Via America’s Lawyer: RT correspondent Michele Greenstein joins Mike Papantonio to talk about the charges of racketeering and intellectual property theft filed by the DOJ against Chinese telecomm giant Huawei. This is just the latest development in a long saga of disputes between the Chinese 5G developer and the U.S. government. Is this feud truly rooted in security concerns, or is it actually economic?
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: The department of justice, once again has Chinese telecom giant Huawei in its iron sites as the company is now being targeted with charges of racketeering and intellectual property theft. This is just the latest of the prolonged saga between the US and the government and, and Huawei, which has drawn controversy to its potential stranglehold on global 5G. RT’s Michele Greenstein is here to now walk us through this. Michele, first of all, you know the first thing that comes to my mind is we know the history of, of Huawei with them stealing technology from the US. We, that story is an old story.
We know about the intellectual property theft. We know that each administration has promoted this vibrant relationship between, well at least the Democrats primarily through Obama and through Clinton, were into globalization and through globalization we were going to share everything we could with China. Now we have this case it, it seemed like we should have seen it coming. Fill us in on new charges against Huawei, if you would, set this story up a little bit.
Michele GreenStein: Sure. The new indictment against Huawei and some of it’s subsidiaries builds on older allegations that the US brought against Huawei in January of 2019. It’s a 16 count superseding indictment that alleges a conspiracy to violate the RICO act. It also adds a charge of conspiracy to steal trade secrets that, according to the DOJ, involves the company’s “alleged long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from US counterparts.” So again, we’re talking about intellectual property theft. Now prosecutors say that Huawei efforts to seal this IP were successful and that they were able to obtain IP about robotics, cellular antenna technology and internet router source code. Then allegedly the stolen IP allowed the company to cut their research and development costs and delays, giving them what the DOJ calls an unfair competitive advantage.
Mike Papantonio: Well, yeah, the, the talk on this thing has been from the very beginning, you know what? We can get cheaper labor here. We can cut research and development, we can steal technology. But as I’m, as I’m watching this story and I know you had to be wondering the same thing, doesn’t it sound like we’re doing the bidding of companies like Cisco and Motorola? Aren’t we doing somewhat of the bidding? We’re kind of changing the standards for free market by doing the bidding here for American or Western corporations and really trying to focus on Huawei’s bad conduct, which by the way is very bad. And I’m wondering what, what’s Huawei’s response, how do they respond to these whole, to these charges? Where are we with that?
Michele GreenStein: Well, the company is saying that the evidence against them is weak and that this new indictment is just part of the justice department’s attempt to damage the company’s reputation. Here’s the, the official company response, “these charges do not reveal anything new. They are based largely on resolved civil disputes from the last 20 years. In these disputes, no court has ever found that Huawei had engaged in malicious IP theft or required Huawei to pay damages for infringement on others’ IP.”
Mike Papantonio: Well, you know, that’s only part of the story. That’s really only part of the story. That’s a great comment by Huawei, but there’s a lot more to that story. We don’t have time to go into on this one. But the point is, I look at this and I say, you know, don’t we see this coming with CAFTA and NAFTA and, you know, this attempt by the Democrats with TPP and the Republican, you know, the business type Republicans jumping behind TPP. We, as we globalize, as we expand this whole global market, isn’t it kind of ridiculous for the United States to say, ah, they’re ahead of us in technology? They, they can get a better deal on labor. They can get a better deal on research and development.
We can’t keep up with those numbers. It’s either one or the other. You can’t have it both ways. You know, in the past, the US whether it’s the justice department or the state department or Congress has leveled accusations that are against Huawei, and, and it’s been the same kind of talk that they have some big advantage over us. And that really, if you read between the lines, it’s almost like you’re saying, well, free, free market capitalism doesn’t work where it comes to globalization. What’s your take on that, Michele?
Michele GreenStein: Right. Well, the most common allegation that we’re hearing from us officials is that companies shouldn’t trade with Huawei because Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy for the Chinese state. In fact, Huawei like you alluded to, has actually been designated as a national security threat by the US Congress since 2012 even though no evidence that Huawei spies for the Chinese state has been brought yet. But Huawei says it’s never been asked to install backdoors in their products and it complies with the law in all countries it operates and the company sees this whole campaign as a “well coordinated geopolitical campaign” against them. But what’s really interesting here is that Huawei maintains that it’s an employee owned company, so it’s not beholden to Beijing or any other government as US officials are repeatedly claiming.
In fact, it says it’s because of this, not IP theft, that it’s competing so well because it isn’t beholden to shareholders and don’t have to make decisions based on short term profit or quarterly returns. They say this allows them to make high quality products for cheap prices. So this is why it makes sense for all these countries, 170 of them, in fact, to want to do business with Huawei. As one example, Huawei spent $15 billion on research and development last year in 2019 while it’s primary US-based competitor, Qualcomm, spent under five and a half billion dollars on R and D that same year. So they say it’s simply a matter of where they’re allocating their money.
Mike Papantonio: Okay, Michele got to go. Thanks for joining me. Okay.
Michele GreenStein: Thanks a lot.