AI SPOOFING, A CHINESE ANTI-SAT FACILITY, AND INDIA’S ...

April 4, 2019 By Joseph P. Farrell

Yesterday I blogged about the triple, and quasi-quadruple, redundancy being built out in the world's international financial clearing systems, for now there are viable alternatives to the West's SWIFT system: Russia's SPFS and China's CIPS systems. Add to that the Japanese credit card clearing system in widespread use in the Pacific, build that out a built more, and one has a quadruple redundancy where, just a few years ago, there was only one system: SWIFT.  As I indicated yesterday, when one views this activity without the conventional down-to-earth geopolitical explanations, one is left with the question of why, and the answer is that one makes such moves as a matter of planetary, rather than individual national, security. It is the sort of move that one would expect as plans are being made to move into space and "mine" asteroids and so on, thus requiring some method or system(s) to enable what in effect will become interplanetary commerce, and to secure it against "whomever" might seek to disrupt it, be that "whomever" someone "down here" or someone "up there."

It's that context, I suspect (in today's high octane speculation) that might connect three seemingly unrelated stories, each of which, considered on its own individual merits, has its own typical "down to earth" geopolitical explanations, but which taken together, might indicate that other capabilities are being built out for space-related reasons.

The first story concerns a new technique being developed by China to use AI to create fictitious installations and modify satellite photos of the Earth, shared by Mr.V.T.:

The Newest AI-Enabled Weapon: ‘Deep-Faking’ Photos of the Earth

Here's the gist of the technology and the motivation for it:

Worries about deep fakes — machine-manipulated videos of celebrities and world leaders purportedly saying or doing things that they really didn’t — are quaint compared to a new threat: doctored images of the Earth itself.

China is the acknowledged leader in using an emerging technique called generative adversarial networks to trick computers into seeing objects in landscapes or in satellite images that aren’t there, says Todd Myers, automation lead and Chief Information Officer in the Office of the Director of Technology at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

“The Chinese are well ahead of us. This is not classified info,” Myers said Thursday at the second annual Genius Machines summit, hosted by Defense One and Nextgov. “The Chinese have already designed; they’re already doing it right now, using GANs—which are generative adversarial networks—to manipulate scenes and pixels to create things for nefarious reasons.”

For example, Myers said, an adversary might fool your computer-assisted imagery analysts into reporting that a bridge crosses an important river at a given point.

It requires little imagination to see how this could be expanded to space, to create images of exo-planetary surfaces to create things that aren't there, or alternatively (and as has been alleged many times over in the past few decades) to erase things that are there.  One might even envision an expansion of the technique to be able to spoof the existence of "assets" on other celestial bodies that aren't there, or to exaggerate amounts of assets that are. Ultimately, one might envision a further expansion of the technique to spoof off-planet "threats" to create imaginary installations. The bottom line is that the capability is a unique form both of camouflage and of deception and disinformation.

With that technology in mind, consider this second article, also shared by Mr. V.T:

Satellite Photos Show Chinese Anti-Satellite Laser Base

What's interesting about this second story is that its dateline is last Monday, April 1st, thus making it possible that it is an elaborate April Fool's joke, and given the first article with its AI spoofing technique, it's a possibility that can't be entirely discounted. But suppose for a moment that it is genuine, and that the analysis it purports to give of the Chinese facilities is for the most part true. If so, two things emerge from the article as implications. The analysis of the facilities, according to the article, was undertaken by an Indian defense and photo analyst, Col. Vinayak Bhat. he alleges that the Chinese facilities are for two basic types of weapons: (1) powerful ground-based anti-satellite lasers, and (2) ground based electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons. Additionally, the American Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has weighed in on the matter:

The report said Beijing "possibly already has a limited capability to employ laser systems against satellite sensors."

"China likely will field a ground-based laser weapon that can counter low-orbit space-based sensors by 2020, and by the mid-to-late 2020s, it may field higher power systems that extend the threat to the structures of non-optical satellites," the report, "Challenges to Security in Space," says.

The DIA said directed energy weapons can be used to "disrupt, damage, or destroy enemy equipment and facilities."

"These weapons, which can have effects ranging from temporary to permanent, include lasers, high-power microwaves, and other types of radiofrequency weapons," the report said, noting the difficulties in identifying the source of such attacks.

It is not known if the Xinjiang base was the source of the well-known laser illumination of U.S. reconnaissance satellites several times in August and September of 2006. The laser "painting" occurred as the satellites passed over China.

One immediate implication of these analyses is that if China has developed a ground-based laser Anti-Sat capability, then this means that it has perfected phase conjugation, allowing the beams to stay more or less coherent through atmospheric distortion (phase conjugation is a compensating mechanism for this distortion).  But what of the ground-based electromagnetic pulse component? This is where it gets even more interesting from a high octane speculation point of view:

Bhat also disclosed the locations of other facilities in China used for exotic weapons systems, including an electromagnetic pulse facility in Xinjiang.

EMP is the pulse produced by a nuclear blast or solar flare that can disrupt electronics for thousands of miles.

The photo shows a road leading in to the facility under a cylindrical EMP generator that can illuminate equipment and vehicles with EMP.

"This facility is used for researching methods of hardening Chinese military equipment and reverse effects on adversaries’ equipment using electronic components," Bhat says.

Also in Xinjiang is a mobile pulse generator—an electronic warfare system used to create electromagnetic interference that can disable satellites. (Emphases added)

An electromagnetic pulse weapon that could conceivably fry the electronic components of satellites, rendering them so much useless lumps of metal in orbit, could conceivably also to the same to aircraft, or other types of vehicles entering Chinese airspace from "wherever." In this respect, I'm reminded of some of those stories about the Roswell incident which allege that the Roswell UFO was brought down by ground based American radar. In any case, it is intriguing to ponder the fact that China has built out its financial clearing system while simultaneously building out an anti-satellite (or anti-whatever) capability, and the two things are obviously not unrelated. In this respect it is also intriguing to note that the Trump Administration has created a space force, and that President Trump plans to issue an executive order regarding precisely those electromagnetic pulse weapons. In effect, the geopolitical-exopolitical situation is such that the major powers must develop both defensive and offensive capabilities against the space assets of each other, but also against the UFO problem, and it stands to reason that the "deep states" of the major powers would do so by developing technologies that (they hope) can do double duty.

And last but not least, to round out this geopolitical-exopolitical jigsaw puzzle, we have the announcement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 27 of this year, that India successfully shot down a satellite in low Earth orbit, making India a bona fide "space power" and only the fourth nation to demonstrate such a capability after the USA, Russia, and China (this story was shared by Mr. G.L.R. and Mr. A.M.):

India Declares Itself a Space Power After Shooting Down Satellite

As the article indicates, the downing of the satellite was a clear geopolitical message to rival nuclear power Pakistan (and as well to the other three "space powers):

Brahma Chellaney, a security expert at New Delhi's Centre of Policy Research, said the United States, Russia and China were all pursuing anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.

"Space is being turned into a battlefront, making counter-space capabilities critical. In this light, India's successful "kill" with an ASAT weapon is significant."

No comment was immediately available from India's old rival Pakistan. There was also no immediate reaction from China's foreign or defence ministries.

But beyond this, I cannot help but wonder if India is also playing the "deeper game" in space that I have been alluding to in yesterday's and today's blog, for the simple reason that it has long been suspected that India has had an anti-satellite capability for a number of years. Mr. Modi  merely made it "official" on March 27, but it's difficult to imagine why India would not have such a capability. For a country and culture deeply steeped in the Vedic literature, with the Ramayana's and Mahabharata's clear references to ancient advanced technologies and "wars of the gods" both "down here" and "out there," it's again difficult to believe that the "deeper game" is not part of India's defense policy...

Taking yesterday's blog about the build-out of international financial clearing redundancy, and today's story about unusual technologies and capabilities being developed by China, the bottom line is that all of these developments can clearly be rationalized adequately and solely by terrestrial financial and geo-politics. But I strongly suspect that there are potential "off-planet" reasons for their development as well...

See you on the flip side...