Huawei Hypocrisy 199

Theresa May almost certainly sacked Gavin Williamson not just on the basis of a telephone billing record showing he had a phone call with a Telegraph journalist, but on the basis of a recording of the conversation itself. It astonishes me that still, after Snowden and his PRISM revelations, after Wikileaks Vault 7 releases, and after numerous other sources including my own humble contribution, people still manage to avoid the cognitive dissonance that goes with really understanding how much we are surveilled and listened to. Even Cabinet Ministers manage to pretend to themselves it is not happening.

The budget of the NSA, which does nothing else but communications intercept, is US $14.2 billion this year. Think about that enormous sum, devoted to just communications surveillance, and what it can achieve. The budget of the UK equivalent, GCHQ, is £1.2 billion, of which about 10% is paid by the NSA. Domestic surveillance in the UK has been vastly expanded and many taboos broken. But the bedrock of the system with regard to domestic intercepts is still that legal restrictions are dodged, as the USA’s NSA spies on UK citizens while the UK’s GCHQ spies on US citizens, and then the information is swapped. It was thus probably the NSA that harvested Williamson’s phone call, passing the details on. Given official US opposition to the UK employing Huawei technology, Williamson’s call would have been a “legitimate” NSA target.

Mass surveillance works on electronic harvesting. Targeted phone numbers apart, millions of essentially random calls are listened to electronically using voice recognition technology and certain key words trigger an escalation of the call. Williamson’s call discussing Huawei, China, the intelligence services, and backdoors would certainly have triggered recording and been marked up to a human listener, even if his phone was not specifically targeted by the Americans – which it almost certainly was.

Williamson of course is relying on the security services’ secrecy about their methods to maintain his protests of innocence, secure in the knowledge that the recording of him would not be produced. The existence of the recording – of which I am extremely confident – is the only possible explanation for May’s degree of certainty and swift action against one of her very few loyal allies.

All of which of course throws into stark relief the stunning hypocrisy of those who are worried that Huawei will be used for electronic eavesdropping, when they are up to their ears in electronic eavesdropping themselves. One of my heroes is the great Richard Stallman, who put it this way six years ago:

RMS: Well, it’s perfectly reasonable suspicion to me. I don’t think the US government should use operating systems made in China for the same reason that most governments shouldn’t use operating systems made in the US and in fact we just got proof since Microsoft is now known to be telling the NSA about bugs in Windows before it fixes them.

RSS: I was just going to bring this up exactly, so I was saying that the NSA recently received notifications about the zero-day holes in advance and [incomprehensible] the NSA and the CIA to just crack PCs abroad for espionage purposes.

RMS: Now, [incomprehensible] that this proves my point, which is that you have to be nuts if you were some other country and using Windows on your computers. But, you know, given that Windows has a universal back door in it, Microsoft would hardly need to tell the NSA about any bugs, it can tell the NSA about the mal-feature of the universal back door and that would be enough for the NSA to attack any computer running Windows, which unfortunately is a large fraction of them.

All the major western tech companies cooperate with the western security services. In Murder in Samarkand I gave the first public revelation that the government can and does listen through your mobile phone microphone even when the phone is ostensibly switched off, a fact that got almost no traction until Edward Snowden released documents confirming it six years later. China is full of western devices with backdoors that are exploited by western intelligence. That the tables turn as Chinese technology advances is scarcely surprising.

Personally I do not want the Chinese, Americans, Russians or British eavesdropping on me, or on each other, and I wish that they would stop. The spy games will of course continue, as they make money for a lot of well-connected people. But for any side to claim moral superiority in all of this is just nonsense.


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199 thoughts on “Huawei Hypocrisy

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  • Paul Barbara

    They are not going to stop, just to increase their abilities to snoop.
    It’s useless to try to encourage politicians to limit the ‘Security Services’ snooping, because even if laws against it were passed, the ‘PTB’ would ignore them.
    Just assume that everything you communicate to anyone is potentially logged by the ‘Authorities’, even if encrypted.
    Does anyone REALLY believe the PTB can’t obtain encryption codes?

    • Clark

      “Does anyone REALLY believe the PTB can’t obtain encryption codes?”

      Asymmetric AKA public key cryptography doesn’t work by exchanging encryption codes. Instead it generates two keys; a public one which the sender uses to encrypt, and a private one which the recipient uses to decrypt. Security is maintained so long as the recipient keeps their private key private. That’s why everyone is trying to break into everyone else’s devices; to get the private keys.

  • Jm


    I’d imagine with voice recognition they’d know who made the call very quickly.

    Good post Craig.Ive long thought that the western security services aren’t so much angered at Huawei snooping as much as they might be better at doing it than they themselves.

    • jake

      Thanks JM.
      All wanted to know was whether Gavin phoned Steven, or whether Steven phoned Gavin.

  • Al Dossary

    Many of us already know or at least had suspicions about the depth of surveillance applied by the US/UK secret services. Most on this blog will be aware of it, but I assume that given your previous employment Craig you know more than most on the site.

    2 items stick in my mind. One was of someone getting his door kicked in by Special Branch because he sent a text message to his mate with the words “Tommy Gun” in it (back in the good old days when Nokia was king).

    The second centred around the Omagh Bombing. That the security services screwed up totally there is true, but the telling part is that those who stood trial were implicated by telephone recordings made by the NSA which were then passed on the British intelligence.

    And then you have Intel with their R&D HQ for chip design in Israel of all places. Israel, the very same country whose security services are thought to have been behind Stuxnet and Shamoon virus. Stuxnet actually preloaded itself into the Siemens digital control system of the Iranian nuclear facility and quietly sat there for months destroying their uranium enrichment centrifuges one or two at a time before they got wise to it. Shamoon wiped EVERY single hard disk on the intranet of the biggest oil producer in the world. They went back to selling oil by telephone and fax!

    One thing is for sure now – I would be very, very afraid to Google for a certain “book of mischief” or even a certain “handbook” that I had easy access to in the 1990s.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Things like Stuxnet and Shamoon, how do they get on to the Iranian computers? Are those computers using the public telephony network to talk to each other because that’s easier and cheaper from an engineering point of view and because that’s just the way things are done now? Connection to the internet can never be secure.

      • Jeremy

        IIRC Stuxnet found it’s way into the Iranian nuclear facility via an infected USB key that an employee inadvertently took into the plant.

      • Clark

        The Iranian computers were not connected to the Internet; Jeremy is right, USB memory sticks were infected to “jump the air-gap”. But Stuxnet wasn’t trying to communicate back to its makers; its purpose was to sabotage the uranium centrifuges.

        • pete

          Clark, I guess some people might want to understand what you mean by “jump the air gap”. So, with the risk that I might be found guilty of mansplaining, let me just say that, if I have understood it correctly, at present this is only possible to do in certain circumstances. Some computers can respond to radio frequency transmissions and this can be used to hack into a computer and persuade the system to accept certain data which, in turn, can subvert the operating system. There is a summery of the process here:
          The process is rather specialised and I would assume that it would not be used in other than high profile cases. If it is in general used then we are all doomed.

          • Clark

            “Jumping the air gap” was a term I read regarding Stuxnet (I forget where) by copying the malware onto USB sticks used by staff at the Iranian enrichment facility, because the target computers were not Internet connected.

            Stuxnet was not reported to have the covert data transmission facility demonstrated in the proof-of-concept that you linked, but it didn’t need one since its purpose was simply sabotage.

    • Rola Joint

      Wonder what would happen if one texts to a friend that their favourite Clash song is Tommy Gun and their fav Rage Against the Machine song is “Killing in the Name Of” or “Bullet in the Head”?

    • Al Dossary

      I can not comment about Stuxnet and how it was deployed, but Shamoon resulted from ONE employee in the company opening an file containing the virus. By the time they realised what was happening, 30,000 computers belonging to the biggest oil company in the world had been wiped. Stuxnet was unique in that it ultimately targeted Siemens PLCs and industrial computers. It then hid in the background, quietly going about its work to destroy Iran’s centrifuges, one by one so as not to raise suspicion. It worked by tricking the centrifuge into running so fast that it destroyed itself, whilst the control system was receiving information that it was running as expected.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Al Dossary May 7, 2019 at 09:51
        There were also rumours Stuxnet was used in Fukushima, which also had Siemens control gear.
        Also that a mini-nuke had been deployed.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Clark May 7, 2019 at 14:17
            Tsunamis can also be generated.
            A twelve-man crew from a ‘certain Middle Eastern country’ had been to Fukushima shortly before the event, supposedly checking it’s safety. They were seen to have a device, which they called a ‘camera’, which had an uncanny resemblance to a known mini-nuke design.
            Japan had recently made some diplomatic statements or decisions in favour of the Palestinians.

          • Clark

            “They were seen to have a device, which they called a ‘camera’, which had an uncanny resemblance to a known mini-nuke design”

            “It looked like a weapon”; now where have I heard that before? –


            Still, if Israelis were involved guilt may be presumed, since there’s never any association between conspiracy theory and anti-Semitism. But then I would say that, if I were a Jew, wouldn’t I?

            Has it never occurred to you that this sort of prejudice is why a nation founded by Holocaust survivors maintains a nuclear arsenal?

  • Robert Harneis

    I wondered about this. Sure the phone call existed, he told his private office about it. But what was said that so upset Mrs May and the over mighty Sedwill who runs, amongst other things, the security services? He is reported to have said that the talks with Corbyn are ‘ridiculous’. Very naughty – the truth hurts. How can you slag someone off for years as an anti-semitic, terrorist loving marxist who if given power would wreck the country and then turn round and invite him in for a cup of tea to save the day? If she had talked to him and other party leaders at the start fair enough but now? In addition if the US is against the use of Huawei and Williamson was too, why would NSA shop him? I think first of all that sacking the boy wonder was May’s solitary chance of looking decisive and Sedwill was on board because Williamson successfully represented the pro US defence lobby whereas Sedwill and co have decided that we should be part of the new Euro defence set up. All this silly screaming about a WTO exit being the end of the world economically actually has a political motive, to avoid giving a new Prime Minister political freedom to maintain a close alliance with the US. Note also that he had changed sides and become a Leaver so he was no longer Mrs May’s best friend. On the other hand his replacement, the mendacious Rory Stewart, is the ultimate Kamikasi Remainer regardless of what else goes down in flames. It is of course also true that Williamson has lost everything he cares about and has nothing to lose in fighting it out. An interesting sub-plot in the Brexit psycho-drama.

    • SA

      Precisely, because Williamson thought he was on the same side as Trump he thought he would get away with it but of course GCHQ thought different.

      • Robert Harneis

        But Craig says the bugging is done by the Americans who give it to us. I don’t regard Williamson as the brightest bulb in the House of Commons but he is an ex chief whip so even he must know his phone is likely to be bugged. The latest development that confirms what this is about is Grieve coming out with an anti-Huawei article in the Telegraph this morning. It confirms my view that th efurious and unreasoning objection to ‘No deal’ is not about the economy but much more to do with trying to keep the UK tied to Europe politically and especially when it comes to defence.
        I agree that Sedwill and his secret service mates would have known that Williamson talked to the Telegraph and it may well be that they took the opportunity to frame him. Another odd thing is the frenetic pro May media adtivity of Stewart, another defense and security insider, in the last few days. It is almost as if he knew what was about to happen.

    • Ben

      ” In addition if the US is against the use of Huawei and Williamson was too, why would NSA shop him?”
      That’s what I wondered too.
      “his replacement, the mendacious Rory Stewart,”
      Didn’t Penny Mordaunt replace Williamson? Stewart replaced Mordaunt.

      • Robert Harneis

        True but the net effect is to throw out a Leaver and bring in a Remainer plus plus plus so to speak.

  • S

    Isn’t it likely that the US intelligence made the leak?

    And then the Telegraph reporter called people who were there to see if they would give any other info? Which GW may or may not have done?

    • Robert Harneis

      I agree, something like that, except I don’t think it was the Americans, who are on Williamson’s side.

  • Antonym

    What is worse for a UK politician / top bureaucrat/ rich public figure: being extorted by US or Chinese spooks after being eavesdropped and/or facially recognized at place X? Between a rock and a hard place.

    Anyway, because of this they keep voting for more surveillance for all: everyone is now a potential suspect, except those behind the CCTVs and computers.

  • SA

    Excellent analysis and explains why May did not want to involve the police as the evidence could not be made available even to the police who have to enforce the law.

    • Geoffrey

      SA, you think that Williamson would wish his children dead ? You presumably see him as not quite human, I imagine.

      • SA

        I did not imply such a thing at all. I think it is a sign of a desperate politician to use his children in such a way. What I meant is that this was a rhetorical gesture, understood by his mates that means that he is so sure that he will not be found out, that he uses this rather pathetic device. He was banking on this being not exposed because this would involve the state in admitting that it was spying on its own ministers, but he miscalculated.

  • Thorvid

    When ever I speak of such abilities I’m looked at as if I’m an idiot, who has ‘fallen for all the fake news’ and told this kind of thing isn’t possible in our country, and ‘would never be allowed anyway’,and besides what is your problem anyway, because even if it was possible, ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about’……

    At which point there is no point in even trying to continue a conversation. Poor poor people will wake up/realise only when its far too late…. Oh wait it already is. Welcome to ‘The Circle’, where’s V when you need him!

  • Jm

    Williamson would surely have known the full extent of surveillance capacity in today’s world and in his role he would’ve been under heavy communications and locational surveillance. He would know that.

    It makes no sense to babble it all out to a journo on a phone.

    There’s a lot more to this story.

  • SA

    Think about it. If it takes a few milliseconds for google to come out with several thousand answers to a written question, it now probably takes only a little bit longer for voice recognition software to do the same sifting through any conversations.

  • Stonky

    Sorry I forgot to mention “Bilderberg”. Apparently mentioning or criticising Bilderbeg is anti-semitic. Dammit. I’ve just mentioned Bilderberg. Which makes me anti-semitic. Oh and criticising the pointless incitement of pointless conflict with Russia. Apparently that’s anti-semitic too.

    You really have to be on your toes these days, if you want to keep up with all the things the Guardian has decreed to be anti-semitic…

  • giyane

    I would probably get universally mocked if I said all I know about spying through locally activated broadband or bluetooth and worse , the use of microwaves to disable unwanted critics of our AltRight elites.

    Whatever they are doing now, 5G will dispense with all of that . We will all be chipped and the chip will be used to listen, evaluate and punish the victim. Something like that is already used in China where big brother assesses what job you get based on how model a citizen big brother deems you to be.

    Spying can always be used as a wind up tool against the sick state by forcing it to listen to the criticism of itself it hates and tries to suppress. All spying imho is a sign of mental instability . The obvious fact that craig so rightly points out that May has spooky evidence also makes her look incredibly weak.

    Thank God we have a savvy pours in the US who understands some of the time when he’s being wound up. Williamson knows full well what he did , which is the tech equivalent of rocking the school bus. Most of the Tory Party would support him winding up May in this devious manner solely on account of her talking to Jeremy Corbyn.

    Written from inside my bedroom bunker of aluminium lined Cellotex insulation with my tin foil wrap around hat on.

    • giyane

      POTUS Not pours…

      May should just have said ‘ I have deactivated Williamson’s clearance pass.’ Many a senator is labouring in a US jail for much less

      • giyane

        Sharp Ears

        Political Islam is far better equipped than HMG at spying on me and they are not scared of HMG because they work for HMG like those little fish that clean the teeth of sharks.
        As I have mentioned before I have seen Asian spies handing over small machines to policemen.

        Political Islam prefers to recruit members of your own family to work against you because they have unrestricted access to your home. But they didn’t miss the chance of me putting my house up for sale to get their camera installers a look round.

        HMG are fully overloaded recruiting pasties who have committed minor crimes to bother with van awkward cuss like me. If political Islam wants to betray one of their own, they will be answerable to God in the end.

        Rather than waste my time trying to float state megalomania which is incurable I put in my pennysworth on here.
        The same with political Islam . We have a shared history of over 300 years with them and the thing that really winds them up is being reminded of the teachings of Islam, which they break.

        The only reason why they resort to criminality and violence is because they cannot preach their falsehoods openly because of the clarity of the teachings of Islam without incurring Divine Wrath.

        Divine Wrath for Muslim liars.
        Sufficient is Allah as witness of their crimes. Apologies to the management but there is not only one spying racket going on in this country and Corporate power is much worse than HMG or Daesh

    • Martinned

      I would probably get universally mocked if I said all I know about spying through locally activated broadband or bluetooth and worse , the use of microwaves to disable unwanted critics of our AltRight elites.

      Sounds like a fair bet. Make sure not to lose your tinfoil hat…

  • Charles Bostock

    As so often, Murray and his followers miss the point when they attempt to take the moral high ground. The point is that if everyone’s at it (surveilling people) then I would rather be surveilled by my own country’s intelligence services than by those of a potentially hostile foreign power which owes us no favours at all. It is therefore perfectly legitimate for Country A’s intelligence services to attempt to minimise or eliminate surveillance by Country B’s intelligence services.

    • George

      “my own country’s intelligence services”? It may be your country Charles (and it’s only decent to use first names) but it isn’t YOUR intelligence services. (Unless there’s something you’re not telling us?)

    • S

      Hi Charles Botox. Are you American? Because this is about American tech versus Chinese tech. No British tech in sight.

    • Tom Welsh

      To my mind the important point is that my own country’s (UK) government is demonstrably far more wicked and cynical than those of its so-called “adversaries” (China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Venezuela… the list is an oddly extensive one. Why?)

      If I could have a clone of Mr Putin rule the UK (obviously with all his Russian loyalties and values replaced by traditional British ones) I would take the deal like a shot. He is a decent, honest, law-abiding Christian.

      Such a person would be very hard to find in Westminster or Whitehall – let alone Brussels or Washington.

    • nevermind

      by your own submissions here you are ‘following this blog’, you are our pet after all, Charles and not immune to forget your public school upbringing by banding about talk of hostile forces that owe us no favours at all, without mentioning any, off course.
      We are now in the period when right wing forces unite to claim/steal/ acquire the last resources, regardless of whether they belong to them, at the threat of war to us all.
      And to keep us all in line they employ scrot’s and liars, obfuscater’s such as yourself and more, anything to keep this racket going. And to expect that other countries won’t do the same, crying foul when they do and amplify it around the world, is sheer hypocrisy.

      To employ all means to guarantee the status quo will soon be challenged by the problems of mass extinctions of species, including ours, that is the route you so steadfastly plough and defend, for a beggars shilling.

      you are not better than those who gave/give you orders.

    • pete

      Re “I would rather be surveilled…”

      I suppose I would rather not be subject to surveillance at all, and, given the rise of computer surveillance, I assume this idealistic vision Chas has will be somewhat like the poem by Richard Brautigan: All watched over by machines of loving grace.
      Except that in reality it will be more like Brave New World.

  • John O’Hara

    A couple of points, whoever leaked could have used a burner phone. Theresa May spent the whole day lying to parliament, and dodging questions. She immediately sacked Williamson after that marathon. I think she was more brain dead than usual and bounced into it by Mark Sedwill. It makes no sense David Cameron’s bag man leaking Huawei involvement in 5G given his mates like Lord Browne involvement with the company.

  • Salford Lad

    The decision to sack Gavin Williamson was essentially a commercial one, and not one made by Teresa May. The eminens gris behind the Brexit fiasco, Huawei affair and Skripal hoax has one common denominator and that is Mark Sidwell.
    Sidwell is Head of the Civil Service, Cabinet Office and the Security Services. These are the 3 most powerful hidden positions in the land. He calls the shots and Teresa jumps.
    What pressure Sidwell exerts on Teresa May is unknown ,but she is essentially a puppet and does as she is told. It is noticeable that Teresa May is prepared to destroy the Tory Party for a generation to enable her BRINO deal to go thru. She also made Britain a laughing stock in the world with her Skripal claims of Russian involvement.
    Mark Sidwell was marked out several years ago at GHCQ as a rising star and a man that was amenable to Corporate interests when negotiations beween BT and Huawei were first initiated.
    Gavin Williamson as Sec of Defense highlighted the dangers of Huawei being part of Defense Communication and was an obstruction to lucrative commercial contracts. He had to go, so as not to upset the gravy train.

    • Robert Harneis

      Whatever else is true, it is becoming more obvious by the day that Sedwill should be removed from his excessively powerful position in the British government. When Churchill took over from Chamberlain in 1940, it is often forgotten he kept him on as a minister but the Sedwill of the day, Horace Wilson the all powerful civil servant, was instantly banished from Number 10.

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    There’s one problem with your logic Craig. Why would the NSA compromise Williamson when he is obviously on the American side?

    Surely it is far more likely that GCHQ provided a recording, if there is one?

    I am not sure how compartmentalised 5-eyes intelligence information is. I remember reading an account of the US listening post, Pine Gap, in Australia and that there were areas Australian citizens were never permitted to enter. I suspect that the NSA would make intercepts of foreign politicians off limits to other countries. After all, this information could potentially be “weaponised” by the CIA, if necessary.

    Would Williamson really be so stupid as to leak information via a telephone? If so, he deserves a great big dunce cap.

    Another possibility is that the journalists were spied on. Even if Williamson did leak information and was careful about it, my experience of journalists is that most are criminally naive when it comes to security. I am also fairly sure the intelligence services have informers/assets at all the major newspapers and media.

    But another question: why fire Williamson so publicly when a quiet cabinet reshuffle would have solved the problem without any embarrassment?

    If Williamson did leak the information why is he making such a big fuss? Why is he demanding evidence, if he knows damning evidence probably exists?

    As other comments have pointed out, it is not only a national security matter, there are big commercial interests involved too. Not only that there must be all sorts of positioning and quiet back-stabbing going on in anticipation of May’s resignation. Dark forces may be at work too.

    I can’t help thinking there is a lot that we simply don’t know.

    • Michael Droy

      In which case the metadata and the US refusal to hand over the tape would be sufficient.

    • Brendan

      I share your skepticism, because Craig’s story contains a bit of a contradiction.

      On the one hand, Williamson is supposed to be so stupid that he got fired for leaking information via a tapped phone line. On the other hand, he is supposed to be clever enough to realise that he can get away with telling bare-faced lies about it, because he knows that the people in power would never reveal that the phone-tapping system is so extensive.

      Also, just because GCHQ and NSA listen in on phone calls by millions of people – including ministers such as Gavin Williamson – doesn’t necessarily mean that Williamson’s phone call was the real reason he got fired. He might be capable of lying, but so are other people in government.

    • giyane

      Only half

      I think it’s very unlikely that Williamson leaked anything. He has zero comprehension of anything. Gove is the incurable gossip in the cabinet and he gave the info to ackstabber Johnson who writes for the Torygraph.

      This is just one of those fortuitous opportunities whereby Gove can ‘ve retired to the Lords , Johnson can be publicly disgraced and Mr Clean Gavin who is the kind of waste of time Tories love can be made over by the msn as having been wrongly accused and be groomed for PM to appeal to younger voters.

      May is a manager of expectations and truth passes her by. Her dad’s not a vicar? Skilled at catching the invoked Holy Spirit into the wine, trapping it quickly with a cloth and delivering a miracle in time for roast bed and Yorkshire pudding?

      Like the skripal tripe this is anothr piece of May smoke and mirrors, wasting time.

  • J

    If something doesn’t make sense, you probably don’t have all the information.

  • Doodlebug

    As a potential breach of the Official Secrets Act the Huawei leak ticks all the boxes (see:

    So why have the government not summoned Cressida Dick’s troops? Neil Basu has even announced that there was ‘no wrongdoing’. So what was all the fuss about in the first place?

    Williamson may well have spoken to the Telegraph, but he was by no means the only NSC attendee in a position to do so. As worrying as any chess game being played at the table of international relations, the peremptory fashion in which the government has sought to stifle any inquiry into a security leak (so serious that, as in the Skripal case, they identified their culprit almost immediately) should give equal cause for concern.

    • Martinned

      Presumably because the evidence they have wouldn’t be admissible in court, as Craig says. The more interesting question is whether Gavin Williamson will sue the PM in libel. After all, it is difficult to imagine how the letter she wrote could have been more damaging to his reputation.

      • giyane


        It’s much easier to manufacture total tripe – For seasoned liars I mean.
        If May or anyone else sacks him his incompetence will be in full view to all.
        Much easier to make up a total load a ..which can later be reversed.

        We have been stage managed for three years by a remain PM. Haven’t you understood what a pantomime politics is these days?

        For example one group of patsiesbare taught how to massacre a bunch of Muslims in a mosque and another group of patsies are trained up to blow up some zchistians in a church. Hate andintolerance are sown . Divide and rule
        All of the sectarian violence in Iraq was manufactured by General betrayus and friends.

        Or the Dudley councillor who secretly invited the EDL to his borough solely for the purpose of portraying himself as an honest go-between

    • Sharp Ears

      I asked the same question on another thread about Basu giving Williamson a green light but there was no response.

      Huawei is roughly translated as ‘Chinese achievement’.

      There was this BBC Click about Huawei. 24 mins

      This also:
      Huawei: Why UK is at odds with its cyber-allies
      By Leo Kelion
      Technology desk editor
      24 April 2019

      Some tweets from him on Huawei:.

      • Jon T Lee

        Huawei is roughly translated as ‘Chinese achievement’.

        I expect most of those reading would take that statement literally, wouldn’t you agree Sharp Ears? “Huawei” is in fact one of the better names adopted by Chinese companies (not a very high bar, admittedly); it’s actually rather a clever play on meaning. To explain this, you would first need to understand the basics of Mandarin, and in any case, this does not seem an appropriate forum.

        Giving you the benefit of the doubt, and assuming your usage of “translation” was more figuratively meant, you therefore more simply imply that Huawei is an increasingly successful Chinese telecoms “giant” (which it is, or was until all this “back-door” hysteria was whipped up for political ends.)

        As directed by your links, I haven’t watched the Click programme since it was “Click Online” – it became badly dumbed down and formulaic, nor did I read much of Leo Kelion’s “twatter” feed, but I did skim through his wordy yet largely uninformative article of a fortnight ago.

        In any case, I’m left wondering what is your actual point? Whereas Craig Murray Esq. asserts broadly that this is a political imbroglio, which is patently correct, he fortunately does not belabour his argument by delving into the technical issues, which are ostensibly the reason for HMG’s opprobrium to Huawei.

        The simple truth is: if the UK wishes to implement 5G technology at a reasonable financial cost and in the near future, Huawei is pretty much its only choice. They are indeed now vastly ahead, due to huge investment in eye-watering complex R&D, as are “one or two” other Chinese firms in this sector.

        From my distance, and looking through my binoculars, I’d say all this political posturing by HMG is becoming not only acutely embarrassing, but risky in the extreme. It would seem that either the country is now run by posturing cretins, with no real interest in the longer term future, but hoping something will turn up, or there is a hidden agenda at play behind the scenes of immense complexity, subtlety and potency. Somehow, I’d lean toward the former analysis. For example, I assess Jacob Rees-Mogg as a (vastly wealthy) latter-day Mr Mickawber. I suppose Mr R-M and his brood can afford to take the risk that nothing ever does.

        Although I’m not greatly affected by what happens in the UK, my own view is that 5G is about as necessary as HST, and equally fraught with pitfalls, some very serious. At the moment, as I interpret it, the GCHQ are tackling the matter (5G, not HST!) with a “firefighting” mentality. While this makes plenty of sense as a cheap, “real-world” approach, poor old Blighty is now clearly far away from the “white heat of technology” of half a century ago.

        [For clarity, although Harold Wilson was being figurative, I’m not.]

  • Michael Droy

    Huawei isn’t about snooping – not in the short term anyway – as Craig makes clear.
    It is about Trade Wars and keeping China in its place. The US sooner or later will be swamped by China, already a bigger Economy on PPP. The US is unable to accept a multi-polar world, and determine to tear apart the rules based world order that would support that. So the only alternative it to delay the coming China superiority as long as possible – with a long aggressive trade war.
    The current phase is demonstrating the power of its sanctions on Venezuela, Iran, Russia (not so well) and even giving Europe a taste of its medicine. Come the Trade war, undecided countries are supposed to flock to the US.

    As Trade wars get tougher, the EU and UK will abandon any pretence at resistance, and rush to US for “protection”. Huawei will be kicked out, probably after a lot of investment by EU telecoms firms, and Nord stream 2 will be abandoned.

    Long term 5G and 6G onwards will be dominated by Huawei but unavailable here, leaving us with major technology disadvantages over China. The media will go on and on about the lack of personal freedom in China.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      As Trade wars get tougher, the EU and UK will abandon any pretence at resistance, and rush to US for “protection”.

      Cut adrift by the US (Trump just accelerated a process already begun under Obama.) The EU is already moving closer to Russia, China and India.

      Much is made in the English-speaking world of Europe’s need for protection. Protection from whom exactly? France is already the third nuclear power (ahead of China) and is militarily self-reliant. The EU has it’s own nuclear umbrella. Germany has let its military decay, but the last thing Russia wants is to provoke Germany into fully re-arming. Russia’s economy is only slightly larger than Spain’s. China is already a huge power, but poses no threat to the EU.

      • Carl

        Indeed, the whole “defence” industry is just a grift on the public, sustained by unquestioned kindergarten narratives. Even more so in the USA.

      • Martinned

        OTOH, only two countries in the world have [purported to] annex bits of neighbouring countries in this century: Russia and Israel. Having one of those as a neighbour surely justifies a bit of defence spending?

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          From the Russian perspective, NATO has moved right up to Russia’s borders, breaking the agreement made with Gorbachev that NATO would not do so. Would the US tolerate Russia, China or any other power meddling in Mexico? Crimea was originally Russian and has a majority Russian population. I am not justifying Russian actions but the situation is not as simple as often portrayed.

          As for aggression this century: Which “defenders of freedom” invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and destabilised the whole region? Where were those WMD’s that posed an “imminent danger” again?

          • pretzelattack

            every us president since fdr has interfered in the middle east. overthrowing governments counts as interference, and the u.s. has had a hand in, or primary responsibility for, several of those this century.

          • Republicofscotland


            The US sorties into the ME after WWII, were mainly to secure oil resources. The nationalisation of oil in the ME combined with the creation of OPEC, in 1961, left the USA in a predicament over oil, this was later compounded by the overthrowing of the Shan of Iran in 1979.

          • Martinned

            @OnlyHalfALooney: It sure sounds like you’re justifying Russian actions. Mostly by moving half a county’s worth of goal posts.

        • Sharp Ears

          In Israel’s case, not ‘a bit of a country’ but a whole country, Palestine.

          • Sharp Ears

            Try living there as a Palestinian. The Israelis have even arrested the young brother of Ahed Tamimi. Ahed was herself imprisoned and she is correct in saying that the UK government is controlled by the Israelis, via the Zionist lobby..

            Here she is with Rafshin Attansi on Going Underground

            A few Hasbara types in the comments thereon.

        • Republicofscotland

          Norway annexed Queen Maud Land in 2015, though it was a dependency. Norway wants to annex Peter Ist island as well.

        • J

          Which neighbouring country did Russia annex? What is your definition of ‘annex’?

    • Robert Harneis

      “…and Nord stream 2 will be abandoned.”
      I bet you a penny it wont. The Germans have been grovelling to the USofA in all sorts of ways but not over Nord Stream 2. They have to have it. For instance BASF alone uses more gas than the entire kingdom of Norway. They want to finish with nuclear and North Sea and Holland are running down. Anyway it would a very unpopular thing to do in country where the main parties are already in deep trouble.

  • .Peter

    As someone in the USA said: I rather have the Chinese spy on me not being able to do anything to me, than the NSA who can.

    “Ping points out that the US’s NSA sought to “collect it all”, every phone call or communication in the world.

    If the NSA wants to modify routers or switches in order to eavesdrop, a Chinese company will be unlikely to co-operate. This is one reason why the NSA hacked into Huawei’s servers. “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products,” a 2010 NSA document states. “We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products.”

    • Martinned

      Bless your heart if you think the Chinese are not able to do anything to you. Also, what about the ability of the Chinese to do things to others?

      • Republicofscotland

        That’s a bit facetious from you Martinned don’t you think? Peter was merely expressing that Chinese officials are unlikely to come banging on his door with an arrest warrant in Clapham (just an example) on a wet Tuesday night.

        However, I’m sure it is possible that British security service could.

        • Martinned

          Yes, and I was pointing out that Peter was taking an unduly narrow/selfish approach to identifying the plausible consequences of wiretapping.

          • .Peter

            What is narrow about pointing out that the consequences of wiretapping by your own country can be likely more severe than the same by a foreign country – unless you are in a decision making position in your country.
            And so far only the USA has been shown to engage in such behaviour as Ms. Merkel among others can attest to.

            Wiretapping should – as I believe naively – only be done after it has been approved by a court eaximining the reasons.. But I think those untopian times are long gone.

          • .Peter

            Also, what about the ability of the Chinese to do things to others?
            I have to admit of that possibility – but that could be done anyway if it concerns Chinese citizens. still my argument holds for the system hypohetically used in areas not under Chinese control.
            In toto this argument seems to harken back to the old “yeallow danger” panic while we have much more conclusive evidence reagarding the behaviour of the one nation who European nations call ally – without much proof that it is anything but a self interested bully breaking the China everywhere.

    • Spencer Eagle

      I think you hit the nail on the head. The five eyes don’t want to lose their total control and commercial dominance of the network hardware. It’s not about China gaining, it’s about them losing. The Chinese won’t provide the backdoors that Silicon Valley have been so generous to the NSA with. Anyone remember the huge, potentially very commercially damaging, antitrust proceedings against Microsoft in the late 90’s, the ones that mysteriously withered away? Many people believe this is the point at which Microsoft rolled over and promised the NSA the keys to the castle.

  • Martinned

    I’m not sure what the logic is whereby the British government spying on a British government minister is just as bad as the Chinese spying on [whoever].

  • nevermind

    Before we all get sidetracked by these Huawei attacks worldwide, can somebody please explain why we need 5G so desperately? without looking at the possible health implication that comes with mm waves you can’t extract yourself from, that are present everywhere.
    Moreover, will this no doubt lucrative wrangle over coverage here be decided by anyone else than the Government in charge at the time?

    What are their fears if they are not part of the 5G club of interferers and surveillanceers? will they fall off their disc world? will they explain away their children’s brain tumours, disrupted cell/gene life in humans, especially that of developing children?
    Mind in future, with a US style health service, we all will pay for healthcare and these introduced complications in our life’s will just be another money earner for the powers to be.

    lets hear what our learned lawyers/electrical engineers and computer buffs make of this, a far more important discussions as to this saga around a misplaced fireplace salesman loosing a cabinet job. Why are we focussing on fluff again when the implications of 5G are horrendous?

    • OnlyHalfALooney


      5G can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, while 4G supports only 4000 devices per square kilometer.
      (from Wikipedia)

      We don’t actually need 5G. The “internet of things” does.

      Do we need the “internet of things”? Not really. Actually it’s probably a bad idea. I suppose self-driving cars need it. After all, they only really work if they’re all networked together.

      • J

        If it’s networked it can be hacked (and if it isn’t it can still be hacked) and I’d hazard a guess that relatively few hackers are hacking outside of state agency control these days.

    • Sharp Ears

      I heard that the country will have to be plastered with antennae in the event of 5G arriving.

      Several items on Global Research ref 5G –

      5G: The Big Picture – Global Research
      Apr 29, 2019 … A single 5G transmitter/receiver will have a large number of tiny antennas, …. Next Generation Mobile Technologies: A 5G Strategy for the UK, …

      Wireless Pollution “Out Of Control” As Corporate Race For 5G ……5g…/5553413
      Oct 27, 2016 … With the UK’s Digital Economy Bill set to be finalised today, new 5G microwave spectra are about to be released across the planet without …

      ‘Telecom Industry Did No Research on Health Impacts of 5G ……5g/5673706
      Apr 5, 2019 … AS: Countries like UK, US and even India are pushing for faster adoption of 5G? Have the concerns around health impacts been resolved?

      and others.

      Countries who already have it.

  • Sharp Ears

    Stocks tumble as Trump threatens to raise Chinese import tariffs
    Beijing ‘livid’ but still expected to send delegation to US for trade talks this week

    US stocks opened sharply lower on Monday after Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on all Chinese imports to 25 per cent, sharply ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to make concessions in trade talks and sending global equities markets sliding. The US president made the threat in a number of tweets on Sunday and Monday just a few days ahead of a make-or-break round of trade negotiations scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

    Will China reciprocate and will a trade war break out?

  • Sharp Ears

    There is a body called the Investigatory Powers Tribunal to whom an individual can appeal.

    ‘The Tribunal is a judicial body which operates independently of government to provide a right of redress for anyone who believes they have been a victim of unlawful action by a public authority using covert investigative techniques’.

    The Tribunal is chaired by Lord Justice Singh and the panel consists of barristers and judges, including Sweeney I noted.

  • Je

    Anyone is welcome to eavesdrop on me – they’ll likely discover surveilling my humdrum life to be the most boring torture they’ve ever endured…

  • Spencer Eagle

    Things will have moved on considerably since Snowden’s revelations in 2013. It’s not just the interception of communications that is troubling, the tentacle like reach of electronic data exponentially increases the surveillance. CCTV everywhere, the DVLA, HMRC, the banks, the NHS, Social Security, the DNA database, ANPR cameras on the road network, biometric passports, police introducing facial recognition without oversight or consent, social media and any device considered Smart – a veritable honey pot, just a mouse click away for the NSA and GCHQ. Someone from the National Grid revealed to me that since the 60’s, the constantly variable electromagnetic background noise the grid generates is recorded 24/7 against an atomic clock, why? so that the waveform ‘fingerprint’ can be forensically compared to both video and audio recordings, to verify their true time of recording. No matter if the recording device is battery operated, the noise is present throughout the UK, only in the remotest of UK places is the noise absent.

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