I Spy a Lie or Why Spy

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Let's
get all the facts in line over China, and see if we can figure out
who's at fault.

  1. The
    incident occurred beyond the twelve-mile boundary, in International
    Waters, but within the 200 mile Economic Interest zone where
    China claims the right to intercept military vessels, exactly
    like the United States claims the right to intercept military
    (including reconnaissance) vessels within 200 miles of our shores.
  2. Our
    plane is an EP-3, four prop, high-tech, electronic surveillance
    plane with a crew of 24. It's land based, not carrier based.
  3. The
    Chinese sent two F-8 jets to intercept our spy plane.
  4. This
    sort of spy and intercept game had been going on for months.
  5. Our
    plane was damaged on the bottom of the nose, on the underside
    of the left wing, and on the left prop.
  6. The
    Chinese fighter crashed into the South China Sea, the pilot
    is missing and presumed dead.
  7. The
    other Chinese fighter requested his ground command grant him
    permission to fire, but was denied.
  8. The
    US plane safely landed at a Chinese military base on the island
    of Hainan.
  9. The
    Navy says the plane was on autopilot, and therefore should have
    been in a level, stable flight.
  10. The
    Navy adds that since the plane was on autopilot, it may have
    reached a waypoint and made a sudden banked turn.

Here
are a few observations and leading questions that are up to you
to mull over.

  • The
    terms "agile, quick, and smaller" are thrown around
    to describe the fighters, in order to make the EP-3 look like
    a freight train lumbering through the sky, as though its path
    is somehow immutable. The fact is that the plane is maneuverable,
    if not as fast as a fighter. This is not a 747. Keep that
    in mind, and redraw any cartoon images of gnats buzzing around
    a buffalo to proper perspective.

  • If
    I were a Chinese military strategist, and knew the profile of
    this particular spy plane, as well as the routine, I would equip
    several interceptor-style military jets with jamming devices
    and send them right up next to the plane to blast bad Chinese
    pop music and "Paper Tiger" speeches by Chairman Mao
    across all frequencies, to generally make electronic eavesdropping
    difficult.

  • If
    I were a pilot of one of the Chinese planes so equipped, I would
    fly as close as possible to the plane's antennae, and since
    the plane (in the air) is monitoring communications (on, and
    emanating from the ground), the best place to fly would be between
    the plane and the ground, coincidentally the location of the
    damage to the US plane. This leads to another question. Who
    is more likely to have rammed whom? a fighter with a glass canopy
    and clear visibility above, flying underneath a plane, or a
    low wing plane flying above said fighter. Position aside, why
    would a smaller Chinese jet intentionally ram a larger US twin
    prop? If they wanted to bring it down, certainly a missile or
    even guns would work better than a kamikaze mission with one
    of China's few fighters and best pilots. Then add in the announcement
    that the plane was on autopilot, and "may" have made
    a sudden turn; suddenly all our military brass denouncing the
    Chinese for ramming us "going on common sense" seems
    a little, well, suspect. (Besides the obvious gig about common
    sense in the military)

  • If
    I were trying to force a plane to land somewhere, I would fly
    above, and in front of it, not below; from the latest reports,
    that's just what the other Chinese pilot did AFTER his comrade
    splashed down.

  • Would
    a US spy plane keep all intercepted transmissions on board,
    or would it package everything up and feed it, encrypted in
    real time to a ship? The Chinese claim their pilot radioed permission
    to shoot the plane down. Wouldn't the most advanced US spy plane
    around have a channel or too dedicated to listening to the communications
    of their unfriendly military escorts less than 400 meters away?
    If so, do we have a recorded radio log of Chinese military communications
    intercepted by our spy plane, or our naval vessels in the area?
    Why don't we play it? Do you think that a damaged spy plane
    headed for hostile territory will have a shred of video, audio,
    or telemetry information left that might indicate that the spy
    plane was in the wrong? That stuff was burned faster than FBI
    forensics about Waco. The Chinese probably don't have any relevant
    cockpit video from their jet either, or we'd already be seeing
    an endless loop-back of Yankee aggression on CNN. So, barring
    recovery of anything interesting from the downed fighter, or
    a freedom of information act request thirty years from now for
    transcripts beamed to any nearby US surface vessels, we're reduced
    to relying on events as told in the sworn testimony of the two
    parties most compelled to lie.

Conspiracy
theories aside, this whole spy plane incident begs a larger question.
What is the reason for spying in the first place? What kind of information
could, should, and would be gathered? We already have satellites
that would alert us to a Chinese invasion fleet even preparing to
steam across the straits to Taiwan, much less the logically and
logistically impossible fleet needed to transport an invasion force
across the Pacific. The
pundits
go on about how China might invade Taiwan. It would
be a shame to see another round in that particular civil war, but
let's not kid ourselves. With our current
aversion to casualties of any kind
, we would sooner mount an
expedition to Mars then defend Taiwan from an invasion from mainland
China. Even if we were ready for another Southeast Asian adventure,
have we learned
nothing about the bloody price of fighting someone else's wars?

Those intent on rousing the specter of the Global Communist Threat
should take a deep breath and remember that another lesson we should
have learned over the last 50 years is that the communist command
economy, and therefore communism itself, doesn't work in the long
run. Maybe that's why China largely left Hong Kong alone when the
British lease was up. The ChiComms learned the lessons of the Great
Leap Forward
far better than the socialist
morons in control of our government,
probably because keeping
a nation of over a billion from starving, and therefore rioting,
is the first priority of the ruling regime. So, give our freedom
loving Taiwanese friends all the satellite pictures of Chinese port
cities and military preparations they want. They can defend their
shores from a mainland invasion that may or may not come. In the
mean time, they can continue to lead the rest of China towards free
markets and freedom by their example.

Setting
aside Taiwan, however, China, and every other nation on the planet
for that matter, is not a conventional military threat to the United
States. "We still need spy planes" and all the cold war
apparatus of government control, the shrill voices cry. "The
Chinese stole all our nuclear secrets, and we have to know what
they're doing!" Folks, the atomic bomb is over 50 years old;
take 10 Kilos of U235 in two separate masses, one shaped like a
pie wedge, one shaped like a sphere, TNT to slam it together to
achieve critical mass, and boom, Manhattan hits the Hudson in one
fell swoop of atomic Hell. So what's the big secret? The argument
over a 5 megaton versus 60 megaton design is so much hairsplitting.
If anything, the fact that the Chinese could walk into the Whitehouse
and buy the latest warhead design is all the more reason to stop
government research on these monstrous devices. Private industry
is much better prepared to guard what are basically trade secrets
than the corrupt pols in DC.

Just
what is China's
nuclear threat?
It's credibly estimated at twenty to our thousands,
but what country would launch even one ICBM against the US? Retaliation
would be so severe as to guarantee destruction. So you always have
the possibility of a suicidal sociopath or two in the military getting
hold of a nuke, right? With a flight time of 30 minutes, and all
kinds of destruct and abort codes controlled by the central (presumably
sane, or at least self-preservationist) military, a “Spies Like
Us” movie scenario gets pretty unlikely.

What
are we left with? The major boogey-men of modern US military thinking
are:

  • Backpack
    Nukes (A Tom Clancy specialty)
  • Terrorist
    suicide bombings (Cole, Khobar Towers, World Trade Center, and
    many more)
  • Domestic
    Terrorism (Tim McVeigh in Oklahoma City)
  • Cyber-Terrorism
    (Mafia-boy takes down Yahoo)
  • Biological
    Weapons (Anthrax from a Cessna over New York)
  • Chemical
    Weapons (Nerve Gas, etc.)

Rather
than trying to rate the likelihood of these events happening or
recurring, lets ask the simple question of whether or not sticking
our troops, spy planes, CIA and FBI Agents, submarines, Jets, and
Tomahawk missiles all over the world increases or decreases the
chances of any one taking place. The answer is simple when you consider
that the Swiss don't have a problem with Islamic fundamentalists
blowing holes in their Destroyers. If you need more than thought
experiment evidence, Chalmers Johnson has dedicated an entire
book
to the cause and effect relationship between our interventions
and the repercussions.

On
the cyber-terror front, we have hackers capable of the monstrous
terror of defacing a government
web site
and taking down online services for a few hours before
backbone providers could react. Gasp, I can't check my stocks every
5 minutes! These annoyances are painted by our government into some
twisted Terminator-futurescape a few mouse-clicks away, with the
Yellow-Terror Chinese government capable of opening Hoover Dam's
flood gates or turning off power in California with the press of
a button in Nanking. Please, the Communists in California already
took care of the second. The “government must do something” crowd
crows for the Office
of Government Email Screening
, Internet Strangulation, and Taxation
along with $5 Billion in funding.

Which
do you fear more: Some bored teenager doing the equivalent of a
graffiti job on your website, or being permanently added to a government
database thanks to the NSA intercepting your Lew Rockwell page views
and tagging you as a potential "trouble maker". For that
matter, are you more afraid of the threat of a terrorist poisoning
your drinking water, or an IRS audit?

So,
what are we spying for anyhow? Jude Wanniski puts it perfectly when
he describes “those
watchdogs who bark at any rustling in the trees”.
What information
could be gleaned by these same cloak-and-dagger goofballs who missed
the impending collapse of the Soviet Union? Nothing.

Here's
all the information they need: The Chinese have not, are not preparing
to, and could not militarily invade the US. They are greatly deterred
from a nuclear war with us. When the Chinese government spies on
us, they get all the info the need from their
men at the top.
Why not shoot the traitors in our midst, and
stop spying on the Chinese. Better yet, strip our government of
anything foreign governments would want, and avoid the problem altogether.

April
11, 2001

John Keller
[send
him mail]
owns a Technology
Consulting
and a Real
Estate
business in Atlanta, GA.

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