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Is “secretive” a last name?

Noshir Gowadia was in the Western press lately, because back in August 2010, a Hawaii court convicted him of selling military secrets to China. BBC carried a report with the by-line: “A US engineer who sold military secrets to China has been sentenced to 32 years in prison.” We can expect the media to predictably draw a connection with the J-20 stealth fighter. The buzz now, rather in August 2010, of course is to milk the J-20 news.

I am not really writing about Gowadia though. Regardless of the case, any national working with foreign countries on weapons technology is essentially playing with fire. Impossible for us average citizens to weigh in on something like this. Instead, I have a simple thought I would like to share.

Last year we also read about Russian spies in America stealing secrets. This makes me think, wow, the U.S. have a lot of military secrets to be stolen. Do we know if the U.S. is working on a cruise missile that could perform face recognition and target from outer space? That would be a secret, wouldn’t it? Even the dumbest of us have probably heard about “top secret” and other levels of clearances in movies.

This leads me to think how the Western media cover stories about the Chinese military. They will often outright say “secretive” Chinese military or insinuate that, as if “secretive” is a last name or something. For the dumbest of us, lets get a grip. Military around the globe are secretive. They share what they want the public to know.

Why does the Western media prefix China’s with “secretive” and not their own? Mindless propaganda, isn’t it? And apparently it must work, otherwise they’d stop that nonsense.

  1. r v
    February 7th, 2011 at 07:17 | #1

    Well, in US’s defense, they have lots of “secrets”, and they are quite openly about how much “secret” they have. In that, the US government is very slap happy about slapping the “secret” label on pretty much everything in the government.

    In contrast, many other countries, including China, do not tell the public about how much “secret” they have in the government. The prevailing assumption is 100% of what the government has is “secret”.

    So, in practice, really it’s the same in US vs. elsewhere. (But at least in US, a lot of things are “open secrets”, in that peoeple know they EXIST as “secret”. In China, people sometimes don’t even know something exist).

    Of course, when it comes down to the original B2 or the original J-20, they are “Secret Double Black”, meaning, most people, including the President, might not know about the secret, NOR do they even know the mere fact that there is a “secret”.

    *Lately though, there have been more leaks in US. But one can see that the US government is just as paranoid about keeping secrets, even secrets that no longer secrets.

    The whole stink about Wikileak really only shows the paranoia of the US government. The leaked info themselves are not that valuable, only confirm what most people already know.

  2. Charles Liu
    February 7th, 2011 at 10:18 | #2

    Whatever it takes to reenforce the China “official narrative”.

  3. February 7th, 2011 at 11:48 | #3

    Or when Madeline Albright proclaimed publicly after the U.S. won the Cold War – “we will act multilaterally when we can and unilaterally when we must” – while it is transparent, I don’t see how that is moral high ground.

    Now that the sole super power has declared “full spectrum domination,” I guess any other country on this planet not declaring that is supposedly “secretive?”

  4. r v
    February 7th, 2011 at 12:14 | #4

    I agree that it is not necessarily morally superior. It is merely a signal behavior of a true hegemon, in that the true recognize Hegemon can often afford to openly display its military might as threats, as a privilege of its position.

    The True hegemon is not secretive about its hegemonic powers. Indeed, it wishes to be recognized for its hegemonic powers.

    At the same time, it’s equally the signal behavior of the true Hegemon to suspect that everyone else may be secretly hiding their own powers and planning to usurp, ie. its paranoia.

    *Openness of its own might, and paranoia about others’ might, are the 2 classic signs of a Hegemon.

    In response, China should emphasize US’s paranoid behaviors and its public threats to world nations’ right to self-govern.

    It’s pointless to say that China has no more secrets than US, since neither can get the other to show secrets.

    The simple fact is, US is paranoid, so are the Western Media, always fearing secret plots and threatening to confront.

    Wikileak documents showed as much of the prevailiing paranoia rampant in the US diplomatic circles, which they call “analysis”.

    Yet, for all their ineffectual paranoia and secrets and openness, they could not foresee the sudden current crisis in their own closest Middle East allies.

  5. TonyP4
    February 10th, 2011 at 10:10 | #5

    To be fair, China did steal some secrets from US like the sonar technology in submarine. I do not believe you can learn a lot from the scattered components of a crashed Stealth jet.

    The one whose property was stolen should protect its own property. US steals/stole other technology from other countries like the atomic bomb in WW2 from Germany. What is the main function of CIA besides ‘gathering information’?

    When there are robberies, you do not want to open the door when you go to sleep. Fortunately most of the convicted are not the local born Chinese Americans. Otherwise, they will have less chances to work on classified projects.

    Joke of the day.
    After a major security leak by Chinese in a corporation, the company elected a force to ensure it would not happen again. Guess who headed the force? A Chinese!

  6. r v
    February 10th, 2011 at 10:39 | #6

    Stealth technology in US was originally based upon a research paper written by a USSR scientist (the paper was largely ignored and forgotten by the Soviets, hence not classified, but got picked up by the US).

    The Soviet scientist noted that some shapes of material deflected radar signal to cause directional reduction of radar cross section. The Soviets didn’t fully realize the implication of that idea to create stealth, (also, the property of directional reduction of radar cross section at the time was not always effective. For example, the Serbian military used older longer wavelength radars which actually picked up the F117’s).

    The point is, it wasn’t much of a secret. Specifics of stealth design, can be learned from examining the F117’s pieces. Material of stealth can be analyzed. Properties can be tested to determine weaknesses. Sonar signals can be copied.

    Once a technology is used, it doesn’t take much to copy it by examining its behaviors. It’s called the “Black Box” approach to reverse engineering, ie. you figure out the Black Box by looking at its inputs and outputs and behavior, and then you can duplicate it.

    That’s not stealing. It’s reverse engineering. There is a significant difference.

  7. wwww1234
    February 10th, 2011 at 21:49 | #7

    the social value of the existing western patent laws is not uniformly upheld by western intellectual opinion.
    It adds no social good when a singer/entertainer/inventor is paid 10 billion rather than 10 milllion. It can be argued when rewards are concentrated/excessive to the selected few, it reduces overall creativity, as other participants cannot survive. Current research on the bonus system in the finance field, revealed no or negative performance for public good with excessive bonus which is often tied to short term gain and opened to manipulation. Monetary punishment actually enhances performance more effectively.
    I have not done any detail reading on this subject, perhaps readers with more expertise can comment.

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