Jolly's Concern Brought Home

Posted by: Anonymous

Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/02/02 06:35 PM

From another thread...

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:

Personally, I'm more worried about the transfer of Russian military technology to China....[/b]
Jolly, if you are concerned about the transfer of technology to our geopolitical competitors, you might find the following article interesting, especially since what it speaks of occured 3 months AFTER September 11, but which time we were supposedly at war.
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By GARY MILHOLLIN
Gary Milhollin is director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control in Washington.

The scandals on Wall Street have taught us that industry tells lies, that our government does not protect us from those lies and that the result can be bad for our pocketbooks. The same process can also increase the nuclear threat to our nation.

In a report scheduled for release this week, the U.S. General Accounting Office concludes that the Bush administration made a dangerous mistake on nuclear arms proliferation.

According to the GAO, the administration improperly relied on false industry data to lower the barriers on the export of the United States' most powerful computers--machines that could be used to build the most fearsome weapons that terrorists could get their hands on.

The report shows how a computer industry lobbying group co-chaired by an official of Unisys Corp. duped the White House at the expense of the nation's security.

In August 2001, the group wrote a letter asking the government to make it easier to export powerful computers to countries such as China, India, Russia and Pakistan.

The issue is important to national security. The GAO writes that the "availability of overall computing power to a nuclear weapon design program is critical" and that powerful computers "would be of significant use to China's designers in examining likely gaps in their nuclear weapon science."

The industry's letter claimed that U.S. controls had to be weakened to keep American firms competitive. Why? Because a new generation of computer servers was about to hit the market. Each would contain 32 of the new Itanium chips, made by Intel Corp.

By early 2002, these servers would be marketed by companies all over the world. The new computers would do 190 billion operations per second, more than twice as many as computers formerly controlled for export from the United States.

Thus, according to the group, unless the government raised the control level for U.S.-origin computers to 190 billion, U.S. companies might lose business to foreign competitors.

The claim was bogus.

The GAO interviewed 10 companies that the industry cited as ready to sell these computers in 2002. It found that nine "would not introduce these servers in 2002 or had no plans to manufacture these servers due to the lack of software and a market for such powerful servers."

Only one was ready: Unisys. No foreign company was, and no other American company was. Thus, no American firm ever risked losing business, and the whole case for weakening controls was a sham.

Why, then, did our government agree?

That's what's frightening. Our federal watchdogs, which are supposed to guard us against terrorists and the spread of the bomb, swallowed this industry fable whole, without so much as a cautionary sniff.

The decision "was based not on an independent analysis but rather on information provided by industry," writes the GAO. Officials at the Commerce Department, which is in charge of finding out what is really available from foreign competitors, admitted they didn't even try. "Industry," they told the GAO, "made its case informally."

The GAO found that the officials had relied on nothing more than the letter from the computer industry lobbying group.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the U.S. has lowered computer controls. The Clinton administration did so a number of times without justification and got hammered by the GAO for decisions that "lacked empirical evidence or analysis."

The reason this keeps happening is simple: campaign money.

The computer industry shells out millions of dollars annually to both political parties. It expects, and gets, something in return.

How does this sellout harm us?

First, it sabotages our fight against terrorism. We can't ask our allies to keep dangerous equipment away from terrorists and the countries that support them if we don't control our own sales. In fact, the GAO found that we unilaterally lowered our controls without the consent of our partners in the only international pact--the Wassenaar Arrangement--that tries to confine computer sales to responsible buyers. All the other countries in this pact still control computers at much lower operating levels, which makes the United States a rogue exporter, as well as a unilateralist.

Second, the new computers are highly potent. The GAO found that they were more powerful than the machines now performing 98% of the Pentagon's military computing functions. And sending them off to places such as Pakistan, where they could boost the production of nuclear warheads, only increases the number of nukes that we have to worry about going astray.

As for Unisys, it can't be expected to use restraint. Before the Gulf War, it sold Iraq's interior ministry an $8-million computer system specifically capable of tracking the Iraqi population, which could still be helping Saddam Hussein stay in power.

The decision to change the rules came three months after Sept. 11, which means that, despite all the brave words, money was more important than security to the White House.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/02/02 08:54 PM

Actually George, I agree with you that the techology transfer from the U.S., to a potential enemy, is sheer lunacy. But this has happened in many administrations before the current one.

I personally hope that 9/11 taught us to be more prudent in what we sell to whom.

Other countries have no qualms about selling anything, including advanced military weaponry. For some perspective on the PLA Navy build-up, I refer you to this series of articles, www.newsmax.com/pundits/Nemets.shtml And to illustrate a tiny bit of what is available on the world market, check out www.rusarm.ru

Nothing like one's own Kilo class sub, is there?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/02/02 08:56 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:

Nothing like one's own Kilo class sub, is there?[/b]
Ahhh, Jolly. I already have one of those! Can't you get me something original? \:D
Posted by: JBryan

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/02/02 09:07 PM

I have a convertible model you might be interested in. \:D
Posted by: .rvaga*

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/03/02 01:13 AM

Interesting alarmist article, but I don't get it:

 Quote:
Second, the new computers are highly potent. The GAO found that they were more powerful than the machines now performing 98% of the Pentagon's military computing functions. And sending them off to places such as Pakistan, where they could boost the production of nuclear warheads[/b] , only increases the number of nukes that we have to worry about going astray.
How does a faster computer "boost the production of nuclear warheads?"
Posted by: jodi

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/03/02 01:27 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by JBryan:
I have a convertible model you might be interested in. \:D [/b]
Hahahahahaha! \:D Jodi
Posted by: Larry

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/03/02 02:07 AM

And for everything else, there's Mastercard.....

\:D
Posted by: RKVS1

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/03/02 01:08 PM

My uncle holds patents for Submarine ScreenDoors, SolarPoweredFlashlights, and Helicopter Ejection seats. :rolleyes:

Rvaga, supercomputers are used to model results of design changes in nuclear weapons. With the test bans its the only way "civilized" countries can continue research on "better bombs." A NYTimes story within last 4 months described some of the effort involved in USA toward larger computing power with this end in mind. If I can find it, I'll post it or a link to it.
Bob
Posted by: .rvaga*

Re: Jolly's Concern Brought Home - 08/04/02 02:16 AM

RKVS1 wrote:

----------------
My uncle holds patents for Submarine ScreenDoors, SolarPoweredFlashlights, and Helicopter Ejection seats.
Rvaga, supercomputers are used to model results of design changes in nuclear weapons. With the test bans its the only way "civilized" countries can continue research on "better bombs." A NYTimes story within last 4 months described some of the effort involved in USA toward larger computing power with this end in mind. If I can find it, I'll post it or a link to it.
Bob
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Well. . . I guess I just don't understand what seems to be obvious to the rest.

"Gerneral Achmed, if I only had a super computer, our current software would make a much better bomb."

"But, we have no plutonium. . ."

"Insignificant detail. With super computer, everything processes faster, so our current software will run at an amazing speed."

"What software. . .?

"Ummmmm. . ."

\:D

The Scary Article specifically said -- I'll quote again:
 Quote:
The GAO found that they were more powerful than the machines now performing 98% of the Pentagon's military computing functions. And sending them off to places such as Pakistan, where they could boost the production of nuclear warheads[/b] , only increases the number of nukes that we have to worry about going astray.
My issue was with the statement:
where they could boost the production of nuclear warheads[/b]

. . . how would a supercomputer "boost the production of nuclear warheads."??

The word in question is, "production."

"But General Achmed, our software is for the Commodore 64, so in addition to the supercomputer, we need to perhaps find an upgrade to our software as well. . ."

"What software do we need to increase production, can you program 500,000,000 lines of code?"

"Ummmmm... the answer escapes me. Is it prayer time?"

\:D \:D