Spooked!

Written By: - Date published: 2:52 pm, November 29th, 2018 - 29 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, China, economy, tech industry, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:

The GCSB ban on Spark’s use of Huawei technology means this government  has gone from “honest broker” to poodle in a very short time. Pressure has been applied by the US and others, apparently fearing we are the “soft underbelly” of the Five Eyes spy network. Maybe its time we got out of that too – it was designed for war.

GCSB Minister Andrew Little argues that the GCSB decision is about the technology not the country. Nobody else believes that, certainly not the lobbyists and commentators including security analyst Adam Boileau, who said that argument didn’t make a lot of sense. He says Huawei’s engineering is pretty good. He also said this:

If all our networks and systems are provided by someone who one day we might expect to be in a shooting war with, then the ability to turn off all our communications systems might be a concern.

If indeed there is a concern in the GCSB that we might some day be in a shooting war with China,  then the government and the GCSB should tell us now so we can tell them what we think about that. And there is some evidence that our Five Eyes partner the US is beginning to think like that. Their 2018 National Defense Strategy says:

Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea.
It goes on to say:
New commercial technology will change society and, ultimately,the character of war. The fact that many technological developments will come from the commercial sector means that state competitors and non-state actors will also have access to them, a fact that risks eroding the conventional overmatch to which our Nation has grown accustomed. Maintaining the Department’s technological advantage will require changes to industry culture, investment sources, and protection across the National Security Innovation Base
Looks like “buy America made” or MAGA. On the military side, consultant Patrick Buchanan says:

Buchanan said Huawei was considered a “Trojan horse” into critical telecommunications infrastructure and New Zealand was thought to be the “Achille’s heel” of the Five Eyes.

Buchanan believed that approving Huawei technology could lead to New Zealand being left out of some intelligence sharing. This could have implications not just on national security, but on the security of New Zealand troops deployed in the field.

There’s the war contingency again. At the moment the only place we have troops deployed, and I didn’t think it was in the field, is in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The Australians were ready to follow the US into war against North Korea. If there is any question of our troops being deployed in the field in or against China we should know now.

I’m totally opposed.

.

 

 

 

 

29 comments on “Spooked!”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Maybe its time we got out of that too – it was designed for war.

    And if we’re attacked we will actually be at war. That means that we must have our defences as good as possible.

    If all our networks and systems are provided by someone who one day we might expect to be in a shooting war with, then the ability to turn off all our communications systems might be a concern.

    And he’s right. That means that the government should be making our communications infrastructure in NZ and not buying it in from other countries who, as LPrent pointed out, all have laws requiring that hardware sold to other nations have back doors in them so that that nation can then spy on the other nation. Even the US does.

    There’s the war contingency again.

    Yes.

    Just because we want to be all nice all the time doesn’t mean that there aren’t nasty people out there who will do us harm if they think it will benefit them.

    Or did you miss the 2003 invasion of Iraq?

    We must have adequate defences in place. That’s not optional.

    • Our current friends and allies could well turn in to those “nasty people” if we don’t tow the line
      We don’t have oil but we have land and water
      Assad was recommended for a UK knighthood until he turned down the Qatar /Turkey pipeline
      The French approved of Gadaffi and Gadaffi financed Sarkozy’s election campaign
      Sarkozy stabbed him in the back
      We’re mates with The US. For now
      Think if we stop being so puppishly compliant we’ll still be mates?
      They’ll come to our aid only if its strategically beneficial to them
      Look what happened to Gough Whitlam when he talked of closing down Pine Gap.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        /agreed

      • Anne 1.1.2

        Look what happened to Gough Whitlam when he talked of closing down Pine Gap.

        And they (ASIS and CIA) didn’t confine their meddling activities to Australia. They were in NZ indulging in political tricks of various kinds to various individuals in the 1970s in particular.

    • JohnSelway 1.2

      One of those times we fully agree with each other Draco….

  2. Me too, and I think the issue of NZ being involved in any wars should be rigorously debated.
    Foreign policy is never discussed during election campaigns. Time for it to be included.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    It’s elementary: if China were not pursuing its antique imperial foreign policy, it would not be creating an equal and opposite reaction. The USA has supported China ever since Nixon, and we’re now seeing them wake up to the consequences. Trump’s policy of containment strikes me as sensible and appropriate.

    If there was realistic evidence of America going to war, paranoia would make sense. Otherwise it’s better to avoid hypotheticals. The Nats did turn the 5 eyes into a perceptual problem by getting a little too America-aligned for my liking – I prefer us to be non-aligned, but escalating Chinese militarism does suggest we need to be part of the counter-balance.

    I agree we ought to stay well clear if the US undertook military action against China. That would only occur if China initiated the conflict by striking a neighbouring country which requested help. A Security Council decision vetoed by China would be the signal to watch for. Russia onside with America.

    • Mark 3.1

      “Trump’s policy of containment strikes me as sensible and appropriate.”

      Obama’s pivot to Asia, was part of this containment policy, and China’s current maneuvers in the region are largely in response to that.

      Trump is more interested in trade than anything else.

      Not sure why you prefer American militarism to the Chinese simply wanting greater influence in their part of the world (to counter US influence).

      American militarism is far more aggressive, dangerous, and violent, and spans the entire globe.

      The Chinese territorial claims are long standing (as you imply, and not even as ambitious as the Taiwanese (who also claim the entire South China sea)

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        “American militarism is far more aggressive, dangerous, and violent, and spans the entire globe.” I agree. “Not sure why you prefer American militarism to the Chinese simply wanting greater influence in their part of the world (to counter US influence).” If that were so, I would agree.

        I don’t prefer any kind of militarism. I adopted the non-violence ethic as an adolescent in 1964. I see geopolitics as the art of war-prevention.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      I prefer us to be non-aligned, but escalating Chinese militarism does suggest we need to be part of the counter-balance.

      /agreed

      Being non-aligned does not mean not moving when we need to.

      And we do need to.

      That would only occur if China initiated the conflict by striking a neighbouring country which requested help.

      China has already done that. That is exactly what their moves are in the South China Sea.

      A Security Council decision vetoed by China would be the signal to watch for. Russia onside with America.

      What about China ignoring a general UN ruling that their actions in the South China Sea was illegal?

      As I say – China is already acting aggressively even if they haven’t shot anybody yet.

      • mikesh 3.2.1

        I think that China’s defensive interest in the South China Sea would vitiate any UN resolution of illegality with respect to that area.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          It doesn’t. The UN has already found China’s actions illegal.

          https://www.lawfareblog.com/countering-chinas-actions-south-china-sea

          Instead, shortly after the one-year anniversary of the award, Beijing reportedly threatened Vietnam with military action if Vietnam did not stop drilling in its own exclusive economic zone. Prompted by concerns that Washington did not have its back, Hanoi stopped its operations. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the rest of the international community averted their gaze. This might well come to be regarded as the point when a rules-based order began unraveling in the region. In March and May this year, Vietnam again attempted to drill for oil and gas in its exclusive economic zone, and Beijing issued similar warnings.

          Vietnam is not the only country Beijing has leaned on. Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines have all come under pressure to concede “joint development” in their exclusive economic zones, a term that has come to suggest legitimate overlapping claims: Where there are such claims, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that parties should seek to enter into “provisional arrangements of a practical nature” prior to delimitation of the exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

          Make no mistake, this is a resource grab by China. What should be considered theft. It is unfortunate that the international community is not standing up to China’s aggressive actions.

    • Unicus 3.3

      Spot on.

      I can’t help thinking Mike Smith would have been badgering us about the dastardly Americans behaviour while the Japanese were hammering away at Pearl Harbour and Guadalcanal

      If I remember correctly the plan for NZ last bunch of militarist burst out of Asia – girls to the North Island Boys to the South work them to death and re-colonise the place.

  4. Interesting take. For mine, I’d prefer that we don’t let the People’s Liberation Army have access to our communications infrastructure. Better to look to Europe, where we at least have similar commercial, legal and political frameworks.

  5. Anne 5

    Umm… I think you mean Paul Buchanan Mike Smith – not Patrick… 🙂

    I understand Britain is quite happy with this Huawei technology so why not NZ?

    Has NZ fallen for the paranoid fantasies of the USA? Not for the first time – remember the Cold War years.

    • Dennis Frank 5.1

      Yes, the British nonconformism was mentioned on RNZ. Seems peculiar. I presume our spooks evaluated their stance against those of Oz & USA.

  6. Brutus Iscariot 6

    What we really need to do is the bare minimum to remain palatable to both sides.

    If we have to nix a single Huawei project to stay in 5 Eyes, and by extension remain part of the Australian/US security umbrella, that’s a reasonable tradeoff.

    Telling the US to bugger off at this stage would be foolish. As a trading island nation forced to import most critical goods and supplies, we will choose the power with the capacity to keep the sea-lanes open, and that for now is the US.

    • Anne 6.1

      Pragmatic solution is sometimes the only solution I agree BI. But it does stick in my craw that we are forced by way of circumstances not to be the arbiter of our own decisions – particularly given the appallingly low standards exhibited by the Trump regime.

  7. DJ Ward 7

    I use a Huawei router. You are being monitored with my assistance. Everything you say may be used against you in the closed courts of The People’s Republic of New Zealand. Any speech not compliant with ‘The Standard’ will result in organ donations.

  8. Gabby 8

    I wonder what yanker corporation wants a nice fat juicy contract.

  9. ianmac 9

    No matter who the supplier is, there is certainly a risk to security. There is now and the internet development is always going to be insecure. Will we any more secure if the supplier is say USA? CIA, FBI are immensely trustworthy – aren’t they?

  10. tc 10

    Your only as good as your counter measures and security regardless of where your kit comes from.

    UFB is chock full of Huawei kit already.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    “In August, when Australia announced its ban on 5G Huawei technology it tried to do so in the most low key fashion possible. The 1000-word statement did not mention China, or the Chinese telecommunications equipment giants Huawei or ZTE. Nor did it plainly state the bombshell decision that they are to be banned from building Australia’s new telecommunications network. If you’re getting the impression that the government didn’t want to draw attention to the announcement, you’re right.”
    http://werewolf.co.nz/2018/11/gordon-campbell-on-how-banning-huawei-fits-into-our-new-hostility-towards-china/

    ANZACs were once real tough buggers. Now all we ever seem to get in both govts are spineless creeps. The left & right compete to see who can be the most craven.

  12. Tiger Mountain 12

    regulars at the Standard should know enough about politics and history, to figure out in whose interests the GCSB is acting, and why the Govt. has tamely accepted the spooks advice on Huawei

    the Labour caucus would be lucky to have more than a couple of members with a glimmer of class analysis, the PM has admitted she did not finish reading “Pikkety’s book”–“Capitalism in the 21st Century”, hardly a marxist tome anyway, so she is no left ideologue in any shape or form, any such were well driven from Labour back in the 80s

    of course a lesser evil, reforming, social democratic government must be supported in the face of more destructive years of a National one, but the “skating on thin ice” centrist nature, and age old allegiance to US Imperialism of the current coalition government, like almost all previous NZ Govt.s bar Kirk’s and the 80s nuke free policy, becomes clearer with pressure points like Huawei

    • Anne 12.1

      I reluctantly have to agree with what TM says.

      Norman Kirk was the shining light who lead me to Labour. The 80s Nuke free policy kept me voting Labour. I liked the independence of thought and originality and despite attempts to punish NZ for not falling into line, it actually did the country a power of good. We were forced to be innovative and to stand on our own two feet. And we still bask in an element of international admiration for doing so.

      So, what went wrong? My answer is ‘globalism’ where every country has become intertwined to the extent we have been forced to sell our souls to the global corporate world. I am an electronic illiterate but its plain for all to see that NZ was told to dump Huawei – because 5 Eyes – and we now acquiesce to everything without a murmur.

  13. Exkiwiforces 13

    Sometimes it better the devil you, than the devil you don’t know. China is no saint IRT to Human rights, Freedom of Association/ Speech, the rule of International Law, it’s now has a Leader for life in its one party State and I do see similar parallels to Herr Hitlers climb to power in the 20’s-30’s IRT China. But US the can be seen in similar view as well and the only difference is they speak a common language which is English and they have a sort of a clayton’s democracy than a real democracy.

    Yes I would personally like to see NZ adopt a independent Foreign/ Trade, Aid and Defence Polices, but how much money do you want to spend on these 4 Policy platforms when other sectors within the public system are equally run down?

    The current NZG approach to China atm is rather like a drunk at the roulette table, putting it all on red or black instead of spreading it across the table as normal punter would do, unless you were that lucky punter on the 1st race on NZ Cup day backing the roughy at $96 for 1st place. In other words they are pretending the China problem doesn’t exist or hoping it’s a bad dream that would go away and everything can go back to normal.

  14. Dennis Frank 14

    Audrey Young: “The Australian newspaper a month ago cited an Australian security source for a story saying Chinese intelligence had sought password and network details from Huawei to hack a foreign network. Under the National Intelligence Law passed by China last year, any organisation or citizen can be required to assist with state intelligence work.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=12169149

    In the light of this, anyone advocating for retention of Huawei tech in our national infrastructure will look like a fool! The GCSB made the only realistic decision possible.

    “Peters and GCSB minister Andrew Little have been quick to point out that the GCSB decision is the start of a process and not the end of one. The decision can be reviewed by the Chief Commissioner of Security Warrants. The final decision rests with Little himself, who is able to take into account political considerations such as foreign relationships.”

    Winston says he intends to talk to the Chinese govt about this decision because he thinks they are misinterpreting it. I presume he means the official govt decision hasn’t been made yet, so he’s giving them the opportunity to do some organised lying (in the hope that our govt will swallow it).

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