Screenshot of Canadas global post (Ontario Edition)
When Washington needed Canadas help in arresting a Huawei executive, the White House, Congress and diplomats learned the news hours earlier than politicians in Ottawa. According to the information from the governments of the United States, Canada and China, we have learned how the plan is carried out step by step.
Meng Wanzhou did not know that when he boarded Cathay Pacifics flight to Vancouver at Hong Kong airport last December, he had been monitored by US law enforcement.
Her clothes (white T-shirt, black pants and white shoes) and those of her colleague, Ji Hui, have been reported to the FBI, the US Department of justice, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian border service.
At 11:13 a.m. on December 1, after flight 838 landed, Meng Wanzhou, CFO of China telecom giant Huawei Technology Co., Ltd., was intercepted by border service personnel and formally detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police a few hours later. The U.S. demanded the extradition of Meng Wanzhou on the grounds of fraud in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, whose father, Ren Zhengfei, is the founder of the Shenzhen based multinational enterprise, has aroused great attention from global public opinion and has led to the freezing point of Canada China relations. This also makes Canada involved in the power dispute between China and the United States.
Shortly after Mengs arrest, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians, we were informed of this plan a few days before the incident.
But according to the globe and mail, senior U.S. government officials carefully planned the arrest, without informing Trudeau or president Donald Trump in advance.
U.S. officials learned on November 29 that Meng would fly on Cathay Pacific, but did not ask Canada to arrest her when she arrived in Vancouver on December 1 until November 30. Meng Wanzhou was supposed to board the intermodal flight to Mexico later that day. Before that, she was stopped.
The Chinese think this is a typical US Canadian political conspiracy. David MacNaughton, a former Canadian ambassador to Washington, said. Thats what I heard from them. They deeply believe that Canadian and American officials jointly planned the incident. In fact, thats not the case at all.
He said there was no discussion between Canadian and US officials before the extradition request was made.
A year later, the globe and mail gave an in-depth account of what happened at the end of 2018. The globe and mail interviewed senior Canadian and U.S. officials, as well as Huawei and Chinese government sources, and kept their identities secret so that they could comment on the arrest of Meng Wanzhou and the serious diplomatic consequences.
According to one of Trudeaus closest advisers, John Bolton, a former White House national security adviser, is believed within the Canadian government to be behind Mengs arrest. The globe and mail have been unable to confirm with Bolton whether the situation is true.
Bolton once said that he knew in advance about the arrest of Meng Wanzhou. On China and Iran, it is known as a foreign policy hawk. He left the White House in September after a dispute with trump over Ukraine and Middle East policy.
Trudeaus advisers say Bolton and other U.S. government officials with similar political views are well aware of the importance of asking Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou. The adviser and a senior national security official said they believed that the United States chose Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou (and did so at the last minute) because it believed that the extradition request would be accepted by the Canadian Department of justice and the Royal Mounted Police.
MacNaughton said there was no doubt that the trump administration had several agendas in tracking down China and Huawei, the global telecom leader. The US wants its allies to ban Huawei devices on the next generation of 5g mobile technology.
However, the request to arrest Meng Wanzhou suddenly appeared before us, and we carried out the request in accordance with the regulations, with little political intervention until the last moment - almost after it happened, MacNaughton said. I dont know what it would be like to receive other notices, but the truth is that we didnt receive them.
On November 30 and December 1, G20 leaders held two days of talks in Buenos Aires. These meetings are being held at a difficult time in international relations. After months of contentious negotiations, Canada, Mexico and the United States are about to sign a new trade agreement. At the same time, the United States and China are engaged in an escalating trade war.
During Trudeaus last meeting at the summit, an official quietly handed his chief secretary, Gerald butts, a note saying that Meng Wanzhou was about to be arrested. Sources said the prime minister was caught off guard by the news.
Bolton also attended the G20 summit with the US delegation at that time.
Compared with Canada, the U.S. government knows a lot more about the arrests in advance. Top US policy makers also know this in advance.
According to U.S. officials, people who knew in advance included acting attorney general Matt Whitaker and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Senator Richard burr and chief Democrat Mark Warner.
Kelly craft, then U.S. ambassador to Canada (now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations), was also aware of this. On November 30, senior officials of the U.S. Department of justice informed her in detail in a confidential conference room of the U.S. consulate in Toronto, sources said.
The U.S. Department of justice declined to say when it informed the White House of the extradition request to Canada. The U.S. Department of justice will not comment on Extradition until the defendant arrives in the United States, Nicole Navas Oxman, a senior public relations consultant, wrote in an email.
Infographic White House
According to a source, Jody Wilson Raybould, then attorney general and attorney general of the Department of justice, was informed of the U.S. arrest request on November 30, and her office forwarded the information to the Privy Council Office (PCO). The PCO is responsible for reporting to the prime minister. Trudeaus office said Trudeau was informed of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou on December 1.
At that time, Wilson rayboulder had a bad relationship with officials in the prime ministers office, who were pressuring her to sign a moratorium on charges of corruption at lanwanling (based in Montreal). Wilson Raybould was transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs in January 2019. She eventually resigned from the cabinet and was expelled from the Liberal Party. Wilson Raybould would not comment on the matter.
Several senior civil servants also know about the arrest of Meng Wanzhou. Nathalie druin, Deputy Minister of justice, and Cathy chalifour, senior lawyer of the international assistance group of the Ministry of justice, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Service learned about this on November 30. In addition to the Privy Council, officials from the global affairs department were also informed. According to court documents submitted in the extradition case of Meng Wanzhou, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the extradition order, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian border service, the FBI and the U.S. Department of justice worked out an arrest plan together.
Officials said the brief notice left the Canadian government too late to assess the potential consequences.
Irwin cotler, a former liberal justice minister, said the usual practice was not to inform the Prime Minister of the extradition case, but a senior government official said that Trudeau and his senior aides should be informed so as to be prepared for the political consequences.
It seems to us that this is a normal request from a similar country with which we have an extradition treaty, said former ambassador MacNaughton. The whole incident has taken place and the prime minister has not been given any real warning or any real advice on the potential consequences.
John E. Smith has been director of the U.S. Treasurys office of overseas asset control until May 2018. He said Canadian officials must know that Mengs arrest will affect relations with China.
I dont believe the Canadian government is in the dark when it does that. I am sure that the Canadian government has realized that this is a difficult problem, which may bring great pressure to the Canadian government and even the whole country, but they have decided that it is worthwhile to uphold the basic principles of extradition treaties. Because, at the end of the day, will you let your country be bullied into giving up on its international commitments?
A month before Mengs arrest, the U.S. government began to make preparations for the public investigation of Huawei executives and lay the groundwork.
On November 1, Jeff sessions, then US attorney general, announced the trump administrations so-called China Initiative at a press conference in Washington. Mr. sessions said the Department of justice would increase its enforcement efforts against Chinese companies that violate the law when competing with US companies. Also supporting the sessions was Richard Donoghue, the federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, whose office led the handling of the Meng Wanzhou and Huawei cases.
Jeff sessions, then US attorney general. Picture source: American media
The China Initiative is the first time to use the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to achieve political goals, which is quite different from the practice that the Department of justice has never been involved in politics, bovis law firm wrote in a legal document last March.
Robert Spalding, a retired U.S. Air Force general, was previously in charge of China at the White House National Security Council. He said Mengs arrest was in line with some changes made by the trump administration to ensure that the Ministry of justice and the FBI can let go of the proper law enforcement of Chinese companies or individuals.
In an interview, Spalding said that for many years, when it comes to Chinese companies or individuals, especially those with similar status to Meng Wanzhou, successive US governments have failed to enforce laws related to commercial fraud and corruption. What has changed in the United States is that, especially since 2018, the Department of justice and the FBI have been allowed to effectively initiate lawsuits against relevant Chinese parties, and therefore, for the first time, these departments have been allowed to perform their duties.
According to the U.S. information recorded in an affidavit issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in connection with the extradition request, there is no sign that Meng Wanzhou knew the arrest warrant, but she has not been to the United States since March 2017. More than a year later, New York issued an arrest warrant for Meng Wanzhou on August 22, 2018. The RCMP told the court that U.S. officials believe Huawei has been aware of a criminal investigation in the United States since April 2017.
The U.S. government has never explained the timing of Mengs arrest.
Information map of Meng Wanzhou
Three months after the arrest warrant was issued and before his arrest in Vancouver on December 1, Meng Wanzhou visited six countries with extradition treaties with the United States, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, France, Poland and Belgium, as well as Canada on October 8, 2018.
Court records submitted in the extradition case show that the United States told Canada (including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and judicial officers) that Huawei executives needed to be urgently arrested during their stay in Vancouver, but did not explain why they did not arrest her earlier last year.
The United States issued a temporary arrest warrant, which means that Meng Wanzhou should be seized immediately. Unless Meng Wanzhou is temporarily arrested in Canada on Saturday, December 1 Otherwise, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to ensure that she can appear in the United States for prosecution. According to the US request, there is no extradition treaty between Washington and Beijing.
After mengwanzhou plans to cross Vancouver, the next stop will be Mexico City, Costa Rica and Argentina. All three countries have signed extradition agreements with the United States.
Extradition experts say Washington rarely raises criminal charges against individuals, not companies, for violating sanctions. Eric Lewis, an American lawyer who specializes in international fraud and corruption cases, said, it is very likely that Meng Wanzhou will only implement company policies. In this type of case, the general practice is not to prosecute individuals, but to fine the companies involved.
Source: visual China
For example, in June 2018, Ericsson, a Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer competing with Huawei, reached a settlement with the U.S. government over the companys violation of sanctions against Sudan, agreeing to pay more than $145000. In September 2019, the company also announced that it would lose $1.2 billion in third quarter results to pay fines in a long-term US investigation into corruption allegations in six countries, including China.
Mr. Smith, a former Treasury official, agreed that the United States rarely targeted individuals, but said there was a reason to do so in the case of Meng Wanzhou. This is a deliberate fraud against the relevant bank executives and government officials, he said. Thats what makes it different from most other cases.
As for why the United States chose Canada, rather than any of the other nine countries, after issuing the arrest warrant for Meng Wanzhou, Lewis said the U.S. government may think that the Canadian government is most likely to take the arrest action.
I can only speculate that the United States believes that (Canada) is its most honest and reliable ally. He said. The legal system in South America is more formalized and may delay extradition proceedings EU countries may be less willing to engage in politically or strategically charged litigation.
A senior Mexican official told the global post that although Mexico has signed an extradition treaty with the United States, Mexico will not accept the request to arrest Meng Wanzhou.
John Manley, a former Liberal Deputy Prime Minister, said Canada could have refused to arrest Meng Wanzhou for creative incompetence and allowed him to go to Mexico.
We should exercise our discretion from the beginning, we should not arrest Meng Wanzhou at all, he said in an interview this week. Later, he added that Canada could exercise its discretion under the Extradition Law to refuse the arrest request of the United States.
Manley said he was not sure Meng was a pawn in Trumps geopolitical game. But I think its the taste. I think its a taste of lets fish a big fish to get the most chips.
But Mel cappe, the former secretary-general of the Privy Council, the highest position in Canadas federal public service, said he didnt think it would be possible for Canada to let Meng go as Manley had said. I dont think thats possible. You either believe in the rule of law or not. If you believe it, it should be implemented.
He said that if he had known in advance that he wanted to arrest Meng Wanzhou, he did not think that he had the obligation to inform the prime minister in advance. Why turn this into a problem for the prime minister?
As things stand, Trudeau can say that the action was taken by law enforcement officials, not politicians. I would be proud to have someone accuse us of acting in accordance with the law and being trustworthy, Mr. cappe said
Source: global network / Xinsheng community
Source: Global Times - responsible editor of global network: Zhong Qiming