HCSW Statement on ‘Free Meng Wanzhou’

Statement by the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War,  September 29, 2020

 

Yesterday, Meng Wanzhou made yet another completely unwarranted court appearance in Vancouver in the Trudeau’s government’s continuing attempt to extradite her to the USA.

Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei Technologies, daughter of its founder, and permanent Canadian resident, has been under house arrest in Vancouver for almost two years now and is the object of extradition proceedings against her by the Government of Canada at the request of the USA.

These judicial actions against Meng are unjust, politically motivated by the USA, and contrary to the national interests of Canada. Consequently, our Coalition demands that the Government of Canada drop the extradition proceedings against Meng and release her at once.

We know that Meng’s arrest was unjust because she committed no crime in Canada. Rather, her company stands accused by the USA of violating its unilateral, and therefore illegal, economic sanctions against Iran. As the whole world realizes, in 2018, it was the Trump Administration which abrogated the JCPOA (the Iran Nuclear Agreement), which was enshrined in 2016 as an international treaty in UN Security Council Resolution 2231. The US government then re-instated coercive economic measures against Iran (and even increased them during the pandemic). Under the Charter of the United Nations, the only body in the world which can approve economic sanctions against a member state, is the UN Security Council.

What the US is trying to do, through the extradition of Meng, is to apply the concept of extraterritoriality to its international relations, that is, trying to force other countries to abide by domestic US laws.

The US indictment against Meng was approved by a court in New York State on Aug 22, 2018, and the US tried unsuccessfully following that date to pressure literally dozens of countries, through which Meng travelled, to arrest her. Every single country refused until Meng arrived in Vancouver on December 1, 2018 and Trudeau slavishly acceded to the allegedly “urgent” US extradition request.

Further indications that the arrest of Meng was politically-motivated are the facts that President Trump declared he might release Meng if he secured a favourable trade deal with China and that he told John Bolton that Meng was “a bargaining chip” in his negotiations in his trade war with China.

In addition, there is the underhanded attempt by the Five Eyes, which links five English-speaking remnants of the British Empire, namely the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, in a formal security and intelligence network, to exclude Huawei Technologies, which is the jewel in the crown of the Chinese technology industry, from participation in the deployment of 5G internet networks in all of the Five Eyes countries. This underhanded attempt was clearly demonstrated in the letter of October 11, 2018, (just six weeks before Meng’s arrest) of US Senators Rubio and Wagner of the Select Intelligence Committee, advising Prime Minister Trudeau to exclude Huwaei Technologies from the deployment of 5G technology in Canada. The senators alleged that involving Huawei in Canada’s 5G network would compromise the security of the network and undercut the profitability of domestic US and Canadian tech firms. No proof was furnished by the senators that Huawei technology would provide spyware for China and Huawei firmly denies that proposition. And, on the other hand,  since at least 2018, the US government has been pressuring its high tech firms routinely to build back doors for US intelligence agencies to access to their encrypted devices. It’s important to note that Huawei Technologies Canada employs 1300 highly-paid workers in Canada and is very heavily invested in contributing its advanced, made-in Canada, R&D expertise to Canada’s 5G network.

The arrest and extradition proceeding against Meng Wanzhou have contributed to a major deterioration in Canada-China relations. At various times following Meng’s arrest, China, which is Canada’s second-largest trading partner after the USA, banned importation of Canadian canola, pork, and lobsters. Since the livelihoods of thousands of Canadian farmers and fishers depend on the export of these products to China, they were severely affected. 30% of Canadian exports go to China, but Canadian exports only account for less than 2% of China’s imports. So the potential of even more harm is possible. In addition, the promising Chinese-Canadian collaboration on a Covid-19 vaccine collapsed.

Canada and its people paid dearly so far and gained nothing from Trudeau’s slavish acceptance of Trump’s request to arrest and extradite Meng to the USA. In what should have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, Trudeau failed to release Meng after Trump levelled a new 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum on Aug. 6, 2020, despite the signing of the USMCA free trade deal this year. The tariff was removed a month later.

On June 23, 2020, 17 former Canadian politicians and diplomats penned an open letter to Trudeau noting that a leading Canadian lawyer had delivered an opinion that it was entirely within the rule of law for the minister of immigration unilaterally to end the extradition proceedings against Meng. They noted the harm being done to Canada by the continuing prosecution of Meng as well as the arrest of the Two Michaels, and called for Meng’s release. However, the Trudeau government did not accede to their recommendation.

Understanding that the Trump Administration is trying to draw the Trudeau government into its campaign to villify China, to disrupt international cooperation, free trade, and multilateralism, all of which is rapidly leading to a new cold war, and possibly to actual military hostilities,

And recognizing now that it’s entirely within the discretion of Immigration Minister Medicino and in accordance with the rule of law for him to end extradition proceedings against Meng, the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War is commencing a comprehensive, grass-roots, public campaign to free Meng. We would like to see a positive reset of Canada-China relations.

 

Therefore, we demand that the Government of Canada:

 

1) cease extradition proceedings against Meng and release her immediately;

2) protect Canadian jobs by permitting Huawei Technologies Canada to participate in the Canadian deployment of a 5G internet network;

3) initiate a long-overdue foreign policy review to develop an independent foreign policy for Canada.

 

Our campaign will include a parliamentary petition, virtual public meetings, virtual visits to MP’s office, letters to editors and op-ed pieces, and hopefully a Cross-Canada Day of Action on December 1, 2020, the second anniversary of Meng’s arrest.

 

Please join with us.

hcsw.ca

 

hcsw@cogeco.ca

 

For further information, please contact Ken Stone at (cell) 289-382-9008 or 905-383-7693.

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