AG Holder’s Big News about Prosecuting Chinese Spying and a Crooked Swiss Bank is a Joke
The Justice Department is really pumping out the pointless prosecutions these days.
First it was an absurd indictment of five Chinese military computer hackers who are charged with hacking into some major US companies to steal trade secrets -- notably about nuclear power technology and solar energy. Then it was a negotiated settlement with Credit Suisse, one of the world’s big global banking enterprises, based in this case in Switzerland, in which the bank agreed to plead guilty to criminally aiding and abetting some 20,000 US taxpayers in avoiding US taxes over a period of decades.
At first blush, these might sound like big deals, but if you think about it, they are both meaningless gestures designed to make the US public think the Justice Department is doing something.
In the China hacking case, you have China’s military doing exactly what the US military, in the form of the National Security Agency, has been caught doing -- hacking into corporate computer systems to steal not just trade secrets, but also to gain an inside track on trade negotiations. And of course, we have already learned that the NSA has done even more nefarious things, like intercepting computers and switching equipment during shipment, before they are delivered to customers abroad, with NSA staff inserting bugs and malware thus rendering that equipment an open book to NSA snoops.
Besides the sheer absurdity of the US, of all countries -- the world’s major abuser of the Internet -- indicting China for engaging in some relatively small way in exactly what the US has been caught doing on a grand scale, there’s the question of just why this alleged Chinese spying on American companies is seen as so egregious, while the NSA’s much more invasive spying on the American people is seen as no big deal at all.
Oh yeah., I forgot: This is all about profits and capitalism. What has the US Justice Department all in a lather about this Chinese spying on US corporations isn’t national security, and it isn’t violation of privacy. It’s the violation of “property rights” -- specifically corporate property rights.
As the New York Times writes:
“At the core of this indictment is the argument that while large countries routinely spy on each other for national security purposes, it is out of bounds to use state-run intelligence assets to seek commercial advantages. ‘When a foreign nation uses military or intelligence resources and tools against an American executive or corporation to obtain trade secrets or sensitive business information for the benefit of its state-owned companies, we must say enough is enough,’ said Attorney General Eric H. Holder. Jr.”