back to article Huawei CFO poutine cuffs by Canadian cops after allegedly busting sanctions on Iran

The chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman of Huawei has been arrested in Canada – and could face extradition to the US on charges of violating trade sanctions against Iran. The Canadian Department of Justice said Meng Wanzhou, who also goes by the name Sabrina Meng, was collared by police in Vancouver over the weekend …

Youngone
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Should we be worried?

It sounds like the gloves are coming off.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Should we be worried?

Local business paper is talking about war and past events where a new an upcoming power asserted themselves. Conclusion was that in most cases it ended in war.

Stock markets are plunging.

h4rm0ny
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Black Helicopters

Re: Should we be worried?

It could also be internal power plays in US politics. Trump's been aggressively pushing for trade re-balancing between the USA and China. China basically stalled until after the mid-terms to see how well the Democrats managed to pull the rug out from under him. The outcome of that was kind of "a bit, not enough" so now talks between the two nations are progressing again. What better way to sabotage that if you're an opponent of Trump (and he has many both outside the party, within the party and in - yes, I'm using the term - the Deep State (e.g. senior FBI)), than to have a senior Chinese financial executive arrested. It's easy enough to arrange, it doesn't even have to lead to a prosecution. It just has to cause public insult to the Chinese and make it look like Trump has "backed down" when she is released. It's a win-win for his opponents. Cui bono? Not Trump.

There's a tendency by some to think Trump is in total control and responsible for actions like this. In fact, I think he's riding the tiger right now with a LOT of domestic and powerful opposition.

martinusher
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Re: Should we be worried?

>Trump's been aggressively pushing for trade re-balancing between the USA and China.

He's made a lot of noise, issued various executive orders but on the whole done absolutely nothing to rebalance trade between the US and China. The reason is simple -- the imbalance stems from a couple of decades of systematic offshoring of manufacturing to China. US corporations bought into the notion of the Smiley Face Curve, the idea that all the value in a product was either in marketing and sales with the actual business of manufacturing (and increasingly, development) left to subcontractors. This helped to boost profits by eliminating a lot of jobs in the US but as you can guess was a rather short-sighted policy because it not only helped China develop its manufacturing ecology but also led to the permanent loss of the appropriate skill base in the US. The result is predictable -- a huge trade imbalance and a severe skills shortage in the US. Rectifying it with tariffs isn't going to work, it just acts like a Federal sales tax.

Tariffs are having an impact but according to a recent Federal Reserve report its overwhelmingly a negative impact. This is probably what's behind the 'truce' -- ratcheting them up will cause a lot of visible damage to the economy. There's also an issue of Constitutional authority; Trump could get away with the tariffs (agruably) because he's action on "National Security Grounds". But in real life he doesn't have the authority to unilaterally impose tariffs, its Congress's job.

Now, as to exercising extra-territorial authority over people who haven't committed a crime in the US (and even going so far to not reveal what the offenses are) this poses all sorts of Constitutional issues. Mike Pompero has gone on record recently saying that the only law that should matter in the world today is US law but many countries may disagree with him. The Iran sanctions were reimposed unilaterally after the US abrogated a treaty drawn up between them and other parties so its questionable as to whether their legal (although a lot of effort has gone into twisting arms -- and logic -- to justify these sanctions the majority of the world isn't biting). So anyone who has the time and resources could have a lot of fun with the courts over this one but I suspect they'd rather not, they've got business to attend to (unlike the US where the only growth business seems to be in sanctions enforcement -- "Your Tax Dollars At Work"). The best thing the Canadians could do is to find some grounds for releasing Ms Meng on bail.

(The US is a mess. I'd even considerabandoning it for my native England except.....)

Yes Me
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Megaphone

Canadians as puppets

I have no idea whether she's guilty of anything, but it's beyond stupid of the Canadians to play this game as American puppets. The whole anti-Huawei campaign seems to be commercially motivated - now that the Chinese have learnt to compete on both quality and price, let's find some other way to stop them!

Yet Another Anonymous coward
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Re: Canadians as puppets

It would be interesting to see if they would arrest an American to be sent to China for dealing with Taiwan

Doubly odd since Canada is top of the list of threats to American national security according to their Aluminium and steel tariffs.

raving angry loony

Re: Canadians as puppets

Canada and our governments have been America's bitch for decades. Hell, we even helped them overthrow the last Haitian government that dared try to implement some form of worker rights legislation to protect them from the American corporations operating there. So no surprise that our government is, yet again, bending over and doing whatever the US wants.

robidy

Re: Canadians as puppets

It's no just Americans, it's also commonwealth countries.

I'd avoid letting my view of Trump cloud my judgement of international security.

Trump will be gone in 2-6 years China will still be agressively protectionist.

Destroy All Monsters
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Windows

Re: Canadians as puppets

> Canada is top of the list of threats to American national security

Canada should be at the top of the list of threats of anyone. Imagine the mental rot of laying back and thinking of yourself being super-virtuous while everyone has their merry way with you takes hold globally.

Charlie Clark
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Re: Canadians as puppets

I have no idea whether she's guilty of anything, but it's beyond stupid of the Canadians to play this game as American puppets.

No need to jump the gun.

Canada is legally obliged to act on the request of the US: this is standard practice. The important thing is how the courts decide and whether the US is able to enforce its new unilateral sanctions on other countries. There's quite a potential political upside in the courts not agreeing to extradite but let's give them the chance to do their job.

h4rm0ny
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Re: Canadians as puppets

The whole anti-Huawei campaign seems to be commercially motivated

Evidence for this is twofold. One is the clear and obvious financial motive to do so. If you can use your government to shut down your opposition, you do. ("You" in this case being a giant corporation).

Secondly, if they had examples of Huawai equipment containing backdoors, etc. then the simplest thing by far would be to publish them. Yet we've only heard people SAY "you can't trust them", never shown. Now to some extent there's an issue of protecting your sources but once you know something, retroactive proof by other methods is trivial. The fact that we haven't heard anything specific is damning.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Canadians as puppets

if they had examples of Huawai equipment containing backdoors, etc. then the simplest thing by far would be to publish them.

According to one well informed birdie, implementing a backdoor as used by the usual 5 eyes suspects relies on a specific set of features in a core router. Huawei claimed to have these features when only one other vendor had them in core equipment. 12+ years ago. In a rfi response to a usa telco tender. The rest is history.

Potemkine!
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Re: Canadians as puppets

it's beyond stupid of the Canadians to play this game as American puppets.

Ever heard about 'Five Eyes'?

Tom 35
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Re: Canadians as puppets

Like there is no one hiding in an embassy in England in fear of being sent to the US after Sweden made convenient arrest request. Join the club.

FozzyBear
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Black Helicopters

Re: Canadians as puppets

Secondly, if they had examples of Huawai equipment containing backdoors, etc. then the simplest thing by far would be to publish them.

Or take advantage of that knowledge and use it to snoop on everyone you want that has the equipment installed. The boys at NSA and CIA would have been reaching for the Kleenex just thinking of all possibilities

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Canadians as puppets

> Secondly, if they had examples of Huawai equipment containing backdoors, etc. then the simplest thing by far would be to publish them.

Intelligence agencies are very hesitant to let sch information out since it tells the other side what the know and can indicate that they don't know that other backdoor yet. This has always been a problem with intelligence and Enigma intel was also caught up in it.

Yes Me
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Re: Canadians as puppets

Canada is legally obliged to act on the request of the US

But there is always the option of acting very, very slowly and missing her at the airport. Wise countries do that when a warrant is obviously political.

Yes Me
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Re: Canadians as puppets

Ever heard about 'Five Eyes'?

More than somewhat. But what has that got to do with alleged Iran sanctions-breaking at a time when the US has just ditched a highly successful nuclear containment deal with Iran? Again, this is a massive political error by Canada.

Yes Me
Silver badge

Re: Canadians as puppets

No, I don't see any similarity to the Assange case. In any case, the UK has a long history of extraditing people to the US on unreasonable charges. Canada, not so much.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Canadians as puppets

>a highly successful nuclear containment deal with Iran

Which one? The only deal I head of allowed for inspections only within civilian facilities, opening a loop hole the size of a medium sized gas giant. If success is measured by not having observed anything odd in the civilian facilities I guess it is a roaring success. It really depends on degree of naivety.

Anonymous South African Coward
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Politicians politicking as usual.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

So who do the Americans want to swap her for?

Warm Braw
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So who do the Americans want to swap her for?

These?

Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?
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So, I must admit I'm struggling with the legitimacy of this. So:

  • US Government bans trade with non-US country
  • Non-US company trades with non-US country
  • US arrests non-US citizen of non-US company

Can someone explain how this is even remotely legitimate? Surely US trade sanctions apply to US companies / bodies? If the UK.gov want companies to stop trading with said non-US country, shouldn't the UK set its own sanctions for its own companies, and so on and so forth? Otherwise any country with enough allies could just impose trade sanctions. What if China imposed trade sanctions on the USA then arrested any and all company directors who's companies traded with the USA, regardless of where those companies were based?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

What if China imposed trade sanctions on the USA then arrested any and all company directors who's companies traded with the USA, regardless of where those companies were based

Now, that will be interesting to watch.

Has any country tried to put sanctions on USofA before?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

No, Oil is traded in dollars.

Allan George Dyer
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Coat

"Has any country tried to put sanctions on USofA before?"

Yes, from the start. Great Britain blockaded the ports in the American Revolutionary War.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

No, Oil is traded in dollars.

No longer exclusively, which is one of the other major problems the US has with both China (and Russia). Unlike Iraq which could be bombed back to the Stone Age without too many problems (and active collusion of the UK government in the form of Tony Blair) when it dared to trade oil in Euros, China as well as Russia are much harder to control, especially now the US has a hard economic dependency on China. There have already been energy deals between Russia and China which did not use dollars but Chinese renmimbi, now also formally acknowledged by the World Bank as one of the world's reserve currencies.

LDS
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I guess Huawei products contain US technology they could be allowed to buy and resell only if they abide to existing agreements - which may exclude the export, in this case, of dual-use technology to a list of countries, and customers are bound to respect that.

That said such an arrest looks like a real escalation.

Charlie Clark
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Can someone explain how this is even remotely legitimate?

The US routinely does this and views extra-territoriality as perfectly normal as long as it does it. Examples are sanctions applied to HSBC for money-laundering for Iran and the ongoing investigation of Glencore. I think the law is called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and is the basis for Trump's reneging on the Iran deal: lots of companies are so scared of this that they're willingly dropping ties with Iran.

However, when the boot is on the other foot it goes apopletic: heaven forfend that any other country go after a US company! Oh, and dealing, including taking bribes, with murderous, autocratic regimes is okay if the president says so. So, we can sell whatever we want to Saudi Arabia…

Charlie Clark
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There have already been energy deals between Russia and China which did not use dollars

Indeed, and the irony of the US reneging on the Iran deal is that the EU is now actively working with China (less so with Russia) to make non-dollar trading easier.

Mage
Silver badge
Facepalm

Great Britain blockaded the ports

Also the US Civil war went badly...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancashire_Cotton_Famine

Curiously the Confederates (controlling an area with most of the US cotton production) thought it would be clever to cut the supply of cotton to the UK.

British didn't react as they expected.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancashire_Cotton_Famine#Politics

Trump steel import tariffs may achieve what Europe, Japan and Korea didn't, the death of North American Auto making.

Sanctions have a history of making ordinary people suffer, making Global companies rich (SA) and often ignore the worst Regimes. Like Iran's Gulf and Arabian enemies.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re:oil in dollars

When Iran was sanctioned previously the US used the SWIFT system to prevent anyone paying for oil. There is now an alternate system in place which uses no US infrastructure (they literally laid new fibre globally) to prevent this happening again. Last time India was also sanctioned for paying with gold bullion to get around it, and they were also removed from SWIFT. Lucky for them they just said "But we're fucking India, dipshits!" and it all stopped.

This time, if the USA try to abuse SWIFT (which they mostly own) the global currency systems will change drastically and permanently, probably sending the USA back to the dark ages as a result. Unfortunately all they have to offer right now is debt.

Initially I thought Huawei were complying due to being on a US stock market, but it looks like they aren't so this should be entertaining for a week or two while China finally comes of age and bitch slaps Trump. Hopefully 2019 will be remembered as the year free trade becomes a thing rather than the alternative wars and such

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

The US position is that all US courts and government agencies have jurisdiction over the entire planet, and no one else, neither countries nor international legal institutions, has jurisdiction over US territory, military, government agencies, agents, or interests, anywhere.

Charlie Clark
Silver badge

Re: Re:oil in dollars

This time, if the USA try to abuse SWIFT (which they mostly own) the global currency systems will change drastically and permanently, probably sending the USA back to the dark ages as a result.

Have you ever been to Mississippi? I don't think it ever left the dark ages.

Countries are much better prepared for US sanctions this time: Qatar leaving OPEC could be a coincidence or just a convenient new conduit for Iranian oil.

I'm not sure Trump really cares about Iran or whether he's doing all this for his islamic extremist friends (which is the House of Saud) in Saudia Arabia and his corrupt mates (Netanjahu) in Israel.

The theocratic rulers in Iran are, by and large, a despicable bunch but they are more reliable and open than the bastards on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz…

Vanir

China is not a democracy

The Chinese Capitalist Party has 90 million members most of which are dedicated to the hegemony of their 'party' and thsir personal interests. It is beset with corruption from the local level to the highest.

They have no 'belief' in Western free market capitalism, only CCP state controlled capitalism.

And the CCP does not have any influence on a Chinese compnay?

The population of the UK is 66 million, Germany 83 million.

The CCP is a direct threat to Western, and global democracy.

It has to be noted that Western companies are not democratic organisations either.

Facebook capitalising your data?

Does the CCP want your data?

And what does Huawei deal in? Data?

Charlie Clark
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Facepalm

Re: China is not a democracy

Thanks for pointing that out, I wouldn't have noticed otherwise…

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: China is not a democracy

As far as I can tell, the US isn't one either. It has always pretended to be one, but whatever it ought to be considered now, a democracy it ain't.

fajensen
Silver badge
Flame

Re: China is not a democracy

So? "Western Democracy" has been happily debasing itself for two decades and "Western free market capitalism" is just a huge pile of bull-dung that must be perpetually bailed out by the taxpayers to exist.

As it is: China can't put me on a no-fly list, mess with my SWIFT transfers or send me off to 'indefinite detention' with free water-treatment in some secret 3'rd world military base.

So, simply on a personal risk basis, we should be welcoming our New Chinese Overlords. Starting with buying a Huawei mobile.

CrazyOldCatMan
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Re: China is not a democracy

They have no 'belief' in Western free market capitalism

Neither does the current US administration - they prefer a capitalist/protectionist state where monopolies rule (since those monopolies are generally their friends).

lglethal
Silver badge
Stop

Re: China is not a democracy

As it is: China can't put me on a no-fly list, mess with my SWIFT transfers or send me off to 'indefinite detention' with free water-treatment in some secret 3'rd world military base.

umm what? China has well documented "Black prisons" where people are taken away and denied access to lawyers and the like. Often for indefinite periods. They also have the "reeducation centres" in Xinjiang where they basically imprison anyone in Xinjiang who even looks at a han chinese. (https://www.bbc.com/news/resources/idt-sh/China_hidden_camps)

They can also deny people the leave to fly out of China even if there not Chinese citizens.

(https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-us-canada-46352336)

China can do all those things and a lot worse. So whatever you might think of western democracy, it's a hell of a lot better on the rights department then China.

I do find it hilarious that china is saying arresting Meng Wanzhou is a rights abuse. I would love someone to turn around and ask them about Victor and Cynthia Liu (see article above) who arent even accused of a crime but are being held in china anyway. Whats good for the goose, etc...

Voland's right hand
Silver badge

Re: China is not a democracy

The Chinese Capitalist Party has 90 million members most of which are dedicated to the hegemony of their 'party' and thsir personal interests.

As someone who has spent 20 years of his life in several countries where the local Communist Party had a "constitutional" role I can tell you that even in Eastern Europe it was 999:1. 999 as a career progression or career requirement. For example you could not even dream to sit at the controls of a passenger aircraft without being a member. And 1 village idiot. There is always a one in every village.

In China, due to local cultural specifics, it is not even 999:1. It is 99999:1. Or more.

Voland's right hand
Silver badge

Re: China is not a democracy

As it is: China can't put me on a no-fly list,

Sure it can. However, first of all nobody besides them will read that and enforce that.

mess with my SWIFT transfers

It actually can. Do not underestimate the quality of their malware

or send me off to 'indefinite detention' with free water-treatment in some secret 3'rd world military base.

Third country - no. They do not need that because they do not need to comply with any legal rights in their country to start off with. So instead of outsourcing it to a third country they can put you in one of the re-education camps in the North-West border provinces. Nice, shiny, freshly built and no chance to leave until you are thoroughly re-educated.

fajensen
Silver badge

Re: China is not a democracy

China has well documented "Black prisons" where people are taken away and denied access to lawyers and the like. Often

Sure. For Chinese, inside China (and they can probably persuade Chinese nationals with hostages ... family and friends ... living inside of China to come back and face whatever music). This is kinda what one would expect from a totalitarian state. But we don't live in China or under Chinese rules.

The Global War on Terror/Drugs/Freedom(?) is exactly what it sez on the tin: 'Global', meaning that "democracy" somehow decided that it was OK that "the security state" can get us anywhere at any time. Our agents can also bomb, disappear and drone brown people with impunity. Barely makes the news, these days.

Which is *not* behaviour I expected from a Democracy. Imagine the outcry when China and Russia decides that, since western democracy can just do all these things, then we can too!

lglethal
Silver badge
Stop

Re: China is not a democracy

Actually fajensen they do do "Extraordinary Rendition" - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-17/hong-kong-bookseller-who-disappeared-from-thailand-held-in-china

In case you cant be bothered reading the article but that was a Hong Kong man grabbed from Thailand. There are plenty of other cases as well, from all over Asia. At least so far, I havent heard of any one being grabbed from the West, but its probably happened.

They also do hold foreign nationals without trial in China - read the 2nd article i posted in the previous post. All 3 of the family were travelling on American passports and Vincent Liu is an American and has never had chinese citizenship or a chinese passport.

Oh and Russia is quite happy bombing the sh*t out of Syria with impunity, and the West hasnt really done too much crying out except to moan at backing the losing side. So they've already pretty much done that. And China is happily building military bases on disputed islands in the South China Sea in order to threaten any of its neighbours that get uppity.

China is just as bad as any western nation when it comes to being hypocritical bastards on the world stage, but I'll still take having a world where democracy is in the majority, because in a democracy there are at least mechanisms for checks and balances. In the dictatorships of the World what the dictator declares goes...

Kabukiwookie
Bronze badge

Re: China is not a democracy

China can do all those things and a lot worse. So whatever you might think of western democracy, it's a hell of a lot better on the rights department then China.

On the other hand, China is not the one shouting from the roof tops that they're the protector if Freedom and Democracy(tm) either.

lglethal
Silver badge

Re: China is not a democracy

On the other hand, China is not the one shouting from the roof tops that they're the protector if Freedom and Democracy(tm) either.

Neither is Sweden, but I know which one I'd prefer to live in...

<rant>(Why does everyone equate Democracy and America, it bloody well isnt and we all know it. Why not equate democracy with a real bloody one - Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, for feks sake...) </end rant>

Eddy Ito
Silver badge

Re: China is not a democracy

As far as I can tell, the US isn't one either. It has always pretended to be one, but whatever it ought to be considered now, a democracy it ain't.

Actually the US has never been a democracy. In fact the word democracy doesn't even appear in the US Constitution so it's hard to understand why so many people get it wrong. Per Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution the US is a republic. Besides, two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner isn't necessarily the sort of government people should really strive for.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: China is not a democracy

The Chinese Capitalist Party has 90 million members most of which are dedicated to the hegemony of their 'party' and their personal interests. It is beset with corruption from the local level to the highest.

From where I sit, the bit in equally applies to the current Republican party and their activities under Trump. They just need to surround it with more BS to keep the appearance of a democratic framework.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: China is not a democracy

because in a democracy there are at least mechanisms for checks and balances

.. which is exactly why the US bleating about democracy is nowadays rather jarring..

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