International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
December 21, 2018
The News Digest will resume in January - La Revue sera de retour en janvier!
ICLMG: Canadian Public Deserves Answers and Action Over Troubling New National Security Report
ICLMG 19/12/2018 - Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and the Canadian government must go further than simply reviewing the wording of the  2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada , and take action to address the unfounded allegations and stigmatization of Muslim and Sikh communities in the report. [...] The ICLMG shares the concerns of the  National Council of Canadian Muslims , the  World Sikh Organization , and the  Canadian Anti-Hate Coalition , all of whom raised the alarm last week over the stigmatization of Muslims and Sikhs, and the downplaying of right-wing violence in the latest threat assessment report. While Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said that officials will review the inclusion of Shia, Sunni and Sikh as qualifiers in the text, the ICLMG says the problem runs deeper. It is also highly troubling to see, without evidence or justification, the sudden inclusion of Sikh (Khalistani) extremism as a threat to Canada’s national security. “For the first time, Canada has included ‘Sikh extremism’ in a terrorism assessment report, without any evidence of recent violence or credible threats in Canada. While the tragedy of the Air India bombing still weighs heavy in Canada, it cannot be used to tarnish a community decades later,” McSorley added. This report fits a troubling trend that the ICLMG has observed over the past 15 years, where vague security concerns with little transparency or clear basis have been used to increase police and security powers, and to place greater limitations and restraints on civil liberties. When compared to the scope of reported national security threats, these measures are disproportionate. For example, in the 2018 threat assessment, one of the “plots” used to support the report’s focus is the so-called “Canada Day” bomb plot from 2013. However, both accused in the case have been released after an appeals judge found they had been entrapped by the RCMP. While the government continues to appeal the case, it is questionable that this would be cited – without clarification – as one of only nine key events from the past 12 years. The ICLMG is calling on the government to take immediate action to revise the 2018 threat assessment report, and to meet with concerned civil society groups to form a process of greater clarity, transparency and accountability in its national security operations and assessments. Read more - Lire plus + Share on Facebook + Share on Twitter
Protecting Human Rights in Canada: Anne’s Story
Inter Pares 19/12/2018 - Learning that Hassan Diab had returned to Canada felt unreal. And extraordinary. After all these years of fighting – first, against his extradition, and then for his release and return from France – we were worried it would never happen. Although we never stopped fighting, his ordeal had lasted so long that it had become a new ‘normal’ – our reality and his. That so many people and organizations – including the ICLMG – fought for Hassan’s rights and freedom is both beautiful and disheartening. Because even with all that support, it took years for him to be returned to Canada. Dr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian professor who was extradited to France on suspicion that he was responsible for the 1980 Paris synagogue bombing. Hassan’s ordeal unfolded in the post-9/11 era, which has been characterized by unwarranted hostility towards Muslims, and the erosion of civil liberties in the name of the “war on terror.” French authorities did not want to appear “soft” on terrorism, so they put political gain ahead of the right to due process. The case against Hassan stood on unreliable, anonymous evidence. Even the Canadian judge who ordered Hassan’s extradition said that France presented a “weak case” and that the “evidence” against Hassan was “very confusing, with conclusions that are suspect.” Recently uncovered court documents suggest that the Canadian Department of Justice not only inappropriately assisted the French government to make its case for extradition, but withheld evidence of Hassan’s innocence from the court and from his defense lawyers.
As a result, Hassan spent over three years in a notoriously violent prison. In solidarity confinement. Without charge. Although it took years of campaigning, the fact that Hassan is finally back with his family in Canada, where he belongs, motivates us to keep going. Because the fight is not over. Read more - Lire plus
RCMP entrapment of B.C. couple in legislature bomb plot was 'travesty of justice,' court rules
CBC 19/12/2018 - B.C.'s Appeal Court has upheld a ruling that gave a couple convicted of planting explosive devices on the grounds of the legislature their freedom in 2016. In a unanimous decision released Wednesday morning, the Appeal Court sided with a B.C. Supreme Court judge who stayed proceedings in the terrorism trial of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody on the grounds that the police investigation was a "travesty of justice." While the 141-page judgment faults Justice Catherine Bruce's findings in a number of areas, the Appeal Court found that the RCMP may have been right to launch an undercover operation against the Surrey, B.C., couple — but they went "far beyond investigating a crime." "They pushed and pushed and pushed the two defendants to come up with a workable plan," read the ruling, written by Justice Elizabeth Bennett and handed down in Vancouver. "The police did everything necessary to facilitate the plan." Read more - Lire plus 
Matthew Behrens: Another Canadian detained in China... since 2006
Facebook 19/12/2018 - Canadian media continue to view the detention of Canadians in China through a racist, ahistorical lens. When white Canadians are in trouble, there are major efforts being exercised to guarantee consular access and demand immediate releases, as well it should be. But all this coverage completely ignores ANOTHER detained Canadian, who has not enjoyed this kind of support during 12 years of illegal detention: Burlington, Ontario's Huseyin Celil, imprisoned related to his Uyghur rights work. He was held in secret detention, refused access to a lawyer, his family, and Canadian officials. Chinese authorities forced him to sign a confession. They refused to recognize his status as a Canadian citizen, and they did not allow Canadian officials to attend his trial. It was not conducted fairly, and he was sentenced to life in prison in China, where he remains today. He has spent much of his time in solitary confinement. He lacks healthy food and is in poor health. Bring them ALL home. Stop disappearing Huseyin Celil in your coverage. Source + Sign the petition and share

Bill C-21 is now law: CBSA can now collect exit data from all travelers from Canada to the US
Facebook 17/12/2018 - "On the day the Canadian government announces a new passenger bill of rights, it deflects from the fact that among the rights you completely lose under legislation quietly passed last month, C-21, all of your travel data will be stored and shared in some very dangerous ways. Cross the border while on social assistance? That will be shared with your [social] worker, who will grill you on how you managed to visited a loved one in Buffalo or Seattle. Go to the DC Women's March and find yourself with an RCMP file, etc. During the upcoming consultation on the passenger Bill of Rights, please bring up the dangers of C-21. Thanks to ICLMG." - Matthew Behrens Source 

Tim McSorley: What is the government hiding in the lawsuit against a security certificate?
Twitter 17/12/2018 - The entire framing of this article is questionable and problematic: "Le Canada craint pour la sécurité de ses informateurs." Adil Charkaoui is pursuing the federal government for his being placed under a security certificate, which the government preferred to drop rather than reveal the information they would have needed to disclose in court so he could properly defend himself. Since then, as the article points out, the government has fought tooth and nail to keep as much information as possible secret, particularly regarding information related to secret informants. Finally, the judge rules that a small part of the information in question can be released, because she deems it to be general enough that it would not endanger the informants in question. Most of the information still remains secret and classified. But even this small amount of information that will finally be challenged in open court is too much for the government, who are appealing the decision. The issue here is not that the information being revealed will place informants in danger - the judge has ruled that is not the case. The issue is that, after a decade, the government continues to fight any bit of access to information... Information that was used to place someone in prison and under house arrest for years, and that the accused has never been able to challenge in court. The media need to be challenging this kind of government secrecy and not just echoing their arguments. Source
Alex Neve's comments on Andrew Scheer's tweet disparaging Omar Khadr
Facebook 16/12/2018 - Will 16 years of distorted, cruel CPC attacks on Omar Khadr ever end? Perhaps, finally, let rights, justice & rule of law prevail? Do they actually know (or care) anything about his childhood? About the facts & evidence of that July 2002 firefight? About his decency & resilience after 10 yrs of rights abuse at Guantanamo Bay? About 3 unanimous Supreme Court of Canada rulings in his favour (that’s essentially the equivalent of 27 SCC justices)?  #MoveOn Source

From Arizona to Yemen: How Bombs Built by Raytheon in Tucson Killed 31 Civilians in Yemeni Village
DemocracyNow! 17/12/2018 - In a historic vote, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution on Thursday calling for an end to U.S. military and financial support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen. This represents the first time in U.S. history the Senate has voted to withdraw military forces from an unauthorized war using the War Powers Resolution. The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 14 million of Yemen’s 28 million people on the brink of famine. A remarkable piece in this week’s New York Times Magazine traces how bombs built by Raytheon in Tucson, Arizona, made its way into the Saudi arsenal and then were dropped on Yemeni villages. The article centers on what happened in the remote village of Arhab when U.S.-backed Saudi warplanes carried out a series of bombings on September 10, 2016. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 31 civilians were killed, three of them children; 42 people were injured. We speak to journalist Jeffrey Stern. Read more - Lire plus

Justice for Jakelin: Lawmakers Demand Answers in Death of 7-Year-Old Girl in Border Patrol Custody
DemocracyNow! 19/12/2018 - Outrage is mounting over the death of a 7-year-old indigenous Guatemalan girl in Border Patrol custody, as lawmakers demand answers for the conditions that led Jakelin Caal Maquín to die after being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. Maquin died on December 8, two days after she and her father presented themselves at the border alongside 161 other Central American asylum seekers. She had been held in detention for more than eight hours when she began to have seizures. Border Patrol agents brought the girl to the hospital after her body temperature spiked to 105.7 degrees. The 7-year-old died of dehydration, shock and liver failure at an El Paso hospital less than 24 hours later. We speak with Clara Long, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. Read more - Lire plus 

Almost 15,000 Migrant Children Now Held At Nearly Full Shelters
NPR 13/12/2018 - The number of immigrant children being held in government custody has reached almost 15,000, putting a network of federally contracted shelters across the country near capacity. The national network of more than 100 shelters are 92 percent full, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The situation is forcing the government to consider a range of options, possibly including releasing children more quickly to sponsors in the United States or expanding the already crowded shelter network. Most of migrant children are teenage boys from Central America who travel to the border alone. Many are escaping poverty or gangs, and they plan to ask for asylum and ultimately find work or go to school in the U.S. Waves of these so-called unaccompanied children have arrived in recent years, and the numbers are on the rise again. In November, according to Customs and Border Protection, an average of 175 unaccompanied children crossed the southern border every day. Read more - Lire plus

Anti-Muslim agitator gives video apology to owner of Paramount Fine Foods over ‘jihadist’ comments
The Toronto Star 17/12/2018 - A year and a half after a well-known anti-Muslim agitator was videotaped claiming anyone who eats at a popular GTA Middle Eastern restaurant chain had to be a “jihadist” who rapes their wife, he is admitting his comments were “defamatory and disparaging” and is apologizing to the Muslim-Canadian businessman who owns the chain. Ranendra (Ron) Banerjee’s “unqualified apology” — which he delivered both in writing and as  a videotaped statement released Monday  — comes as part of a Dec. 7 settlement agreement in a defamation lawsuit launched last year by Mohamad Fakih, owner of Paramount Fine Foods. The settlement also includes a confidential cash payment and $100,000 “consent to judgment,” meaning Banerjee will be liable for that amount if he ever makes similar comments against Fakih, his family or his business. “I have learned that it was wrong to attack Mr. Fakih because of his religion or where he is from. Such hate has no place in Canada and I will not make public comments of this nature in the future,” Banerjee said in his videotaped apology, reading from a sheet of paper. “I hope everyone seeing or reading this apology learns from my mistake.” For Fakih and his lawyers, the settlement with Banerjee — one of the GTA’s most prominent fixtures at anti-Muslim rallies — marks a significant victory in the fight against hate speech and growing Islamophobia in Canada. “Hopefully, whoever sees this message and this video, will believe more that we should not accept something like this as Canadians,” Fakih said Monday at the Dundas Square location of his restaurant. “We should all stand up against hate and when we do, it obviously brings results. And it did.” Read more - Lire plus
Why New Laws Aren’t Needed to Take Domestic Terrorism More Seriously
Just Security 14/12/2018 - Over at Lawfare last week, former Justice Department official Mary McCord used the October attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh to reprise  her argument that we need a new law to tackle domestic terrorism.  She and  other DOJ  officials have  long responded to public concerns about the federal government’s lackluster response to racist, nativist, homophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic violence from the far-right by calling on Congress to pass a new domestic terrorism law. But the claim that existing terrorism statutes are insufficient is false, and the Justice Department’s  insistence  on new powers deserves scrutiny given its penchant for using terrorism authorities to suppress protests. Congress has given the federal government substantial tools to address far-right violence. McCord’s claim that a new statute is necessary to fulfill a “moral urgency” to call far-right violence “terrorism” ignores that Congress already gave federal prosecutors the authority to use this term when it  codified a definition  of “domestic terrorism” in federal criminal law in 2001. Her argument that defendants might complain about prosecutors referencing this statute to label their crimes, is specious. When an act of far-right violence meets the statutory definition, government officials should not hesitate to use the term and prioritize the case appropriately. The truth is that the Justice Department’s inattention to far-right violence is a matter of longstanding policy and practice, not a lack of authority, as we at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School wrote in our recent study, “ Wrong Priorities in Fighting Terrorism .” [...] In fact, the FBI claimed for several years that far-right violence, though the  most lethal , was not the top domestic terrorism threat. From 2004 through 2008, the FBI  designated  “eco-terrorism” the number one threat within the United States, despite not a single fatality attributed to environmental activists. The FBI still devotes substantial counterterrorism resources to tracking political activists protesting  oil and gas pipelines  at Standing Rock and  elsewhere , and even harassing the  lawyers  that assist them. In 2017, FBI agents raided two animal sanctuaries as part of a multi-state investigation to locate two piglets rescued from a factory farm, reportedly cutting off a piece of one piglet’s ear to obtain DNA samples for testing. This seems a questionable use of resources, particularly when thousands of violent hate crimes against human beings are going unaddressed. [...] While Justice Department officials have used notorious incidents of white supremacist violence to push for a new domestic terrorism statute, the Department itself continues to de-prioritize far-right violence and focus its most aggressive tactics instead against environmentalists, political protesters, and communities of color. It isn’t hard to guess who would likely be targeted with new domestic terrorism laws. Congress has given DOJ officials plenty of tools to attack far-right violence. They just require the will to use them. Read more - Lire plus
'We' Did Not Miss the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism. You Did.
Esquire 13/12/2018 - [This is a response to last week's New York Times' article "The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How We Missed It" - later retitled: "...and How Law Enforcement Ignored It."] To take the simplest argument first, "we," of course, did no such thing, unless "we" is a very limited—and very white—plural pronoun. [...] In 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security released a report describing how rightist extremism was spreading into the military and law enforcement, "we" weren't shocked—nor were "we" shocked when the right-wing media machine went to DefCon1 and, eventually, got DHS to pull the report. [...] In February 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center said that in the previous year, the number of domestic hate groups in the US had reached more than 1,000 for the first time. [...] In May 2010, a father and son from Ohio, members of a little-known antigovernment movement called “sovereign citizens,” shot and killed two police officers during a traffic stop in West Memphis, Ark. It was the 12th attack or foiled plot by white-extremist “lone wolves” since 2009, almost all of which received little publicity. Read more - Lire plus
Google’s Earth: how the tech giant is helping the state spy on us
The Guardian 20/12/2018 - Even as Google grew to dominate the consumer internet, a second side of the company emerged, one that rarely got much notice: Google the government contractor. As it turns out, the same platforms and services that Google deploys to monitor people’s lives and grab their data could be put to use running huge swaths of the US government, including the military, spy agencies, police departments and schools. The key to this transformation was a small startup now known as Google Earth. In 2003, a San Francisco company called Keyhole Incorporated was on the ropes. With a name recalling the CIA’s secret 1960s “Keyhole” spy satellite programme, the company had been launched two years earlier as a spinoff from a videogame outfit. Its CEO, John Hanke, told journalists that the inspiration for his company came from  Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash , a cult science-fiction novel in which the hero taps into a programme created by the “Central Intelligence Corporation” called Planet Earth, a virtual reality construct designed, as the book describes, to “keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns – all the maps, weather data, architectural plans, and satellite surveillance stuff”. Keyhole had its roots in videogame technology, but deployed it in the real world, creating a programme that stitched satellite images and aerial photographs into seamless 3D computer models of the Earth that could be explored as if they were in a virtual reality game world. It was a groundbreaking product that allowed anyone with an internet connection to virtually fly over anywhere in the world. The only problem was Keyhole’s timing: it was a bit off. It launched just as the dotcom bubble blew up in Silicon Valley’s face. Funding dried up, and Keyhole found itself struggling to survive. Luckily, the company was saved just in time by the very entity that inspired it: the  CIA . Read more - Lire plus 

Glenn Greenwald: Congress Is Trying to Make It a Federal Crime to Participate in Boycott of Israel
DemocracyNow! 18/12/2018 - Twenty-six states have laws preventing state agencies from contracting with companies or individuals aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS is an international campaign to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights. However, its opponents say BDS is a thinly disguised anti-Semitic attempt to debilitate or even destroy Israel. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept. Read more - Lire plus

Briton jailed in Turkey on terrorism charges flees bail back to UK
The Guardian 14/12/2018 - The former British soldier  jailed in Turkey for more than seven years  after joining a Kurdish group fighting Islamic State has secretly fled the country and returned home. Joe Robinson, 25, was on bail pending an appeal against his sentence on terrorism charges after he volunteered for the People’s Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG), which Turkey  considers a terrorist organisation. He fled the country and returned to the UK without the permission of the Turkish courts, the BBC reported. He had begged the British government for help, saying he was emotionally drained by his ordeal. Robinson was accused of fighting with the US-backed YPG in  Syria , but he claims he was volunteering as a combat medic for the Kurdish group for a month in 2015. He told the BBC he was getting his human rights back by fleeing Turkey, and that he had been obliged to take matters into his own hands. “I could not accept the sentence and charges as I am not a criminal,” he said. Robinson, who is from Accrington in Lancashire, originally travelled to Syria in July 2015, telling his family he had gone to join the French Foreign Legion. After his month as a combat medic in Syria, he says he crossed the border into Iraq and joined the peshmerga, the government-backed army of Iraqi Kurdistan. He returned to the UK in November 2015 and police arrested him at Manchester airport on suspicion of terrorism offences, but all charges were dropped after he spent 10 months on bail. When he returned to the region last year, he was arrested on a Turkish beach. He and his fiancee, Mira Rojkan, were on holiday at the resort of Didim in south-west Turkey, when the authorities arrested and charged him with terrorism offences. Rojkan, 23, a Bulgarian national, was also arrested and given a suspended sentence for “terrorism propaganda” after apparently sharing Facebook posts with the Kurdish flag and links to Kurdish songs on YouTube. Robinson was convicted in September and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Read more - Lire plus
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.
Share on Facebook & Twitter .
Partagez sur Facebook & Twitter .
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.
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.
Parliamentary Petition: Release Edwin Espinal!
We call upon MPs to: 

- Urgently intervene in the case of Edwin Espinal, spouse of Karen Spring of Elmvale, arrested January 19, 2018, on trumped-up charges in the wake of popular protests; and

- Immediately ensure that Honduras release Espinal and four other political prisoners still held in inhumane maximum-security military prisons, and drop all charges against 22 political prisoners.
Remember January 29
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.  We, 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 .
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: Release 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!

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