Australia launches spy agency review amid China concerns

Australian spy agencies will undergo their largest review in decades, officials announced Wednesday, as Canberra seeks to strengthen intelligence powers amid heightened concerns about terrorism and foreign political interference.

A former head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) will spearhead the wide-ranging enquiry, which will look at how national and domestic intelligence agencies share information, their resources and the laws that underpin their work. Continue reading

China Plans Network of Indian Ocean Bases: Security Analyst

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The Maldives is moving closer to China and Beijing may be interested in taking over the old British air base on Gan in the south of that archipelago

China has plans to establish a network of naval and air bases in the Indian Ocean, according to an article by David Brewster posted on the website of the Lowy Institute, the Australian think-tank, on May 15.

Brewster, who is with the National Security College at the Australian National University in Canberra, argues that Beijing’s aim is to support China’s growing strategic imperatives in the region. Continue reading

Australian spy agency says it is facing ‘unprecedented’ espionage threat

 

The primary intelligence agency of Australia says its resources are overextended as the country faces “espionage and foreign interference [of an] unprecedented” scale. In its annual report to the Australian houses of parliament, which was produced on Tuesday, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) says it lacks resources to counter “harmful espionage” and “malicious activity” against the country. The unclassified report is published every year as a summary of a much longer classified report, which is shared with senior government officials and senior civil servants. It is endorsed by ASIO Director Duncan Lewis, who serves as Australia’s Director-General of Security. Continue reading

Australia concerned about Chinese firm’s involvement in undersea cable project

 

Australia has expressed concern about a plan by a Chinese telecommunications company to provide high-speed Internet to the Solomon Islands, a small Pacific island nation with which Australia shares Internet resources. The company, Huawei Technologies, a private Chinese venture, is one of the world’s leading telecommunications hardware manufacturers. In recent years, however, it has come under scrutiny by Western intelligence agencies, who view it as being too close to the Communist Party of China. Continue reading

Is Chinese salvage ship searching for flight MH370 spying on Australia?

The Chinese embassy in Canberra has strongly denied accusations that a Chinese government ship involved in the international effort to find the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is spying on the Royal Australian Navy. The ship, the Dong Hai Jiu 101, is a salvage and rescue vessel built in Shanghai in 2012 and currently sailing under the Chinese flag. In April, the Chinese government contracted the Dong Hai Jiu 101 to join the international search effort for the wreckage of Flight MH370. The Boeing 777 aircraft disappeared over the South China Sea on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, to the Beijing Capital International Airport in China. Continue reading

Springboard into the Pacific Region

BERLIN/CANBERRA (Own report) – To reinforce its position in the Pacific region, Berlin is initiating a regular dialogue with Australia at foreign and defense ministerial levels. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are participating in the first “German-Australian 2+2 Dialogue” held today in Berlin. The meeting, which will be repeated at regular intervals, is one of the measures initiated in early 2013 to enhance cooperation between Berlin and Canberra, in light of the shift of global policy priority from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In view of its growing economic and political importance, Washington considers China to be its main rival of the future. Therefore US President George W. Bush (2002) and US Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton (2011) explicitly declared this to be “America’s Pacific Century,” and Washington has begun redeploying its military forces closer to the People’s Republic of China. Explicitly claiming to “help shape the global order,” Berlin also feels obliged to reinforce its position in that region.

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South China Sea: claims White House ‘gagged’ US navy chief over China criticism

China’s construction of a “great wall of sand” with artificial islands in the South China Sea has sparked a stoush in Washington, with claims the White House has gagged US navy commanders criticising Beijing.

US Pacific commander Harry Harris has been most prominent amid repeated warnings by US military leaders that China’s ambitions in the disputed waters are destabilising the region. Continue reading

Russian ‘mole’ infiltrated Western intelligence in Australia, says ex-MI5 spy

A Russian “mole” infiltrated Australia’s spy agency during the height of the Cold War, according to a British-born Australian intelligence agent who has revealed her concerns for the first time.

Molly Sasson, 92, worked for the Royal Air Force intelligence and MI5 before moving to Australia to work for Asio, the domestic spy agency.

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South China Sea: artificial-island building accelerates to fill in holes on atolls

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China has responded to an international outcry over its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea by accelerating the building program, according to analysis of the latest aerial surveillance.

Australia, the United States and most recently the G7 group of rich nations have all warned China to stop its frenetic sand-dredging activities, fearing that it is creating airstrips, ports and battlements that will dramatically alter the balance of regional military power. Continue reading

China puts weapons on its new artificial islands

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China has moved weaponry onto artificial islands that it is building in contested areas of the South China Sea, adding to the risks of a confrontation with the United States and its regional security partners including Australia.

Australian officials are concerned that China could also introduce long-range radar, anti-aircraft guns and regular surveillance flights that will enable it to project military power across a maritime expanse which include some of Australia’s busiest trading lanes. Continue reading

Is Germany Still in the Race for Australia’s Biggest Arms Deal of the Century?

Angela Merkel is aggressively pushing for Germany to win a contract to build 12 submarines.

Tomorrow’s issue of Der Spiegelfeatures a story on Angela Merkel’s efforts to secure one of the largest arms deals in Germany’s history. The article discusses the, according to a German government source, “outstanding” opportunity for the German arms industry should the German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) be awarded the contract to build up to twelve new submarines for the Australian Royal Navy.  TKMS’s offer, the 4,000 tons HDW class 216 is a submarine, specifically designed to meet Canberra’s needs, which is looking to replace its aging Collins-class submarine fleet. Continue reading

US a dangerous ally: former Australia PM

While he may be somewhat right, he still leaves Australia with only two options, neither of which are arguably in the best interests of Australians. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place as the United States suicidally declines.

Option one: Turn is back on America and go it alone in the world without America and run the risk of an inferior military being annihilated by China. Option two: Turn its back on America and side with China because you’re afraid of option one. Both options will in any case leave Australians with the task of learning Chinese.

 

In his new book titled “Dangerous Allies,” Malcolm Fraser, the former prime minister of Australia worries that the Canberra’s dependence on the United States will eventually bring the nation into a direct conflict with China. His words echo those of Georgetown University professor Amitai Etzioni in and article he wrote for the Diplomat on Jan. 20. Continue reading

US cannot defeat China over Diaoyutai: professor

Given all the problems the F-35 program has been plagued by, it looks at least at this time, that America might have lost its air superiority advantage in a conflict with China in the Asia Pacific. The United States would need entire carrier fleets to even bring the planes out there, which would then be thrown into the lions den of Chinese next-generation nuclear submarines — which ironically can pop up in the middle of U.S. Navy exercises and say hi without a problem. And that was in 2007, when the current generation of Chinese nuclear subs weren’t yet available.

In other words, America is in serious trouble if a conflict with the PLA ever breaks out.

You can thank the Clintons for the advancement of Chinese military technology that can make America’s defeat a reality.

 

The United States would be unlikely to defeat China in an armed conflict over the disputed Diaoyutai (Senkaku) islands, said Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at Australia National University in Canberra.

The possibility of a war between China and Japan over East China Sea exists, according to White’s article in National Interest. If Beijing and Tokyo start a war, it will be a tough decision for Washington as to whether to intervene or not. Even though the United States is obligated to defend the Japanese adminstration over the Diaoyutais under its mutual security treaty with Japan, supporting Tokyo would mean going to war. Continue reading

Top Secret Japanese Submarines Likely to Replace Australia’s Aging Fleet

MOSCOW, December 18 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova – The Australian leadership is considering an arm deal with Japan to buy 12 submarines based on Soryu-class vessels.”Australia is considering buying top-secret technology from Japan to build a fleet of new generation submarines, a move that would risk reigniting diplomatic tensions with China only recently smoothed over,” Bloomberg reported. Continue reading

Japan & Australia consider submarine deal that could rattle China

TOKYO/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Japan will get the chance to pursue an unprecedented military export deal when its defense and foreign ministers meet their Australian counterparts in Tokyo next month.

Japan is considering selling submarine technology to Australia – perhaps even a fleet of fully engineered, stealthy vessels, according to Japanese officials. Sources on both sides say the discussions so far have encouraged a willingness to speed up talks. Continue reading