International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
July 12, 2019
'This isn't about national security': Civil liberties group publishes CSIS reports related to spying
Canadian Press 08/07/2019 - The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has released thousands of heavily redacted documents by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in regards to allegations the agency had spied on peaceful protesters of the now-defunct Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The BCCLA has uploaded all the documents to a searchable website .

The CSIS-disclosed documents had been held under a confidentiality order by the Security Intelligence Review Committee [SIRC], Canada's spy agency watchdog, which recently expired. "What we've now received is a huge volume of secret evidence that we didn't get to see at all before," said Paul Champ, a lawyer with Champ and Associates representing the BCCLA.Champ told CBC's Early Edition host Stephen Quinn the documents show over 500 CSIS reports about individuals or groups who had been protesting the pipeline proposal. "[It] raises concerns that this isn't about national security, but it's about protecting the economic interests of Canada's energy sector and, in our view, that's completely beyond CSIS' mandate," he said.

The civil liberties association first challenged CSIS' actions in 2014 with a complaint to SIRC alleging the agency was spying on pipeline opponents. The association further claimed the information was being shared with the National Energy Board and the petroleum industry. During private hearings with SIRC, CSIS disclosed the now-available documents. The complaint was dismissed, however, when the review committee concluded information had only been gathered on peaceful protesters as a by-product of investigations into legitimate threats, not as the goal. The BCCLA has been working to overturn the watchdog's dismissal in Federal Court.

The newly disclosed documents reveal Canada's spy service routinely welcomed reports from the energy industry about perceived threats and kept such information in its files in case it might prove useful later. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is supposed to retain only information that is "strictly necessary" to do its job, and the spy agency is now facing questions about whether it collected and hung on to material about groups or people who posed no real threat.

Advocacy and environmental groups Leadnow, the Dogwood Initiative and the Council of Canadians are mentioned in the thousands of pages of CSIS operational reports scrutinized by the review committee. "This is something we don't expect to experience here in Canada," says Alexandra Woodsworth with Dogwood BC. Especially concerning, she says, is how the document suggest CSIS shared their information with fossil fuel companies. "Our tax dollars are being used to spy on Canadians to benefit the fossil fuel industry," said Woodsworth. "A government that appears to be working more to safeguard the interests of big oil than to safeguard the interests of its citizens." Read more - Lire plus

ICLMG's Tim McSorley on the op-ed: " If you challenge authority, expect CSIS to spy on you"
Twitter 11/07/2019 - It's true: we shouldn't be surprised that groups that challenge power, status quo, are spied on. Also important to remember that this doesn't mean we shouldn't push back on that surveillance speak out about its impact on our rights, and demand accountability and transparency. BCCLA, Paul Champ and all the groups involved are doing such important work on this front. We can also see the rhetoric of the Harper years - "foreign funded extremists" - returning with the Kenney government, and it wouldn't be surprising to see it become prominent in the elections.

The last thing, not in the column, but also important: who is it reviewing the work of CSIS? Yves Fortier, the SIRC member who reviewed the case, is a respected lawyer. But also used to sit on pipeline company TransCanada's board: Spy Watchdog's Links To Big Oil Spark Complaint. TransCanada's Keystone XL was a target for protests at the time of these hearings, and Fortier held stocks in the company, but he did not recuse himself from this case: Spy watchdog owns TransCanada shares while investigating complaints of CSIS spying on activists . Others have raised similar concerns about SIRC members and their affiliations in the past: NDP disapproved of spy watchdog picks. So we need to be vigilant both about the work of Canada's spy agencies, but also about who it is who is holding them to account. Source + Source
BCCLA releases Protest Papers showing CSIS surveillance of pipeline activists
Straight 08/07/2019 - According to the BCCLA, these actions allegedly deterred people from expressing their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association. “People can look at these documents and decide for themselves,” BCCLA staff lawyer Meghan McDermott said in a news release. “If CSIS claims it wasn’t tracking conservation groups in B.C., why did they collect thousands of pages of files relating to groups who engaged in peaceful advocacy and protest? Why are the witnesses in the hearing—staff and volunteers from different nonprofit groups—still under a legal gag order, forever forbidden from repeating what they said in the hearing? It is a shocking violation of their freedom of expression.”

SIRC held an in-camera hearing in 2015 and acknowledged that "ancillary information" might have been gathered on people who were not targets of any CSIS probes. In the end, SIRC cleared CSIS of any wrongdoing. The BCCLA stated that a "gag order" remains in effect on witnesses at the hearing. Meanwhile, environmental groups are raising an alarm about the threat that CSIS's action poses to democratic discourse in Canada.

“Our movements are about justice," senior campaign specialist and prominent Indigenous activist Clayton Thomas-Müller said in the BCCLA news release. "To spy on and criminalize Indigenous dissent, then, is to repress Indigenous rights in Canada, and our responsibilities to protect the land. We are transparent, open, base-driven movements that take a nonviolent, peaceful direct action approach. "The state is surveilling and criminalizing Indigenous peoples who are acting within their right to exercise jurisdiction over their lands," he continued. "This is an abuse of democracy and the nation to nation relationship between Indigenous nations and the state. It is clearly about providing a right-of-way for the mining and energy sector.”

Caitlyn Vernon of Sierra Club B.C. questioned why anyone speaking up for clean drinking water and air free from wildfire smoke should be deemed an enemy of the state. "Carbon pollution from the oil industry is causing extreme weather, hitting our communities with flooding, wildfires and drought. Illegal spying on concerned residents trying to protect themselves from the impacts of fossil fuels is an attack on our freedoms and our future," she said. "We won’t stand for it.”'s Sven Biggs said that allowing CSIS "to spy on the activities of peaceful, democratically engaged Canadians in order to inform multinational oil companies is the mark of a petrostate. This is a tactic aligned with antidemocratic regimes around the world," he added. "Our leaders need to shore up the integrity of our institutions to protect Canada from the global trend toward the erosion of democracy." The BCCLA is challenging the gag order imposed by the committee. Read more - Lire plus

Trans Mountain protesters warned they may already be under surveillance
The Toronto Star 29/06/2019 - Trans Mountain opponents are prepping for what is expected to be a summer of protest against the pipeline expansion project, but experts fear police and private security teams already have them under surveillance.

Corporate security teams for major energy companies have long worked hand in hand with the RCMP and CSIS to deter protesters who are seen as potential eco-terrorists, according to a paper published by two academics in 2016. Its authors suggest the same situation is likely with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Drawing from internal RCMP memos obtained through Access To Information and Privacy requests, they found both sides collect a broad range of mundane information, including the attendance of peaceful protests and anti-infrastructure comments made on blogs.

For a protester caught up in this surveillance, the consequences can be quite real. Kevin Walby, an associate professor in the department of criminal justice at the University of Winnipeg and one of the paper’s co-authors, gave a hypothetical. Photos of a particular protester might be taken by corporate security agents, shared with police officers, and then used to pull them out of a crowd at a protest even if they haven’t committed an offense. “It raises the profile of any given activist, making it more likely that police will target them,” Walby said. [...]

Once a person’s information is in the hands of the RCMP or CSIS, Canadian national security law also allows it to be shared between a wide range of government departments under certain circumstances. Bill C-59, which recently received royal assent, grants permission to do so if the person in question is involved in “significant or widespread interference” with critical infrastructure. Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties’ Association’s privacy, technology and surveillance project, said significant or widespread interference with “critical infrastructure,” such as a pipeline, could qualify. She explained that C-59 contains a rider exempting constitutionally-protected acts of advocacy, protest, dissent, or artistic expression — unless they’re conducted in conjunction with an activity that does.

“Increasingly, security forces view protests as potential sites of violence rather than constitutionally protected spaces to express dissatisfaction or political opinion,” she said. The word “significant” also isn’t well-defined in the legislation, McPhail said, making it unclear where and when it would take effect. “Would a non-violent but long-term occupation of a potential mine site be significant?” she asked. “Or the same thing with an occupation of the pipeline site, like a blockade. How long would it have to happen for it to be significant?” [...]

The stakeholder briefings “provide a forum for the private sector to brief the Canadian intelligence and law-enforcement community on issues we would not normally be privy to,” according to the internal RCMP documents obtained by Monaghan and Walby. In one example of this co-operation, Enbridge surveilled a peaceful protest of no more than 50 people outside Hardisty Terminal during the approval process for the Northern Gateway pipeline. That information later showed up in a situational awareness report provided to Alberta’s Counter-Terrorism Crisis Management Plan.

Surveillance of activists can also include the use of algorithms or scrapers designed to monitor social media accounts remotely, McPhail explained. Monaghan and Walby’s research suggests the RCMP also conduct their own on-the-ground surveillance, particularly of Indigenous groups. In one exchange, RCMP officers warned of the “possibility of activities” related to Northern Gateway environmental protests at an all-Indigenous basketball tournament in Prince Rupert, B.C. Read more - Lire plus
Editorial: What CSIS ought to investigate instead
The Rossland Telegraph 09/07/2019 - I agree that CSIS should work to protect critical infrastructure and national security in Canada from threats. But first, CSIS should understand what truly constitutes critical infrastructure and what the real threats to it, and national security, are. Of course, our federal government must understand those things first. At present, it doesn’t seem to.

Hint: recent studies have determined that forests are among our most critical infrastructure for combatting climate change – especially mature forests. People are beginning to realize that wetlands are critical infrastructure for filtering and retaining water. Healthy oceans are critical infrastructure for maintaining fisheries, not to mention atmospheric oxygen levels. A stable climate is critical infrastructure for food production -- and so much more that is necessary to human civilization.   

An October , 2014, report  titled “Climate Change Threatens National Security Says Pentagon” refers to a speech made that month by then US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in which he identified climate change as a “threat multiplier” … “because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we already confront today – from infectious disease to armed insurgencies – and to produce new challenges in the future.” That report also includes a statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the 50th Munich Security Conference held in January, 2014, that "Climate change is every much a security threat as an armed group bent on plunder".

These reports and quotes are now dated; in the past five years, climate change has accelerated and has come to be officially acknowledged by many levels of government, including our own federal government, as a crisis. Yet our government and its intelligence agencies seem intent on ignoring and discrediting all those activists, and even scientists, working for effective action on the most dire and permanent threat to our national security and our economy: the climate crisis. Instead, they are focusing on protecting industries that threaten the very conditions that keep our society and economy viable. [...]

I strongly suggest that CSIS and the RCMP should be investigating the undue influence of the petroleum industry (and others) on government decision-making, rather than the actions of citizens intent on preserving life for the longer term in earth’s biosphere. Our government urgently needs to update its priorities – for the sake of our national security. Read more - Lire plus
'Protesters as terrorists': growing number of states turn anti-pipeline activism into a crime
The Guardian 08/07/2019 - From the Standing Rock camps in North Dakota to tree-sits in Texas, activists have attempted to stop pipeline construction with massive shows of civil disobedience. Now they could be forced to change those tactics, or face heavy penalties under a wave of new anti-protest laws that civil liberties advocates say violate the first amendment.

Conservative lawmakers have put forward laws criminalizing protests that disrupt the construction and operation of pipelines in at least 18 states since 2017.
  • Seven states have passed laws that ratchet up the penalties for activists protesting or even planning protests of oil and gas pipelines and other “critical infrastructure”
  • At least six more states are considering such laws
  • In each case, misdemeanors are elevated to felonies, and criminal and civil punishments are escalated drastically
  • The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights have mounted challenges against such laws in Louisiana and South Dakota.

“This is a trend that shows no sign of slowing, let alone stopping,” said Elly Page, who has been tracking anti-protest legislation for more than two years as a legal adviser for the International Center for Non-Profit Law. The laws purport to only criminalize violence and property damage in service of pipeline safety, but critics say their greater intent appears to be to deter nonviolent civil disobedience by framing it as potentially violent in itself. The bills have mostly found fertile legislative ground in places where gas and oil companies already wield significant political and economic power and where anti-fossil fuel protests have been especially successful. But watchdogs say there’s every reason to believe more of these types of laws will be passed, and that they will chill activism otherwise protected by the first amendment.

“This is a miscasting of protesters as economic terrorists and saboteurs when in fact they’re going out and having their voices heard about why these pipelines are problematic for their communities and the environment,” said Vera Eidelman, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “Even if folks haven’t been charged, the fact that these laws are on the books can seriously chill people and make them fearful of getting their voices out,” she added. Read more - Lire plus 
Cedar Hopperton will stay in jail following heated speech at Hamilton city hall
CBC News 08/07/2019 - Cedar Hopperton, a Hamilton anarchist who's been behind bars following a heated speech at a city hall public meeting, will continue to have their parole revoked. Hopperton, 33, has been in jail since June 22. That's when police arrested Hopperton following a speech about violence between far right demonstrators and a group of people in pink masks at a Pride festival a week earlier.

Initially, Hamilton police said Hopperton was at Pride and included both allegations as violations of parole conditions in its submission to the board. But Hopperton's lawyer, Asaf Rashid, say the allegation of being at Pride got little attention at the parole board hearing. Instead, the board ruled on whether Hopperton was inciting violence in an anti-police speech. Rashid argued that Hopperton had a right to freedom of expression, especially in Hamilton city council chambers. "It basically baffles me," Rashid said. "It's a very disappointing decision, and it basically speaks to the very poor recognition of the rights of a person that is on parole."

Hopperton — who uses the pronoun they — gave the speech after several people were injured at a June 15 Pride festival at Hamilton's Gage Park. A group of self-appointed street preachers with homophobic signs arrived at the park with loud speakers and cameras. A masked group of people associated with The Tower, a local anarchist social space, blocked the protesters with a large black portable barrier. The incident devolved in a violent clash between the people with homophobic signs and Pride supporters. A week later, police arrested Hopperton, who was on parole for their role in  anti-gentrification vandalism on Locke Street a year earlier. The Crown described Hopperton as "the ringleader" of the Locke Street incident.

In a June 22 media release, police said Hopperton violated parole "in (the) Pride Hamilton disturbance" for "participating in a public demonstration where peace was disrupted." Police eventually admitted, however, that Hopperton's speech at a June 18 "community conversation" held by city council's LGBTQ advisory committee was part of why they reported Hopperton to the Ontario Parole Board. In the provocative speech, made amid numerous frustrated speeches from LGBTQ residents, Hopperton said they are "not part of any community that includes police." Read more - Lire plus

It’s Time for the Democratic Candidates to Confront Islamophobia
TruthOut 09/07/2019 - In 2016, Donald Trump ran for president, in part, on banning Muslims. The Muslim Ban was a product of his first month in office. So, it would have been logical for Democratic candidates to express their concerns about the Muslim Ban and emphasize their commitment to upholding our nation’s constitutional ideals of protecting religious minorities. But at the first round of Democratic presidential debates of the campaign season, none but one of the 20 candidates on stage even mentioned Muslims or the Muslim Ban. On Wednesday night, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “I’m proud to have been the first governor to stand up against Donald Trump’s heinous Muslim ban.” Aside from this one comment, however, Muslims didn’t come up. This was not surprising to most Muslims. After all, presidential candidates probably do not want to jeopardize their likeability in the minds of the U.S. public by expressing support for Muslims in a deeply anti-Muslim nation.

On June 4, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to make sense of the disproportionate attachment of the “terrorism” label to Muslim lawbreakers over their white supremacist counterparts. FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity confirmed her worst suspicions: The label is reserved for foreign groups, and in the eyes of our government, Muslims are foreign, white supremacists are not. At the congressional Confronting White Supremacy House Hearing, McGarrity blamed Congress for the discrepancy because Congress “does not have a statute for domestic terrorism like we do for a Foreign Terrorist Organization like ISIS, al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab.” McGarrity is correct: No such statute exists.

Nor can white supremacist criminals be assigned terrorism charges because the State Department has reserved the terrorism label for Muslim and Islamic organizations. Out of more than 60 designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations in the entire world, all but 11 are from Muslim-majority countries. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups are nowhere to be found on these lists. McGarrity was essentially acknowledging that the entire concept of terrorism is enshrined upon racist “othering” of Muslims and Muslim groups.

The point is not that we must label white supremacist organizations terrorist. It is that the term terrorist is racially charged, and specifically deployed against Muslims in a way that can cause even progressive politicians to distance themselves from their Muslim constituents. Any proposal to solve the racist nature of terrorism charges — and, more broadly, anti-Muslim racism in the U.S. — must contemplate the historical application of the term. Read more - Lire plus
China accused of rapid campaign to take Muslim children from their families
The Guardian 05/07/2019 - China is reportedly separating Muslim children from their families, religion and language, and is engaged in a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools for them.
The attempts to “remove children from their roots” exists in parallel to Beijing’s ongoing detention of an estimated 1 million Uighur adults from the western Xinjiang region in camps and sweeping crackdown on the rights of the minority group, the BBC reported . “I don’t know who is looking after them,” one mother told the BBC, pointing to a picture of her three young daughters. “There is no contact at all.”

The BBC says its investigation is based on publicly available documents, and backed up by dozens of interviews with family members living overseas. In 60 separate interviews, parents and other relatives gave details of the disappearance of more than 100 children in Xinjiang , all of them Uighurs – members of the region’s largest and mostly Muslim ethnic group. “I heard that they’ve been taken to an orphanage,” another woman said, holding a photograph of her four children. In one township alone, more than 400 children have lost one or more parents to either the camps or prison, it reports.

A Chinese state media outlet called overseas reports on China’s mass detainment of Uighur Muslims in internment camps “fake news” and published detailed denials of eight “rumours”, on the 10th anniversary of the Urumqi riots, in which at least 140 people were killed and 828 injured. Many Uighurs say the riots precipitated the increasing oppression of Muslims in the region. “Despite China’s efforts to tell what is really happening in Xinjiang, some western media and politicians insist on making and spreading fake news,” said an editorial in the Global Times, a tabloid run by the official newspaper of the Chinese communist party, the People’s Daily.

The denials contradict well-documented evidence from media outlets and researchers. China initially denied the existence of the camps in Xinjiang, which is home to about 12 million Muslims. But last year, it began rebranding them as “free vocational training”, claiming those detained within them are taught language, culture and vocational skills.
The editorial, published shortly after midnight, denies Uighurs are being targeted and mistreated, that the state is looking to wipe out their history and culture, and that they were sent to “vocational training centres” for being Muslim. It also denies there were a million people being held at these centres, says the camps were there for “counter-terrorism and deradicalisation efforts”, and the centres existed to “nip terrorist activities in the bud”. Read more - Lire plus

The Massive Perils of the Latest U.N. Resolution on Terrorism
Just Security 08/07/2019 - Counter-terrorism regulation by the United Nations Security Council that invokes Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter has expanded exponentially since 9/11. I have previously outlined my concerns that this expansion undermines the traditional basis of consent for international lawmaking, undercuts the protection of human rights, creates an unequal exercise and burden of power between States on the Security Council and those that are not, and chips away at the sovereignty of States that do not sit on the Council.

Another resolution along these lines is pending this month, this time on the linkages between international terrorism and organized crime. Whether or not it is based on Chapter VII or another chapter of the Charter, not only do these concerns arise again, but the proposal expands Security Council regulation anew in the area of domestic criminal law. My concerns with this resolution are multifold:
  • This regulatory seizure was not, per se, intended by the drafters of the Charter.
  • Many States may be unaware of the implications for their sovereignty.
  • The potential diminution of protection of human and constitutional rights under domestic law is massive.
  • The lack of transparency in the process that produces such binding obligations is jaw-dropping.

The draft resolution is being offered by Peru, and an Open Debate is proposed for the Security Council on July 9, with likely adoption of the resolution the following week. While I have not been officially provided a copy (human rights input to the Security Council from specialized U.N. entities such as mine on draft resolutions can be offered, but such advice is not hardwired into the system), an advanced draft is in circulation.

By way of background, before 9/11, the Security Council was reasonably active on counter-terrorism issues, but importantly, relevant resolutions were linked to particular situations. Examples include U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 748 on Libya (1992); UNSCR 1054 and UNSCR 1070 on Sudan (1996); and UNSCR 1267 on Afghanistan setting up a system of targeted sanctions against the Taliban leadership (1999). Notably, prior to 9/11, no Chapter VII resolutions existed that imposed a legal duty on states to introduce specific kinds of domestic counter-terrorism legislation. Moreover, while treaty making was dominant in the regulation of terrorism before 9/11 and remains important today, it has been overtaken by the assertive role adopted by the Security Council in regulating state responses to terrorism via resolutions. Read more - Lire plus
U.K. proposal to ‘Bcc’ law enforcement on messaging apps threatens global privacy
The Conversation 04/07/2019 - The term “ghost protocol” might remind you of a famous blockbuster starring Tom Cruise , but here it applies to a new proposal by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the United Kingdom . The GCHQ is the British equivalent of the United States National Security Agency , and the proposal’s function is to give law enforcement power to listen in on encrypted communications (like those on WhatsApp, for example).

It’s not the first time the British government has taken aim at encrypted communication: in 2017, then Home Secretary Amber Rudd called for end-to-end encryption to be banned, claiming “real people” don’t need it . Rudd’s comment reflected tremendous ignorance about how modern communication works. The proposal, referred to informally as ghost protocol, is a more strategic attack on privacy, packaged in security rhetoric that hides technical, personal and societal implications. In an open letter to GCHQ , 47 signatories — including Apple, Google and WhatsApp — have urged the agency to abandon its plans.

[...] Ghost protocogets around this problem by proposes that law enforcement can be added as an invisible participant to a conversation. Alice, in conversation with Bob, would then encrypt every message twice, using both Bob’s public key and the public key for law enforcement. Alice would be unaware of law enforcement’s ability to access her conversation. Framing this as an action that could only be taken if legally approved and only in situations where there is sufficient evidence to justify it sounds reasonable, but ghost protocol completely disregards the many technical implications of modifying software to support a ghost user.

It would require messaging apps to change how keys are negotiated among participants , adding complexity and therefore increasing the potential for security vulnerabilities. By requiring apps to hide participants, it would undermine authentication mechanisms, introducing new potential vulnerabilities and eroding user trust in the service. It would also effectively create a backdoor that could be exploited by messaging apps themselves — for example, a company employee who wants to stalk a co-worker. This would create a single point of failure: should a malicious attacker hack into the messaging app system, they would then be able to inject themselves as a silent listener into any conversation. Read more - Lire plus
Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops
Vice 12/07/2019 - Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis. The company acts as an information management service for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, corporations like JP Morgan and Airbus , and dozens of other local, state, and federal agencies. It’s been described by scholars as a “secondary surveillance network,” since it extensively catalogs and maps interpersonal relationships between individuals, even those who aren't suspected of a crime. Palantir software is instrumental to the operations of ICE, which is planning one of the largest-ever targeted immigration enforcement raids this weekend on thousands of undocumented families. Activists argue raids of this scale would be impossible without software like Palantir. But few people outside the company and its customers know how its software works or what its specific capabilities and user interfaces are.

Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a " fusion center ," a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir. Fusion centers have become a target of civil liberties groups in part because they collect and aggregate data from so many different public and private entities.

The Palantir user guide shows that police can start with almost no information about a person of interest and instantly know extremely intimate details about their lives. The capabilities are staggering, according to the guide:
  • If police have a name that’s associated with a license plate, they can use automatic license plate reader data to find out where they’ve been, and when they’ve been there. This can give a complete account of where someone has driven over any time period.
  • With a name, police can also find a person's email address, phone numbers, current and previous addresses, bank accounts, social security number(s), business relationships, family relationships, and license information like height, weight, and eye color, as long as it's in the agency's database.
  • The software can map out a person's family members and business associates of a suspect, and theoretically, find the above information about them, too.
Egypt: Detainees trapped in ‘revolving doors’ of prison system as authorities bypass release orders
Amnesty International 10/07/2019 - The Egyptian authorities’ growing trend of re-imprisoning people who have been arbitrarily detained, instead of complying with court orders to release them is an alarming signal of how decayed the country’s justice system has become, said Amnesty International. The organization has documented the cases of five individuals, where the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) bypassed court orders to release them from arbitrary detention by imprisoning them in new cases based on fabricated charges, in a bid to keep them behind bars indefinitely. [...]

Amnesty International interviewed lawyers and family members and examined media statements and video footage to document five cases. In each case, the individual had been initially subjected to enforced disappearance or incommunicado detention upon their arrest and was later brought before the SSSP, who ordered their detention pending investigation on the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization” in relation to their legitimate activities or for baseless accusations. Their detention was then repeatedly renewed - in some cases for months or even years- before a judge finally ordered their release on probation. However, in each case, instead of ordering the individual’s release, the SSSP charged them with fresh offences, using the same or similar charges, and imprisoned them once again. During their prolonged pre-trial detention, each detainee was only questioned during the first week of their detention. Read more - Lire plus
Pentagon Document Shows U.S. Knew of “Credible” Reports of Civilian Casualties After Its Attacks in Somalia
The Intercept 10/07/2019 - On April 1, 2018, the U.S. military carried out an airstrike near El Buur, a town in central Somalia. A press release issued by U.S. Africa Command a day later announced that the attack killed five “terrorists” and destroyed one vehicle. In reality, these “terrorists” included a civilian woman and a child.

AFRICOM, however, told the world a different story. “We assess no civilians were killed in this airstrike,” the command claimed , a regular feature of press releases following U.S. attacks in Somalia . A year later, AFRICOM publicly admitted those two, but only those two, civilian deaths. “This is our first confirmed civilian casualty incident in Somalia,” AFRICOM’s chief spokesperson, John Manley, told The Intercept in the aftermath of the reversal.

AFRICOM contends that hundreds of airstrikes and commando missions in the past 10 years have killed or injured only two civilians in Somalia. This flies in the face of scores of local accounts as well as investigations by international journalists and human rights organizations, including a recent report by Amnesty International. And The Intercept has obtained an AFRICOM document, through the Freedom of Information Act, that shows the command itself has long been aware of multiple attacks that left civilians dead or wounded following operations by U.S. or allied forces. Read more - Lire plus
FBI’s Leniency Toward Border Vigilante Contrasts With Harsh Treatment of “Black Identity Extremist”
The Intercept 07/07/2019 - Larry Hopkins, the Patriots’ leader, was arrested and charged in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico with being a felon in possession of firearms. News reports suggested a cause-and-effect relationship between the immigrant roundup and the arrest. “This militia group detained migrants at the border,” a CNN headline read . “Then their leader got arrested.” But while outrage generated by the video may have driven the government to arrest Hopkins, the charge against him has nothing to do with kidnapping terrified people and their children at gunpoint. In fact, the charge against Hopkins relates to an incident that occurred more than 18 months earlier, when FBI agents found the militia leader with a cache of weapons and suspected him of plotting to kill Democratic Party leaders and funders. At the time, federal officials chose not to charge Hopkins. The FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment about the investigation or the timing of Hopkins’s prosecution.

Hopkins’s case is emblematic of how the FBI and federal prosecutors often treat right-wing extremists, ignoring offenses or bringing lesser charges for crimes that would almost certainly result in aggressive federal prosecutions if they were committed by other types of extremists. Take the case of Christopher Daniels, an African-American gun rights advocate, who came to the FBI’s attention around the same time Hopkins did. The FBI raided both men’s homes within months of each other and, in both cases, found weapons they had reason to believe should not have been there. But in Hopkins’s case, the FBI decided merely to confiscate the guns and wait 18 months before doing anything else, whereas in Daniels’s, the FBI quickly arrested him. While Hopkins remained free to terrorize immigrants, Daniels was jailed for five months, losing his home and his job.

The primary difference between them wasn’t just race, but ideology. Federal agents appeared to make a clear decision to view Hopkins, a right-wing militia leader, as less dangerous than Daniels, a supposed “black identity extremist.” The term was coined by the FBI Counterterrorism Division to describe a supposed ideology based on the theory that police brutality against African-Americans justifies retaliatory violence. Critics have questioned whether “black identity extremism” exists at all , describing it as “fiction” and “fantasy.” This double standard is common in federal prosecutions. An Intercept analysis earlier this year found that right-wing extremists are rarely prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws, even when their crimes meet the federal definition of terrorism. Since the 9/11 attacks, just 34 right-wing extremists have been charged under anti-terrorism laws, compared to more than 500 alleged international terrorists, according to The Intercept’s analysis. Read more - Lire plus
Report Shows How War Profiteers Are Now Refugee Profiteers, Too
Common Dreams 04/07/2019 - As Europe comes to terms with a Brexit vote fueled in large part by anti-immigrant hate-mongering, a new report exposes how war profiteers are influencing EU policy to make money from unending Middle East conflicts as well as the wave of refugees created by that same instability and violence. The report (pdf), Border Wars: The Arms Dealers Profiting from Europe's Refugee Tragedy, released jointly by the European Stop Wapenhandel and Transnational Institute (TNI) on Monday, outlines arms traders' pursuit of profit in the 21st century's endless conflicts.

"There is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union's investment in 'securing' its borders,'" the report finds. "They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements." The report shows that "far from being passive beneficiaries of EU largesse, these corporations are actively encouraging a growing securitization of Europe's borders, and willing to provide ever more draconian technologies to do this." In the past decade, the report says, corporate players have viewed intractable Middle East warfare as a windfall: "Several large international arms companies cited instability in the Middle East to assure investors about future prospects for their business. The arms companies are assisted by European governments, which actively promote European arms in the region and are very reluctant, to say the least, to impose stricter arms export policies."

Indeed, "from 2005 to 2014, EU member states granted arms exports license to the Middle East and North Africa worth over 82 billion euros," according to the report.
The report details how a steady flow of arms from outside the Middle East supplies all players in multi-part conflicts, such as Syria's civil war, with an endless supply of high-tech weaponry—thus ensuring that those conflicts endure. And as these wars create more and more refugees who seek asylum in Europe, the very same corporations are lobbying the EU to 'securitize' its borders against them—thus creating additional profit for those in the business of militarization. Moreover, Stop Wapenhandel and TNI found "industry representatives, government officials and military and security personnel meet around the year at conferences, fairs and round tables." Read more - Lire plus

ICE Just Quietly Opened Three New Detention Centers, Flouting Congress’ Limits
Mother Jones 09/07/2019 - When members of Congress reached a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown in February, they gave Immigration and Customs Enforcement a simple instruction: Stop detaining so many people. Instead, ICE pushed its detention population to an all-time high of 54,000 people, up from about 34,000 on an average day in 2016 and well above the 40,520 target Congress set for ICE.

Now, just after Congress rejected another request for more detention money, ICE is continuing to spend money it hasn’t been given. Mother Jones has learned that ICE has started using three new for-profit immigration detention centers in the Deep South in recent weeks. One of them has seen the death of three inmates following poor medical treatment and a violent riot in 2012 that left a guard dead.

Interviews with lawyers and prison officials and ICE records reveal that the agency has begun detaining migrants at the Adams County Correctional Center, a Mississippi prison operated by CoreCivic; the Catahoula Correctional Center, a Louisiana jail run by LaSalle Corrections; and the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center, run by GEO Group in Basile, Louisiana. ICE has not previously disclosed its use of the Adams County and Catahoula centers, though GEO Group did announce in April that ICE would soon begin using the Basile facility. On Tuesday, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox confirmed that all three facilities started housing ICE detainees late last month. Together, the three detention centers can hold about 4,000 people, potentially expanding ICE’s presence in Louisiana and Mississippi by 50 percent.

Conditions at the Adams County prison have been particularly bad. Complaints by inmates there about inadequate medical care, staff mistreatment, and rotten food contributed to a 2012 riot that left one guard dead and more than a dozen people injured. The Justice Department announced in May that it would stop using the prison. ICE has decided to fill that void. Read more - Lire plus

Europe Has Turned Its Back on Its ISIS Suspects
The Atlantic 05/07/2019 - Samir Bougana, a 24-year-old Italian, was one of thousands of western European recruits who traveled to fight alongside the Islamic State after 2014. But he differs from all of them in one key respect: His own government is taking him home to stand trial. Bougana was captured and held for almost a year by Kurdish forces in Syria before Italy took custody of him, in a decision the State Department praised and urged other western European countries to emulate. But so far, none of them has taken one of its citizens back to face a terrorism trial for joining ISIS.

Some 2,000 suspected fighters from dozens of countries, including hundreds from Europe, languish in Kurdish detention in northeastern Syria, and the Trump administration has been pushing its democratic allies to bring them home to face justice.[...] “Europeans seem to be fine with letting their own citizens sit there,” a senior State Department official, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue, told me. This official said that the U.S. was working to identify its own citizens in the custody of America’s local Kurdish allies—the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF—and has repatriated four so far for trial. (One dual Saudi American citizen the U.S. had suspected of joining ISIS, but never brought to trial, was freed in Bahrain last year; in another case, the State Department controversially argued that an accused ISIS propagandist, Hoda Muthana, was not actually a citizen despite being born in Alabama.) But thousands of other foreign fighters—not even counting Iraqis and Syrians—are in makeshift prisons northeastern Syria.

Among democratic countries, which arguably have the best means to bring them to justice and hold them securely, there is very little interest in bringing them home to face prosecution—or even in bringing home the wives and children of ISIS fighters, who are being held separately in squalid detention centers. If Bashar al-Assad’s forces attempt to retake the territory held by America’s Kurdish partners, for example, “this could go very badly,” Dent said—not least because it would stretch the Syrian regime even more thinly to regain control of more than a third of the country and take custody of thousands of detained fighters and their families.And it may not stay a humanitarian problem. The Islamic State’s predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, built itself in part through breaking fighters out of prison; there are security problems in SDF prisons, and reports of attempted prison breaks. “My concern at this point is if there is a prison break, we will be kicking ourselves. The Europeans will be kicking themselves,” said the senior State Department official. Read more - Lire plus 
Détention abusive: un recours collectif de 77 millions$
Le Droit 10/07/2019 - La Cour supérieure autorise le recours collectif d’un Gatinois détenu pendant 38 heures, soit 14 de plus que les 24 heures réglementaires, en 2015. La juge Chantal Lamarche a autorisé le recours qui pourrait atteindre 77 millions $, au nom des 11 000 personnes qui auraient subi le même sort dans la période couverte par la demande judiciaire. Le Gatinois Benoit Atchom Makoma a été arrêté le 23 juin 2015, et n’a comparu que le 25 juin suivant, au lendemain du jour férié de la Fête nationale du 24 juin. Il a été libéré en attendant la suite des procédures judiciaires.

L’ex-prévenu, acquitté en 2016, a déposé sa demande de recours collectif en 2018. Selon sa demande, les personnes flouées devraient recevoir chacune 7 000 $ en dommages et intérêts de la part du Procureur général, qualifié « d’architecte » de ce système de détention. Sur le site de la firme d’avocats Décarie, on peut lire que ce recours s’adresse à « toutes personnes arrêtées et maintenues en détention au Québec après le 19 juin 2015, pour une période de plus de 24 heures consécutives sans comparaître, alors que pendant cette période de détention les tribunaux ne siégeaient pas [en raison du fait qu’il s’agissait de samedi, dimanche ou de jours fériés]. »

Le recours couvre tout le Québec, incluant les Villes de Montréal et de Québec, qui ont leur propre système de comparution et de détention provisoire. Depuis les années 1990, la Cour suprême a rappelé qu’une des dispositions les plus importantes du Code criminel touchait la liberté d’une personne qui n’est pas encore déclarée coupable. Read more - Lire plus
What we've been up to!
What we've been up to so far and what's to come for the second half of 2019!
ICLMG - 2019 has been very busy so far, and it's not looking to slow down for the second half of the year!

As I write these lines, we are continuing to work on, among other things:

  • The immediate public release of the report from Murray Segal's external review of the case of Hassan Diab, and the launch of public inquiry into Dr. Diab's case and the Extradition Act overall.

  • Stopping Mohamed Harkat's deportation to torture and getting the Public Safety minister to allow him to stay in Canada.

  • Obtaining a strong and effective review mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency, and more restrictions on the collection of Canadians' data by military intelligence.

  • The repeal of the Canadian No Fly List, as well as putting a stop to the use of the US No Fly List by air carriers in Canada for flights that do not fly over the US, let alone land there.

  • An information card detailing how the different federal parties have voted on national security legislation since 2001, and calling on federal parties to commit to protecting human rights and civil liberties in the context of national security. Campaign coming soon!

Release Yasser Albaz from arbitrary detention in Egypt
On February 18, 2019, my dad, Yasser Albaz, was stopped at Cairo airport, his Canadian passport was confiscated, and he was kidnapped by Egyptian State Security. My dad remains in the notorious Torah prison where he is forced to sleep on cold, concrete floor. He has not been charged and continues to receive 15-day extensions to his arbitrary detention.

Sign to tell PM Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to do everything in their power to bring this Canadian citizen home to his family.
Canada must act to end Islamophobia in Xinjiang, China
There is credible evidence that up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other mainly Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are being detained in secret internment camps. Detainees are brainwashed, tortured and are forced to renounce their religion and culture.

And send a message to Chrystia Freeland demanding that Canada actively support an independent and unrestricted international fact-finding initiative to Xinjiang.
Letter to Justice Minister: Release Report and Launch Public Inquiry into Hassan Diab Case Now
The external review report into the case of Hassan Diab, written by Mr. Murray Segal, has been submitted to the office of the Justice Minister.
Send a message to the Justice Minister calling for the public release of the report, and the launch of a public inquiry into the case of Hassan Diab that will actually examine the Extradition Act and have powers to compel documents and testimonies.
All-in-one action page: Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
Call PM Trudeau, write a letter to Public Safety Minister Goodale & your MP, and sign Sophie Harkat's petition to stop the deportation of Moe Harkat.

If sent back to Algeria, Moe faces detention, torture and death.

No one should be deported to torture. Ever.
Canada: Don't roll back refugee rights
The federal govt plans to significantly roll back the human rights of refugees, and is hurrying these rights restrictions into law by including them in the federal budget (Bill C-97).

The new restriction would stop any refugee claimant from having an independent hearing to decide on their claim, if they previously filed a refugee claim in the United States and in certain other countries.

Using the quick tool below, call on Parliament to reject the rights-violating amendments to IRPA proposed in Bill C-97.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

These ‘digital strip searches’ are allowed because our laws are incredibly out of date. But politicians are refusing to update them for our digital age.

Fight back with us: demand updated laws , learn more about your rights, and make a complaint if your privacy has been violated at the border.
OPP must be held accountable for violent repression of land defenders
The terrifying incident happened in April 2008 during a land occupation and road blockades by members of Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation, near Belleville, Ontario. Although the road blockades involved only a small number of community members – none of whom were armed -- the Ontario Provincial Police sent more than 200 officers, including the Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), tasked with responding to “the most serious threats to peace and order”. The UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to launch a thorough and impartial review to ensure accountability.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.

They want to force companies to crush the encryption that protects our private data and messages. But ordinary people need and use encryption every day, in everything from online banking to personal messaging in apps like WhatsApp.

Tell ministers to stop their attacks, and commit to protecting our privacy and security.
Call on Justin Trudeau to ensure justice for Abousfian Abdelrazik
In September 2003, Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik was arrested in Sudan, while he was back in the country visiting his ailing mother. Over the next three years he was imprisoned for nearly 20 months and was held under house arrest for 12 months. He was denied a lawyer, and was never charged or brought before a judge. During that time he was badly tortured in three different prisons. Not only did Canada fail to take steps to protect him, CSIS officials frequently obstructed efforts to secure his release.
Make January 29 a National Day
On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim-Canadian worshipers. By the time the shooting had ended, six had been tragically killed, and 19 more injured. 

 W e, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to henceforth designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination or a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance .
Free Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed is an award winning human rights defender and blogger. The UAE has said Ahmed had been arrested for using his social media accounts to “publish false information that damages the country’s reputation” and to “spread hatred and sectarianism”.

Right now, Ahmed is being held in solitary confinement and has not had access to a lawyer, an d he is on hunger strike.

Act now and demand that the UAE release Ahmed immediately and unconditionally.
Iran: Free Saeed Malekpour!
Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian national with permanent residency in Canada, has been imprisoned in Iran since his arrest on 4 October 2008. In late 2010, he was initially sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on earth” in relation to a web programme he created for uploading photos which the Iranian authorities said was used on pornographic websites. This was an open source programme and Saeed Malekpour has maintained that the use of this web programme on other websites was without his knowledge. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2012.
Attacks on dissent & solidarity
Attaques contre la dissidence et la solidarité

Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
to our amazing supporters!
We would like to thank all our member organizations, and our patrons who are supporting ICLMG on Patreon ! As a reward, we are listing our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without you, our work wouldn't be possible!

Kathryn Dingle
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Nous tenons à remercier nos organisations membres et toutes les personnes qui soutiennent la CSILC sur Patreon ! En récompense, nous nommons ci-dessus nos mécènes qui donnent 10$ ou plus par mois directement dans le News Digest. Sans vous, notre travail ne serait pas possible!