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Letting China Purchase US Land Poses An Even Bigger National Security Risk Than You Think


BY: CHUCK DEVORE | JULY 27, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/27/letting-china-purchase-us-land-poses-an-even-bigger-national-security-risk-than-you-think/

China dictator Xi Jingping

Chinese entities keep purchasing plots of American land, presenting the Chinese military with a strategic advantage should conflict arise.

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Buyers from the People’s Republic of China purchased $6.1 billion in real estate last year, the most of any foreign buyer. Many of these purchases over the past few years have been of farmland or ranchland near U.S. military bases. 

Revelations from a groundbreaking exclusive CNN story published on July 23 about telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei installed in rural America suggest that Chinese land purchases could pose a severe national security threat as well.

CNN chronicles the Chinese government’s more than decade-long effort to establish a massive electronic intelligence and jamming capability in the U.S. adjacent to military installations and in Washington, D.C. Such a system could deliver a crippling electronic Pearl Harbor against American nuclear weapons systems and strategic communications vital to deterring and defeating a military surprise attack. The report details how China’s state-supported telecommunications giants, Huawei and ZTE, sold cell tower equipment and routers, often at a loss, to small, rural telecommunications providers in the heartland. Much of the made-in-China equipment was installed adjacent to the land-based leg of America’s nuclear triad — the 400 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) — in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Chinese telecommunications equipment presents four threats:

  • real-time communications intelligence,
  • real-time imagery intelligence,
  • offensive signals jamming,
  • and internet attacks.

In the age of software reprogrammable digital electronics, cell tower transmitters and receivers can be remotely reconfigured to listen to nearby military transmissions. Cell tower transmitters can be ordered to broadcast on certain frequencies used by the military, a tactic known as jamming. Similarly, cell towers’ connectivity to the internet could be used to overwhelm or degrade internet service in the early hours of a conflict. Many of the cell towers installed cameras in recent years to provide real-time traffic and weather conditions. Many of these cameras also monitor traffic around sensitive U.S. military installations. 

The FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into this threat was so sensitive that senior policymakers in the White House and Congress weren’t told until 2019. Soon after, the Federal Communications Commission issued a rule banning small telecoms from using certain kinds of Chinese manufactured equipment. In 2020, Congress appropriated $1.9 billion to rip out and replace about 24,000 pieces of Huawei and ZTE equipment in rural America. But none of it has yet been removed, and carriers insist that the federal government is $3 billion short of making them whole. Chinese telecommunications equipment remains a ticking timebomb, with resistance to its removal ranging from economic justifications to cries of xenophobia. 

How did we get here? The Chinese Communist Party practices strategic mercantilism, fostering key technologies with dual-use civilian and military applications while driving competing industries in other nations out of business. 

In the 1970s, the world’s two largest manufacturers of telecommunications gear were headquartered in the U.S.: Western Electric and ITT. Less than two dozen years ago, the two largest were U.S.-based Lucent and Canada’s Nortel. America saw its manufacturing dominance slip from producing one-third of the world’s telecom equipment in 1997 to barely more than one-tenth today. The People’s Republic of China played a key role in that decline. In 1979, China declared its telecommunications industry as strategic and stated that it required “absolute control.” In 1982, China imported 100 percent of its telecommunications equipment. By 2000, it was self-sufficient, importing no foreign equipment.

China’s path to dominance was simple: It leveraged Western demand for quarterly profits by telling foreign suppliers that they had to manufacture the products they sold to China in joint ventures with Chinese firms. China then built its supply chain to provide the inputs for these joint ventures as well as to steal the intellectual property with the goal of eventually being able to make high-end equipment. The result is that today, U.S. telecommunications service providers rely almost entirely on Chinese or European suppliers—with China routinely offering cheaper prices. 

The Importance of Real Estate

Voluntarily purchasing problematic Chinese equipment is one thing, but what happens when China controls real estate near military bases or important government facilities? 

An odd 2017 deal illustrates the importance of strategic real estate. That year, China offered to pay the entire $100 million cost to build the National China Garden on 12 acres at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Concerns voiced by American counterintelligence officials resulted in the project being rejected just before construction was due to begin. Among their misgivings: The proposed pagoda on one of D.C.’s highest points would be built from materials shipped to the U.S. in diplomatic pouches, meaning no import inspections. 

This Chinese project attracted attention because it was on federal land in the nation’s capital. On the other hand, purchases of land in private transactions frequently escape attention until after the fact. 

The Fufeng Group intends to build a corn-milling plant on 300 acres it just purchased in Grand Forks, North Dakota, 16 miles from the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command base. 

But the $2.6 million land purchase is a good thing, some might argue. The Chinese firm plans to invest another $700 million in the area and generate 200 jobs—besides, America has a trade deficit with China, and those dollars must go somewhere, so why not see them reinvested in the U.S.? Further, it’s not like the Chinese can pack up American land and take it back to China with them. And, while some express concern about China owning agricultural land (Chinese interests now own 192,000 agricultural acres worth almost $2 billion), even if China were to decide to divert all production to China or cease agricultural operations, production could easily be restarted. 

The CCP Problem

But what most Americans don’t know is that every Chinese company with 50 or more employees must have a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official embedded in it. This CCP political officer is a looming presence in any firm hailing from a nation with no rule of law other than what CCP officials say it is. Thus, while the Fufeng Group likely has legitimate business purposes for investing in Grand Forks, so too does the CCP have strategic military purposes for using Fufeng’s North Dakota base for its own purposes. 

In April, U.S. Air Force Major Jeremy Fox wrote an unofficial memo highlighting concerns that the Grand Forks perch was well sited to intercept military communications between “unmanned air systems” and “space-based assets.” A USAF spokesman subsequently downplayed Major Fox’s concerns as his “personal assessment of potential vulnerabilities.”

Similar concerns have been expressed about the purchase of a 130,000-acre ranch on the border with Mexico near Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. The site is home to a wind turbine project that, due to its connection with the Texas grid, could be used to disrupt the state’s electric system. Further, the land—which features a large airstrip, as do many Texas ranches—could be used to coordinate activities with the transnational drug cartels across the border. 

In both cases, in North Dakota and in Texas—and on any other large agricultural or industrial facility—equipment might be positioned for purposes other than purely commercial reasons. And, since Chinese nationals and companies must obey the CCP, if they don’t cooperate, they risk losing everything up to and including their freedom and their lives. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray told CNN that the FBI opens a new China counterintelligence investigation every 12 hours with about 2,000 active investigations, excluding cyber theft, which is a criminal matter. 

Retired U.S. Navy Capt. James “Kimo” Fanell was the chief of intelligence for the Pacific Fleet and notes that large parcels of land or industrial sites could host signals intelligence or electronic warfare equipment such as jammers. He observed, “While our Customs inspectors are hardworking people, they’re overloaded, especially today with the Biden administration’s de facto open border policies. The idea that a strategic adversary could buy land near U.S. military bases does not pass the commonsense test.” He added, “We’ve got to do better as a nation to defend our citizens from these kinds of obvious threats.”

Given the sluggishness of the American response to the grave danger posed by communist China—a response slowed over fears of being accused of racism or by economic arguments made by well-funded lobbyists for Chinese interests or U.S. multinationals—it doesn’t take much to imagine the varied nature of attacks we might see on the homeland during the first few days of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. 

The time for talk is over; we need action.


Chuck DeVore is Chief National Initiatives Officer at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a former California legislator, special assistant for foreign affairs in the Reagan-era Pentagon, and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve. He’s the author of two books, “The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America,” and “China Attacks,” a novel.

What Big Tech Didn’t Want You To See On The Federalist In 2020


Reported by Joy Pullmann  29, 2020

Leftist media has skewed U.S. politics for decades, but Big Tech’s amplified influence over global discourse and governments is new. While Congress passed no legislation related to this political and national security emergency, we the people were held captive in lockdowns during a major election while crucial public information was filtered, hidden, and surveilled by unaccountable companies with no allegiance to the United States and obvious disdain for hundreds of millions of its inhabitants.

This is a huge social problem. Regaining our freedom to speak and to share and compare information may be the first task towards redressing our grievances against those who claim to govern us. For how can consent of the governed be truly granted when the people’s ability to inform their consent is manipulated? It cannot.

To regain our self-governance, then, we all need to develop new habits of information-gathering and -sharing. As a tiny part of and precursor to more of that effort, here is an accounting of Federalist work that Google, Facebook, and Twitter tried to keep people from seeing in 2020.

You will notice it fits the pattern of big tech censorship that big tech claims isn’t censorship: it all goes one way politically. All of it also comprises election-meddling by effectively promoting misinformation and disinformation on key voting issues.

Just Plain Hiding the News They Can’t Use

In June, a foreign think tank, NBC, and Google colluded in an attempt to demonetize The Federalist in retaliation for our coverage of Black Lives Matter rioting. The tech giant demanded we end our commenting section, and continues to refuse to allow it back. Google-owned YouTube also continues to shadowban Federalist content and choke our engagement.

In July, Google claimed it had “mistakenly” made it impossible for people to find a slew of conservative news sites, including CNSNews.com, The Washington Free Beacon, Breitbart, Twitchy, RedState, PJ Media, The Blaze, Townhall, LifeNews, PragerU, and The Daily Wire.

After the election, Instagram slapped a warning label on a post in which President Trump honored Pearl Harbor Day. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, put an automatic “fact check” on Trump’s post that claimed Joe Biden won the election, although Trump’s post included nothing about the election results. Instagram later removed the “warning.”

In October, “Twitter suspended U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan for a post celebrating the success of the U.S. southern border wall keeping violent criminals from reaching American communities,” reported The Federalist’s Tristan Justice.

The online publisher banned Morgan, a public official, from communicating the elected president’s publicly stated priorities, telling him in an automated message the post violated the publisher’s “hateful conduct” policies. Morgan had written: “@CBP & @USACEHQ continue to build new wall every day. Every mile helps us stop gang members, murderers, sexual predators, and drugs from entering our country. It’s a fact, walls work.” If this is hate speech, all conservatives are criminals.

Evidence of Biden Family Corruption

Infamously, Twitter and Facebook tampered with the 2020 election in October by immediately and actively suppressing public knowledge of a federal corruption investigation into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, related to information found on a Delaware laptop.

Yesterday, the computer store owner who turned the laptop over to federal investigators sued Twitter for defamation. Twitter’s ban was predicated on alleging the laptop containing “hacked” material, even though, as The Federalist documented, Twitter regularly allows the circulation of hacked and hoax information. The laptop owner says he did not hack it, he owns it, and that Twitter claiming otherwise has significantly damaged his reputation and employment.

In October, Twitter openly admitted it was pre-emptively choking the story on their platform even before deploying their Chinese- and Democrat-funded “fact-checking” organizations to explain away what are obviously politically motivatedselectively enforced, anti-truth information operations designed to help Democrats control the United States.

Twitter also pre-emptively blocked The New York Post’s subsequent reporting on its Hunter Biden laptop scoop, despite those containing additional corroborating details, and although witnesses and additional evidence also surfaced to independently corroborate the story. Twitter banned members of Congress and the president’s campaign from posting information about the story. It kept the Post locked out of its Twitter account for weeks following the breaking story in the run-up to the election.

Lest we all become too dulled to this successful attempt to control the nation without the people’s consent because we’re all used to leftists refusing fair play and equal treatment, we all need to remember that enough Biden voters to swing the election decisively to Trump said they would have changed their votes if they knew about this corruption story. Big tech bias is not a trivial issue. It is the difference between a fair election and a corrupted one, between self-rule and a corrupted oligarchy.

Evidence of Election Tampering and Errors

From May 2018 to October 2020, Twitter and Facebook restricted posts from President Trump at least 65 times, according to a media study. They did this precisely zero times to Joe Biden (or Hillary Clinton), and it’s not because he’s the most accurate politician alive.

In June, the anti-Trump bias ridiculously caused Twitter to put a warning label on an obvious parody video about a “racist baby.” More seriously, at the same time Twitter repeatedly throttled as “false” President Trump’s claims that mail-in ballots are an insecure voting method. That is absolutely true and it made the 2020 election ripe for fraud, abuse, and contested results.

On election night, Twitter flagged a post from President Trump that said: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” Twitter claimed this was “disputed and might be misleading” and banned users from sharing the tweet. Later it was shown that Pennsylvania indeed counted post-election ballots against its own law forbidding that.

On Nov. 4, Twitter slapped a “warning label” about “disputed information” in a tweet from Federalist Cofounder Sean Davis, whose offending tweet accurately summarized the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling that ballots brought in after election day would be counted.

On Nov. 9, Twitter put a warning label on a quote from and link to an affidavit of sworn testimony alleging election fraud tweeted by Federalist Senior Contributor Ben Weingarten. “This claim about election fraud is disputed,” Twitter claimed, preventing people from retweeting it without adding their own comments. It later removed the choke without explanation.

In December, Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway explored the disqualifying errors in a “fact-check” done by one of Facebook’s partners of allegations of election fraud in Georgia. Facebook used the same fact-check she fisked to pre-emptively ban her article from its platform.

COVID-19

Big communications companies rabidly policed discussions about COVID-19 in 2020. Big tech seemed especially pouncy about information related to face masks. This included Amazon’s Nov. 24 ban of a book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenstein’s book discussing the scientific evidence that mask mandates are ineffective.

It extended to repeated bans and chokes on Federalist content about masks, many by a supposed Facebook “fact check” that didn’t fact check any Federalist articles. It was just a generic fact check applied against anyone questioning the efficacy of cloth masks and generic mask mandates, even when such individuals cited scientific evidence from reputable sources.

Former White House Coronavirus Task Force advisor Dr. Scott Atlas was banned from publishing references to scientific studies on masks. CNN anchor Jake Tapper and CNN commentator Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a professor of neurosurgery, cheered Twitter on. Google-owned YouTube infamously pulled down a June interview of Atlas.

Weirdly, in April Facebook had blocked DIY cloth mask-making sites while banning the sale of medical-grade masks and sanitizer. Yet just a few months later Facebook’s blocking activities supported the use of makeshift masks made out of any material and blocked information, including from The Federalist, pointing out that all masks are not equally effective at virus and other particle filtering. Perhaps pointing out that research has found that gaiter-style or scarf masks actually may increase virus transmission may get this article banned too.

Social media bans on mask information from The Federalist included the well-read Oct. 29 article that quoted and linked to high-quality studies from reputable sources, “These 12 Graphs Show Mask Mandates Do Nothing To Stop COVID,” which was also throttled on LinkedIn.

YOU ALL MIGHT WANT TO TRY TWO NEWER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES. https://mewe.com/ and https://parler.com/

Spygate

In October, Twitter began publicly testing stronger information controls, which resulted in it warning users who tried to tweet a Federalist article breaking new information about the Spygate scandal. Spygate, of course, is the Obama administration’s documented and so far unpunished use of federal surveillance and policing powers to baselessly persecute, prosecute, and hamstring their political opponents.

The article Twitter impeded reported handwritten notes from Obama CIA Director John Brennan that showed President Obama was made aware months before the 2016 election that the Russian government may have been influencing Hillary Clinton’s false collusion smear against Donald Trump. Sean Davis reported more in that piece for The Federalist:

There is no evidence the FBI ever took any action to ensure that Russian knowledge of Clinton’s plans did not lead to infiltration of that campaign’s operation by Russian intelligence agents. The CIA referral, specifically its reference to a ‘CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell,’ suggests that the Obama administration’s anti-Trump investigation may not have been limited to the FBI, but may have included the use of CIA assets and surveillance capabilities, raising troubling questions about whether the nation’s top spy service was weaponized against a U.S. political campaign.

Seemingly Random Acts of Censorship

In September, Facebook employed abortionists to “fact-check” two videos from Live Action explaining why abortion is never medically necessary. Numerous obstetrics professionals and a national OB-GYN organization supported Live Action’s statement as accurate, but that didn’t matter to Facebook, which choked Live Action’s page.

In November, Instagram and Facebook’s sweeps caught up an innocent and completely apolitical local charity that used Facebook to coordinate donors and volunteers. Oathkeepers Causeplay may sound like it’s a conservative group, but it’s not (and even if it were, there’s nothing wrong with being conservative). It’s a group of people who dress up like TV and movie superheroes and other characters to cheer up disabled and sick children.

The act of random censorship hurt sick kids by depriving the charity of funds and volunteers. It also scared people away from associating with the charity — which, again, not only did nothing “wrong” but actively does good — out of fears they’d also lose their Facebook-mediated access to friendships and social activity. Good job, Facebook.

Also in October — see a pattern here? — Facebook users who searched for the Christian group Let Us Worship were given a warning message falsely claiming the group was affiliated with QAnon. “This is a peaceful movement from across the political spectrum and they are suppressing it by linking us to Q,” the group’s founder, Sean Feucht, told The Federalist. Facebook claimed the mislabeling was a glitch. Yet nobody shut down their traffic over their inaccurate statements despite the harm they caused others.

Again in October, Facebook demonetized the satire website Babylon Bee for making a Monty Python joke in a headline. Facebook claimed the Bee’s silly headline “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch” “incited violence,” and refused to alter its decision after a review. In a self-parody that is impossible to top, Snopes and Twitter also frequently “fact-check” and throttle the clean satire site. I guess humor is now too conservative to allow.

It wasn’t just 2020, either. This has been going on for years. In fact, you might say Twitter, Google, Facebook, and others have been perfecting their ability to shut down non-leftist discourse and project public opinion cascades. In retrospect, earlier tech bans on speech look like dress rehearsals for the 2020 election bleep show.

In 2018, for example, The Federalist published a theologian’s story about how Facebook banned him from expressing Christian views about teaching young children about LGBT sex and gender identities. Earlier that year, Project Veritas released undercover video of a former Twitter employee verifying the company’s practice of “shadowbanning,” called that at the time because the practice was covert. In 2019, Google banned a conservative think tank from buying online advertising because a scholar affiliated with the think tank had critiqued multiculturalism.

Punishing the Conservative Base While Monetizing Them

Once a website’s content has begun to be flagged as “false” even if it is not, search engines and social media increasingly throttle traffic to the entire site, not just the flagged content. This further serves leftist information control by making publications reluctant to challenge what the unelected tech arbiters of reality have decided we must see and say. This means Google, Facebook, and Twitter ultimately don’t want you to see anything from The Federalist. They also hope you don’t notice.

“[S]tories from right-wing media outlets with false and misleading claims about discarded ballots, miscounted votes and skewed tallies were among the most popular news stories on” Facebook directly after the election, reported The New York Times. Facebook responded with deeper cuts into the reach of information from right-leaning outlets and greater amplification for articles from leftist media:

employees proposed an emergency change to the site’s news feed algorithm, which helps determine what more than two billion people see every day. It involved emphasizing the importance of what Facebook calls ‘news ecosystem quality’ scores, or N.E.Q., a secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism.

…The change was part of the ‘break glass’ plans Facebook had spent months developing for the aftermath of a contested election.

Unnamed sources told the New York Times Facebook is working on ways to control information while still keeping users, and that the tools it has developed for this mostly affect right-leaning content. The company may also make permanent some information control mechanisms developed specifically for the 2020 election. But they have to be careful about this, the NYT reported, because when people notice the information control they stop using Facebook so much.

Right-leaning information is consistently among the most popular content on Facebook and YouTube. This means people who consume right-leaning information provide Facebook and Twitter millions of dollars because their time spent on site lures advertising. This allows Facebook to put competing information outlets out of business by siphoning away all advertising revenue while not paying for the content creation that draws the eyeballs, reinforcing their information monopolies.

Nice little racket. Tailor-made for people who don’t believe Americans ought to be allowed to make their own decisions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Her newest ebook is “The Family Read-Aloud Advent Calendar,” and her bestselling ebook is “Classic Books for Young Children.” A Hillsdale College honors graduate, @JoyPullmann is also the author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books.

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