On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, the New York Times reported that F.B,I. agents arrested Charles M. Lieber, the chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, for making a false statement to federal authorities about his financial connections to the Chinese government and his involvement in the Thousand Talents program, a campaign used to draw foreign-educated scientists to China.
This arrest marked a new phase where the Justice Department is ramping up its campaign to smoke out scientists who steal research from American laboratories.
In the past few months, news about scientists being prosecuted, above all, Chinese graduate students and researchers working in American laboratories, has been on the uptick.
The Lieber arrest does mark a significant turn of events, since he is a renowned researcher that has moved into the highest echelons of his academic field. Lieber is a leader in the area of nanoscale electronics.
Dr. Lieber’s lawyer, Peter Levitt, offered no remarks after a preliminary hearing in federal court in Boston on Tuesday.
His arrest surprised many individuals in research circles.
“This is a very, very highly esteemed, highly regarded investigator working at Harvard, a major U.S. institution, at the highest rank he could have, so, all the success you can have in this sphere,” declared Dr. Ross McKinney Jr., chief scientific officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “It’s like, when you’ve got it all, why do you want more?”
“We worry that, slowly but surely, we’re going to have something of a McCarthyish purity testing,” he continued. “He’s being criminally charged. This is a big deal. He could end up in jail.”
Lieber was charged with one count of making a false or misleading statement, which generally involves a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Harvard stated that Dr. Lieber was placed on indefinite administrative leave.
“The charges brought by the U.S. government against Professor Lieber are extremely serious,” said Jonathan Swain, a spokesman for Harvard. “Harvard is cooperating with federal authorities, including the National Institutes of Health, and is initiating its own review of the alleged misconduct.”
Dr. Lieber was one of three scientists to be charged with crimes that very day.
Zaosong Zheng, a cancer researcher affiliated with Harvard was caught leaving the country with 21 vials of cells stolen from a laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, according to a report from the authorities. Authorities claimed that he confessed to planning to jumpstart his career by publishing the research in China under his name. The Chinese national was charged with smuggling goods from the United States and with making false statements.
The third individual charged was Yanqing Ye, who had been carrying out research at Boston University’s department of physics, chemistry and biomedical engineering until last spring. At that time, she ended up returning to China. Prosecutors said she concealed the fact that she was an officer in the People’s Liberation Army. Regardless, she continued to complete military assignments under the order of PLA officers while doing work at B.U.
Yanqing was hit with charges of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government, and conspiracy. She is currently in China and was not arrested.
Prosecutors highlighted that the charges announced on Tuesday were part of a comprehensive crackdown on researchers affiliated with the Chinese government.
“No country poses a greater, more severe or long-term threat to our national security and economic prosperity than China,” declared Joseph Bonavolonta, the special agent heading the F.B.I.’s Boston field office. “China’s communist government’s goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S. as the world superpower, and they are breaking the law to get there.”
The charging documents in this case detail Dr. Lieber’s extensive ties to China, and his attempts to keep them away from his American employers.
According to the court document, Lieber signed an agreement in 2011 to become a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology in China, which came with a $50,000 monthly salary, $150,000 in annual in living expenses, and more than $1.5 million allocated for a second laboratory in Wuhan.
In 2015, Harvard officials found that Dr. Lieber was in charge of a laboratory at Wuhan University, and informed him that using Harvard’s name and logo was a violation of university policy. As a result of this statement from the university, Dr. Lieber distanced himself from the project, but continued to receive compensation, prosecutors claimed
Black Rifle Coffee Does Not Support Second Amendment Hero Kyle Rittenhouse
At this Time, Cons
Black Rifle Coffee, a coffee company based in Salt Lake City, is not defending 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.
The company said that it was against a tweet that Blaze Media reporter, Elijah Schaeffer, posted that featured Rittenhouse wearing a Black Rifle Coffee Company shirt captioned “Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America.” Rittenhouse was released on November 20, 2020 after supporters were able to raise $2 million for his bail.
In the tweet, Schaeffer posted a discount code for the coffee. Sara Tabin of The Salt Lake Tribune noted that online Twitter users “questioned whether the coffee company had a sponsorship deal with Rittenhouse and accused it of supporting murder and hate.”
This prompted Black Rifle Coffee, the sponsor of the Slightly Offens*ve podcast, to release a statement on November 21 declaring that it is not sponsoring or supporting Rittenhouse.
Initially, there was a misunderstanding about the company withdrawing its sponsorship of Slightly Offens*ve. However, a spokesperson for the company told the Salt Lake Tribune on November 21 that “We are not fluctuating our ad spend.” The coffee spokesperson added “We did have a conversation with Schaffer, and he understands that the post was a mistake.”
She stressed, “We don’t traffic in national tragedy and to us, that’s what this is. We are not legal experts or members of law enforcement. We fully support all law enforcement officials and believe in the integrity of the legal system.”
The spokesperson reiterated that the company will maintain its sponsorship of Blaze Media. She explained: “Our concern is that use of the discount code in the post did not reflect our values. That’s a concern we’ve addressed with the journalist and that he understands.”
Blaze employees “make decisions about how to allocate ad dollars within the Blaze,” she remarked. Although the spokesperson did not go into further detail about the company’s status as a podcast sponsor, it noted that the coffee company and the Blaze are in talks about “how to move forward with the allocation of ad dollars.”
Black Rifle Coffee positions itself as a pro-Second Amendment, conservative company that was founded by veterans. Black Rifle Coffee co-founder Evan Hafer released a statement on November 21 declaring that “We do not support legal advocacy efforts. We do not sponsor nor do we have a relationship with the 17-year-old facing charges in Kenosha, WI.”
At the moment, Rittenhouse is facing two counts of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a Black Lives Matter riot back in August. In addition, he’s being charged with one count of being a minor in possession of a firearm. During the riots, Rittenhouse was attacked by Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse was carrying an AR-style rifle as he was walking down the street to protect private property from looters.
It is disappointing to see supposedly pro-Second Amendment businesses fold to the mob. Although the Left is very effective at mass politics and causing certain businesses to get cancelled, some businesses will have to take a stand. Submission to these radicals only encourages them to become bolder in their attacks.
Can Americans actually grow a spine for once?
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