International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
4 octobre 2019
2 PPC candidates tweet cartoon of Jagmeet Singh wearing turban with bomb on it
CBC 03/10/2019 - A People's Party of Canada candidate in Saskatoon is coming under fire for sharing a cartoon photo on Twitter that depicts NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wearing a turban with a bomb on it. Mark Friesen, the PPC candidate for Saskatchewan's Saskatoon-Grasswood riding, said he didn't notice the explosive device when posting the illustration to his feed Tuesday. "I explained this to a few of the people that are calling me a racist now: I didn't realize there was a bomb in Singh's turban," Friesen said Thursday. "If you just look at it, it just looks like a tuque, right?" 

The cartoon features four major party leaders, with Singh alongside Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and PPC Leader Maxime Bernier in a grassy field split with a line that demarks "left" and "right." Trudeau is wearing a skirt and high heels, a Scheer speech balloon exclaims "Max is splitting the vote!" while Bernier, clad in lumberjack clothing, stands as the only candidate on the right, holding an axe. On the far left, Singh is shown wearing a yellow turban with a black ball and a burning wick sticking out of it. "Here's a statement: This cartoon is obviously unacceptable," a spokesperson for the Singh campaign team said. "Of course it's racist," said Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, which tracks the comments made online by groups including the PPC. Social media users also responded to the post with alarm.
Fellow PPC candidate Rob Lussier, who is running in Manitoba's Brandon-Souris riding, retweeted the cartoon two weeks before, although he said he doesn't recall doing so now. Read more - Lire plus
Canadian spy agency presented with transparency award, refuses to confirm details about event
Ottawa Citizen (no, it's not the Beaverton) 02/10/2019 - Their names are secret. Most of the responses they issue to the public consist of letters stating they can’t confirm or deny specific government information exists. Their employer won’t even confirm that a photo was taken of them accepting an award from Canada’s information watchdog, Caroline Maynard. A 30-minute event was held in June at CSIS headquarters in Ottawa where Maynard presented the award to the spy agency’s employees, according to newly released documents obtained using the Access to Information law. But those records show her staff knew the selection would be controversial. Last year for the inaugural Information Commissioner’s Award, Maynard’s office picked the Access to Information co-ordinator at the Canada Revenue Agency, a federal organization renowned for its violations of the access law. Shortly before the CSIS team was named, Maynard’s staff acknowledged there was a “good chance that whatever institution we nominate will cause dissatisfaction.” Maynard agreed, pointing out that last year “many people were not happy that a person from CRA received the prize.”

Access to Information advocate Ken Rubin, who obtained the records, said they provide an inside glimpse into the cozy world of the bureaucrats who control the flow of information out of federal departments and the watchdog agency that is supposed to provide oversight. “This award makes an absolute mockery of the Access to Information law,” said Rubin. “Sucking up to bureaucrats with an award like this is not going to change things.” The Access to Information law provides Canadians with the ability to try to obtain some government information for a fee. The law, however, is plagued with excessive delays and other problems. Departments have broad powers to censor documents and the release of information, in some cases, has taken up to seven years. The documents about the award ceremony noted that Maynard presented the award to the 18 CSIS staff members involved in processing Access to Information requests. A photo was taken of Maynard with CSIS director David Vigneault. The documents also outlined a photo session with Maynard, Vigneault and the CSIS award winners. But CSIS will not say if that photo was taken. It told this newspaper to submit an Access to Information request to find the answer to that question. Read more - Lire plus
Canada joins the Arms Trade Treaty — but will it cancel the Saudi deal?
OpenCanada 01/10/2019 - A group of arms control and human rights experts welcomes Canada’s accession to the ATT but reminds the government that such an act should require the cancellation of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. On September 17, Canada formally joined the global Arms Trade Treaty ( ATT ) as the 105th state party to do so, nearly five years after this landmark multilateral treaty entered into force. We applaud this welcome step. But there will be no standing ovation.

Not while Canadian arms exports to Saudi Arabia continue, already 11 months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they would be reviewed. And let’s not forget the backdrop to this review: the brutal assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October, which UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings Agnes Callamard has described as a “premeditated extrajudicial execution,” for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s worst violators of human and women’s rights. It is also the chief instigator of the humanitarian crisis and perpetrator of war crimes in Yemen , now enduring its fifth year of armed conflict and on the brink of famine. Exporting arms to such a recipient is patently incompatible with the ATT, which recognizes that poor regulation of conventional weapons transfers has caused immeasurable death and destruction around the world. To achieve a core purpose of “reducing human suffering,” the ATT sets common global standards for the national control of shipments of conventional weapons across international borders.

Despite earlier government claims that relevant Canadian laws met or exceeded ATT standards, treaty membership has required Canada to improve domestic export controls with new laws and regulations. In perhaps the most important example, Canada’s foreign minister is now obligated to review the risks that weapons transfers could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law, human rights and gender violence as well as the risk to international or regional peace and security. If risks are deemed substantial, the minister is legally bound to deny the transfers. This crucial new obligation must change Canadian practice. Had this obligation been in place before 2014, the $15-billion order to provide and support armoured vehicles shipments to Saudi Arabia would have been a non-starter. Read more - Lire plus

Supreme Court ruling bolsters journalists’ authority to protect confidential sources
The Globe and Mail 27/09/2019 - The Supreme Court has set aside a lower court’s order requiring an investigative reporter to reveal her confidential sources in a ruling that bolsters journalists’ authority to protect the identities of their informants. “Without whistleblowers and other anonymous sources, it would be very difficult for journalists to perform their important mission,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote in an 8-1 ruling, stressing that court orders to force journalists to reveal their sources should be a last resort.

But the ruling was only a partial victory for Radio-Canada journalist Marie-Maude Denis. The majority sent her case back to the Court of Quebec for a fresh look, in light of new facts. The court also held out the possibility some reporters will be ordered to unmask their informants – for instance, when sources have knowingly provided false information. Even so, a cheer went up when the news of the ruling broke at Enquête, a news magazine program hosted by Ms. Denis, who says the court’s view of source protection means a steep climb for anyone trying to force her and others to reveal an identity. “For me, it’s a huge step forward for the protection of sources,” she said in an interview. The case was the first test of a two-year-old federal law known as the Journalistic Sources Protection Act. Read more - Lire more
The Open Letter from the Governments of US, UK, and Australia to Facebook is An All-Out Attack on Encryption
EFF 03/10/2019 - Top law enforcement officials in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia told Facebook today that they want backdoor access to all encrypted messages sent on all its platforms. In an open letter , these governments called on Mark Zuckerberg to stop Facebook’s plan to introduce end-to-end encryption on all of the company’s messaging products and instead promise that it will “enable law enforcement to obtain lawful access to content in a readable and usable format.” This is a staggering attempt to undermine the security and privacy of communications tools used by billions of people. Facebook should not comply. The letter comes in concert with the signing of a new agreement between the US and UK to provide access to allow law enforcement in one jurisdiction to more easily obtain electronic data stored in the other jurisdiction. But the letter to Facebook goes much further: law enforcement and national security agencies in these three countries are asking for nothing less than access to every conversation that crosses every digital device. 

The letter focuses on the challenges of investigating the most serious crimes committed using digital tools, including child exploitation, but it ignores the severe risks that introducing encryption backdoors would create. Many people—including journalists, human rights activists, and those at risk of abuse by intimate partners—use encryption to stay safe in the physical world as well as the online one. And encryption is central to preventing criminals and even corporations from spying on our private conversations, and to ensure that the communications infrastructure we rely on is truly working as intended . What’s more, the backdoors into encrypted communications sought by these governments would be available not just to governments with a supposedly functional rule of law. Facebook and others would face immense pressure to also provide them to authoritarian regimes, who might seek to spy on dissidents in the name of combatting terrorism or civil unrest, for example. The Department of Justice and its partners in the UK and Australia claim to support “strong encryption,” but the unfettered access to encrypted data described in this letter is incompatible with how encryption actually works . Read more - Lire plus
Revealed: Anti-terror center helped police track environmental activists
The Guardian 02/10/2019 - A federally sponsored anti-terrorism fusion center in Oregon assisted a taskforce monitoring protest groups organizing against a fossil fuel infrastructure project in the state, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. The Oregon Titan Fusion Center – part of a network set up to monitor terrorist activities – disseminated information gathered by that taskforce, and shared information provided by private security attached to the gas project with some of the task force members. Observers, including the American Civil Liberties Union, argue these efforts break Oregon law.
Previously , the Guardian revealed the existence of the South-western Oregon Joint Task Force (SWOJTF), a group spearheaded by the Coos county sheriff’s office (CCSO), and its surveillance of those opposing the Jordan Cove energy project: a $10bn proposed liquid natural gas project that would include a new export terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon.

The sheriff’s office passed on information harvested from social media accounts and emails to a network of local, state and federal police agencies. In addition to monitoring non-violent protests by Jordan Cove opponents, the SWOJTF has also tracked individuals’ attendance at regulatory hearings and routine campaign emails circulated by grassroots groups such as Southern Oregon Rising Tide, Rogue Climate and 350 Eugene. Chuck Cogburn, who is currently an analyst with the Oregon Titan Fusion Center, has been among the regular recipients of SWOJTF emails, records obtained by the Guardian via open records requests show. On 8 November 2018, Cogburn, who until 2015 also served as the director of the fusion center, responded to an email circulated by the CCSO deputy Bryan Valencia on a pipeline protest at a Medford Chamber of Commerce meeting, by telling Valencia he will “put this out as a SAR”, which fusion centers define as a “suspicious activity report”. [...]

The national network of fusion centers were created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as focal points for cooperation and information sharing between federal, state and local agencies in detecting and responding to terrorist and criminal activities. In 2018 the House homeland security committee counted 79 fusion centers around the country.
In its own materials , the Titan Fusion Center is described as “a collaborative effort of state and federal law enforcement agencies”, focused on “terrorism, organized crime and gang-related criminal activity”. The center also says that it “may retain protected information that is based on a level of suspicion that is less than ‘reasonable suspicion’, such as tips and leads or suspicious activity report (SAR) information”. Read more - Lire plus
New Domestic Terrorism Laws Are Unnecessary for Fighting White Nationalists
Brennan Centre for Justice 02/10/2019 - In the past, incidents of white nationalist violence haven’t garnered the attention they deserve from Congress or federal law enforcement. But after the August 2019 El Paso shooting by a young white supremacist, Reps.  Adam Schiff  (D-CA) and  Randy K. Weber Sr.  (R-TX) introduced two separate bills that would create a new crime of domestic terrorism, citing lethal white nationalist crimes as the justification. While it’s reassuring, and long overdue, for members of Congress to take the threat of white nationalist violence seriously, such legislation is both unnecessary and creates serious risks of abuse. The FBI already has all the  authority it needs  to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of white nationalist violence. Congress has enacted 51 federal crimes of terrorism that apply to entirely domestic acts and further prohibited material support toward the commission of these violent crimes. The bureau’s array of legal authorities do not end there, however. Congress has also passed five federal hate crime laws that target bias-motivated violence as well as organized crime and conspiracy statutes that are often used to prosecute violent white supremacist groups. By creating a new crime of domestic terrorism, the proposed bills would give the Justice Department and FBI access to broad additional charges that could be used to target minorities and activists.

Throughout its history, the FBI  has used its authorities  to investigate and monitor political protesters and civil rights activists. Since 9/11, the FBI has used its counterterrorism authorities to target Muslims, Arabs, and people from the Middle East and Asia, as well as people who dissent from the status quo. In 2005, the FBI named “eco-terrorism,” which hasn’t produced a single fatality in this country, the number one domestic terrorism threat. In August 2017, the FBI concocted a “ black identity extremist movement ” out of a handful of unrelated acts of violence and warned law enforcement agencies across the country that black activists protesting police violence posed a threat to them. And this year, President Trump  tweeted  that he was considering designating anti-fascists a terrorist organization. Schiff’s proposal  is so broad  that it would empower the attorney general to lay terrorism charges against anyone who committed an assault, damaged property, or threatened such an act if he determined it was intended to intimidate a civilian population or influence government policy. Given the Justice Department’s track record and Trump’s rhetoric, it isn’t at all unreasonable to fear the federal government will use these powers against protesters and political opponents. After all, the Justice Department  charged more than 200 anti-Trump protesters  with felonies after someone broke some store windows on Inauguration Day in 2017.

Members of Congress, the FBI, and other federal law enforcement agencies should also refrain from rehabilitating a counterterrorism framework known as  countering violent extremism (CVE) . There is no evidence the program prevents violence, but it has been used by state, local, and federal law enforcement to cultivate informants and spy on law-abiding groups and individuals, overwhelmingly Muslim, who are engaged in First Amendment-protected activities. CVE programs, which are based on discredited theories of terrorist radicalization, are unlikely to be useful in reducing white supremacist violence. Instead of giving the FBI new domestic terrorism authorities it doesn’t need, members of Congress  can ensure  that the bureau allocates its resources appropriately to properly address white nationalist violence. For too long, the Justice Department and FBI have failed to track critical data, including the number of white supremacist attacks and the number of fatalities they produce. The Justice Department also continues to mask the number of federal investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of violent white nationalism. Read more - Lire plus

Australia has enacted 82 anti-terror laws since 2001. But tough laws alone can’t eliminate terrorism
The Conversation 29/09/2019 - In late September, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton introduced a new bill that would give him stronger powers to strip the Australian citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terror-related offences or who in engage in related activities. In response to the prospect of foreign fighters returning from conflicts overseas, the bill proposes extending the current citizenship revocation law to any dual national who is convicted of a terrorism offence carrying at least three years imprisonment (compared to the current six). It would also be back-dated to account for any terrorism convictions or conduct from May 2003 onwards (compared to the current cut-off date of December 2015). To protect the rights of dual nationals, the bill proposes changing the process for revoking citizenship. Instead of it automatically ceasing when people engage in terror-related conduct, the minister would have the sole power to decide if they should be stripped of their citizenship. This procedural change is unusual because moves to repeal or wind back anti-terrorism laws have been few and far between.

Unfortunately, however, in all other respects, the new citizenship bill fits squarely within the pattern of overzealous Australian anti-terror law-making over the past 18 years. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, the Australian parliament has responded to the threat of terrorism here and overseas by enacting dozens of new laws or amending existing laws. In 2011, University of Toronto Professor Kent Roach famously described this response in Australia as one of “ hyper-legislation ”. Another expert, UNSW Professor George Williams calculated that between the September 11 terrorist attacks and the defeat of the Howard government in November 2007, a new anti-terror law was enacted on average every 6.7 weeks . The declaration of a caliphate by the Islamic State in mid-2014 led to another flurry of legislative activity in parliament. This started with the National Security Legislation Amendment Act (No 1) 2014 (Cth) , which controversially exempted undercover ASIO officers from criminal prosecution, expanded that organisation’s access to computer networks, and restricted the leaking of sensitive information. In the five years since then, 19 more anti-terrorism laws have been passed. That brings the total number of substantive anti-terrorism laws enacted by parliament to 82 since the Sept. 11 attacks, with a further six bills either currently before parliament or about to be introduced. This is a staggering number of laws, and far exceeds the volume in the United Kingdom, Canada and even the United States in response to Sept 11. It is not only the sheer number of laws, but also their scope, which makes Australia stand out among Western democracies. [...]

The idea of managing the threat of terrorism, in the sense that some degree of terrorism is acceptable or at least to be expected, might seem politically unpalatable. However, open acceptance of the permanence of terrorism means lawmakers will no longer be chasing – and the public no longer demanding – the achievement of an impossible goal. It will also, in turn, facilitate a more proportionate response to the challenges posed by the foreign fighters phenomenon and the threat of terrorism more generally. In a quest to eliminate terrorism, laws have been enacted that make ever-increasing intrusions into people’s lives and curtail human rights for diminishing returns in terms of security. Some have even suggested these laws make us less safe. In its submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into the citizenship stripping laws, ASIO said these measures could: "have unintended or unforeseen adverse security outcomes – potentially including reducing one manifestation of the terrorist threat while exacerbating another." It will never be appropriate or desirable for governments to sit back and take no action in response to the threat of terrorism. But what we need is a sharp change in approach. The critical lesson of the past 18 years is that we must think creatively about how to combat the threat of terrorism, rather than continually reworking existing – and often demonstrably unsuccessful – strategies. Read more - Lire plus

'Enemies of the state': The anti-terrorism laws that undermine our freedoms
France24 12/09/2019 - How many individual freedoms should be we prepared to relinquish in the name of national security? We speak to Raphael Kempf, the author of a new book which draws parallels between the so-called "Villainous Laws" of the late 19th century here in France and contemporary anti-terrorism legislation. Watch - Regarder

Arun Kundnani: Leaving the ‘War on Terror’: alternatives to Prevent?
IRR 19/09/2019 - Drawing on a recently published report, Leaving the War on Terror: a progressive alternative to counter-terrorism policy, Arun Kundnani outlines why counter-terrorism policies do not work, and what an alternative could look like. The starting point for this report goes back two years to a speech Jeremy Corbyn gave at Chatham House, in which he argued that “the war on terror is simply not working”. Opinion polling suggested a majority agreed. But there has been little discussion in Labour circles of what a progressive alternative to the War on Terror might look like. The ten of us who wrote this report have all been analysts of counter-terrorism policies over the last ten to fifteen years. I thought perhaps now is the time for us to think about what an alternative approach might be, to go from a reactive engagement with the policy-making process to directly advocating alternatives. What we’ve produced is the result of that thinking. We recognise the difficulty and complexity of the issue of terrorism and the various barriers that stand in the way of a different approach. But we believe the time is right to critically assess the legacy of the last twenty years and change course.

There are three parts to our argument. One, counter-terrorism policy does not work; two, why it does not work; and three, what an alternative would look like. So, first, Britain’s counter-terrorism policies do not work. They do not work for the British people, who wish to live free of terrorism. They do not work for the various communities in the UK whose experience of counter-terrorism has been one of stigmatisation and criminalisation. And they do not work for the people of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, whose human rights have been systematically violated in the War on Terror. Twenty years ago, Tony Blair’s government introduced the first of the fifteen new Terrorism Acts that have been passed since then in what has become a near-annual parliamentary ritual. Each Act ratcheted up the powers available to the police and intelligence agencies, together creating a shadow world of state powers in which the legal rights espoused in the regular criminal justice system are set aside. Since the late 1990s, the use of surveillance and propaganda has expanded and deepened; military force and extra-judicial killing have became routine methods of counter-terrorism; and complicity with torturers was normalised. The logic of counter-terrorism was spread to every sphere of public life in Britain as workers in government services were expected via Prevent policy to become the eyes and ears of national security surveillance – not to identify persons where there was a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity but according to a much vaguer category of ideological suspicion – effectively institutionalising Islamophobia in our public services. The definition of the threat was itself transformed: no longer simply a matter of individual acts of violence but a much broader danger, understood in terms of clashes of culture, ideology and values, implicating an entire generation of young Muslims. [...]

So what would an alternative look like? At the heart of our argument is a demand for a genuine democratisation of security policy. Policy-making needs to root itself not in an establishment definition of the national interest but in the actual security needs of ordinary people. Security should be defined not as the absence of risk but as the ‘presence of healthy social and ecological relationships’, as the Ammerdown Group of peace researchers have argued. Rather than transforming our social ties into mechanisms of surveillance, we need to take a holistic view in which we tackle the root social and political causes of violence. A national audit of security needs, with genuine local community involvement across the UK, should be conducted to provide a comprehensive view of the expressed concerns of ordinary people. This audit of security needs should provide the basis for defining the goals and methods of UK security policy, how resources are to be allocated and the priorities for future publicly-funded research on security.
A much wider process of transparency and accountability will be needed to open up the police and intelligence agencies to democratic scrutiny. Accountability processes need to be spread from the executive and from parliament to the judiciary and the public. An independent commission on the nature and causes of political violence should be established with the involvement of a broad range of academics, other experts and communities.

Within the UK, the regular criminal justice system should be used to bring any charges against individuals accused of terrorism-related offences to jury trial. If there is insufficient evidence to bring a charge, there should be no alternative punishment such as extradition, deportation or restrictions on movement and behaviour that do not require a criminal conviction. There are strong reasons for believing that the steady expansion of counter-terrorism powers has been counter-productive to the goal of reducing political violence. Plots to commit acts of violence within the UK can generally be investigated and prosecuted under regular criminal powers, using normal methods of police investigation, without need for recourse to the terrorism legislation or other special measures. The UK government should recommit to the absolute prohibition of torture and of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Prevent policy should be ended. It rests on the flawed official account of what causes terrorism that I mentioned earlier. It collapses mechanisms designed to safeguard children and young people into the structures of counter-terrorism surveillance. Rather than expect social workers and teachers to become surrogate national security investigators, a better approach is to strengthen longstanding safeguarding procedures with the resources needed for effective delivery.The UK should commit to ending involvement in unilateral military interventions. We need a strengthening of efforts to resolve conflicts justly and peacefully. Finally, we need a judge-led public inquiry to fully investigate Britain’s role in human rights abuses in the War on Terror – in order to ensure the injustices of the past are held to account and structures are put in place to prevent their happening again. Read more - Lire plus
China is killing religious and ethnic minorities and harvesting their organs, UN Human Rights Council told
Independent 24/09/2019 - The Chinese government is harvesting and selling organs from persecuted religious and ethnic minorities on an industrial scale, the UN Human Rights Council  has been told. Speaking at the council’s headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday, lawyer Hamid Sabi presented the findings of the China Tribunal, an independent tribunal on allegations of forced organ harvesting. Mr Sabi told the council that UN member states have a “legal obligation” to act after the tribunal’s final report in June found that “the commission of crimes against humanity against the Falun Gong and Uighur [minorities] had been proved beyond reasonable doubt”.

The China Tribunal was chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia who led the case against Slobodan Milošević, and heard evidence from human rights investigators, medical experts and witnesses. It concluded that there was clear evidence China had been extracting organs from, and thereby killing, members of the Falun Gong spiritual group for at least 20 years, and that the practice was ongoing today. The tribunal said there was also possible evidence, though in less volume, of forced organ harvesting in detainees from the Uighur Muslim minority, as well as Tibetans and some Christian sects. China’s campaign of detention and “re-education” of more than a million Uighurs in the northwestern Xinjiang province has gained significant international attention and condemnation. The tribunal found evidence they were “being used as a bank of organs” and subjected to regular medical testing.

China has repeatedly denied the use of unethical organ transplant practices, and said that it stopped using the organs from executed prisoners in 2015. In a statement earlier this year, it accused the London-based China Tribunal of perpetuating “rumours”. But Sir Geoffrey, also speaking on Tuesday at a separate NGO-hosted UN event, said the evidence collated by the tribunal meant the international community “can no longer avoid what it is inconvenient for them to admit”. [T]he International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), which initiated the China Tribunal, said it expects a private members bill to stop unethical organ tourism will be tabled in the UK parliament in October. ETAC is hoping its findings will prompt the Human Rights Council to open up a UN Commission of Inquiry into forced organ harvesting in China, said Susie Hughes, the organisation’s executive director. In his speech, Mr Sabi said that the targeting of minority groups for organ harvesting amounted to a “possible charge of genocide”, and compared it to other examples of mass religious or racial persecution in recent history. Read more - Lire plus
Prisoners 'buried alive' living in 24/7 silence and darkness in solitary confinement
Mirror 30/09/2019 - One such person is Abdul Latif Nasir, a Moroccan national who has been kept in a solitary cell in Guantanamo Bay since his capture in 2001. While the US Department of Defence alleges he was a Taliban fighter, no charges have ever been levelled against Abdul, who human rights charity Reprieve believe was sold by the Northern Alliance to America for a bounty. Fourteen years after he was locked up in a cell with nothing but a chequers board to entertain him and no one to play it with, Abdul was cleared for release. In a bid to break the monotony Abdul wrote a 2,000 word Arabic to English dictionary. The fact he remains inside three years later has left him in a state of purgatory Reprieve's founder and Abdul's lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith described as "devastating".

"The problem with all prison but in particular with Guantanmo's really rigorous isolation is that the whole experience is designed to destroy your sense of ego," the Gandhi International Peace Award recipient explained. "Our ego is built on the notion that you make choices, you choose when to do this and that. What prison is designed to do is to reduce you to an automotom." Realising that he was slowly being stripped of his sense of self, Abdul decided to follow in the footsteps of Hurricane Carter. The celebrated boxer was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 20 years in prison before being immortalised by Bob Dylan. Like Carter, Abdul fought against the ego crushing unfairness and loneliness of his predicament by breaking the rules. "He decided to do exactly the opposite of what the guards told him to do," Stafford-Smith explained. "If they told him to go to bed he would get up. He stayed up all night writing a book about his treatement."

Another Guantanamo inmate held without charge was British citizen Shaker Aamar, who spent 13 years in isolation before his 2015 release. "He got the idea that to maintain his sanity he had to make his own choices," explained Stafford-Smith. "We came up with this idea that if he was out on the rec yard, which was a little square, he would ask the guards a question. "If they got the answer right he would agree to go back to his cell, if they answered wrong he would stay. "The thing is if you disobey the guards in Guantanamo they beat the shit out of you. "One time he tried asking 'what's the name of the vice president of the United States?' They didn't know their own vice president so he refused to go inside." While this form of self-harm probably isn't for everybody, one might imagine a man locked in a blank room with no entertainment might resort to another form of self-flagellation to break the monotony. Stafford-Smith claimed this is not the case, suggesting the combination of depression and stifling isolation is a near total turn off. Instead, to keep the mind busy, solitary inmates often invent strict schedules. Read more - Lire plus
Coders' Rights Are At Risk in Brazil, and the Harms Could Affect Everyone
EFF 03/10/2019 - A bill pending in the Brazilian Senate ( PLS 272/2016 ) amends the current anti-terrorism law to make it a “terrorist act” to interfere with, sabotage or damage computer systems or databases in order to hinder their operation for a political or ideological motivation. Publicly praising such actions, or other ill-defined terrorism offenses, could lead to a penalty for up to eight years in prison, according to the same bill. Earlier this year, EFF criticized a set of Brazilian “anti-terrorism” bills that seriously threaten free expression and privacy safeguards. PLS 272/2016 is one of them. Now, the new rapporteur appointed in the Senate’s Constitutional Commission is expected to convene a public hearing and release a new report. Among other key concerns, Brazilian human rights groups have stressed that the bill unduly expands terrorism offenses to frame acts that are already addressed by existent criminal law—targeting them for harsher, disproportionate, penalties. Praising or inciting crime and breaking into computer devices are already illegal under the Brazilian Criminal Code . But if the bill passes, actions similar to those could receive a sentence ten times higher or more.  

In addition, the Criminal Code’s offense of breaking into computer devices has far more detailed formulation than the one drafted in the new bill. As laid down in the Code, liability for this crime requires the violation of a security mechanism with the goal of obtaining, changing or destroying data or information without express or tacit authorization from the owner, or "to install vulnerabilities" to obtain an illicit advantage. By contrast, the bill refers to a "political or ideological motivation" in order to disrupt, hinder or impede the operation of systems or databases. One could claim that taking control over or sabotaging critical infrastructure and essential services, such as power systems, deserves harsher treatment than other forms of malicious intrusion. However, that is not what PLS 272/2016 is about: those acts are already punished severely by the current anti-terrorism law . To make matters worse, a proposed amendment on the bill drops even the vague requirements for motivation and intent, referring only to "interfere with, sabotage or damage computer systems or databases." If the new rapporteur embraces it, a broad range of acts related to interference or damage to computer systems could be framed as “terrorist acts.” Although the current legal definition of terrorism has requirements that limit the application and interpretation of terrorist acts set out by the law, this and other bills overly broaden such definition. For example, the law limits the crime of terrorism to reasons of xenophobia, discrimination or prejudice of race, color, ethnicity and religion. However, the same amendment to PLS 272/2016 expands it to include "other political, ideological or social motivations." Under this amendment, identifying vulnerabilities in a public system and widely publicizing them to push the government to improve its security could be understood as a terrorist act. Read more - Lire plus
How this Russian journalist could end up in prison “for justifying terrorism”
Open Democracy 01/10/2019 - I am Svetlana Prokopyeva. I’m a journalist, and I could be put in prison for seven years for “justifcation of terrorism”. Almost a year ago, a bomb went off in Arkhangelsk. The explosion was unexpected, shocking - 17-year-old Mikhail Zhlobitsky blew himself up in the entranceway to the Arkhangelsk FSB office. A few seconds before, he left a final message on Telegram. He wrote that he was going to blow himself up because “the FSB has gone f***ing crazy, fabricating cases and torturing people.” This explosion in Arkhangelsk became the focus of my regular column on Echo Moscow in Pskov. “Acting with intent”, I wrote text for broadcast titled “Repressions for the state”. On 7 November, the programme was broadcast, and then a transcript was published on Pskov News Wire. Nearly a month passed before Pskov News Wire and Echo Moscow received a warning from Roskomnadzor [Russia’s government communications regulator]. Our quasi-censor had found “signs of justifying terrorism” in my article. At the beginning of December, administrative charges were brought against the two media outlets, which cost them 350,000 roubles [£4,370] in fines. At the same time, the Pskov Investigative Committee opened an inspection under Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code [“Public calls to carry out terrorist activity, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism”] against me personally. The prospect of a criminal investigation clearly loomed ahead, but we laughed it off and called them crazy. What justification of terrorism? The warnings from Roskomnadzor had not identified a single specific phrase or even words which were “signs” [of justifying terrorism], and it couldn’t identify them - my text contained no words to that effect. As it soon became clear, that isn’t important.

On 6 February, the doorbell rang and I opened it. A dozen armed men pushed me back with riot shields into the far room. This is how I found out that a criminal case had, in fact, been opened against me. A house search is a dirty and humiliating procedure. One set of unknown men go through your things, and another looks on unperturbed. Old notes, receipts, letters with foreign stamps - everything suddenly takes on a suspicious, criminal air. Everything needs to be explained. Your most important and necessary possessions - laptop, telephone - become “material evidence”. Colleagues and family can easily become “accomplices”. I was robbed that day. They took three laptops, two telephones, a dictaphone, USB drives. Six months later, they robbed me again when they froze my bank accounts. I was still only a “suspect” when they put my name on an official list of active extremists and terrorists. Now I can’t get a bank card in my own name, open a savings account or apply for a mortgage - the state has written me out of everyday economic life.

All they had to do next was take the only thing I have left - my freedom - and on 20 September my status in the case changed. Now I am officially accused of a crime under Article 205.2, Part 2 - justification of terrorism via mass media. This means a fine of up to a million roubles [£12,470] or a seven year prison sentence. I did not justify terrorism. I analysed the reasons behind the terrorist attack in Arkhangelsk. I tried to understand why a young man - who had his whole life ahead of him - decided to kill himself in this suicide-attack. I do not accept my conviction and consider the criminal case against me a form of banal revenge by angry siloviki [“strong men” - law enforcement, military, security service personnel]. In the article in question, I put the responsibility for the explosion in Arkhangelsk at their feet. I wrote that the repressive state has finally got a reaction. That the cruel law enforcement policies makes citizens meaner. That when legal routes are blocked, protest energy is pushed into this socially dangerous path. The generation of the Arkhangelsk bomber grew up in this atmosphere. They know that you can’t go to protests - they’ll be dispersed, you might get beaten up and then convicted. They know that you can be punished for holding a single picket. They see that you can join only a certain range of political parties without fear, and that you can say only a certain range of opinions freely. This generation learned by example that you can’t get justice in a court. The judge just approves a decision that the police have ordered. Over many years, the limitation of political and civic freedoms has created not only an unfree state, but a repressive state in Russia. A state that is unsafe and scary to come into contact with.” Read more - Lire plus
Leaking classified information is 'thievery, not protected speech,' Justice Department says
SFGate 01/10/2019 - A contractor accused of leaking classified information engaged in "thievery, not protected speech," and has no First Amendment grounds to challenge his Espionage Act prosecutions, the Justice Department said in an Alexandria federal court filing.Former intelligence analyst Daniel Hale shared National Security Agency details of drone warfare with the website The Intercept, according to an indictment filed in May. His defense attorneys argued last month that the law was designed to deal with spies, not leakers, and that the prosecution runs afoul of the First Amendment by chilling newsgathering and implicating the reporter who received the information. It's an argument that probably will resurface if Julian Assange, facing prosecution in the same courthouse for publishing classified information, is ever extradited. The government rarely prosecuted leakers until President Barack Obama's tenure, and the Trump administration is the first president to prosecute the publisher of classified information along with the leaker. Read more - Lire plus
U.S. judge blocks Trump rule on migrant child detention
Reuters 27/09/2019 - A U.S. judge on Friday blocked a Trump administration rule that would have allowed indefinite detention of migrant families, saying it was inconsistent with a decades-old court settlement that governs conditions for migrant children in U.S. custody. The 1997 settlement agreement, which originated in 1985 with a complaint brought on behalf of 15-year-old Salvadoran immigrant Jenny L. Flores, set standards for humane treatment of children in detention and ordered their prompt release in most cases.

The Trump administration had hoped a new rule issued on Aug. 23 would replace the settlement, which had been modified over the years to prevent the long-term detention of families. The administration had said its rule would allow families to be held in humane conditions while their U.S. immigration court cases were decided. The judge disagreed.
“This regulation is inconsistent with one of the primary goals of the Flores Agreement, which is to instate a general policy favoring release and expeditiously place minors ‘in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the minor’s age and special needs,’” U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles wrote in her ruling. “The Flores Settlement Agreement remains in effect and has not been terminated,” she wrote. 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!

ICLMG Top 10 Asks for the 2019 Federal Election
ICLMG 19/09/2019 - In Canada and around the world, politicians continue to use the spectre of "national security" and the "War on Terror" to justify attacks on fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to equality under the law, and the right to privacy. Xenophobia and racism are used to sow fear and division, and to further justify repressive laws. Sadly, we're also seeing these tactics during the 2019 federal election campaign. We need candidates to guarantee that they will defend our rights, and the rights of people around the world. Here is our list of top 10 asks:

  1. Stop and effectively outlaw all mass surveillance.
  2. Stop the surveillance, profiling and harassment of Indigenous people, Muslim communities and environmental defenders. Stop perceiving and treating them as a threat.
  3. End all deportations to torture, including Mohamed Harkat’s, and abolish security certificates.
  4. Launch an independent and public inquiry into the case of Hassan Diab and the Extradition Act.
  5. Amend the new National Security Act, 2017 (Bill C-59) to fix the many problems it created, and address the ongoing issues it perpetuated.
  6. Abolish the No-Fly List and the Terrorist Entities List.
  7. Ensure justice and full redress for victims of torture.
  8. Bring home Canadian citizens being detained and imprisoned in Syria.
  9. Suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.
  10. Address issues surrounding Islamophobia, xenophobia, hate, racism, gender-based and domestic violence, unemployment, poverty and more.

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Justice for Hassan Diab: Webcomic and Campaign!
Hassan Diab, a Canadian university professor and father, was extradited to France based on weak, confusing evidence, where he spent more than three years in prison, without charge or trial. He is thankfully free and back in Canada, but justice hasn't been served. Dr. Diab deserves answers and we need changes to Canada's broken extradition act.
Read the whole webcomic on Hassan Diab's ordeal and click below to urge candidates to commit to launching a public inquiry into his case if they are elected!
Take the Pledge: Unite Against Racism
We are struggling to make ends meet, while the rich keep getting richer. Instead of fixing this, politicians are using anti-immigrant racism to distract us. Sign this pledge to tell politicians that you will not tolerate racism. By signing this pledge, you commit to talking to your friends and co-workers, and to contact politicians or media if they use anti-immigrant messages during the federal election. We will send you tools to help you have these conversations. All of us deserve decent work, universal public services, equal rights, permanent status, and freedom from displacement and discrimination.
Discourse on refugees and migrants in upcoming elections
Refugees and migrants are easily victimized in political debates. In many countries around the world, especially during election campaigns, refugees and migrants have been talked about in ways that insult their dignity and humanity, contribute to xenophobia and racism, and are frequently grounded in distortion and misinformation.

We believe that every leader, every candidate, and every political party, has a role to play in preventing this from happening in Canada.
Stop CSIS from targeting everyday citizens & community groups
A recent report revealed that CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, collected over 8,000 pages of documents, spying on citizens like you, people who exercise their democratic rights by attending a community meeting at a local church or taking peaceful action for what they believe in. And CSIS shared this info with Big Oil corporations.

Sign this petition to tell the govt to stop using taxpayer money to unconstitutionally spy on Canadians part of peaceful community groups.
Stop Facial Recognition in Canada
Facial recognition is invasive, biased and unreliable. But Canadian agencies and law enforcement have started using the tech despite the huge controversies.
Canada’s out-of-date privacy laws don’t yet cover facial recognition tech, leaving our government free to experiment on us with no oversight or regulations. We need to slam the brakes on the spread of this dangerous technology before it’s too late. Demand a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies and a full review of our privacy laws — before it becomes entrenched as a surveillance method in Canada.
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.
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.
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 speech
Liberté d'expression

Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
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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!