US Justice Department announces 13 criminal charges against Meng Wanzhou and Huawei
The US Department of Justice just announced 13 criminal charges against four Huawei organizations and individuals, including Meng Wanzhou in a live press release.
In a press conference with the FBI, US officials announced that Huawei was implicated in a scheme to deceive sanctions on Iran.
Huawei Technologies Ltd., Huawei Devices USA Skycom Tech Ltd. and Meng Wanzhou are all named in the charges.
They were charged with conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Officials claimed that Huawei purposefully used a scheme to deceive the US and the international community to evade sanctions on Iran.
US officials also claimed that Huawei is implicated in stealing T-Mobile trade secrets and that the company was using corporate espionage to get an unfair advantage.
“We’re gonna continue to investigate and prosecute these types of cases because ultimately it undermines the national security and economic security of our nation,” said Matthew Whitaker, the Acting US Attorney General.
The US plans to file their extradition requests soon.
The Justice Department released a detailed indictment on the charges outlining the allegations.
Meng Wanzhou is currently in Vancouver free on bail waiting a judgement on her extradition to the United States.
Canadian officials have yet to comment on the US indictment and charges.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returned to a Vancouver courtroom on Monday for a hearing over document disclosure.
Lawyers representing Wanzhou claim that her detention at the Vancouver International Airport was unlawful.
Wanzhou is currently awaiting a decision on extradition into the United States over allegations of fraud and circumvention of international sanctions on Iran.
Her lawyers are claiming the disclosure so far has done “little to answer questions raised regarding the conduct of the RCMP and CBSA.”
So far several documents have been disclosed by the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) including notes, video and audio recordings, as well as the arrest request from U.S. officials.
“The CBSA properly fulfilled its role in examining the applicant and her goods to assess her admissibility,” claimed the Attorney General.
Wanzhou’s extradition trial is set to begin on January 20, 2020.
Claiming that she was detained in a manner that violated her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou filed a civil claim with the British Columbia Supreme Court.
Through her lawyers, she alleges that the government worked together with the Canadian Border Service Agency and the RCMP to falsely imprison her. She claims that her arrest and detention was a wrongful exercise of authority and that Canadian officials collected evidence from her in a way that violated the Charter.
It will be interesting to see how the case proceeds, as the tense political situation between Canada and China entered a new chapter following the shocking revelations of the SNC-Lavalin scandal plaguing the Trudeau government.
At the request of the US, Canada arrested and detained Huawei’s CFO, who has since been facing extradition to the US to face charges of being involved in a corporate scheme to circumvent sanctions against Iran.
Huawei is China’s largest telecommunications company and is well-connected to the Chinese government. It is clear that Meng’s arrest was taken by the Chinese to be a direct attack on their national interests.
Since then, China has detained several Canadians, and has even put one accused drug smuggler on death row. In Canada, those actions are largely seen as a direct retaliation against Meng’s detention.
SNC-Lavalin screws it up for Canada
Trudeau has repeatedly declined China’s requests for Meng’s release, citing that Canada is a country that respects the rule of law, and that Canadians would not accept any political interference in our judicial system.
As if on cue, explosive allegations arose that Trudeau was directly involved in a concerted and sustained effort to blackmail his former attorney general to force the civil service to drop charges against Liberal-connected construction giant SNC-Lavalin.
The Montreal-based engineering firm was charged with bribing Libyan officials under the Gaddafi regime, which included almost $2 million of bribes to the son of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Part of that $2 million even included $30,000 to buy prostitutes for the young “prince” when he visited Canada a decade ago.
It did not take long for international media to spot the hypocrisy. The Canadian prime minister, who had spent most of the new year virtue-signalling our country’s respect for judicial independence, was now caught with his pants down.
Having fired his former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has since become a household name, he replaced her with a Montreal lapdog who has a big SNC-Lavalin office in his riding.
It is not a surprise that China has taken the opportunity to use the recent scandal to their advantage, and as China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “not only Chinese and Canadian citizens, but the whole world are extremely interested to hear how the Canadian government answers” these allegations.
So far, the answers have been:
(1) nothing to see here
(2) the AG was difficult to work with
(3) they suddenly realized that the AG didn’t speak French
(4) she wouldn’t have been fired if Brison didn’t resign
(5) the political interference was just a matter of perspective
Let’s see how many more they can add to the list before this year’s federal election.
Former U.S. Intelligence agents warn against HuaweI, escalating cyber confrontations with hostile actors
OTTAWA – As Ottawa studies national security implications of allowing Chinese tech giant Huawei to equip Canada’s next-generation 5G telecommunication networks, two U.S. intelligence and cyber security experts told parliamentarians Wednesday that the risk is real.
“I understand in principle why, particularly for government networks that you’d want all of your telecom equipment made by your own country or by your own ally,” said Christopher Porter, chief intelligence strategist for cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc.
A former Central Intelligence Agency cyber threat analyst, Porter was testifying at Public Safetey and National Defence committee along with Jonathan Reiber who previously worked for the Pentagon as it assembled a “cyber-mission force” of more than 6000 hackers for counter cyber-insurgency and cyber-warfare.
Reiber, head of strategy for cyber security firm Illumio “wouldn’t speak to Huawei specifically.”
On securing a nation against hostile cyber actors, Reiber said that, “for certain elements, say a national security community or public safety community, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say ‘now we’re going to manufacture a certain amount of chips (hardware) on our own.’”
In November of last year the United States asked allies to ban Huawei’s 5G hardware technology from their domestic telecommunication networks. Austrailia and New Zealand have since agreed – both are part of the Five Eyes surveillance network that includes the U.S., UK and Canada. Britain may also abandon its 5G telecom deal with the Chinese company – like Canada it is studying the matter and no decision is expected until April or May.
On ferreting out suspect equipment already in circulation, as well as preventing additional hardware from entering the field, Reiber said it’s possible but only on a limited scale. “I don’t think you could possibly do so in any kind of global way across sectors, across an entire economy. I do think you could do it in certain sub-sectors.”
Under a cloud of diplomatic tensions between China and Canada over our arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, facing extradition to the U.S. for alleged violations of American sanctions on Iran, Porter told MPs that Canada remains a prefered cyber espionage target. Already, domestic institutions have fallen under cyber attack by Iran, China and Russia, Porter said.
“Government, defence, high-tech, non-profit, energy, telecommunications and media have all been impacted much like they have in many western countries,” he noted.
Reiber’s testimony also offered a chilling window into the future of cyber crime and cyber warfare that could escalate into military confrontation, even noting that some in the previous U.S. administration believed Russian cyber-meddling in the 2016 election constituted grounds for a military response.
“I would say the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election, looked at historically, certainly qualified as an instance where a counter offensive action by the military would have been warranted,” Reiber said. “And there are others from the Obama administration that would’ve said the same thing.”
Porter told the committee that in his FireEye experience, some 95 per cent cyber attacks on Canadian targets were aimed largely at private sector interests, primarily at financial institutions and that beyond regulating cyber security standards for Canadian industry he would “put a great emphasis on diplomacy.”
“This foreign (cyber) threat is to get back at Canada for something we did,” he said.
However, Porter warned of more “destructive attacks aimed at permanently disabling financial services or altering data in ways that undermine trust in the global financial system.”
The arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver is proving to be a foreign affairs nightmare.
It seems that Chrystia Freeland is in denial about this fact.
Currently Wanzhou is being held in Canada for extradition to the U.S. for allegedly having a hand in breaking U.S.-Iran trade sanction restrictions.
“I think it’s really important for Canadians to understand, that this was not in any way a political decision. There was no political interference as the Prime Minister has said. None at all,” she said while at the International Economic Forum of the Americas.
Minister Freeland seems to think that Canadians are gullible enough to believe that the highest levels of government had no hand in the arrest of a high profile Chinese national on Canadian soil.
Arrest has implications in international politics and trade
Perhaps she should try telling that to the Chinese, who have recently detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig under unclear circumstances.
I wonder what charges will be laid against the man who pioneered Justin Trudeau’s 2016 visit to Hong Kong. Perhaps it’ll be conspiracy, or the Chinese government will even trump up charges of espionage? Really, it doesn’t matter. It’s all a ploy to put pressure on Canada in the hopes of attaining Wanzhou’s eventual release.
Yet if Canada budges one way, even giving an inch to the Chinese, we can be sure that the Americans will retaliate.
The sequence of events initiated by Wanzhou’s arrest are the very definition of political. In fact, the political implications will have unprecedented influence on international trade, our recent NAFTA agreement and the political climate worldwide.
In this, Canada is wittingly playing the mediator of a long and drawn out scuffle between the United States and China.
The U.S. has sought to curb the activities of Huawei for years now, citing security concerns and potential digital espionage avenues embedded in their technology. The extradition request, is just another move in an increasingly freezing trade war between the two giants, and Canada is currently the chess piece being played.
Government is trying to avoid responsibility
Right now we are in between a rock and a hard place, being moved around as a pawn by greater powers.
Yet instead of trying to take responsibility for their decisions, the current government would rather pass culpability further down the line.
“This was a decision as…I would even say an action taken as all extradition arrests are at an official’s level in keeping with our international obligations,” Freeland continues.
So which one was it? Was it a decision or an action? And what international obligations is Freeland even talking about?
On one hand, Justin Trudeau so desperately desires increased trade with protectionist China, while China is in no hurry to rejoin his overtures.
And on the other hand, Canada signed the USMCA and everybody knows that President Donald Trump can use aluminum tariffs as a pressure point to get his way.
What happened to Freeland’s defense of Iran?
If the official reason is non-compliance to U.S. sanctions on Iran, where is Freeland’s former fierce defense of the Islamic Republic? In fact, it was the Trudeau government who decided to lift Canadian trade sanctions from the nation soon after coming into power.
When did Canada become the enforcer of U.S. trade sanctions it currently has no part in?
The current situation with China is about as political as it gets, and our government needs to stop denying responsibility and start making the tough decisions that are in Canada’s best interest.
Although Freeland and Trudeau like to play it tough in front of the cameras, it’s clear that under their direction, Canada’s fate is increasingly dictated by foreign powers.