Huawei case: Trudeau Liberal’s mockery of the rule of law

Email Internet spying

(From a Facebook post of Dec. 13, revised Dec. 24) – Six people appeared in Halifax provincial court on Monday, December 10 to face charges of mischief and obstructing a peace officer, stemming from Sunday night’s protest at the Canada Post mail-processing plant on Almon Street in that city. The real reason they were arrested is that they were protesting the federal government’s criminalization of their rights. The back-to-work law, Bill C 89, subjugated over 50,000 Canadian public sector workers to government dictate over negotiations for a new contract. A handful of private US monopolies such as Amazon and E-Bay benefit. In Halifax, in order to get around having to expose that they oppose the rights of workers, the government is using the time-worn fraud of arresting people under the hoax that they broke some petty bureaucratic rules and regulations.

What then to make then, when in parallel, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland are publicly prattling about how “Canada is a rule of law country,” which is for “a rules-based international order.” This is the facade justification of their role in carrying out the US order to arrest Meng Wanzhou of Huawei Technologies at the Vancouver airport on December 1. She is now being held for extradition to the United States in humiliating conditions.

Ms Wanzhou was reportedly on a 12-hour transit or stopover in a flight from Mexico City to Hong Kong. The arrest was an unscrupulous sting operation. It was organized by the CIA with the active collusion of Canada and its intelligence agencies, as shown by the fact that it was carried out in Vancouver and not Mexico and that Trudeau had several day’s notice, as he had admitted. How can this arrest be portrayed as the principled act of an innocent bystander and a matter of dutifully fulfilling a treaty obligation when it is nothing short of gangsterism?

The young woman is financial director and daughter of the founder of Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant with an annual revenue of $92.55 billion in 2017. It is the world’s largest network provider and second largest smartphone producer. The facade justification is that Huawei violated US economic, commercial and financial sanctions against Iran, which are themselves unilateral and illegal in international law. The arrest subjugates Canada to the marked unilateral, extra-territorial extension of US law into Canada, reminiscent of the Helms-Burton Act (1996), which tightened the United States embargo against Cuba by making it a criminal offence for Canadian companies to do business with the island republic. If this succeeds, anyone who continues to do business with Iran, in spite of US sanctions imposed this year, can expect an indictment in the United States and an extradition demand from the US Department of Justice.

The bottom line is that the Chinese firm uses an encryption system that prevents US intelligence and the “Five Eyes,” a US-led global spying network that also includes Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand from intercepting its communications. Many governments and secret services in the non-Western world have started to be equipped exclusively with Huawei hardware to protect the confidentiality of their communications. Some of these governments have been the object of true harassment and persecution of their financial operations, under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

“A supra-national intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries”

google-army_spyingEstablished in 1947 by the U.S. and the UK under the name ECHELON to spy on the USSR, the Five Eyes Alliance itself specializes in espionage and surveillance against foreign companies and governments as well as against their respective citizens, among other things, the very crime it now accuses Huawei of being potentially capable of. Meanwhile, monopolies like Verizon, AT&T and Facebook and others are used by the state in both the U.S. and Canada to spy on their own citizens with the objective of exerting control. [1]

In 2013, former CIA agent Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as “a supra-national intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries.”

Canada, having been integrated into U.S. homeland security, is actively involved in war, espionage and imperialist destabilization. Testament to this is the fact that on October 6, 2013, it was revealed that Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) – a Five Eyes member agency – had spied on the Minister and the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Brazil, as well as internal and diplomatic communications between the Brazilian government and other governmental and international organizations.

The US boycott campaign

In mid-July, the Trudeau government hosted a two-day meeting of the heads of the Five Eyes in Ottawa. They included the new CIA Director Gina Haspel, the new head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) David Vigneault, and MI6 boss Alex Younger. According to the Australian Financial Review, they decided to “co-ordinate banning” Huawei from 5G mobile phone networks in what the AFR termed “an increasingly muscular posture.” Justin Trudeau was in the loop, and even had drinks and cracked lobsters at a dinner with the five spymasters who briefed him “at a secure resort in coastal Nova Scotia” on July 17 following the Ottawa meeting.

They were emboldened by the British disinformation campaign around Sergei Skripal: “As the spy bosses sat down to savour Nova Scotia’s famous lobster that evening with a glass of local wine, their recent clash with Russia was seen as a template for the power of working collectively.” The Meng episode is culmination of this well-laid Five Eyes plot to corner Huawei.

Washington, moreover, is pushing for the Chinese company to be completely excluded from Canada and other countries such as Germany. Huawei is working with Bell for the development of the important 5G mobile communications standards. Until now, the competent Canadian agencies have been considering cooperating with Huawei. With its experience, the Chinese company could reliably set up the Canadian network rather quickly and at favourable costs. The boycott campaign extends to the use of Huawei  smartphones. [2]

Suspicion rather than evidence

The Five Eyes offensive against Huawei is also noteworthy because it is being entirely imposed on the basis of unverified suspicions and innuendos from anonymous  intelligence sources. They allege that the Chinese company creates a backdoor access for Chinese intelligence services or even Chinese cyber attacks. According to experts cited by Associated Press, there is no evidence behind the fear-mongering campaign: “there is a political angle to it and a business angle,” stated Nikhil Bhatra, a senior researcher for IDC, a consultancy. A specialist of one of Germany’s leading dailies admitted, “there is no evidence of the company having ties to Chinese state or party structures.” [3]

“It’s America First, right?”

Trump has brought in the Art of the Deal by linking the Meng case on December 11 with the ongoing US-China negotiations over the trade war. Trump said he would intervene in Meng’s arrest with the US Justice Department, if it would help promote a trade deal with China. He was echoed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the next day, who said, “It’s totally appropriate to do so. The president’s mission is very clear. It’s America First, right?” This linkage demolished the stance by Canada (and the US Justice Dept.) that the Meng case is not political and has “nothing to do with a trade war.”

The “politicization” of the arrest reveals the role of the Canadian government for all to see. The arrest of Ms Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver took place on the very same day that Trump was negotiating the 90-day moratorium of its trade war with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China at the G20 Summit in Argentina. It is possible that Trump had not been briefed but interestingly it has been revealed that US National Security Adviser John Bolton was aware of the plan to seize Ms Wanzhou along with Trudeau.

The “closest ally” tries to collect

At a US-Canada press conference in Washington on December 14 with US Defense Minister Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Pompey, Freeland argued pathetically how Canada is the US’s “closest ally,” had signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMC) and now had even carried out the US order to arrest Meng; thus how it can it still be viewed in return by the USA as a “national security” threat with regard to the steel and aluminum tariffs, etc.? This is the same minister who earlier crowed how she had “saved the auto industry” through the USMC.

In other words, the arrest in Vancouver was a deposit and further collateral on the US mortgage on Canada. It is the very provisions of the USMC  – Article 32.10 – that deprived Ottawa of the strategically important option of concluding its own free trade agreements with China and any other country not approved by the USA. [4] Freeland publicly tried to insist that the arrest of Meng Wanzhou cannot be “politicized”, piously alluding to the statement of Trump.

The fact that during his comments in response Pompeo patronizingly expressed his gratitude for the arrest, while refusing to commit any practical support for the two Canadian nationals being “unlawfully” detained in China, was seen even by Evan Dyer of the CBC as utter mockery of the Canadian government and an empty “boiler plate” response. (Interestingly Mattis made no comments whatsoever and no other details of the “Two Plus Two” meeting, which also discussed Korea and Ukraine, were released or asked about by the assembled journalists.) In other words, having secured Canadian agreement to the USMC, the US now looks to up the ante and further tighten the screws in its interests.

The Kovrig case

Furthermore, Freeland revealed that the one of the Canadians (Michael Kovrig) detained in China on December 10, who has been repeatedly referred to in the media as “a former Canadian diplomat,” is in fact still on the staff of Global Affairs. Freeland emphasized, “we take this as personal.” Chinese sources refer to the detention as involving national security concerns. This raises further questions about the US imperialist “NGO” International Crisis Group (ICG) that currently employs Kovrig as a “North East Asia adviser”, the nature of its activities within China, and the murky role of Global Affairs. ICG is registered in the USA but has its headquarters in Brussels, the NATO capital. The Canadian government has provided ICG with funding in the past. It also merits significance that the CBC-TV broadcast of the press conference was followed by commentary by just one “expert” – from the Atlantic Council of NATO, whose list of donors includes CSIS.

The fact is that important political and a growing number of economic decisions are based, not on evidence but on unverified suspicions of the supranational intelligence services. Media narratives are also being guided by the intelligence agencies. This is more and more the norm for NATO powers in key questions of international policies and increasingly internal policies such as election regulations, while they criminalize the working class and people. The fact that the ruling elite of Canada with the extension of NAFTA through the USMC is de facto part of the US ruling elite and its factional and inter-imperialist wars does not bode well for the peoples of Canada, the U.S. or the world.

Respect for the rule of law also demands that the extradition treaty with the lawless United States be cancelled, as the case of Leonard Peltier should remind us.

Notes

1. Let’s review what happened right after 9/11: in October 2001, President Bush called up Michael Hayden, an air force general, at the National Security Agency (NSA) of which he was director (from 1999 to 2005) and asked him what more the NSA could do to conduct surveillance in the US, despite the NSA operating for years exclusively as a foreign intelligence collection agency. In fact, the administration literally called it  the “President’s Surveillance Program.” (In other words, the president was directly “authorizing electronic surveillance.”)

General Hayden proceeded to set up a program where the NSA collected all the phone records of everyone in the United States, and targeted untold number of US persons for wiretapping the content of their international phone calls and emails (“surveillance” by anyone’s definition).

They involved major US telecom companies like Verizon, AT & T and BellSouth to monitor the phone calls of US citizens in full violation of the Constitution of the United States. His justification was the War Against Terrorism and the need to spy on certain Americans to achieve uncover terrorist cells and networks within the United States. However, the domestic spying program included millions of Americans, without discretion, and was strongly criticized by the public as a violation of their right to privacy.

Trevor Timm recounts in the Columbia Journalism Review that “The White House and NSA did all this while not getting individual court orders and initially circumventing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (also known as the FISC, part of ‘the US court system’ Hayden references). That was in direct violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (often referred to as FISA, which was part of the “great intelligence reforms of the 1970s” Hayden professed his fondness for). …

“It should be noted that after The New York Times story broke in 2005, instead of prosecutions for those involved, the US Congress later passed the FISA Amendments Act, which essentially allowed the type of wiretapping Hayden’s NSA engaged in, as long as the stated ‘target’ was outside the US. Congress also gave telecommunications companies like AT&T complete immunity for helping the government break the law.”

Hayden was promoted to director of the CIA in 2006, replacing Porter Goss.

2. The US boycott campaign to damage China’s Huawei Company extends back to October 2012, when the House Intelligence Committee of the US Congress concluded that Huawei Technologies and a second Chinese company ZTE Inc. were “a national security threat” to the United States and explicitly warned against using Huawei products. In the meantime, the CIA and FBI officially seconded that warning, asking private consumers to refrain, as comprehensively as possible, from buying Huawei smartphones. Washington is also applying pressure to private enterprises not to conclude deals with the Chinese group – and companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, have decided not to sell Huawei products in the USA. The US government is also urging its close allies to join the boycott against Huawei. Australia, for example, had banned the use of Huawei technology in its development of the new 5G mobile communications standard. It was recently announced in New Zealand that the intelligence service had issued a corresponding ban. British Telecom has announced that Huawei products will, at least, be excluded from the core of the 5G network it is establishing. Japan has joined this trend. The Japanese armed forces and all segments of the government have been banned from using Huawei and other Chinese products.

German-foreign-policy.com reports that “Washington has already launched the next round of the trade war escalation against Huawei. The Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, passed last Summer, ban US government entities from procuring products from not only Huawei and ZTE and three other IT companies, it includes products containing components made by these companies, even if the finished products are manufactured by others. The law will also ban products from other Chinese companies, but their names have yet to be announced. Beginning August 13, 2020, US government entities will also be banned from procuring any equipment from companies using any of the products produced by the named Chinese companies in their enterprise. If, for example, it should happen that even a single employee of one of the US government suppliers uses a Huawei smartphone while on the job, this would be illegal, the head of that company could possibly be indicted in a US court and immediately arrested and brought to the United States on an extradition demand.”

3. Carsten Knop: China handelt. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. December 7, 2018.

4. The USMCA contains Article 32.10 that infringes on Canadians’ sovereign right to develop trade with countries outside North America. According to the USMCA, Canada now has to discuss with the U.S. and gain its approval for any attempt to negotiate broader trade with China or any country the U.S. considers a “non-market economy.” Failure to inform the U.S. and win its approval for the terms of any new agreement would terminate the USMCA.

This article within USMCA clamps down on any attempt by Canada to explore new avenues to trade. Escalating U.S. imperialist trade and military competition with China does not bode well. It also makes a mockery of the Trudeau Liberals’ claim that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to Vancouver is to open heavy oil export markets to China. Oil is a strategic military product that the U.S. is determined to control globally even to the point of blockades and war. Heavy Alberta oil transported through an expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline and additional tanker traffic is destined for U.S. refineries on its West Coast.

“For your information: NAFTA becomes USMCA,” October 8, 2018

 

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