International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
21 novembre 2019
Tim McSorley: Spy Agency’s Failure to Inform Minister of “High Risk” Ops Raises Troubling Questions
Medium 18/11/2019 - A new story from the Toronto Star detailing how the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service has failed to inform the Minister of Public Safety about “high risk operations,” raises some troubling questions. In it, reporter Alex Boutilier outlines how new access to information documents reveal that CSIS broke the rules laid out in a ministerial directive that obliges the service to inform the Minister of Public Safety whenever they take on a “high risk operation.” The article has more details, but as far as we know, high risk operations are those that could:
  • discredit the service or the government;
  • give rise to public controversy;
  • risk human life;
  • damage Canadian domestic or international relations;
  • contravene any guidelines for CSIS management.

This breach of the ministerial directive was acknowledged in a summer 2018 letter from CSIS director David Vigneault to Minister Ralph Goodale. Why does this raise troubling questions? First, we don’t know how many of these ‘high risk operations” there were, or when they took place. Presumably, if these actions took place in 2017–2018 or earlier, the lack of notification to the Minister would have been flagged in a report from the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which until this summer was the CSIS watchdog agency. But that assumes CSIS was more forthright with the review committee than it was with the minister. As far as I know, though, we haven’t seen anything about this in past SIRC reports. So this could also mean that these operations all took place after the period that the last SIRC report was issued. This only leaves a narrow window, though, since the letter came in summer 2018, and the 2017–2018 SIRC report would have covered the first few months of that year.

Second, we also don’t know what prompted the letter. Were these operations uncovered by SIRC, with the promise that the details will be featured in the next CSIS review, prompting CSIS to come clean? The next CSIS review will coincidentally be the first from the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). The NSIRA was created as a successor to SIRC through the National Security Act, which was adopted this past summer. The agency will release annual reviews of CSIS’ work, and also has the additional power to examine all of Canada’s national security activities. Third, it also raises question about CSIS compliance overall. We have already seen instances of “ lack of candour ” towards the courts, and now a failure (or multiple failures) to notify the Minister.

The checks and balances, including the new powers of oversight and review brought in with the National Security Act, are all predicated on CSIS being honest, forthright, and timely in their reporting. Otherwise, these checks and balances become window dressing, allowing intelligence agencies to point to political oversight, as well as review agencies, as “accountability”, while continuing to carry on as they please. The only upside here is that CSIS eventually revealed this information to the Minister of its own accord. But again, was it because of a true willingness to comply with directives — or because their actions would be found out some other way? There’s a lot we don’t know. Source + Share on Facebook + Twitter

Tim McSorley: Eight Steps the Liberal Government Must Take to Protect and Promote Civil Liberties
Medium 14/11/2019 - During the recent federal elections, there was very little discussion of national security and anti-terrorism laws, and none of it related to its impact on human rights and civil liberties. The Liberals proposed a new Director of Terrorism Prosecutions, despite it not being clear why such a position is necessary, and the Conservatives (among other things) promised draconian new laws that would criminalize the simple act of traveling to areas deemed “terrorism hot spots.” The NDP spoke out about xenophobia and racism, which go hand in hand with many of Canada’s worst national security practices, but did not offer many concrete proposals regarding the impact of national security laws. The Bloc Québécois, for its part, was completely silent . The Green Party took the most explicit stances on important issues such as mass surveillance and spying on protesters in its platform, but said little on the campaign trail.

Despite this dearth of discussion of national security and human rights during the campaign, and in spite of what the Liberal government will argue is a sparkling record on protecting civil liberties, there is an urgent need for action on several fronts, including:
  • Growing state surveillance;
  • Ongoing complicity in torture;
  • Secret evidence undermining the right to a fair trial and due process;
  • The continued use of the secret and rights-violating No Fly List;
  • The refusal to reform Canada’s flawed Extradition Act; and
  • Countering racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and all other forms of hate.
Plus d’un tiers des personnes tuées par la GRC sont autochtones
TVA Nouvelles 18/11/2019 - Plus d’un tiers des personnes tuées par balle par la Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC) sont autochtones, selon des documents internes obtenus par le «Globe and Mail». Selon une note de synthèse rédigée à l'intention du ministre de la Sécurité publique, Ralph Goodale, en décembre 2017 et obtenue grâce à la Loi sur l’accès à l’information, les agents de la GRC avaient tué 61 personnes à travers le Canada entre 2007 et 2017. Dans 22 de ces cas, la victime était autochtone. D’après les chiffres du recensement de 2016, les Autochtones ne représentent que 4,6 % de la population canadienne.

Douze décès, soit 20% du total, ont eu lieu sur une réserve ou dans une communauté autochtone. Plusieurs Autochtones ont également été tués «hors réserve» - dans des villes comme Yellowknife, Burnaby ou Golden, en Colombie-Britannique, indique la note. [...] Ce haut taux inquiète les dirigeants des Premières Nations. «Trente-six pour cent des personnes tuées par la GRC sont des membres des Premières nations? C’est totalement inacceptable », a indiqué au quotidien torontois Perry Bellegarde, chef national de l’Assemblée des Premières Nations, en promettant de soulever la question directement avec la commissaire de la GRC, Brenda Lucki. Nous appelons à une action immédiate pour mettre fin au massacre de notre peuple. C’est un taux extrêmement disproportionné.» Read more - Lire plus

No One in Israel Knew They Were Committing a Massacre, and They Didn't Care
Haaretz 17/11/2019 - The bomber pilot didn’t know. His commanders who gave him the orders also didn’t know. The defense minister and the commander in chief didn’t know. Nor did the commander of the air force. The intelligence officers who aimed at the target didn’t know. The army spokesman who lied without a qualm also didn’t know. None of our heroes knew. The ones who always know everything suddenly didn’t know. The ones who can track down the son of a wanted man in a Damascus suburb didn’t know that sleeping inside their miserable hovel in Dir al-Balah was an impoverished family . They, who serve in the most moral army and the most advanced intelligence services in the world, didn’t know that the flimsy tin shack had long since stopped being part of the “Islamic Jihad infrastructure,” and it’s doubtful that it ever was. They didn’t know and they didn’t bother to check — after all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Reporter Yaniv Kubovich revealed the shocking truth on Friday on the Haaretz websit e : The target had not been re-examined for at least one year prior to the strike, the individual who was supposedly its target never existed and the intelligence was based on rumors. The bomb was dropped anyway. The result: eight bodies in colorful shrouds, some of them horrifically tiny, all in a row; members of a single extended family, the Asoarkas, five of them children — including two infants. Had they been Israeli citizens, the state would have moved heaven and earth to avenge the blood of its famous little boy, and the world would have reeled in shock at the cruelty of Palestinian terror. But Moad Mohamed Asoarka was only a 7-year-old Palestinian boy who lived and died in a tin shack, with no present and no future, whose life was as cheap and as brief as that of a butterfly; his killer was a celebrated pilot. It was a massacre . No one will be punished for it. Read more - Lire plus

Canada reverses UN stance on Palestinians in break with U.S. over settlements
CBC 19/11/2019 - Canada voted for a UN resolution on Tuesday in support of Palestinians' right to self-determination.
The vote marks a major departure for Canada, which has declined to support substantially the same resolution through 14 consecutive votes since Stephen Harper came to power in 2006. Tuesday's resolution was opposed by Israel, the United States and three Pacific island nations that depend heavily on U.S. aid and tend to vote with Washington at the UN: the Marshall Islands, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia. Speaking on background, an official at Global Affairs Canada said the vote sends a message that Canada does not agree with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assertion on Monday that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are "not, per se, inconsistent with international law."

The official added that Canada has in the recent past opposed motions that are consistent with its own policy positions — to send a message that it considered the UN's focus on Israel's sins one-sided and inconsistent with the treatment of other nations. The official said that today's vote reflected core Canadian principles on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which include embracing a two-state solution with viable borders for both peoples. [...] The resolution that Canada supported today does not include harsh language condemning Israel — language Canada has objected to in the past. It does, however, contain language that criticizes the barrier wall Israel has built close to (but not always on) the 1949 armistice line that most countries consider to be the real border of Israel. It also stresses "the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967" and calls on all states "to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination." [...]

"We are extremely pleased that the Liberal government has voted in support of Palestinian self-determination at the UN," said CJPME's Miranda Gallo. "This is a long overdue step and is entirely consistent with the government's support for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine. In fact, Canada could not support a 'two state' solution if it did not support the creation of a Palestinian state." Noting that "the Liberal government has changed its position as compared to previous years," Gallo added: "This may be a slap on the wrist to the Trump government to communicate that, given Pompeo's outlandish statement in support of illegal Israeli colonies, Canada feels the U.S. is failing to provide fair leadership on the Israel-Palestine conflict. "The Liberal government may have also concluded that it can no longer ape the lopsided positions asserted by Israel and the U.S. on these resolutions, which have overwhelming support at the UN and overwhelming support among many Canadians." Read more - Lire plus

Analysis Finds U.S.-Led Wars Since 9/11 Killed 801,000 at a Cost of $6.4 Trillion
Democracy Now! 15/11/2019 - New research finds the so-called war on terror launched by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks has left over 800,000 people dead at a cost of $6.4 trillion. In a pair of reports published this week by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, researchers warn the true death toll is much higher, once indirect deaths are factored in. Writing in The Hill, professor David Vine argues, “This means that total deaths during the post-2001 U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen is likely to reach 3.1 million or more — around 200 times the number of U.S. dead.” Source

Anti-terror measures against youngsters’ online posts ‘linked to spike in child detention globally’
UN News 18/11/2019 - More than 5.4 million children are detained around the world, rights experts said on Monday, highlighting “aggressive” State counterterrorism measures for the spike in youngsters held for alleged links with armed conflict or national security concerns based on their social media posts. From children recruited by extremists to street children, those with disabilities and others who travel with asylum-seekers and migrant families, depriving them of their liberty increases the likelihood that they will be abused or worse, the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty noted. “Deprivation of liberty is deprivation of childhood,” said lead author Professor Manfred Nowak, UN-appointed independent rights expert and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture until 2010. “Children should live and grow up in families (or) foster families”, he insisted, “not in institutions where they are in fact deprived of liberty, where there’s strict discipline and a lot of violence. There’s no love.” According to the report, children have been increasingly detained and prosecuted in the context of armed conflict or national security concerns for their online activities, “including posts to Facebook and Twitter”. 

Depriving them of their liberty is linked to anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress, it notes, adding that psychiatric disorders for children in detention can increase tenfold during detention, which is also correlated with early death among children once released. Citing medical assessments on the impact of detention on child migrants held on Nauru island – a policy discontinued by the Australian Government – Professor Nowak told journalists that doctors had said the youngsters were “among the most traumatized children they had ever seen”. In north-east Syria, meanwhile, some 29,000 youths are being held in formerly Kurdish-dominated areas, suspected of being child soldiers or for having links with terrorism, Professor Nowak said. “Many of these children were recruited (by ISIL extremists) or were brought by their parents as small children,” he noted. “Some were even born in the camp and now are detained under very deplorable conditions,” Professor Nowak insisted, before adding that another 19,000 youngsters were also being held with their mothers.  

According to the bumper study, which is commissioned only once every 10 years, at least 410,000 children are held every year in prisons and pre-trial detention facilities, where violence is “endemic”. Many of these youngsters have been charged with truancy, disobedience and underage drinking, it says, noting that 94 per cent of all young detainees are boys, while another million are held in police custody every year. In addition, at least 330,000 children in 80 countries are held in immigration detention yearly, while 670,000 children have been placed in institutions “that meet the legal definition of deprivation of liberty”. Citing the Convention on the Rights to the Child – signed by all UN Member States bar the United States – Professor Nowak noted that detention of minors should be a last resort. When detention is unavoidable, it should be for the shortest period of time, he maintained, adding that it was up to States to find non-custodial alternatives, notably by helping support families and child welfare services. Highlighting the discrepancy between what Governments had agreed to under the Convention and the reality experienced by children facing detention, Professor Nowak urged States to put the youngsters first.  Read more - Lire plus

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin: Calling Out the Misuse of Terrorism Rhetoric Against Refugee and Asylum Seekers
Just Security 18/11/2019 - As current Special Rapporteur [on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism], I remain deeply concerned that States continue to peddle unfounded theories based on no solid empirical foundations and which continue to target, undermine and dehumanize persons who are vulnerable and have been traumatized from conflict and terrorism. Refugee and asylum-seekers are, to note the obvious, often fleeing terrorism, are frequently the victims of terrorism and are used, on the one hand, to demonstrate the viciousness of certain terrorist groups but then denied the humanity and protection of law that rightly follows from being victims. For example, this double standard is evident in the reduction in refugee admissions being pursued by the United States, and the policy of non-admission and third country by-pass being pursued by the European Union.

The applications of this rhetoric in practice includes wall-building, encouraging and supporting push-back operations, pre-entry interceptions and screening measures, criminalizing irregular migration, ignoring non-refoulement requirements, detaining asylum-seekers, excluding persons without individual assessment from refugee or other protected status, criminalizing those who support and lend assistance to refugee and asylum seekers and abandons international legal commitments to refugees, result in restricted access to safe territory and increased covert movements of people, particularly by traffickers. As Martin Scheinin affirmed in 2007, there is a general acknowledgement of the need for increased border security by states as part of an effective counterterrorism strategy, but there is also a corresponding need for concrete measures that compensate for the difficulties that persons fleeing must overcome in order to access protection.

The policies of limiting refugee and asylum admission are driven by a highly regrettable rhetoric of terrorism, which enhances the exclusion and dehumanization of legitimate asylum and refugee seekers, placing them in far greater danger. Effective counterterrorism does not result from name-calling of the world’s most vulnerable and marginal people — those seeking safety from terrorist groups, militarized responses and fragile States who are unable to protect the most fundamental of rights and humanitarian needs. When States engage regionally or globally on terrorism issues, it remains essential that human rights protections and rule of law are the bedrock of the common ground between them. This is not simply because such rhetoric is an ethically and morally suspect way to proceed but because meaningful security depends on doing better. Read more - Lire plus
Trump proposed sending migrants to Guantánamo, claims book by anonymous author
The Guardian 14/11/2019 - Donald Trump proposed designating all migrants entering the US without permission as “enemy combatants” and shipping them to Guantánamo Bay to be detained alongside hardened terrorism suspects, according to a new book written by an anonymous author described as “a senior official in the Trump administration”. Among the many incendiary details contained in A Warning, a behind-the-scenes account of the White House under Trump, is the revelation that the president floated the idea of changing the legal designation of migrants as a way of forcibly keeping them out of the country. The change would effectively have condemned all undocumented migrants to the same legal treatment as the al-Qaida architects of 9/11.

The author of A Warning shot to public notice in September 2018, when he or she wrote an article in the New York Times . The column presented its author as part of an internal resistance to Trump, trying to frustrate his most extreme ambitions. In the new book, which the Guardian obtained in advance of publication next week, Anonymous puts flesh on the bones of some such harebrained schemes. The migrant plan, the author writes, stemmed from Trump’s unfounded conviction that unlawful migration across the border with Mexico was “the biggest crisis in American history”. When his proposed solution of labelling all undocumented migrants “enemy combatants” began to circulate around the administration, it provoked astonishment and mortification, the author writes. “Are you fucking kidding me? This is completely batshit,” an unnamed state department official is quoted as saying.

Trump signed an executive order to keep Guantánamo Bay open as a prison camp in January 2018, reversing Barack Obama’s policy of closing it. Earlier this year it was reported that at the height of the detention crunch over unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border, Department of Homeland Security officials explored the possibility of sending some migrant children to Guantánamo. But A Warning suggests that Trump wanted to go much further, applying the “enemy combatant” label to all undocumented migrants as deterrence. The author says the wild idea was quickly and quietly opposed: “Before the president could make a public case for the concept, officials quashed it.”
“Enemy combatants” was the legal definition the Bush administration seized upon as a way of skirting international law to justify indefinitely detaining al-Qaida and Taliban suspects picked up in the so-called “war on terror” after 9/11. Its use to bypass federal courts and hold terror suspects in the extrajudicial military setting of the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay , Cuba, was condemned around the world. Using the same designation for undocumented migrants would have taken the concept to another level entirely. As Anonymous points out, migrants are neither enemies nor combatants, as they are not engaged in hostilities against the US. Read more - Lire plus
The Xinjiang Papers: ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims
The New York Times 16/11/2019 - The students booked their tickets home at the end of the semester, hoping for a relaxing break after exams and a summer of happy reunions with family in China’s far west.
Instead, they would soon be told that their parents were gone, relatives had vanished and neighbors were missing — all of them locked up in an expanding network of detention camps built to hold Muslim ethnic minorities. The authorities in the Xinjiang region worried the situation was a powder keg. And so they prepared.

The leadership distributed a classified directive advising local officials to corner returning students as soon as they arrived and keep them quiet. It included a chillingly bureaucratic guide for how to handle their anguished questions, beginning with the most obvious: Where is my family? They’re in a training school set up by the government, ” the prescribed answer began. If pressed, officials were to tell students that their relatives were not criminals — yet could not leave these “schools.” The question-and-answer script also included a  barely concealed threat : Students were to be told that their behavior could either shorten or extend the detention of their relatives.

I’m sure that you will support them, because this is for their own good, ” officials were advised to say, “ and also for your own good. The directive was among 403 pages of internal documents that have been shared with The New York Times in one of the most significant leaks of government papers from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades. They provide an unprecedented inside view of the  continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, in which the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons  over the past three years.

The party has  rejected international criticism of the camps and described them as job-training centers  that use mild methods to fight Islamic extremism. But the documents confirm the coercive nature of the crackdown in the words and orders of the very officials who conceived and orchestrated it. Even as the government presented its efforts in Xinjiang to the public as benevolent and unexceptional, it discussed and organized a ruthless and extraordinary campaign in these internal communications. Senior party leaders are recorded ordering drastic and urgent action against extremist violence, including the mass detentions, and discussing the consequences with cool detachment. Read more - Lire plus
No need to worry about war crimes, Trump has soldiers' backs: Neil Macdonald
CBC 19/11/2019 - To the surprise of no one sensible, the president of the United States is now pardoning convicted and accused war criminals, and effectively advising the Pentagon not to prosecute American soldiers who commit atrocities in other countries. Bref, on Friday Donald Trump pardoned an army lieutenant serving 18 years for ordering the murder of unarmed Afghan civilians in 2012. He preemptively pardoned a former Green Beret officer accused of ambushing and killing an Afghan prisoner a short time after his release by military authorities. And he ordered the promotion of demoted Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was reported by his own comrades for shooting at civilians and posing with the corpse of a 15-year-old prisoner after accusers say he shoved aside a medic and stabbed him (Gallagher posed holding the corpse up by its hair, blade in his hand, bragging " got him with my hunting knife .")
Gallagher's case has generated the most coverage; Trump began tweeting his support for the SEAL long before his trial. Not only did the president make it clear he considered Gallagher a hero and that the Navy might as well not bother with the prosecution, he actually lashed out at Navy prosecutors, declaring that he'd directed the Pentagon to rescind their military achievement medals. [...]

The White House characterized the pardons as mercy. Trump is merciful, and soldiers, after all, are trained to kill. As Trump has said : "You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly."
Trump is also reportedly considering pardoning the only U.S. mercenary punished for the wanton civilian killings the State Department's hired guns carried out in Iraq after the 2003 American invasion. Military and legal scholars have pointed out that in castigating and thwarting the Pentagon's legal system, Trump is sending a bright and clear message to troops in the field: Go ahead, do what you have to do, forget the rules of war, there'll be no punishment. Your superior officers might not have your back, but your president does. All of that, of course, is exactly what Trump is telegraphing. There's an even nastier presidential message, too, one that's going mostly unsaid. Murders, Trump is effectively telling the troops he commands, are not really murders when the corpses are brown and Muslim. But what's missing from the coverage is the fact that aside from his asinine tweets, Trump is doing nothing his predecessors have not done, or that other democracies do. The only difference is that other leaders and governments don't brag about it. Read more - Lire plus
Guantanamo Bay detainee: I lived through CIA torture. Everyone else can catch the movie.
USA Today 19/11/2019 - I will likely never be allowed to see " The Report ." In the movie, Adam Driver plays Daniel J. Jones , the staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein who spent several years putting together a 6,700 page Senate committee report on the CIA’s use of torture in the wake of 9/11. The censors will not likely let the movie reach my detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. My lawyers have told me about it. As it happens, I was one of the few detainees allowed to receive a copy of the heavily redacted executive summary  of the report, under the rule that says a prisoner can see such unclassified material if it pertains to him. My name appears multiple times in the report. For a nobody taxi driver from Karachi , Pakistan, that is a regrettable claim to fame.

It is interesting to hear about the film, and I am glad Amazon had the courage to make it. On the other hand, there are some omissions that make me sad. There is no explanation why Daniel Jones only reviewed CIA documents and never spoke to us, the victims of torture. I cannot think of another inquiry like it. Imagine that inquests into genocide in Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia took place hearing only from the murderers but not from those who suffered, or their families? If Jones had asked, I would have told him that his footnote 595 — where the CIA asserts that I only suffered “forced standing, attention grasps and cold temperatures” in the dark prison in Afghanistan — was a cruel joke. I would have described the week I spent in a dark pit hanging by my wrists , forever on tiptoes, while my shoulders gradually dislocated — what the Spanish Inquisition used to call “ strappado .” I would have mentioned the ear-splitting noise blasted at me round the clock and the beatings every time I began to sleep. My name appears in a table of 119 people subjected to the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Does anyone believe that these “EITs” were not torture? If so, they should try it sometime.

Some elements of my torture I have long known — I was there — but I did learn some important facts from the executive summary. The Pakistani authorities arrested me and turned me over to the United States, saying I was terrorist Hassan Ghul . I denied this from day one of my detention, Sept. 10, 2002. At the time, the CIA officers seemed sure I was Ghul — they interrogated me about it endlessly. Apparently, they were less credulous than I thought. On page 325, I read that by Sept. 11, 2002, "it was determined that an individual named Muhammad Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani, aka Abu Badr, and his driver were arrested, not Hassan Ghul.” In other words, they knew they had made a mistake within a day. More than 6,200 days later, they still keep me detained. Read more - Lire more

U.S. court refuses to lift stay of Omar Khadr appeal, leaving him in legal limbo: lawyer
The Canadian Press 18/11/2019 - A U.S. military court is still refusing to hear Omar Khadr's challenge of his convictions in Guantanamo Bay. The United States Court of Military Commission Review, known as the CMCR, issued an order Monday denying a motion to lift a stay in proceedings in Khadr's appeal. His Edmonton lawyer, Nate Whitling, said that could mean years of additional delay for Khadr in his attempt to clear his name. "This has been hanging over his head for years and he obviously wants to get it resolved," Whitling said. The Canadian-born Khadr was captured as a wounded 15-year-old in Afghanistan in 2002 and later pleaded guilty to five war crimes -- including the murder of an American special forces soldier -- before a widely disparaged commission at Guantanamo Bay.

As part of a plea deal in which he gave up his right to appeal, the court sentenced him to eight more years rather than to the jury-recommended 40 years. Khadr, who later said the deal was his only way out of the infamous American prison in Cuba, filed an appeal with the CMCR in 2013 after arriving in Canada. He argues that the offences to which he pleaded guilty were not war crimes when he allegedly committed them. Whitling said it's ridiculous that the appeal is still in limbo years after it was filed. "It's something that could never happen in Canada," he said. "It's just stunning that this court is refusing to do its job. I use the term court loosely, because this ... is not part of the judicial branch. It's a tribunal that's part of the Department of Defence." In April, Khadr's American lawyer, Sam Morison, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to order the military court to hear the appeal.

The U.S. government was ordered to respond and argued that Khadr, who has been released unconditionally and lives in Edmonton, has suffered no prejudice as he waits for his hearing. A decision by the D.C. Circuit Court is still pending, but Monday's order by the military court said that it has no reason to vacate the stay. The CMCR said Khadr's case was put on hold while civilian courts decided the case of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul. A military commission had convicted al-Bahlul in 2008 for doing media-relations work for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, but a civilian court quashed most of his convictions in 2013.
The CMCR said the case addresses many of the same issues in Khadr's case. "The al-Bahlul case is still pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit," said the order. "We see no reason to vacate our abeyance in appellant Khadr's case until the issues in al-Bahlul are decided finally by the D.C. Circuit or the Supreme Court of the United States." Source
Iran: More than 100 protesters believed to be killed as top officials give green light to crush protests
Amnesty International 19/11/2019 - Verified video footage, eyewitness testimony from people on the ground and information gathered from human rights activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests in more than 100 cities across Iran sparked by a hike in fuel prices on 15 November, said Amnesty International today.

At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports received by Amnesty International. The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed. State media have reported only a handful of protester deaths, as well as the deaths of at least four members of the security forces. Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons. Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.

“The authorities must end this brutal and deadly crackdown immediately and show respect for human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. “The frequency and persistence of lethal force used against peaceful protesters in these and previous mass protests, as well as the systematic impunity for security forces who kill protesters, raise serious fears that the intentional lethal use of firearms to crush protests has become a matter of state policy.” Top government officials including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have issued statements describing protesters as “villains” and giving security forces a green light to crush demonstrations.

Under international law, security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent threat of death or serious injury. Amnesty International is also calling on the Iranian authorities to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through lifting the near-total block on internet access designed to restrict the flow of information about the crackdown to the outside world. Read more - Lire plus
Nearly 3 billion people have lost their freedom in the name of ensuring public order. Now what?
National Observer 19/11/2019 - The Freedom House report, which tracks developments in internet access, freedom of expression and privacy issues, found that internet freedom declined globally for the ninth year in a row, with online election interference and mass government surveillance affecting a majority of internet users in authoritarian regimes and democracies alike. Meanwhile, as disinformation and propaganda continue to pollute social media platforms and hijack political discourse, an increasing number of governments are exploiting the fight against “fake news” to enact laws that criminalize dissent and silence criticism, the report warns. “While social media platforms have at times served as a level playing field for civic discussion, they are now tilting dangerously toward illiberalism, exposing citizens to an unprecedented crackdown on their fundamental freedoms,” the report says.

According to the group's findings, more than 70 per cent of the world’s internet users live in countries where people were arrested or imprisoned for posting political, social or religious speech online in the past year, and 65 per cent live in countries where individuals suffered physical violence or death in retribution for their online activities. “ Freedom on the Net ” found the vast majority of the 3.8 billion internet users worldwide live in countries where governments are using sophisticated technologies to turn social media into a tool for manipulation and social control. “The internet has given people access to information unimaginable in past generations. It has given marginalized communities the ability to communicate their positions and communicate with one another, across all sorts of borders,” David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, told National Observer. “But," he added, "it has indeed become a place of harm, to individuals, communities, and public institutions.” [...]

These conclusions mirror the findings outlined in a September 2019 report from the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute. Titled the “2019 Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation,” the report found “evidence of organized social media manipulation campaigns which have taken place in 70 countries, up from 48 countries in 2018 and 28 countries in 2017.” The report warned authoritarian regimes are increasingly using social media as a means of information control “to suppress fundamental human rights, discredit political opponents and drown out dissenting opinions.” Of the 65 countries studied between June 2018 and May 2019, a record 47 countries were found to have arrested people for posting political, social or religious speech online, according to Freedom House. More than seven in 10 internet users worldwide live in one of those countries. In at least 31 countries, users suffered physical violence in retribution for their online activities. Forty countries featured advanced social media surveillance programs, and in a record 38 countries, political leaders used bots and fake accounts to covertly manipulate public opinion.

Overall, internet freedom declined in 33 of the 65 countries surveyed, while just 16 registered improvements. For the fourth consecutive year, China was the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom, while Iceland was rated its best protector. Canada ranked among the top five countries for internet freedom, with limited obstacles to access and very few limits on content or violations of user rights. Still, there exists a stark rural-urban divide in access to reliable and affordable internet services, especially in Canada’s northern territories, and concerns about mass surveillance are mounting. [...] Currently, nearly three billion people — 89 per cent of internet users — are under surveillance by advanced social media monitoring systems used by governments and law enforcement agencies, according to Freedom House. This number has grown rapidly in recent years, with many countries justifying these efforts “in the name of enhancing security, limiting disinformation and ensuring public order.”

While sophisticated monitoring systems were once limited to major intelligence agencies, rapid advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G networks and advanced biometrics have created a thriving commercial market and lowered the cost of entry for dictatorships and democracies alike, allowing the tools of mass surveillance — and censorship — to be used in entirely new capabilities with little oversight or accountability.
For example, in March, The Tyee reported that the RCMP had been “quietly” monitoring individuals’ activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms for at least two years. The program, called “Project Wide Awake,” uses a social media monitoring service from a U.S.-based company that supplies software to defence and intelligence agencies. Until its existence was uncovered, the surveillance program operated largely in the dark, with few controls and a troubling lack of oversight to protect individual rights. Read more - Lire plus
Patriot Act Renewal Sneaks Through Congress With Dem Support
The Real News 20/10/2019 - Today, we take an essential step in defeating terrorism while protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans. That was president George W. Bush when he signed the U.S.A Patriot Act into law in October of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attack. The U.S. Congress is now in the process of passing a renewal of this Patriot Act. Democrats propose the renewal in a tiny subsection of a stop gap government funding resolution so that there would be no government shutdown for at least another four weeks. The Patriot Act, which civil liberties have condemned for its wide-scale warrantless wiretapping provisions, was scheduled to expire on December 15th of this year. The renewal extends the law for another three months until March 15th, 2020.

The Patriot Act originally included authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants, permission for law enforcement agencies to search a home or business without the occupant’s or owner’s consent, and permission for the FBI and NSA to search telephone, email, and financial records without a court order. Since its passage, many of its main provisions have been declared unconstitutional. However, a key controversial section, number 215 remains in place, which allows the government to collect phone metadata without court authorization. Joining me now to discuss the significance of the Patriot Act renewal is Evan Greer. She’s deputy director of the organization Fight for Our Future. Thanks for joining us today. Read more - Lire plus
Border activist Scott Warren acquitted of harboring immigrants who crossed US-Mexico border
KVOA 20/11/2019 - A jury in Arizona has acquitted an activist on charges he illegally helped two migrant men from Central America evade authorities. Scott Warren was charged with harboring for his role in providing shelter to the men who had crossed the border illegally in January 2018. The trial was the second for Warren, who maintained he was fulfilling his mission as a humanitarian when he provided basic medical care to the men. He allowed them to stay at a camp run by volunteers who rescue migrants in desert. [...] Warren and his supporters say the work of humanitarians is increasingly under attack. Other members of his group have been arrested on trespassing charges for accessing a restricted road to drop off water jugs in the desert. Read more - Lire plus

What we've been up to!
What we've been up to so far and what's to come for the second half of 2019!
ICLMG - 2019 has been very busy so far, and it's not looking to slow down for the second half of the year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Memorial for Michele: End Femicide, Reform Extradition Act NOW!
Monday, November 25, 2019 at 12 PM – 1 PM
Meet at the Justice Department Headquarters, Sparks Street Mall, East of Lyon

As we gather to remember and honour Michele’s life – one of her daughters writes Michele was a warrior for them who saved their lives – we also will reflect on the systemic abuses that led to her death in the notorious Leclerc prison and demand three things:

1. An independent public inquiry into Abuses Committed under Canada’s Extradition Act, examining the cases of Michele Messina (aka MM), Dr. Hassan Diab, and numerous other individuals whose lives and families have been ruined by one of the most unfair processes in Canadian law. Legislative action to bring the extradition Act in line with international and domestic human rights standards is also desperately needed.

2. Immediate steps to develop and implement a United Nations-mandated National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women and Girls.

3. Immediate action on the call from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls for the creation of a national plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people.
Canada’s Extradition Act is in urgent need of reform. A recent “external review” of Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition commissioned by the Minister of Justice does nothing to prevent future injustices like those suffered by Hassan. But we are not giving up!
Here's what you can do:

1) Please write to Prime Minister Trudeau to demand an independent public inquiry into the extradition case of Hassan, and reform of Canada’s Extradition Act. You can send a message to Mr. Trudeau from the following web page:

2) Please call PM Trudeau ’s office at (613) 992-4211, and reiterate your message. Click on the take action button for a sample message. Thank you! Version française ici
***Please mention Michele (MM) in your emails and calls. She fought against extradition to the US for 8 years. Her "crime"? Saving her children from a violent father. After the Supreme Court recently refused to hear her case, she was found dead in her cell on November 5, 2019. This tragedy could have been avoided if the extradition law had been reformed and Justice Ministers had acted. This should never happen again. Facebook 1 + Facebook 2 + Radio-Canada + CBC
Send a letter opposing cameras in the ByWard Market
Send a letter in support of CAMS Ottawa's response to Mayor Watson. While we share concerns about ongoing violence in the Market, installing surveillance cameras is not an appropriate solution. The very premise that CCTV can deter violent crime is highly doubtful. Video surveillance also raise significant concerns regarding the treatment of marginalized members of our community. We urge you to take the above problems and the following evidence into consideration and reconsider implementing such an ineffective, costly, and intrusive system.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

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

Fight back with us: demand updated laws , learn more about your rights, and make a complaint if your privacy has been violated at the border.
Stop CSIS from targeting everyday citizens & community groups
A recent report revealed that CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, collected over 8,000 pages of documents, spying on citizens like you, people who exercise their democratic rights by attending a community meeting at a local church or taking peaceful action for what they believe in. And CSIS shared this info with Big Oil corporations.

Sign this petition to tell the govt to stop using taxpayer money to unconstitutionally spy on Canadians part of peaceful community groups.
Stop Facial Recognition in Canada
Facial recognition is invasive, biased and unreliable. But Canadian agencies and law enforcement have started using the tech despite the huge controversies.
Canada’s out-of-date privacy laws don’t yet cover facial recognition tech, leaving our government free to experiment on us with no oversight or regulations. We need to slam the brakes on the spread of this dangerous technology before it’s too late. Demand a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies and a full review of our privacy laws — before it becomes entrenched as a surveillance method in Canada.
Release Yasser Albaz from arbitrary detention in Egypt
On February 18, 2019, my dad, Yasser Albaz, was stopped at Cairo airport, his Canadian passport was confiscated, and he was kidnapped by Egyptian State Security. My dad remains in the notorious Torah prison where he is forced to sleep on cold, concrete floor. He has not been charged and continues to receive 15-day extensions to his arbitrary detention.

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

And send a message to Chrystia Freeland demanding that Canada actively support an independent and unrestricted international fact-finding initiative to Xinjiang.
Free Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed is an award winning human rights defender and blogger. The UAE has said Ahmed had been arrested for using his social media accounts to “publish false information that damages the country’s reputation” and to “spread hatred and sectarianism”. Right now, Ahmed is being held in solitary confinement and has not had access to a lawyer, an d he is on hunger strike. Act now and demand that the UAE release Ahmed immediately and unconditionally. TWITTER ACTION
All-in-one action page: Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
Call PM Trudeau, write a letter to Public Safety Minister & 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”. The UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to launch a thorough and impartial review to ensure accountability.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.

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

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

 W e, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to henceforth designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination or a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance .
Migrant and refugee rights
Droits des et réfugié.es

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