First published by GR on December 14, 2018
It is clear the US is pushing the battle line to our door … We can completely regard the US arrest of Meng Wanzhou as a declaration of war against China.”
So read an editorial in the Global Times of China days after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese company Huawei, was taken hostage by the Canadian and American governments on December 1 when she was arbitrarily arrested and detained by Canadian police in Vancouver in transit between planes on the basis of a US extradition request.
The arrest has shocked and angered China, Canadians, the world community, and caused reverberations in world stock markets. China has threatened severe consequences to Canada if Ms. Meng is not released. Already, there are reports of the arrest in China of Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, working for the CIA front, International Crisis Group, and Michael Spavor, a man who has managed to insert himself into the inner circle of the government of the DPRK by arranging trips to the DPRK, often a cover for western espionage, both accused of endangering Chinese national security. No direct connection has been made to Meng’s arrest, but the timing is significant.
Kovrig served as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing and Hong Kong until 2016, but is on a leave of absence from the Canadian Foreign Service and seconded to The International Crisis Group, which underlines the close connections that organization has to western governments and intelligence agencies.
The Chinese news agencies report that Kovrig was questioned by agents of the Beijing National Security Bureau on Tuesday and that he was suspected of engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security, in other words gathering intelligence, which would make sense since even the International Crisis Group said that, Kovrig was “regularly interviewing Chinese officials to accurately reflect their views in our work.” In other words he was fishing for information. So he and the ICG are an interesting choice of target-he Canadian, his employer connected to the US intelligence services.
Public opinion in China regarding Canada, which was generally favourable until this incident, has turned rapidly and boycotts of Canadian products have begun to develop hitting the share price of Canadian companies, such as the one that makes the Canada Goose jackets. The Chinese government has issued a travel advisory to Chinese nationals warning that their safety cannot be assured when travelling to Canada. A trade mission of the government of British Columbia to Beijing has been cancelled and we can expect all such missions and will be suspended and Chinese investment in Canada at risk so long as Ms. Meng remains a hostage.
The background to the arrest is simple. Huawei has become a global competitor in the global phone market and their 5G phones are cutting edge technology, and apparently can not be hacked into by the western intelligence and security services and so not welcomed by them and by competing phone companies in US, Japan, south Korea, France, and Sweden, who are so afraid of the competition that they and their governments have spread stories that the phones are loaded with spyware and are “a danger to national security.” The company has even been threatened by the US and allied governments with criminal charges in America’s increasingly hostile economic war against China alongside its increasing military pressure, provocations and insults. It’s one way to control the market.
But this arrest is also a message to other nations, companies and business people doing business with Iran. The Americans are attempting to destroy the Iranian economy as a collective punishment of the Iranian people thereby hoping to cause unrest and overthrow of the Iranian government. Meng Wanzhou’s arrest is a clear message. We can arrest her. We can arrest you. European companies are now warned.
The Americans, in their overwhelming arrogance and contempt for the rest of the world, claim that everyone in the world is subject to their laws, as if the United States government is a world government, which of course is how far their imperialism has progressed into world tyranny. But American laws, like any other nation’s laws can only apply to it citizens for crimes committed within its borders.
But what laws is Ms. Meng accused of violating? None in reality since the US edicts to the world, dressed up as “laws” that trading with Iran is an offence are invalid as they are violations of the UN Charter, of international law and have no force and effect. Only the Security Council can impose sanctions on a nation. Trade embargoes imposed by a nation unilaterally are prohibited and no nation is obliged to recognize them.
The Canadian prime minister claims he had no hand in this arrest yet admits he knew about it days before hand. The police that arrested her and the prosecutors handling the file are federal officials and so he must have been involved. John Bolton in the US also admitted that he knew that this was going to happen several days in advance so there must have been communication between the Canadian authorities and the American authorities at a high level to set this up. In fact to add insult to injury the arrest took place as President Trump was sitting with President Xi who was trying to seek an accommodation with the Americans to ease the economic war being waged against China by the Americans. So as Trump sat with Xi, smiling like a lizard in the sun, he knew that Meng Wanzhou was being arrested, and continued to act like the lizard he is, while Xi acted in good faith unaware of what was happening further north in Canada.
Trudeau’s statement that this arbitrary arrest was not politically motivated and that he was not involved in giving orders for Canadian police to detain her once she landed in Vancouver is preposterous since the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States requires that the United States inform the Canadian foreign ministry of its request and send them the documents supporting the request.
Further President Trump stated in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that he would intervene in U.S. efforts to extradite Meng if it helped him win a trade deal with China. In other words, he confirmed her status as a hostage to pressure China on trade negotiations, and proved the absurdity of the claims of some American commentators that Trump had been sabotaged and knew nothing about it.
Trump’s statement seriously damaged the credibility of the Canadian government whose foreign minister was forced to admit on Wednesday, at a press conference that,
“It will be up to Ms. Meng’s lawyers whether they choose to raise comments in the U.S. as part of their defense of Ms. Meng, and it will then be up to the Canadian judicial process, to Canadian judges, how to weigh the significance.”
But Ms. Freeland is playing loose with the law and her government’s obligations.
Article 2 of the Extradition Treaty requires that Canada can only act on an extradition request if, and only if, the offence alleged is also an offence by the laws of both contracting parties. But the unilaterally imposed and illegal sanctions placed against Iran by the USA, are not punishable acts in Canada and even in the USA the “sanctions” are illegal as they are in violation of the UN Charter. They are attempting to disguise this fact by charging her with fraud, but the essence of the charge is the politically motivated one of not obeying American edicts or “sanctions” against Iran.
Importantly, Article 4 (1) of the Treaty states:
“Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:
(iii) When the offense in respect of which extradition is requested is of a political character, or the person whose extradition is requested proves that the extradition request has been made for the purpose of trying to punish him (or her) for an offense of the above-mentioned character. If any question arises as to whether a case comes within the provisions of this subparagraph, the authorities of the Government on which the requisition is made shall decide.”
So, neither Ms. Freeland, nor Prime Minister Trudeau can evade responsibility for this hostage taking, this arbitrary arrest and detention since the Canadian government had to consider the US request and consider whether it was politically motivated. Therefore the matter had to be considered at the highest level by him. Since he has clearly ignored all the circumstances including the fact, firstly that the offence alleged is not an offence in Canada, and cannot exist under international law and secondly, that the US request is clearly politically motivated and has the objective of damaging both Iran and China, he made a political decision to order his security forces to arrest and detain her. It was a political arrest. The rule of law in Canada has been suspended, at least in her case, and so can be in any case. Their repeated statement that the matter is now before the courts is simply an evasion of their responsibilities. In fact, their responsibility was to China. Canada should have warned the Chinese government that the US had sent the request and were pressuring them to arrest one of their citizens on false charges. Instead they acted as thugs ordered around by the head gangster of the world.
The gangsterism continues as Ms. Meng was finally granted bail in Vancouver but on very harsh terms for someone who faces no valid charges, who has no criminal record and is by President Trump’s own admission being held as a hostage.
Seizure of her passport would have been sufficient to keep her in the country pending the extradition hearing as there is no way she could leave the country without one unless they are suggesting she would be picked up off the coast by a Chinese submarine. But the viciousness of the Canadian state knows no bounds and they insisted that she be confined to virtual house arrest, flanked by security men she is required to pay for, and forced to accept the humiliation of wearing an electronic ankle monitor on top of millions of dollars in security that friends had to put up. I can’t think of a murder case where bail is an option and the conditions have been so harsh.
But can we be surprised that the rule of law has ceased to exist in Canada when we remember that in 1999 Canada took part in the aggression against Yugoslavia, when it took part in the aggression against Iraq, when in 2004 its special forces assisted US marines to put a gun to the head of President Aristide of Haiti, kidnap him and exile him to Africa, when it took part in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, of Libya, of Syria, when this year it took in white helmet elements of the terrorist proxy forces attacking Syria, when it has been involved in plots to overthrow the Venezuelan government, and the Ukrainian government where it supports the fascists who have taken power in Kiev, when it supports the illegal “sanctions” that is, economic warfare against Russia and supplies arms and armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen?
Canadians should be angry about their nation being led by people whose loyalty is to Washington instead of the Canadian people, whose interest they seem to care nothing about. They should be angry about slapping the face of the great Chinese people for whom Norman Bethune, the celebrated Canadian physician and communist died while helping the Peoples Liberation Army during the Long March and resistance to Japanese aggression in the 1930’s. Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (image on the left), who was one of the first western leaders to open up dialogue with China, long before Nixon went there, must be rolling over in his grave at the actions of his son.
Canadians should be angry that these traitors are isolating Canada from China, from Russia, from Iran and their great cultures, and condemning Canada to be nothing more than an outpost of the American empire. For traitors they are as they betray the Canadian people by serving the interests of the Americans and their war machine.
Free Meng Wanzhou, for so long as she is held hostage, we all are.
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Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image is from Asia Times