International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
April 19, 2019
Terror threat report ‘unintentionally maligned’ groups like Canada’s Sikh community, says public safety minister
The Toronto Star 12/04/2019 - Friday evening, hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit one of the biggest Sikh temples in Canada, his government agreed to change the language in a report on terror to no longer explicitly mention Sikh extremism. The 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada released in December drew ire from Canada’s Sikh community for talking about Sikh extremism for the first time as one of the top five extremist threats in Canada.

Although the objections were largely about the inclusion of Sikhs at all, because of the report’s lack of evidence to back it up, Goodale said he would at least ask for a review of the language the report used, because entire religions should never be equated with terrorism. On April 7, Goodale issued a statement saying the 2018 report would be left as it was but future reports would have to speak to the ideologies or intentions of extremists, not their religions. Instead of “Sikh extremism” future reports would, if it was appropriate, discuss threats posed by “extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India.”

That changed late Friday, just hours before Trudeau was to join Vancouver MP and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to visit the Khalsa Diwan Society’s Ross Street Gurdwara in Vancouver and march in the city’s Vaisakhi parade. “The report has been updated to reflect this terminology, and it will be used in future public documents,” a statement from the department reads.

Balpreet Singh, the lawyer for the World Sikh Organization in Canada, said the original report was “deeply hurtful and insensitive” and welcomed the government’s decision to change it as an “acknowledgement there was a mistake that was made.” But he said the change took too long and required too much effort from the community. Singh noted, however, the report still refers to extremism in both Sunni and Shia Islam, which he says undermines the government’s commitment to be more careful about not maligning entire religions. Singh is also still concerned that the government is listing extremist elements advocating violence for Khalistan without any evidence. “Prove it or remove it,” said Singh. Read more - Lire plus
La police de Montréal espionne-t-elle les gens à distance?
Journal de Montréal 16/04/2019 - La police de Montréal refuse de dire aux élus montréalais si elle utilise les fameux «Stingray», ces appareils qui permettent d’épier à distance les communications cellulaires. Le Service de police de la Ville de Mont­réal (SPVM) n’a pas voulu répondre à une question du conseiller municipal Marvin Rotrand à ce sujet, prétextant que cela pourrait «révéler des techniques d’enquête». Une demande faite par Le Journal a abouti à la même réponse. Le SPVM ne voulant ni «confirmer [ni] infirmer» l’acquisition ou l’utilisation de ces appareils, dont le vrai nom est «intercepteurs d’IMSI».

«C’est inquiétant. Le service de police dit: “On refuse de vous dire si on le fait, mais faites-nous confiance”. Mais c’est à nous, les élus, de nous assurer que la loi est respectée par les forces de l’ordre», déplore Marvin Rotrand. Selon lui, la réponse transmise laisse croire que le SPVM utilise la technologie. La semaine dernière, le Toronto Star dévoilait que la police de la Ville Reine avait fait l’acquisition d’au moins un intercepteur d’IMSI. Le SPVM invoque même la Loi sur l’accès aux renseignements des organismes publics pour refuser de répondre. Depuis 2015, la police de Toronto avait évoqué des raisons similaires avant d’être forcée par un tribunal de répondre au Toronto Star.

Les Stingray imitent une tour de téléphonie cellulaire et permettent aux policiers d’intercepter toutes les communications mobiles d’un secteur. Les messages textes, courriels et conversations téléphoniques peuvent ainsi être recueillis. L’utilisation massive d’intercepteurs d’IMSI, faite par la police de New York, a d’ailleurs été déclarée inconstitutionnelle en 2017. Le porte-parole de l’opposition en matière de sécurité publique, Abdelhaq Sari, s’inquiète aussi du silence de la police. «Si le SPVM utilise les Stingray, c’est le droit de tout citoyen de le savoir», juge-t-il. Read more - Lire plus
Civil Society Under Attack in Name of Counterterrorism
IPS News 15/04/2019 - Counterterrorism measures are not only affecting extremist groups, but are also impacting a crucial sector for peace and security in the world: civil society. Civil society has long played a crucial role in society, providing life-saving assistance and upholding human rights for all. However, counterterrorism measures, which are meant to protect civilians, are directly, and often intentionally, undermining such critical work.

“Civil society is under increased assault in the name of countering terrorism,” Human Rights Watch’s senior counterterrorism researcher Letta Tayler told IPS, pointing to a number of United Nations Security Council resolutions as among the culprits. “Nearly two decades after the September 11 attacks, we are seeing a very clear pattern of overly broad counterterrorism resolutions. We are seeing a clear pattern of violations on the ground that are being carried out in the name of complying with binding Security Council counterterrorism resolutions,” she added. Just two weeks after September 11, 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1373 which called states to adopt and implement measures to prevent and combat terrorism. Since then, more than 140 countries have adopted counterterrorism laws.

The newly approved Resolution 2462, passed at the end of March, requires member states to criminalise financial assistance to terrorist individuals or groups “for any purpose” even if the aid is indirect and provided “in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.” While the resolution does include some language on human rights protections, Tayler noted that it is not sufficient. “It is not sufficiently spelled out to make very clear to member states what they can and cannot do that might violate human rights on the ground,” she said. Among the major issues concerning these resolutions is that there is no universal, legal definition of terrorism, allowing states to craft their own, usually broad, definitions. This has put civil society organisations and human rights defenders (HRDs) alike at risk of detention and left vulnerable populations without essential life-saving assistance.

“I think it is irresponsible of the Security Council to pass binding resolutions that leave up to States to craft their own definitions of terrorism…that’s how you end up with counterterrorism laws that criminalise peaceful protest or criticising the state,” Tayler said. Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Lead Paul Scott echoed similar sentiments to IPS, stating: “The Security Council, by being overly broad, is just giving [governments] the tools to restrict civil society.”

According to Front Line Defenders , an Irish-based human rights organisation, 58 percent of its cases in 2018 saw HRDs charged under national security legislation. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism Fionnuala Ní Aoláin found that 67 percent of her mandate’s communications regarding civil society were related to the use of counter-terrorism, and noted that country’s counterterrorism laws are being used as a “shortcut to targeting democratic protest and dissent.” Read more - Lire plus

American War Is Off the Charts: How the U.S. Military Feeds at the Terror Trough
Tom Dispatch 14/04/2019 - Maybe you won’t be surprised to learn that what I have in mind is the war in Afghanistan, another of Washington’s off-the-charts affairs. It might even qualify as the original one (if you don’t count Vietnam, which would take you back to the Neolithic Age of the U.S. military’s infinite wars ). Lest you think I only mean the war that began in Afghanistan after the terror attacks of 9/11, think again. I’m talking about the American war in that distant land that started in 1979, the decade-long conflict in which the U.S. supported extreme Islamists (including a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden) -- they were our guys, then -- to successfully force the Red Army out of Afghanistan.

That was in 1989, 30 years ago, and a triumphant Washington promptly took more than a decade-long holiday, while a brutal set of civil wars continued in already devastated Afghanistan and the Taliban rose to power in most of the country. Then, as in Somalia, having learned their lesson (the wrong one, of course), George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and crew decided after 9/11 to emulate... well, the Red Army (even though the Soviet Union had imploded a decade earlier) and occupy the Afghan capital, Kabul. For the only great power left on the planet, facing a lightly armed extremist group, what could possibly go wrong?

Seventeen and a half years later, Congress has rarely focused on the war ( not ) to end all wars and there are still 14,000 American troops (and the usual set of private contractors) there, along with enough U.S. air power to... well, blow up a lot but not change anything decisively. Of course, the Taliban was long ago sent to hell in a hand basket...
...Whoops! The Taliban in 2019 is stronger and in control of more territory than at any moment since it was driven from power in November 2001. Staggering billions of American taxpayer dollars have gone into the “reconstruction” of that land to little effect (while the domestic infrastructure of the United States has begun to crumble without significant new federal investment). Meanwhile, the security forces of the American-backed Afghan government have been taking casualties at a reportedly unsustainable rate .

After not paying much attention to all of this for something like a decade and a half, the American people did, however inadvertently, vote into the White House a presidential candidate who had long had dissident thoughts about the Afghan War. Typical was this 2012 tweet of his: “Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!”
And it’s not a set of thoughts Donald Trump tossed overboard once he entered the Oval Office either. Only the other day, he ludicrously praised the “great strides in Afghanistan” that the U.S. military and NATO are(n’t) making in an awkward meeting with that alliance’s secretary general (in which he also managed to claim that his father -- distinctly from the Bronx, New York -- had been born and raised in Germany). He then doubled back and termed the Afghan War “ridiculous” and “unfortunate.” And last December, soon after he announced that he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria (on which more in a moment), he essentially demanded that the U.S. military cut its forces in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 7,000 as part of its route (not rout!) out. That number was assumedly meant to include the 3,000 troops he had been persuaded to add to U.S. forces there in his first year in office.

As it happened, however, the Pentagon had its own forward-looking ideas on how to “withdraw” from Afghanistan. Having already turned that war into the longest in American history, the high command was now evidently vying for another awe-inspiring record: the longest withdrawal of American forces from a war zone ever -- a three-to-five-year span of time with perhaps an initial cut of 7,000 somewhere in the months to come (though I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting). In that way, they were working to produce an American war of at least 21 years (USA! USA!), while perhaps also hoping to outlast this president and get one willing to commit to forever war forever. Admittedly, the Trump administration has also launched peace talks with the Taliban and who knows where they might lead sooner or later. Still, when it comes to the “ridiculous” war the president continues to belittle, give credit where it’s due. It remains robustly, even disastrously, ongoing and off the charts. Read more - Lire plus
ICC Makes “Dangerous Decision” to Drop Probe into U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan After U.S. Pressure
DemocracyNow! 17/04/2019 - The International Criminal Court has announced it will not investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United States and other actors in Afghanistan. The court suggested the U.S.'s lack of cooperation with the investigation was behind the decision. Earlier this month, the U.S. revoked the visa of the ICC's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. A 2016 report by the ICC accused the U.S. military of torturing at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan during the ongoing war. The report also accused the CIA of subjecting at least 27 prisoners to torture, including rape, at CIA prison sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania. We speak to Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Read more - Lire plus
The Corruption of the Terrorist Group List
Lobe Log 15/04/2019 - The Trump administration is running out of ways to demonstrate its hostility toward Iran. As it strives to contrive new ways, it compromises and undermines other U.S. interests and objectives. The latest move undermines the objective of counterterrorism by placing, for the first time ever, a governmental entity on a list that never was designed for that purpose.

Omnibus counterterrorist legislation known as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which Congress enacted in 1996, created the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. That act criminalized material support to terrorist groups, with material support defined broadly to include financial contributions, propagandizing, and almost any other form of cooperation or business dealings with a terrorist group. If support to a foreign terrorist organization was to be made a crime, then it was necessary for the law to specify what counted as a foreign terrorist organization. Hence the 1996 act created a formal list of such organizations, along with criteria for the executive branch to use in determining which groups should be placed on the list.

In short, the FTO list never was intended to be a means of condemning foreign entities that the United States doesn’t like. Instead, it is a tool for prosecutors to go after individuals who, for example, contribute money or facilitate the movement of guns or people on behalf of a terrorist group.

Clearly none of this is designed to apply to an arm of a foreign government, whose operations depend on a governmental budget rather than on aid from prosecutable individuals. The attempt to apply the U.S. law in question to the IRGC—which is an entire branch of the Iranian armed forces—theoretically makes every Iranian taxpayer a potential criminal defendant. Or, if one did not want to apply the concept of material support quite that broadly, what about all those who currently serve in the IRGC (about 125,000) or its associated militias within Iran (an even larger number) or have ever served in the IRGC (another large number, because many Iranians perform their military service in the Guard)?

The broad range of activities that the IRGC performs on behalf of the Iranian state also means that the material support provision would apply as well to other foreign governments that do ordinary, decidedly non-terrorist, business with Iran. This is especially true of Iraq, which for this reason strongly opposed the U.S. designation of the IRGC. Iraqi officials deal with the IRGC not only on matters of Iraqi security but also on such mundane business as the regulation of cross-border commerce. The IRGC also has been involved in peace negotiations in Afghanistan, making other participants to that process subject to the material support provision as well.

The law hits even closer to home when considering a terrorism-relevant fact that the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge. Iran, including the IRGC, has actively opposed the terrorist threat that has mattered most in recent years: al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). In Iraq, the IRGC and the militias it supported played the leading role in combating and defeating IS on the ground. The United States played a supporting role with air power. That means that the U.S. Air Force has provided material support to the IRGC and thus also is in violation of U.S. law, or at least would be the next time it is used to combat a similar terrorist threat that Iran also opposes. [...]

The IRGC designation is one more indicator of how the administration’s campaign of unrelenting hostility against Iran has less to do with countering nefarious behavior than it does with pursuing other objectives. One of those objectives, as the timing of the designation announcement made obvious, was to bestow another gift on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and help him win re-election. Netanyahu publicly thanked President Trump for responding to the prime minister’s “request” to make the designation.
Another objective is to goad Iran into making some move that would provide a spark or an excuse for the war with Iran that National Security Advisor John Bolton has long wanted and that Pompeo evidently wants as well, as reflected in his refusal to acknowledge, in a recent exchange with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), that the administration lacks congressional authority for such a war. Read more - Lire plus
Official French Agency Falsely Reports More Than 550 URLs as Terrorist Content
Internet Archive Blogs 10/04/2019 - The European Parliament is set to vote on legislation that would require websites that host user-generated content to take down material reported as terrorist content within one hour. We have some examples of current notices sent to the Internet Archive that we think illustrate very well why this requirement would be harmful to the free sharing of information and freedom of speech that the European Union pledges to safeguard.

In the past week, the Internet Archive has received a series of email notices from French Internet Referral Unit (French IRU) falsely identifying hundreds of URLs on as “terrorist propaganda”. At least one of these mistaken URLs was also identified as terrorist content in a separate take down notice sent under the authority of the French government’s L’Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité liée aux Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (OCLCTIC).

The one-hour requirement essentially means that we would need to take reported URLs down automatically and do our best to review them after the fact. It would be bad enough if the mistaken URLs in these examples were for a set of relatively obscure items on our site, but the French IRU’s lists include some of the most visited pages on and materials that obviously have high scholarly and research value. See a summary below with specific examples. Read more - Lire plus 

Sri Lankan government prepares new anti-terrorism laws
WSWS 09/04/2019 - The official purpose of Sri Lanka’s CT Bill is to replace the infamous Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which was enacted in 1979 on the pretext of combatting Tamil militant groups. It was widely used during the almost 30-year communal war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), leading to arbitrary arrests, protracted detentions without trials and torture. Colombo also used it to suppress rural unrest in the period 1988–1990 during which tens of thousands of youth were killed.

Attempting to capitalise on the widespread opposition to the PTA during the 2015 presidential election campaign, Maithripala Sirisena promised to repeal the hated law if he came to power. In 2016, the Sri Lankan cabinet approved a new counter terrorism bill. The bill, however, was even more repressive than the PTA and was denounced by civil liberties groups and other organisations, forcing the government to withdraw it.

According to human rights groups, the latest version of the bill is little different from the previous one and, in fact, bans virtually all activities and propaganda against Sri Lankan governments. According to section 3 of the CT Bill, anyone found guilty of terrorism will be punished with 20-year or lifetime jail terms.

“Terrorism offences” include:
* intimidating a population;
* wrongfully or unlawfully compelling the government of Sri Lanka, or any other government, or an international organisation, to do or to abstain from doing any act;
* preventing any such government from functioning;
* causing harm to the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Sri Lanka or any other sovereign country;
* causing serious damage to public or private property;
* obstruction to essential services.

These vague clauses could be used to ban and punish any political party or group within or outside Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan president already has the power to declare any service or industry an essential service and ban strikes. Under the planned CT measures, strike action, protests and demonstrations by workers, students or the poor could be defined as “terrorist” offences. Read more - Lire plus
Three teens charged in Malta over refugee ship hijacking
Al Jazeera 30/03/2019 - Authorities in Malta have charged three teenagers with committing an act of "terrorism" for their suspected role in hijacking a merchant ship that rescued  them off the coast of Libya .

The suspects pleaded not guilty and were placed in preventive detention pending trial. The Valletta court identified one of the accused as Abdalla Bari, a 19-year-old from Guinea. The other two are a 15-year-old, also from Guinea, and a 16-year-old from Ivory Coast , who as minors could not be named. The minors told the court they are secondary school students, while Bari said he had been studying sociology before leaving his country.

Nader el-Hiblu, the ship's captain, said the drama began on Tuesday afternoon when his tanker was travelling from  Turkey to Libya. A military aircraft flying above alerted him of a boat with people who needed help, he told The Associated Press news agency. Once the refugees and migrants were on board, the ship continued its course towards Libya, a country where the United Nations and aid groups say refugees and asylum seekers face trafficking, kidnap, torture and rape. But on Wednesday, when those rescued realised they were headed back to the country they had just left, some revolted, commandeering the ship and forcing it to head to Europe. The hijackers "were desperate and absolutely did not want to return" to Libya, el-Hiblu said. [...]

Matteo Salvini , Italy's anti-immigration interior minister, described the incident as an "act of piracy", but some aid groups called it an act of self-defence against Europe's immigration policies, which aim to ship back desperate refugees and migrants back to Libya. Read more - Lire plus

Britons going to terror hotspots face 10 years in jail under controversial new laws
The Guardian 12/04/2019 - British citizens travelling to live in foreign terrorism hotspots could face up to 10 years in prison under controversial new laws. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 comes into force on Friday and creates a criminal offence of entering or remaining in a “designated area” overseas. Ministers unveiled the measure last year as part of efforts to boost authorities’ ability to tackle the threat from so-called foreign fighters . The act allows the home secretary to designate an area, subject to parliamentary approval. In order to use the power, Sajid Javid would need to be satisfied that it is necessary to restrict UK nationals and residents from travelling to or remaining in the area in order to protect the public from a risk of terrorism. An individual found to have entered or remained in a designated area could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The act also gives border guards the power to stop and search individuals without suspicion on the grounds of tackling “hostile state” activity, and criminalises the viewing of terrorist-linked material online. Exemptions have been written into the legislation to protect those who have a legitimate reason for being in a designated area or conducting research online, such as journalists. But campaigners for press freedom and human rights watchdogs have raised serious concerns about the legislation. A joint statement from nine organisations including Index on Censorship and Reporters Without Borders last year warned the “vaguely defined” crime of hostile state activity would give border guards wide-ranging powers to stop, search and detain. The signatories said a journalist taking a domestic flight could be stopped without any suspicion of wrongdoing and it would be an offence for the journalist not to answer questions or hand over materials, with no protection for confidential sources. The cross-party joint committee on human rights said last year the legislation risked crossing the line on human rights and could restrict free speech and curb access to information. Read more - Lire plus
Aidan James: British man who fought against Daesh in Syria faces retrial on terror charges
The Independent 16/04/2019 - A jury has failed to reach verdicts on whether a man committed terror  offences by fighting against ISIS , in the first case of its kind. Aidan James , from Formby in Merseyside, was one of several British volunteers who joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units ( YPG ) in Syria. The group, which is not classed as a terrorist organisation by the UK, was supported by the British military and US-led coalition to drive Isis out of its former territories. While other YPG volunteers have been investigated by counterterror police, Mr James was the first man to be put on trial for terror offences related to fighting against ISIS. He was charged with preparing acts of terrorism, which has previously been used against would-be Isis militants and terror attack plotters. But the judge at his Old Bailey trial said Mr James had “no case to answer” and directed the jury to acquit him. Jurors then failed to reach a verdict on two remaining charges of attending two locations “while terrorist training was given” by Kurdish groups. Justice Edis discharged the jury after 14 hours of deliberations on Monday and prosecutors said they would be seeking a retrial. The case was adjourned until 1 May, for a hearing to set a new trial date. Mr James denied all offences, saying that his activities did not have a “terrorist purpose” and his aim was to fight ISIS. But prosecutors argued that his activities with the YPG fulfilled the definition of terrorism in British law, which is activity “for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause”. Read more - Lire plus
UK overseas spending linked to 350 death sentences in Pakistan
Scottish Legal News 16/04/2019 - Britain has assisted prosecutions in anti-terrorism courts in Pakistan that have handed down more than 350 death sentences in the last five years, The Telegraph reports. The Counter Terrorism Associated Prosecutorial Reforms Initiative (CAPRI) is a strand of the Pakistan Rule of Law Programme, funded through the UK government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF). From 2018-19, the programme was allocated £9.32 million.

In 2016, the then British High Commissioner to Pakistan claimed CAPRI was responsible for a tenfold increase in conviction rates in terrorism cases. Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) defines terrorism as any crime or threat designed to create a “sense of fear or insecurity in society.” The United Nations Human Rights Committee and Committee Against Torture have both expressed grave concern that the ATA provides for extended detention without trial, enables courts to try juveniles as adults and eliminates safeguards against torture.

From 2013-19 - the period Britain has been funding CAPRI - at least 350 people have been sentenced to death under the ATA, while 68 people convicted under the law have been executed, according to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan figures compiled from publicly-available sources. Conservative, Labour and senior MPs have raised questions about the Pakistan Rule of Law programme, which cost the taxpayer £9.32 million in the current financial year. James Gray, a Conservative MP, told The Telegraph: “It’s massively complicated and largely secret and I certainly wouldn’t want to swear in a court that I have the faintest idea where the money is going – I really don’t know. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest to discover some of it may be going in the wrong place.”

Dan Dolan, deputy director at Reprieve, said: “What does it say about the UK government’s human rights risk assessments that ministers felt able to sign off on a programme that has helped sentence hundreds of people to death over the last five years? That the same broken system is being used to approve security assistance to countries such as Iraq and Egypt, where torture, summary trials and executions are widespread, demonstrates the need for urgent change. That these programmes are funded in secret, with no transparency or accountability, should appal British taxpayers.” Read more - Lire plus

UK government signals it could back Britons in Syria facing death penalty in Iraq
Scottish Legal News 11/04/2019 - The UK government has indicated its preferred destination for British nationals detained in north-east Syria, explicitly opposing their transfer to the Assad regime or the US facility at Guantanamo Bay, but confirming it is in “regular discussions” with the government of Iraq about how to “achieve justice”.

It was reported yesterday that Iraq has offered to try such prisoners for a price of £2 million per head – a figure pegged to the annual cost of imprisoning an individual at Guantanamo Bay.
British detainees handed over to Iraq will likely face the death penalty and no prospect of a fair trial. Human Rights Watch has reported that trials of suspected IS members “are summary and often do not put forward evidence of specific offences”, while “interrogators routinely use torture to extract confessions, and in most cases judges ignore torture allegations from defendants”.

The UK government itself has previously acknowledged the widespread use of torture and the death penalty across the Iraqi criminal justice system. Reprieve’s director Maya Foa said: “By outsourcing justice to the Iraqi courts, the UK government would create a real risk of British citizens being sentenced to death in ten-minute trials.

“Accountability and justice for the crimes committed will only come through fair trials and effective prosecutions, not through torture and summary executions. Britons currently held in the camps should be brought home and, where appropriate, face British justice, in British courts, in accordance with the government’s longstanding opposition to the death penalty.” Read more - Lire plus
DC Circuit says Guantanamo judge created 'intolerable cloud of partiality' and tosses his rulings
Just Security 16/04/2019 - In a stunning, unanimous, 31-page opinion handed down Tuesday morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit threw out every single pre-trial order issued over the past three-and-a-half years in the case of Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Al-Nashiri, who is being tried by a military commission at Guantánamo for his alleged role in the USS Cole bombing. The Court also threw out every single ruling on appeal of those orders by the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR). Every single one.

For those who haven’t been following al-Nashiri’s case, the ruling probably comes as something of a real surprise. But in many ways, today’s decision was merely the inevitable result of years of hubris on the part of the commissions themselves and the government lawyers before them, and the lack of meaningful judicial oversight the commissions have faced to date. I’ve written before, in lots of detail , about the ethical kerfuffle that had, for a time, ground the pre-trial proceedings in al-Nashiri’s case to a halt (all of which, it should be said, derives at least indirectly from the fact that al-Nashiri was repeatedly tortured while in CIA custody).

And although that dispute was lurking in the background of the case the Court of Appeals decided today, the real issue here was the appearance of partiality on the part of the former trial judge, Air Force Colonel Vance Spath, who was presiding over al-Nashiri’s case even as he was applying for—and subsequently negotiating the terms of—a position with the Justice Department as an immigration judge. Writing for himself and Judges Judith Rogers and Thomas Griffith, Judge David Tatel walked in significant and revealing detail through the awkwardness of the overlapping factual timelines—and why it would clearly appear to a reasonable outside observer, when made aware of the facts, that Spath’s impartiality could fairly be questioned. Read more - Lire plus

Trump shifting DHS focus from counterterrorism to immigration (podcast)
The Wathington Post 17/04/2019 - When the DHS was created in the aftermath of 9/11, its main purpose was to combat terrorism at home and abroad. Now, under the Trump administration, the agency’s focus has shifted to the border and a new role as hard-line immigration enforcer. Nick Miroff  reports on how President Trump has upended the nation’s third-largest federal agency and what that could mean for its various missions. Listen - Écoutez
Alberta: Jason Kenney promet de s'en prendre aux écolos
La Presse canadienne 17/04/2019 - Le premier ministre désigné de l'Alberta promet de s'attaquer aux organismes de bienfaisance du secteur de l'environnement qui bloquent selon lui les exportations de pétrole - mais ces groupes pourraient en fait profiter de ces batailles, qui attisent la générosité des donateurs.

Dans son discours de la victoire, mardi soir, le chef du Parti conservateur uni, Jason Kenney, a réitéré sa promesse de lutter contre les groupes écologistes canadiens qui acceptent de l'argent de fondations américaines avec le secret dessein de saboter l'économie d'ici en empêchant l'Alberta d'exporter du pétrole ailleurs que vers le sud.

Le gouvernement conservateur fédéral dirigé par Stephen Harper, dont M. Kenney faisait partie, avait tenté la même chose en 2012 en dépensant 12 millions pour mener des audits sur les finances d'organisations caritatives respectueuses de l'environnement. Or, les dons à ces organismes de bienfaisance ont ensuite grimpé en flèche - ils ont presque quadruplé dans le cas de la fondation Tides Canada.

« Si M. Kenney veut donner des dizaines de millions de dollars à quelques groupes environnementaux, au détriment de 1200 autres organismes de bienfaisance oeuvrant pour l'environnement au Canada, il n'a qu'à faire comme les conservateurs fédéraux à l'époque », a soutenu Mark Blumberg, avocat torontois spécialisé dans les organismes caritatifs. « Ce serait un appui majeur pour la collecte de fonds de ces quelques groupes, mais une catastrophe pour le secteur caritatif en général. » 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.
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!

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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!