“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dongfan "Greg" Chung, convicted spy and China's fortune

Video predates the trial but good background info.

Boeing engineer passed secrets to China
• 20 years' jail likely for economic espionage
• Trial shows increasing protection for US interests

Ed Pilkington, Friday 17 July 2009 19.40 BST

A former Boeing engineer accused of passing trade secrets to the Chinese government for more than 30 years has been found guilty in the first big economic espionage trial in America.

The conviction of Dongfan "Greg" Chung marks a stepping up of US attempts to protect commercial and national security interests against overseas spies. After a 10-day trial in Santa Ana, California, the judge, acting without a jury, found Chung guilty of six counts of economic espionage, as well as acting as a foreign agent and making false statements to the FBI.

Prosecutors presented evidence of contact between Chung and the Chinese aviation industry dating back to 1979, six years after he joined Rockwell International, an aerospace company taken over by Boeing in 1996. He was arrested in 2006 after federal agents searched his home and found more than 300,000 pages of documents relating to development of the space shuttle, the fuelling system for the Delta IV rocket, and several jewels in Boeing's crown including the F-15 fighter, B-52 bomber and Chinook helicopter.

One letter found at his house dating from 1987 from a Chinese official said: "It is your honour and China's fortune that you are able to realise your wish of dedicating yourselves to the services of your country."

The judge, Cormac Carney, wrote in a 31-page verdict that "the trust Boeing placed in Mr Chung to safeguard its proprietary and trade secret information obviously meant very little to Mr Chung. He cast it aside to serve the PRC [People's Republic of China], which he proudly proclaimed to be his 'motherland'."

The conviction highlights the peculiar nature of the US-Chinese relationship. On one hand, the US is increasingly dependent on Chinese loans to prop up a deficit which last week rose above $1 trillion (£612bn). On the other, US companies are increasingly concerned about Chinese commercial spying. As the world's engine room of research and development, the US is vulnerable to espionage, especially in the technology-rich aerospace and military industries, telecommunications, cars and pharmaceuticals.

The Economic Espionage Act, passed in 1996, made spying on private companies a federal crime punishable by lengthy prison sentences and fines of up to $10m. At the time, Louis Freeh, then director of the FBI, warned that "economic espionage is the greatest threat to our national security since the cold war".

The 9/11 attacks changed the landscape of national security, pushing economic spying to the sidelines. But for US companies it remains a very real drain.

Steven Fink, president of the corporate crisis management company Lexicon Communications and author of Sticky Fingers: Managing the Global Risk of Economic Espionage, said that all countries engage in such spying, but the Asian region was predominant, with China the main perpetrator. There had been prosecutions under the 1996 law, but the American legal system was "woefully inadequate faced with the theft of trade secrets from American businesses".

The Chinese government says it is also a victim of economic spies. As global economic strife puts businesses and governments under pressure, tit for tat accusations are starting to mount. In the latest case, Beijing has accused the Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto of bribery and arrested one Australian and three Chinese employees.

Chung faces more than 90 years in prison when he is sentenced on 9 November, although the US government is expected to recommend the minimum sentence of up to 20 years.

Chung, 73, was born in China and moved to Taiwan and then the US in 1962. He became a naturalised US citizen and spent 40 years working for Boeing and related companies.His high-level security clearance lasted from 1973 to 2002.

The FBI became interested in him in 2006 after the arrest of Chi Mak, an engineer in L-3 Communications, a hi-tech surveillance equipment firm. Last year, Mak, who Chung had been using as a conduit to Chinese officials, was jailed for 24 years for passing on military secrets.


  1. Now that China is an economic super power it needs to pay the price...

    For all the stolen trillions in copyrights alone...

    But under our current Commie Government of Obama nothing will happen..

    Welcome to the New America Comrade...

    (no K for trish)

  2. You're too thoughtful, What Is.

  3. Washington Post Foreign Service
    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    BAGHDAD, July 17 -- The Iraqi government has moved to sharply restrict the movement and activities of U.S. forces in a new reading of a six-month-old U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that has startled American commanders and raised concerns about the safety of their troops.

    In a curt missive issued by the Baghdad Operations Command on July 2 -- the day after Iraqis celebrated the withdrawal of U.S. troops to bases outside city centers -- Iraq's top commanders told their U.S. counterparts to "stop all joint patrols" in Baghdad. It said U.S. resupply convoys could travel only at night and ordered the Americans to "notify us immediately of any violations of the agreement."

    The strict application of the agreement coincides with what U.S. military officials in Washington say has been an escalation of attacks against their forces by Iranian-backed Shiite extremist groups, to which they have been unable to fully respond.

    If extremists realize "some of the limitations that we have, that's a vulnerability they could use against us," a senior U.S. military intelligence official said. "The fact is that some of these are very politically sensitive targets" thought to be close to the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
    U.S. commanders have described the pullout from cities as a transition from combat to stability operations. But they have kept several combat battalions assigned to urban areas and hoped those troops would remain deeply engaged in training Iraqi security forces, meeting with paid informants, attending local council meetings and supervising U.S.-funded civic and reconstruction projects.

    The Americans have been taken aback by the new restrictions on their activities. The Iraqi order runs "contrary to the spirit and practice of our last several months of operations," Maj. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, commander of the Baghdad division, wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post.

    "Maybe something was 'lost in translation,' " Bolger wrote. "We are not going to hide our support role in the city. I'm sorry the Iraqi politicians lied/dissembled/spun, but we are not invisible nor should we be." He said U.S. troops intend to engage in combat operations in urban areas to avert or respond to threats, with or without help from the Iraqis.

    "This is a broad right and it demands that we patrol, raid and secure routes as necessary to keep our forces safe," he wrote. "We'll do that, preferably partnered.

    Goodbye, fare well y hasta la vista, baby.

    The quicker the better.

  4. "One of the things we still have to find out, as we pull out from the cities, is how much effectiveness we're going to have against some of these particular target sets," the military intelligence official said. "That's one of the very sensitive parts of this whole story."

    As U.S. forces tried to pursue the alleged leaders of the groups and planned missions against them, their efforts were hindered by the complicated warrant process and other Iraqi delays, officials said.

    Last month, U.S. commanders acquiesced to an Iraqi government request to release one of their most high-profile detainees, Laith Khazali. He was arrested in March 2007 with his brother, Qais, who is thought to be the senior operational leader of Asaib al-Haq. The United States thinks they were responsible for the deaths of five American soldiers in Karbala that year

  5. Waved as he drove away, the US did.

  6. [...]

    Chung, 73, was born in China and moved to Taiwan and then the US in 1962. He became a naturalised US citizen and spent 40 years working for Boeing and related companies.His high-level security clearance lasted from 1973 to 2002.

    The FBI became interested in him in 2006 after the arrest of Chi Mak, an engineer in L-3 Communications, a hi-tech surveillance equipment firm. Last year, Mak, who Chung had been using as a conduit to Chinese officials, was jailed for 24 years for passing on military secrets.


    Where there are two, there are thousands more.

    Chung left home without ever really leaving home. And they certainly got more than their money's worth out of him.

    As it was put to me, had we the same laws as France we'd be swimming in these cases year in and year out. But it's not our focus and we don't.

    The French are not only probably the most aggressive ass-kickers and shit-canners when it comes to this type of espionage, they are also the world's foremost authority on undertaking it. They know both ends of the business like no one's business and have no trouble robbing you blind while locking up every agent and second generation swindler who comes down their pike.

    Can't hardly help but be impressed, though China's gunning for the trophy.

  7. Pretty much off topic, and I don't know why it popped into my head, but Dr. Loehrer's son was a on and off friend of mine, a small fellow, very bright, who flew U-2s.

    I bet he flew over China, I'm almost certain he flew over Russia.

    Dr. Loehrer told dad and me one time, 'hell, he won't even tell me what he does, I've no idea'.

    It's the saddest story.

    He was helping some lady change a tire on the highway, and got hit by a car. He suffered some real brain damage.

    His father and mother had died, his wife left him, he turned into a drunk, wandering around talking to himself about his wife.

    There's got to be more justice in life than this.

  8. Another argument for focus on the Americas first.

  9. Neither Chung nor Mak are Jewish or associated with AIPAC, thank heavens!

    There is something seriously flawed, when a guy can acquire that much data over that length of time without being detected.

  10. I think of this guy, because of a conversation between my mother and his mother in law that I overheard.

    It was about how the daughter (the wife of this guy) couldn't stand it any more, the drinking and the mental nonsense.

    The Air Force was his life. When that was gone, he was gone.

    She left for her own sanity.

    And he spends the rest of his life wandering around.

    I don't think I have a sadder story to tell than this.

  11. You know what's sad? Rolling out a ginned-up pseudo-commercial kleptocracy and somebody else can still kick your ass.

  12. What bugs me half to death is, I've seen, and experienced some of, the total absurdities of life.

    And yet, I've read, really read, all that literature, all that myth, that puts it all in its place.

    Father is a rough old bastard, is all I can say, but loving at the very end too.

    The Great Mother likes to play, is all I can figure.

  13. I say we send Nixon back to China. With a little Post It attached.

  14. So. I finally purchased a Malbec. And it's either a poor representative or it's just not my thing.

  15. What's a Malbec?

    I'm an idiot, and demand an answer.

  16. Trish

    a Bodega from Argentina is usually pretty good.

  17. It's a red wine. In this case Argentinian. And there's something definitely roof-of-the-mouth bitter-dry about it.

    I didn't pay a lot, granted, but I'm used to getting good wine without having to do so.

    To each his own. In wine as in many other things.

  18. Try a nice TwoBuckChuck Merlot. $23.88/case, plus tax. Always a good year. For those who prefer a hearty red.

  19. This is Trapiche. And it actually makes me think of the (atrocious to me, but not to others) white wines my father prefers, which will generally put hair on your tongue within seconds.

  20. TwoBuckChuck, Charles Shaw Winery, Napa/Sonoma. Sold exclusively by Trader Joe, $1.99/bottle in CA and AZ, $2.99/bottle for Oregonians.

    Always a good year.

  21. I have a feeling they don't import here.

  22. heh, my stupid cousin once tried to make some wine out of dandelions, down in the basement, of grandpappies old house, in the old tub there.

    Tasted like shit, wouldn't even give you a buzz, and made you want to throw up.

    He was working around down there for a couple of weeks.

    We couldn't find any market for it.

  23. I'll send you a sample.


    Brand to brand, you can't beat the Oregon micro-brews, though. Unless you're in Belgium or Denmark.

  24. Trish

    I just remembered the name. Try Norton's Reserve 2006.

    It's very good.

  25. Dad used to make strawberry wine. Really some good stuff. Clear, light on the palate. When it didn't quite pass muster, he was known to add a quart or two of pure alcohol to the keg. Always had several kegs in the "fruit room" down in the cellar, aging. The gnats buzzing around the big old crocks would make a trip into that room an adventure during early stages of fermentation.

  26. The only realistic way you're going to send me a sample is by flying into Bogota yourself. Which you are welcome to do with plenty of notice.

    Norton's Reserve. 2006. This isn't a South American operation, is it? I regularly see a handful of US wines here, but unsurprisingly Chile and Argentina possess the bulk of the business. And really, I have no complaints there, having had no trouble putting my hands on decent-to-excellent wines at anywhere from 8-30 bucks a pop.

    The Malbec is truly an exception and, as you indicated, a different label might offer a better appreciation.

  27. 30 bucks a pop

    Thirty bucks a pop.


    And you bitch about Michelle.

  28. Thirty bucks for a bottle of wine?

    Get real.

    Who is paying for this?


    1996, I think. And the Braves were big. Lovely song.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. WE ARE PAYING FOR THIS. MY husband and I.

    So quitcherbithcin.

  32. You've let the cat out of the bag, Lady.

    And, we know you drive around in an armored car.

  33. I agree with Trish about the probability of Chinese spies in the US. I would venture to say that number in the thousands and with inactive sleepers in the tens of thousands.

    I probably related here before the story that when it comes to the spy business, we would put a couple of men on a beach with metal detectors and the Chinese would put hundreds with shovels and rakes. Although these days that would probably also be equipped with the technology.

  34. Must proof better.

  35. If I came home with a thirty dollar bottle of wine, my wife would cut my head from my neck, and I'd be done for.

  36. Hell, you can get two bottles of Bicardi for that.

  37. Thanks, Gag.

    I'll look for an outlet.

  38. Nice tune, Trish.

    For no particular reason it evokes Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Hot Licks, Cold Steel, and Truck Drivers' Favorites, 1972.

    Musta been something happenin' then.

  39. The Ranger is a government worker, na-bob.

    Ms trish is a stay at home and the book club kind of a mom, which with an 18 year old son in Bogata, Colombia could well be a position requiring some overtime hours.
    Time and a half of zip is ...

    Remembering to that our den mother is bored by talk of finance and other such subjects of droll.

  40. Oh yeah, Commander Cody and...I remember that group though through a fog.

  41. Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, too...

  42. Those were the days, my friend...

    We thought they'd never end

    We'd sing and dance forever and a day...

    Living the life we'd choose

    We'd fight and never lose...

  43. ...Just tonight I stood before the tavern,
    Nothing seemed the way it used to be.
    In the glass I saw a strange reflection,
    Was that lonely person really me.

    Those were the days my friend,
    We'd thought they'd never end,
    We'd sing and dance for-ever and a day,
    We'd live the life we choose,
    We'd fight and never lose,
    For we were young and sure to have our way.
    Lalala lah lala, lalala lah lala
    Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days.

    Through the door there came familiar laughter.
    I saw your face and heard you call my name.
    Oh, my friend, we're older but no wiser,
    For in our hearts the dreams are still the same.

    Those were the days my friend

  44. Help for morose friends

    I wouldn't drink whatever he was having, no matter the vintage.

  45. The Ranger is a nice person, and a positive one, and not the face of death to talk to, gruesome, like you, ratsasshole.

    How about that for a reply, just making some stuff up on the spur of the moment?

    Anyone can call names.

    And, I thought you were off that tack for a day or two.

    The Ranger actually has a sense of humor, doesn't piss and moan all day long, has a mind not totally given over to conspiracies, is fun to talk to, and likes books, all positive qualities.

    Though she pays too much for her wine, I think.