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The Times, 16 May, 2019

In a strongly worded foreword to the report from the Henry Jackson Society, the conservative think-tank, the former chief of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, branded the government’s strategy a risk “we simply do not need to take”. He called on the government to “reconsider the Huawei decision” and not to “worry about giving offence to China” or “be influenced by the threat of the economic cost”.

The report said it was quite possible that UK cyber experts would be unable to find any “Trojan horses” that existed in Huawei’s equipment even if they searched for years. One of the report’s authors, the Conservative MP Bob Seely, warned that Huawei risked becoming a “cyber-Hydra we cannot control”.

The Times, Charlie Parton, 16 May, 2019

If the smokescreen of a “golden era in UK-China relations” befuddles them, they could do worse than read the report put out today by the Henry Jackson Society. It sets out, with great lucidity, why allowing Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G would be a massive mistake, both for technological reasons and to avoid putting long-term trust in a company so closely bound up with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). American and Australian contributors to the report explain why their governments have banned Huawei.

5G will be a critical part of national infrastructure over the next 30 years. The report lays out how Huawei’s ownership (far from transparent, but despite its claims not a private company), its ties to and support from the CCP, as well as an obligation under Chinese law to help Chinese intelligence add up to a threat our national security. Ministers should read the report.

 

The Telegraph, Harry Yorke, 16 May, 2019

Huawei argues that these are “hypothetical scenarios” which misunderstand its role as a manufacturer rather than operator in the network, insisting that its founder has made clear it would never install backdoors.

However, Mr Turnbull has endorsed a wide-ranging report published on Thursday by the Henry Jackson Society think tank, which claims the UK’s risk assessment of Huawei is so “narrow” in scope and definition that it is effectively “useless”.

The report, co-authored by Dr Varnish, Dr John Hemmings, director of Asia studies at HJS, and the Conservative MP Bob Seely, claims the “purely technical mandate” used to assess Huawei fails to consider the “wider issue of trust” and the political and legal climate in which it operates.

The trio have urged the Government to block Huawei from the 5G network unless it can demonstrate a “very high degree of insulation” and to work with its Five Eyes allies to create a new system which considers a firm’s “ownership, legal environment and transparency”.

Their concerns are echoed by Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, who in a foreword to the report warns that however “remote” the threat may seem, it is one “we simply do not need to take”.

 

Daily Mail, 16 May, 2019

In its report, co-authored by Conservative MP Bob Seely, the HJS said that while Huawei claims to be a private company, in China it acts like – and is treated like – a state-owned enterprise.

It said the company’s organisational structure is “opaque” and it is subject to China’s National Intelligence Law, which means it could be required to assist China’s intelligence agencies in their operations and research and development.

It also questioned claims the risks to UK security could be “mitigated” by excluding it from the “core” elements of the network and restricting it to “dumb” components like antennas.

The report said: “Our technical advisers have indicated that antennas can be modified at both the hardware and software level.

“Indeed, as 5G means moving more and more to software-networking, the ability of a manufacturer to re-purpose an antenna without detection will increase.”

 

BBC News, 16 May, 2019

In a foreword to a new report by the Henry Jackson Society think tank, Sir Richard said: “The fact that the British government now appears to have decided to place the development of some of its most sensitive critical infrastructure in the hands of a company from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is deeply worrying.

“The PRC uses its sophisticated technical capabilities not only to control its own population (to an extreme and growing degree), but it also conducts remotely aggressive intelligence gathering operations on a global scale.

“No part of the communist Chinese state is ultimately able to operate free of the control exercised by its Communist Party leadership.

 

The Guardian, Dan Sabbagh, 16 May, 2019

In a report from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), the authors go on to claim Huawei “has long been accused of espionage” – a claim denied repeatedly by the firm – and notes that “while there are no definitely proven cases”, a precautionary principle should be adopted.

The document is co-authored by the Tory MP Bob Seely, who has already raised concerns about Huawei, and the expert academics Prof Peter Varnish and Dr John Hemmings. It adds to pressure heaped on the British government to reconsider letting Huawei participate in the UK’s 5G network from the US and Australia, whose intelligence agencies share information with the UK

 

Graeme Burton, Computing, 16 May, 2019

Huawei has lashed out at a report by the Henry Jackson Society, co-authored by a Conservative MP and a former scientific advisor to the Ministry of Defence, that argues that Huawei should be barred from every aspect of the UK’s 5G networks.

“The People’s Republic of China uses its sophisticated technical capabilities not only to control its own population (to an extreme and growing degree) but it also conducts remotely aggressive intelligence gathering operations on a global scale,” wrote former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove in the foreword.

He continued: “No part of the Communist Chinese state is ultimately able to operate free of the control exercised by its Communist Party leadership… China’s military strategists perceive a world in which the military and the civilian will be fused into a single plane of conflict. The ability to control communications and the data that flows through its channels will be the route to exercise power over societies and other nations.”

While Huawei claims that it is employee-owned, the report points out that it is, in reality, 98 per cent owned by a trade union committee and that, in China, trade unions are subordinate to the state – effectively making it state controlled.

In addition, China’s government treats the company like a state-owned enterprise, lavishing it with up to $77bn in lines of credit to underwrite its rapid expansion in China and overseas.


Australian Financial Review, Hans van Leeuwen, 9 May, 2019

The Five Eyes partnership is extremely robust but not entirely unbreakable, said John Hemmings, director of the Asia Studies Centre at the London-based Henry Jackson Society.

“If the technical vulnerabilities are such that they threaten US and Australian national interests or security then inevitably there will be a gradual degrading of what is shared, and that will be a tragedy for Britain and for the other four,” he said.


CityAM, 26 April, 2019

Dr John Hemmings, director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, says YES.

Huawei’s ownership structure and state-subsidies make it – in effect – a virtual state-owned enterprise with a credit line of £30bn with the China Development Bank (a state bank).

According to the CIA, it is part-funded by Chinese intelligence, and its chair-woman between 1999 and 2018, Sun Yafang, was an intelligence official.

According to Brian Shields, cyber security adviser at the now bankrupt Canadian telecom Nortel, partnering with Huawei broke the Canadian firm, as Chinese hackers cleaned it out of intellectual property and outbid it.

Between 2012 and 2017, the Africa Union was hacked every night as sensitive data was downloaded to servers in China. Huawei was its ICT infrastructure provider.


The Huawei deal puts Britain’s Five Eyes relationships at risk

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CapX, 25 April, 2019

With the NCS leak about Huawei’s inclusion in the UK’s 5G infrastructure on the front pages, the Five Eyes intelligence alliance has come under renewed scrutiny. Our role in the world’s largest and longest-lasting intelligence partnership has been one of our key assets, enabling us to punch above our weight in Washington and in corridors of power across the world.

But intelligence relationships are a lot like a marriage. They involve trust – and the development of key institutions or traditions that keep each partner reassured about the intentions, reliability, and thoughts of the other party. The Five Eyes relationship, a marriage, if you will allow, is an incredible feat of alliance-management. Many Britons know little, if anything, about it. If they do, it’s probably through the X-files or Wikileaks. The reality is more banal but at the same time, more incredible.

After fascism was defeated in the Second World War, five democracies (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and US) pooled their resources on human and signals intelligence. Crossing into uncharted territory, they institutionalised intelligence-sharing in ways that are unprecedented for sovereign states. Later, programmes were created allowing officers from one country to serve in the corresponding bureaucracy of another allied nation. A British signals officer might spend time in the NSA in Maryland, or a Canadian diplomat might spend a year in the FCO, or an Australian defence official might serve time in the Pentagon.

These intelligence bureaucracies might have presented risks to the democratic integrity of the participating nations, but surprisingly, the Five Eyes relationship worked seamlessly from its earliest days. The robust constitutions underpinning all five countries allowed elected representatives to oversee the budgets and policies of their intelligence services and manage them according to their democratically permitted discretion. While slip-ups occurred, they were the exception rather than the rule. The group spent the Cold War protecting the rights and freedoms of many ordinary citizens to great success, all in the shadows and for very little personal reward or public acknowledgement.

As the cyber age arrived, the Five Eyes adjusted and adapted, but they have not always been quick off the mark. The current arrangement by which British engineers check Huawei’s code and equipment occurred after a slip-up in the early 2000s when BT nearly awarded a network contract to what was then an obscure Chinese tech company with little security oversight.

Twelve years on and that company has gone from strength to strength, combining the telecommunications ability of BT with the data-storage capacity of Google and the powerful handsets of Apple. It’s a remarkable achievement, but how exactly did Huawei come to dominate the European telecoms market so quickly? What role did state loans play in subsidising products that were sometimes 18 per cent cheaper than its competitors?

As we approach the end of the telecoms review process, it has become clear that a great lobbying battle has taken place in Westminster between Huawei and its British carrier-supporters who stand to benefit from its financing, and the Australian and US Governments, whose security is under threat. It’s been clear that despite presenting the UK with constant signs of Huawei’s links to Chinese intelligence, examples of hacking behaviour, and involvement in the situation in Xinjiang, the National Security Council has decided that the UK can “mitigate the risk”.

After all, they reason, we handed 4G over, surely a 4G solution for a 5G problem will do the job. The problem with this assessment is that by the Government’s own accounts, Huawei’s 4G solutions were not up to standard.

That should have been the end of the story, but Brexit has played a large role behind the scenes. It leaps off the page from a report commissioned by network carriers that says “£7 billion at risk if Huawei banned”. It leaps out again when The Guardian asks in tremulous tones whether a ban will impact Britain’s trade relations with China (No.It didn’t with either the US or Australia who have whopping trade relations with Beijing). And so, the panic has continued.

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury , is quoted in the Daily Express as saying that a decision should be made on a “case-by-case” basis, and that any decisions “should be led by the UK – we shouldn’t be deciding on the basis of what the Americans think or what the Australians think” , which is the marital equivalent of telling your spouse that you’ll have a drink with whoever you damn well please and that they shouldn’t be suspicious.

The government has a right to make its choice, but there will likely be unforeseen consequences as a result of its decision. With Five Eyes, Britain is married. It has partners that trust it to do the right thing and in exchange provide it with vast amounts of sensitive real-time data. The Treasury might not think that is very important, but Britain’s spy chiefs do and the trust shared between partners is certainly worth more than £7 billion and being degraded to a second-tier partner or being excluded altogether would be a huge blow to our capabilities.

In the long run, Britain can do what it wants. Washington and Canberra won’t force us to do the right thing, but they will have to react and protect their own interests and the interests of the remaining four, but China’s covert influence-campaigns and given the known unknowns of 5G, the British government should spend more time thinking these questions through.


Forbes, Zak Doffman, 24 April, 2019

This was backed up by John Hemmings, Asia Center Director at the Henry Jackon Society, who described the move as “a huge mistake… critical to the well-being of the U.K.’s reliable critical infrastructure, critical to a secure liberal society, and critical to our Five Eyes alliance.” He dismissed the economic drivers behind the decision, saying that “cutting out Huawei from 5G network would cost Britain £7bn – How much will it cost to pull out in 10 years time?”

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