China is accusing the United States, in a surprising victim-blaming move, of “information warfare”. Beijing claims that the balloon that soared across US airspace last week was not simply a weather balloon that lost its way, but was actually engaged in surveillance.
China on Thursday said U.S. accusations that a downed Chinese balloon was part of an extensive surveillance program amount to “information warfare against China” https://t.co/Dsah2qcirX
— TIME (@TIME) February 9, 2023
Mao Ning, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, reiterated China’s assertion that the large unmanned balloon was a civilian meteorological aircraft that had accidentally gone off course. The U.S. had also “overreacted” and shot it down.
Mao stated that “it is irresponsible.” These latest allegations “may be part of the U.S. side’s information warfare against China.”
“Despite repeated explanations from China and communication from the U.S., they insisted on reacting too quickly.” “It is reckless to use force.” “The U.S. claims that the balloon is part of a fleet.” “I don’t know about that.” “This may be part of the U.S.’s information warfare against China, I believe.” “The international community can clearly see who in the world is conducting the most spying, surveillance, and monitoring activities.”
What is “information warfare?” It is defined by NATO as:
Information warfare is an operation that is conducted to gain an information advantage over an opponent. It involves controlling your own information space, protecting your information access, and acquiring and using information from the enemy. Although information warfare is not new, it has innovative elements due to technological advancement, which allows for faster dissemination of information and greater scale.
Although the term “information warfare” implies an escalation of the situation, it is safe to assume that both the US (and China) have been involved in this type of conflict for a while.
Despite China’s attempts to gaslight, US officials don’t play along. A “senior State Department official” said that:
China’s military may be behind an aggressive aerial spy program targeting more than 40 countries across five continents. The program uses high-altitude surveillance balloons similar in design to the one that the U.S. flew over the Atlantic Ocean coast last weekend.
These details, as noted by the AP are meant to refute China’s accusation of “information warfare”.
Officials from the United States have denied China’s claims. Agents from the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the FBI are cataloging the debris from the ocean and moving it for further processing.
Brig. The Pentagon press secretary, Gen. Pat Ryder.
He said that “subsequent intelligence analyses” allowed the U.S. to confirm they were part of a Chinese spying effort, and “a lot more information” about the program.
Ryder stated, “I can assure you that this was not for civilian purposes… We are 100% sure about that.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, top administration officials briefed Congress members in classified sessions about the Chinese balloon surveillance program.
It remains to be determined if and to what extent our inspection of the debris recovered will yield any useful information. The entire incident, as Streiff correctly points out in his excellent article, raises more questions than answers.
What if the balloon was not fired over the Pacific because it was not a threat to the environment, why was it necessary for the balloon to be shot down over the Atlantic? Undoubtedly, the balloon had successfully completed its mission and uploaded its data to a server in China.
What was the danger that prevented the balloon from being shot down over mostly empty areas in Alaska, Canada’s Yukon, Northwest Territories, Alberta, northern Idaho, and parts of Montana, Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alberta? Is it possible to drop a 100-foot-long gondola in these areas without hitting homes or people?
Who is the commander-in-chief? What set of circumstances is it that the president gives a legal order to the military? I thought this was an unusual feature of Trump’s interactions with the Deep State, but I now think there might be more. Is there any policy manual that addresses this? We’d all love to know.
Is it possible that the Department of Defense could allow this balloon to transit to the US without any questions? Yes, it seems. There is an urgent need to clean up the Department of Defense. Is it US policy that this type of activity is allowed without being mentioned to the public unless pointed out by random civilians to the media?