By William Thomas
(Feb '07)


Have Chinese-manufactured "designed-to-fail" microchips set up the United States naval, air and ground units in the Persian Gulf for a disastrous defeat in Bush's looming showdown with Iran? Has a Wal-Mart mentality, and corporate sleight-of-hand fatally undermined the U.S. war machine with microscopic flaws?

Following this website's revelations of Israel's recent abortive nuclear air strike on Iran, agents of the United States military intelligence community have returned to visit my informant to disclose disturbing developments.

During their longest and most cooperate briefing to date, the two agents-nicknamed "Bob" and "Dave"-said that they, their government, and major antagonists powers in the Middle East are being manipulated by elements as yet unknown, to the detriment of all involved.

"Once they found this out, they started asking questions, hoping to defuse a larger issue before it turns into a catastrophe," explained a trusted source I have come to call "Hank". During our 15- year collaboration, this combat veteran with a high security clearance has shown himself to be impeccably measured and accurate in his timely revelations. Curious, conscious, careful, and well-connected-as well as technically savvy in computers, chemical warfare and physics, you can take his information to the proverbial bank. And charge interest.

Throughout our long association, Hank's contacts within U.S. and international military, intelligence, political and religious circles have rarely ruffled his professional aplomb. This time, he was as shaken by his formerly adversarial visitors' plea for his assistance, as he was by their briefing.

As Hank expressed it, Bob and Dave "felt that they were on the pointed end of a broken, splintered spear repaired with Elmer's glue and then reshaped again. It was a bad day. Bad day. They were not in really good humour. It seems they have had a couple of things crop up they decided to share. Nobody gets more worried about sharing with me than me."

When the agents departed 45 minutes later, Hank made a series of calls to check their information. He quickly verified that the United States military's war-fighting capability is undermined by an unfixable flaw.

It is widely documented that since the secession of America's semiconductor supremacy to Asia, most computer chips supplied for civilian and military use in the United States by corporate giants like AMD, Microsoft, Intel and Motorola are now imported. As Hank was reminded by his visitors, "It's all outsourced"-by U.S. manufacturers to suppliers in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Electronic components made to military specifications in Taiwan and Japan are good to go. But U.S. military microchip suppliers have in recent years been "sharing components from a single source manufactured over there in the Big C," Hank learned. And chips manufactured in mainland China for use by the United States military are-surprise!-not OK.

Regarding the marine assault force, three aircraft carriers and their escorts about to wage war on Iran, Hank was told, "We really don't know which components are installed in U.S. Navy weapons systems."

Elements in the U.S. military in touch with Bob and Dave have discovered that Beijing has rigged those decks to insure China's supremacy in any showdown with the United States. This has been accomplished by ensuring that its exported semiconductors used in many U.S. military computer and electronic components-from cell phones to missile warheads, fighter jets, frigates, radars, laptops and carriers-can be either accidentally or purposefully deactivated by a silent and invisible electromagnetic pulse delivered at the start of any future conflict.

Bob and Dave had returned to Hank's house to ask this army tech with a flair for thinking outside the conventional military mindset how this could have happened.

The answer is that electronic components made by companies in Taiwan, Japan and the U.S.A. for the U.S. military are often wired with chips made by their subsidiaries in China. By 2005, after nearly a decade of explosive electronics growth, China surpassed the United States to dominate the world IT (information technology) market with annual exports exceeding $180 billion. Foreign firms have driven much of China's growth, with "heavy investment" from U.S. giants like Intel, Motorola and Microsoft." [International Herald Tribune Dec 12/05]

Today, China's advanced computer chips run everything from civilian rice cookers to military communications, surveillance, and missile guidance systems. Companies like Semiconductor Manufacturing International and Grace Semiconductor can use lasers to etch circuitry as intricate as an interstate highway network onto nano-thin wafers less than one one-hundredth the width of a human hair. And that was five years ago. According to one online industry publication, Chinese circuitry is now used "in the smallest, fastest and most powerful computer chips in world." [hpcwire.com May 10/02]

Elecsound Electronics Company is another Chinese manufacturer specializing in semiconductors "widely used in communication, satellites, mobile phone and wireless telephones" assembled by U.S. military suppliers such as Intel and Motorola. Like many Chinese semiconductor firms, Elecsound also supplies Japanese companies such as NEC, Sanyo and Toshiba, which in turn make electronic components for the Pentagon's smartest weapons. [made-in-china.com]

The outsourcing tangle also leads through Taiwan, where companies like ProMos Technologies, Powerchip Semiconductor and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing are exporting "Made In Taiwan" DRAM chips and other components to U.S. firms from their newly built manufacturing plants on mainland China. [IDG News Service Nov 16/06]

The world's second largest custom chip maker, United Microelectronics no longer sends genuine "Made In Taiwan" chips to the USA. UM was recently fined a wrist-slapping $155,000 by the government of Taiwan for helping to establish an advanced microchip company in China without first gaining Taipei's approval. [IDGNews Service Feb 16/06]

Not all transfers of chip-making technology to China have been legal. According to the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey, California, the rapid rise of Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) has involved repeated patent violations and "illegal transfers of technology allegedly originating in Taiwan." [Asian Export Control Observer Feb- Mar /05]

Launched in Shanghai in 2000, the Taiwan-invested $1.48 billion SMIC is actually controlled by Beijing, whose mandarins insist on 11 "public relations officers" to keep them informed. SMI has supplied third party Chinese chips to the U.S. military through such recognized suppliers as Motorola. Company chairman Yang Yuan Wang is a Chief Scientist of the Microelectronics Research Institute at Beijing University and a fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is also a Chinese government official.

Continued in eBook download below