Chinese armed drones now flying across Mideast battlefields

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FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2015, file photo, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, center, inspects a first Chinese drone to be used by the Iraqi Air Force before sending it to bomb Islamic State group positions at an airbase in Kut, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones. The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region crucial to American security interests and bolstering Beijing’s ambitions of being a world leader in high-tech arms sales. (AP Photo, File)

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — High above Yemen’s rebel-held city of Hodeida, a drone controlled by Emirati forces hovered as an SUV carrying a top Shiite Houthi rebel official turned onto a small street and stopped, waiting for another vehicle in its convoy to catch up.

Seconds later, the SUV exploded in flames, killing Saleh al-Samad, a top political figure.

The drone that fired that missile in April was not one of the many American aircraft that have been buzzing across the skies of Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. It was Chinese. Continue reading

Asia Times: Chinese Espionage and Intelligence Activities at All Time High, Experts Say

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The US announced criminal charges in 2014 against five Chinese army hackers for stealing trade secrets from American companies

 

Chinese intelligence operations worldwide to steal important information both through human agents and cyber attacks are a growing threat, according to experts who testified at a US congressional commission last week.

Beijing’s spies, operating through the civilian Ministry of State Security and People’s Liberation Army Intelligence Bureau (IB), have scored impressive gains against the United States in particular, where economic espionage — the theft of trade secrets and high technology — remains at unprecedented levels.

Technology espionage by China was highlighted by the conviction in California last week of Wenxia Man of San Diego who was convicted of illegally conspiring to export fighter jet engines and an unmanned aerial vehicle to China. Continue reading

China hovers on the outskirts of Syria military action

China may not be participating directly in military strikes against the Islamic State jihadist group but its hovering presence continues make an impact in other ways, according the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.

To date, China remains the only permanent member of the UN Security Council that has not engaged in combat operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Continue reading

US defense industry over-reliant on rare earth from China

Rare earth elements from China are being used to build weapons systems sold to the US Department of Defense, according to American geologist Victoria Bruce in an article written for Truthout, a nonprofit news organization based in the United States.

According to Bruce, participants at the meeting were outraged to discover that various top US weapon systems including Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter, Raytheon’s ground-to-air missile system, Boeing’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile system, Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk, and General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator would not work at all without China-sourced rare earth materials. After learning this fact, a number of the participants promised to take action. Continue reading

Homeland Security Taps Generals to Run Domestic Drone Program: The Rise of Predators at Home

DHS decided – with virtually no reviews or evaluations – to purchase unarmed versions of the Predator drones used abroad for “signature strikes” (targeted drone killing). The department, whose mission includes “border security,” has also relied on military bases along the land border and coastal waters to host its own drone fleet.Since DHS began acquiring Predators, along with Predator variants called Guardians, from General Atomics nine years ago, this domestic drone program has proved an abysmal failure – whether measured by its effectiveness in immigration enforcement, drug control, or counterterrorism.  A series of reports by the General Accountability Office, Congressional Review Service, and the DHS Inspector General’s Office have documented the paltry achievements, the alarming strategic confusion, and near-systemic logistical and technical shortcomings of the DHS drone program.

These government reports pointed to the complete absence of any cost-benefit evaluations and efficiency assessments of the DHS drone program.

Yet these official reviews failed to shed any light on the department’s controversial decision to deploy only the hugely expensive military-grade Predator drones and to enter into sole-source contracts with General Atomics to provide, maintain, and even operate the federal government’s domestic drone fleet. Continue reading