Global Affairs Officer Says Delivery of Documents to CSIS in Meng Wanzhou Could Harm Canada

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The Director General of Global Affairs Canada in South Asia said that the release of sensitive CSIS information to Meng Wanzhou as part of his fight against extradition could endanger Canadian lives, further damage China-Canada relations and even jeopardize the fight against COVID-19.David Hartman has warned against giving Huawei’s executive lawyers unredacted copies of Canada’s spy agency documents in an affidavit made in a federal court proceeding later this month.

The affidavit was filed in late June in support of the attorney general, who is fighting to keep public communications out of Meng’s arrest between CSIS and the FBI.

“Generally speaking, such a disclosure would exacerbate tensions between the governments of Canada and China and would necessarily provoke a detrimental response to bilateral relations and Canadian interests,” said the Hartman affidavit.

“Given consular considerations, disclosure could also be life-threatening for every Canadian. ”

Hartman was Executive Director of Global Affairs for Greater China until August 2017.

He and CSIS Intelligence Officer Michel Guay have both filed affidavits in the federal court case, which will be heard for four days at the end of the month.

The first day of proceedings will be held in public on July 27; the remaining three days will be in camera.

The fight centers on six heavily redacted CSIS documents that the Attorney General released to Meng’s lawyers after an order from the British Columbia Supreme Court judge overseeing his extradition case.

U.S. wants Huawei chief financial officer to be sent to New York City to face fraud charges in connection with an allegation that she lied to an HSBC executive in August 2013 regarding the control of her business over a company accused of violating US economic sanctions against Iran.

Prosecutors say Meng’s alleged lies put the bank in danger of violating the same sanctions themselves, which could risk prosecution and loss as a result.

Meng’s lawyers plan to argue that the FBI and Canadian authorities have opened a “secret criminal investigation” against their client, sharing technical information on her electronic devices and conspiring to have Canadian border officers detain and interrogate her without a lawyer for three hours before the RCMP places him. under arrest.

CSIS turned over these highly redacted documents to Meng’s lawyers as part of the extradition process. Huawei’s executive legal team is fighting in federal court to have the redactions lifted. (Jason Proctor / CBC)

«Perception d’influence»

CSIS documents include an email, operational notes, a report and three so-called “status reports” written before and after Meng’s arrest at Vancouver Airport on December 1, 2018.

Situation reports indicate that CSIS received a word from the FBI the day before Meng’s arrest and that the American agency “would not be present to avoid the perception of influence”.

Reports indicate that the RCMP recognized the “highly political nature of the arrest” and predicted from the start that Meng’s detention “would be of great international and bilateral consequence”.

Large parts of all documents have been redacted.

In their affidavits, Hartman and Guay point out that they did not read the unredacted parts of the documents themselves, so there is no risk of them inadvertently disclosing sensitive information during the public proceedings.

Michael Spavor, on the left, and Michael Kovrig are detained by the Chinese, both accused of spying. (Associated Press / International Crisis Group / The Canadian Press)

Hartman describes the damage that Meng’s extradition case has already caused to Canada-China relations, including the suspension of imports of canola seeds and the arbitrary detentions of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor.

Kovrig and Spavor have been detained in Chinese prisons for the days immediately following Meng’s arrest. Last month, the Chinese officially accused them of spying. Canada has not had access to either of the two men since January.

Embitter Public Opinion

Hartman says the COVID-19 pandemic has only “underscored the need” for Canada to forge bilateral ties with China.

“China was a major supplier of personal protective equipment and pharmaceuticals to global supply chains and represented a significant portion of the medical supplies purchased by the Government of Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said writes Hartman.

According to him, “Canadian media coverage and public opinion on China have become increasingly negative, reflecting trends in public opinion worldwide.”

The affidavit traces the change in sentiment at the introduction of a new national security law in Hong Kong, “reports of Chinese intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders in China as well than in Canada “and a” Chinese disinformation campaign around the origins of COVID -19. ”

Photo of a video of Meng filed as part of a request for a defense of access to documents. The video was taken during his first hours of detention. (Judiciary process)

As a result, Hartman says “it is in Canada’s interest to ensure that the management of our necessary but complex engagement with China is not further affected by the public disclosure of sensitive information.”

Guay’s concerns about the redacted material are solely related to the impact it could have on national security. He writes on the importance of keeping sources confidential and on the need for CSIS to share information on the understanding that it will remain confidential.

“If foreign agencies were to lose confidence in the service’s commitment to protect confidential information from third parties, it would have a significant impact on the willingness of these agencies to provide information to the service in the future,” he said.

“A permanent role in his arrest”

In federal court documents, Meng’s lawyers say that the unredacted portions of CSIS documents clearly state that “not only was CSIS involved in communicating with the FBI and others regarding planning for the Ms. Meng’s arrest before December 1, 2018, but that CSIS had an ongoing role in the arrest. ”

As such, they also search for emails, texts, telephone records and briefing notes from CSIS as well as the identity of the authors of the reports.

Meng’s attorneys hope to use this information at upcoming British Columbia Supreme Court hearings to say that she was the victim of procedural abuse and violations of Charter rights so flagrant as the extradition should be suspended.

The 48-year affair is expected to continue until 2021. Meng has denied all allegations against her.

She lives under house arrest – dragged by security guards and forced to wear a GPS monitoring ankle strap – in one of the two multi-million dollar houses she owns on the west side of Vancouver, since being released on $ 10 million bail the week following his arrest.

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