By PAULINE EASTON
Using the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States, the U.S. got Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and the second largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung. She was arrested when she changed planes in Vancouver en route to Mexico. The U.S. is seeking her extradition on allegations that she tried to bypass American trade sanctions on Iran. At the same time, the U.S. Congress and U.S. Homeland Security and the “Five Eyes” intelligence services are striving to dictate the outcome of Canada’s 5G wireless infrastructure claiming that Huawei cannot be let in. This, in turn, is claimed to be a matter of national security because Huawei’s communications technology “contains spyware and could be weaponized by the Chinese state,” Global News reports.
Meng was granted bail for $10 million on December 11. She will live in Vancouver under electronic surveillance. In the meantime, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he was ready to step into the case if it meant getting a good trade deal with China. In an interview with Reuters, Trump claimed he could dispense with the extradition hearings, saying, “If I think it’s good for the country, if I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.”
In response to this, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland made remarks on December 13 that countries seeking extraditions from Canada must make sure their requests are solely about seeing that justice is done. Her claim was that Canada upholds the rule of law which does not brook political interference. Global News reported Freeland saying that Canada needs to take seriously requests for extradition from close allies like the United States, and that those countries also have a responsibility to be astute in their handling of those requests. She remained silent about the dangers posed to world order when the U.S. applies its dictate against others.
If the U.S. is serious about wanting her extradited, officials there need to file a formal extradition request by the end of January 2019, Amanda Connolly, National Online Journalist for Global News, writes. After that, the Canadian Department of Justice will have 30 days to decide whether to approve the beginning of formal extradition proceedings. If the request is allowed to proceed, Meng will be back in court for an extradition hearing before the BC Supreme Court.
In terms of how the U.S. uses legislative powers on behalf of its competing oligarchs, in an August 20 filing to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission hearing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century” Huawei says this about the “national security sanctions”:
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS INTERVENED SUBSTANTIALLY IN HUAWEI’S U.S. BUSINESSES
Although Huawei has developed an international reputation for affordable, quality products, the fact that Huawei is one of “the first Chinese companies to emerge as a global powerhouse” has precipitated exclusionary practices by the U.S. government on the purported basis of unsubstantiated national security concerns.
Huawei has no state ownership and operates independently of the Chinese government – as evidenced by the widespread use of Huawei’s products in over 170 countries across the world, including by close U.S. allies, without undermining any nation’s security. Yet, in the U.S., Huawei still faces ungrounded allegations of state interference. As a result, continual agitation and interference by U.S. government agencies and officials, as described above, have stymied, and continue to stymie, Huawei’s U.S. businesses and operations.
The U.S. government is currently proposing to further restrict Huawei’s U.S. businesses through increasingly broad measures. Again as noted above, in April 2018, the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in response to a letter by 18 members of Congress raising questions about Huawei and ZTE, to consider a rule that would prohibit the use of funds from the Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from “any communications equipment or service providers identified as posing a national security risk to communications networks or the communications supply chain.”
The preamble to the FCC’s proposed rule calls out just a few companies – including Huawei – by name.
Moreover, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, which was enacted on August 13, 2018, will, among other things, bar all federal agencies from contracting with any entity that uses equipment or services produced or provided by Huawei or ZTE as a “substantial or essential component … or as critical technology as part of any system.”
During a panel on CTV’s Question Period, John Manley, Foreign Affairs Minister in the government of Jean Chrétien, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada and a member of Telus’ Board of Directors, addressed Trump’s tweet about trade negotiations being leveraged by the arrest as the opening to Huawei’s legal arguments. He said, “I think actually the president has given Ms. Meng’s lawyers quite a good reason to go to the court and say, ‘This is not an extradition matter. This is actually leverage in a trade dispute and it’s got nothing to do with Canada. It’s got nothing to do with trade with Iran. Let’s call this what it is – it’s an attempt to get China to buy more soy beans from the mid-western United States.’ And call it a day.” He also suggested that when Canada got the instruction to arrest her for an extradition hearing, it should have conducted some “creative incompetence” by pretending that they missed the CFO (when she was changing planes) rather than getting ensnared.
U.S. imperialist powers exercised in the name of rule of law
The global oligarchs and big powers manipulate global markets, including prices and demand and supply, to serve their narrow private interests and even impose blockades and extraterritorial sanctions and laws against particular nations, such as the U.S. imperialists have imposed against Iran. They have unilaterally torn up an agreement which several other countries besides Iran were party to and demand that all obey their dictate or face attack. And all of this is done in the name of the rule of law! Governments, politicians and monopoly-owned media chime in to repeat that it is a matter of national security. They declare that the dangers are posed by the likes of Iran, China or any other country or individual that it suits their interests to eliminate if they refuse to submit to their dictate. Threats of using U.S. imperialist economic and military might to serve narrow private interests in the name of defending rule of law, democracy, peace and good government shows who poses the problem to everyone’s national security. This case brings that to the fore in a big way.
The current U.S. dictators tore up an arrangement the previous U.S. dictators made with Iran and are attacking all countries and their business people that want to have and are pursuing independent relations with Iran, as is their right. The humiliating spectacle of a Huawei executive imprisoned in Canada at the behest of the U.S. imperialists, who claim to be implementing an extradition treaty with Canada, merely shows that they find whatever means serve them to exercise extraterritorial powers. It makes a mockery of talk about legality and speaks to the necessity of having an independent political system and arrangements that extricate Canadians from U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. war economy. An independent political system would necessarily revoke treaties and arrangements which are self-serving. It would take into account the right to control Canada’s economy, including investments, the production and distribution of Canada’s natural resources and trade with all other countries for mutual development and benefit under the internationalist banner of one world, one humanity.
Besides using the arrest as leverage in its own unprincipled negotiations on the trade deal with China, it is clear that at the centre of the arrest of the Huawei executive lies U.S. imperialist opposition to allowing Huawei Technologies to take part in developing Canada’s 5G telecommunications network, which is expected to enable much faster connections and greater data capacity. Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne says it is a matter of “national security.”
“Canada must be prudent and rely on the input of its intelligence services before ruling on whether the Chinese firm should be involved in the next-generation wireless communication system,” Champagne said December 10, during a roundtable interview with the Canadian Press (CP), the news agency reports.
“We understand that there are concerns and we need to properly assess whatever risk, or benefits, that there might be,” Champagne said.
CP reports, “Former security officials in Canada and two members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have warned that Huawei’s participation could compromise the security of Canada and its closest allies. The thinking is that the Chinese company could build spying capabilities into equipment it supplies.”
For its part, “Huawei stresses it is not a state-controlled company and denies engaging in intelligence work on behalf of any government.”
Three of Canada’s partners in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing group – the United States, Australia and New Zealand – have forbidden the use of Huawei products in 5G network development in their countries, CP says.
“I think prudence is the right approach when it comes to complex national security issues like that, when it comes to networks,” Champagne told CP. “Canada is a welcoming place for investors, but clearly our national security always comes first.”
Meanwhile Scott Jones, the head of Canada’s new cyber security centre, told CP:
“We’re doing a comprehensive review of how do we respond to the 5G technology shift, but the broader cyber security environment as well, and making sure that we’re prepared as a nation for what we have to face.”
There is, however, nothing prudent about arresting Huawei’s chief financial officer on behalf of the U.S. imperialists. To say it has “only heightened tensions around the issue,” as CP does, is a serious understatement. It is a U.S. declaration of war, not just against any country that refuses to submit to its demands to dominate the world, but any individual as well, and China is responding in like kind. The U.S. justifies such egregious abuse of power by claiming Meng Wanzhou is wanted on proper grounds for having violated U.S. law and Canada stands behind its claim that this is all being legally conducted under a bilateral extradition treaty and it will make sure everything is done legally.
This is the argument the Prime Minister of Canada is hiding behind.
“We are a country of the rule of law,” he said. “We live up to our international obligations and we trust our courts to do the right thing.”
“Doing the right thing” is Canada’s specialty. We remember American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier, arrested in Canada on February 6, 1976 and extradited from Canada in December of the same year on the basis of a false affidavit signed by Myrtle Poor Bear, a Native American woman known to have serious mental health problems. In that case Canada justified its refusal to take a just stand by seeking assurances Peltier would not face the death penalty in the United States since that would not fit the terms of its Extradition Treaty with the United States. The assurances were given and Peltier was sent back to the U.S., where he was convicted on trumped up evidence of the murders of two FBI agents and sentenced to life in prison. His extradition, convictions and imprisonment remain one of the crimes of the 20th and 21st centuries for which both Canada and the United States have yet to be held to account.
Even Warren Allmand, Liberal Attorney General under whose watch this travesty of justice was carried out, rued the day he signed that extradition order. Who will hold Canada to account for condemning an innocent man to life in prison on fabricated evidence?
Attempts to give credence to a rule of law which is depraved from A to Z has become a matter of very serious concern. All kinds of attempts are being made to defend liberal democratic notions of peace, order and good government, enshrined in the rule of law, as if this is the antidote to the egregious abuses of power we see in spades today. These ring increasingly hollow the more evident it becomes that the system called liberal democracy is precisely the one which has broken down and is carrying out and condoning all these abuses. It goes to show that warmongers and appeasers have become one and the same.
(With files from Hardial Bains Resource Centre Archives, CP, Global News, Reuters, CTV News.)
Source: TML Weekly, December 15, 2018 – No. 44