Digital Security

Amy describes her old friend and neighbor, who had a particularly horrible childhood. When Amy was 3 years old in 1955 a new neighbor moved in downstairs into their apartment. The father worked for the international trading department of the Shanghai city government. His wife was a University graduate for journalism and worked for a prestigious newspaper. Amy’s friend was named Mei Mei. She was born in 1956.

When the CCP announced that they were not a “one voice party” and welcomed different opinions, Mei Mei wrote a lot of opinion pieces. However, Mao then announced that anyone who spoke against the CCP was a “poison snake”. Mei Mei’s mother was arrested, sent to a labor camp and the father was told to divorce her. He begged the local leader not to force him to divorce her, pleading that his wife had made a mistake. After hiring a nanny to care for their child, and many letters pleading for his wife’s release, after 8 years she was allowed to come home, provided she did not return to work.

In 1966, during the Cultural Revolution, Mei Mei’s father’s brother was accused of being an intellectual and attacked. He jumped out of a window. Mei Mei’s father was told to identify the body and denounce his brother. When he returned home, he told his family not to retrieve the body if he dies.

In 1967, Mei Mei’s father and his boss was accused of being a “class enemy”. They were tortured and beaten. He was told that his wife would be sent back to the labor camp. He bought a ferry ticked and jumped into the ocean.

Mei Mei tried not to remember these things, but there was a documentary depicting great changes in China over the next 20 years. The documentary correctly predicted economic progress, but incorrectly predicted more political openness.

Amy suggested that Mei Mei could tell her family’s story to her daughter. Mei Mei was unable to tell the documentarians her story. So, Amy ended up being interviewed.

Nan introduces General Robert Spalding and welcomes him back to the program. Nan asks General Spalding if he has seen the new missile silo construction in China. General Spalding suggests that we really don’t know if they are active silos, what they might contain or whether they might be decoys. Billy asks why the missile silos are so concentrated. General Spalding suggests that the silos are unexpectedly concentrated, again suggesting that we don’t know what the intention is. General Spalding says that “geography is not the most important factor” and recommends thinking about the world in terms of data, not geography. He points toward China’s intentions with Artificial Intelligence, suggesting that “data is the equivalent to power” in that part of the world.

General Spalding talks about the difference in top US tech companies in 2007 compared to today. He points to the ability of contemporary data collection for the purpose of influencing individual citizens actions is “what we’re talking about”.

Nan wonders if the location of the apparent silos in Xinjiang is related to our criticism of the forced labor camps. General Spalding suggests that China has focused on mobile nuclear missile batteries. He mentions that fixed missile silos would be more indicative of missile defense.

General Spalding suggests that Chinese missile capability is more advanced than the US. With nuclear weapons, they are increasing their stockpile. That said, General Spalding does not think that the US and China would risk a shooting war, given the potential costs. He suggests that the focus is on cyber war and political influence. “What we are talking about is political warfare”, suggesting that undermining our faith in our institutions and convincing people a one party system is superior is their intention.

Billy asks if we can defend ourselves on the internet. General Spalding says we can’t because our government doesn’t have control of businesses or citizens, where the CCP has total control of business and private life. For this reason General Spalding has been advocating for getting CCP influence out of the US.

Amy asks about the potential for China to invade Taiwan. General Spalding does not believe it would result in a direct conflict between the US and China. He does think such a move would provoke the US to try and isolate China, which is why China has been investing in the Belt and Road initiative. He points to the large amount of munitions the CCP has in the South Pacific, suggesting the US will not want a direct war with China.

Nan mentions UC Berkley’s collaboration with top Chinese Universities to help China learn advanced US technologies. General Spalding recalls NASA scientists teaching Chinese scientists how to make hyper-sonic missiles. He believes we have to cut off the transfer of technology and investment from the US if we are going to survive.

Amy asks if the CCP thinks of the US as an enemy. General Spalding suggests the CCP has mass indoctrinated their population to be xenophobic and that they do portray the US as adversary. While on an individual basis, the Chinese people are quite friendly, the CCP provokes and directs anger against the US.

Billy asks about the US’s ability to protect our infrastructure against cyber attack. General Spalding points to the many vulnerable systems, saying that we could protect ourselves, but we aren’t doing it. His fear is that we are allowing low level attacks to slowly undermine “our economy and society”.

General Spalding describes his company, which identifies vulnerabilities in infrastructure, and helps companies to make them secure.

Nan mentions the Chinese border with Afghanistan in the context of the US withdrawal. General Spalding suggests the CCP’s biggest concern is the Chinese populations faith in their leadership. He says that the investment and technology transfer supporting the Chinese economy is insulating them from political reform.

General Spalding recommends that we should reverse the process that began with the CCP’s entry to the WTO. He suggests that the people pushing against that are the ones making money of the relationship. He thinks we will be more prosperous and free if “we can get them out of our system”.

General Spalding’s secure communications company:

Billy poses the question of whether the CCP has become kinder and gentler since the days of Chairman Mao. Nan asks whether China has softened since its admittance to the WTO. The team directs the question to the audience. Nan mentions a recent caller who suggested that China has lifted millions out of poverty.

Mike says “I don’t think America has the will to get it done.” He thinks we’d rather argue about wearing a mask and print money that get it done.

Nan asks what our intent was originally in going to China. Nan questions why the American taxpayer was tasked with lifting China out of poverty. Billy suggests we were interested in their markets. Nan mentions that there are many other markets. He then says that the intention was that we expected China to reform politically.

Zack thinks we should make smart consumer choices and purchase made in the US. He’d like to see more countries compete economically with China.

Dan talks about the idea that our founding fathers are hypocrites because it took so long for slavery to end, while at the same time we are purchasing products from China made by people who are in fact slaves today.

Nick wondered if the fruits of Chinese labor benefited the US.

Worm Farm Al asks if it is true that Chinese troops were training in Canada. Billy explains that Chinese troops did indeed train in China. Al thinks we should look at “what we don’t need from China”.

Mark describes two counties (Lander and Elko) in Nevada which are “Constitutional Counties” where the US Constitution is followed to “the tee”. He also describes “the Freedom phone”, which insures users privacy.

Mike asks if we could do a show on trade agreements.

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