Faulty Chips Could Cripple
Bush Attack On Iran

By William Thomas

Have "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 humor. 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 cellphones 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." [ 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. []
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 Nonproliferation 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.
Motorola sold its $115 million stake in SMIC in February 2005. [US China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing March 17/06]
Even more troubling, documents declassified in 2003 show that after the Democratic Party received illegal cash campaign contributions from the Red Army, then-President Bill Clinton signed a November 1996 waiver authorizing the transfer to China of specialized chips needed to wage nuclear war. The high-tech "Chinagate" transfers not only allowed China "to more accurately target American cities with atomic weapons using advanced U.S technology," as Charles Smith disclosed, but also allowed China to later sell advanced chips back to the U.S. military-rigged with a fatal flaw. [ Feb 15/07]
During the US China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing held in Washington D.C. last year, John Tkacik, Jr., a Senior Research Fellow in Asian Studies at the Heritage Foundation, pointed to Defense Science Board report on "High Performance Microchip Supply" issued 13 months before, which called "the strategic threat to the United States" in semiconductors "significant" in two ways:
1) The globalization of the microchip supply chain is draining production capacity from the United States and in a crisis it would be difficult to ramp up domestic output.
2) There is a real threat that microchip supplies from overseas-particularly from China-would be untrustworthy; that "opportunities for adversaries to clandestinely manipulate technology used in U.S. critical microelectronics applications are enormous and increasing."
Testifying on March 17, 2006 Tkacik went on to remark, "Not only is the Pentagon finding fewer and fewer sources for application specific integrated circuit microchips for highly classified defense applications (such as signals processing, encryption, guidance systems, etc.), but the U.S. military already relies heavily on China for the bulk of the nervous system of our network-centric warfare doctrine."
Pointing to a "global supply-chain" delivering Chinese chips everywhere, Tkacik asked, "How can saying that the United States simply won't buy Chinese-made chips for its military be sufficient? "
As microcircuitry architecture continues to shrink, becoming "orders of magnitude denser," this expert warned, "it becomes ever easier to hide lines that serve as Trojan Horse circuit designs, radio-frequency receivers and other 'backdoors' to circumvent encryption, muddle signals, induce data failure"- leaving supposedly "hardened" circuits vulnerable to EMP.
"Are Chinese semiconductor firms capable of such chicanery?" Tkacik asked the U.S. government panel. "There are already several hundred semiconductor design labs in China-sponsored and paid-for by foreign firms including America's top microchip corporations."
[US China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing March 17/06]
Right now, no one serving onboard a U.S. warship, manning a tank, or flying a fighter in the Persian Gulf can know for certain where the microswitches conveying electrical impulses to their communications, surveillance and fire-control systems originate. Or whether they will turn into powder in an EMP.
In order to harden military electronics against an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear detonation or directed energy weapon, chips and circuit boards assembled to United States military specifications are not encased in a protective shell. Instead, they are etched with thicker wiring that Hank described as "the equivalent of a 30-amp fuse as thick as your thumb."
This thicker circuitry, "reduces reaction time to an electromagnetic pulse by shutting off the circuit faster."
Instead of adhering to "milspecs", my source was informed and has since confirmed that Chinese chips inadvertently used in many U.S. military applications have been booby-trapped with EMP- sensitive circuitry equivalent of a civilian-size "3-amp fuse, the size of a wire in a light bulb."
Regardless of it's "dual use" in civilian and military applications, Hank emphasized, "a transistor is a transistor. The U.S. military for example is using essentially the same AMD 64X2 chip being manufactured for civilian use. They say it's shielded. It ain't."
While specially-made circuit boards for the helmet-mounted fire- control system in an Apache helicopter are robust enough to be stomped on, the millions upon millions of chips and motherboards permeating high-tech U.S. military equipment-from laptops purchased at the local Circuit City to Patriot missiles supplied by Raytheon-"can't all be tested."
The glitch was discovered during a routine rear-area inspection. Technicians working in a shielded "womb" room thought the component they were testing was hardened. But Hank learned from his visitors that when their readouts started blinking, and they were still wondering, "What the heck could have done this?"- monitoring equipment "used across the womb room also went bust."
Since those remote monitors were not part of the test, this should not have happened.
When the alarmed techs ran further experiments, "they found that the A----- brands had that fatal flaw in it," he related (brand name redacted by this reporter). "They started reverse engineering and breaking it down as best as they could, and they found a fatal flaw in each component."
As Hank put it, "Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."
"We had a 45 minute chat-the longest I've ever talked to either of them. They were forthright. Not exactly scared, but nervous," Hank recounted.
Until he frightened them.
If this goes down, he told the two military agents, the systems you've come to be depend on will bite you in the ass. And then close its teeth. In each instance if sabotage, before the odor of fried electronics clears, "You no longer have an operating system. All the information you had is gone, and any recovery you might want to do is kaput."
And there will be no in-theater resupply, he stressed, Even if spare circuit boards are stored in a warehouse "and somebody does this nearby, it's kaput."
Responding after further investigation to further queries from this reporter, Hank used slang to reveal his stress when he flatly declared, "The stuff that's 'hardened' ain't. The stuff that's 'safe' ain't."
This means that in the event of an attack launched by the United States against Iran, an electromagnetic pulse from a deliberate or accidental nuclear detonation-or from a directed energy weapon manned by Chinese technicians defending their country's interests ashore-will cause many or most American offensive and defensive missile systems to fail to fire, explode on launch, or not detonate on target. Some weapons may even emulate WWII torpedoes and Vietnam- era Sidewinders and boomerang back on the ship, plane or vehicle that launched them.
"It's a 50-50 coin toss whether you have bad material," Hank told two very unhappy agents. "There's no way to identify which ones are and which ones are not the problem children. You won't know until you roll."
Any detonation of Bush's beloved "low yield" bunker-buster, an Iranian nuclear power plant, or shipboard reactor "could deactivate the U.S. Navy," as Hank put it-along with all other command, control, communications and weapons circuits quietly humming in some forgotten but vital piece of equipment aloft, afloat or alongshore in the Persian Gulf.
To rig the Trojan chips, "pick a frequency that isn't in nature above 23,000 hertz or below 2 hertz at power levels only you can produce," Hank invited. Jackie the sailor would not be able to misdial her sonar and shut down the entire fleet because "the pressure and wattage, as well as the frequency equivalent to an EMP" would be needed to do melt all those microchips. And that "could only come from a nuclear blast," Hank added.
Or a pulse weapon. Hank was also informed that if attacked, Chinese technicians in Iran could make every vulnerable circuit within range "melt when hit by a microwave" tuned to their vulnerable frequency.
If that happens, this military tech added, "You would immobilize the entirety of any response we would have. No radars. No engines to mobilize troops; to supply electricity. We'd be on foot. That's it. Oops!"
Despite rigorous spot-testing of some batches of some Pentagon- purchased microelectronics, the only way to ensure that bad things will not happen to components that have not been microscopically checked is to remove every chip and motherboard in every computer in every ship, aircraft, truck, radio, radar, sonar, cellphone, satellite, toothbrush, laptop and warhead "that everything is soldered onto, and replace it with something else."
That cannot be done, Hank continued. "There is quite literally no way to break one of these things open on the nano level" and reverse engineer the millions of micro-traps the Chinese have set. "There's no way to tell if you got it all."
Whoever said that a 12,000 year-old civilization was dumb?
Is this all hypothetical? Supposedly built "milspecs", will much or most U.S. military electronics in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations cease to function if hit with an electromagnetic pulse?
The smoking transistor answer is that China has already dramatically demonstrated their capability to fry the best U.S. military microelectronics on-or off-the planet. Just before North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in a "tiny" underground blast on October 9, 2006, Hank confirmed from multiple sources that America's most advanced reconnaissance satellite was immobilized by Beijing.
According to this well-informed source, "We had no warning" of the North Korean test because "the Chinese took down our look down capability" with a frequency-focused EMP. "And we were going, 'What the fuck just happened?' Nobody knew. Even after it happened nobody knew. Because it leaves no signature."
Since "an electromagnetic pulse goes on through and it's gone," such egregious aggression could not be proven, and was not an act of war.
It was a wake up call. Because the advanced NSA spy bird-"a little higher than Keyhole 14"-was supposedly "hardened against everything from solar flares to enemy action," Hank was told.
"This ain't GE," he underlined. "The Chinese "have the ability to do this to our equipment. We don't know which equipment. We don't know what frequencies it will fail. It could be frequency A in this component, frequency B in that one, frequency I in that one."
In a confrontation in the Persian Gulf or off Taiwan, where another U.S. task force has also been deployed, it will not matter if some "Made In Colorado" hardened chips shut down in time to dodge aimed or accidental pulses. Because complex electronic circuitry is assembled in a cascade-inviting daisy chain, if one microchip fails, even if the other dozen chips connected to that circuit come back online, the device they're directing won't.
Did someone say, "eject"?
This was not all that was bothering Bob and Dave. "Somebody is behind the scenes. Someone is fomenting this," they informed Hank. And the highest echelons in the United States government, military and intelligence circles have no idea who they are.
That hidden agency is not Beijing rulers, who unlike their Washington counterparts, are safeguarding their country's interests by not selling high-tech arms components to a powerful potential enemy. "There is no 'them'. There is no one brand name," Hank said. "Other people have built the casino and we're showing up to pull the lever."
But whoever is operating behind some of this planet's biggest governments and corporations "are getting obvious enough that they're becoming noticed," Hank went on. "Some elements in military and intelligence circles are starting to notice that there are flaky things happening around them."
These oddities involve the three "I's" to the "left, center and right" of the region in question, who appear to be acting in potentially calamitous concert. Hank's visitors and their friends are seeing "a ménage a trois," he explained. They're seeing all three "I" countries "doing the same thing in the same way, with the same people at the same time-moving their pieces in on the chessboard the same way, procuring things on the market in the same way. But they don't talk to each other."
"They're going to butt heads over this," I interjected.
"All three are being directed to do this," my informant confirmed. "We don't know who's doing the directing."
The twins were freaking out because they had always believed that they and their government were "at the top of the food chain," Hank saw. "Bob and Dave, they thought they were autonomous-you know, the men in black kind of thing. They know who signs their check, and who signs their check, and who signs the checks above them.
"Then they come to find out that there's somebody who doesn't need a fuckin' paycheck! When you think you're king shit of the hill, and then you find out, not so much-that's what unnerved them to the point that they came to me."
Which is "scarier than heck," Hank stated. "You haven't seen that high yet. And you don't want to see that high. But you know that somebody else turns the knob, and it's not you. The twins don't have a clue of who they might be, which made them exceedingly nervous. This goes beyond borders, beyond any political system with an 'ism' after it; beyond religion," added this former Jesuit novitiate who chose to take different orders.
"These are the people who have ascended past that, a behind-the- scenes cabal bunch of people. Bilderberger doesn't come close to touching the folks I'm talking about. These are people the Masons don't know about. They thought up the idea to put out the Masons and the Knights Templar to go forth and fight other groups. These are the guys who are doing that."
And because they have "no building, no signs, no designator, no name tag, they are totally autonomous, outside the realm," he said. "When you get to the point where you actually see the shadow of the person behind the curtain, it's should you run or not? How do you approach something like that? It's kind of like waking up one day and finding that you really are in the fuckin' matrix."
"This will be the first time our military will be going up against an already established nuclear power," Hank added, referring to a Persian country that received shipments of nuclear bomb-making software and material from Saddam's disaffected Shiite generals in 1991. These facts are presented in a U.S.-intelligence document that Hank had recently arranged to be put into the hands of his Commander-In-Chief.
A twice unelected president who deserted the ranks when mandatory urine tests were instituted might also benefit from hearing Hank's expert assessment of his "Iraq The Sequel" plan to pulverize Persia:
"They're going to cap our asses."
What is scaring Hank, his newfound allies, and many American admirals and generals is that when the chips are literally down in the Persian Gulf, "it's going to be a free for all. Once the fatal flaw is exploited, that may tip over the other hands that have to be played," Hank warned.
The momentum toward catastrophe is not just coming from Washington, he underlined. It's being instigated regionally, "in multiple positions and growing toward each other. That's worse. It's not just one idiot with a match. Here everyone is playing with their inner child. And their inner is plaything with matches If one starts something, they're all going to get into it."
Hank no longer talks about the U.S. Navy being ordered to provoke potshots from an Iranian patrol boat in another "Gulf of Tonkin kind of thing." He is more worried about Teheran's "sacrificial" nuclear power plant tethered at an-Bushehr.
"If something happened in our country-Three Mile Island, all these near-misses, and we supposedly know what we're doin'-if we can have something like that happen, what about them?" he asks. "They're running these things balls-to-the-wall, without adequate shielding. We run a pile at 60-70% capacity. They run theirs at 95% and above.
"You will see some corners being cut. That can lead to a lot of wear and tear. Your crews are gonna be bone dead tired. The possibility of a mistake is going to be increased exponentially. The number of people cleared security-wise will be at a minimum These guys don't run with dosimeters. 'You die-you had too much.' That's pretty much how they run it."
This is why the mullahs in Teheran built their biggest reactor on the other side of massive mountains, Hank points out. Unless they also want their enemies to take a shot at it.
In one scenario being actively considered by America's self- described "war president," the U.S. military is prepared to "render assistance" after Navy SEALS swim ashore "and cause a light-water reactor accident" at an-Bushehr.
In the ensuing uproar, American forces would enter Iran, insisting, "Oh, we're just here to help," As Hank described it, taking over that reeling and radioactive country without firing a shot.
"That scenario is one on the board," Hank confirmed. "But that would fry all of our equipment, while we're thinking 'we're hardened, we're good to go.' Every ship out there out on the water, every boat bobbing around, every aircraft that we had up there at the time would be rendered suddenly inert. That could start alot of other things happening that weren't supposed to happen until the time is right."
Bush's looming attack on Iran also bothers Bob and Dave "greatly, for a specific reason," Hank went on. "They're still in uniform. You've got the bullet stoppers in the first wave. And the nervous bullet stoppers in the second wave. And the 'I saw it on the news and I don't want to go' bullet stoppers in the third wave. That's Bob and Dave. We've got people who played X-box and Ghost Recon a couple of times, and they will be the tactical commanders. Because they will have lost that many people by that point."
With vaunted American firepower reduced to assault rifles and bayonets, Iran will employ human-wave attacks using barefoot teenage conscripts packed with as many IEDs as have not yet been exported to their Shiite brethren in Baghdad. "And they will win by attrition."
Hank agreed with me that after Putin's recent "America must be stopped" remarks, and Bush's humiliating and costly eviction of China from its major oil investments in Iraq into even heavier infrastructure capitalization in Iran-neither superpower is going to allow the United States to "put a stranglehold" on them by once again controlling Iran's oil.
While crippling anti-U.S. sanctions could be one response to further White House aggression, Russia and China have recently held joint military maneuvers in a region jammed to its madrasa rafters with devout Muslims who consider Iran second in importance to their faith only to Mecca.
"If we do in any way, shape or form precipitate a movement, if the U.S. decides to carry on cranky and do this," or "if by accident something happens and goes pfft pretty much everything in the Persian Gulf would go lights down.
"Picture unplugging everything in the region where we have deployed the majority of our capability. It's as if someone has rigged your home security to fail if subjected to a sudden noise, he instructed. "If it comes down to we get into a fight you never knew that the entire system could be deactivated by someone clapping their hands twice-dark!"
With so many chips being called, the biggest shock, Hank and his visitors foresaw, would come when all military players in the Gulf simultaneously lose "the illusion of control." With almost all communications and surveillance systems suddenly blacked out, each side might panic. Operating under the most militarily basic "use it or lose it" imperative, rival powers would find that their most destructive weaponry located beyond the range of an EMP in the Gulf would remain devastatingly functional.
Fearing that Iran had deployed a secret weapon, "that 'I' county far to the left might freak out and act independently," Hank predicted. Israel's leaders could rush into launching nuclear air strikes on their Persian adversary. Or they might choose to detonate by remote command ex-Soviet MIRV missile warheads previously obtained on the black market and infiltrated into Iran via two-man submarines crossing the Caspian Sea.
Back in the USA, panicked neocons who have never been near a battlefield might launch "an ICBM response."
While the world wonders why the American people and their elected representatives are allowing one delusional individual to precipitate a war that in its very mildest outcome will derail life as we've known it, Hank protests that his brothers and sisters in arms "are being set-up."
Say again?
"Nobody in the field knows this!"
His composure slipping for the first time, Hank tersely explained that no one deployed to the Gulf has been informed that their communications, surveillance and weapons systems have been rigged to fail just when needed most.
"The folks that tested this stuff are really upset about this," he told me. "But what do you do?"
The brass never wants to hear news as bad as this. Look at the "dusty agent" report on the chemical agents sold by the U.S. government to Saddam Hussein to kill Iranian child conscripts. Those gory findings were written and disseminated in '88 and '89. Yet during Desert Shield in 1991, unsuspecting American troops massing at al-Jubayl got badly bitten by Iraqi Scuds and aircraft-delivering those same sarin, mustard and other dusty agents. More than 200,000 veterans are still sick, and so far more
than 15,000 have died.
"Depleted Uranium is the same thing," Hank noted. Google the "Z Memo" and read about the U.S. Army's early cover-ups of a weapon that poses an extreme daily radiation hazard to U.S. troops- and to hundreds of thousands of unenlisted civilian wombs in places like Afghanistan, Kosovo, the USA, and Iraq.
So forget the rear-echelon REMFS coming clean on the Chinese chips.
"We are a military HMO, and we are being triaged," Hank said, with the inflection of an incoming HEAT round. As people safely in the rear "are realizing the cost in PR, the cost in money, and the cost in time and embarrassment to fix what we won't even acknowledge is a problem."
As all GIs learn, and this former U.S. Navy Reservist once acted on, "one of the first things we were told is how to recognize an illegal order," Hank hinted.
"And I presume that Bush qualifies?"
"Oh, dude"
Loyalty is commendable. But as Hank expressed it in typically blunt GI-speak, "A person's delusions will make them do some weird shit." And blind obedience to someone shadow-boxing his shadow side reduces us to the same insanity.
"What are we getting so bent out of shape about?" Hank demanded. With its young and modern population hungry for roles as women and men in the wider world, Iran is another bogus "threat" put forward by Bush and Co. to distract knee-jerk consumers of carefully managed "news" from far greater threats posed by their own government at home.
"It's a construct for us to rally around. How stupid is that?" my uniformed informant asked on behalf of his colleagues. "We're so polarized-'You have to choose one team or the other.' No I don't. Choosing gives them power over me. And limits all my other options."
The good news is that high-ranking members of the U.S. military and intelligence community are coming to understand, that "our beating our heads against each other is working to somebody else's agenda. And that agenda doesn't take any one of us into account. So how about we stop cooperating with it?" Hank says. "Survival of the species, that is what is on the stick. It literally is."
The author is a former member of the U.S. Navy Reserves who resigned his commission over the mass murder of civilians during the Vietnam War. He later served with a three-man Gulf Environmental Response Team in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during and immediately after Desert Storm. His film of that experience, "Eco War" won the 1991 U.S. Environmental Film Festival award.
Crippled Chips Loaded With Errors
From Ted Twietmeyer
About the "Crippled Chips...." article:
At first, I thought this article was on to something. I almost sent it to another friend of mine, also a former DoD systems engineer. It's a good thing I kept reading. There are blatant errors in this piece, that it will be apparent to anyone who understands the nature of an EMP pulse. Some errors are in the section, "IMPOSSIBLE TO FIX " which I quote below:
Any detonation of Bush's beloved "low yield" bunker-buster, an Iranian nuclear power plant, or shipboard reactor "could deactivate the U.S. Navy," as Hank put it-along with all other command, control, communications and weapons circuits quietly humming in some forgotten but vital piece of equipment aloft, afloat or alongshore in the Persian Gulf.
To rig the Trojan chips, "pick a frequency that isn't in nature above 23,000 hertz or below 2 hertz at power levels only you can produce," Hank invited. Jackie the sailor would not be able to misdial her sonar and shut down the entire fleet because "the pressure and wattage, as well as the frequency equivalent to an EMP" would be needed to do melt all those microchips. And that "could only come from a nuclear blast," Hank added.
Here are the facts:
1. Blowing up a nuclear power plant will in NO WAY guarantee deactivating electronic defense systems.
2. EMP pulses affect all electronics in an exposed system, and do not just seek out and destroy only one chip. to seek
out one chip is a video game mentality talking.
3. To generate an EMP pulse with a nuclear device normally requires an open-air, high altitude detonation.
4. An EMP pulse has a pulse width time of about 1 nanosecond, which is in the microwave band. It is generated
by of a avalanche of free electrons in the gases in the atmosphere. It can penetrate very small apertures, such as
the overlap between to sheets of metal. This is a function based on wavelength.
5. Damage is the result of resonance, and excessive current flowing in the metallization layers on a chip.
6. The statement "pick a frequency that isn't in nature above 23,000 hertz or below 2 hertz at power levels only you can produce" will not result in an effective pulse. 23,000 hertz is only slightly above the range of human hearing. You can't induce a pulse into a chip until you reach about 1 BILLION hertz (1 GHz.) Ultra-low frequencies such as 2 hertz accomplish nothing.
7. Circuit and chip damage is the result of resonance. For an EMP pulse to be effective requires:
a. The frequency must be high enough, with a high power pulse width of a few nanoseconds or less.
b. The circuitry must be unshielded and exposed. All military battlefield electronic systems are shielded against
EMP pulses to protect all circuitry.
c. One cannot effectively "harden" a chip against an EMP pulse due to the very high currents involved. Instead,
systems must be externally shielded. The term "hardening" usually applies to continued functioning after a
gamma radiation exposure, which has nothing to do with the EMP pulse.
8. A bunker-buster is a deep, below ground detonation. The earth will sharply decrease the radiated EMP.
9. "Pressure and wattage?" Please! Spare me that one! No one in engineering EVER talks like that. The correct terms are "voltage and current." Both of these values are required to calculate WATTAGE. And what is wattage? Simply is a calculation of dissipated heat, otherwise known as "power." This person named "Hank" doesn't have a clue.
10. There is a theory that a high-altitude, high power pulse will wipe out every unprotected electronic system including all motors and transformers within a few miles under the detonation. However, this has never been proven with motors and transformers. It will most likley permanently destroy civilian electronic devices like cell phones, radios and televisions. No one will hear emergency radio network broadcasts, because there won't be a radio to hear it with in the area the messages will be intended for.
Unless one has had previously experience designing systems for use by the military, they probably will not know the above facts concerning an EMP. I'll reserve comments on other statements such as "misdialing her sonar and shutting down the entire fleet," considering the digital signal processing and redundant systems age we live in. Many other blanket, ridiculous statements were made by the one called "Hank" in the article makes me wonder just who signs his paychecks, if anyone. Or if he is even a real person. Chips damaged by an EMP pulse do NOT "melt" from the pulse. Most chips are made of an epoxy resin. I have seen systems where chips fail from an internal short. They get hot, make a unique, eye-watering nasty smell and sometimes make a puff of smoke. But they never melt. In most military battlefield systems, chips are packaged in CERAMIC for the best environmental and temperature resistance. All military systems are designed to function at any temperature, anywhere in the world.
It's clear this rant is yet another attempt at fear-mongering. An average person doesn't really understand what's required to engineer systems which are both radiation hardened and EMP pulse proof, but it's done everyday and has been for decades. Otherwise, the public would understand why these systems cost so much more than anything you'll ever buy at the store.
Some 15+ years ago, the National Security Agency built their own chip manufacturing facility at Ft. Meade. This is far from being a military secret. It's a big blue multi-story building sitting out in the open with rounded corners and a big sign on it stating "National Semiconductor." To those that don't know who National Semiconductor really is, one should understand that they are perhaps the oldest chip manufacturing company in the world and were founded by 100% Americans. To the NSA's credit, they understood the possibility of a chip procurement problem a very long time ago and did something about it. Certainly over the years, other parts of the defense dept. have done the same thing.
Ted Twietmeyer



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