ICYMI News – Sunday Edition

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

Big h/t to Conservator for this one. CNN’s Travel guy Richard Quest documents his adventure on this maiden voyage for Singapore’s Airlines “nonstop service from Singapore to New York.”

Following the curve of the earth “over the top of the world and down through Canada” this 17 hours and 25 minute flight “spans 10,377 miles (16,700 kilometers), give or take, depending on the exact flight path. Cruising at around 41,000 feet at about 575 mph, the route was made possible by a new, super-efficient twin-engine Airbus A350-900ULR jet that seats 161 passengers. Also on board at takeoff: 111 tonnes [sic] of fuel.”

The Department of Justice announced Oct 10 they have “arrested and charged” a Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) operative Yanjun Xu, aka Qu Hui, aka Zhang Hui with “economic espionage involving theft of trade secrets from leading U.S. Aviation companies,” according to their public statement.

“This unprecedented extradition of a Chinese intelligence officer exposes the Chinese government’s direct oversight of economic espionage against the United States,” said Assistant Director Priestap.

Yanjun Xu is a Deputy Division Director with the MSS’s Jiangsu State Security Department, Sixth Bureau. The MSS is the intelligence and security agency for China and is responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence and political security. MSS has broad powers in China to conduct espionage both domestically and abroad.

Xu was arrested in Belgium on April 1, pursuant to a federal complaint, and then indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Ohio. The government unsealed the charges today, following his extradition to the United States. The four-count indictment charges Xu with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.

According to the indictment:
Beginning in at least December 2013 and continuing until his arrest, Xu targeted certain companies inside and outside the United States that are recognized as leaders in the aviation field. This included GE Aviation. He identified experts who worked for these companies and recruited them to travel to China, often initially under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation. Xu and others paid the experts’ travel costs and provided stipends.

The United States Department of Justice; Oct 10 2018

I just want to remind everyone about The Case of Interpol’s Missing President Meng Hongwei that played out over the last two weeks. This announcement came just two day later after we talked about it.

Are these two things connected? Who knows, we probably never will, but the implications to be inferred around the timing leaves for interesting speculation.  In the meantime, so much for China’s super-sized anti-corruption body called the National Supervision Commission. Like there was ever a question this was anything legitimate in the first place?

This next bit of ICYMI news comes from WIRED.com out of their four-day event WIRED25 anniversary in San Francisco in their story Robert Mueller Has Already Told You Everything You Need To Know to tell us about Garrett Graff, “a historian and journalist, [who] wrote the book on Robert Mueller (literally), has interviewed him probably more than any other journalist” and who covers the Mueller investigation for WIRED.

“Everyone is so focused on ‘When is Mueller going to release the Mueller Report?’, and I think that what people miss is that Robert Mueller has been writing the Mueller Report in public through all of these court filings,” Graff said.

For example, when Mueller indicted officers of Russia’s military intelligence GRU agency for hacking, he noted in the criminal filing that the night that Donald Trump went on live TV and invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and find her missing emails, the GRU “returned to the office and attacked Hillary Clinton’s personal email server for the first time,” Graff says, emphasizing that last phrase.

“Mueller uses that phrase ‘for the first time’ in the indictment, which is totally unnecessary, unless Muller wants us to know that further down the road,” he says. “Mueller is making claims that I think point to breadcrumbs he is leaving us for where this [is] going to go.”

WIRED; Oct 13 2018

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