[ISN] Beijing spies a useful friend in Castro

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Feb 27 2003 - 22:52:01 PST

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    Forwarded from: William Knowles <wkat_private>
    February 27 2003
    By Hamish McDonald 
    China Correspondent 
    Cuba's veteran communist leader Fidel Castro received a warm welcome 
    yesterday in Beijing on his way home from the Non-Aligned Movement 
    meeting in Malaysia.
    But this does not reflect admiration for his ideological convictions 
    or appreciation for Latin music. The "buena vista" (good view) most 
    appreciated is the vantage point Dr Castro provides for the Chinese 
    military in spying on the United States.
    According to Professor Desmond Ball of the Australian National 
    University, Chinese personnel have been operating two intelligence 
    signal stations in Cuba since early 1999, after an agreement reached 
    in February 1998. One is a large complex at Bejucal, just south of 
    Havana, which is equipped with 10 satellite communications antennas 
    and is mainly concerned with intercepting telephone communications in 
    the US. 
    A "cyber warfare" unit is also based at Bejucal, which monitors data 
    traffic, Professor Ball said in a paper delivered to a conference on 
    China's military role, held in New Delhi last month.
    The second station is located north-east of Santiago de Cuba, and is 
    reportedly dedicated to intercepting satellite-based US military 
    communications. "China is actively and extensively engaged in the 
    whole realm of signals intelligence, electronic warfare and cyber 
    warfare activities," Professor Ball said, adding that it maintains "by 
    far the most extensive signals intelligence capabilities of all the 
    countries in Asia."
    The only other foreign-based intercept stations are thought to be in 
    Burma, although the Chinese military also maintains a fleet of 
    specialised ships and aircraft for mobile interception operations. 
    Equipment comes from Russia and Israel, as well as domestic 
    Although its technical expertise is still poor, China has been 
    conducting cyber warfare exercises since 1997; computer viruses have 
    been used to disrupt military communications and public broadcasts, 
    with theoretical targets including Japan, India, South Korea and 
    An information warfare unit has been operating since 2000. The 
    military interest is matched by individual hackers in China, whose 
    feats have included crashing the White House website.
    Chinese cyber attacks are easily countered by anti-virus and network 
    security programs available in the West.
    "China is condemned to inferiority in information warfare capabilities 
    for probably several decades," Professor Ball said.
    "Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
    without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
    C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org
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