International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
April 26, 2019
Enabling Civil Society Conference Report: National Security and Civil Society Panel, moderated by ICLMG's Tim McSorley
Voices-Voix 23/04/2019 - The Anti-terrorism Act of 2015 (ATA), formerly known as Bill C-51, and Bill C-59, the National Security Act of 2017, are overbroad in a number of areas. The Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (SCISA )and Criminal Code amendments can be interpreted to restrain the activities of non-violent advocacy groups.

SCISA was enacted pursuant to the ATA. Its purpose, stated in s. 3, is to facilitate information sharing betweengovernmental agencies to protect Canada from “activities that undermine the security of Canada,” defined under s. 2 as: "any activity, including any of the following activities, if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada [...]"

The word “undermines” is overbroad, because it could include activities unrelated to national security. One audience member noted that activities to promote Aboriginal rights to self-determination or self-government could be considered asundermining the “sovereignty” of Canada. Similarly, subsection 2(f) refers to “interference with critical infrastructure” —MP Alexandre Boulerice expressed concern that this language “might result in authorizing secret services to spy on people who intend to protest the construction of new pipelines.”

SCISA includes an exception for “advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.” But Bill C-59 restricts the scope of the exception by adding “unless carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada.” The result of this circular language is that it may effectively nullify any protection for “advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression. Read more - Lire plus

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada's secret no-fly list
CBC 23/04/2019 - Canada's no-fly list faces constitutional challenges from two B.C. men who argue in a pair of court cases that the secret roster violates their Charter of Rights guarantee of fundamental justice. [...]

In a submission to the Federal Court of Canada, Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a "denial of boarding" notification under the no-fly program last May 17 at the Vancouver International Airport. He took steps to appeal the decision the next month and in August federal officials gave him an unclassified summary of information related to the case. Dulai was told the public-safety minister's office would consider additional, classified information in the appeal. Dulai received a letter in late January saying his name would remain on the no-fly list, prompting his application to the Federal Court.

He is asking the court for an order striking him from the roster or, at the very least, to further examine his case. Dulai also seeks a declaration that the no-fly provisions violate his constitutional guarantee of freedom to enter, leave and travel within Canada, as well as his charter right "to know the case against him and the right to answer that case."

Federal lawyers have not yet filed a response, and a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale declined to comment while the matter is before the court. Rights advocates have long found the no-fly program problematic, denouncing the listing process as opaque and the redress process as inadequate. Read more - Lire plus

'This settlement... it's for every Canadian': Highlights of Omar Khadr's appearance on Quebec's most popular talk show
The National Post 22/04/2019 - Here’s some of what Khadr said in his appearance, which was in English, with French subtitles for Quebec viewers. Asked for his own recollections of the day Speer was killed and he was picked up by American soldiers, Khadr claimed he can’t say for sure how it all happened.

“There’s what I remember, or what I thought I remembered, and then there’s what the evidence was,” he said. “So I, from the time I regained consciousness I was told that I had killed an American soldier, and for the eight years, I believed that I must have done it. Because I was told I was the only survivor and that I had done it, so I believed in that all the way up to the trial. And then I started hearing alternate scenarios and different testimonies. So I can’t tell you exactly what’s the true story.”

Asked whether religious extremists had put him through training exercises while he was in Afghanistan, Khadr said they did. But he hesitated to adopt the “child soldier” label. “Saying that I was a child soldier would assume that it was a regular war and I was in a regular army,” he said. “I think I was just at an unfortunate place with an unfortunate circumstances, that you know, I was with adults, they told me to do something and I did it. So I don’t know if I would call myself — that’s the term people use to try to describe my situation.”

Khadr described how an interrogator told him he was lucky he’d been shot in the firefight, otherwise some of the interrogation techniques could have been worse. Another talk show guest, filmmaker Monia Chakri, asked whether he had experienced solitary confinement. By the Canadian definition of solitary, whereby you can hear or see people but cannot have physical contact with them, the longest stretch was “I think two and a half years at a time,” he said.

Khadr reiterated what he has said time and again in court and in interviews: his guilty plea had come because he saw no other choice. “Unfortunately, in court, in regular court you don’t have to do that but in Guantanamo you have to lose to win. Almost everybody who has been released through the military commission has admitted guilt. So your chance of being released is to admit guilt, and then, you know, come back and fight it in a proper court,” he said. “I don’t regret my decision. I had to do it because I knew I was faced by a process that was set up to fail you.” [...]

Lepage asked how Khadr reacts to many people believing him to be a terrorist who should never have received money from the government. “Well, I can’t influence, or I can’t change people’s opinions about me,” he said. “I think this settlement is not only for me, it’s for every Canadian, to a degree, to ensure that our government does not participate in torturing its citizens. So I know some people might be offended by it but I think it’s for all of us.” Read more - Lire plus

Coalition Airstrikes in Raqqa Killed at Least 1,600 Civilians, More Than 10 Times U.S. Tally, Report Finds
The Intercept 25/04/2019 - On the morning of September 5, 2017, Mohannad al-Tadfi rushed over to his brother’s six-story apartment building in Raqqa, Syria.

Mohannad’s brother, Lattuf, lived on the ground floor with his wife, Samiha, their six children, and his mother, Amina. Other families had fled the city, leaving the building mostly vacant, but Amina was bedridden from diabetes, and medicine was in short supply.

“I had managed to find some insulin for my mother and I rushed over to bring it to her,” Mohannad told researchers from the human rights group Amnesty International. “I was planning to return later that day with my wife and children to wait for the area to be liberated” from the Islamic State, which had made Raqqa the capital of its self-declared caliphate. But two hours after Mohannad left his mother’s side, an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition destroyed the apartment building, killing Lattuf’s entire family.

Mohannad al-Tadfi is one of more than 400 witnesses or survivors interviewed by Amnesty International, which, along with the monitoring group Airwars, released their most comprehensi ve report Th ursday on the coalition’s air and artillery campaign during the four-month offensive to retake the city in 2017.

The groups found that coalition strikes killed at least 1,600 civilians. Amnesty researchers in Syria were able to directly verify 641 of those deaths and said there were “very strong, multiple source reports” for the rest. The groups were able to collect the names of more than 1,000 civilians killed. Read more - Lire plus
Saudi Arabia: 37 put to death in shocking execution spree
Amnesty International 23/04/2019 - The execution of 37 people convicted on “terrorism” charges marks an alarming escalation in Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty, said Amnesty International today. Among those put to death was a young man who was convicted of a crime that took place while he was under the age of 18.

“Today’s mass execution is a chilling demonstration of the Saudi Arabian authorities callous disregard for human life. It is also yet another gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within the country’s Shi’a minority,” said Lynn Maalouf Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International. The majority of those executed were Shi’a men who were convicted after sham trials that violated international fair trial standards which relied on confessions extracted through torture.

They include 11 men who were convicted of spying for Iran and sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial . At least 14 others executed were convicted of violent offences related to their participation in anti-government demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a majority Eastern Province between 2011 and 2012. The 14 men were subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention and told the court that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated during their interrogation in order to have ‘confessions’ extracted from them.

Also among those executed is Abdulkareem al-Hawaj – a young Shi’a man who was arrested at the age of 16 and convicted of offences related to his involvement in anti-government protests. Under international law, the use of the death penalty against people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime is strictly prohibited.
Amnesty International understands that the families were not informed about the executions in advance and were shocked to learn of the news. Read more - Lire plus
Vancouver airport rejects ads offering information on digital privacy
CTV News 24/04/2019 - Would you know your rights if a Canadian border agent asked to look through your phone? OpenMedia, a local internet privacy group says Vancouver’s airport is refusing to post ads with information you need to know.

“Our most personal, sensitive information is contained on our phones, but our information is given no more rights at the border than a bag of clothes,” said OpenMedia privacy campaigner Victoria Henry. The ad was designed for the end of the SkyTrain line for people to see before they enter YVR. It reads: "your phone is not safe at the border," with a link to .

"The information we are providing has been legally vetted by trustworthy sources, and is in alignment with recommendations put forward by Canada’s Ethics committee,” Henry said. OpenMedia’s executive director said a lot of people do not know their rights when face-to-face with border agents.

“If someone asks for your device, do you have to give it to them? Do you have to give customs agents the passwords to your phone? Do you have to let them log into different accounts?” Tribe said. He said YVR did not provide an explanation to OpenMedia as to why their ad was rejected.

In an email to CTV News Vancouver, a spokesperson with the Airport Authority said “in reviewing OpenMedia’s request to place advertising at the airport, we determined that it did not serve all of our stakeholders.” “It also has potential to add undue stress to the travel experience,” it added. Read more - Lire plus

US facial recognition will cover 97 percent of departing airline passengers within four years
The Verge 18/04/2019 - The Department of Homeland Security says it expects to use facial recognition technology on 97 percent of departing passengers within the next four years. The system, which involves photographing passengers before they board their flight, first started rolling out in 2017, and was operational in 15 US airports as of the end of 2018.

The facial recognition system works by photographing passengers at their departure gate. It then cross-references this photograph against a library populated with facesimages from visa and passport applications, as well as those taken by border agents when foreigners enter the country.

The aim of the system is to offer “Biometric Exit,” which gives authorities as good an idea of who’s leaving the country as who’s entering it, and allows them to identify people who have overstayed their visas. Quartz notes that US authorities have traditionally relied on airline flight manifests to track who’s leaving the country. [...]

Critics argue that building up a database of millions of people’s photographs is a threat to civil liberties . Once you have the database, it would be easy to share it with other agencies, effectively turning it into a search tool for all law enforcement. Read more - Lire plus

Communities at risk: How encroaching surveillance is putting a squeeze on activists
Privacy International 16/04/2019 - Protest movements throughout history have helped to shape the world we know today. From the suffragettes to the civil rights movement, and to contemporary movements such as those focusing on LGBTIQ+ rights, protests have become a vital way for many, who feel powerless otherwise, to have their voices heard.

But now, making the decision to attend a protest comes with consequences that you may very well be unaware of. This is because policing and security services, always hungry in their quest to obtain more data about us, are using advanced and invasive techniques to learn more about our lives. A whole range of technologies, including facial recognition and IMSI catchers , can be used to spy on protesters.

And they are targeting us in places we wouldn’t normally expect – our social media usage, habits, and interactions. Through SOCMINT , companies and governments monitor and collect everything from the content we share, to the messages we send, to the people we’re connected to.

This massive amount of data can then be analysed to generate profiles, make predictions about users, and to populate databases and watchlists. When you pair this growing surveillance of our online lives with the already considerable offline surveillance that we face on a daily basis, the effects on our privacy and freedom are chilling. Who knew that liking someone’s tweet could be so dangerous?

The surveillance of our lives has become more widespread. This has serious consequences for the way we live both online and offline, as our interactions are swept up and analysed by governments, law enforcement, and companies. Unless strong and auditable rules are developed around the use of SOCMINT, we will gradually lose our ability to organise and protest, free from the overly watchful eye of our adversaries. Read more - Lire plus 
We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine - The Privacy Project
The New York Times 16/04/2019 - Most people pass through some type of public space in their daily routine — sidewalks, roads, train stations. Thousands walk through Bryant Park every day. But we generally think that a detailed log of our location, and a list of the people we’re with, is private.

On the east side of Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, three cameras on the roof of a restaurant film the lunch crowds, tourists and commuters — everything that goes on each day. The feeds are streamed publicly online. Facial recognition, applied to the web of cameras that already exists in most cities, is a threat to that privacy.

To demonstrate how easy it is to track people without their knowledge, we collected public images of people who worked near Bryant Park (available on their employers’ websites, for the most part) and ran one day of footage through Amazon’s commercial facial recognition service. Our system detected 2,750 faces from a nine-hour period (not necessarily unique people, since a person could be captured in multiple frames). It returned several possible identifications, including one frame matched to a head shot of Richard Madonna, a professor at the SUNY College of Optometry, with an 89 percent similarity score. The total cost: about $60. [...]

The cameras are just three among thousands across New York City. And if you’re an adult in America, there’s more than a 50 percent chance that you’re already in a law enforcement facial recognition database, according to researchers at Georgetown. Read more - Lire plus

How the War on Terror Is Being Written
The New Yorker 20/04/2019 - On September 24, 2002, Mark Fallon boarded a military flight to Guantánamo Bay. In his role as the deputy commander of the detention camp’s Criminal Investigation Task Force, Fallon had spent the previous months trying to prevent the military from adopting abusive interrogation practices. But he was being ignored by the commander of detention operations, and was often kept out of key meetings.

Now, when Fallon heard that that top lawyers for the George W. Bush Administration and the C.I.A. were planning to visit Guantánamo, “it set off screaming threat-warning alarms,” he writes in his memoir, “ Unjustifiable Means ,” which was heavily redacted before being published, in 2017. Fallon, who is an experienced interrogator, suspected that these lawyers would provide legal cover for an array of torture techniques, including waterboarding, and he wanted to explain to them that these practices were originally designed by Communist forces during the Korean War to elicit false confessions for propaganda purposes. Barely a year after 9/11, Fallon recalls, he was already “developing a new rule of thumb for the war on terror: where lawyers go, bad things follow.”

The next day, when the delegation arrived, Fallon tried to accompany the lawyers on a tour of the facilities. But he wasn’t allowed on the bus; one of the commander’s assistants instructed him to return to his office and wait for them to come by after the tour. Ninety minutes later, when Fallon checked in with the commander’s office, he learned that the lawyers were already on their way back to Washington, D.C. “I was incredulous,” he writes. Unable to confront the lawyers in person, he and others in his unit sought to document everything and to challenge the military through official channels.

On October 2nd, Fallon sent a member of his legal team to take notes during a meeting in which a senior C.I.A. lawyer apparently briefed military lawyers and psychologists on torture techniques and loopholes in international law. Later that month, when Fallon received the meeting minutes, he forwarded them in an e-mail to his unit’s chief legal counsel, noting that the discussion “looks like the kinds of stuff Congressional hearings are made of,” and would “shock the conscience of any legal body.” He added, “Someone needs to be considering how history will look back at this.”

It is due to the efforts of women and men like Fallon, who documented secret shifts in American policy from inside the government, that history has been able to look back at the workings of the war on terror at all. [...] B elow is a list of books and reports that informed my piece. They represent a wide array of conflicting views, all of which are useful. Read more - Lire plus
Guantánamo’s Slow Poisoning of Democracy
NPQ 24/04/2019 - In the New Yorker, Ben Taub tells the story of Mohamedou Salahi, a person once deemed the US military’s “highest-value detainee” at Guantánamo, but who was released after 14 years in captivity without charge in October 2016 . When taken into custody, Salahi was 30. Salahi penned the book Guantánamo Diary while in captivity .

The story of Guantánamo is about many things, but one of its most important effects has been to chisel away at US democratic values. Guantánamo is largely ignored these days. At its post 9/11 peak, it housed about 780 prisoners; today, 40 remain .

But the damage to civil society remains. As Kristine Huskey , now a law professor at the University of Arizona, wrote in the University of New Hampshire Law Review in 2011, “In a pre-9/11 world, a ‘Guantánamo’ and the idea of ‘detention without trial’ would have been seen as decidedly un-American and a violation of our democratic values. Over the last decade, however, Guantánamo” and the practice of long-term detention without trial for terrorism suspects (or, “preventive detention”), have evolved into institutions of American society that are now perfectly acceptable, indeed desirable to some, and of little concern to many.”

Of course, a nation founded on the practice of slavery and genocide against Native Americans—and which imprisons people at a larger per capita rate than anywhere else in the world, and where that imprisoned population is disproportionately of color—is hardly a paragon of democratic virtue. But Guantánamo is important both for its high profile and because it helped legitimate holding people in custody without charge indefinitely. A thread can be traced from the indefinite detentions at Guantánamo to those of immigrants today , a practice upheld by the US Supreme Court just a month ago. Read more - Lire plus

US immigration officials looking at housing migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, report says
The Independent 24/04/2019 - The United States is considering housing migrant children at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay to help handle an up-tick in the number of immigrants crossing the US southern border, according to a new report.

The idea was first proposed earlier this year as the Department of Homeland Security looked for military facilities where migrants could be held as they wait for their cases to be processed. But, the proposal has not gained much traction so far, with officials telling the New York Times that the idea has been less ideal because of the optics involved with housing children right next to terrorism suspects in the notorious American prison.

The US is looking for military facilities to help hold asylum seekers and migrants as it faces a surge in the number of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border and seeking help. The New York Times reports that there are no “immediate” plans to actually bring children to Guantanamo Bay, and that the base has only been brought up as a potential housing location because it has dormitory facilities that have been used for asylum seekers in the past. Read more - Lire plus
The U.S.-Mexico border isn't protected by militias, it's patrolled by domestic terrorists.
NBC News 22/04/2019 - It speaks volumes about today’s political climate that anti-immigrant domestic terrorists have begun calling themselves border militias, holding unarmed people at gunpoint and feeling so emboldened that they post videos of their activities on social media, including Facebook and YouTube .

Luckily, the hubris of at least one group didn't impress law enforcement: On Saturday, the New Mexico attorney general’s office announced that Larry Hopkins, the leader of the United Constitutional Patriots (which had been detaining migrants at gunpoint near the U.S.-Mexico border) had been arrested by the FBI and charged with felony possession of firearms and ammunition. The efforts of groups like the UCP are disturbing on every level and raise serious legal, humanitarian and public safety concerns.

So-called "militia" groups have long been active along the southern border: In the 1970s, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan announced that it was creating its own border patrol to combat illegal immigration. In the 2000s, the Minutemen patrolled the border in Arizona. In 2009, Brisenia Flores was shot and killed in her own home in Arizona by members of a border vigilante group called Minuteman American Defense; she was just nine years-old and an American citizen.

Last year, Newsweek obtained leaked Department of Defense documents warning of the threat of armed, unregulated militia groups operating in between ports of entry along the border. The Department estimated that there were about 200 members of militia groups along the southwest border. And, the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric and calls to build a wall to stem a supposed "invasion" has indeed been accompanied by a rise in militia activity.

By improperly holding people against their will, whether those people legally crossed the border or not, members of the United Constitutional Patriots have opened themselves to charges of assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping and impersonating law enforcement officers. (Hopkins, notably, was previously arrested in 2006 for impersonating law enforcement and illegal possession of a firearm and thus is presumably well aware his actions were not legal.) The UCP members are also likely trespassing on privately-held or federal land.

More importantly, it is perfectly legal under U.S. law for people to cross the border without papers and apply for asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief. So if anyone is “illegal” in a confrontation with Hopkins' followers, it is the United Constitutional Patriots. Read more - Lire plus

Severe police-state measures come into force in Sri Lanka
WSWS 24/04/2019 - Following Sunday’s terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka, a nationwide state of emergency was imposed yesterday, giving the military, as well as the police, sweeping, anti-democratic powers.

Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the Colombo government, like its counterparts around the world, is strengthening its police-state apparatus, which will be used to suppress a resurgence of working-class struggles. The emergency regulations allow the security forces to take measures for the “suppression of mutiny, riot or civil commotion, or for the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.” The essential services clause has in the past been used to ban strikes and other industrial action.

Under the state of emergency, the military is granted police powers, including the “detention of persons; the taking of possession or control of any property or undertaking without warrant.” The regulations allow for the lengthy detention of so-called terrorist suspects without charge or trial. The state of emergency reactivates sections of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that was extensively used by the security forces during the island’s three-decade communal war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to suppress Tamils and working people as a whole.

The PTA was used to arbitrarily detain thousands of men and women, extract confessions by torture and use those confessions to secure convictions. Using the cloak of a state of emergency, the security forces went far further—carrying out hundreds of abductions and extra-judicial killings, not only of “LTTE suspects” but government opponents and critics.
The government is now extending these measures. An unprecedented nationwide ban has been imposed on social media, including Facebook and YouTube, censoring what is a widely-used and popular form of communication. As of last October, Sri Lanka had 23 million mobile phone users, 6.4 million internet users and five million on Facebook.

The across-the-board crackdown reflects deep fears in ruling circles in Sri Lanka and internationally that social media is a powerful tool not only for disseminating ideas but for organising collective action. In the context of a rising tide of strikes and protests, the government is imposing blanket censorship on the pretext of blocking “false news.” Speaking yesterday in parliament, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe noted that world leaders had expressed their support for Sri Lanka. “We should seize this opportunity to use their assistance to eradicate terrorism,” he said, adding, without elaborating, that structural changes needed “to face this terror situation.” Inevitably this will mean a further bolstering of the police-state apparatus. Read more - Lire plus

Collapse of rule of law in Erdoğan’s Turkey
Ahval News 25/04/2019 - The collapse of the rule of law affects all Turkish citizens, especially those of Kurdish origin. Repression intensified after a ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) collapsed in mid-2015, and accelerated after the failed coup a year later and the subsequent two-year state of emergency. Anti-terrorism legislation, criminal defamation regulations, and the law against insulting Turkishness are used to silence political opposition.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime restricts the political participation of Kurds through harassment and the arbitrary detention of parliamentarians from pro-Kurdish parties. In 2017, 13 deputies with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were held in prolonged pre-trial detention on terrorism charges. Party co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and former co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ, have been in detention since November 2016. Demirtaş was not permitted to appear in court, which is a denial of his due process rights.

Ten current and former HDP parliamentarians and 46 HDP co-mayors remain imprisoned on bogus terrorism charges and alleged threats to national security (as of December 2018). HDP members were targeted in a significant number of insult-related cases. At least 6,000 HDP members and elected officials were jailed for a variety of charges related to terrorism and political speech (as of January 2019).

Ninety-nine mayors from municipalities were removed, including 95 pro-Kurdish mayors. This violates the right to political association and freedom of expression, and denies the right to political representation for those who elected them. According to the Interior Ministry, out of 102 HDP or DBP-controlled municipalities, the government installed administrators in all but four (as of January 2019). Installing administrators eliminates critical voices and weakens opposition to the ruling party.

Marring the legitimacy of local elections on March 31, anti-terror police detained 53 people in Istanbul on election eve. Erdoğan called the HDP “terror lovers”. Erdoğan calls anyone opposed to his regime a terrorist. Read more - Lire plus
NSA Recommends Dropping Phone-Surveillance Program
Wall Street Journal 24/04/2019 - The National Security Agency has recommended that the White House abandon a surveillance program that collects information about U.S. phone calls and text messages, saying the logistical and legal burdens of keeping it outweigh its intelligence benefits, according to people familiar with the matter.

The recommendation against seeking the renewal of the once-secret spying program amounts to an about-face by the agency, which had long argued in public and to congressional overseers that the program was vital to the task of finding and disrupting terrorism plots against the U.S. The latest view is rooted in a growing belief among senior intelligence officials that the spying program provides limited value to national security and has become a logistical headache. Frustrations about legal-compliance issues forced the NSA to halt use of the program earlier this year, the people said. Its legal authority will expire in December unless Congress reauthorizes it.

The surveillance program began clandestinely—and, at first, without court approval—under the George W. Bush administration in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The NSA operation has sought to collect the metadata of all domestic calls in the U.S. in order to hunt for links among potential associates of terrorism suspects. Metadata include the numbers and time stamps of a call or text message but not the contents of the conversation.

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked  the existence of the program —along with a tranche of documents exposing other surveillance operations carried out by the NSA—to journalists nearly six years ago. The disclosures ignited an international uproar over the scope of America’s electronic-spying capabilities.

Following Mr. Snowden’s 2013 disclosures, Congress  passed  the USA Freedom Act in 2015, requiring the spy agency to replace its bulk-metadata program with a pared-down system under which call records are retained by telephone companies. But that new system has run into compliance issues and is now viewed by many within the intelligence community as more of a burden than a useful tool.

Several former intelligence officials said there was skepticism within the NSA about the utility of the metadata-surveillance program even before the Snowden revelations. However, Mr. Snowden’s disclosures forced U.S. intelligence officials into a posture of having to defend it publicly. Read more - Lire plus
Indigenous peoples lives and their rights increasingly at risk
The Guardian 12/04/2019 - On 24 April 2019, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, IWGIA released The Indigenous World 2019, an extensive, one-of-a-kind yearbook presenting a comprehensive, global overview of the developments indigenous peoples’ experience. 

The book documents an increasing trend towards the harassment and criminalisation of indigenous peoples and communities. It also highlights the rising tensions between states and indigenous peoples, shrinking civil society space, loss of land rights and lack of access to justice for indigenous peoples to enjoy their rights.

"Indigenous peoples make up 5% of the world’s population, yet they represent 15% of the world’s poorest, and in 2017, half of the approximately 400 environmental and human rights defenders killed. The numbers for 2018 are as-yet-unknown, but this troubling trend hasn’t seemed to stop,” Julie Koch, IWGIA Executive Director, says. “We need to do more to protect, learn from and support indigenous peoples and their traditional, sustainable practices as key actors in ensuring a safer and more equitable world.”

In 2018, there has been an increase in the documentation and reporting of illegal surveillance, arbitrary arrests, travel bans preventing free movement, threats, dispossession and killings of indigenous peoples. We have witnessed instruments meant to protect indigenous peoples being turned against them, through the use of legislation and the justice system, to penalise and criminalise indigenous peoples’ assertion of their rights. Read more - Lire plus
Cutting off the internet is a TERRIBLE idea, whether or not you agree with Extinction Rebellion
Computer Weekly 17/04/2019 - While the British Transport Police (BTP) has attempted to portray the shutdown as being undertaken in the “interests of safety and to prevent and deter serious disruption” the underlying truth of the matter is that its actions curtail freedom to access the internet, freedom to express oneself using the internet, and freedom to organise using the internet.

Whether or not you agree with the aims of Extinction Rebellion, the BTP has overreached itself. It is therefore hard to escape the logical conclusion that the UK authorities are acting in a manner more befitting of an authoritarian regime. Remember that Egypt famously cut off its internet connections in 2011 at the height of the Arab Spring protests. More recently the likes of Venezuela and Sudan have taken similar steps at times of national crisis, restricting the ability of their citizens to communicate freely. In other countries like China, the government prevents all access to western social media platforms (with the exception of from within a few luxury hotels), and virtually all social media activity is directed through government-approved and monitored platforms such as the nearly-ubiquitous WeChat.

Obviously the shutdown of a single wireless network in limited locations does not amount to a concerted attempt to stifle freedom of expression for everybody in the UK, and it would be hyperbolic to suggest it does – otherwise we could not post this article. However, in a time of increased political turmoil and social discord it sets an extremely dangerous precedent for a country that prides itself on fundamental freedoms to allow law enforcement agencies to act in this manner. The optics are, quite frankly, terrible.

All over the world, freedom of access to and expression on the internet is under growing threat. Freedom House’s 2018 Freedom on the Net reported an eighth consecutive year of global internet freedom declines. It said 17 governments around the world approved or proposed laws restricting online media in the name of fighting fake news and online manipulation, and 18 governments increased surveillance, often eschewing independent oversight and weakening encryption in the process.

Reporters Without Borders  already lists the British government as an enemy of the internet alongside some of the world’s most oppressive regimes, such as Belarus, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Read more - Lire plus
April Anti-Torture Tuesdays: Call/Email to Stop Moe's Torture
Every Tuesday in April, we encourage you to join the growing campaign to end a 17-year nightmare: the constant threat of deportation to torture that has hung over the head of Ottawa refugee Mohamed (Moe) Harkat since 2002. Every Tuesday, please call and email Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who has the power to stop this deportation and to grant Moe a long-delayed path to citizenship.

Please take two minutes to make a call and send a letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to end the illegal and immoral deportation to torture proceedings against Ottawa refugee Mohamed Harkat. Also urge Mr. Goodale to accept Moe's long-standing application to live in peace in Canada because it “it is not contrary to the national interest” to allow him to do so: 613-947-1153 (Ottawa office), (800) 830-3118 (Ministerial office), 306-585-2202 (Constituency).
Tell the Senate to Fix Bill C-59 before it's too late!
From mass surveillance to the No Fly List, the new National Security Act fails to undo past problems and brings in new powers that threaten our rights & freedoms. Send a message to the Senate that they need to fix Bill C-59.
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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.
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”. 

There has never been any formal, independent review of how and why the police response went so badly wrong. In December, the UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to address this glaring gap in police accountability by ensuring that a thorough and impartial review is finally carried out.
Respectez les droits des!
Migrer ou mourir. Des milliers de personnes d'Amérique centrale, y compris des familles, ont été forcées de quitter ce qu'elles connaissent et aiment pour trouver la sécurité et une vie meilleure pour leurs enfants. Elles ont marché pendant des semaines vers les États-Unis pour échapper aux menaces, à la violence et à une pauvreté extrême - non par choix, mais par obligation.

Mais Donald Trump et son administration travaillent dur pour s’assurer qu’ils ne pourront pas rechercher la sécurité aux États-Unis.
Les droits humains ne dépendent pas du document que vous possédez ou de votre nationalité. Ils appartiennent à tout le monde.

Signez cette pétition pour soutenir les personnes et les familles en quête de protection.
Tell China to close its secret ‘re-education’ camps for ethnic minorities
It is estimated that up to one million people - predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities - are being arbitrarily detained in “de-extremification" camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Among them are Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority groups whose religious and cultural practices are key to their identity.
The detentions appear to be part of an effort by the Chinese government to wipe out religious beliefs and aspects of cultural identity in order to enforce political loyalty for the State and the Communist Party of China.
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 .
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. There were lengthy periods when he had no family or consular visits. 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. Those actions prolonged his detention, with no concern for the obvious risk of mistreatment he was facing.
Don’t invest my CPP contributions in Trump’s racist agenda
An investigation by the Guardian just revealed that the  Canada Pension Plan (CPP), is pouring millions of your pension dollars into the US private prison corporations that are executing Trump’s cruel and inhumane anti-immigration agenda. That’s your money.  If you’ve ever worked in Canada, you’ve paid contributions to the CPP fund. We can’t let our CPP contributions flow to corporations that are profiting from Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Tell the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB): Stop investing our savings in private US prison corporations that are executing Trump’s cruel and inhumane anti-immigration agenda.
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.
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.
Whistleblowers d'alerte

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
Mary Ann Higgs
Kevin Malseed
Brian Murphy
Bob Stevenson
Chantal Vallerand

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!