EU Report Blames China for Cali Power Grid Blackout of 2001


Paul Cornish
Paul Cornish

The European Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, authored by Dr Paul Cornish, published in February of 2009 the “Cyber Security and Politically, Socially and Religiously Motivated Cyber Attacks”  . The study describes in great detail the increase use of the internet as a tool for destruction and political gain. Referencing the usual suspects such as the Estonia blackout of 2007, the study also citied a striking revelation,

“In 2001, following a dispute over damage to US and Chinese aircraft in South China Sea, both countries suffered a series of cyber-attacks, and at one stage Califorina’s electricity grid was almost shut down. Neither government accepted responsibility for launching the operations, although both have reportedly conducted research into viability and effects of cyber-weapons” (Cornish, 14) 

The California Electricity Crisis of January, March and May of 2001 has historically blamed the exponential increase in population with no new power grids for the  blackout, but this study argues otherwise. The US and Chinese aircraft dispute of 2001, formally called the ‘Hainan Island Incident’ involved two U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance planes and a Chinese F-8 Navy Fighter Plane on April 1st, 2001. One of the two US  in planes collided with the J-8 People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fighter jet, killing the Chinese pilot. Demanding an apology, the 24-person crew of the EP-3 were detained and questioned by the People’s Republic of China until an apology was delivered by President George Bush. The lack of an immediate apology by President Bush for the pilot’s death resulted in a Chinese cyber retaliation that almost shutdown an entire state. 

The European Report also describes in detail the power of the internet in recruiting Islamic extremists and the inevitability that cyber warfare will begin to define and change all current military tactics. The study ends with a strong recommendation of a UK Cyber Coordinator


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