive multi-role F-35B aircraft. It later emerged that the ship wouldn’t be operational for another two years, and Theresa May was against the idea anyway.

HMS Elizabeth’s sister carrier is the recently launched HMS Prince of Wales. Gavin Williamson will most probably not be in office by the time it is operational which will be fortunate for its crew. The last time Great Britain sent its very newest warship with that name to Asia it was promptly sunk by the Japanese. A combination of British hubris and sheer incompetence was to blame. The aircraft carrier that was supposed to accompany it ran aground in the West Indies, its commander Admiral Tom Phillips thought that Japanese aircraft did not have the range to reach it, that their pilots were incompetent, and that the ship’s anti-aircraft weapons were invincible.

It would be interesting to know who brought Parton to New Zealand, and whether there is any coincidence in the timing, with the Select Committee due to deliberate on overseas interference in our politics very soon. It does look like interference in our politics to  me, this time from the UK.

24 comments on “More political interference on Huawei”

  1. McFlock 1

    To a certain degree, I think everyone’s correct.

    I think large Chinese tech companies operate more closely with the government than large US/UK companies, but these vulnerabilities are known and can be worked around by most decent security protocols, and one shouldn’t assume that the yanks are pristine either.

    I also think that this situation is being exploited by mainstream Western/Northern types in order to offset the weakness in leadership displayed in US/UK at the moment.

    I also suspect that the F35 is a good sensor suite, but an expensive piece of crap for most purposes.

    BTW, the HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently at sea, but the process of working up to operational certification takes a while for a large asset like that. As a comparison, the Liaoning (a similar vessel) took four years from commissioning to full readiness.

  2. Anne 2

    Thanks to Mike Smith for your post and McFlock for your response.

    Those of us who come from Britain or had a father in the British military will identify with Mike’s comments. My father, a British soldier for close on 20 years, left because of the idiocy of the ‘top brass’. He came to NZ and joined the NZ Army and found it was no better.

    McFlock is right imo. Most of us can identify with aspects of both sides – pro and anti Chinese. In my case , I really like the Chinese people who live here. The Chinese government not so much.

    The notion they are ‘different from us’ is hogwash. But the Brits have been brainwashed into believing that the Chinese are evil for the past century. It takes time to overcome such mantras it would seem.

  3. Exkiwiforces 3

    I think you would probably find the Mr Parton was invited by it’s New Zealand sister organisation? I wouldn’t go knocking the RUI over this, as they do release some very interesting papers over the years and the last couple I have talk about CC, Water or the lack of water in the future, arable land or the lack of arable land in the future, Sea Lanes Of Communications/ Freedom Of Navigation on the sea and couple on Peacekeeping ie funding and the cost of maintaining Peacekeeping Forces in Rasie, Trained and Sustain which Taxpayers, Politicians and various NGO’s forget that maintaining a Peacekeeping Trained Forces is more expensive than maintaining a Warlike postured Force which is cheaper to maintain.

    As for the QE Class Carriers, I don’t think we’ll see them down in SEA or SP waters any time soon?
    1, The RN has been hammered by the Tories with cuts to the FAA, Carriers (3 Invincible Classes and HMS Ocean the LPH).
    2, The Escort Fleet has been hammered as well, both under the Labour and the Tories ie the Type 45 was meant to replace the Type 42 for like for like, but was reduced to 6 Type 45’s, the Type 22’s were flog off without replacement and the Type 23 now has to have LEP as the Type 26 design to replace the 22’s and 23’s hasn’t hit the water yet and that’s before we even start talking about Type 31 GP Frigate as there is only 8 Type 26’s been ordered so far and again it’s was meant to be a like for like replacement for the 22’s and 23’s.
    3, Manning and Morale thoughout the RN and RFA is at an all low time. With only the RM’s maintaining its Manning requirements atm.
    4, There is only 48 V/STOL JSF’s been ordered out of the 150 odd JSF’s under Joint Force JSF (RAF/ RNFAA) which is the bare minimum to kit out one QE and I think the QE’s can take up to 50 or 60 JSF’s. The RAF is are playing silly politics yet again and trying to reduce the V/STOL version IOT to have move JSF A versions.

    I think I’ve led a few astray over the British Carrier/s that was meant to join up with Z Force in Singers in late 41-early 42. According to a book ive just finished reading called,
    The illustrious & Implacable Classes Aircraft Carrier 1940- 1969 by Neil Mccart. States “ It’s has been widely reported that following HMS Indomitable workup was due to join Z Force at Singers, and that the grounding off Jamaica put paid to this. There is no doubt that in the long term the Carrier might have well end up in the Far East, but examination of the Admiralty War Diary shows if the workup had gone to plan she would’ve end up at the Rock.” HMS Formidable was the other Carrier as well, but both ended up transporting RAF Fighters to SEA in the end and if both of them were part of Z Force at the time they may have been sunk as well as the current FAA Fighters (Fulmars and Sea Hurricanes) would’ve been outclassed by IJN Zero Fighters.

    My apologies if I have mentioned about these two RN Carriers joining Z Force. Its only when you find other books on the history of some of HMS Ships as a result of me building model ships of HMS/ Commonwealth Naval vessels, that you find the real story behind those very dark days of 1941 & 1942.

    • Dukeofurl 3.1

      What Zero fighters. There were lots of might have been for ships and submarines that were there. You can’t imagine up fighters when the Japanese bombers and other planes were at the limits of their range from bases at Saigon

      • Exkiwiforces 3.1.1

        Assuming that Force Z that includes Carrier support and survive the long range bomber sortie by elments the IJN and IJAAF out of Saigon. Then based on the known facts and assumptions it’s highly probable that Force Z would’ve met it maker of the Combine fleet of the INJ which entered the AO after it’s Pacific sortie on Pearl. If we then include the other allied Naval assets within the Java Sea AO, then the outcome would be still the same as IJN tactics were far superior to the Allied Naval Forces within the Java Sea, Singapore and the Phillipines AO’s. The IJN Zero at the time was most superior Naval Aircraft in world at until the Hellcat appeared in late 42 – early 43.

        The current available RNFAA Fighters at were the Fulmars and Sea Hurricanes along with numbers carried on the two Illustrious Armoured Fleet Carriers and compare to the numbers (Zero Fighters and Carriers) of the IJN Combined Fleet. It would’ve been a forlorn hope of any success of the British Far East if had been in-situ.

        Having flown and sailed over that area so many times, base on the known facts and assumptions. I don’t think the RN, Commonwealth and other Allied Ships would’ve survived the IJN Combined Fleet. But knowing history of the RN they would’ve down fighting and made sure the Japs got more than a blood nose.

      • Exkiwiforces 3.1.2

        You got me think over dinner and I had to dive into study to my books written the late famous RNFAA Fighter and Navy Test Pilot Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC one liners.

        Fairey Fulmar- A dolly of an aircraft but lacking teeth as a fighter.

        Hawker Sea Hurricane- Filled critical gaps in defence or our early Atlantic and Arctic convoys.

        Grumman Hellcat- The Conqueror of the ubiquitous Japanese Zero and top kill rate fighter of WW2.

        Mitsubishi Zero-Sen- Japanese philosophy on aerial combat gave a highly manoeuvrable aeroplane, but one that afforded its pilot little protection.

        Wings of the Navy, Testing British and US Navy Carrier Aircraft
        Wings of the Weird and Wonderful
        Wings of the Luftwaffe
        These 3 books are a wonderful reading and even his one liners bring a giggle, like the-
        Blackburn Firebrand- Built like a battleship and flew like one. A deck landing horror.
        Fairey Barracuda- An ugly duckling with plenty of faults and few virtues.
        Westland (Eagle) Wyvern- A precursor of the turbo- prop version. Big, draggy and heavy. In the event of engine failure it glided like a streamlined brick.
        And this one, General Aircraft Gal/56- They don’t come much worse than this.

        • Sanctuary 3.1.2.1

          If Force Z had included a carrier it would have been sunk as well, because the British (along with everyone else) had no idea of the sophistication of their opponents Naval aviation and British Naval aviation was not designed to fight the sort of Naval war the Japanese were capable of.

          The fate of the British far Eastern Empire was sealed in May and June 1940. People forget how much of a black swan event the defeat of France in 1940 was to contemporaries. France in 1940 was thought the greatest land power in the world with the most respected army and most sophisticated military thinkers, all securely behind the impregnable Maginot line. The defeat of France and the securing of the Benelux and France’s economic resource transformed German military power – it was only because of the capture of French resources that Barbarossa was feasible in 1941.

          For the Royal Navy, the fall of France – along with a catastrophic strategic miscalculation by Churchill – basically threw all their pre-war planning assumptions down the toilet. The RN had four missions in 1939. To assist the French in the Mediterranean with a small fleet, to contain and defeat the German surface fleet in the North Sea and North Atlantic, to protect merchant shipping crossing the Atlantic from submarines and finally to build up a sufficient reserve to dispatch a significant force to defend the fortress of Singapore and Malaya from the Japanese.

          After the fall of France, the RN found itself in a full on four front war it had never anticipated in even it’s worst case scenarios. The situation in the Mediterranean now saw the British having to confront the Italian fleet alone, and without the use of French bases in North Africa. Churchill’s hopeless decision to fight the Germans in Greece saw the RN taking heavy losses in the Med (on top of the losses in the Atlantic) from mid 1941 onwards.

          The submarine threat went from easily containable to an emergency once German U-Boats were able to use the French Atlantic ports. The British had to embark on a crash program of building ocean escorts at the same time as they were trying to repair and replace capital units and were being heavily bombed. New heavy units were either rushed prematurely into service or delayed, whilst existing units were over worked.

          The upshot was there was nothing left for the far east, and British strategy – which depended on a viable fleet operating from Singapore – was a busted flush.

          As for “hubris” the British were not alone is massively underestimating the Japanese. Having said that, it should be remembered that the British had plenty of experience of being attacked by multi-engine torpedo bombers in the Mediterranean (the Italian S.79 was actually faster than the Japanese G4M) and while they had suffered some losses they considered dive bombers a much greater threat to a fleet in the open sea than torpedo bombers, and Force Z was careful to stay out of the range of any land based dive bombers. HMS Prince of Wales was a modern battleship and had one of the most advanced AA suites in the world in early 1942, and the British thought her more than capable of dealing with multi-engine bomber attacks.

          Tom Phillips was basically on a hiding to nothing with Force Z. The results of the previous 26 months of war meant his ships had not had time to properly train, his fleet was too small and, his opponents were far better than anyone anywhere had suspected. Force Z was doomed because it had inadequate combat power for the task it was given.

          • Exkiwiforces 3.1.2.1.1

            I fully agree with what you said and I have a book called Fortress Singapore, which says that the build of the Far East Fleet Base was doom from the start as there was “no Fleet in being” and base on an awful lot of assumptions. That’s before we even start looking at Army, RAF and the overall Defence of Malaya and Singers, which in itself would make an interesting book.

            I think Mr Norman Friedman and DK Brown may disagree over PoW’s AA suite. I have a couple of articles on Force Z dealing with the lack of Air Cover and the handing of Force Z from a political level to it demise which makes for some somber reading.

            The final article I have is comparing Force Z and the British Naval Task Force sent to the Falklands, which is a bit a of eye opener as well.

            • Sanctuary 3.1.2.1.1.1

              I said the British thought PoW was capable of dealing with twin engined bombers. Events showed they were wrong.

              You might like this piece on British Naval AA and the flawed HACS:

              http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-066.php

              I would hate to think about the massacre that would have occurred if the Fleet Air Arm in Fulmars and Swordfish had tried to take on the Combined Fleet’s Zeros.

              • Exkiwiforces

                My apologies, I should’ve read your bit on PoW AA Suite of weapons a bit more carefully and me having breakfast before I start commenting at 0630 local time.

                Thanks for the link on the HACS, as I’ve been trying to track down a picture of a MK3 HACS with Yagi antennas fitted.

                I’ve got a 3vol set dealing with the Air Campaign in SEA by Chris Shore & others and the first two volumes is quite somber reading as Mike Smith would know from Uncle’s side of the family.

  4. Ad 4

    What complete tosh you talk on this Mike.

    You sound more and more like an old Brit coming into an RSA and arm waving with your bangers-and-mash-logic rum tot to rum tot: it’s 5G security, it’s the CIA, it’s gunboat diplomacy, the Boxer Rebellion, it’s aircraft carriers are appearing over the horizon. What-ho.

    You are identical to Charlie Parton.

    Splash your face with cold water Mike and harden up to reality.

    This is what political interference looks like.
    From Parliament today.

    Minister Shane Jones, telling Simon Moutter the CE of Spark that he is basically a traitor for releasing a statement to the sharemarket about an interim GCSB report on the Huawei 5G equipment.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12212427

    Jones believed no statement from Spark had been necessary last November because there had been no finality to the 5G plan.

    “The board of Spark and the CEO are there to advance the interests of their own shareholders. The Government exists to advance the interests of the nation which are demonstrably larger than Simon Moutter or the directors of that particular company.

    “The effect of his statement ricocheted around the world.”

    Moutter weaponised a draft GCSB report to support Huawei’s commercial interests, which also happen to support China’s interests, amazingly.

    http://www.bryangould.com/trade-should-be-between-equals/

    Minister Jones and Bryan Gould are at one accord today. Gould comments:
    “Our trade with China does not and should not preclude us from standing up for ourselves, whether on security matters or on issues of internal political interference.”

    What you are proposing is the reverse: follow Moutter’s play and presume every time the government has a security opinion there’s some conspiracy. Your opinion just happens to favour one of the largest corporates in the world.

    Every time we give ground on such issues, we encourage our trading partners to believe that pressure works and to demand that we yield further to that pressure.

    The rest of this government are so far up the capacious ass of business you can’t see their feet.

    Gould again:
    “And if our trade with China is, as it should be, a trade between equals, we should not only be entitled to maintain our stance on issues that are important to us, but should also be able to ask for changes in the policies of our trading partner. The difficulty we face in respect of Huawei is not of our making but is the direct consequence of the Chinese practice of establishing major Chinese companies as arms of the Chinese state.”

    Jones said it even clearer: defend this country, and let GCSB be a part of government that does that.

    Well time you joined the dots and stopped agreeing with Fran O’Fucking Sulivan.

    • kiwi af 4.1

      Ad your comment is inane and bereft of any semblance of thought on this issue. No need to get all cotton-mouthed over polio vaccines, water fluoridation or other commie plots either…. there’s facts in the middle of any ideological debate.

      I’ve served as pen-tester and could easily say we should not be buying a lot of Israeli and American products because of their inferior quality. Sophos, F5 and Checkpoint come to mind. Huawei don’t have a great record either, but Cisco and Juniper have just as many CVE’s to their name. So what can you do?

      With regard to security it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. Yes Huawei have issues, they get patched, so what? Cisco patch their bugs too, (or not, in the case of ‘backdoor bugs’ found since the failure of the Skipjack/Clipper programme…)

      In security and safety there is a moral duty to do your job with professionalism, diligence, and without bias, fear or favour. Lives depend on computer systems in this day and age. Just look at Venezuela, the cat isn’t out of the bag yet so I can’t speculate, but that power outage caused deaths in hospitals. And some accounts report that the US knew about the power outage before the Maduro regime did…

      One issue I haven’t seen raised yet is who has control over lawful intercept features, and the keys to sign code for ‘secure’ firmware bootloaders. The US are set to lose a lot of remote access and see less ‘metadata’ egress their way by switching to Huawei, flip side is China would get more. I simply think we need more sovereignty over our data.

      • SPC 4.1.1

        Ad’s comment was neither inane not bereft of thought it was a useful summary of an important part of this story.

        Because Spark has a commercial advantage over competitiors from early adoption of 5G – for them via Huawei, they have been agitating over the issue of any delay caused by GCSB vetting of Huawei 5G.

        Sure his decision to start with a riposte of the tone of M Smith’s starter was in kind, and certainly not without thought. And if it was reactive, no more than your own jumping in in the same vein.

        You wrote

        “In security and safety there is a moral duty to do your job with professionalism, diligence, and without bias, fear or favour. Lives depend on computer systems in this day and age.”

        Which reinforces the point he made, we must take a considerable amount of time over this – not be rushed by Spark.

        We should not be the canary in the goldmine – let other nations roll out 5G and watch and learn from the security vulnerabilities that are exposed – because surely viruses are going to spread more dangerously with faster data transmission and connection to smart devices.

    • Mark 4.2

      “The difficulty we face in respect of Huawei is not of our making but is the direct consequence of the Chinese practice of establishing major Chinese companies as arms of the Chinese state.”

      Gould is a fucking idiot. True or not (and it is bullshit), consider the following:

      * New Zealand went into an FTA with China 10 years ago, no arm twisting by China or anything like that, fully aware of the nature of the Chinese business, economic, and political system.

      * New Zealand signed an agreement allowing fair and equal access and competition for Chinese companies. If ‘major Chinese companies are…arms of the Chinese state’, then that was the case 10 years ago as it is today, when NZ signed the agreement.

      * New Zealand has benefited enormously from the FTA. It helped us ride out the worst effects of the GFC.

      * It is completely outrageous that suddenly NZ turns around and tells China, that contrary to the terms of the FTA, we will ban one of their flagship companies on no real evidence of wrongdoing, but simply because of the alleged nature of the business environment in China. This should have been taken into account when NZ signed the damned agreement, and if NZ could not stomach doing business with a ‘communist’ state, we should not have signed it.

      * An analogy is you enjoy a meal at a restaurant with a D rating for hygiene, the hygiene certificate clearly on display beforehand. You eat and enjoy your meal, and then refuse to pay because of the low hygiene rating.

      * New Zealand’s actions would be akin to the above. New Zealand by banning Huawei will very likely be in breach of the FTA, and China will then be fully justified in taking retaliatory measures.

      • Ad 4.2.1

        Bans of companies happen all the time in China.
        It’s harder to hear about them because the media and the regulatory systems are weaker.

        We small countries are the rule-dependent ones; China doesn’t need rules.
        China simply dominates markets.

    • Mark 4.3

      Another reading is Jones is saying, actually there is still a chance for Huawei to build our 5G. The door is not shut yet. Don’t piss off the Chinese yet, at least until we really have to, otherwise you are threatening our 28 billion of trade with them.

      Jones was being entirely sensible. He has essentially reminded the government that rejecting Huawei will have significant economic repercussions for this country.

      • Ad 4.3.1

        So long as our GCSB OK’s that, I would welcome Huawei 5G.

        • SPC 4.3.1.1

          You have more trust in the decision of GCSB being based on the facts, rather than government direction than I do. But I would surmise the longer it took to make a decision, the more likely it would be the right one (as matters are clarified over time – based on real world practice information becoming available).

      • SPC 4.3.2

        Yes there is that chance of Huawei 5G down the line.

        He is noting there is no need to rush a decision and he has criticised Spark for trying to agitate the issue to pressure the government to decide now, when that is not the smart thing to do.

        There is some doubt whether blocking Huawei would actually result in significant economic repercussions. Given others will have, or will, decide on this before us, we can observe what China does in each case. If others do not, it cannot be expected we alone then would.

    • Mike Smith 4.4

      Ad you seem to have completely misunderstood the purport of Shane Jones’ remarks which was to attack Moutter for potentially jeopardising New Zealand’s relationship with its trading partner China by revealing the GCSB blockage in advance of any Government decision. Make of that what y ou will.

      The fact that Moutter was required to disclose the information by NZ Stock Exchange rules just means that Shane Jones is not always a reliable source. Most people have known that for ages.

      For your information I am old and not a Brit but was partly educated there as well as in the US, do like bangers and mash but don’t drink rum. I also read widely.

      • Sam 4.4.1

        If a CEO produces a public statement for public consumption about his company or a competitor or who ever then it’s still a public statement and any one can trade on that. That’s not against any rule, in fact weapons manufactures will regularly put out full page ads talking up there systems and talking down other systems all the time. It’s nothing new.

  5. KJT 5

    The UK projecting Marine power?

    Laugh. They don’t even have enough merchant ships under their flag to redo the Falklands, let alone challenging China.

    Same with New Zealand. We will have to charter ships from China, to supply our military.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Should we be looking though at the technical? Yes. Otherwise it is advance with science – how marvellous – with the latest travelling magician showing us scientific marvels that will be another step towards Scientific Paradise – Living on the Moon or Mars.

    Also is this new process going to take us further along the path of diminishing human thought, endeavour and philosophy so that we have to be obedient to people who are obedient to machines that are supposed to be under the control of a shadowy bunch of part-humans (many of whom having inserted high technology into their bodies to give them super-human functions)? Yes.

    Are we deluded? Yes. Are we rational? No. Are we in love with clever ideas and
    algorithms as powerful as any secret code put about by ancient cults? Yes. Do we want to know anything that could raise doubts about the short, medium and long term deleterious effects of the current craze? No.

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