EXCLUSIVE: China, Meng Wanzhou and Canada — how Huawei CFO’s arrest is playing out behind the scenes

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Ever since Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou landed at Vancouver’s YVR airport at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 1 to catch a connecting flight to Mexico, Canada has been placed in the middle of a battle between the world’s two greatest powers.

Meng, 46, is at the centre of allegations that Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army, has used a Hong Kong shell company known as Skycom to do business with Iran, defying U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Huawei denies the allegations.

The United States alleges Meng has been avoiding travel to the country ever since she learned of investigations into her business dealings. But when Meng landed in Vancouver and tried to pass Canadian customs on Dec. 1, she was flagged for detention and arrested by the RCMP, as the U.S. had filed proceedings for an extradition request with Canada.

Now, a high-stakes game of politics, espionage and covert surveillance operations is playing out in Vancouver, where Meng, one of China’s most powerful executives, was released on bail after a three-day hearing that was followed by media outlets worldwide.

READ MORE: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou granted bail, will live in Vancouver under electronic surveillance

Sources in law enforcement and government provided accounts of the unfolding events in British Columbia, a case that experts say has triggered a serious international crisis for Canada.

Already, China has apparently retaliated for Meng’s arrest by detaining two Canadians on national security charges, former Canadian ambassadors to China and CSIS employees say. And China has promised further revenge.

However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland told reporters Friday that China has drawn no connection between the arrests and the extradition of Meng.

WATCH: Who is Michael Spavor, the second Canadian to go missing in China?






Sources in this story could not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information they provided.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, while media outlets from around the world prepared to attend a Vancouver court hearing that would decide where Meng should stay during the pending extradition hearing — in one of her two luxurious homes in Vancouver or in jail — some elite RCMP officers already believed they had the answer.

A source told Global News the officers were saying Meng would be released later that day. They were right: Tuesday afternoon, Justice William Ehrcke released Meng on a $10-million security. Later that night, as media cameras crowded around, Meng was escorted in a protective embrace to a black Cadillac Escalade SUV by Scot Filer, a respected former RCMP geographic profiler with business experience in China, and the CEO of Lions Gate Risk Management, the private firm handling Meng’s security while she’s out on bail.

A vehicle is seen outside of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s home in Vancouver on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A source said that while some of Canada’s business leaders have suggested the country was wrong to arrest Meng because of the political and economic consequences as well as the damage China has promised to inflict, it was never an option to let her continue on her travels to Mexico, where she reportedly planned to conduct business for Huawei.


READ MORE:
‘China will take revenge’ if Canada doesn’t free Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou: Global Times editor

Extradition requests from the United States are a standard, daily occurrence to be handled by Department of Justice Canada officials, a law enforcement source familiar with the Meng case and the general process said. As long as the evidence and allegations filed by an extradition treaty partner are in order, a suspect will be detained and enter the hearing process, and there will never be political interference, the source said.


Meng has two Vancouver homes worth $22 million in total. Now that she is living in one of the homes, RCMP officers are conducting covert surveillance operations in the area at night, a source said. This is to make sure that Meng doesn’t attempt to flee Canada and to monitor whether Chinese state agents attempt to contact her, according to a source.

At this time, since Meng has few friends in Vancouver; it is only neighbours attending her home, a source said.

Agents of China’s powerful Ministry of State Security, which protects China’s national interests and conducts intelligence operations in foreign lands, are also believed to be covertly monitoring Meng, a source said. And while crowds of Meng’s supporters protested for her release this week outside a downtown Vancouver court, MSS agents were also believed to be monitoring the events.

“Absolutely, the MSS are here (watching Meng) in Vancouver,” one source said.

Supporters hold signs and a Chinese flag outside B.C. Supreme Court during the third day of a bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The RCMP did not directly answer questions for this story nor deny information provided to Global News.

In a statement, the RCMP said: “Under the terms of a consular agreement between Canada and the People’s Republic of China, the RCMP contacted Chinese consulates in Vancouver and Ottawa within hours of the arrest.”


READ MORE:
Trudeau’s justice minister will make final call on Meng Wanzhou extradition — if court approves it

Stephanie Carvin, a Carleton University professor and former strategic analyst for CSIS who was not involved in tactical operations, said China has “robust” global spy networks, and it would make sense for MSS agents in British Columbia to be conducting operations to protect China’s national interests.

“Huawei is not a normal company in any sense,” Carvin said. “It is wrapped up in Chinese nationality and represents (Chinese President) Xi Jinping’s interests as a national champion company. It doesn’t surprise me the Chinese state is taking a huge interest (in Meng’s case in British Columbia) and retaliating with these two kidnappings of Canadians in China.”

Carvin said that while the RCMP is not usually the lead agency in Canada’s counter-intelligence operations, it would make sense that the RCMP “wants to keep track of who is coming and going from Meng’s residence.”

WATCH: Supporters of Huawei and Meng Wanzhou protest for her release outside a Vancouver court house.






Meanwhile, according to B.C. political sources, there was high-level interest within the provincial government about Meng’s detention conditions.

State media in China have charged that Meng’s arrest was an affront to her dignity and human rights. In an editorial titled “Canada’s treatment of Meng Wanzhou in violation of human rights,” the Global Times claimed that Meng was “immediately handcuffed at the airport and taken to a detention facility…subjected to rude and degrading treatment…put into restraining devices used on felons.”

A source claimed that while Meng’s initial detention and bail proceedings played out, B.C. Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff Geoff Meggs allegedly took an interest in where and how Meng was detained. The source said Meggs reportedly had a call made to the office of B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth “expressing concern that they could not hold Meng in a Canada Border Services facility…(and saying Farnworth) needs to make sure she is extended courtesies.”

Meng was detained before her release at B.C.’s Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge. The CBSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the case.

The reported contact from the premier’s office to Farnworth was seen as “odd,” according to a source with knowledge of the case.

WATCH : Ralph Goodale says rumoured ban on Huawei is ‘speculation’






Meggs was not available for an interview. However, in response to requests for comment from Global News, a spokeswoman from the premier’s office said it was “our communications director (that) made an informational request about what had been reported in media about Ms. Meng.”

In an emailed response, a spokeswoman for Farnworth said: “The premier’s communications director contacted the solicitor general’s office to simply gain clarity on what was being reported on this investigation. This is standard procedure. This was a request for information only — there was no request for any change in circumstances.”

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of China’s detention of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, a source with knowledge of Canadian relations with China said that Canada should expect China to carry out threats of revenge. It has been reported that China’s MSS is handling the cases of both Kovrig and Spavor.

“The Chinese don’t just say threats,” a source said. “This would be all planned out from Beijing beforehand. If they say they will do something, they are going to do it.”

Canada is currently considering whether to take further action, such as issuing travel advisories for China, a source said. A B.C. trade mission to China has already been cancelled, and on Friday, federal Tourism Minister Melanie Joly reversed her position from Thursday, deciding to postpone a trip to China.

The situation is so volatile, a source said, that the RCMP is also considering cancelling an international police training mission to China’s mainland that is scheduled for early 2019.

sam.cooper@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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EXCLUSIVE: Secret documents say Canada’s no-fly list poses ‘national security risk,’ but a fix is still years away – National

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Canada’s so-called “no-fly list” presents both “national security and privacy risks,” according to documents created by Public Safety Canada and obtained by Global News through an access to information request.

But despite the seriousness of these risks, Canada is still roughly two years or more away from fixing problems with the current system.


READ MORE:
Federal Budget 2018: No-Fly List Kids celebrate ‘huge step’ with $80 million in federal funding

Other documents — including some marked as “SECRET” — describe possible changes the government plans to make to the existing screening process. It says these changes will reduce the risk of “listed individuals” being allowed to board planes, while also leading to “reduced national security risks related to the list being shared with third parties,” such as foreign and domestic airlines.

“Screening again[st] the [no-fly] list has been delegated to air carriers (domestic and foreign) which presents both national security and privacy risks,” said one document obtained by Global News.

Once implemented, the new system will also lead to “enhanced fairness” for Canadians falsely identified as being on the list — including children — the documents said.


READ MORE:
Pair put on U.S. no-fly list blames CSIS, seeks $6M compensation

Under the proposed changes, airlines will provide the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) with passenger information roughly 72-hours before check-in. This includes a passenger’s first and last names, date of birth and gender. Transport Canada analysts will then compare this information against the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) list to determine who is allowed to board a flight.

According to the documents, this will improve safety and privacy for Canadians by creating a “government-controlled” screening process.

“We want to make sure it’s done, but done right,” said Sulemaan Ahmed, whose nine-year-old son Adam has been mistakenly flagged as being on the list.

WATCH: Fighting to fix the No-Fly list






Ahmed is a spokesperson for the group No Fly List Kids, which represents the families of children whose names are the same or similar to those as people on the list. While he thinks the government is taking the issue of fixing the current system seriously, he says he can’t believe it’s taken so long to find possible solutions to problems the government has known about for years.

“I naively thought we’d get this resolved in six months,” he said.

Ahmed met with government officials in Ottawa two weeks ago. He says he was told a fix to the current system could be in place sometime between mid-2020 and early-2021.

But documents obtained by Global News show the new system may not be up and running until late-2022 or even early-2023 — a full two years longer than what government officials told Ahmed.

“We’re going on good faith based on what the government and Public Safety are telling us,” Ahmed said. “Our expectation is two years [before it is fixed].”

Why the delay?

A major cause for delay in implementing the new system is that the government currently has no authority to make any of its proposed changes until its massive omnibus security bill — Bill C-59 — becomes law.

The government also needs to pass Bill C-21, which gives the CBSA legal authority to create an enhanced Entry/Exit system tracking people who travel to Canada. According to the documents, holdups in implementing this system are at least partially responsible for possible delays in rolling out the new SATA screening process.


READ MORE:
No-fly list kids meet with Morneau, get ‘a really good vibe’ ahead of budget

The government also needs to work with airlines — foreign and domestic — to ensure the new rules are implemented correctly. According to the documents, this step alone could take as long as 12 months. There are also questions about whether small and remote airlines will be exempted from the new regulations, the documents said.

And while documents suggest the government was actively pursuing ways to speed up this process, there’s no indication they were successful.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government is working “as quickly as possible” to implement the new system. He said it’s clear there are issues with the way it works now — and that’s why the government is moving to fix it — but would not comment on whether the current system is in fact a national security risk as the documents indicate.

“Implementing the enhanced [no-fly list] is a substantial undertaking that will take time. It involves the passage of legislation, new regulations, the development and testing of IT systems, and air carriers adopting the new system,” said government spokesperson Scott Bardsley.

He says the way the system works now “enhances security” by identifying dangerous individuals and insists the government has “robust” measures in place to protect Canadians from possible threats.

How it works now

Under the current system, Canada provides the SATA list to 122 foreign and domestic airlines, states a recent government document provided by Ahmed.

According to another document obtained by Global News, information about the list is sometimes shared in the form of an Excel spreadsheet.

Airlines then use the list to screen passengers against information they received at the time a ticket was purchased. Anyone identified as a potential match with the list must be flagged to Transport Canada, which then notifies Public Safety.

ARCHIVE: Parents of kids on no-fly list say, “stop subjecting innocent Canadians to extra security measures’






This entire process is dependent upon airlines following the rules and making sure screening is done properly.

“The fact that these lists exist at all means they were always going to be shared with airlines in countries who might or might not be our allies,” said Brenda McPhail, director of privacy and surveillance at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“[Canadians] whose information is being shared on one of these controversial and consequential lists ought to — at a minimum — know that their government has taken adequate security precautions,” she said.


READ MORE:
Ottawa tells families caught up in no-fly list to be patient

While anyone who law enforcement believes may pose a threat to air safety or who might travel abroad to commit terrorist acts can be put on the list, getting off the list when falsely identified is far more difficult, she said.

This, combined with the fact that Public Safety apparently has concerns with the way information is being shared, should be enough for the government to reconsider the list’s continued use, she says.

“If the purpose of this list is to protect our national security and it is failing … then it’s hard to justify the existence of the list,” McPhail said.

New system to prevent ‘false-positives’

One of the biggest problems with the current system is that some people — including children — are falsely identified as being on the SATA list because their name is the same or similar to someone who is actually on the list.

For Ruby Alvi, this means worrying that one of her three sons — aged 20, 19 and 16 — could be detained while travelling abroad or potentially subjected privacy breaches just because their names are the same or similar to those as someone actually on the list.

But unlike other countries, such as the United States, Canada has no official mechanism for ensuring people falsely identified as being on the list to prove they are not a threat.

“Absolutely, it poses a security risk,” Alvi said. “I have three boys on the list. They’re not cute little kids right now that people are just going to say ‘clearly you’re not people on the list.’”

Alvi says she’s “not happy” that possible fixes to these problems could still be years away, but she agrees the government is taking this issue seriously.


READ MORE:
The flight that turned this grandmother’s life around: Woman says Air Canada unfairly kicked her off plane

“I’m relieved that they recognize sharing of personal, private information does pose a risk to people who are innocently on those lists,” she said. “Hopefully lessons will be learned from this moving forward.”

In the meantime, the “national security” and “privacy” risks described by the government will persist, while passengers such as Alvi’s sons will continue to deal with an imperfect system Alvi says violates their rights and forces them to be subjected to an unfair process.

“Everybody agrees that it doesn’t make sense for airlines to be custodians of this list,” she said. “If this is a national security issue than you would think that the government would be the people in charge.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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plus légère et plus exclusive

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NOUVEAUTÉ – La Ford GT se décline en une série limitée «Carbon», qui se débarrasse du superflu pour grappiller quelques kilos.

La nouvelle édition limitée de la Ford GT utilise des jantes en fibre de carbone, des échappements et des écrous de roues en titane, mais également un capot moteur en polycarbonate pour se délester de 18 kg. Résultat: 1465 kg (tous pleins faits) sur la balance, ce qui est très respectable quand on sait que la supercar développe 647 ch.

Pour alléger le véhicule de façon optimale, les ingénieurs de Ford Performance ont décidé de ne conserver que le strict minimum, soit la radio, le système multimédia et l’air conditionné. En revanche, les porte-gobelets et les espaces de rangement qui pouvaient paraître superflus disparaissent de l’habitacle.

Le moins que l’on puisse dire, est que cette série limitée «Carbon» porte bien son nom. La carrosserie se pare de deux bandes en fibre de carbone, assorties aux bas de caisse et aux jantes, également en carbone. À l’intérieur, ce sont les seuils de porte qui s’habillent de fibre de carbone, tout comme les sorties de ventilation d’air et la console centrale.

Les clients pourront choisir parmi quatre thèmes de couleurs en option (argent, orange, rouge ou bleu) pour personnaliser les rétroviseurs, la bande centrale et les étriers de freins. La série limitée se distingue également par ses sièges aux surpiqûres argentées reprises sur le volant, ainsi que ses palettes de changement de vitesse en aluminium et son badge spécifique sur le tableau de bord.

Le nombre exact d’exemplaires n’a pas été communiqué, mais les clients déjà sélectionnés par la marque américaine peuvent commander dès maintenant la voiture, dont l’usine Multimatic dédiée (à Markham, au Canada) peut produire un exemplaire par semaine.

Pour alléger le véhicule de façon optimale, les ingénieurs de Ford Performance ont décidé de ne conserver que le strict minimum, soit la radio, le système multimédia et l'air conditionné.
Pour alléger le véhicule de façon optimale, les ingénieurs de Ford Performance ont décidé de ne conserver que le strict minimum, soit la radio, le système multimédia et l’air conditionné. FREERS PHOTOGRAPHY LLC

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Exclusive: Bay Ferries set to move the CAT’s American port to Bar Harbour, Maine – Halifax

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Bay Ferries Ltd., is set to shift the American port of call for its high-speed ferry service from Portland, Maine to Bar Harbour, Maine, pending approval of a five-year lease agreement from the Bar Harbour Town Council.

The ferry — better known as the CAT — currently provides service between Yarmouth, N.S. and Portland, Maine. But the lease agreement between Bay Ferries and the City of Portland is set to expire on Nov. 15.

Bay Ferries has an option to renew for another year, and must notify Portland of its decision by Oct. 15. The City of Portland says that as of Tuesday, they have not been notified by Bay Ferries of their decision.

But a draft version of a lease agreement between Bar Harbour and Bay Ferries indicates that a move is well on its way to becoming reality, with the lease agreement — if passed — set to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2018.

The Bar Harbour Town Council will consider the lease on Oct. 16.

READ MORE: CAT’s August ridership numbers largest in service history, more needed to meet passenger targets

The draft lease agreement obtained by Global News outlines the five-year deal under consideration.

Set to expire on October 31, 2023, the agreement will bring with it a significant cost that Bay Ferries Ltd., and the province — who provides a $10 million annual subsidy to the service — must bear.

Bay Ferries Nova Scotia will need to carry out some improvements to the ferry terminal in Bar Harbour so that the CAT can use it.  The lease says that ramp structures will need to be installed at the terminal, including fixed and floating bridges, supporting pontoons, hydraulic cylinders and a transition ramp and apron.

Other improvements that Bay Ferries must make to the terminal include improving the customs operations area so that it is suitable for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, the ferry zone so that ticket booths, security fencing and security cameras can be installed and making “signficate structural alterations” to the terminal.

Officials with Bar Harbour have previously estimated those costs to be US$3 million, with town manager Cornell Knight previously saying that Bay Ferries has offered to front the cash needed to make it happen.

It’s not clear which improvements are included in that $3 million estimate.

The Nova Scotia government will also be on the hook for $1 million as they are set to guarantee the lease itself.

“Bay Ferries is in discussions with US Customs and Border and the Coast Guard and preparing cost estimates for renovations/improvements,” Knight said in an email on Tuesday.


Service to Bar Harbour

According to the lease agreement, the CAT will arrive in Bar Harbour around “mid-day” and will leave at approximately 3 p.m.

The vessel will then overnight in Yarmouth, N.S.

Bay Ferries can renew the lease for a two-year period, although it must give notice to Bar Harbour that it intends to do so by August 2, 2023.

A request for comment from Mark MacDonald, CEO and President of Bay Ferries Ltd., has gone unanswered.

Nova Scotia’s Minister of Transportation said in July that the province would not stand in the way of a move for the CAT. 

On Tuesday the province continued to remain tight lipped on the issue.

“We continue to discuss the situation with Bay Ferries but are not at any key decision points at this stage,” said Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for the province’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

READ MORE: CAT service could move from Portland to Bar Harbour by 2019, says Nova Scotia Minister

The Nova Scotia government inked a 10-year agreement with Bay Ferries to restart the service back in 2016.

The department’s executive director of finance, Diane Saurette, has previously told Global News that there would be significant savings in annual operating costs for Bay Ferries if the service were to move. Bar Harbor is closer to Nova Scotia and the move would reduce fuel costs.

“I don’t want to say it’s exciting, but there’s opportunity there and so we have to look at — both Portland and Bar Harbor are great ports. There (are) advantages and disadvantages to both.”

The Nova Scotia government put up nearly $1.5 million earlier this year to upgrade the Portland ferry terminal, as ordered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

 

 

The agency had warned that without nearly US$7 million in upgrades, the facility would not meet federal standards.

The province’s investment was in equipment required to keep the ferry running this year and Hines said the equipment is portable and could be moved if needed.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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These Old-School Stuffed Shells Will Make You Feel Like a Member of an Exclusive Club

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When I set out to make the Stuffed Shells with Marinara from Palizzi Social Club in Philadelphia, BA’s fourth Best New Restaurant in 2017, I had no idea that I wouldn’t be able to go to Palizzi to try the officially-sanctioned shells.

See, you need a membership (or a friend with a membership) to dine at PSC, as I’m calling it, and less than a week after being awarded the spot on BA’s list, they stopped accepting any new members—a freeze they have yet to lift.

But I can’t be mad. This recipe is so good (and so simple!), I don’t need to go the restaurant any time soon. (Though let’s be clear: I still want to.)

Is Molly Baz a Palizzi Social Club member?!

Stuffed shells, according to chef-owner Joey Baldino, are one of those “lost and forgotten old-school Italian-American dishes”—the kind of comfort food that appeared in the buffet spreads at the baptisms, weddings, and funerals held at the club when it first opened nearly a century ago. Baldino keeps his rendition as true to the original recipe as he can: nothing too complicated, with fresh tomato sauce and a ricotta-mozzarella filling.

Now, I took a couple of, um, liberties here. First, my giant shells weren’t all that big (they were jumbo shells in the “jumbo shrimp” sense of the word, meaning they were still quite small). Second, I skipped the recommended marinara for an Instant Pot version so that I could avoid any stirring whatsoever. (If you, too, are going it on your own with the sauce, a warning: I made the mistake of adding too much carrot, which made the sauce sweeter than I would have liked. Learn from my error!) Third, I did not have enough ricotta, so I used some roasted garlic-ricotta that I had leftover from making the new Broccoli and Garlic-Ricotta Toasts along with some heavy cream. And, lastly, I added lots of fresh basil (you can’t sleep on that stuff—it wilts if you avert your eyes even for a second), both to the filling and as garnish.

Hot Ten   Palizzi   Interior

Photo by Alex Lau

The interior of Palizzi, which you may never see in person.

Should I be ashamed of my deviation? It all worked out in the end: four of us nearly finished the whole “serves 8” recipe. Plus, Baldino told me that “if you’re cooking with high-quality ingredients, taking your time, and putting in some love, it’s going to turn out really well.” And he was right! (But also, make sure your filling is well-seasoned with salt and pepper.)

So, yes, try to find a friend with a PSC membership so that you can eat the real thing, straight from Baldino himself. But if you have no member-friends (or no friends at all…), don’t be sad: Make these at home and it’s almost like you’re there.

Get the recipe:

stuffed-shells-with-marinara.jpg

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