Daily Dump: Trouble with Narratives, Huawei, Spying, Espionage, Hacking and More – January 13, 2022

Daily Dump: Trouble with Narratives, Huawei, Spying, Espionage, Hacking and More – January 13, 2022

I had high hopes for this post and was going to write about the drone war but sometimes the stories don’t fit the narrative that you thought, so, I am giving up and just hitting publish. This post is technically 4 days late already.

I was scrolling through Twitter the other day and noted an article from Net Assessment podcaster, Zack Cooper: Reinserting Canada into America’s Indo-Pacific Perspective: Zack Cooper for Inside Policy from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. The article was great in and of itself but once I got to the site, I found: The Eavesdropping Dragon: Why Huawei Has No Place In Canadians’ Communications, also from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. I have written quite a bit on Huawei in the past (here and here)so it caught my attention. Below is the abstract of what we wrote in April 2020 on Huawei which you can find here:

The fifth generation of wireless technology has the potential of faster speeds, reduced delays and an increase in connectivity. But such promise does not come without risk, for each 5G equipped device has the potential to be used to invade privacy and provide an opening for our adversaries. Rigorous formal analysis of equipment and processes must be completed to ensure adequate security measures are in place and this analysis must consider the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Huawei is on the leading edge of 5G technology and is vying to be a major player in its implementation. U.S. prosecutors have demonstrated that Huawei has a history of stealing trade secrets, covering up their transgressions and are currently under indictment for multiple charges of money laundering, bank fraud and conspiracy. In addition, they have reportedly circumvented sanctions imposed on North Korea and Iran, providing the countries with telecom equipment that can be used for extensive spying on populations. Regardless of intent, Chinese law would compel Huawei to hand over any and all network data if the Chinese Government asked for it. U.S. national security officials must be prepared for a future in which the Chinese firm Huawei will have a major share of the advanced global telecommunications market, and plan to thwart potential espionage and disruptive cyberattacks enabled by interconnected networks. Huawei and its participation in the next generation 5G network poses a national security threat that has the potential to destabilize traditional alliances and information sharing that is critical to national security.

I have not changed my position on Huawei and still think that it is a national security threat but, what do I know, I’m just dood that does this for fun so I think that it is important to check in on what the professionals, and in this case, the Canadians think. Which brings us back to The Eavesdropping Dragon: Why Huawei Has No Place In Canadians’ Communications from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. What do they think? (emphasis mine)

With Canada-China relations at an important new juncture following the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, decision-makers in Ottawa are now confronted with an important decision.

Should Ottawa allow Huawei, the telecommunications giant at the centre of China’s global ambitions, to be involved in the construction of Canada’s next-generation 5G communications networks?

For MLI’s internal and external experts, the answer is clear: for reasons including national security, intellectual property right protection, international intelligence cooperation, foreign affairs strategy, and much, much more, Canada must block Huawei from involvement in 5G.

And if that is not clear enough, they write: (emphasis theirs)

Simply put, Huawei is an abnormal company whose involvement in 5G would pose a serious threat to the information security of Canada and whose construction of 5G infrastructure would undermine Canada’s independent sovereign decision-making ability.

They have written extensively on Huawei so if you have a day or two kill, check them out. Interestingly, there were three other articles that cover espionage, spying or hacking today and one on the importance of cybersecurity to a critical ally:

UK lawmakers warned of Chinese spying threat – Reuters

Denmark accuses Russia, China, Iran of espionage threat – Reuters

Pentagon says Iran is behind MuddyWater hacking group – Al Monitor

Securing Taiwan Requires Immediate Unprecedented Cyber Action – Lawfare

From Reuters:

Britain’s domestic spy service MI5 has warned lawmakers that the Chinese Communist Party has been employing a woman to exert improper influence over members of parliament.

MI5 sent out an alert and picture of the woman named Christine Lee on Thursday alleging she was “involved in political interference activities” in the United Kingdom on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

From the second Reuters story:

Denmark warned on Thursday of a rising espionage threat from Russia, China, Iran and others, including in the Arctic region where global powers are jostling for resources and sea routes.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service said there had been numerous examples of attempted spying on Denmark, whose active global role had helped make it a tempting target.

Al Monitor:

The United States military identified Iranian intelligence as being behind a group of hackers widely known as MuddyWater on Wednesday, confirming previous reports by private cybersecurity groups.

MuddyWater has reportedly attacked both government and private enterprise networks in the Middle East, but has also targeted organizations in the United States.

The Lawfare article takes a different approach and discusses the importance of security, in this instance, for Taiwan.

In the domain of Sino-American tech rivalry, Taiwan is unique in two aspects: First, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) remains the world’s tightest bottleneck in the global high-tech ecosystem, with exclusive capabilities to construct the most valuable, sophisticated computer chips in existence. Second, military conflagration in Taiwan would represent a hitherto-unknown level of cyber-intensive military conflict, the seeds of which likely have already been planted. Both of these realities demand unprecedented cooperation between the United States and Taiwan—cooperation that requires significant trust and openness in Taipei and significant counter-espionage and national security assistance from Washington. 

Each article has merits and details of their own that are worth your time because they provide perspectives that are important in understanding varying aspects of the battlefield. The Lawfare article highlights how important Taiwan is to both China and the U.S. and how no matter if a shooting war actually breaks out, preparation for Irregular Warfare will be important because it is a key battlefield/area in the Great Power Competition.

I was going to write a final section in this post covering the drone war based around a podcast and 3 articles in Today’s Dump. But, 4 days later, I am still not finished and it is not coming together like I thought it would. So, I am just going to highlight them and move on. Sometimes writing is hard.

Net Assessment Podcast: A HEAVY PRICE TO PAY?

Texas National Security Review: Were Drone Strikes Effective? Evaluating the Drone Campaign in Pakistan Through Captured al-Qaeda Documents.

Foreign Affairs: A More Just Drone War Is Within Reach: The Case for Tighter Targeting Restrictions.

All of this and so much more in Today’s Daily Dump!!

Inspired by the Cognitive Raider Initiative, The Cognitive Warrior Project has put together a daily list of diverse articles that can easily be chosen from to play a part in developing a more mentally agile warfighter that embraces the adaptation required for tomorrow’s battlefield. Our intent is to create a space where you can choose one or two articles a day (about 10 minutes) instead of mindlessly scrolling social media.

As a reminder: The Cognitive Warrior Project is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Special Operation Forces, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. None of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, DoD or Space Force have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It’s just a media site that happens to cover the U.S Military, DoD and other National Intelligence Assets.

January 13, 2022

Podcast: S2E9 SOF Caucus – A bipartisan look at SOF – SOFCAST

Changing Alliance Structures – The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Reinserting Canada into America’s Indo-Pacific Perspective: Zack Cooper for Inside Policy – Macdonald-Laurier Institute

The Eavesdropping Dragon: Why Huawei Has No Place In Canadians’ Communications – Macdonald-Laurier Institute

What We Can Learn from the 1973 Battle of Suez City: An Urban Warfare Project Case Study – Modern War Institute

More Odysseus, Less Achilles: Developing Special Operations Forces for the Challenges Ahead – Modern War Institute

Are All Nukes Created Equal? Understanding What a Nuclear Capability Would Mean to Iran – Modern War Institute


#Reviewing: Understanding Peacekeeping, 3rd Edition. – The Strategy Bridge

Kazakhstan: Peering Beyond Current Troubles – RUSI

Deterrence and Defense Strategy: Old Lessons and New Contexts – NSI

The Role of Education Benefits in Supporting Veterans as They Transition to Civilian Life – RAND

Reforming the Defense Department’s Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Process – War on the Rocks

Robert Jervis: A Remembrance – War on the Rocks

Preparing for Inevitable Cyber Surprise – War on the Rocks

Were Drone Strikes Effective? Evaluating the Drone Campaign in Pakistan Through Captured al-Qaeda Documents – Texas National Security Review

A social network analysis of Genaro García Luna and his alleged ties to the Sinaloa Cartel – Small Wars Journal

1/12/2022 National Security and Korean News and Commentary – Small Wars Journal

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: January (December 4, 2021-January 11, 2022) – Small Wars Journal

Podcast: Russia’s Next Move on Ukraine – The Truth of the Matter

Can the OSCE Help Resolve the Russia-Ukraine Crisis? – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Getting the Pandemic Completely Wrong – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Port expansions could expose Kenya to more crime – Institute for Security Studies

A More Just Drone War Is Within Reach: The Case for Tighter Targeting Restrictions – Foreign Affairs

From the Jaws of Retreat: Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Persistence of American Ambition – Foreign Affairs

Russia says Ukraine talks hit ‘dead end’, Poland warns of risk of war – Reuters

Russia-led bloc starts Kazakhstan pullout after possible coup bid crushed – Reuters

UK lawmakers warned of Chinese spying threat – Reuters

Denmark accuses Russia, China, Iran of espionage threat – Reuters

Mekong group urges better water management collaboration as record drought persists – Reuters

Russia won’t rule out military deployment to Cuba, Venezuela – AP

WFP director for Afghanistan warns of “tsunami of hunger’ – AP

CARE’s Suffering in Silence report: Forgotten humanitarian crises – DW

Pentagon says Iran is behind MuddyWater hacking group – Al Monitor

The Takeaway: Iraq takes first steps toward new government: What comes next – Al Monitor

IRGC-linked factions step up activity against Kurdistan Region of Iraq – Al Monitor

Kazakhstan unrest highlights tricky terrain of fuel subsidy cuts – Al Jazeera

Moon wants to formally end the Korean War. Can that bring peace? – Al Jazeera

South Korea fires up its ‘artificial sun’ – Asia Times

US ‘mystery’ missile downs Iranian drone in Iraq – Asia Times

New hope for Turkey-Armenia to heal old wounds – Asia Times

Underwater drones herald sea change in Pacific warfare – Asia Times

Russia and West at Impasse as Ukraine Urges Reversal of Troop Buildup – The New York Times

Why Is Ethiopia at War With Itself? – The New York Times

The Campaign Against Nazarbaev And The Cronies Of Kazakhstan’s First President Has Begun – Radio Free Europe

Turkmenistan Increases Controls On Its People After Unrest In Kazakhstan – Radio Free Europe

Aftermath: Peacekeepers And Destruction In Kazakhstan – Radio Free Europe

Time for America to Play Offense in China’s Backyard – Foreign Policy

Russian troops are battle-hardened but Ukraine would be their biggest test in decades – Task and Purpose

Securing Taiwan Requires Immediate Unprecedented Cyber Action – Lawfare

What Russia wants – and what it means for Britain – Wavell Room

Sanctions on Putin Would be Step Too Far, Kremlin Warns U.S. – The Moscow Times

The Russian ASAT Test Caps a Bad Year for the Due Regard Principle in Space – Just Security

Incoming North Korean Missile Warning Prompted FAA’s Mysterious Air Traffic Halt – The Drive

Bomblet Dropping Drones Are Now Being Used By Cartels In Mexico’s Drug War – The Drive

NSO Group Spyware Targeted Dozens of Reporters in El Salvador – Wired

With Thursday’s launch, SpaceX continues to increase cadence of booster reuse – Ars Technica

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