Two Chinese nationals, Mo Hailong and Mo Yu, are accused of stealing genetically modified (GM) seed technology from biotech giants DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto, as reported by the Des Moines Register.
The siblings face prosecution in what defense attorneys have labeled a “breathtaking and unprecedented” abuse of power. They are among other Chinese nationals who were accused of espionage over GM corn seed several years ago.
Are these individuals stealing valuable trade secrets from international agricultural companies or are they simply practicing Borne-Identity-type tactics to keep the upper hand on biological terrorism practiced through the latest GMO technologies?
The Chinese Nationals face ten years of imprisonment based on the decision of a secret court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as FISA. FISA is best known for taking privacy rights from Americans by allowing the NSA to spy on citizens through their cell phones, email accounts, and banking activity.
Big Biotech is attempting to link Mo Hailong and Mo Yu to the the Beijing-based DBN Group, a conglomerate that owns a seed company, with the Chinese government, as a means of establishing motive.
However, rights advocates and attorneys representing the two individuals report that the government is exaggerating a trade dispute with a national security threat in order to protect the interests of the biotechnology industry.
Mark Weinhardt, Defense attorney, states:
“For the first time in the statute’s history (as far as our research reveals), the government used FISA to investigate a trade secret dispute between two privately owned companies.”
Faiza Patel, a national security expert with the Brennan Center for Justice, told the Register:
“FISA was intended to capture information about national security-type threats. It wasn’t meant to capture ordinary crime, such as violating trade secrets.”
Defense attorney Mark Weinhardt has filed a motion to suppress evidence gathered under FISA from being introduced during the siblings’ trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 14. but the lack of transparency in FISA court makes challenging evidence extremely difficult.
Weinhardt wrote in the motion:
“This case involves a breathtaking and unprecedented expansion of the government’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. For the first time in the statute’s history (as far as our research reveals), the government used FISA to investigate a trade secret dispute between two privately owned companies.”
Court records regarding the case state, “prosecutors have turned over to defense attorneys a mountain of more than 500,000 documents, 50 hours of audio tapes and two years’ worth of surveillance footage generated by the investigation,” the Register reports.
That’s a whole lot of taxpayer money used to protect the interests of a few companies that are ruining agriculture the world over.
Photo credit: BASF/cc/flickr)