International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
13 septembre 2019
UPDATE Justice for Hassan Diab: Webcomic and Campaign!
Hassan Diab, a Canadian university professor and father, was extradited to France based on weak, confusing evidence, where he spent more than three years in prison, without charge or trial. He is thankfully free and back in Canada, but justice hasn't been served. Dr. Diab deserves answers and we need changes to Canada's broken extradition act.
Read the whole webcomic on Hassan Diab's ordeal and UPDATE click below to urge candidates to commit to launching a public inquiry into his case if they are elected!
Tim McSorley's comments on "Time for CSIS to rethink its focus"
Twitter 08/09/2019 - Thank you to the authors of this piece " Time for CSIS to rethink its focus " for speaking out. It's so important that there is a national debate about the impacts of Canada's ongoing national security focus on Muslim and Arab communities. The criticisms of this piece have been quick and predictable. One theme is that people do not understand how CSIS & intelligence and national security investigations work.

I think this is highly problematic on at least two levels: First, is the assumption that they "just don't understand". The secrecy around intelligence work means that, yes, there are parts of national security work many of us will never intricately understand. But that isn't all there is to this work. And what people do understand is the impact that the 18+ years of the War on Terror and targetting of Muslim and Arab communities has had. They know intimately how "threat reports" focusing on Muslim communities; home, school and work visits; phone calls to family members; and more, affect lives, cast them under suspicion, and feed into broader Islamophobia that fuels further threats. So to dismiss complaints as being based on a lack of information or understanding is a dismissal of a whole range of knowledge about national security and intelligence work that isn't confined to CSIS HQ.

The other issue here is that if the government and CSIS really wanted people to understand what they do, they've also had 18+ years to do that too. But they haven't.
And while some have said that CSIS just hasn't done a good job of explaining their work, I'd argue that it's more than that. At a minimum, it's that they didn't see a reason to explain their work, at the max (and I think more likely) it's a wifulness to obscure their work. It's that they don't want people to understand how they work. And of course there's the argument that they need to operate in secret. But they can't have it both ways. And definitely can't "shoot the messenger" when people speak out about this. The last thing is the idea that going to the Toronto Star or other public outlets isn't the way to resolve these issues - or at least shouldn't be the first venue of complaint, & instead it should have been the previous CSIS review body, SIRC or the new one established in August 2019, the NSIRA. Yes, these bodies accept complaints. But even the work of SIRC was so opaque, that there was likely little expectation of a satisfactory response.

But even if we gave SIRC the benefit of the doubt, how good a job has the government done in making sure the complaint process is understood and easy to navigate? Often complainants require a lawyer, even though it isn't a court (so no legal aid), among other hurdles. This could be a task for the NSIRA or the new National Security Transparency Advisory Group to take on, but NSIRA was established in early August, and the NSTAG met for the first time in late August. Things may improve with these groups, but pressure shouldn't be placed on month-old bodies when others didn't take up the task for 20 years.
And I think that limiting the focus to review agencies unduly limits what the authors of this piece and others are saying. This isn't just an operational issue. This is also - maybe even primarily - a policy issue. And that wouldn't get resolved by NSIRA. It gets resolved through public debate and pressure. Exactly the goal of this kind of op-ed. So really, while the complaints route could also be of use, this is exactly the kind of venue where we need to hear these voices and have these debates. We can hope that CSIS may step up and actually accept the challenge, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Source + Thread unrolled
Amnesty International says Jason Kenney's 'fight back' strategy violates human rights
CBC 09/09/2019 - Amnesty International Canada says critics of Alberta's oil and gas industry face threats, intimidation and violations of their human rights under Premier Jason Kenney's plan to expose alleged foreign funding of Canadian environmental groups. In an open letter to Kenney, Secretary General Alex Neve on Tuesday urged the United Conservative government to end plans for both the public inquiry into the funding issue and the energy "war room." "Amnesty International is deeply concerned that these initiatives undermine and violate a range of Alberta's human rights obligations, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, the rights of Indigenous peoples and gender equality," Neve wrote. "Amnesty International is also gravely concerned that these initiatives, and the rhetoric surrounding them, feeds into a worsening climate of hostility toward human rights defenders – particularly Indigenous, women, and environmental human rights defenders – exposing them to intimidation and threats, including threats of violence." [...]

Neve argued Kenney's own government needs to refrain from making accusations that could lead to threats and violence against people who criticize the oil and gas industry.
He urged Kenney to ensure that no public funding leads to "harassment, surveillance or criminalization of human rights defenders who opposed or criticize [the government's] energy agenda and its implications for the rights of Indigenous peoples and the global climate crisis. Alberta should be at the forefront of denouncing such actions by other governments, not following their lead," Neve wrote. In an interview with CBC News, Neve said his organization is concerned about the language aimed at people who advocate for human rights. Calling them "liars" or "enemies" could lead to threats and violence, particularly against Indigenous women, he said. Neve responded to an example given by Kenney in his speech in Fort McMurray on Tuesday where the premier joked about the imprisonment of Greenpeace activists in Russia. "Their crew was arrested and thrown in a Siberian jail for six months and funnily enough, they've never been back," Kenney said to scattered nervous laughter from the crowd. "I'm not recommending that for Canada but it's instructive."

Neve said that kind of rhetoric creates the idea that it's fine for governments to jail human rights and environmental activists. "I think that's precisely an example of the kind of thing we're very concerned about," Neve said. As for Kenney's contention Amnesty International should focus its attention on Saudi Arabia and Russia, Neve said they are "absolutely" on top of the situation. Neve's letter comes one day after the Alberta government launched an online submissions page to support the public inquiry led by Commissioner Steve Allan.
The announcement provoked immediate backlash online. While the government said the site allows Albertans to send Allan relevant information for his investigation, critics said it amounted to a "snitch line" for people to report their neighbours for allegedly "un-Albertan" activities. The #ReportAnAlbertan hashtag trended on Twitter Monday evening. Read more - Lire plus
Reporter Justin Brake mounting charter challenge against Muskrat Falls charges
CBC 09/09/2019 - Justin Brake, a reporter charged with mischief after covering a protest inside the Muskrat Falls work site, has filed a charter challenge to ask for a stay of proceedings. "We're rather baffled that [the Crown] would feel it's in the public interest to proceed with this charge," Brake's lawyer Geoff Budden said Monday morning in provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Brake, who worked for online news site the Independent in October 2016, entered the work site alongside a large group voicing concerns about the project. They occupied the site for several days, work was stopped and workers were sent home. Brake, along with several others, was charged with mischief as well as disobeying an order of the court. Civil proceedings that were based on the same set of circumstances were also brought against him, but dismissed in March by Supreme Court Justice Derek Green. 

In that decision Green said there was a "significant difference" between Brake's situation in the protest and the situation of the protesters and that there was nothing to suggest that Brake was actively engaging in the protest. "[Judge Green's decision has] been viewed as a decision which confirms the rights of not just journalists so much but the rights of all of us as citizens to have journalists being able to cover important stories such as Muskrat Falls," Budden said. Budden also said he would be arguing the charges are an "abuse of process" because the Crown is "trying to re-litigate the same facts and just hoping to come to a different result." The application, which the court is scheduled to hear Nov. 7, cites two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the section that lays out freedom of the press and other media of communication, but Budden noted the burden of proof for a criminal conviction is much higher than the civil standard, which in this case has already established in Green's decision. Read more - Lire plus
Francis Dupuis-Déri: Quand l'immigration est une conséquence directe des guerres sans fin
Ricochet 04/09/2019 - Le Canada devrait pourtant automatiquement accepter — à tout le moins — les personnes réfugiées d’Afghanistan, d’Irak et de Syrie, où nos militaires participent à une guerre destructrice . Pourtant, les gouvernements occidentaux refusent l’accueil à des Afghanes et des Afghans qui ont fui leur pays où l’Occident mène une guerre depuis près de 20 ans. De même, on refuse d’accueillir des Irakiennes et des Irakiens fuyant leur pays qui a été la cible de trois guerres en 30 ans (dont une pour trouver des armes de « destruction massive » qui n’existaient pas). Les médias occidentaux se sont réjouis ces dernières années de la défaite de l’État islamique en Irak. En juillet 2017, par exemple, la ville de Mossoul a été « libérée » après 9 mois d’intenses bombardements par l’aviation occidentale et des offensives terrestres.

Deux ans plus tard, un résident a confié à la BBC  : « il n’y a pas de nourriture. L’air est pollué. L’eau est polluée. Il n’y a pas d’écoles. Pas d’hôpitaux ». Des enfants fouillent les montagnes de débris à la recherche de pièces de métal à revendre, au risque de provoquer l’explosion de munitions ou de mines pas encore désamorcées. Selon l’ONU, environ la moitié des jeunes adultes sont sans emploi. Dans le chaos de la guerre, bien des gens ont perdu leurs papiers. Des enfants naissent un peu partout sans supervision médicale, ce qui signifie aussi qu’ils n’ont pas de certificats de naissance, pas de vaccins et pas accès à l’école. L’ONU a tout de même mis sur pied quelques cliniques de santé , mais des personnes qui s’y présentent sans pièces d’identité sont refoulées sans être soignées, y compris des femmes voulant accoucher en présence de médecins. Or, dans le chaos de la guerre, bien des gens ont perdu leurs papiers. Résultat : des enfants naissent un peu partout sans supervision médicale, ce qui signifie aussi qu’ils n’ont pas de certificats de naissance, pas de vaccins et pas accès à l’école. Selon le Conseil norvégien pour les réfugiés, environ 45 000 enfants sont ainsi sans papier , dans leur propre pays.

[...] Il y a peu de temps, un colonel français ayant commandé l’artillerie contre la ville d’Hajin, alors tenue par l’État islamique, a signé un texte dénonçant la violence destructrice des armées occidentales : « En l’espace de six mois, plusieurs milliers de bombes ont été déversées sur quelques dizaines de kilomètres carrés avec comme résultat principal la destruction des infrastructures […] pour venir à bout de 2000 combattants ne disposant ni d’appui aérien, ni de moyens de guerre électroniques, ni de forces spéciales, ni de satellites .» Plutôt remonté contre les états-majors occidentaux, il ajoutait  : « La question qui se pose est de savoir si la libération d’une région ne peut se faire qu’au prix de la destruction de ses infrastructures (hôpitaux, lieux de culte, routes, ponts, habitations, etc.) […] Nous avons détruit massivement les infrastructures et donné à la population une détestable image de ce que peut être une libération à l’occidentale, laissant derrière nous les germes d’une résurgence prochaine d’un nouvel adversaire. Nous n’avons en aucune façon gagné la guerre. » Read more - Lire plus

Exclusive: Edward Snowden’s guardian angels
FRANCE 24 06/09/2019 - FRANCE 24 brings you an exclusive report on the hunt for Edward Snowden, who became one of the world’s most wanted men after leaking explosive confidential documents on US mass surveillance. Back in 2013, while on the run in Hong Kong, and before heading to Russia, the whistleblower was sheltered by a group of refugees. Our reporters Valériane Gauthier, Mohamed Farhat and François Rihouay went to meet Snowden's "guardian angels", who today find themselves in danger. After he revealed the National Security Agency's illegal mass surveillance programmes in 2013, Edward Snowden received help from some unlikely accomplices. Four refugees and their lawyer allowed the whistleblower to escape and stay under the radar, at a time when he was the world’s most wanted man.

For 13 days, they sheltered him in their tiny apartments located in the poorest area of Hong Kong, home to the marginalised community of asylum seekers. The mastermind behind the idea of hiding the American fugitive in plain sight was Robert Tibbo, a Canadian human rights lawyer, well known for defending asylum seekers in the region.
Snowden told FRANCE 24 he believes he owes his life to these unexpected allies, who could have turned him in at any time: “They could have written an email to the CIA and they could have gotten a big cheque or they could have finally gotten asylum in exchange. But they would have had to do it by selling someone into a grave. And for that, I’ll never be able to repay them.”

But since their identity was revealed, especially with the release of the Oliver Stone film "Snowden" in 2016, these refugees are being persecuted by Hong Kong authorities. Arrested on several occasions, they have been questioned about their ties with Snowden. The little welfare they received from the government has been cut. Today, they all live in constant fear in Hong Kong. If deported to their home country of Sri Lanka, they could face imprisonment, torture and even death. All of them have applied for asylum in Canada. Snowden calls on Canada to act quickly. Read more - Lire more

Targeting PATRIOT Act Provision, Rights Groups Urge House Dems to Block NSA From Collecting Americans' Phone Records
Common Dreams 09/09/2019 - Stressing the dangers of mass surveillance, a coalition 30 of digital rights, social justice, and civil liberties groups on Monday urged House Democrats to end a provision of the PATRIOT Act that enables the government to collect Americans' phone records. The organizations' demands were detailed in a letter (pdf) sent Monday to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and the committee's other Democrats, which came alongside a panel discussion on Capitol Hill that featured rights and mass surveillance experts.

"We urge you to oppose any legislation that would reauthorize Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act unless it repeals the government's statutory authority to operate the Call Detail Records ("CDR") program and contains bold reforms to protect individuals against mass surveillance," begins the letter to Democratic lawmakers from groups that collectively represent millions of members. "Mass surveillance is wrong and dangerous to our democracy. It is antithetical to our core civil liberties and it disproportionately harms the communities historically targeted by racial and religious animus," the letter continues. "No Democrat should vote to grant Donald Trump the power to spy on millions of innocent people in America." The Electronic Frontier Foundation—which was not part of the letter but is also critical of Section 215— explained in a blog post last month that the U.S. government long used the provision "to conduct a dragnet surveillance program that collected billions of phone records documenting who a person called and for how long they called them— more than enough information for analysts to infer very personal details about a person, including who they have relationships with, and the private nature of those relationships ."

After government contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the once-secret NSA operation in 2013 and a federal appeals court ruled in 2015 that the NSA's interpretation of Section 215 was " unprecedented and unwarranted ," Congress reauthorized but partly limited the provision by passing the 2015 FREEDOM Act, which was signed into law by former President Barack Obama. Congress must now decide whether to reauthorize Section 215 or let it sunset on Dec. 15. Despite reports in March that the Trump administration had ended the CDR program after the NSA was forced to purge hundreds of millions of records because some were unlawfully collected, the Trump White House recently requested that Congress reauthorize Section 215—indefinitely. Read more - Lire plus

Harrowing Cables Detail How the CIA Tortured Accused 9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Jeopardizing the Case Against Him
The Intercept 11/09/2019 - The CIA interrogation program has been well documented. But recently declassified cables, published here for the first time, reveal in new detail interrogators’ attempts to transform detainees into collaborators in the war against Al Qaeda. The cables chronicle the banal and brutal moments of Mohammed’s so-called enhanced interrogation over a period of almost four weeks in 2003. They display in cold bureaucratic prose the thinking behind torture tactics, including waterboarding, “walling,” and sleep deprivation. And they exhibit a committed belief that enhanced measures always move detainees closer to an imagined breaking point that, once met, force them to produce more accurate information — a belief that the 2014 Senate torture report showed to have been wrong. “Keep pushing,” a cable urges, “until [Mohammed] reaches his resistance limit, and then exploit his weakness when it occurs.”

The cables were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for records on the interaction between detainees and interrogators Drs. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two contract psychologists who formed a company that was ultimately paid about $81 million to develop and execute the CIA program after 9/11. In May, Mitchell and Jessen were called to testify before a military tribunal trying Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 planners held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. If they testify — which Mitchell could do as soon as this month — it will be the first time that the pair are forced to discuss their techniques in a criminal case. Read more - Lire plus

The FBI Was Deeply Involved in CIA Black Site Interrogations Despite Years of Denials, Guantánamo Defense Lawyer Says
The Intercept 11/09/2019 - The word haunting the austere Guantanamo courtroom, and the impending 18th anniversary of the catastrophic 9/11 attacks, was torture. Thanks to the CIA’s harsh interrogations of Mohammed and his associates, torture has replaced the deaths of 2,976 people as the focus of the quasi-judicial proceedings. Torture not only tormented the perpetrators; it has delayed justice for the victims’ families. It was the 38th pretrial hearing in their war crimes trial, and it focused on the prospect of scheduled testimony from FBI witnesses, prompting a series of arguments over which questions can and cannot be asked. Col. W. Shane Cohen, the third judge to preside in this case since the defendants were arraigned on May 5, 2012, recently set a trial date for January 2021.

Late last week, the prosecution sent out a 25-page “classification guidance” revealing a number of new facts that had previously been classified, but also invoking national security restrictions to censor words that had been spoken in prior open or closed sessions. The most startling revelation from this classified document, described in open court by James Connell, attorney for defendant Baluchi, is that FBI agents were detailed to the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation, or RDI, program, a fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee that investigated the programs and produced the 2014 torture report apparently did not know. By contrast, the torture report said that then-FBI Director Robert Mueller “began seeking direct FBI access to [Mohammed] in order to better understand CIA reporting indicating threats to U.S. cities.” Then-CIA Director George Tenet made “personal commitments … to Director Mueller that access would be forthcoming,” the report noted, but “the CIA’s [Counterterrorism Center] successfully formulated a CIA position whereby the FBI would not be provided access to [Mohammed] until his anticipated transfer to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,” which did not happen until September 2006.

But according to Connell, the FBI did have access to Mohammed and other black site detainees between 2003 and 2006, when then-President George W. Bush acknowledged the CIA’s secret prisons and brought 14 detainees to Guantánamo to face military tribunals. During that period, Connell said, the FBI sent well over 1,000 questions to the CIA for the agency to ask detainees, including Mohammed, who was subjected to waterboarding 183 times. For years, the defense had been seeking access to witnesses who could testify about whether detainees’ statements to FBI “clean teams” were sufficiently separated in time from their “enhanced interrogations” to make their statements voluntary. But the structural integration of the FBI into the RDI described by Connell casts doubt on the “cleanliness” of those teams. Connell intends to call Mueller to testify in the case. Read more - Lire plus
What Happens Now to the More Than 1 Million People on the U.S.' Terrorist Watchlist
Vice 06/09/2019 - A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the government’s Terrorist Screening Database, aka the terrorist watchlist, unconstitutionally violates the due process rights of the people on it — but that doesn’t necessarily mean the list is going away. The government and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the group that brought the case before the judge, have 30 days to propose alternatives, the judge said. [...] Homer, the CAIR attorney, said the next round of briefings is due in 30 days. “Our fundamental position at CAIR is that no innocent person who has had no connection to criminal activity — has never been investigated or charged or convicted, certainly, of any violent crime — should be on the watchlist,” she said. “We're going to say that there needs to be some form of telling people they're on the watchlist and why, and giving them a remedy, likely in court, to challenge the government labeling them as a suspected terrorist.” The government maintains that the list needs to remain secret to be effective, but Robert Knowles, an associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, said the watchlist includes hundreds of thousands of people who have no real connection to terrorism. [...]

The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center maintains the list, but other federal agencies like Customs and Border Protection, help enforce it and can “nominate” people it thinks should be added to the list. In practice, people who are added to the watchlist are typically subject to additional screening at airports, pulled aside for hours of intensive questioning by border officers after returning to the country, and often have their computers, phones, or other personal electronics temporarily seized during these encounters. Some people get moved from the watchlist to the “no-fly” list, which means they can’t travel by air to or from the U.S., or even over U.S. airspace. “The watchlist is strongly based on associational information. When you’re on the watchlist, whenever you cross a U.S. border, CBP grabs your phone and copies the complete contents of your phone,” said Homer, the CAIR attorney. “So CBP will take your complete list of contacts, upload it to an intelligence database, and then nominate your friends and family to the watchlist.”

Being put on the watchlist doesn’t just make it harder to travel: the federal government shares the list with local and state governments and law enforcement agencies, as well as with some private companies. In one instance, a man had his bank account closed after being put on the watchlist. Knowles said it’s possible that the government could propose an amended watchlist with fewer people on it. “The remedy would have to be some sort of systematic fix. It would be something that would require a lot of work and a lot of time,” he said. “My guess is that the court would give the government an opportunity — say, over a period of time — to reform the database and put safeguards in place so that it's not including people who don't belong in it.” Read more - Lire plus

How the 'War on Terror' became a convenient tool for repression
The New Arab 10/09/2019 - Since its inception post-9/11, the US-led so-called "War on Terror" has precipated a riot of human rights abuses, including torture and other heinous methods, often used arbitrarily against innocent people. It has also given western allies in the Middle East the green light to carry out repression and authoritarianism, using the "counter-terrorism" narrative as a convenient umbrella justification for their actions.

Bahrain's execution on 27 July of three activists - two of them Shia - under terrorism charges, highlights how vague definitions of terrorism are being used for disturbing ends. The pair were arrested along with many others who stand accused of forming a "terrorist group," and  human rights groups raised concerns that they "confessed" under torture, and were not given a fair trial. In the wake of the Arab Spring, which was subdued by the Kingdom's authoritarian regime, Bahrain passed new laws,  carried out  mass arrests, and has jailed 139 on terrorism charges. Hundreds more citizens have been stripped of their nationality. Human Rights Watch highlights  that the Kingdom has cracked down on peaceful dissidents, free expression and press freedom, despite its claims to be combatting terrorism, which it often ties to Iran. 

Bahraini authorities are clearly seeking  to eliminate any form of opposition, an increasing trend since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings took hold in Bahrain, with protestors calling for reforms. Prior to 2011, Bahrain had ratified other counter-terrorism laws, giving the state greater power to prosecute and arrest people, and enforce stricter punishments, leading to concerns from multiple groups about human rights abuses. In April of this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called out  Bahrain's mass detentions under the charge of terrorism, citing concerns that the trials had not met international legal standards. Read more - Lire plus
Iran: Prison and flogging sentences for seven journalists and activists ‘disgraceful injustice’
Amnesty International 09/09/2019 - Responding to reports of a Revolutionary Court’s decision on 7 September to hand four journalists and three labour rights activists between six and 18 years in prison and, in one case, 74 lashes on bogus national security charges, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said: “These outrageous sentences are just the latest to be meted out by Iran’s cruel justice system and expose the authorities’ complete disregard for journalists and workers’ rights. “These individuals are blatantly being targeted and punished for their work defending human rights and for publicizing human rights violations. This disgraceful injustice must be reversed. We call on the Iranian authorities to quash these unjust verdicts and cruel sentences and immediately and unconditionally release all seven individuals. “The international community, including EU states, which have an ongoing dialogue with Iran, must step up its efforts and demand the Iranian authorities immediately stop targeting journalists and human rights defenders and end their increasingly ruthless campaign to quash what little remains of Iran’s civil society.” Read more - Lire plus
France: G7 Summit clouded by crackdown on protesters
Amnesty International 26/08/2019 - The G7 meeting in Biarritz has been marred by an unjustifiable crackdown on freedom of assembly and movement, Amnesty International said today. Authorities also prevented a number of peaceful protests organized around the Summit in cities and areas close to Biarritz, with only two demonstrations allowed to proceed. “From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area”, said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s France Researcher. “It is scandalous that hundreds of people were kettled for hours for no reasons whatsoever and before even starting their peaceful protest.

It is also sadly ironic to see that many points of the agenda for the G7, like the climate crisis and gender equality, were there because of the pressure exercised by the civil society, and that the French authorities felt they had to undermine this very same civil society’s right to peacefully demonstrate during these three days. It undermines all the talk at the summit.” Exceptional security measures have been put in place in cities such as Bayonne, about 8km from Biarritz, and the whole of Biarritz city itself, to prevent people from gathering to exercise their freedom of assembly. On Saturday afternoon, authorities deployed hundreds of police officers to Bayonne and erected four-metre-high fences on all four bridges, completely dividing the city into two. Amnesty International’s observers were stopped and searched six times in about two hours in the area.

Authorities had issued an order establishing a security area covering the city centre where everyone could be subjected to stop and searches. A few hundred protesters, as well as journalists, observers and residents alike, were blocked for about five hours. The police only allowed them to leave late in the evening. Police also kettled about 50 peaceful protesters who attempted to gather on a parking lot in Bidart, 8 km from Biarritz, on Sunday 25 August. This was well outside the security area within which heads of state were gathering. The organisation’s observers were also affected by the incident, which took over two hours, without the possibility to leave. When Amnesty International’s staff showed a letter to the police detailing their observation mission, they were told that the exercise was with a view to conduct identity checks even though the delegates nor anyone else were asked to produce the necessary documentation.

Despite the fact that only very few violent incidents were observed during the three days, about 100 people were arrested between 23 and 25 August, with about 70 of them placed in pre-charge detention with some trials expected to start today. Among them, three women observers from the French Human Rights League were arrested and placed in pre-charge detention on 24 August, after detection of protection materials. They were finally released on Sunday 25 August. This led the organizers of the G7 “counter-summit” to cancel several peaceful actions that had been planned on 25 August, following the heavy security measures and the arrest of one of their members on 24 August. The protesters could only organize a peaceful demonstration on Saturday 24 August in Hendaye, over 30 kilometres from the G7 summit in Biarritz. “French authorities must stop treating the right to protest with contempt. Unless the protesters have been involved in violent acts, they must be freed immediately and unconditionally”, said Marco Perolini. “Exercising one’s freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly is not a crime, but a fundamental human right.” Read more - Lire plus
Nesrine Malik: The myth of the free speech crisis
The Guardian 03/09/2019 - This is the myth of the free speech crisis. It is an extension of the political-correctness myth , but is a recent mutation more specifically linked to efforts or impulses to normalise hate speech or shut down legitimate responses to it. The purpose of the myth is not to secure freedom of speech – that is, the right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint or legal penalty. The purpose is to secure the licence to speak with impunity; not freedom of expression, but rather freedom from the consequences of that expression. [...]

There is a kernel of something that makes all myths stick – something that speaks to a sense of justice, liberty, due process and openness and allows those myths to be cynically manipulated to appeal to the good and well-intentioned. But challenging the myth of a free speech crisis does not mean enabling the state to police and censor even further. Instead, it is arguing that there is no crisis. If anything, speech has never been more free and unregulated. The purpose of the free-speech-crisis myth is to guilt people into giving up their right of response to attacks, and to destigmatise racism and prejudice. It aims to blackmail good people into ceding space to bad ideas, even though they have a legitimate right to refuse. And it is a myth that demands, in turn, its own silencing and undermining of individual freedom. To accept the free-speech-crisis myth is to give up your own right to turn off the comments. [...]

What has increased is not intolerance of speech; there is simply more speech. And because that new influx was from the extremes, there is also more objectionable speech – and in turn more objection to it. This is what free-speech-crisis myth believers are picking up – a pushback against the increase in intolerance or bigotry. But they are misreading it as a change in free speech attitudes. This increase in objectionable speech came with a sense of entitlement – a demand that it be heard and not challenged, and the freedom of speech figleaf became a convenient tool. Not only do free speech warriors demand all opinions be heard on all platforms they choose, from college campuses to Twitter , but they also demand that there be no objection or reaction. It became farcical and extremely psychologically taxing for anyone who could see the dangers of hate speech, and how a sharpening tone on immigration could be used to make the lives of immigrants and minorities harder.

Free speech had seemingly come to mean that no one had any right to object to what anyone ever said – which not only meant that no one should object to [Boris] Johnson’s comments but, in turn, that no one should object to their objection. Free speech logic, rather than the pursuit of a lofty Enlightenment value, had become a race to the bottom, where the alternative to being “professionally offended” is never to be offended at all. This logic today demands silence from those who are defending themselves from abuse or hate speech. It is, according to the director of the Institute of Race Relations, “ the privileging of freedom of speech over freedom to life ”. This free speech crisis movement has managed to stigmatise reasonable protest, which has existed for years without being branded as “silencing”. This is, in itself, an assault on free expression. [...] A moral right to express unpopular opinions is not a moral right to express those opinions in a way that silences the voices of others, or puts them in danger of violence. There are those who abuse free speech, who wish others harm, and who roll back efforts to ensure that all citizens are treated with respect. These are facts – and free-speech-crisis mythology is preventing us from confronting them. 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!

NEW Take the Pledge:
Unite Against Racism
We are struggling to make ends meet, while the rich keep getting richer. Instead of fixing this, politicians are using anti-immigrant racism to distract us. Sign this pledge to tell politicians that you will not tolerate racism. By signing this pledge, you commit to talking to your friends and co-workers, and to contact politicians or media if they use anti-immigrant messages during the federal election. We will send you tools to help you have these conversations. All of us deserve decent work, universal public services, equal rights, permanent status, and freedom from displacement and discrimination.
Discourse on refugees and migrants in upcoming elections
Refugees and migrants are easily victimized in political debates. In many countries around the world, especially during election campaigns, refugees and migrants have been talked about in ways that insult their dignity and humanity, contribute to xenophobia and racism, and are frequently grounded in distortion and misinformation.

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

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

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

And send a message to Chrystia Freeland demanding that Canada actively support an independent and unrestricted international fact-finding initiative to Xinjiang.
Free Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed is an award winning human rights defender and blogger. The UAE has said Ahmed had been arrested for using his social media accounts to “publish false information that damages the country’s reputation” and to “spread hatred and sectarianism”.
Right now, Ahmed is being held in solitary confinement and has not had access to a lawyer, an d he is on hunger strike.

Act now and demand that the UAE release Ahmed immediately and unconditionally.
All-in-one action page: Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
Call PM Trudeau, write a letter to Public Safety Minister Goodale & your MP, and sign Sophie Harkat's petition to stop the deportation of Moe Harkat.

If sent back to Algeria, Moe faces detention, torture and death.

No one should be deported to torture. Ever.
Canada: Don't roll back refugee rights
The federal govt plans to significantly roll back the human rights of refugees, and is hurrying these rights restrictions into law by including them in the federal budget (Bill C-97).

The new restriction would stop any refugee claimant from having an independent hearing to decide on their claim, if they previously filed a refugee claim in the United States and in certain other countries.

Using the quick tool below, call on Parliament to reject the rights-violating amendments to IRPA proposed in Bill C-97.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

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

Fight back with us: demand updated laws , learn more about your rights, and make a complaint if your privacy has been violated at the border.
OPP must be held accountable for violent repression of land defenders
The terrifying incident happened in April 2008 during a land occupation and road blockades by members of Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation, near Belleville, Ontario. Although the road blockades involved only a small number of community members – none of whom were armed -- the Ontario Provincial Police sent more than 200 officers, including the Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), tasked with responding to “the most serious threats to peace and order”. The UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to launch a thorough and impartial review to ensure accountability.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.

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

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

 W e, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to henceforth designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination or a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance .
National security legislation
Législation sur la sécurité nationale

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!