Canadian media talk about the last hours before Meng’s arrest

Senior U.S. government officials orchestrated the arrest, and they did not notify Mr. Trudeau in advance, or even Mr. Trump,media reported. Canada’s Globe and Mail (Ontario edition) November 30 article, original title: High-pressure offensive arrest of Huawei executive Meng Evening Boat in the last hours before this article Chinese originally published in the Huawei Voice Community, published with limitations.

Canadian media talk about the last hours before Meng's arrest

Screenshot of the Report by The Globe and Mail of Canada (Ontario Edition)

When Washington needed Canada’s help in arresting a Huawei executive, the White House, Congress and diplomats learned of the news hours earlier than politicians in Ottawa. Based on information from the U.S., Canadian, and Chinese governments, we understand how the program is being rolled out step by step.

Mr Meng did not know that he had been monitored by US law enforcement when he boarded a Cathay Pacific flight to Vancouver at Hong Kong airport in December.

The clothes she wore (white T-shirt, black pants and white shoes) and those worn by her colleague Ji Hui were reported to the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Services Agency.

At 11:13 a.m. on December 1, after flight 838 landed, CFO Meng, of China Telecom giant Huawei Technologies Ltd., was stopped by border agents and formally detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police a few hours later. The U.S. has asked for Meng’s extradition on suspicion of fraud in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The arrest of Meng, whose father, Ren Zhengfei, the founder of the Shenzhen-based multinational, has drawn high attention from global public opinion and sent Canada-China relations to a freezing point. It also puts Canada in a vortex of power disputes between China and the United States.

Shortly after Meng’s arrest, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians, “We were informed of the plan a few days before the incident.” “

But the Globe and Mail understands that senior U.S. government officials orchestrated the arrest, and they did not notify Mr. Trudeau or U.S. President Donald Trump in advance.

U.S. officials had been told on November 29 that Meng would be on a Cathay Pacific flight, but it was not until November 30 that Canada was asked to arrest her when she arrived in Vancouver on December 1. Meng was supposed to board an intermodal flight to Mexico later in the day, before she was stopped.

“Chinese think this is a classic U.S.-Canadian political conspiracy. David Naughton, a former Canadian ambassador to Washington, said. “That’s what I heard from them. They are deeply confident that Canadian and American officials co-planned the incident. In fact, the truth is not like that at all. “

He said there had been no discussion spree between Canadian and U.S. officials before the extradition request was made.

A year later, The Globe and Mail gave an in-depth report on what happened at the end of 2018. The Globe and Mail interviewed senior Canadian and U.S. officials on the matter, as well as sources in Huawei and the Chinese government, and kept their identities secret so they could comment on Meng’s arrest and the serious diplomatic consequences.

One of Mr. Trudeau’s closest advisers says the Canadian government believes former White House national security adviser John Bolton was behind Mr. Meng’s arrest. The Globe and Mail has not been able to confirm with Bolton whether this is true.

Bolton has said he knew in advance about Meng’s arrest. 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.

Mr. Trudeau’s advisers say Mr. Bolton and other similar U.S. government officials are well aware of the importance of asking Canada to arrest Mr. Meng. The adviser and a senior national security official said they believed the U.S. had chosen Canada to arrest Meng, which was also done at the last minute, because the U.S. believed the Canadian Department of Justice and the RCMP would accept the extradition request.

MaconNaught said there was no doubt that the Trump administration had several agendaitems in its agenda in tracking huawei, China and its global telecoms leader. The U.S. wants its allies to disable Huawei devices on the next generation of 5G mobile technology.

But the request to arrest Meng “suddenly appeared before us, and we executed it in accordance with the rules until the last minute there was little political interference – almost after it happened,” Mr MacNaughton said. “I don’t know what would happen if I received other notifications, but the truth is we didn’t receive it. “

On 30 November and 1 December, g-20 leaders held two days of talks in Buenos Aires. These meetings are being held at a difficult time in international relations. After months of wrangling, Canada, Mexico and the United States are close to signing a new trade agreement. At the same time, the U.S. and China are in an escalating trade war.

At Trudeau’s final meeting at the summit, an official quietly handed over a note to his chief secretary, Gerald Butts, saying that Meng was about to be arrested. The prime minister was caught off guard by the news, the source said.

Bolton was also with the U.S. delegation at the G20 summit.

The U.S. government knew much more about the arrests than Canada. Senior U.S. policymakers knew about it in advance.

According to U.S. officials, those with prior knowledge include Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, and Top Democrat Mark Warner.

Kelly Craft, then the U.S. ambassador to Canada and now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was also aware of the matter. On November 30, senior U.S. Justice Department officials informed her of the matter in a classified room at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, the sources said.

The U.S. Department of Justice would not 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,” senior public relations adviser Nicole Navas Oxman wrote in an email.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, then the Justice Department secretary and attorney general, was informed of the U.S. arrest request on November 30 and her office forwarded the information to the Privy Council Office (PCO), a source said. The PCO is responsible for reporting to the Prime Minister. Mr. Trudeau’s office said he was informed of Mr. Meng’s arrest on December 1.

At the time, Wilson-Raybould had a bad relationship with officials in the prime minister’s office, who were pressuring her to sign a stay of prosecution on corruption charges against Lan Wanling, a Montreal-based company. 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 declined to comment.

Several senior civil servants were also aware of the news of Meng’s arrest. Deputy Minister of Justice Nathalie Drouin and senior counsel for the Department of Justice’s international aid team, Cathy Chalifour, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Service, were informed of the incident on 30 November. In addition to the Privy Council, officials from the Department of Global Affairs were also informed of the matter. The U.S. Department of Justice granted the order, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Border Services Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice worked together to develop arrest plans, according to court documents filed in the Meng’s extradition case.

Officials said the brief notice left the Canadian government with little time to assess the potential consequences.

Irwin Cotler, a former Liberal justice minister, said it was common practice not to inform the prime minister of extradition cases, but a senior government official said Mr. Trudeau and his top aides should have been informed to prepare for the political consequences.

“In our view, this appears to be a normal request from a similar country that has signed an extradition treaty with us,” said MacNaughton, a former ambassador. The whole thing has happened, and the Prime Minister has not received any real warning or any real advice on the potential consequences. “

John E. Smith was director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Overseas Assets Control until May 2018. He said Canadian officials must have known that Meng’s arrest would affect relations with China.

“I don’t believe the Canadian government is still in the dark when it does that. I am sure that the Government of Canada recognizes that this is a difficult problem that is likely to put enormous pressure on the Government of Canada and the country as a whole, but they have decided that it is worthwhile to uphold the basic principles of the extradition treaty. Because, at the end of the day, will you let your country be bullied into giving up on international commitments? “

A month before Mr Meng’s arrest, the US government had begun public preparations to track down Huawei executives and made a statement.

On November 1, then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled what the Trump administration called the “China Initiative” at a press conference in Washington. Mr. Sessions said the U.S. Department of Justice will step up enforcement of Chinese companies that break the law when competing with U.S. companies. Sessions was also supported by Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, whose office led the cases of Meng Andyandu and Huawei.

The “China Initiative” is the first time the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has been used for political purposes, “a far cry from the Justice Department’s historical non-political practices,” the law firm wrote in a legal filing last March.

Retired U.S. Air Force General Robert Spalding has previously handled China at the White House National Security Council. He said Meng’s arrest was in line with some of the changes the Trump administration has made to ensure that “the Justice Department and the FBI can let go” of Chinese companies or individuals to properly enforce the law.

For years, successive U.S. governments have failed to enforce laws on commercial fraud and corruption whenever they “involve Chinese companies or Individuals, especially those who are in a similar position to Meng’s,” Spalding said in an interview. “What has changed in the United States is that, especially since 2018, the Department of Justice and the FBI have begun to effectively initiate litigation against Chinese interested parties, and therefore, for the first time, these departments have been allowed to perform their duties.” “

There is no indication that Meng knew about the arrest warrant, but she has not been to the U.S. since March 2017, according to u.S. information in an affidavit issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in connection with the extradition request. More than a year later, new York issued an arrest warrant for Meng on August 22, 2018. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the court that U.S. officials believe Huawei has been aware of a criminal investigation into the U.S. since April 2017.

The U.S. government has never explained the timing of Meng’s arrest.

Three months after the arrest warrant was issued, and before his arrest in Vancouver on December 1, Meng had traveled to six countries with extradition treaties with the United States, including Britain, Ireland, Japan, France, Poland and Belgium, and also to Canada on October 8, 2018.

Court records filed in the extradition case show the U.S. told Canada, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and judicial officials, that Huawei executives needed to make an emergency arrest during their stay in Vancouver, but did not explain why they had not detained her earlier this year.

The United States issued a temporary arrest warrant, which means that Meng’s boat should be seized immediately. “Unless the temporary arrest of Meng evening boat in Canada on Saturday, December 1st… Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to ensure that she was present in the United States to be prosecuted. The U.S. request is stated, noting that there is no extradition treaty between Washington and Beijing.

After Meng’s planned transit through Vancouver, the next stop is Mexico City, Costa Rica and Argentina. All three countries have extradition agreements with the United States.

Extradition experts say Washington rarely brings criminal charges of sanctions against individuals, not companies. Eric Lewis, a U.S. attorney who specializes in international fraud and corruption cases, said, “It’s very likely that Meng is simply enforcing company policy, and in this type of case, it’s generally practice to fine the companies involved instead of prosecuting individuals.” “

In June 2018, for example, Huawei’s rival, Ericsson, a Swedish telecoms equipment maker, agreed to pay more than $145,000 in a settlement with the U.S. government over violations of sanctions against Sudan. In September 2019, the company also announced a loss of $1.2 billion in third-quarter results to pay fines in a long-running U.S. investigation into corruption allegations in six countries, including China.

Mr Smith, a former Treasury official, agrees that the US rarely targets individuals, but says there is a case for doing so in the Meng Evening Boat case. “This is a deliberate fraud by bank executives and government officials,” he said. That’s the difference between (this) and most other cases. “

As for why the U.S. chose Canada, rather than any of the other nine countries, after issuing the meng arrest warrant, Lewis said the U.S. government may think the Canadian government is the most likely to make an arrest.

“I can only assume that the United States considers (Canada) to be its most honest and reliable ally. He said. “The legal system in South America is more formal and may delay extradition proceedings … EU countries may be reluctant to engage in political or strategic litigation. “

A senior Mexican official told The Globe and Mail that although Mexico has an extradition treaty with the United States, it will not accept a request to arrest Meng.

John Manley, a former Liberal deputy prime minister, said Canada could have refused to arrest Mr Meng and allowed him to travel to Mexico on the grounds of “creative discomfort”.

“We should have exercised our discretion from the start, and we shouldn’t have arrested Meng,” he said in an interview this week. He then added that he believed that Canada could exercise discretion under extradition law to reject a U.S. arrest request.

Manley said he wasn’t sure if Meng was a pawn in the Trump administration’s geopolitical game. “But I think it’s the taste, I think there’s a ‘let’s go fish a big fish to get the most chips’. “

But Mel Cappe, a former secretary of the Privy Council who is the top official in Canada’s federal public service, said he did not think Canada could have let meng go, as Manley had said. “I don’t think it’s possible to do that. You either believe in the rule of law or you don’t. If you believe it, you should do it. “

He said that if it did know in advance that meng was going to arrest meng, he did not think there was an obligation to inform the prime minister in advance. “Why turn this into a prime minister’s problem?” “

As things stand, Mr. Trudeau can say that the move was taken by law enforcement officials, not politicians. “I would be proud if someone accused us of acting in accordance with the law and being trustworthy,” Mr Cappe said. “

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