Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A technician works on the new F-110 turbofan e...Image via WikipediaThe problem of China stealing U.S miltary secrets...

Listen to Simon Cooper discuss the problem of China stealing sensitive military secrets on the Popular Mechanics Show. Download now.

On a hot Florida day late in 2005, Ko-Suen "Bill" Moo was preparing for the endgame of a covert operation he'd been orchestrating for nearly two years. He had arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 5 am on Nov. 7, as the city was recovering from the onslaught of Hurricane Wilma two weeks earlier. Moo checked into a $350-a-night room at the plush Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and now, a day after arriving in town, the Korean-born businessman was ready to sign what promised to be a lucrative contract. In a few days, he'd head back to Hollywood International Airport to see off a plane, chartered for $140,000 to carry a special package. Moo would catch a commercial flight and meet up with his cargo in Shenyang, a city in northeastern China. The cargo was costing him nearly $4 million, but it was worth it. He would clear $1 million in profit once he made the delivery to his clients, senior officials in the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Moo's package was an F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engine, built by General Electric to power America's latest F-16 fighter jet to speeds greater than Mach 2 (1500 mph). Over lunch in the Marriott's restaurant, 58-year-old Moo told the arms dealers who had arranged the purchase that he would soon be looking for additional engines--or even an entire F-16. But what the Chinese army wanted most of all was an AGM-129A, the U.S. Air Force's air-launched strategic nuclear-capable cruise missile. The stealth weapon, which flies at 800 miles per hour, can deliver a 150-kiloton W80 warhead to a target 1800 miles away.

Like everything else Moo was shopping for, the missile is guarded by at least three laws forbidding its sale or the transfer of its design details to foreign countries without government permission. Moo knew this quite well. In addition to working as a covert agent for China, he had a day job in the U.S. aerospace industry. For more than 10 years Moo had been an international sales consultant for Lockheed Martin and other U.S. defense companies in Taiwan. He was arguably the Taiwanese air force's most critical arms broker. 

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Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dala...Image via Wikipedia


A Long History of Sovereignty:

While China claims that Tibet has always been a part of China, Tibet has a history of at least 1300 years of independence from China. In 821 China and Tibet ended almost 200 years of fighting with a treaty engraved on three stone pillars, one of which still stands in front of the Jokhang cathedral in Lhasa.

The treaty reads in part: Both Tibet and China shall keep the country and frontiers of which they are now possessed. The whole region to the East of that being the country of Great China and the whole region to the West being assuredly the country of Great Tibet, from either side there shall be no hostile invasion, and no seizure of territory… and in order that this agreement establishing a great era when Tibetans shall be happy in Tibet and Chinese shall be happy in China shall never be changed, the Three Jewels, the body of Saints, the sun and the moon, planets and stars have been invoked as witness.

The three stone pillars were erected, one outside the Chinese Emperor’s palace, one on the border between the two countries, and one in Lhasa.

During the 13th and 14th centuries both China and Tibet came under the influence of the Mongol empire. China claims today that Tibet and China during that time became one country, by virtue of the Mongols domination of both nations. In validating this claim, it must first be remembered that virtually all of Asia was dominated by the Mongols under Kublai Khan and his successors, who ruled the largest empire in human history. Second, the respective relationships between the Mongols and the Tibetans and between the Mongols and Chinese must be examined. These two relationships were not only radically different in nature, but they also started and ended at different times. Tibet came under Mongol influence before Kublai Khan’s conquest of China and regaining complete independence from the Mongols several decades before China regained its independence.

While China was militarily conquered by the Mongols, the Tibetans and the Mongols established the historically unique “priest patron” relationship, also known as CHO-YON. The Mongol aristocracy had converted to Buddhism and sought spiritual guidance and moral legitimacy for the rule of their vast empire from the Tibetan theocracy. As Tibet’s patrons they pledged to protect it against foreign invasion. In return Tibetans promised loyalty to the Mongol empire.

The Mongol-Tibetan relationship was thus based on mutual respect and dual responsibility. In stark contrast, the Mongol-Chinese relationship was based on military conquest and domination. The Mongols ruled China, while the Tibetans ruled Tibet. The Mongol empire ended in the mid-14th century.

In 1639, the Dalai Lama established another CHO-YON relationship, this time with the Manchu Emperor, who in 1644 conquested China and established the Qing Dynasty.

By the middle of the 19th century, the Munchu influence in Tibet had waned considerably as the Manchu empire began to disintegrate. In 1842 and 1856 the Manchus were incapable of responding to Tibetan calls for assistance against repeated Nepalese Gorkha invasion. The Tibetans drove back the Gorkhas with no assistance and concluded bilateral treaties.

In 1911 the CHO-YON relationship came to its final end with the fall of the Manchu Dynasty. Tibet formally declared its Independence in 1912 and continued to conduct itself as a fully sovereign nation until its invasion by Communist China an 1949.

1. Tibet governed itself without foreign influence, conducted its own Foreign affairs, had its own army and operated its own postal system. Tibet sovereignty was recognised by its neighbours as well as by Britain, with whom Tibet entered into a series of treaties regarding travels and trade.

2. 1904 Britain invaded Tibet and subsequently Convention agreed between Tibet and Britain
3. 1912 The last of the Chinese troops expelled from Tibet and Dalai Lama proclaims Tibet Independence.

4. During the Second World War Tibet remained neutral, despite strong pressure from the USA, Britain and China to allow the passage of raw materials through Tibet.

5. Tibet conducted its international relations primarily by dealing with British, Chinese, Nepalese and Bhutanese diplomatic missions in Lhasa, but also through government delegations traveling abroad. When India became independent, the British Mission in Lhasa was replaced by an Indian one.
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6. When Nepal applied for membership of the United Nations in 1949, it cited its treaty and diplomatic relations with Tibet to demonstrate its full international personality.

7. If Tibet was part of China, then there was no need for the 17 point agreement which was forced upon the Tibetan delegation to sign in China in 1951 and then China announced to the world that Tibet was liberated (from whom?).

8. From 1951 to 1959 China broke every promise that she made towards Tibet, resulting in the Tibetan uprising against China in March 1959. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 100,000 Tibetans escaped into exile. From that day onwards Tibet affectively became an occupied country.

9. Today from the legal standpoint, Tibet to this day has not lost its statehood. It is an independent state under illegal occupation. Neither China’s military invasion nor the continuing occupation by PLA has transferred the sovereignty of Tibet to China.

As pointed out earlier, the Chinese government has not claimed to have acquired sovereignty over Tibet by conquest. Indeed, China recognises that the use or threat of force (outside the exceptional circumstances provided for in the UN charter), the imposition of an unequal treaty or the continued illegal occupation of a country can never grant an invader legal title to territory. Its claims are based solely on the alleged subjection of Tibet to a few of China’s strongest foreign rulers in the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries.

How can China – one of the most ardent opponents of imperialism and colonialism – excuse its continued presence in Tibet, against the wishes of Tibetan people, by citing as justification Mongols and Manchu imperialism and its own colonial policies?

- Dr. Michael C Van Walt Van Pragg (International Lawyer) The Status of Tibet
10. 28th October 1991, US Congress under a Foreign Authorisation Act passed the resolution wherein they recognised “Tibet, including those areas incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai, AN OCCUPIED COUNTRY under the established principal of international law”. The resolution further stated that Tibet’s true representative is the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile as recognised by the Tibetan people.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Fukushima 1 NPPImage via Wikipedia
Fresh explosion rocks Japanese nuclear plant...

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – A fresh explosion rocked a damaged Japanese nuclear power plant on Tuesday where engineers have been pumping sea water into a reactor to prevent a catastrophic meltdown in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Japan's nuclear safety agency said Tuesday's explosion at the plant's No.2 reactor was caused by hydrogen. There was no immediate word on damage, but Jiji news agency quoted the trade ministry as saying radiation levels remained low after the blast, the third at the plant since Saturday.

Japan has asked the United States for more equipment to help cool reactors at the Fukushima nuclear complex, which was hit on Monday by a dangerous drop in cooling water levels that exposed fuel rods in the No. 2 reactor.

The full extent of the destruction wreaked by Friday's massive quake and tsunami that followed it was still becoming clear, as rescuers combed through the region north of Tokyo where officials say at least 10,000 people were killed.

"It's a scene from hell, absolutely nightmarish," said Patrick Fuller of the International Red Cross Federation from the northeastern coastal town of Otsuchi.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan was facing its worst crisis since World War Two and, with the financial costs estimated at up to $180 billion, analysts said it could tip the world's third biggest economy back into recession.

The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the quake to magnitude 9.0, from 8.9, making it the world's fourth most powerful since 1900.

Car makers, shipbuilders and technology companies worldwide scrambled for supplies after the disaster shut factories in Japan and disrupted the global manufacturing chain.

Japanese stocks were expected to fall further on Tuesday, after Nikkei futures traded in Chicago fell 6.15 percent to be 70 points below the Osaka close.

Tokyo's TOPIX index closed down more than 7.5 percent on Monday, wiping $287 billion off market capitalization in the biggest fall since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. Insurers' shares fell for a second day in London and New York, as world stocks slid to a six-week low.
The fear at the Fukushima complex, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, is of a major radiation leak after the quake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. The complex has seen explosions at two of its reactors on Saturday and Monday.

The worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 has drawn criticism that authorities were ill-prepared and revived debate in many countries about the safety of atomic power.
Switzerland put on hold some approvals for nuclear power plants and Germany said it was scrapping a plan to extend the life of its nuclear power stations. The White House said U.S. President Barack Obama remained committed to nuclear energy.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the reactor vessels of nuclear power plants affected by the disaster remained intact.
"The nuclear plants have been shaken, flooded and cut off from electricity," he told a news conference. But "the reactor vessels have held and radioactive release is limited."

Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomatic, added that a Chernobyl-style disaster was "very unlikely."
An explosion at the Soviet Chernobyl plant sent radioactive fallout across northern Europe.

Whilst the Fukuskima plant's No.1 and No.3 reactors both suffered partial fuel rod meltdowns, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said the No. 2 reactor was now the biggest concern.

A sudden drop in cooling water levels when a pump ran out of fuel had fully exposed the fuel rods for a time, an official said. This could lead to the rods melting down and a possible radioactive leak.
TEPCO said it had resumed pumping sea water into the reactor early on Tuesday.

"This is nothing like a Chernobyl," said Murray Jennex, a nuclear expert at San Diego State University. "At Chernobyl you had no containment structure -- when it blew, it blew everything straight out into the atmosphere."

Nonetheless, the government warned those still in the 20-km (13-mile) evacuation zone to stay indoors. TEPCO said 11 people had been injured in the blast.

U.S. warships and planes helping with relief efforts moved away from the coast temporarily because of low-level radiation. The U.S. Seventh Fleet described the move as precautionary.
South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines said they would test Japanese food imports for radiation.

France's ASN nuclear safety authority said the accident could be classified as a level 5 or 6 on the international scale of 1 to 7, putting it on a par with the 1979 U.S. Three Mile Island meltdown, higher than the Japanese authorities' rating.

Japan's nuclear safety agency has rated the incidents in the No.1 and No.3 reactors as a 4, but has not yet rated the No. 2 reactor.

About 850,000 households in the north were still without electricity in near-freezing weather, Tohuku Electric Power Co. said, and the government said at least 1.5 million households lack running water. Tens of thousands of people were missing.

"The situation here is just beyond belief, almost everything has been flattened," said the Red Cross's Fuller in Otsuchi, a town all but obliterated. "The government is saying that 9,500 people, more than half of the population, could have died and I do fear the worst."

Kyodo news agency reported that 2,000 bodies had been found on Monday in two coastal towns alone.
Whole villages and towns have been wiped off the map by Friday's wall of water, triggering an international humanitarian effort of epic proportions.

"When the tsunami struck, I was trying to evacuate people. I looked back, and then it was like the computer graphics scene I've seen from the movie Armageddon. I thought it was a dream . it was really like the end of the world," said Tsutomu Sato, 46, in Rikuzantakata, a town on the northeast coast.
In Tokyo, commuter trains shut down and trucks were unable to make deliveries as supermarket shelves ran empty.

Estimates of the economic impact are only now starting to emerge.
Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist for Japan at Credit Suisse, said in a note to clients that the economic loss will likely be around 14-15 trillion yen ($171-183 billion) just to the region hit by the quake and tsunami.

Even that would put it above the commonly accepted cost of the 1995 Kobe quake which killed 6,000 people.
The earthquake has forced many firms to suspend production and shares in some of Japan's biggest companies tumbled on Monday, with Toyota Corp dropping almost 8 percent.
Global companies from semiconductor makers to shipbuilders faced disruptions to operations after the quake and tsunami destroyed vital infrastructure, damaged ports and knocked out factories.
"The earthquake could have great implications on the global economic front," said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lec Securities in New York. "If you shut down Japan, there could be a global recession."

The Bank of Japan offered a combined 15 trillion yen ($183 billion) to the banking system earlier in the day to soothe market jitters.

(Additional reporting by Nathan Layne, Risa Maeda and Leika Kihara in Tokyo, Chris Meyers and Kim Kyung-hoon in Sendai, Fredrik Dahl and Michael Shields in Vienna, Noel Randewich in San Francisco and Miyoung Kim in Seoul; Writing by Alex Richardson)

Acknowledgements: Yahoo News

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Qur’ān. V49:11–13: "come to know each oth...Image via Wikipedia  Come to know each other...

What the Qur’an teaches: The same old faith...

In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful

His are the keys of the heavens and the earth. He gives abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure to whomever He wills. He has full knowledge of everything. In matters of faith, He has ordained for you the same as He had enjoined on Noah — that which We have revealed to you (Muhammad) — and as We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: ‘Steadfastly uphold the faith and do not divide into factions.’ Hard for the idolaters is that which you call on them to accept. God draws to Himself whoever He pleases and guides to Himself everyone who turns to Him. (Consultation, Al-Shoora: 42: 12-13)

We discussed the verses that make clear that judgment in all people’s disputes belong to God alone. Given that He makes His judgment final in all disputes, this can only mean that this rule is based on the fact that having originated the heavens and the earth and set their laws in operation, He continues to hold their keys: “His are the keys of the heavens and the earth.”

Since mankind are only part of what lives in the heavens and earth, the same fact applies to them, which means that the keys and treasures of the universe belong to God. Moreover, it is He who provides them with sustenance, determining its measure in the same way as He conducts all affairs: “He gives abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure to whomever He wills.” It is He who gives them the food they eat and the water they drink, providing everything they need in their lives. Can they, then, refer to anyone else for judgment in their affairs? It is the most natural procedure for people to turn to the One who controls all this according to His perfect knowledge: “He has full knowledge of everything.” Needless to say, the One who knows everything is the One who can make a final judgment in all fairness.

This is just one example of how the meanings of the component parts of the surah’s verses converge in complete harmony and perfect subtlety to work on the human heart. It is akin to the harmonious tones that combine to make a superb melody.

The surah began with a general reference to the unity of the source of all divine faiths: “Thus has God, the Almighty, the Wise, sent revelation to you, Prophet, and to those who preceded you.” (Verse 3) Now it gives more details of this fact, pointing out that the legislation God has enacted for Muslims is, in essence, the same as He legislated for Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, requiring them all to establish the divine faith and not to split into factions over it. This requires that they, in turn, steadfastly pursue the divine code of living, paying no heed to the desires of those who fall into dispute. This divine faith is thus meant to govern human life, while those who argue about God have no leg to stand on. They are the ones who are warned of the painful punishment they might incur.

This passage enjoys the same level of perfect harmony as the preceding one: “In matters of faith, He has ordained for you the same as He had enjoined on Noah — that which We have revealed to you (Muhammad) — and as We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Steadfastly uphold the faith and do not divide into factions.”

Thus the surah confirms the truth we explained at its very outset: God is the source of all divine religions, starting far back in history. A little touch is added here which has a pleasant, subtle effect on every believer. He or she looks out to see who were their predecessors on this long line only to find that they were those noble elite: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be on them all). Every believer then realizes that he has joined their procession, traveling the same way they traveled. He will then enjoy his journey along that way, no matter how much trouble, persecution or deprivation he suffers. Who would not put up with trouble, knowing that it is only transient, when he is assured of the company of such an elite nobility?

Moreover, there is a profound sense of peace between believers in the one divine faith who implement His law. No conflict or dispute arises between them. They feel their strong bond urging them to collaborate and understand each other so that they can maintain the link between present and past.

Since the religion God ordained for the Muslims who believe in Muhammad is the same as He enjoined on Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, why do the followers of Moses and Jesus fight against each other? Indeed, what causes fighting between the followers of different Christian sects? Why do the followers of Moses and Jesus go to war against the followers of Muhammad? And why do those idolaters who claim to follow Abraham’s faith wage a war against Muslims? Should not all these group together under the one banner hoisted by God’s last Messenger? The same order was issued to them all: “Steadfastly uphold the faith and do not divide into factions.” Only when they unite under this banner do they uphold the faith, fulfil its duties, maintain its path and work under the same banner hoisted high in succession by Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus until it was eventually carried by Muhammad, who received the final testament.


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