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      Free Meng Wanzhou!

      By Janine Solanki

      Who is Meng Wanzhou, why has Canada unlawfully arrested her, and what you can do about it!

      On December 1, 2018 Meng Wanzhou was arrested while transiting through Vancouver International Airport. The CFO of Huawei Technologies was essentially kidnapped at the bequest of U.S. authorities in an unlawful operation which violated Canada's own laws, due process and Meng Wanzhou's rights. Two years later, Meng Wanzhou is still held as hostage in a politically tainted extradition case, which former U.S. President Trump made clear hinged on his trade war with China. Currently, hearings in the extradition trial of Meng Wanzhou are scheduled to resume March 1, 2021 in the B.C. Supreme Court. Efforts to free Meng Wanzhou are increasing, and Fire This Time (FTT) has joined the Cross-Canada Campaign to Free Meng Wanzhou, an initiative of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War.

      Below is more information about the case, taken from the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War website , including how you can get more information and take action!

      The Arrest of Meng Wanzhou & the New Cold War on China

      By Ken Stone

      March 1 marks the resumption of hearings in Vancouver in the extradition trial of Meng Wanzhou. It also marks an event by her supporters in Canada, determined to block her deportation to the USA where she would stand trial again on fraud charges that could potentially put her in jail for over 100 years.

      By March 1, Meng Wanzhou will have spent two years and three months in detention, accused of no crime in Canada. Her company, Huawei Technologies, of which she is Chief Financial Officer, is likewise not charged with any crime in Canada. In fact, Huawei has a very good reputation in Canada, where it has created some 1300 very high-paying tech jobs as well as a state-of-the-art research and development centre, and has voluntarily worked with the Canadian government to increase connectivity for the mostly Indigenous peoples of Canada’s North.

      The arrest of Meng Wanzhou was a colossal blunder by the Trudeau government, executed at the request of the now, almost-universally-discredited Trump Administration, which blatantly admitted that she was being held hostage as a bargaining chip in Trump’s trade war on China. There was some speculation, when Meng’s extradition trial was adjourned for three months last December, that an out-of-court settlement might be reached before March 1. The Wall Street Journal caused a media frenzy when it floated a trial-balloon story that the US Department of Justice had proposed a plea deal for Ms. Meng. International lawyer, Christopher Black, deflated the balloon in an interview with The Taylor Report. And nothing came of that trial balloon so far.

      Others speculated that, with his new administration in Washington, President-elect Biden might withdraw the US request for Meng’s extradition in an attempt to reset relations with China with a clean slate. But, so far, no request withdrawal has been put forward and instead Biden has ramped up tensions with China over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea, and also repeated allegations of genocide by China against its Uyghur Muslim population.

      Still others thought that Justin Trudeau might grow a backbone, demonstrate some independence of foreign policy for Canada, and unilaterally end the extradition process against Meng. According to Canada’s Extradition Act, the Minister of Immigration can, completely according to the rule of law, terminate an extradition proceeding at any point with a stroke of his pen. Trudeau has been under pressure by old Liberal Party stalwarts, former cabinet ministers, and retired judges and diplomats, who publicly urged him to release Meng and reset relations with China, which is Canada’s second largest trading partner. They hoped as well, by releasing Meng, that Trudeau might secure the release of Michael Spavor and Kovrig, who were arrested on espionage charges in China.

      Two months ago, Meng Wanzhou’s lawyer applied for a loosening of her bail conditions to allow her to move around the Vancouver region unescorted during the day. Currently, she is monitored 24 hours a day by security guards and an ankle GPS monitoring device. For this surveillance, she is reputed to pay well more than $3000 per day. She did so because, if the trial resumes on March 1, it could drag on, with appeals, for several years. Two weeks ago, the court rejected Ms. Meng’s request.

      The economic cost to Canada of deteriorating relations with China so far has meant losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars for Canadian farmers and fishers as well as the termination of a Sino-Canadian project to make Covid-19 vaccines in Canada. But that picture will worsen if the Trudeau government gives into the warnings of the Five Eyes intelligence network, as expressed in the infamous Wagner-Rubio letter of October 11, 2018 (just six weeks before Meng’s arrest), to exclude Huawei from the deployment of a 5G network in Canada. Such an exclusion, according to Dr. Atif Kubursi, Professor Emeritus of Economics at McMaster University, would be a clear violation of WTO rules. It would also further estrange Canada from positive diplomatic and trade relations with China, which now boasts the largest trading economy in the world.

      Canadians are increasingly alarmed that we are being conditioned by every one of the parliamentary political parties and the mainstream media for a new cold war with China. On February 22, 2021, the House of Commons will vote on a Conservative motion officially declaring China's treatment of the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs a genocide, despite the fact that the evidence of such a crime was concocted by Andrew Zenz, an operative working as a sub-contractor to the US Central Intelligence Agency. Bloc, Green, and NDP members spoke for the resolution. On Feb 9, Green Party leader Anamie Paul called for the Beijing Winter Games, slated for Feb 2022, to be relocated to Canada. Her call was endorsed by Erin O’toole, Conservative Party leader, as well of several MP’s and Quebec politicians. For his part, on February 4, Canada’s immigration minister announced that Hong Kong residents will be able to apply for new open work permits as part of its program to create pathways towards Canadian citizenship. Mendecino noted “Canada continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong, and is deeply concerned about the new National Security Law and the deteriorating human rights situation there.” Finally, Canada is well on the way to procuring $77b. worth of new fighter jets (lifetime costs) and $213b. worth of warships, designed to project Canada’s military power far beyond our shores.

      Ken Stone is a longtime anti-war, anti-racist, environmental, and social justice advocate in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He is Treasurer of the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War and a Steering Committee member of the Cross-Canada Campaign to FREE MENG WANZHOU.

      Follow Ken on Twitter: @ccarken

      Key Facts in the Case of Meng Wanzhou

      - Meng Wanzhou is accused by the U.S. of violating its unilateral and illegal economic sanctions against Iran. However these sanctions and alleged “crime” do not exist in Canada.

      - Canada has a requirement of “double criminality”. Unless the alleged crime is a crime in both jurisdictions, you cannot extradite.

      - The U.S. tried to have Meng Wanzhou arrested in six other European and Latin American countries - all of which rejected U.S. demands.

      - Former 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. This is enough to throw the case out as politically tainted.

      - By holding Meng Wanzhou when the U.S. government has offered her release in exchange for getting their way on a trade deal, she is being held hostage. This then constitutes a violation of the UN Convention on Hostages.

      Former Canadian Parliamentarians, Diplomats & Notable Personalities Call on Canada to Free Meng Wanzhou!

      Louise Arbour - Former President and CEO of International Crisis Group; Lloyd Axworthy - Former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Lawrence Cannon - Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Canadian Ambassador to France; Ed Broadbent - Former Leader of the new Democratic Party; Hugh Segal - Former Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Derek Burney - Former Ambassador to the U.S.; Wendy Dobson - Professor Emerita, University of Toronto and Former Associate Deputy Minister; Leonard J. Edwards - Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Former Canadian Ambassador to Japan and Korea; Yves Fortier - Former Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN and UN Security Council; Robert Fowle - Former Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Brian Mulroney; Louise Frechette - Former Deputy Secretary General of the UN; Fen Osler Hampson - Chancellor's Professor, Carleton University and Executive Director, World Refugee & Migration Council; Paul Heinbecker - Former Canadian Ambassador to Germany, Former Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN and UN Security Council; Michael Kergin - Former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.; Claude Laverdure - Former Foreign Policy Adviser to PM Jean Chretien; Don Newman - Journalist, Broadcaster and Author; Maureen O'Neil - Former President of the International Development Research Centre; Andre Ouellet - Former Foreign Affairs and International Development Minister; Allan Rock - Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

      Sign the Parliamentary Petition to Free Meng Wanzhou! https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2857

      Find Out More!

      Free Meng Wanzhou Cross-Canada Campaign @ Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

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