Orwell’s 1984, present

British Government is enacting a law which requires internet providers to keep information of website visitations and surfings for at a year.

BBC story:

Details of UK website visits ‘to be stored for year’

47 minutes ago
From the section UK Politics 912 comments

Media caption Home Secretary Theresa May: ”The threat is clear”


The internet activity of everyone in Britain will have to be stored for a year by service providers, under new surveillance law plans.

Police and intelligence officers will be able to see the names of sites people have visited without a warrant, Home Secretary Theresa May said.

But there would be new safeguards over MI5, MI6 and the police spying on the full content of people’s web use.
Mrs May told MPs the proposed powers were needed to fight crime and terror.

Follow the latest developments on our live page

The wide-ranging draft Investigatory Powers Bill also contains proposals covering how the state can hack devices and run operations to sweep up large amounts of data as it flows through the internet, enshrining in law the previously covert activities of GCHQ, as uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The draft bill’s measures include:
Giving a panel of judges the power to block spying operations authorised by the home secretary
A new criminal offence of “knowingly or recklessly obtaining communications data from a telecommunications operator without lawful authority”, carrying a prison sentence of up to two years

Local councils to retain some investigatory powers, such as surveillance of benefit cheats, but they will not be able to access online data stored by internet firms

The Wilson doctrine – preventing surveillance of Parliamentarians’ communications – to be written into law
Police will not be able to access journalistic sources without the authorisation of a judge

A legal duty on British companies to help law enforcement agencies hack devices to acquire information if it is reasonably practical to do so

Former Appeal Court judge Sir Stanley Burnton is appointed as the new interception of communications commissioner

Mrs May told MPs the draft bill was a “significant departure” from previous plans, dubbed the “snooper’s charter” by critics, which were blocked by the Lib Dems, and will “provide some of the strongest protections and safeguards anywhere in the democratic world and an approach that sets new standards for openness, transparency and oversight”.

‘Better balance’
But Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights campaign Liberty, said: “After all the talk of climbdowns and safeguards, this long-awaited Bill constitutes a breath-taking attack on the internet security of every man, woman and child in our country.

“We must now look to Parliament to step in where ministers have failed and strike a better balance between privacy and surveillance.”

And Mr Snowden warned the communications data covered by the proposed legislation was “the activity log of your life”.

In a message on Twitter he said: “‘It’s only communications data’ = ‘It’s only a comprehensive record of your private activities’.”

Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.

Media captionAndy Burnham: ”We support the government in its attempt to update the law in this important and sensitive area”

The proposed legislation, which will have to pass votes in both houses of Parliament, would order communications companies, such as broadband firms, to hold basic details of the services that someone has accessed online – something that has been repeatedly proposed but never enacted.

This duty would include forcing firms to hold a schedule of which websites someone visits and the apps they connect to through computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices.

Police and other agencies would be then able to access these records in pursuit of criminals – but also seek to retrieve data in a wider range of inquiries, such as missing people.

Mrs May stressed that the authorities would not be able to access everyone’s browsing history, just basic data, which was the “modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill”.

But investigating officers will not have to obtain a warrant, just get their request signed off by a senior officer, just as they do now – some 517,000 such requests were granted last year.

If officers want to mount more intrusive spying operations, including accessing the content of emails, hacking into computers and tapping phones, they will still need a warrant from the home secretary or another senior minister – 2,700 such warrants were signed last year.

But the draft bill proposes giving a new panel of judges, known as the Investigatory Powers Commission, the ability to veto such requests.

Background briefings on the plans
Will UK spy bill expose porn habits?
Read more: ‘Spying’ powers explained
A new licence for spies and police?

The Commons reacts to spying bill
When police or security agencies apply to intercept someone’s communications, their plans would have to be first signed off by the home secretary but then approved by one of these judges.

In urgent situations, such as when someone’s life is in danger or there is a unique opportunity to gather critical intelligence, the home secretary would have the power to approve an interception warrant without immediate judicial approval.

The judges would also be able to refer serious errors to an outside tribunal which could then decide to tell the individual their data has been illegally collected.

The bill does not propose forcing overseas companies to comply with these orders.

The bulk collection of internet messages flowing through the UK by GCHQ, as revealed by Edward Snowden, is currently in a legal grey area, covered by legislation originally meant for other purposes.

The security services argue they need access to large amounts of data to help them monitor suspected foreign terrorists or criminals deemed to pose a threat to the UK.

The new bill would aim to put bulk collection on a firm legal footing, with the home secretary given the power to issue warrants, as set out in the graph below.

The flow chart to determine

The flow chart to determine

Graphic showing the process for securing authorisation to collect bulk data under the new draft bill – 4 November 2015

The estimated cost to taxpayers of implementing the Bill is about £247m over the next 10 years, including storage of internet connection records and the new warrant approval regime.

The draft bill is a response in part to a review by the government’s terror watchdog, David Anderson QC, who said in June the UK needed a “comprehensive” new surveillance law to replace the current “fragmented” rules.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Mr Anderson gave Mrs May’s proposals “four stars” but said it would be for Parliament to determine the extent of surveillance powers and safeguards.

He said: “This isn’t a licence for the police to simply prowl over everything you have been doing, but I quite accept that a lot of data is being kept by these service providers and under the government’s proposals it would be kept for a very long time.”

Person using computer keyboardImage copyrightPA

This creates “obvious risks” he said, adding: “I simply wouldn’t vote for this unless I had been very substantially satisfied that those risks had been minimised.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Andy Burnham backed the draft bill, saying it was “neither a snooper’s charter nor a plan for mass surveillance”.

Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said it was a “much improved model” of the legislation he blocked during the coalition government but said the “devil would be in the detail”.


This is the added element into the British paranoia of terrorist attacks. For almost fifty years, Britons endured the threat of terrorist attacks which include bombing in public places which started by the Irish Republic Army. Now, its the Islamic State self proclaimed ‘Jihadists’.

United Kingdom is now a “Surveillance State”, where the nation boasts the highest number of surveillance cameras in the world at the ratio of  there is one every eleven people.

Telegraph story:

One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey

Britain has a CCTV camera for every 11 people, a security industry report disclosed, as privacy campaigners criticised the growth of the “surveillance state”.


One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey
Photo: ALAMY
David Barrett By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent6:30PM BST 10 Jul 2013 Comments128 Comments
The British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) estimated there are up to 5.9 million closed-circuit television cameras in the country, including 750,000 in “sensitive locations” such as schools, hospitals and care homes.
The survey’s maximum estimate works out at one for every 11 people in the UK, although the BSIA said the most likely figure was 4.9 million cameras in total, or one for every 14 people.
Both projections were higher than previous estimates which ranged between 1.5 million and four million.
Simon Adcock, of the BSIA, said: “This study represents the most comprehensive and up to date study undertaken into the number of CCTV cameras in use in the UK.
“Because there is no single reliable source of data no number can ever be held as truly accurate however the middle of our range suggests that there are around five million cameras.”

He added: “Effective CCTV schemes are an invaluable source of crime detection and evidence for the police. For example, in 2009 95 per cent of Scotland Yard murder cases used CCTV footage as evidence.”
But Nick Pickles, director of the privacy campaign Big Brother Watch, said: “This report is another stark reminder of how out of control our surveillance culture has become.
“With potentially more than five million CCTV cameras across country, including more than 300,000 cameras in schools, we are being monitored in a way that few people would recognise as a part of a healthy democratic society.
“This report should be a wake up call that in modern Britain there are people in positions of responsibility who seem to think ‘1984’ was an instruction manual.”
The survey included all cameras in public and private areas, regardless of whether the images are recorded or watched “live”.
It estimated there are between 291,000 and 373,000 cameras in public sector schools, plus a further 30,000 to 50,000 in independent schools.
Surgeries and health centres have an estimated 80,000 to 159,000, while there are believed to be between 53,000 and 159,000 cameras in restaurants, the report said.


The ability to fulfil the objective of having access to anyone’s internet surfing history is practical if the website is not encrypted. Encryption is the key success factor to protect breach of information to unauthorised user and preserving secrecy and privacy.

Then again, the Home Ministry proposal to ban encrypted messages within UK communicators was attacked as “Economically irresponsible”.

Telegraph story:

Banning encryption would be economically irresponsible and ultimately futile

Forcing companies like WhatsApp and Snapchat to design security flaws in their software opens the door to everyone, not just benevolent spies

Home Secretary Theresa May is considering the idea of giving senior judges the right to sign off intercept warrants

By Adam Afriyie MP10:55AM GMT 03 Nov 2015Comments122 Comments

The Government’s first duty must always be defend and protect British citizens, so I am delighted that it has kept cybersecurity firmly at the top of the political agenda.
In the same way that poorly implemented “stop and search” often exacerbated problems in the past, I worry that we could go down the same route with encryption technology.

Encryption keeps our details safe from fraudsters when we bank or pay for goods online and when we send private or commercially sensitive messages. It ensures that our passwords can’t be stolen by hackers and that we can keep our information safely on our computers.

The Government is rightly concerned about the risks of digital encryption technology, in the same way that it was concerned about invisible ink, encoded letters and faxes in the past.

If there is substance to rumours of a crackdown on encryption in the publication of new Investigatory Powers legislation, it would be as mistaken as it would be ineffective.
“Banning technology does not get rid of it”
Banning technology does not get rid of it. It either makes criminals of millions of normal internet users, or designates it the reserve of established criminals like drug dealers and terrorists.
Once a technology exists, you can’t wish it away, even if you underpin your objections with legislation. In China, where the Government has gone to great lengths to ban Facebook, an estimated 64 million people have slipped through the net.

Trying to enforce the unenforceable is a waste of taxpayers’ money and an unnecessary distraction for law enforcement agencies.
Let’s also remember that encryption is hugely beneficial to online security. To take one example, digital currencies rely on encryption to transparently verify online transactions. A record of every single digital currency payment is kept online independently, meaning that it is completely transparent and verifiable. Encryption therefore makes these transactions easier – not harder – to track.

If a criminal wants to remain invisible, they will stay offline, where the Government can’t track their conversations, emails or money transfers. The security services must embrace and adapt to popular, market-driven and ubiquitous innovations rather than seeking to put a billion horses back in the stable.

Knowledge of encryption is widespread in the technical and academic world. The futility of fighting dispersed knowledge of this kind would make book-burning look like a successful strategy.

Making encryption illegal in the UK will also push technical experts, businesses and entrepreneurs from our shores. Our welcoming and dynamic ecosystem of fast-growing technology clusters is attracting ever more businesses to Britain. Mixed messages from the Government about encryption risks warning off investors and businesses looking for their next base.
Encryption is the basis of many innovative companies that want to build trust with customers by keeping users’ details secure. We should be helping, not punishing the most successful cyber-security companies. Britain must remain open to the jobs and investments these companies bring. So let’s not endanger a job-creating, wealth-creating industry with clumsy laws.
Forcing companies to design security flaws in their encryption software opens the door to everyone, not just benevolent Governments. It would be ludicrous to ask for a “back door” for the security services, without recognising that it would undermine the integrity of the whole system. The security that encryption technology brings helps us all to feel safe online. If you remove that security then the trust between consumers and providers breaks down. That’s bad for consumers and potentially fatal for businesses.
“It is futile to fight the mathematics of encryption”
It is futile to fight the mathematics of encryption. The Government is right to continue with its tried-and-tested policy of asking companies to retain records of when, with whom and for how long people communicate, subject to proper judicial oversight.
A simple update of the existing powers to cover new technologies is really all that’s required. Companies that design internet communication software will now want to comply, if only to emphasise the point that an outright ban is unnecessary. This consensual approach will undoubtedly be the ultimate outcome, as the Government has recognised that a heavy-handed approach to encryption technology won’t work.
Banning apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat won’t work
We will stand a better chance of defeating cyber-crime by directing our efforts precisely rather than punishing millions of users in one fell swoop. If we’re serious about the emergence of digital Britain, now is the time to prove it. This requires sensible measures, not a knee-jerk response that could undermine an industry with the potential to keep Britain at the forefront of the global race.
Let’s go after the criminals, not the technology.
Adam Afriyie is Conservative MP for Windsor, Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and a former IT entrepreneur


The debate now would be between the extreme advocates of privacy, access to free and uncensored information and personal rights and the paranoids of law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community.

Striking the balance between infringement on privacy and rights to have access to information and provide a blanket of security for the people against the enemies of state operating in the cybersphere as the main propaganda and recruitment enabler, is a very complex and abstract art of politics.

Considering Britain had a fair brutal and horrifying share of terrorist attacks in the past ten years, being paranoid is anytime much better than ‘getting wiser after the event’.

The organised 7 July 2005 London bus bombing near Tavistock Square and London Tube underground bombings at Edgware Rd station and King’s Cross-St Pancras station where 52 innocent people died and 700 others injured is forever resided as ghastly nightmare for Britons.

The back breaking challenge is to have the safeguard against the abuse of this law against ordinary people. In the information age where there are 1 billion smart phones and 1.5 billion Facebook accounts, it is very important that these tools are not misused for sinister purposes as well as preserving privacy and private information.

Philosophy fictional author prophecised this in his 1949 book ‘1984’.

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 03:30  Leave a Comment  

Lessons to Paracels XXV: Bald Eagle and Panda must explain the showing of claws

Defence Minister Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Hussein wanted United States and China to explain their recent project of force in an international waterway which is supposed to be a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality (ZOPFAN).

The Malay Mail online story:

Hishammuddin: Malaysia to seek explanations from China, US over presence of warships near Spratly Islands

Monday November 2, 2015
10:24 PM GMT+8



KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Malaysia will seek explanations from China and the United States (US) over the presence of their warships in Spratly Islands, during the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and 3rd ADMM-Plus which kick off in Subang tomorrow.

Malaysia’s Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he strongly believed that the latest development on that particular issue would be brief by his counterparts, General Chang Wanquan from China and US Secretary of Defence Dr Ashton Carter during their meeting.

“I will be looking forward to be briefed on the latest development if it really involved the movement of assets between both sides.

“It is very difficult for me to say anything now because I’m not sure what is the latest development on the issue,” he told a press conference today after the final-round inspection of preparations for the ADMM Retreat and ADMM-Plus from Nov 3 to 5 in Subang, near here.

It was reported that the controversy centred on a swath of territory in the South China Sea that contains the Spratly Islands when Chinese officials condemned a US ship’s passage near the disputed islands recently.

Asked whether Malaysia welcomed United States’ challenge on China over the disputed islands, Hishammuddin said he only welcomed any movement that would not disrupt stability in this region.

China, Taiwan and Asean members, namely the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, have been wrangling over ownership and control of the South China Sea, a resource-rich and busy waterway, in a conflict that has flared on and off for decades.

Hishammuddin said the 10 Asean countries should be united as a bloc.

“That is something that I put as my responsibility as long as I chair the Asean (Defence Ministers’ Meeting),” he said.

On another note, he said the Asean countries were closely monitoring the situation in the world, especially on what was happening in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, and in other countries.

“As our region’s stability will also depend on how they conduct themselves in other parts of the world, I don’t think that what is happening there cannot replicate here,” he said.

ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in Asean on matters related to defence.

It is aimed at promoting mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges, as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

Asean groups 10 countries, namely Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam while its eight dialogue partners in the Asean Plus are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

ADMM Plus meeting will be on “Asean — Maintaining Regional Security and Stability For and By the People”. — Bernama

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/hishammuddin-malaysia-to-seek-explanations-from-china-us-over-presence-of-w#sthash.moTfMIG8.dpuf



It is imperative for mutual trust and co-operation between Defence Ministers with ASEAN plus China and United States to be truthful on their apparent agenda of projection of force.

The ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting should also push forward the implementation of the Code of Conduct (COC), which ASEAN including China inked the Document of Conduct (DOC) in November 2002 which to adhere the UNCLOS 1982.

The Document of Conduct (inked 2002)

The Document of Conduct (inked 2002)

Part of COC is to have proviso to deal with multiple claims on territories and it should be sorted out multilaterally, having all vested parties involved in the process.

Current, China is interested to have multiple bilateral talks with multiple claimants on disputed territories, which is not as outline under UNCLOS.

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

It is obvious that China wanted to have the position and advantage of arm-twisting when they engage in a bilateral talks on multiple claims between two nations. It is no brainer what the outcome shall be.

Last week, it was reported US Navy Arleigh Burke Class destroyer USS Lassen patrolled 12 nautical miles off Fiery Cross Reef, a China PLA-Navy massive military installation on an artificial island on a reef.

Amongst other things, these tit-for-tat projection of force is to provided the psychological effect if and when the bi-lateral or multilateral talks should begin.

China re-excerted her claims over the fictitious and unlawful claim of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and since modernising the China PLA-Navy in 2008, the communist state in far east has shown their aggressive tendencies of occupational traits. It started with the occupation of the Paracel Islands in january 1974 and later Scarborough Shoals.

A detailed map of China's claims into ASEAN nations' EEZ

A detailed map of China’s claims into ASEAN nations’ EEZ

Regardless, any parties weaving a loaded gun walking back and forth in front of our yard sends uncomfortable vibes if a cold sensation along the spine.

South China Sea is the second most important trade waterway globally and most of it falls within Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 00:15  Leave a Comment  

Lessons to Paracels XXIV: The Empire strikes back

The diplomatic row over multiple disputed claims in South China Sea had escalated to controversy which had arisen to a military dispute as a US Navy guided missile destroyer maneuvres so close to the artificial island built known as Fiery Cross Reef, by the Chinese PLA-Navy.

CNN com. story:

U.S. warship sails close to Chinese artificial island in South China Sea

Jim Sciutto-Profile-ImageBarbara Starr-Profile-Image
By Jim Sciutto and Barbara Starr, CNN
Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT) October 27, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

U.S. sends warship within 12 nautical miles of one of China’s artificial islands
Move viewed as potential challenge to China in South China Sea
Washington (CNN)

The United States sent a warship very close to one of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a potential challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims in the contested waters.

A U.S. defense official told CNN that the destroyer USS Lassen “conducted a transit” within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands on Tuesday morning local time.

The operation put the ship within an area that would be considered Chinese sovereign territory if the U.S. recognized the man-made islands as being Chinese territory, the official added.

Why are the United States and China frenemies?

Why are the United States and China frenemies? 02:25
The mission, which had the approval of President Barack Obama, has now concluded, the official said.

The United States had not breached the 12-mile limit since China began massive dredging operations to turn three reefs into artificial islands in 2014.

In little more than 18 months, China has reclaimed more than 2000 acres at three main locations in the Spratly Islands — Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs.

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival and often messy territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.

On Tuesday morning before it was confirmed that the U.S. warship had breached the 12-mile zone, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said:

“We advise the U.S. side to think twice before action, not to conduct any rash action, and not to create trouble out of nothing.”

China has repeatedly said its activity in the South China Sea does not target any other country or affect freedom of navigation by sea or air.

In May, a U.S. surveillance plane carrying a CNN crew swooped over the Spratly Islands, triggering eight warnings from the Chinese navy to back off.



Fox News:

China warns US after Navy ship passes disputed islands claimed by Beijing

Published October 27, 2015

May 21: 2015: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy. (Reuters)
China’s Foreign Ministry reacted angrily Tuesday after a U.S. Navy ship passed within 12 nautical miles of disputed islands in the South China Sea late Monday in an apparent challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims in the region.

The ministry said that authorities monitored and warned the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen as it moved inside what China claims as a 12-mile territorial limit around Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago, a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China Sea that is also claimed by the Philippines.

A defense official told the Associated Press the patrol was approved by the White House and took place without incident.

“The actions of the U.S. warship have threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests, jeopardized the safety of personnel and facilities on the reefs, and damaged regional peace and stability,” the ministry said on its website. “The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines welcomed the sail-past by the USS Lassen, calling it a way of helping maintain “a balance of power”.

Since 2013, China has accelerated the creation of new outposts by piling sand atop reefs and atolls then adding buildings, ports and airstrips big enough to handle bombers and fighter jets — activities seen as an attempt to change the territorial status quo by changing the geography.

Navy officials had said the sail-past was necessary to assert the U.S. position that China’s man-made islands cannot be considered sovereign territory with the right to surrounding territorial waters.

“We are conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with international law,” a senior defense official told Fox News late Monday. “We will fly, sail, and operate anywhere in the world that international law allows.” International law permits military vessels the right of “innocent passage” in transiting other country’s seas without notification.

The Navy’s plan to send a destroyer near the Spratly Islands was first reported by Reuters. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, declined to comment.

About 30 percent of global trade passes through the South China Sea, which is also home to rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of undersea mineral deposits.

China says it respects the right of navigation, but has never specified the exact legal status of its maritime claims. China says virtually all of the South China Sea belongs to it, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam claim either parts or all of it.

Beijing’s response closely mirrored its actions in May when a navy dispatcher warned off a U.S. Navy P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef, where China has conducted extensive reclamation work.

Speaking to foreign correspondents in Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he supported the U.S. naval maneuvers as an assertion of freedom of navigation and as a means to balance power in the region.

“I think expressing support for established norms of international behavior should not be a negative for a country,” he said. “I think everybody would welcome a balance of power anywhere in the world.”

Without identifying China by name, he said “one regional power” has been making “controversial pronouncements” that if must not be left unchallenged.

“The American passage through these contentious waters is meant precisely to say that there are norms as to what freedom of navigation entails and they intend to exercise so that there is no de facto changing of the reality on the ground,” he said.

The Obama administration has long said it will exercise a right to freedom of navigation in any international waters.

“We have been clear that we take no position on competing territorial sovereignty claims to land features in the South China Sea,” the senior defense official told Fox News late Monday. “U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations are global in scope and executed against a wide range of excessive maritime claims, irrespective of the coastal state advancing the excessive claim. The longstanding FON program is not directed at any specific country.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said China adhered to international law regarding freedom of navigation and flight, but “resolutely opposes the damaging of China’s sovereignty and security interests in the name of free navigation and flight.”

“China will firmly deal with provocations from other countries. We will continue to monitor relevant situation in the sea and air and take any necessary measures when needed,” the statement said.

China’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea has become an increasingly sore point in relations with the United States, even as President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping have sought to deepen cooperation in other areas.

Despite those tensions, exchanges between the two militaries have continued to expand, with a U.S. Navy delegation paying visits last week to China’s sole aircraft carrier and a submarine warfare academy.

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


The Chinese PLA-Navy military installation which comprises of an air strip and harbour, is believed to the Chinese project of power in the world’s second busiest waterway. Chinese interest in the area is also about the rich hydro-carbon deposit.

A detailed map of China's claims into ASEAN nations' EEZ

A detailed map of China’s claims into ASEAN nations’ EEZ

China reiterated an insubstantiated claim of Kuomintang’s 1947 known as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ over most part of South China Sea. Most of the areas under this are EEZ of various ASEAN countries as per defined under the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) which was inked in 1982.

Extensively China PLA-Navy built military installation on Fiery Cross Reef

Extensively China PLA-Navy built military installation on Fiery Cross Reef

This armed US Navy maneuvres definitely would brought about a reaction in the projection of force by China. More than six months ago, United States already has been warned about military manoeuvres in the disputed areas.

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

Almost six months ago, US Navy P8 Orion maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft flew very close to the said island.

The Arleigh Burke class destroyer’s USS Lassen very close proximity to China PLA-Navy military installation at Fiery Cross Reef is a projection of force, guided based on the demonstration US foreign policy for not recognising China’s illegitimate claim on the fictitious maritime borders of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

The illegitimate claim by China, which is deemed “Excessive”, is clearly against the norms and practices of the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 1982.

*Updated midnight

China responded to USS Lassen’s manoeuvres near the China PLA-Nany artificially built military installation at Fiery Cross Reef by US Navy destroyer USS Lassen as “Illegal”.

BBC.com story:

China says US warship’s Spratly islands passage ‘illegal’

49 minutes ago
From the section China
Two warships underwayImage copyrightReuters
Image caption
Guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen seen with a South Korean ship in a photo from March
Chinese officials have condemned a US ship’s passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea as “illegal” and a threat to their country’s sovereignty.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen breached the 12-nautical mile zone China claims around Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago.
The US has confirmed the operation took place, apparently as part of its Freedom of Navigation programme.
The operation is a challenge to China’s claims over the artificial islands.
Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said Beijing would “resolutely respond to any country’s deliberately provocative actions”.
He added that the ship had been “tracked and warned” while on the mission to deliberately enter the disputed waters.
The Chinese foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to protest over the move.
Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter confirmed that the USS Lassen had passed within 12 miles of the islands, during questioning by the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
US Defence Department spokesman Cdr Bill Urban had earlier said that “the United States is conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with international law”.
The move was welcomed by several countries in the East Asia region, including the Philippines and Japan.


Map showing Chinese construction in the disputed Spratly Islands

Map showing Chinese construction in the disputed Spratly Islands

China claims most of the South and East China seas. Other countries in South-East Asia have competing claims for the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal, which are thought to have resource-rich waters around them.
The reefs, which were submerged, were turned into islands by China by a massive dredging project which began in late 2013.
China says this work is legal and in a meeting with US President Barack Obama last month in Washington, President Xi Jinping said China had “no intention to militarise” the islands.
But Washington believes Beijing is constructing military facilities, designed to reinforce its disputed claim to most of the region – a major shipping zone.
Satellite image of an islandImage copyrightAFP
Image caption
A file photo from April shows what is claimed to be an airstrip under construction on the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands
What is Freedom of Navigation?
The US Freedom of Navigation programme challenges what it deems to be “excessive claims” to the world’s oceans and airspace.
It was developed to promote international adherence to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, even though the US has not formally ratified the treaty.
In 2013 and 2014, the US conducted Freedom of Navigation operations of different kinds against China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam – each of whom occupies territory in the South China Sea.
China’s island factory
Why is the South China Sea contentious?
International maritime law allows countries to claim ownership of the 12-nautical mile area surrounding natural islands, but does not allow nations to claim ownership of submerged features that have been raised by human intervention.
A senior US defence official told Reuters news agency the warship began its mission early on Tuesday local time near the reefs and would spend several hours there.
Map of South China Sea
The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, was expected to be accompanied by a US Navy P-8A surveillance plane and a P-3 surveillance plane, according to the unnamed official, speaking to US media.
Additional patrols could follow in the coming weeks, the official added.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Media captionThe BBC’s Celia Hatton reports: ”This is a political issue and an economic one”
Why build a series of tiny islands in the middle of a vast sea? – Celia Hatton, BBC News, Beijing
China has altered Asia’s geography by dredging sand from the sea bottom and piling it on existing reefs to build several new islands.
Vague explanations have been offered to justify this costly exercise. Officially, the islands will be used for rescue operations and environmental projects.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged the islands would not be “militarised”.
However, many are sceptical of China’s geopolitical aims. In recent years, China has amplified its claims in the South China Sea. Critics fear Beijing will use the islands’ airstrips to exert control over the area.
At the same time, the United States is exerting its own influence in Asia, pivoting more of its military and economic attention to the region. The new islands are relatively tiny, but the tensions they could create between Beijing and Washington could have global implications.
USS Lassen
USS Lassen (file image)Image copyrightUS Navy
The ship is an Arleigh Burke class missile destroyer, which the US Navy says is among the most powerful destroyers ever built.
It is 155m (509ft) long with a displacement of 9,145 tonnes when fully loaded.
Crewed by a staff of about 330.
It carries two Seahawk helicopters and uses the Aegis defence system.
Weapons include Tomahawk missiles, RUM-139 Asroc anti-submarine missiles and surface-to-air missiles.

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 16:30  Comments (2)  

The conventional strategic defence initiative

RMN Perdana Class submarines KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak, in Sepanggar Bay, Sabah

RMN Perdana Class submarines KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak, in Sepanggar Bay, Sabah

The submarine force of any navy is the strategic non-nuclear capability which acts as a serious deterrent before any naval military manoeuvres and outcome is calculated. The role of the largest Commonwealth nation in the region is being measured on its submarine force capability.

The Diplomat story:

Australia’s Submarine Debate: Shipyards and Seas

The debate often misses the regional context surrounding Australia’s submarine program.
By Helen Clark
October 13, 2015

What’s being left out of Australia’s submarine and naval security debate? The region those subs will be patrolling.

In terms of defense news, the submarine debate on who will build Australia’s new fleet, and where it will be built, has had some staying power. However, the mainstream debate has not really looked at changes in the region. Many countries in the Asia-Pacific are now pursuing their own submarine plans, and nuclear-capable submarines in the Indian Ocean are not far away.

The South China Sea is a focus for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull but the recent drill with India hasn’t received a lot of attention in the Australian press. What else is happening in the region, and what might that mean for future submarine and naval plans.

China and South China Sea a Priority

Turnbull gave his first serious interview on September 21. He spoke about domestic and foreign policy. ISIS, of course, remains a threat. But Turnbull has also come out strongly against China “pushing the envelope” in the South China Sea and suggested it is pushing regional instability whilst also ensuring a greater U.S. presence in the area, something that would seem contrary to Chinese interests.

How will this affect Australia and what will Australia’s role be in one of the busiest and most contested waters?

On this Turnbull was a little less clear: “Well our Defence Force has – and this is not a revelation … Our Defence Forces have to be able to play a role in a range of different potential conflict situations. But, you know, we’re not – we’re not seeking to, um, ah – I don’t want to – no-one – no-one, least of all the Australian Government, wants to exacerbate situations.”

Turnbull is right that China’s actions seems to be driving a greater U.S. presence and closer relations between it and certain nations.

He name checked the closer Vietnam-U.S. relationship. According to this mid-2014 piece from HIS Jane’s territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific and “continued concerns over China’s military development – are driving defence spending across the region.

This has been characterised by some as an arms race, although it may be better viewed as a region-wide materiel upgrade propelled by resource competition, rising government revenues and declining markets elsewhere in the world.”

At the same time, both China and India are moving closer to having nuclear-capable submarines patrol the Indo-Pacific, and India and Australia are keen on naval exercises. Australia, in fact, wishes to participate in the Malabar exercises with India, the U.S. and Japan; Australia withdrew from those exercises in 2008.

The View in Australia, SEA 1000, etc.

China is a factor in many Australian plans, both economic and defense. China will also factor in the upcoming defense White Paper, which was delayed after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s shipbuilding announcement and may now make it out in October or November.

The Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) between Japan, Germany and France and the issue over local build is front and center in the debate on the future submarine fleet. Sweden, which built the six Collins-class submarines the Royal Australian Navy currently operates, was ruled out early, to their and others’ surprise.

Japan was picked earlier, for strategic and alliance reasons, but the up and downsides remain, on a purely technical level, complex. Australia, with its enormous coastline, has special needs and can’t simply chose an off-the-rack purchase, even if domestic politics was not such an important factor.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has been running an excellent series on this on their Strategist blog, profiling the three nations and nearly every other aspect of the submarine process. The Kockums-built Collins-class were designed with Australian needs in mind, both the large coastline and a deterrence-based defense policy.

Though sometimes maligned, they are among the quietest and least detectable subs in operation. The question won’t be decided this year and new Defense Minister Marise Payne has already said she won’t be drawn into debate at this stage.

The CEP is politically loaded, of course, and Tony Abbott’s announcements of a A$90 billion ($65.6 billion) naval ship and submarine build and 2000 jobs for South Australia early last month were called a first “election salvo.”

A paper from the Defence Minister said in February, “Submarines are the most complex, sensitive and expensive Defence capability acquisition a Government can make.”

The go-or-no dogfighting capabilities of the F-35 pale in comparison to the complexities of a submarine fleet, especially one built for Australia’s unique needs. The winner of the CEP will have to build as much of the new fleet in Australia as possible, despite the poor report on the Air Warfare Destroyers and a lengthy report by RAND Corp commissioned by the Australian government earlier this year on the naval shipbuilding capabilities of the three main shipyards that suggested they were not quite competitive or effective enough.

One of the talking points of the Japanese Soryu-class, which former Abbott was earlier suggesting Australia should buy off-the-rack, was that it might have shored up something of a trilateral alliance between Australia, the U.S. and Japan.

The U.S. was certainly happy with the Soryu idea. Aussies however, were not remotely happy with the idea of coming to the aid of Japan should any conflict with China arise.

Ankit Panda has a more up-to-date analysis on what Malcolm Turnbull might mean for a Japanese sub-build.

The Missing Piece of the Debate

So far, so much the same ground covered. All this has been the view from Australia since last year. But the rest of the region is also engaged in its own submarine race. Politicians aren’t talking about that as much, outside of Turnbull’s South China Sea comments.

Vietnam has now taken possession of its six new Kilo-class Russian-made submarines, ordered in 2009. Vietnam also wants naval assistance from Washington, with President Truong Tan Sang saying during Ashton Carter’s June visit that he would like Washington to “provide all necessary assistance to Vietnam in raising the capacity of maritime law enforcement forces.”

Indonesia is now looking at Russian subs of its own, preferring when the budget allows it, to buy new and no longer second hand. More broadly, Indonesia wishes to increase its naval presence in the region. Thailand has been wanting submarine capability for a long time but has delayed purchase again after finally plumping for three Chinese-built subs. As Prashanth Parameswaran has noted, the Chinese option was unexpected, “given the significance of the purchase, the Thai military’s preference for Western equipment which was also on offer, and well-known suspicions about the reliability of submarines from Beijing….”

At the same time this worthwhile paper from the Lowy Institute has noted that China and India are moving to the test phase of their nuclear-armed submarines, which will patrol the Indo-Pacific, and discusses what that might mean for stability. China can apparently already put a nuclear-capable submarine out to sea with weapons. “Advocates of sea-based nuclear weapons see such fleets as providing stability because of their relative invulnerability to surprise attack… This was certainly the case during the Cold War. But what applied in the 20th century struggle between the West and the Soviet Union does not necessarily hold for the more complex strategic situation that is now evolving in Asia.” The security environment is changing rapidly, in other words.

The majority of Australia’s trade goes through an area already patrolled by half the world’s submarines, and with plans afoot for more in many nations this will increase.

Australia is concerned enough to have been involved in its first-ever war games with India, ones which had a submarine focus, which apparently unsettled the Chinese. Captain Sheldon Williams, defense advisor at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi told Bloomberg last month, that there is “potential for increased security tensions in the Indian Ocean.. We sit right in the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. We have a significant responsibility for its security. That’s how we’re looking at it now.”

Australia and India both have a stake in Chinese nuclear-capable submarines in the Indian Ocean. Australia has also requested to join the Malabar Exercise between India, the U.S. and Japan, though actually pulled out in 2008 under Kevin Rudd.

These wider strategic moves do not always make it into public debate over the circumstances Australian submarines might face. What would closer ties or a “democratic security diamond” (as Shinzo Abe has said of the Japan-U.S.-India-Australia quadrilateral arrangement) mean?

Would the pick of a customized Soryu be a good option for those reasons? What is Australia’s perception of these shifts in the security environment? Much may be cleared up once the White Paper finally arrives, but until then the debate will stick to shipyards and not seas.


Again, Australian naval operations take into consideration the development is South East Asia where China is staking a claim for the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’, in a multinational dispute of territorial waters.

China encroaching into neighbours EEZ territories as defined by UNCLOS (1982) and relationship is sliding downwards

China encroaching into neighbours EEZ territories as defined by UNCLOS (1982) and relationship is sliding downwards

The South China Sea is the second most busiest and important merchant shipping waterway, on top of the rich hydrocarbon deposits. Both are within the ambit of China’s interest to have access to and control.

The ability to project force between the major naval powers in the region is not primarily for the South China Sea alone, but all the way across the vast Indian Ocean.

The projecting of force with effective submarine capability would provide an added burden to the potential aggressor. It is as when the risk is calculated, the potency of a submarine is equal to ten surface combat vessel.

It is very important for Malaysia to continue having a strong naval force with even more potent submarine force. Considering as maritime state Malaysia is dependent to sea for trade, food and other essential imports, the ability to project force is deemed necessary when the need arises.

It was a strategic decision to acquire the Perdana Class Scorpene submarines. However, it was heavily politicised with really bad demonisation-intent after tones.

In the interest of trade growth and stepping into a developed nation status, Malaysia should be moving forward by acquisition of more assets to improve the potency of the submarine force of the Royal Malaysian Navy and not pander to pessimism and lies and regress.

Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 11:30  Comments (5)  

Lessons from Paracels XXIII: China envoy should be summoned for Beting Patinggi Ali

Satellite photo clearly demonstrating the PLA-N frigate at Beting Patinggi Ali, which part of Malaysian EEZ

Satellite photo clearly demonstrating the PLA-N frigate at Beting Patinggi Ali, which part of Malaysian EEZ

Wisma Putra would be summoning the Ambasaador from the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang for his alleged statement with regards to the planned ‘Redshirt Rally’ in Petaling Street.

Published: Saturday September 26, 2015 MYT 1:51:00 PM
Updated: Saturday September 26, 2015 MYT 3:03:06 PM

Wisma Putra expected to summon Chinese ambassador

 Dr Huang along with his wife (left) made an impromptu visit to Petaling Street Friday to handover mooncakes to various traders. Accompanying them was Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president Datuk Ang Say Tee.

Dr Huang along with his wife (left) made an impromptu visit to Petaling Street Friday to handover mooncakes to various traders. Accompanying them was Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president Datuk Ang Say Tee.

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang is expected to be summoned by Wisma Putra following his statements that are seen as interfering in Malaysia’s domestic affairs.

It is understood the summon, set on Monday, will seek explanation from Dr Huang on his statement made during his visit on Friday, Wisma Putra officials said Saturday.

It is understood the Prime Minister’s Office has been informed of the summon.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is currently on a working trip to New York.

Dr Huang has been quoted as saying that China was against those who resort to violence to disrupt public order, an obvious reference to the threat by a group to hold demonstration in Petaling Street.

“The Chinese government opposes terrorism and any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism,” he told reporters during a visit to Petaling Street on Friday.

Dr Huang also warned that Beijing would not fear voicing out against incidents, which threaten the interests of the country, infringe upon the rights of its citizens in doing business, or disrupt the relationship between Malaysia and China.

Officials when contacted are questioning the ambassador’s remarks when he spoke about terrorism and infringement of China’s national interest at Petaling Street.

“Malaysia views his remarks seriously. It tantamount to interfering in Malaysia’s domestic affairs,” said an official.


HE Dr Huang was way out of line and should be seen as ‘interfering with domestic issues of Malaysia’.

Matters pertaining permits of public assembly and national security are the purview of the Royal Malaysian Police and the Home Minister is the one entitled to issue comments.

Armed Chinese Coast Guard light frigate, photographed at Beting Patinggi Ali

Armed Chinese Coast Guard light frigate, photographed at Beting Patinggi Ali

On the other hand, the Foreign Minister should also question HE Dr Huang as the official representative of China on the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N) vessels detected at Beting Patting Ali (Luconia Shoals),

The Diplomat story:

Malaysia Responds to China’s South China Sea Intrusion

The country reacts strongly to Beijing’s incursion into its waters.
By Prashanth Parameswaran
June 09, 2015

Last week, The Borneo Post reported that China had once again encroached into Malaysian waters in the South China Sea.

According to the June 2 report, confirmed by Malaysian officials, a Chinese Coast Guard ship had been detected intruding into Malaysian waters at the Luconia Shoals – which Malaysia calls Beting Patinggi Ali. In this case, the vessel was not just passing through, but had been defiantly anchored just 84 nautical miles from the coast of Sarawak, well inside Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone and on the southern end of China’s nine-dash line which covers about ninety percent of the South China Sea.

This is hardly the first time Chinese vessels have encroached on Malaysian waters. Indeed, as I have written before both here and elsewhere, these intrusions have become both bolder and more frequent over the past few years (See: “Playing It Safe: Malaysia’s Approach to the South China Sea and Implications for the United States”). They pose a clear threat not only to the country’s claims in the South China Sea, but its extensive natural resource activities there as well as the territorial integrity of the nation given that the waterway divides Peninsular Malaysia from East Malaysia.

In response, Malaysia, a nation which has traditionally sought to secure its interests in the South China Sea quietly without undermining its overall relationship with Beijing through what I have termed a ‘playing it safe’ approach, has become increasingly alarmed and recalibrated its policy. Over the past few years, Malaysia has been lodging diplomatic protests directly with Beijing while also shaping debate on the South China Sea within ASEAN, increasing its military capabilities and strengthening ties with other countries including the United States (See: “Malaysia’s South China Sea Policy: Playing It Safe”).

Malaysia’s reaction to this incident is indicative of its growing concern. While Malaysia has at times downplayed such South China Sea-related matters in the past and preferred to handle them privately, the country’s response this time was much firmer and more public. Shahidan Kassim, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, told a press conference following the incident that he had held meetings with the country’s foreign ministry, national security council, navy and coast guard on the issue. He also announced that Malaysia had sent its navy and coast guard to monitor the area “to ensure the sovereignty of the country.”

Shahidan also took to his personal Facebook page to provide the Malaysian public with further details about the country’s response as well as pictures of the feature in question. In the post, which was written in Malay, he said Malaysian navy and coast guard vessels had anchored around one nautical mile from the Chinese vessel to monitor its activities. He also clarified that the feature was not a case of overlapping claims but one of a foreign ship intruding into Malaysia’s waters.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Monday, Shahidan said that Malaysia would also be taking further diplomatic action, and that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak would himself raise the issue directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He also reiterated the fact that this was not an issue of overlapping claims.

“This is not an area with overlapping claims. In this case, we’re taking diplomatic action,” he said in the interview.

Malaysia – like many other countries – has registered such diplomatic protests before. What is interesting in this case is that the country is making a point to reveal publicly that it is doing so at the highest levels, rather than just carrying this out more quietly as it often does.

The relative hardening of Malaysia’s line in the South China Sea thus far should not be viewed as an abandonment of its ‘playing it safe’ approach.’ Though the response has been firmer and more public, it is still quite measured. Shahidan did not publicly condemn Beijing’s actions to a level that would prompt an escalatory Chinese response, and the Malaysian vessels have also been deployed cautiously. The Najib administration has proven unwilling to let the issue damage the Malaysia’s broader relationship with its largest trading partner, and there is little evidence to suggest this will change anytime soon. Malaysia is also no doubt aware that it is not capable of confronting Beijing directly. Indeed, as I have noted previously, the country has been careful to build in mechanisms to prevent escalation even when it does confront Chinese vessels, down to the number of ships deployed.

Nonetheless, it is notable that Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea has been so alarming that it has even hardened the position of a country that – unlike the Philippines and Vietnam – has been traditionally quieter in how it expresses its reservations.


Luconia Shoals is situated about 55 nautical miles off the coast of Sarawak, which is within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as stipulated in the United Nations Convention Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This is not the first time PLA-N vessels have been stationed within Malaysian EEZ. Twenty months ago, it was at Beting Serupai (James Shoal).

PLA-N officers and seamen took an oath to “Defend their territory” when they had the armed troop carrier and two frigates. This, indirectly is PLA-N’s projection of power on areas which are clearly part of Malaysian EEZ.

Otherwise, it is part of the disputed territories which China claimed as theirs as part of the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

China's military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China’s military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China’s expansion attitude and aggressive tendency within the disputed areas is a growing concern. At least two ASEAN nations have had military stand-off against PLA-N.

Despite being a signatory to UNCLOS (1982) and Document of Conduct with ASEAN nations where the agreement was sealed to address mutual disputes through multilateral discussions, China insists on bilateral talks instead.

Jakarta Globe story:

Commentary: Is Asean Losing Its Way?

The Association of Southeast Asia Nations has prided itself on its “Asean Way” – an informal and non-legalistic way of doing business, especially its culture of consultations and consensus that have resolved disputes peacefully. That way of doing may be fading among signs the group’s unity is seriously eroding. Against the backdrop of the rise of an assertive China, signs of disunity spell trouble for the region.

There are several reasons for this disunity. First, Asean today is a much bigger entity. Membership expanded in the 1990s to include Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, with Timor Leste likely to be the 11th member. Asean’s functions and issues have also expanded. Economic cooperation has expanded from the idea of a free trade agreement to a more comprehensive economic community, which technically enters into force this year. Asean cooperation extends to a range of transnational issues from intelligence-sharing, counterterrorism, and maritime security to environmental degradation, air pollution, pandemics, energy security, food security, migration and people-smuggling, drug-trafficking, human rights and disaster management.

With an expanded membership, agenda and area of concern, it’s only natural that Asean will face more internal disagreements. It’s thus not surprising that one of the most serious breakdowns of consensus have involved its new members. Cambodia, as Asean’s chair, disastrously refused to issue a joint Asean communique in 2012 to please China – its new backer and aid donor – rejecting the position of fellow members, Philippines and Vietnam, on the South China Sea dispute.

Compounding challenges is the uncertain leadership of Indonesia. There are signs that the Jokowi government has downgraded Indonesia’s leadership role in Asean especially as the de facto consensus-builder of Asean on both intra- and extra-Asean conflicts, including the South China Sea. Jokowi’s “less multilateralism, more national interest” foreign policy approach, in sharp contrast to his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s active leadership of Asean, could change. If not, the danger is that if the democratic, economically dynamic and stable Indonesia does not take Asean seriously neither will the world at large.
Without doubt, Asean’s main security challenge is the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. While not a new problem, the disagreement has telescoped due to recent Chinese activities. The most recent example: China’s reclamation activities in the Fiery Reef claimed by Vietnam and Mischief Reef and surrounding areas also claimed by the Philippines. This reflects a shift in China’s approach. While the Chinese military has pressed for land reclamation for some time, the leadership of Hu Jintao had resisted such moves. That restraint ended under the leadership of Xi Jinping, who is more prone to seek the PLA’s counsel in foreign policy issues related to national security and who has advanced China’s assertiveness on economic, diplomatic and military fronts. China is developing the islands further for both area denial and sea-control purposes and as a staging post for blue-water deployments into the Indian Ocean.

These developments challenge Asean’s role and “centrality” in the Asian security architecture. The economic ties of individual Asean members lead them to adopt varying positions. Until now, Asean’s advantage was that there was no alternative convening power in the region. But mere positional “centrality” is meaningless without an active and concerted Asean leadership to tackle problems, especially the South China Sea dispute.

Episodes such as the failure to issue a joint Asean communique in 2012 have led to the perception that Asean unity is fraying and China is a major factor. According to this view, China is out to divide and conquer Asean even as it pays lip-service to Asean centrality. This perception results from China’s seeming willingness to use disagreements within Asean, especially the consensus-breaking stance of Cambodia, insisting that Asean stay out of the South China Sea conflict, as an excuse to resist an early conclusion of the South China Sea Code of Conduct. China also takes the unwillingness of some Asean members to use strong language to criticize China as a sign of disunity. China cites earlier differences within Asean regarding the scope of the code of conduct over the inclusion of the Paracels, as desired by Hanoi. Moreover, China views the code as crisis-prevention tool rather than a dispute-settlement mechanism.

China needs to dispel perceptions that it is playing a divide-and-rule approach to Asean. It should also stop objecting to bringing the South China Sea question onto the agenda of the Asean Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit, on the pretext that not all Asean members are party to the dispute and outside countries such as the United States have no business even discussing the issue. This has the effect of undermining the very idea of Asean centrality or relevance that Beijing purports to uphold. It’s hard to see what the rationale for having these meetings might be without discussion of one of the most serious challenges to regional security and well-being.

As for Asean, it must not remove itself from the South China Sea issue. If anything, it should give even more focused attention to the disputes. One must not forget the lessons of the conflict triggered by the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia from December 1978 to September 1989. Neither Vietnam nor Cambodia were members of Asean, and only Thailand was regarded as the “frontline state.” Then, Asean decided to involve itself in a conflict between two non-members because it considered the Vietnamese action a breach of regional norms and a threat to regional stability. Today, four of Asean members are parties to the conflict, out of which two are “frontline states”: Philippines and, ironically enough, Vietnam. The South China Sea conflict poses an even more serious threat to regional stability, and it is a legitimate concern of Asean as a group.

Finally, a word about the view put forward by some that Asean is irrelevant and should stay out of the South China conflict. The alternatives are few and bleak. US military action? It may have a deterrent value against the worst-case scenario of a full-blown Chinese invasion of the islands, but is unlikely to prevent the more likely scenario of China’s creeping expansion. Any US-China understanding is useful for crisis management, but Asean would have to worry whether in the long-term it would lead to US concessions to China – such as refraining from militarily and diplomatically challenging China’s position in the islands and surrounding areas. A decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which is considering a motion filed by the Philippines challenging the legality of China’s nine-dash line, may end up in Manila’s favor. This would help Asean, even if China rejects that verdict. But to make the most of such an opportunity, Asean would need to show collective support for such a verdict, and it might help if other claimants, such as Vietnam, also initiate similar legal action. China rejects a more direct role by the East Asia Summit, led by Asean anyway, because of US membership. The international community should render more support and encouragement to Asean to persist with its diplomacy in the conflict. And Indonesia needs to get back in this game.

Amitav Acharya is the Unesco Chair in Transitional Challenges and Governance at the School of International Service, American University, in Washington, DC. He is also past president of the International Studies Association, 2014-15, and author of The End of American World Order (Polity, 2014, Oxford India 2015, Shanghai People’s Press, 2016).


China expect to muscles her way through these one-one-one talks. Trade, would be an efficient consideration as a tool to achieve its strategic objectives.

Regardless, Malaysia should be firm about its diplomatic and trade relationship with China and slap the wrist when necessary.

Published in: on September 26, 2015 at 19:00  Comments (12)  

One Krypto: A secured messaging system for Malaysians

A review on the Malaysian secured messaging application which was build on AES-256 military grade encryption, now ready for the Malaysian market for commercial use.

Malaysian Company Creates App That Hides Your Messages – From Everyone


Print Email Details Published on Friday, 18 September 2015 08:59 Written by Mushamir Mustafa

One Krypto is here

One Krypto is here

With the proliferation of leaked secret documents – from Wikileaks to 1MDB’s banking details to the leak of dating and affairs website Ashley Madison’s passwords onto the internet, the need for protecting messages transmitted digitally is at an all time high.

And for those who have valuable information or wanting to hide the cat in the bag, secrecy and privacy has arrived in the form of an app. Is this too good to be true?

One Krypto is a wholly Malaysian developed app that allows users to communicate securely and includes several encrypted communication channels via chats, emails, voice and video.

The way it works is two people will have the app in their phones. Adam and Sarah add each other as friends, and now both have a ‘key’ code that is unique only to them. Now say Adam sends a message to Sarah using One Krypto, the message is encrypted on Adam’s phone, sent to One Krypto’s servers which then transfer the message to Sarah’s phone. The message is decrypted in Sarah’s phone, using their unique ‘key’.

In the end, while the message is placed in the server, it is encrypted, and no one can understand it, unless you have the key.

One Krypto aims to tap into this yet untapped market, banking on the growing need for privacy which applications have yet to provide.

Malaysian Digest sits down with the Vice President of Business Development, Wan Azrain Adnan of mTouche Technology, the developer of One Krypto to find out more about this potential game-changer in the crowded mobile app business.

mTouche Technology Vice President of Business Development, Wan Azrain Adnan Pic: Mushamir Mustafa

mTouche Technology Vice President of Business Development, Wan Azrain Adnan Pic: Mushamir Mustafa


Why One Krypto?: Because more often than not nowadays there are phones being hacked and tapped. We see that there’s a need now that people are beginning to be more privacy and security conscious as they are looking for more ways to communicate securely.. There’s a void in the market currently for a product that offers secured communications.

How different is it from Silent Circle? (Silent Circle also provides multi-platform secure communication services for mobile devices and desktop): Similar but not quite. One Krypto has it all in one application. We have different pricing and offerings. We do encryption end to end, peer to peer, meaning if someone were to come to our server you cannot see anything as it is encrypted. It will be encrypted on my device, the server acts as the postman, and once it reaches your device, then only will it be decrypted.

Is anything left in the servers? Who owns the servers? : We don’t keep anything in the server. It’s kept in people’s device, the server is just the post office. It will detect if you’re online then it will send the message. If you’re offline, it won’t deliver. Nothing is left in the server per se.

The different platforms of mobile communication enabled to be encrypted by One Krypto

The different platforms of mobile communication enabled to be encrypted by One Krypto

The server can be hacked, but you cannot read the mail. The primary technology that we use is the 256-bit AES encryption technology, a military grade encryption technology. Nobody has been able to hack it thus far.

How do we send each other messages?: You need to add the other person through the app and once approved, then only will the two of you exchange ‘keys’, which is unique. The key is a code, non-hackable. The key is within the phone.

What if one’s phone is stolen?: If stolen, well, there’s no way do deal with it. The only way for someone to view your communication is for someone to actually steal your phone and go into One Krypto per se. We do not discount the possibility of a remote lock function and in the pipeline we also want to release a video messaging platform.

We have what we call Stealth Mode, where we can hide the icon itself, which will reveal only once you’ve type in your passcode. (The app is still findable if you look through your phone’s apps in Settings). For us that could be the best line of defence as no one knows the app is present. Secondly we have a self-destruct timer for the messages, where after they have seen it, it will be deleted. Once it is deleted, it is deleted. Thirdly, we’ve disabled screen capture on Android devices (meaning you can’t use screen capture anymore) however for iOS devices we are restricted from doing so as its part of the software.


What if the police come asking for the data for an investigation?: If the police do come asking us to hand over confidential information for an ongoing investigation, for example, yes we can hand it over but it is encrypted. We would just give the police gibberish because the key is not with us, it’s with the two people. Even we don’t know the message ourselves. We are just the postman, we don’t know what’s inside the mail. We just take the mail and send it.

Right to privacy: People have the right to feel safe and to feel secure in their communications, whether they use the technology for something that is lawful or unlawful that is not up to us to decide. We are just tech providers and cannot tell someone how to use the technology. Just like hand phones, whatever you want to do with it, Celcom or Samsung cannot be at fault for whatever you do with it.

Why One Krypto and not Silent Circle?: There’s room for expansion for us in the Malaysian market. What we offer is much more cheaper, with our basic plan going at RM10 versus Silent Circle’s USD99.

Mobile phone security threats

Mobile phone security threats

On government surveillance: We have to serve the right to privacy and security of the public so until and unless Malaysia comes up with a limiting regulation to users in terms of mobile devices, then we’ll abide by it.

Can we use One Krypto for criminal, immoral purposes?: Even in the US they have yet to stop companies from using encryption. You can even sell nuclear bombs for all you want, or prostitute children, the concept is that we don’t know what people do with it. We are a tech company, we provide the service to serve the demand for privacy and security.

When will this be released?: We are about to commercialize One Krypto soon. Our testing has showed positive results, user acceptance is good, the application itself is user friendly, not much difference than what they are used to. Eventually one day we’d like our consumers to compare One Krypto with Whatsapp and other services. As far as we know, One Krypto is the only application with multiple communication channels under one application. Whatsapp started with chats then moved onto voice. We have three now, including email, and will also have video soon enough.

Who can use this?: Our target market includes (but not limited to) businesses which communicate and handle highly confidential information, regional businesses who need direct communication channels abroad, professionals who deal in highly confidential environments and clients, government officials and staff, and privacy conscious public.

What’s in store for the future: We want to expand into desktops, besides having video calls as well. Also we’d tailor the experience to suit people’s needs first, for example if business people prefer to use the calendar or business card reader first as opposed to the mass market.

Currently One Krypto is available for iOS and Android and may be expanding into Blackberry and Windows devices as well. Pricing starts from USD8.99 for 3 months to USD28.99 for 12 months.

For more information, check out http://www.onekrypto.com

– Malaysian Digest

Published in: on September 18, 2015 at 10:30  Leave a Comment  

One Krypto: A Secured Messaging System

In the recent wake of global mobile phone hacking and tapping, a secured messaging system in the form of application for Android and iOS platform mobile device has been introduced.

One Krypto is a mobile application which was developed totally by Malaysian programmers and mobile phone software engineers here in Malaysia. It was developed totally by private sector and now ready to be introduced into Malaysian mobile telco market.

One Krypto is here

One Krypto is here

One Krypto is a total communication application that allows encrypted communication via chats, emails, voice and video conferencing as well.

It is a secured way to communicate in one-to-one communication, as well as group communications via group chats and emails.

Mobile phone security threats

Mobile phone security threats

In one-to-one communication, there is a mutual key exchange between sender and receiver using RSA algorithm. Any third party will not be able to decrypt the messages without the key. All messages communicated via One Krypto use 256-bit AES encryption technology.

In Group chats, a mutual shared key within a group is used to encrypt and decrypt messages communicated via the group channel.

The different platforms of mobile communication enabled to be encrypted by One Krypto

The different platforms of mobile communication enabled to be encrypted by a single Android/iOS application One Krypto

In all the communication, only encrypted data will be sent via the line. Even if there is an interception by man in the middle, all they get is gibberish because they do not have the key to decrypt the actual message.

One Krypto also enables secure notes feature where users can keep their sensitive data encrypted in the application. Think of it as a physical safe that keeps all the private and confidential files, locked with a padlock, and the rightful owner has the lock to open it.

AES-256 military grade technology is used for the encryption of One Krypto

AES-256 military grade technology is used for the encryption of One Krypto

In short, One Krypto provides secure communication in the following ways :

  1. Secure Chats
  2. Secure Email
  3. Secure Voice Calls
  4. Secure Video Calls
Features of the One Krypto mobile application

Features of the One Krypto mobile application

Who can use One Krypto?

Our target market includes (but not limited to) :

  • Businesses which communicate and handle highly confidential information
  • Regional Businesses who need direct communication channels abroad
  • Professionals who deal in highly confidential environments and clients
  • Government Officials and Staff
  • Privacy conscious public
Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 11:31  Comments (3)  

Lessons from Paracels XXII: China cyber warfare scare

China has been reported to have deployed its sophisticated cyber warfare teams to hack US intelligence privy for clandestine information extraction.

Los Angeles times story:

China and Russia are using hacked data to target U.S. spies, officials say


Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, shown in Moutain View, Calif., says the military needs to boost its cyberdefenses. “We’re not doing as well as we need to do in job one in cyber, which is defending our own networks,” he said. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
By BRIAN BENNETT AND W.J. HENNIGAN contact the reporters Asia Europe Russia China Cyber Crime Theft Blackmail and Extortion
Foreign spy services, especially in China and Russia, are aggressively aggregating and cross-indexing hacked U.S. computer databases — including security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms — to identify U.S. intelligence officers and agents, U.S. officials said.

At least one clandestine network of American engineers and scientists who provide technical assistance to U.S. undercover operatives and agents overseas has been compromised as a result, according to two U.S. officials.

The Obama administration has scrambled to boost cyberdefenses for federal agencies and crucial infrastructure as foreign-based attacks have penetrated government websites and email systems, social media accounts and, most important, vast data troves containing Social Security numbers, financial information, medical records and other personal data on millions of Americans.


Counterintelligence officials say their adversaries combine those immense data files and then employ sophisticated software to try to isolate disparate clues that can be used to identify and track — or worse, blackmail and recruit — U.S. intelligence operatives.

Digital analysis can reveal “who is an intelligence officer, who travels where, when, who’s got financial difficulties, who’s got medical issues, [to] put together a common picture,” William Evanina, the top counterintelligence official for the U.S. intelligence community, said in an interview.

Asked whether adversaries had used this information against U.S. operatives, Evanina said, “Absolutely.”
Evanina declined to say which nations are involved. Other U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments, say China and Russia are collecting and scrutinizing sensitive U.S. computer files for counterintelligence purposes.

U.S. cyberspying is also extensive, but authorities in Moscow and Beijing frequently work in tandem with criminal hackers and private companies to find and extract sensitive data from U.S. systems, rather than steal it themselves. That limits clear targets for U.S. retaliation.

The Obama administration marked a notable exception last week when a U.S. military drone strike near Raqqah, Syria, killed the British-born leader of the CyberCaliphate, an Islamic State hacking group that has aggressively sought to persuade sympathizers to launch “lone wolf” attacks in the United States and elsewhere.
Junaid Hussain had posted names, addresses and photos of about 1,300 U.S. military and other officials on Twitter and the Internet, and urged his followers to find and kill them, according to U.S. officials. They said he also had been in contact with one of the two heavily armed attackers killed in May outside a prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Hussain is the first known hacker targeted by a U.S. drone.

The Pentagon also is scouring the leaked list of clients and their sexual preferences from the Ashley Madison cheating website to identify service members who may have violated military rules against infidelity and be vulnerable to extortion by foreign intelligence agencies.


Far more worrisome was last year’s cyberlooting — allegedly by China — of U.S. Office of Personnel Management databases holding detailed personnel records and security clearance application files for about 22 million people, including not only current and former federal employees and contractors but also their families and friends.

“A foreign spy agency now has the ability to cross-check who has a security clearance, via the OPM breach, with who was cheating on their wife via the Ashley Madison breach, and thus identify someone to target for blackmail,” said Peter W. Singer, a fellow at the nonprofit New America Foundation in Washington and coauthor of the book “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar.”

The immense data troves can reveal marital problems, health issues and financial distress that foreign intelligence services can use to try to pry secrets from U.S. officials, according to Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“It’s very much a 21st century challenge,” Schiff said. “The whole cyberlandscape has changed.”
U.S. intelligence officials have seen evidence that China’s Ministry of State Security has combined medical data snatched in January from health insurance giant Anthem, passenger records stripped from United Airlines servers in May and the OPM security clearance files.

The Anthem breach, which involved personal data on 80 million current and former customers and employees, used malicious software that U.S. officials say is linked to the Chinese government. The information has not appeared for sale on black market websites, indicating that a foreign government controls it.

U.S. officials have not publicly blamed Beijing for the theft of the OPM and the Anthem files, but privately say both hacks were traced to the Chinese government.

The officials say China’s state security officials tapped criminal hackers to steal the files, and then gave them to private Chinese software companies to help analyze and link the information together. That kept the government’s direct fingerprints off the heist and the data aggregation that followed.
In a similar fashion, officials say, Russia’s powerful Federal Security Service, or FSB, has close connections to programmers and criminal hacking rings in Russia and has used them in a relentless series of cyberattacks.

According to U.S. officials, Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin infiltrated the State Department’s unclassified email system for several months last fall. Russian hackers also stole gigabytes of customer data from several U.S. banks and financial companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., last year.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman, Zhu Haiquan, said Friday that his government “firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyberattacks in accordance with the law.” The Russian Embassy did not respond to multiple requests for comment. U.S. intelligence officials want President Obama to press their concerns about Chinese hacking when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the White House on Sept. 25.

After the recent breaches, U.S. cybersecurity officials saw a dramatic increase in the number of targeted emails sent to U.S. government employees that contain links to malicious software.
In late July, for example, an unclassified email system used by the Joint Chiefs and their staff — 4,000 people in all — was taken down for 12 days after they received sophisticated “spear-phishing” emails that U.S. officials suspect was a Russian hack.

The emails appeared to be from USAA, a bank that serves military members, and each sought to persuade the recipient to click a link that would implant spyware into the system.


Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the hack shows the military needs to boost its cyberdefenses.

“We’re not doing as well as we need to do in job one in cyber, which is defending our own networks,” Carter said Wednesday. “Our military is dependent upon and empowered by networks for its effective operations…. We have to be better at network defense than we are now.”
Carter spent Friday in Silicon Valley in an effort to expand a partnership between the Pentagon, academia and the private sector that aims to improve the nation’s digital defenses. Carter opened an outreach office in Mountain View this year to try to draw on local expertise.

U.S. intelligence officers are supposed to cover their digital tracks and are trained to look for surveillance. Counterintelligence officials say they worry more about the scientists, engineers and other technical experts who travel abroad to support the career spies, who mostly work in U.S. embassies.

The contractors are more vulnerable to having their covers blown now, and two U.S. officials said some already have been compromised. They refused to say whether any were subject to blackmail or other overtures from foreign intelligence services.

But Evanina’s office, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, based in Bethesda, Md., has recently updated pamphlets, training videos and desk calendars for government workers to warn them of the increased risk from foreign spy services.
“Travel vulnerabilities are greater than usual,” reads one handout. Take “extra precaution” if people “approach you in a friendly manner and seem to have a lot in common with you.”


This is very serious because China has been intensifying its intelligence and clandestine information operations through its cyber warfare units.

Six months ago, Pentagon admitted deploying its counter cyber warfare mechanisms to ward off these cyber attacks by the China’s crack cyber warfare teams.

Skynews story:

Pentagon Admits Cyberwarfare Plan For First Time

America’s Department of Defense intends to establish a full-time unit of computer experts in the San Francisco Bay area.
11:10, UK,
Thursday 23 April 2015
Pentagon in Washington DC
The US Department of Defense is taking on recruits to conduct cyberwarfare
The Pentagon has admitted for the first time it plans to use cyberwarfare in its battle to keep up with its enemies.

In a 33-page ‘cybersecurity strategy’ the US Department of Defense has publicly laid out the approach plans to take.

The document says the DoD “should be able to use cyber operations to disrupt an adversary’s command and control networks, military-related critical infrastructure and weapons capabilities”.

The previous strategy, published in 2011, made little reference to clandestine warfare using computer networks, although US officials are known to have spoken privately about the issue.

Reports in 2013 claimed that senators had received a closed-door briefing on how the New York City power grid could be taken down by a computer virus.
Play video “2014: China Source Of Most Attacks”

Video: 2014: China Source Of Most Attacks
The television reports said officials had told NBC off the record that the US was already employing cyberwarriors who were capable of shutting down the power system of a smaller country – like Iran.

The new document takes a more open approach because the Pentagon wants more transparency in its cyber mission – and because it could be a deterrent to adversaries.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said: “I think it will be useful to us for the world to know that, first of all, we’re going to protect ourselves, we’re going to defend ourselves.”

He added that the new strategy is “more clear and more specific about everything, including (US) offence”.

Play video “Cybercrime As Lucrative As Drugs”

Video: Cybercrime As Lucrative As Drugs
The strategy also, for the first time, refers to US concerns over cyber-espionage by China.

China admitted the existence of dedicated cyber warfare units in a document produced by the People’s Liberation Army earlier this year, according to the Daily Beast.

The hacking of Sony’s emails last year, which the US government blamed on North Korea, also showed the dangers to American interests from other unfriendly states.

The document says the US will continue to try to work with Beijing to bring greater understanding and transparency of each nation’s cyber missions to “reduce the risks of misperception and miscalculation”.
Play video “Latest Strategy To Tackle Terror”

Video: Latest Strategy To Tackle Terror
“One of the things we need to do is have that dialogue,” said Mr Carter.

According to officials, Mr Carter is setting up a full-time unit of military, civilian and reservist workers in the San Francisco Bay area in the next month or so.

But he said one of the things holding back progress was that the US military suffers from a lack of “coolness”.

He said some of the bright young recruits the DoD needs to maintain its war are more likely to want to work for Silicon Valley’s top tech firms, rather than with the Pentagon.


The China’s cyber warfare aggression which demonstrated its threatening capabilities has escalated into a very serious defense agenda.

The Diplomat story:

China’s Growing Cyberwar Capabilities

A recent attack on GitHub highlights China’s growing expertise – and aggression – in cyberspace.

By Marcel A. Green
April 13, 2015

With recent news suggesting that the recent massive denial-of-service attacks against online hosting and code-sharing site GitHub was either sponsored or encouraged by Chinese authorities, the spotlight has once again been turned on China’s intentions in cyberspace and whether or not its activities pose a threat to worldwide, and especially U.S. cybersecurity.

China is one of the most active nations in cyberspace. Moreover, China has made no secret that President Xi Jinping’s “new model of great power relations” policy means that it will not be afraid to challenge the U.S. and the rest of the world in areas it considers a core interest, such as cyberspace.

Much like the U.S., China has devoted substantial money, manpower and resources to developing its cyber capabilities. Chinese cyber capabilities include a mix of dedicated personnel, advanced equipment, and cyberattack methodologies. According to the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, since as early as 2006, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been using an elite cyberwarfare unit based in Shanghai to launch hundreds of cyberattacks targeting American interest. The unit, officially known as Unit 61398, operates under the PLA’s Second Bureau of the General Staff Department’s (GSD) Third Department, which is focused on cyber surveillance and monitoring of foreign electronic communications. Unit 61398 has a staff of “hundreds if not thousands” of people, trained in advanced network security, digital signal processing, and covert communications who have access extensive “infrastructure of computer systems around the world.” Recently the Taipei Times reported that Taiwan’s National security Bureau (NSB) has identified another unit of the GSD’s Third Department that is involved in cyber-activities. This unit has been revealed to be Third Department’s Sixth Bureau based out of Wuhan University in Hubei Province. According to the NSB, the Sixth Bureau is “engaged in technical aspects of surveillance and intelligence gathering on the Taiwanese agencies, intercepting telecommunications signals, hacking computers and mobile phone service networks and satellite imagery reconnaissance.”

In addition to its official cyberwarfare units, China is believed to also have “reached out” to people with the necessary cyber skills in the IT sector and academic community to help fill any gaps in state expertise and personnel when needed. As the GitHub attacks illustrate, there is also ample evidence that China uses hackers and other cybercriminals to accomplish operations that it is officially unwilling or unable to commit. To be sure, cybercrime is often intimately tied to state-sponsored threats to cybersecurity. The use of affiliated hackers is based on the idea that cybercriminals can be used to escape the attribution that may otherwise provide the necessary legal, military or diplomatic links that other countries can use to prove China’s official participation in cyberattacks. Consequently, in October 2014, the FBI issued a warning that a Chinese hacking collective known as Axiom has been engaged in a well-resourced, sophisticated campaign to steal valuable data from U.S. government agencies. According to the warning, Axiom, and other state-sponsored Chinese hacking groups like them, are “exceedingly stealthy and agile by comparison” to Unit 61398. Later in 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted five Chinese citizens, affiliated with Unit 61398 on charges of theft of business information and unauthorized access to the computers of a number of U.S. companies.

China’s cyber capabilities are organized by a strategy that calls for the early application of its cyberwarfare units against an adversary “to establish information dominance.” Information dominance refers to: (1) taking and maintaining control of an adversary’s access to its own information, and (2) disrupting the flow of information necessary for “decision-making or combat operations.” Information dominance, moreover, requires that Chinese cyber capabilities are deployed pre-emptively or as early as necessary to support more traditional combat actions. Moreover, establishing information dominance requires China to have a fairly extensive and ongoing knowledge of an adversary’s capabilities.

Lastly, in order to achieve its cyber strategic goals and effectively make use of its cyberwarfare units, China has employed a wide range of advanced cyberattack methodologies. For instance, The PLA’s Unit 61398 is known for its use of zero-day exploits. A zero-day exploit refers to vulnerability in software that the software maker itself does not know exists. Discovering zero-day exploits require broad access to a software developer’s internal routines and procedures. It also requires a better understanding of the software then the developer. This is often achieved by employing a technique known as advanced persistent threat (APT). APT refers to a hacking process that involves a long-term campaign to break into a computer network, avoid detection, and harvest valuable information over days, months and even years. According to Mandiant, Unit 61398’s informal name was APT1 due to their skill at successfully carrying out advanced persistent threats.

Understanding China’s cyber capabilities will play a large role in resolving the challenge of determining the appropriate response that the U.S. and other nations can make to cyberattacks that can be attributed to China. Where the attack can be traced to an official Chinese organ, perhaps a diplomatic or military response will be suitable. Where the attack is traced to non-official organs, non-conventional responses such as economic sanctions or criminal penalties will prove more effective.

Marcel A. Green is an attorney and legal researcher specializing in American and Chinese Criminal Law.


Published in: on September 2, 2015 at 23:45  Comments (6)  

Thames House in Perdana Putra

Lately, there are many speculators attempting to create the feeling of uneasiness and doubts against Prime minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leadership and administration, with insnuating against all the recent transfers of law enforcement agencies senior officers.

The Malay Mail online:

Senior Special Branch officer gets sudden transfer to PM’s Dept, told to go on long leave


Wednesday August 19, 2015
06:44 PM GMT+8
A special ceremony was conducted behind closed doors in Bukit Aman earlier today, which saw Abdul Hamid passing on the baton as deputy director of the police intelligence agency to an assistant, Datuk Mohd Haniff Hanudin. — Picture by Yap Tzu Ging

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — In another abrupt change within government agencies, Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador was today transferred out of the Special Branch (SB) and into the Prime Minister’s Department where he will head a new security division reporting directly to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

A special ceremony was conducted behind closed doors in Bukit Aman earlier today, which saw Abdul Hamid passing on the baton as deputy director of the police intelligence agency to an assistant, Datuk Mohd Haniff Hanudin who was heading a unit called E4 that deals with the political extremist threat.

Abdul Hamid confirmed the transfer when contacted, but said he was in the dark on the reasons for his abrupt work shift.

“No… they just told me to go to JPM, so I go to JPM lah,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted, using the Malay abbreviation for the Prime Minister’s Department.

“No reason given and I just received the letter yesterday… earlier today, there was a ceremony to hand over my duty.”

He added that he would take up his new duties at the Prime Minister’s Department on September 2, as he was currently on leave from work.

Malay Mail Online understands Abdul Hamid was ordered to go on “long leave” before assuming new duties as the head of a new security and transnational crime division under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Contacted today, Bukit Aman confirmed Abdul Hamid’s transfer and that the latter is on leave but denied knowledge on his next posting.

Abdul Hamid’s promotion is the latest change to take place within the SB following last month’s shock Cabinet reshuffle, which saw Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun replacing Datuk Seri Akhil Bulat as SB director.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/senior-special-branch-officer-gets-sudden-transfer-to-pms-dept-told-to-go-o#sthash.Cc14A7nc.dpuf


It is clear that a ‘Thames House’ establishment is being created under the Prime Minister’s Office. It is no mystery for the creation nor should any be doubt and/or suspicion about it, being right under the purview of the Executive.

Globally, terrorism, cyberterrorism and anarchism are issues of growing grave concern.

Whether it is a matter for the political masters, civil servants, law enforcement agencies, analysts and observers or academicians, efforts are made to ensure that the understanding and management information is good and current.

It is also important that information on the issues made available through media, be it mainstream or social channels, are being monitored and management. Failure, could compound the matter worse.

Hence, it should not be a surprise nor skeptical that an experience law enforcement agent specialising in intelligence is the man for the job.

These days, politics and terrorism are intertwined. Add complex global networking to it, suddenly it is any nation’s intelligence and internal security nightmare.

The problem should be mitigated long before it appears in the form of demonstration with casualties and destruction, avoiding the sticky situation of ‘getting wiser after the event’.

Combining and making a formidable agency of functions and experience of the Police Special Branch and Counter Terrorism and the Research Department of Prime Minister’s Department, is the right direction and initiative.

British entertainment and BBC buffs would related to Dato’ Hamid Bador’s new job as the combination of the characters of Sir Henry James “Harry” Pearce of MI5 and Sir Oliver Mace of Joint Intelligence Committee, from the long running acclaimed drama ‘Spooks’.

We highly recommend our readers to watch all the ten seasons of ‘Spooks’ and the upcoming film ‘Spooks: The Greater Good’, to understand what Hamid and his new agency is all about.

Published in: on August 19, 2015 at 23:30  Comments (23)  

Hunting the hunter

Royal Malaysian Police obtained a warrant of arrest from Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek and detain Sarawak Report Editor-in-Chief Clare Rewcastle-Brown for crimes “Detrimental to Parliamentary democracy”.

The Star story:

Published: Tuesday August 4, 2015 MYT 7:23:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday August 4, 2015 MYT 8:06:14 PM

Arrest warrant for Sarawak Report editor


PETALING JAYA: Police have obtained an arrest warrant for Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown (pic).

Bukit Aman CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh said in a statement on Tuesday that the arrest warrant issued by a Kuala Lumpur court was for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy under Section 124B and 124I of the Penal Code.

Section 124I deals with publication of false reports or makes false statements likely to cause public alarm via newspapers, periodicals or other printed publication or electronic means.

Jail term for the offences can be extended to between five and 10 years.

“We will proceed with applications to place her on the Aseanpol wanted list, as well as the Interpol red notice,” Comm Mohmad said.


The irony, Rewcastle-Brown has now been issued a warrant of arrest herself when a few days ago she lied about former Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail was sacked for the falsified warrant of arrest issued on Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak.

Like expected, Rewcastle-Brown is defiant about the warrant of arrest issued and conveniently throw in the ‘Right to express’ as her lame excuse for all the compounded and habitual slander and lies she did against Malaysian leaders and State and Federal Governments.

Pro-Anwarista news portal story:

Response to warrant of arrest from Malaysian police – Clare Rewcastle-Brown

Published: 4 August 2015 10:03 PM

I have been asked for a response on this latest move by the Malaysian authorities to attempt to extradite me by issuing a warrant for my arrest, which they say they will pass to Interpol.

My first comment is that this action could hardly be more counter-productive on the part of a government that is seeking to assure the world that it is a sane democracy.

My action has been to publish information, which some in power do not like. Yet, the “crime” they are accusing me of is of “an activity detrimental to democracy”.

It is they who are being detrimental to democracy by suppressing free speech and arresting people for questioning people in authority.
I am still unclear whether the agents of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are accusing me of “forging false documents” or obtaining documents through “criminal leakages”, since they have simultaneously accused me of both in the past few days and have been rounding up all sorts of senior investigators to try and find out who might have passed me such leaks.

They need to make up their minds about this before they bring their charges and they really ought to produce some substantive and convincing evidence of their other accusation that I am part of some international plot intent on falsely accusing the prime minister of crimes for reasons unknown.

I am merely an investigative journalist who has been doing my job, by unravelling one hell of an international scandal involving people in high places and the grand larceny of public monies.

It is as simple as that – no plot and no vested interest. The interest of the public is my motivation and duty.

Conversely, the public are at liberty to reach their own conclusions over what has motivated the recent actions of the prime minister of Malaysia, who has spent the past few days, sacking, removing and arresting just about anybody who has been officially engaged in investigating the scandal I have been reporting on, that is, the missing billions from 1MDB.

Moreover, he has not just attacked my blog and myself, but other reputable news organisations, closing down two papers in Malaysia.

If the prime minister had nothing to hide in this matter and if my reports were false there would be numerous more orthodox and far less disruptive methods of dealing with me than sacking his deputy prime minister, sacking the Attorney-General, closing down the PAC, and dismissing members of his Cabinet.

He could simply have issued libel proceedings or he could have produced evidence (eg. correct bank statements and transfer documents) that would have shown my reports to be untrue. – August 4, 2015.

* Clare Rewcastle Brown is founder and editor of whistleblower website Sarawak Report.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/response-to-warrant-of-arrest-from-malaysian-police-clare-rewcastle-brown#sthash.6iqpPAd6.dpuf


If Rewcastle-Brown is truly a bonafide investigative journalist, then she has no reason to not participate in the investigation that has been brought against her. Infact, if she is charged in a criminal court, then it is her opportunity to prove herself with her research materials.

The Royal Malaysian Police will sought the assistance and authorities of the Interpol to track and arrest Rewcastle-Brown.

Rewcastle-Brown should also be investigated for criminal defamation for her slanderous stories against Malaysian leadership personalities such as (then Sarawak Chief Minister) Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, Prime Minister Najib and Sabah Chief Minister Dato’ Seri Panglima Musa Aman.

In the video, Rewcastle-Brown arrogantly stated she wanted to defend herself by presenting herself in Kuching in person. By that extension, she should also willing to be brought to Kuala Lumpur for the investigation for the serious crimes against the Malaysian democracy that she has been accused of.

The past five years, she has been very incessant in her attacks against the Sarawak State Government (then under Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud), Sabah State Government (under Chief Minister Dato’ Seri Panglima Musa Aman) and now Prime Minister Najib.

Unlike a true journalist who is out to bring out the truth, Rewcastle-Brown never gave the opportunity for those she is gunning down in all the Sarawak Report writings any opportunity for the right to rebutt. In short, she used her journalism and research methodological skills to victimised politicians with her voracious and venomous presentation of stories and habitual lies.

The mercenary political writer is defiant that she is “A victim of extraordinary series of recent events” and the Malaysian democracy isn’t true and she would get fairness if ever her case was brought to the courts.

Channel News Asia story:

‘I’m not scared’: Sarawak Report’s Clare Brown on arrest warrant for her in Malaysia

“I am just the latest victim in an extraordinary series of recent events in Malaysia,” says the London-based founder of investigative journalism site Sarawak Report.

By Olly Barratt, Channel NewsAsia Correspondent
POSTED: 05 Aug 2015 01:23 UPDATED: 05 Aug 2015 05:11

4865 52 1 Email


LONDON: The founder of alternative news site Sarawak Report Clare Rewcastle Brown describes an arrest warrant put out for her as an “irrational” move on the Malaysian government’s part, done entirely for “domestic consumption”.

Malaysian police announced the arrest warrant on Tuesday (Aug 4), on the basis that Ms Brown is involved in “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy” and for the dissemination of false reports which is an offence under the Malaysian penal code.

Ms Brown, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said she does not think Malaysian authorities have a chance of extraditing her.

The Sarawak Report website was recently blocked in Malaysia, for posing a “threat to national stability”, following reports that claimed Prime Minister Najib Razak had up to US$700 milllion deposited into his personal accounts from state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). A Special Task Force probe concluded that the money deposited in Mr Najib’s accounts was from donations and not from 1MDB.

Below is Channel NewsAsia’s interview with Ms Brown.

Q: What was your reaction to hearing of the arrest warrant?

Ms Brown: Somewhat surprised. It seems very irrational and counterproductive to issue these sorts of threats that can’t be carried through.

Q: Why do you say that they can’t be carried through?

Ms Brown: Well, because I don’t think that they would ever get this petition through a court in a normal democracy like the UK, which is where I am. They are trying to arrest me for some kind of action against democracy, which is ironic given that it is the Malaysian government which has been taking actions against democracy by silencing free media and closing down my blog and indeed several newspapers and arresting a number of people who have done nothing more than raise some perfectly valid issues.

I don’t think they have got a chance in h**l of extraditing me from the UK.

Q: What is your response in terms of actions – will you be taking any actions in response to this warrant being issued? Will you need to talk to UK authorities? What do you do next?

Ms Brown: I’m besieged by media interviews at the moment, so I am going to be talking about Najib Razak on a very wide platform – so in a way, he could not have done anything more counter-productive than to provide me with that platform to discuss some of the issues that are causing considerable alarm at the moment in Malaysia.

I am just the latest victim in an extraordinary series of recent events in Malaysia – the Prime Minister sacked his deputy, sacked his Attorney-General, closed down the Public Accounts Committee; he has gone round arresting a whole lot of senior law enforcers investigating a very very concerning financial scandal in Malaysia and really everybody in Malaysia is asking: “Why?”

Well I am not sure if he is accusing me of forging documents or having criminally obtained documents, because obviously he can’t accuse me of both. I have been accused of both by him and his supporters but really they have to decide which they are going to charge me of, and Malaysians are left scratching their heads.

Q: The Special Task Force concluded that these monies transferred into the PM’s account were donations. What did you make of those conclusions?

A month on, and one might say several arrests, sacking and dismissals on, the Prime Minister has now finally had it announced through the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that that was not anything to do with 1MDB money, which actually certainly I and I don’t know of any investigative reporters who said it was, he is saying that was just a donation, an anonymous donation and really Malaysians are asking: “Who donated and where did the money go? Is it correct that the Prime Minister should have been secretly donated US$700 million?”

Q: Do you recognise that it is easier for you to do this job here now than it would be in Malaysia?

Ms Brown: I have been accused of interfering in Malaysia and one of the reasons I have felt justified in concentrating on so many of the subjects around Malaysia that I have done is because so many Malaysian journalists and other Malaysians have said: “Thank goodness you’re able to print this because we can’t.”

There is maybe an illusion that there is a free media in Malaysia. There is not a free media in Malaysia, and I think what you’re seeing at the moment – the closure of respected business publications who have also been covering this enormous scandal, missing billions from the public development fund, just shows how little freedom of the press there is in Malaysia so that is partially why I’m doing it.

Q: With this warrant having been issued, will you ever be able to go back to Malaysia?

Ms Brown: I’m sure as long as Najib Razak is Prime Minister, I would be ill-advised.

Q: And how does that make you feel?

Ms Brown: I’ll live. I’ll continue to write about Malaysian issues and I’ll continue to interest myself in these matters – but you know, there are plenty of people in Malaysia who are suffering far worse than me as a result of these undemocratic actions that have been taken by the government at the moment. There are people in jail, there are people who have been arrested and not given their rightful access to legal representation. I’m not going to start feeling sorry for myself that I’m not allowed to be there too.

Q: And to return to where we started on the warrant itself being issued – how do you believe that reflects on the government of Malaysia?

Ms Brown: I think it is going to show the government of Malaysia up as being perhaps not quite under control at the moment actually. It’s such an irrational action, the rest of the international community is going to ask what is it that I’ve done that is detrimental to democracy, that’s the charge I’m facing. It’s an Orwellian charge, it is not a crime that exists in real democratic countries.

I think the Prime Minister has given up worrying what the rest of the world thinks about this action. I think this is purely for domestic consumption. I have had a lot of Malaysians ring up and say: “Clare, are you scared?” And I say, “I’m not scared, this isn’t about intimidating me, this is about intimidating his own domestic population.

– CNA/dl


Rewscatle-Brown is also implicated in the extortion case of former Petro Saudi executive Xavier A. Justo against his former employer, now actively being investigated by Royal Thai Police.

Of late, her credibility and journalism integrity is highly questionable if not greatly diminished after she was proven to either has been lying or falsifying evidence in her stories, intended to gun down the said leaders.

It is believed that Rewcastle-Brown is being funded by Neo Con Jews such as George Soros through organisations such as Open Forum and Global Witness, as part of the agenda to destabilise and topple democratically elected government.

Her manipulation of facts and intertwined with fabricated information tendered as ‘evidence’ and habitual lies, all concocted in well presented stories which seemingly guised as a well researched papers, is over.

The fact that since Justo has been busted in Thailand and started to spill out his beans where Rewcastle-Brown is heavily implicated in the extortion case investigation, she started to be on the defensive mode. It is a clear demonstration that she is guilty and her credence started to dwindle, downwards.

The tide for sister-in-law of the last Labour British Prime Minister who abetted his boss and conspired lie the British public for support to attack Iraq twelve years and subjected millions to anguish and pain based on lies of the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’, has now turned.

She has just became the prey after her reign of terror her own game of lies in the cybersphere as the predator, came to an abrupt ended.

*Updated 1000hrs

Published in: on August 5, 2015 at 01:00  Comments (23)  

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