The Chinese - balloon - first entered US airspace on the 28th of January 2023, on the 16th day after its first sighting, NSC spokesperson, John Kirby, in response to a question mentioned, the Open Skies Treaty, which permits foreign military surveillance flights over the US, and vice versa.
Not one of the reporters asked Kirby a single question about the Open Skies Treaty, which accounts for numerous foreign military surveillance flights over the US, during the Trump administration, alone.
The Open Skies Treaty
... permits foreign military aerial surveillance of US, and vice versa
E LaMont Gregory MSc Oxon
US military downs a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina
Although, the US Conservative media claims that the Chinese gathered data for days, US military signal-jamming technology prevented that eventuality. And, we have learned more by letting the useless balloon crisscross the US , than we could have learned by shooting it down in the North Pacific over the Aleutian Islands, where recovery would be doubtful
23rd of November 2020
BEIJING (AP) — China on Monday lashed out at Washington over its withdrawal from the “Open Skies Treaty” with Russia, saying the move undermined military trust and transparency and imperiled future attempts at arms control.
The treaty, to which China is not a signatory, had allowed each country overflight rights to inspect military facilities.
That leaves only one arms-control pact still in force between the former Cold War foes, the New START treaty, which limits the number of nuclear warheads each may have. That treaty will expire in February and the Trump administration had said it wasn’t interested in extending it unless China also joined, something Beijing says it will not do. _ _ _
Trump was doing Putin's bidding until the bitter end Donald J Trump ordered the destruction of 100's of millions of dollars of US military assets, which weakened US electronic surveillance capabilities vis-a-vis Russia, and is to the strategic benefit of Russia
Just another example of Trump, and the Putin Republicans, doing Putin's bidding, to the detriment of US security and preparedness
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Some, if not many, Americans were falsely led to believe that the Mueller report would lay bare the full extent of Trump's ties to Russian intelligence and ultimately to Vladimir Putin, himself. Only to learn that Rod Rosenstein had been in on the fix from the very beginning, by specifically prohibiting Mueller from looking into the ties between Trump and his decades-long myriad shady relations with Russia and Russians.
The outward hostility towards Rod Rosenstein, by Trump sycophants*, including the named conveyors of Russian intelligence into the US Senate, Graham, Grassley and Burr, and recipients of that intelligence propaganda, such as, Rob Portman, was masked by their lambasting Rosenstein, by suggesting they did not know whether to pronounce his last name as stein or steen, was a ruse, an outward display of hostility for public consumption, while Rosenstein was a willing participant in the public deception.
* a sycophant is person who acts obediently to an excessive degree towards someone they perceive to be of importance, in order to gain an advantage for themselves. Jim Jordan was described by high-ranking members of the US military as acting like a pit-bull in the presence of Donald Trump, for example.
By the terms of US administrative rules associated with the Open Skies Treaty, the president would have to give the Congress a four (4) month prior notification of any proposed changes to US participation in the Open Skies Treaty.
Did he, former Speaker Pelosi?
To gain a general understanding of the Open Skies Treaty, I refer you to an article by Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of The Arms Control Association, The Open Skies Treaty at a Glance, printed in full at the bottom of this page.
But why is the Open Skies treaty important? And, why would it be of benefit to Russia, Putin, if the US ceased to participate in the foreign military aerial surveillance program?
And, while a Chinese surveillance high-altitude balloon hovers over the US, the question becomes, is the Chinese aircraft covered under the Open Skies Treaty? And, is China a signatory to the agreement, and if not, would the type of surveillance sensors on the balloon be permitted under the treaty?
The Open Skies Treaty lays out standards for aircraft used for observation flights, by specifying that an aircraft may be equipped with four types of sensors: optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, infra-red line-scanning devices, and sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar. For the first three full years after the treaty entered into force, the observation aircraft had to be equipped with at least a single panoramic camera or a pair of optical framing cameras. The states-parties may now agree on outfitting the observation planes with additional sensors.
The most basic answer to the first question, lies the phrase - sincerity is always, subject to proof - that is, to verification, as it were.
In a world where we are a few thin pieces of paper beyond the brinkmanship of Mutually Assured Destruction and the nuclear holocaust it forestalls, and where history records that many a conflict has begun by an aggressor playing in someone else's backyard, often to address problems in their own backyard, the ability to know if military preparedness is being undertaken, is the best way to not be surprised by any attempted military adventurism, and not be unprepared to repel it.
Now, why would a military adventuristic Putin, not want rather sophisticated military surveillance flights frequently, but not by specific predetermined schedule, flying over Russian territory?
The answer to that question, lies in a knowledge of exactly what these planes are capable of doing, and the information that can be gleaned from surveillance flights, as well as, the strategic and tactical significance for national security and military preparedness.
Fortunately, a recently released, previously - top secret - report, concerning the deliberate mid-air collision between a People's Republic of China (PRC) F-8-II fighter jet and an American EP-3E electronic surveillance aircraft, operating over the South China Sea, on the first of April 2001, provides the necessary information to become familiar with the capability of theses aircraft, and the vital role they play in national security. And, allows one insight into these matters at a high-level of understanding of the issues involved.
Access to the entire report on the mid-air collision incident by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) an the Director, of the National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service (DIRNSA) is available at the following link:
I draw particular attention to the second sentence, of the second paragraph, of the 'Preface' to the abovementioned report, pictured below, and highlighted, in yellow.
It is worth noting that this is exactly of kinds of assessments that are being conducted concerning the hundred's of classified documents resulting from the execution of a FBI warrant to search the Mar-a-lago club and residence.
This report details the wealth of vital information obtained from these electronic surveillance flyovers, and leads one to contemplate the gap in national security preparedness, should such flights no longer be available.
With this understanding, it leaves little doubt that Donald J Trump by ordering the destruction of 100s of millions of dollars of US military assets, will not just compromise, but eliminate US electronic surveillance capabilities vis-a-vis Russia, and that such is, at the same time, to the strategic benefit of Russia, and to the detriment of the United States.
Trump began his tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin to the detriment of US and Allied security, and he continues to do Putin's bidding, to the bitter end of his tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And, all those who have aided and abetted Benedict Trump in selling out America, whether it be his co-partner Mike Pence, the highly-corrupt and largely incompetent individuals he appointed to run the agencies of government, the sycophants in the House and Senate who curried favor with him, or his adoring fans, who 'would make war rather than let the nation survive', must be extremely proud of themselves. But they must also know that there is no vindication for the woe they have wrought across this country, none.
Signed March 24, 1992, the Open Skies Treaty permits each state-party to conduct short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the others' entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities. Observation aircraft used to fly the missions must be equipped with sensors that enable the observing party to identify significant military equipment, such as artillery, fighter aircraft, and armored combat vehicles. Though satellites can provide the same, and even more detailed, information, not all of the treaty states-parties have such capabilities. The treaty is also aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights.
President Dwight Eisenhower first proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union allow aerial reconnaissance flights over each other's territory in July 1955. Claiming the initiative would be used for extensive spying, Moscow rejected Eisenhower's proposal. President George H.W. Bush revived the idea in May 1989 and negotiations between NATO and the Warsaw Pact started in February 1990.
Treaty Status: The Open Skies Treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002, and 34 states are party to the treaty, though the Trump administration withdrew the United States from the treaty in November 2020. 1 Twenty-six of the treaty’s initial 27 signatories have ratified the accord and are now states-parties. Since the treaty entered into force, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Sweden have become states-parties.
Territory: All of a state-party's territory can be overflown. No territory can be declared off-limits by the host nation.
Flight Quotas: Every state-party is obligated to accept a certain number of overflights each year, referred to as its passive quota, which is loosely determined by its geographic size. 2 A state-party's active quota is the number of flights it may conduct over other states-parties. Each state-party has a right to conduct an equal number of flights over any other state-party that overflies it. A state-party's active quota cannot exceed its passive quota, and a single state-party cannot request more than half of another state-party's passive quota.
The treaty allows for multiple states-parties to take part in an overflight. The flight will count as an active flight for each state-party participating. Regardless of the number of observing states-parties, however, the overflight will only count as one passive overflight for the observed state-party.
Russia conducted the first observation flight under the treaty in August 2002, while the United States carried out its first official flight in December 2002. In 2008, states-parties celebrated the 500th overflight. Between 2002 and 2019, more than 1,500 flights have taken place.
Process: An observing state-party must provide at least 72 hours' advance notice before arriving in the host country to conduct an overflight. The host country has 24 hours to acknowledge the request and to inform the observing party if it may use its own observation plane or if it must use a plane supplied by the host. At least 24 hours before the start of the flight, the observing party will supply its flight plan, which the host has four hours to review. The host may only request changes in flight plans for flight safety or logistical reasons. If it does so, the two states-parties have a total of eight hours after submission of the original flight plan to agree on changes, if they fail, the flight can be cancelled. The observation mission must be completed within 96 hours of the observing party's arrival unless otherwise agreed. 3
Although state-parties are allowed to overfly all of a member’s territory, the treaty determines specific points of entry and exit and refueling airfields. The treaty also establishes ground resolution thresholds for the onboard still and video cameras. The aircraft and its sensors must undergo a certification procedure before being allowed to be used for Open Skies in order to confirm that they do not exceed the allowed resolutions.
Aircraft: The treaty lays out standards for aircraft used for observation flights. Aircraft may be equipped with four types of sensors: optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, infra-red line-scanning devices, and sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar. For the first three full years after the treaty entered into force, the observation aircraft had to be equipped with at least a single panoramic camera or a pair of optical framing cameras. The states-parties may now agree on outfitting the observation planes with additional sensors.
Data: A copy of all data collected will be supplied to the host country. All states-parties will receive a mission report and have the option of purchasing the data collected by the observing state-party.
Treaty Implementation: The Open Skies Consultative Commission (OSCC), comprised of representatives of all states-parties, is responsible for the implementation of the Open Skies Treaty. The OSCC considers matters of treaty compliance, decides on treaty membership, distributes active quotas, and deals with any questions that may arise during the implementation of the treaty.
The 2nd Review Conference for the Open Skies Treaty was held in Vienna from June 7-9, 2010, under the chairmanship of the United States. The Conference’s Final Document paved the way for the use of digital cameras and sensors in the future by requesting states-parties consider the technological and financial aspects of converting to digital systems. The document also encouraged the expansion of the Open Skies Treaty to other countries, particularly those in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where the OSCC is headquartered.
The Arms Control Association ACA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization 1200 18th Street NW, Suite 1175 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 463-8270 | Fax: (202) 463-8273
1. Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States (though the Trump administration withdrew the United States from the treaty in November 2020). Kyrgyzstan has signed, but not ratified the treaty.
2. For example, Russia, which shares its quota with Belarus, and the United States both have quotas permitting 42 flights per year, while Portugal is only obligated to allow two flights annually. Countries are not required to exhaust their flight quotas. In 2009, the United States flew a total of thirteen flights, twelve over Russia and one over Ukraine.
3. This limit can be extended by 24 hours if the host insists that the observing party use the host's aircraft and demonstration flight is conducted.
US military shoots down Chinese surveillance balloon off coast of South Carolina