International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
6 mars 2020
ICLMG's Tim McSorley comments on article "Police Are Treating a Fatal Hammer Attack as Terrorism, But Not Mass Killings"
Twitter 28/02/2020 - I'm really glad to see articles like this - Police Are Treating a Fatal Hammer Attack as Terrorism, But Not Mass Killings - raising the question of how we apply terrorism charges in Canada. There is a clear & fundamental problem with which crimes are labeled "terrorism", when racist mass murders don't qualify but the murder of an individual with a hammer does.

But it also raises the question of whether the solution is labeling more acts as "terrorist" or whether we should be questioning that label, & Canada's terrorism laws, for being fraught with politics and subjectiveness and instead focus more on which crimes and acts pose the greatest threat to our communities (recognizing that plenty of people, incl. people cited in this article, are already doing that). It's also been pointed out that tools like the List of Terrorist Entities have a questionable impact on preventing crime; raise concerns about due process; allow for the use of secret evidence & intelligence; & offer only an illusion of a delisting process. There is a terrible double standard around which organizations are deemed dangerous / are listed, and the govt does need to do more to address white supremacist & hate-inspired crimes. But the solution may not be adding more groups to this list. Source
Chinese Uighurs did forced labour in supply chains for dozens of companies, including Bombardier: report
Global News 03/03/2020 - Uighur labour in China has been implicated in the supply chain of dozens of well-known companies, including Apple, Amazon and Bombardier, according to a new report by an Australian think tank. The report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says that between 2017 and 2019, under a government policy called “Xinjiang Aid,” thousands of Uighurs were transferred out of the western region of Xinjiang to work in factories across China — “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour.”

Based on official Chinese documents, satellite imagery, and media reports, the report estimates 80,000 Uighurs were transferred to factories around China: “… some of them were sent directly from detention camps.” While the think tank says it couldn’t confirm all the transfers from Xinjiang are forced, it did find that cases where sufficient detail was available “showcase highly disturbing coercive labour practices consistent with ILO definitions of forced labour.” At least 27 factories across nine provinces were identified in the report as using Uighur workers from Xinjiang since 2017. “Those factories claim to be part of the supply chain of 83 well-known global brands,” the report says. One of the companies named in the report is Canada-based transport sector multinational Bombardier . Read more - Lire plus

OPP gave intelligence, identities of Tyendinaga Mohawks to CN Rail without legal challenge
APTN 26/02/2020 - An associate professor in Carleton University’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice believes the OPP should have contested providing any information to a private company. “I think it’s an incredible window into the OPP playing this kind of due role. While on one hand they may be making these overtures about wanting to be respectful and have relationships; on the other the real relationship is with CN,” said Jeffrey Monaghan, who specializes in police and surveillance practices. “They are handing over an incredible trove of intelligence that CN could never get, or would have a lot of difficulty getting this kind of intelligence on people for a civil proceeding on their own. Now the police are doing all their work for them.” Monaghan’s research focuses on the preemptive work police do on social movements, including Indigenous movements, and says intelligence can change quickly.

“It’s not accurate all the time. It’s very fluid. It’s taken from one source and put into a databank and kind of reimagined or interpreted in different ways later on,” said Monaghan, who reviewed the OPP document. “It’s really intimate. There’s all kinds of stuff in there that is not criminal activity that is being handed over to CN to pursue civil lawsuit, to try to bury people with debt and penalties … for standing up for Indigenous rights. “I think they absolutely could have contested being compelled into providing information for a civil remedy.” [...] Another concern is how the OPP confirmed the identities of the land protectors as some had their faces covered. “It is unclear as to how the OPP validated the identities of those listed in the order and whether any attempt to ascertain contact information for verification of identity or – in this case – court service, could potentially affect appropriate and fair prosecution later on,” said Caitlyn E. Kasper, a lawyer with the Aboriginal Legal Services in Toronto.

The 2007 Ipperwash inquiry recommended, among other things, that OPP to take measures to ensure that communications between officers regarding tactical decisions and intelligence remain secure and not subject to interception by others. CN is a private company but also has its own police service with the same policing powers as the OPP. “It would appear that the sharing of information with other law enforcement agencies is not addressed in the most recent OPP Framework for Police Preparedness for Indigenous Critical Incidents, which as you are most likely aware, was the OPP’s official response to Ipperwash,” said Kasper. The inquiry’s mandate was to examine the events surrounding the death of Dudley George, who was shot by the OPP in 1995 when land protectors occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park, which the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation say was stolen by the federal government in 1942 for use as a wartime army base. It was returned to the First Nation in 2015 after a lengthy land claim battle. Read more - Lire plus

More info & ways to take action: Unistoten Camp + Gidimt’en Access Point + RAVEN Trust

Alberta's anti-protestor bill suppresses democracy and violates treaties, say critics
Ricochet 01/03/2020 - Critics are warning that a bill introduced by the Alberta government to impose large fines and prison time on people participating in blockades or protests that interfere with “critical infrastructure” suppresses democracy and violates treaties. The infringement on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and Indigenous title are all reasons the proposed law could be found unconstitutional. Austin Mihkwâw, a Samson Cree activist from Treaty 6 territory, says many of the industrial megaprojects that have and would be targets for civil disobedience are already violations of legally binding treaties, which did not entail surrender of the land and only allowed for its use “to the depth of a plow,” for example.

Indigenous sovereignty and title underlie the recent surge in blockades and protests.
The bill, introduced by Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party on Tuesday, stipulates that no one shall “enter on” or “interfere” with critical infrastructure “without lawful right, justification, or excuse.” “What do you define as justification?” asks Mihkwâw. “Protecting the water? Protecting the children? Protecting the future?” While actions like railway blockades are already illegal under federal law, the Alberta bill allows for arrest without warrant. It also adds additional penalties, such as fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 for a first offence, and up to $25,000 for each subsequent offence. On top of fines, individuals may face six months in jail.

The new legislation comes after weeks of solidarity actions with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposing the presence of pipeline company Coastal GasLink and the RCMP on their territory in northwestern B.C. People across the country have blockaded rail lines, ports, highways, and government buildings. Premier Kenney blamed the recent decision of Teck Resources Ltd. to withdraw its application for the $20-billion Frontier oil sands mine on what he called a “general atmosphere of lawlessness” created by acts of civil disobedience — actions he also said are keeping Indigenous communities from moving from poverty to prosperity through resource development. But Mihkwâw says the premier’s concern for Indigenous communities is not genuine. “Jason Kenney has no right to act like he cares about the bands or Indigenous people,” he says.

Provincial and federal governments are only interested in Indigenous communities when they find it serves their purposes, and “the only time Indigenous sovereignty is acknowledged is through the colonial states they created,” he says, referring to the elected band council system imposed on First Nations through the Indian Act. Indigenous sovereignty and title underlie the recent surge in blockades and protests. In the landmark 1997 Delgamuukw v. British Columbia decision, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the existing right of the Wet’suwet’en Nation to the “exclusive use and occupation” of their traditional lands, a right the hereditary chiefs are demanding be upheld through the removal of the RCMP and Coastal GasLink from their territories. “You see these levels of civil disobedience because that’s a necessary way for them to advocate for their rights and themselves as well,” Mihkwâw says, adding that communities often fail to find justice through the Canadian legal system. Read more - Lire plus

Sask. RCMP member under investigation after post "joking" about machine-gunning protesters
CBC News 04/03/2020 - This story contains language some may find offensive. A Saskatchewan RCMP member is on desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation after a post on his Facebook page included a joke about using machine gunners to suppress demonstrators. The post appeared on the Facebook page of Community Constable Jack Clay, a Saskatchewan officer, earlier this week [...] The written portion of the post concluded with a reference to Bob Ross, the late host of an instructional painting program on PBS.
"So I turn to the gentle wisdom of Bob Ross," the post said. "Maybe he knows how we should handle some of [the] things going on in you, Canada." The post then showed a meme of Ross pointing his paintbrush on a canvas, framed by a caption that read: "....and I put a happy little machine gunner right f---ing here." A spokesperson for the RCMP confirmed the force was made aware of the post on Clay's page Tuesday, at which point Clay became the focus of an RCMP internal code of conduct investigation.

Members' behaviour, both on and off-duty, must fall in line with the RCMP's code of conduct, the spokesperson added. "The RCMP understands social media is an important part of how we communicate, in both our personal and professional lives," the spokesperson said. "[We take] matters concerning the misconduct of all categories of employees on social networking websites seriously. "It is important to note that the comments made on social media do not in any way reflect the values of the RCMP." It's not the first time in recent years that a Saskatchewan RCMP member has come under scrutiny for a social media post about a hot-button topic. In February 2018 — after a jury found farmer Gerald Stanley not-guilty of murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie — an RCMP member came under investigation for writing on Facebook that Boushie "got what he deserved." Read more - Lire plus

RCMP denied using facial recognition technology - then said it had been using it for months
CBC News 04/03/2020 - Just weeks after the RCMP denied using facial recognition technology, it acknowledged that it had been using Clearview AI's controversial software — which has harvested billions of personal photos from social media — for months. A few weeks ago, CBC Nova Scotia reached out to the national police service's headquarters for comment for a story about Canadian police forces using facial recognition technology . "The RCMP does not currently use facial recognition software," wrote a spokesperson from national headquarters on Jan. 17, replying to CBC's query. "However, we are aware that some municipal police services in Canada are using it."

But last week, as the debate over the ethics of Clearview AI's facial recognition technology was heating up and following reports the company's client list had been hacked, the RCMP issued a statement confirming it had been using the technology for at least the previous four months. "The discrepancy is the result of an error on our part," said spokesperson Catherine Fortin in an email late Wednesday. [...] "Outside of use of the application in child sexual exploitation cases, usage has been explored on a very limited trial basis," said Fortin Wednesday, adding that RCMP headquarters is still confirming with all its divisions about what units have been using Clearview AI. 

"The RCMP is not using Clearview AI on members of the public. We are only using it in the context of ongoing criminal investigations primarily for victim identification," she said.
Clearview AI's powerful technology can unearth items of personal information — including a person's name, phone number, address or occupation — based on nothing more than a photo. Concerns about the software erupted after a New York Times investigation revealed the software had extracted more than three billion photos from public websites like Facebook and Instagram and turned them into a database used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. Read more - Lire plus

Liberals should halt police and private use of Clearview AI, NDP says
The Toronto Star 02/03/2020 - The Liberal government is being asked to impose a sweeping moratorium on police and private businesses’ use of Clearview AI until Parliament and privacy regulators can investigate the controversial facial recognition company. The RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and more than a dozen private businesses and law enforcement agencies across the country have confirmed to the Star they’ve used Clearview AI. The U.S. company claims to have amassed a database of billions of photos of regular citizens through scraping the web and uses artificial intelligence to match people’s images in that database. The collection of personal information without the knowledge or consent of Canadians would represent a “clear violation” of Canada’s privacy laws, according to NDP MP Charlie Angus.

“Serious questions are being raised about how this company obtained their massive database, about who is being given access to this information and whether such access represents potential breaches of Canadian law,” Angus wrote in a letter to Justice Minister David Lametti, obtained by the Star. “Until strong standards to protect Canadians’ privacy are developed, I urge you to implement a moratorium in Canada on the commercial and public sector use of this technology in public spaces, and wherever explicit consent cannot be feasibly obtained.” The Star reported Thursday more than 20 police forces across Canada had obtained log-ins and searched Clearview AI’s databases in recent months. But Clearview’s client list included more than just cops — the Department of National Defence, VIA Rail police, Rexall pharmacies, and at least one private sector surveillance company had tested Clearview’s services. Read more - Lire plus

US threatens to pull big tech's immunities if child abuse isn't curbed, experts decry the attack on encryption
TechCrunch 05/03/2020 - The Department of Justice is proposing a set of voluntary principles that take aim at tech giants in an effort to combat online sexual abuse. The principles are part of a fresh effort by the government to hold the tech companies accountable for the harm and abuse that happens on their platforms, amid the past two years of brewing hostilities between the government and Silicon Valley. But critics also see it as a renewed push to compel tech companies to weaken or undo their “warrant-proof” encryption efforts under the guise of preventing crime and terrorism. U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced the proposals at the Justice Department on Thursday with international partners from the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The principles, built by the five countries and tech leaders — including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter — aim to incentivize internet companies and social media giants to do more to prevent child sexual abuse on their platforms.

Barr said he hopes that the principles “set new norms” across the tech industry to “make sure there’s no safe space on the internet for offenders to operate.” The principles come ahead of anticipated bipartisan legislation to Congress — the so-called EARN IT Act, which reports say could effectively force the tech companies’ hands by threatening to pull their legal immunities for what their users post if the companies fail to aggressively clamp down on online child sexual abuse. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced the legislation shortly after the Justice Department presser ended.
The bill got quick rebuke from Senate colleague, Ron Wyden (D-OR), calling the bill “deeply flawed and counterproductive bill.” “This bill is a transparent and deeply cynical effort by a few well-connected corporations and the Trump administration to use child sexual abuse to their political advantage, the impact to free speech and the security and privacy of every single American be damned,” said Wyden. [...]

U.K. Security Minister James Brokenshire lauded the initiative’s existing six tech partners, encouraging the rest of the industry to fall in line. “It’s critical that others follow them by endorsing and acting on these principles.” The minister claimed that plans to encrypt tech platforms are “sending predators back into the darkness” and away from “artificial intelligence advances that can expose them.” Barr also questioned if “disappearing messages or certain encryption tools appropriately balance the value of privacy against the risk of safe havens for exploitation?” But privacy groups remain wary of legislative action, fearing that any law could ultimately force the companies to weaken or break encryption, which government officials have for years claimed helps criminals and sexual predators evade prosecution. End-to-end encryption has become largely the norm in the past few years since the Edward Snowden revelations into the vast surveillance efforts by the U.S. and its Five Eyes partners. Apple, Google and Facebook have made encryption standard in its products and services, a frequent frustration for investigators and prosecutors.

But last year, the Five Eyes said it would contemplate forcing the matter of encryption if tech giants wouldn’t acquiesce to the pact’s demands. The government has called for “responsible encryption,” a backdoor-like system that allows governments to access encrypted communications and devices with a key that only it possesses. But security experts have universally panned the idea, arguing that there is no way to create a “secure backdoor” without it somehow being vulnerable to hackers. The bill has already received heavy opposition. Facebook said that child safety is a “top priority,” but warned that the EARN IT Act would “roll back encryption, which protects everyone’s safety from hackers and criminals.” It’s a similar anti-encryption bill to one that Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced in 2016, which would have forced tech companies to build backdoors in its systems. The bill failed.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the bill would “undermine the law that undergirds free speech on the internet.” Firefox browser maker Mozilla said the bill “creates problems rather than offering a solution.” “The law enforcement community has made it clear this law is another attempt to weaken the encryption that is the bedrock of digital security,” said Heather West, Mozilla’s head of Americas policy. “Encryption ensures our information — from our sensitive financial and medical details to emails and text messages — is protected.” “Without it, the world is a far more dangerous place,” said West. Read more - Lire plus

'We're called terrorists:' HWDSB anti-bullying session hears from Muslim community
The Canadian Press 03/03/2020 - Ten-year-old Abdullah Saeed, a Grade 5 student at Janet Lee Elementary School, had a message for the lone panel member in attendance at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board's public bullying review session. "They say I'm Muslim and I might do something bad, I might bring a bomb to school," the child said. At the Mountain Mosque on Monday evening stories of targeted violence, name-calling and headscarves being torn off heads dominated the session intended for the local Muslim community.

Tears filled children's eyes and anger burst out of parents as they recalled the insults hurled at their children in local schools for their names, their ethnicity and practicing their religion. "The schools can put at least a bit more [effort]," Saeed said. Marwah Weera, a Grade 3 student at Bellmoore Elementary School, told the group a boy told her she's "smelly" while 14-year-old Amera Abdusalam and others said friends have had their hijabs pulled off their heads and written on. Others echoed the sombre stories as the crowd of roughly 90 people sat in the place of worship Monday evening. HWDSB created 20 consultation sessions after the death of Devan Selvey, a 14-year-old who was fatally stabbed behind Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. Each session features a panel of community members and a consulting firm who listen to the concerns.

After a "chaotic" first meeting, Shawn McKillop, the school board's manager of communications, said the panel cut down on presentation time to include more time to listen. After an hour-long meal at 6 p.m., students and parents shared their experiences for 15 minutes before a half-hour prayer and equally long presentation from Farhanna Khan, a supply teacher who collected community responses for roughly two weeks. "A lot of boys were saying 'we're called terrorists, we're the ones who caused 9/11,'" she told CBC News. [...] "There are not adequate processes in place to prevent the bullying from happening on the scale that it does," he said. "You really need to have a culture in place where everyone feels responsible for maintaining healthy relationships among people." Read more - Lire plus
The Torture Memos: Canadians tell government they’re being abused in foreign prisons
Global News 04/03/2020 - One memo to Canada’s foreign affairs minister described the “infliction of pain” as a means of intimidation. Another concerned a Canadian who, likely due to fear of retaliation, would not let the government raise his torture complaint with the prison director. A third noted the greater risk for those “detained by national security agencies that operate with police powers outside the normal criminal law framework.” The cases are among almost two dozen involving Canadians detained in 14 countries who have made credible allegations of torture to the federal government since 2014. Declassified documents released under the Access to Information Act do not name the Canadians, nor disclose where they are being held. But they provide disturbing hints of abuses.

Six cases of torture and mistreatment were brought to the attention of Canada’s foreign affairs minister last year alone, and the same number were reported in 2018, a federal official said. “I wouldn’t have thought it would be that high,” said Gary Caroline, a Vancouver lawyer who has represented Canadians detained overseas. Torture and mistreatment can range from extreme physical abuse to preventing access to a doctor, he said. “It’s not always pulling out fingernails and applying electrodes to the victim’s body,” said Caroline. “It can be as routine as denying medical treatment, denying proper food, the conditions in which people are kept can have a tremendous physical or psychological effect on the body.” The numbers obtained by Global News highlight the need for “urgent, concrete action” by the government, said Amnesty International Canada secretary-general Alex Neve.

“It also underscores that the human rights scourge of torture continues to be a grim and harrowing reality in our world and that all governments, including Canada, must redouble efforts to prevent its occurrence and ensure redress to survivors.” Canadians have complained about being subjected to torture and mistreatment in such countries as Iran, Syria, China, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia. [...] Roy Samathanam, a Canadian tortured in a Sri Lankan prison, said the government should openly identify countries that tortured Canadians. He said even after the United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered Sri Lanka to compensate him for the abuses he suffered, federal officials took little action. “Unfortunately in my case not a single minister has said a word on it even after [the] UN decision,” he said, “maybe because I was born in a Third World country they treat me like a second-class Canadian.”

Caroline, the lawyer, said Canada was often over-cautious when dealing with foreign countries where its citizens are falsely imprisoned or being mistreated. “Over the past number of years we’ve been reluctant to step on the toes or to speak too loudly in most cases,” Caroline said. “I’ve been frustrated in circumstances where clients of mine were being abused, if not tortured, and [Canadian consular officials] were reluctant to do anything more than raise it quietly.” Victims are fearful of reporting allegations of torture to Canadian consular officials as consular visits are regularly monitored, according to Caroline, which means that many claims of torture go unreported. However, when dealing with foreign governments that regularly use torture or have a proven track record of human rights violations, Caroline said the Canadian government should be more forceful and shine a spotlight on those cases. “Global Affairs is tied too closely to this image of diplomacy being quiet and respectful,” he said. “When it doesn’t work I think it’s incumbent on government officials to take whatever steps are necessary to draw attention to [torture] and to improve the situation of the person.” Read more - Lire plus
CJPME Disagrees with Trudeau Letter Discouraging ICC Prosecution of Israel
CJPME 03/03/2020 - Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) vehemently disagrees with the message of a letter sent by the Trudeau government discouraging the International Criminal Court (ICC) from pursuing an investigation of possible war crimes in Israel-Palestine. The existence of the letter came to light late last week. Sent to the ICC on February 14, the letter from Trudeau asserts that because Palestine is not recognized as a full state, the court has no jurisdiction to pursue investigations. In December the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, issued a report stating she was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence that war crimes had been committed, but asked for a legal opinion as to whether the court had jurisdiction to proceed with an investigation. 

In her announcement, Bensouda suggested there were four areas of investigation by her office for war crimes: 1) Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014, 2) Israel’s illegal “settlements” in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 3) Israel’s killing of protesters in Gaza in 2018-2019, and 4) the indiscriminate shooting of rockets by Palestinians. CJPME has called attention to Israel’s disregard for international law and human rights for years, and has repeatedly asked successive Canadian governments to take a more critical view of Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories. In an open letter late last week, Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada wrote, “Impunity and a deep disregard by Israel for international law […] have played a substantive role in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Nevertheless, Trudeau’s letter seems to seek legal loopholes in an effort to derail an ICC investigation into Israel, suggesting that Palestine’s failure to achieve full recognition as a state is grounds to dismiss the case.

“Trudeau’s letter creates the perfect catch-22,” argues Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME. “Israel’s disregard for international law makes it impossible for the Palestinians to have a state, while Trudeau argues that until the Palestinians have a state, they cannot enjoy the protections of international law.” CJPME points out that as of last year, 138 of the 193 member states at the UN have recognized the state of Palestine, and that while Israel has refused to accede to the ICC, Palestine willingly acceded to the authority of the court in 2015. CJPME also points out that international law – like the Fourth Geneva Convention – is a normative system to protect vulnerable peoples, and that Trudeau’s letter senselessly undermines its honourable intents. Read more - Lire plus
Senior ICC judges authorise Afghanistan war crimes inquiry
The New York Times 05/03/2020 - Senior judges at the international criminal court have authorised an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan , overturning an earlier rejection of the inquiry. The ICC investigation will look at actions by US, Afghan and Taliban troops. It is possible, however, that allegations relating to UK troops could emerge in that process. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on Thursday attacked the ruling by the ICC’s appeals chamber as “reckless” and said it would outline measures in the coming weeks to prevent US citizens being brought before the court. “This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body,” Pompeo told a news conference following the ruling.

“All the more reckless for this ruling to come just days after the United States signed a historic peace deal on Afghanistan, which is the best chance for peace in a generation.”
The ICC judges also approved that the scope of the investigation should include CIA black sites operated in Poland, Lithuania, and Romania, where detainees were taken. The court had last year rejected the request to open an investigation and said any prosecution was unlikely to be successful because the expectation was that those targeted, including the US, Afghan authorities and the Taliban, would not cooperate. Pompeo said at the time that Washington would revoke or deny visas to ICC staff seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by US forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere. The court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, later confirmed that her US visa had been revoked.

But on Thursday the ICC’s appeals chamber said the lower court had misinterpreted some of the court’s rules, and it declared that the investigation should be allowed to go ahead.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights programme, said: “This decision vindicates the rule of law and gives hope to the thousands of victims seeking accountability when domestic courts and authorities have failed them. “While the road ahead is still long and bumpy, this decision is a significant milestone that bolsters the ICC’s independence in the face of the Trump administration’s bullying tactics.” Reading out the decision, the chair of the appeals tribunal, Piotr Hofmański, said: “The prosecutor is authorised to commence investigation in relation to events dating back to 2003 as well as other alleged crimes [related to] Afghanistan.” Bensouda has said there is information that members of the US military and intelligence agencies committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the early years of the conflict. Read more - Lire plus
Through apps, not warrants, ‘Locate X’ allows federal law enforcement to track phones
Protocol 05/03/2020 - U.S. law enforcement agencies signed millions of dollars worth of contracts with a Virginia company after it rolled out a powerful tool that uses data from popular mobile apps to track the movement of people's cell phones, according to federal contracting records and six people familiar with the software. The product, called Locate X and sold by Babel Street , allows investigators to draw a digital fence around an address or area, pinpoint mobile devices that were within that area, and see where else those devices have traveled, going back months, the sources told Protocol. They said the tool tracks the location of devices anonymously, using data that popular cell phone apps collect to enable features like mapping or targeted ads, or simply to sell it on to data brokers. Babel Street has kept Locate X a secret, not mentioning it in public-facing marketing materials and stipulating in federal contracts that even the existence of the data is "confidential information." Locate X must be "used for internal research purposes only," according to terms of use distributed to agencies, and law enforcement authorities are forbidden from using the technology as evidence — or mentioning it at all — in legal proceedings.

Federal records show that U.S. Customs and Border Protection purchased Locate X, and the Secret Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also use the location-tracking technology, according to a former Babel Street employee. Numerous other government agencies have active contracts with Reston-based Babel Street, records show, but publicly available contract information does not specify whether other agencies besides CBP bought Locate X or other products and services offered by the company. None of the federal agencies, including CBP, would confirm whether they used the location-tracking software when contacted by Protocol. Babel Street's other products include an analytics tool it has widely marketed that sifts through streams of social media to "chart sentiment" about topics and brands. Read more - Lire plus
Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence
Amnesty International 03/03/2020 - CW: Gruesome details of deadly injuries. An investigation by Amnesty International has uncovered evidence that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year. At least 22 of the children were shot dead by Iranian security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders, according to the findings.

The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Details of their deaths are included in a new Amnesty International briefing, ‘They shot our children’ - Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests. “In recent months an increasingly gruesome picture has emerged of the extent to which Iranian security forces unlawfully used lethal force to crush last year’s nationwide protests. However, it is still devastating to learn that the number of children who fell victim to this brutality is so shockingly high,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“There must be independent and impartial investigations into these killings, and those suspected of ordering and carrying them out must be prosecuted in fair trials.” Amnesty International has gathered evidence from videos and photographs, as well as death and burial certificates, accounts from eyewitnesses and victims’ relatives, friends and acquaintances on the ground, and information gathered from human rights activists and journalists. In 10 cases, Amnesty International learned from the description of injuries on the death or burial certificates it reviewed, or information from credible sources, that the deaths occurred as a result of gunshots to the head or torso – indicating that the security forces were shooting to kill.

In two of the cases, burial certificates set out in detail the devastating impact on the children’s bodies. One cited injuries including bleeding, a crushed brain and a shattered skull. The other indicated that the cause of the death was extensive internal bleeding, and a pierced heart and lung. In one child’s case, there are conflicting reports on the cause of death, with one referring to fatal head injuries sustained by beatings by security forces and another referring to the firing of metal pellets at the victim’s face from a close distance. Read more - Lire plus
Syria: Moscow summit must prioritize ending renewed attacks on civilians in Idlib
Amnesty International 04/03/2020 - Ahead of a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Moscow tomorrow (Thursday 5 March) to discuss the escalating military conflict in Idlib in Syria, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said: “The Moscow summit represents an opportunity for Russia and Turkey to prioritize the safety of civilians. “The fate of almost one million people forced from their homes now hangs in the balance as this meeting goes ahead.

“After nine years of fighting characterized by utter disregard for civilians’ lives, new attacks in Idlib - including the ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals - is causing more untold misery to civilians, many of whom have already been forced to flee multiple times in this humanitarian horror story. “As a matter of priority, Russia and Turkey should pressure the Syrian government to end attacks on civilians to avoid escalating deaths and injuries and further displacement. “All parties to the conflict must allow civilians wishing to flee the fighting to do so by granting them safe passage, and they must facilitate access of humanitarian organizations to civilians who are unable to leave.” Read more - Lire plus
2019 has been very busy, and we are looking at a busy year 2020! Before giving you the summary of what we've been up to in the second half of 2019, here are a few things we will do in 2020:

  • We will continue to call for justice for Dr. Hassan Diab’s case and for the reform of the Extradition Act.

  • We will monitor the implementation of the National Security Act, 2017 (formerly Bill C-59), especially around mass surveillance and immunity for CSIS employees, in order to protect our civil liberties.

  • We will continue to push for a strong and effective review mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

  • We will continue advocating for the repeal of the Canadian No Fly List, as it violates mobility rights and due process, and for putting a stop to the use of the US No Fly List by air carriers in Canada for flights that do not land in or fly over the US, as it violates both our rights and Canada’s sovereignty.

Release Yasser Albaz from arbitrary detention in Egypt
It's been more than a year since Yasser has been detained without charge - take action now!

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 to do everything in their power to bring this Canadian citizen home to his family.

UPDATED 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.

Saudi Arabia: Free jailed activists
In Saudi Arabia, human rights violations are legitimized through the ‘Specialized Criminal Court’. The past 2 years have seen an unprecedented crackdown on Saudi activists, and this court acts to legitimize this oppression. Now is our chance to put pressure on King Salman to end grave human rights violations.

Sign the petition and demand that the King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman immediately and unconditionally releases all those who have been imprisoned for peacefully protesting.
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.
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.
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 .
Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
to our amazing supporters!
We would like to thank all our member organizations, and our patrons who are supporting ICLMG on Patreon ! As a reward, we are listing our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without you, our work wouldn't be possible!

Kathryn Dingle
Mary Ann Higgs
Kevin Malseed
Brian Murphy
Karen Seabrooke
Bob Stevenson
Colin Stuart
James Turk
Jo Wood

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!