International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
May 10, 2019
Take action: Call on the Senate to fix Bill C-59 and protect our rights!
ICLMG 07/05/2019 - Why fight to fix Bill C-59?

- Conservative-era issues brought in with Bill C-51 have not been fixed, including: CSIS's dangerous and secret threat disruption powers; overly-broad information sharing rules that infringe on privacy and free expression; the secretive No Fly List, which undermines due process, among other fundamental rights.

- The new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and Intelligence Commissioner are good developments for accountability, but must be strengthened.

- Broad new data collection powers for CSIS and the CSE need to be restricted - especially the collection of "publicly available information" and "unselected information", meaning any information basically - to avoid new forms of mass surveillance.

- New CSIS powers will grant agents or designated individuals immunity for committing crimes in the line of their work.

- The CSE's new "active" cyber powers give it the power to engage in secret, pre-emptive cyber attacks with little oversight and the potential for retaliation and serious repercussions for people in Canada .

ICLMG urges the Senate to protect our rights and fix Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017
ICLMG 07/05/2019 - On May 6, ICLMG’s National Coordinator, Tim McSorley, presented our main concerns to the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017. Some of them are:

1. C-59 empowers Canada’s national security agencies to engage in mass surveillance, including the mass collection and storage of our public information;

2. C-59 does not address the ongoing problems with the No Fly List, including the impossibility of an individual to effectively challenge their inclusion on the list;

3. C-59 would grant Canada’s signals intelligence agency, CSE, new powers to conduct cyberattacks, including hacking, deploying malware, and “disinformation campaigns.”

ICLMG Brief on Bill C-59 to the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence
ICLMG 07/05/2019 - Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017 , is being studied by the Senate Committee on Naitonal Security and Defence. The committee members will meet on Monday May 13 for the clause-by-clause meeting, and are planning to tabled their report to the House of Commons on Thursday May 16 at the latest.

While we were glad to see that some of our proposals were adopted by the House Committee on National Security and Defence, mainly regarding transparency and accountability, there are still a LOT of issues with the bill. We couldn't cover them all in our 7 minute presentation to the Senate committee so we wrote a 10-page summary of our 45-page brief which we submitted to the Senate last week. You can read the full brief, the summary brief as well as a summary of our 45 recommendations on our website .

Lire la version française du sommaire des recommendations (la version française du mémoire abrégé sera disponible sous peu)
Canada Border Services seizes lawyer's phone, laptop for not sharing passwords
CBC 05/05/2019 - As more people travel with smartphones loaded with personal data, concern is mounting over Canadian border officers' powers to search those phones — without a warrant.

"The policy's outrageous," said Toronto business lawyer, Nick Wright. "I think that it's a breach of our constitutional rights." His thoughts follow a personal experience. After landing at Toronto's Pearson Airport on April 10, he said the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) flagged him for an additional inspection — for no stated reason.

Wright had just returned from a four-month trip to Guatemala and Colombia where he studied Spanish and worked remotely. He took no issue when a border services officer searched his bags, but drew the line when the officer demanded his passwords to also search his phone and laptop. Wright refused, telling the officer both devices contained confidential information protected by solicitor-client privilege.

He said the officer then confiscated his phone and laptop, and told him the items would be sent to a government lab which would try to crack his passwords and search his files. "In my view, seizing devices when someone exercises their constitutional right is an affront to civil liberty," said Wright who's still waiting for the return of his phone and laptop. Meanwhile, he said he has spent about $3,000 to replace them.

While the laws governing CBSA searches have existed for decades, applying them to digital devices has sparked concern in an era where many travellers carry smartphones full of personal and sometimes very sensitive data. A growing number of lawyers across Canada argue that warrantless digital device searches at the border are unconstitutional , and the practice should be stopped or at least limited. Read more - Lire plus

ICLMG's Tim McSorley on new legislation to boost review for border agency
Twitter 07/05/2019 - While folding review of the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) into the existing RCMP civilian watchdog may be effective, the lack of consultation is troubling. And the likelihood of this being passed before the election seems close to nil.

As per Public Safety Canada backgrounder, the new body will replace the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CCRC). And here, finally, is the full legislation - Bill C-98 - that would create the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC). Mostly builds on the existing RCMP review body, the CCRC.

Interesting to note how it handles CBSA national security related review and complaints: The PCRC would send them over to the proposed National Security & Intelligence Review Agency, which would be created with the adoption of Bill C-59. This is the same way that national security related reviews and complaints related to the RCMP are being handled.

Would note that since C-59 was introduced in 2017, ICLMG & others have argued that NSIRA should be able to hear complaints regarding CBSA. So this is a positive development... except that, again, the chance of C-98 passing before election 2019 is close to 0%.

Result being that we end up with no independent review body for CBSA, and the agency tasked with accepting complaints on national security can't take any related to problems travellers have at Canada's borders. Source Twitter thread

ICLMG's Tim McSorley live-tweets Human Rights Committee hearing on the study of the No-Fly List
Twitter 08/05/2019 - [...] Moving to next panel: Khadija Cajee and Sarah Willson of No Fly List Kids and Bashir Mohamed. In opening statement, Cajee speaks about how her 10 year old son must be visualized every flight. Being falsely flagged implicates privacy rights and right to mobility. The skewing towards Muslim and Arab sounding names also implicates right to equal treatment under the law. Speaks to the danger of faulty information being shared internationally leading to human rights abuses, citing case of Maher Arar. US redress system has shown that 98% of requests are for people who are false positives and aren't the person listed.

Next, Bashir Mohamed. Speaks about coming to Canada as a refugee, obtaining citizenship in 2011. But consistently checked as a "risk" every time he flies
Says he is the "boring" Bashir Mohamed who lives in Edmonton, bikes to work, not the Bashir Mohamed with al-Shabab, but is continuously screened whenever he travels
Hopes that the new redress system will end situation of being a second-class citizen.
Catching up.

Now it's Sarah Willson. Speaks passionately about how she is told on multiple occasions her son should simply change his name, but that this would mean denying part of his heritage. Here is a great piece from Willson on what the No Fly List Kids families go through. [...] Senator Yonah Martin speaks powerfully about the trauma related to this kind of security screening, and the racial profiling that she personally faces at airports and while traveling. Read more - Lire plus Twitter thread
How Mass Surveillance Works in Xinjiang, China
HRW 02/05/2019 - Chinese authorities are using a mobile app to carry out illegal mass surveillance and arbitrary detention of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region. The Human Rights Watch report, “ China’s Algorithms of Repression: Reverse Engineering a Xinjiang Police Mass Surveillance App ,” presents new evidence about the surveillance state in Xinjiang, where the government has subjected 13 million Turkic Muslims to heightened repression as part of its “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism.”

Between January 2018 and February 2019, Human Rights Watch was able to reverse engineer the mobile app that officials use to connect to the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), the Xinjiang policing program that aggregates data about people and flags those deemed potentially threatening. By examining the design of the app, which at the time was publicly available, Human Rights Watch revealed specifically the kinds of behaviors and people this mass surveillance system targets.

“Our research shows, for the first time, that Xinjiang police are using illegally gathered information about people’s completely lawful behavior – and using it against them,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Chinese government is monitoring every aspect of people’s lives in Xinjiang, picking out those it mistrusts, and subjecting them to extra scrutiny.” Human Rights Watch published screenshots from the IJOP app, in the original Chinese and translated into English. Read more - Lire plus

Counter-terrorism measures threaten democracy
Cherwell 06/05/2019 - We let things happen for as long as they don’t shock us, as long as they don’t look scandalous. And our threshold for something to shock us, or to look scandalous, may well have shifted dramatically in the age of terrorism, where “threat think” is the new normal.

Two recent cases lay bare the extent of this politicisation, suggesting that counter-terrorism has a serious problem: a democratic deficit at best; fundamentally anti-democratic leanings at worst. First came last year’s decision of the University of Reading to ask students to be “cautious” when reading a left-wing essay on their reading list, in the alleged interest of Prevent. Prevent is part of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST, first released by the Home Office in 2006 with its latest revision last June.

In a 2017 article for the London Review of Books, Karma Nabulsi, Associate Professor for Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, gives a whole range of scary examples: a Sikh student praying in her room is overheard by cleaning staff, so her room is searched; a student’s request for permission of a film screening on Palestinian refugees is denied on the grounds of “extremism” legislation; a Muslim student explains she’d been suffering from depression — in response she’s asked whether she was “being radicalised”. The list goes on.The fact that an essay assigned for course reading is labelled a threat should raise more eyebrows than it did. Do we really believe that students reading “Our morals: The ethics of revolution” are in danger of radicalisation? Are we next going to purge Marx and Lenin from the classroom? If CONTEST is supposed to protect “British values,” is outright censorship one of them? How on earth did this become acceptable?

The UK is not the only example of this. As a German citizen, I’ve been following the news about an investigation against Berlin-based artist collective Centre for Political Beauty with disbelief. [...] Last year, when far-right politician Björn Höcke, Thuringia delegate for “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD), publicly called the Berlin Holocaust Memorial a ‘memorial of shame’, the Centre crowdfunded a replica of the memorial which was then installed next to the politician’s private home. Thuringia had previously become infamous for the complicity of its branch of the German secret service in the activities of the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) terrorist network. With that in mind, the artists called for a “civil secret service” to surveil Höcke’s home for as long as he wouldn’t kneel before the replica memorial.

The collective has received death threats in response. Höcke himself proclaimed that whoever “does this is, in my opinion, a terrorist.” Thuringia delegate Christian Carius (CDU) empathised, arguing the artists used “Stasi methods” which had “nothing to do with art”. This month, a freedom of information request by a Thuringia delegate for Germany’s left-wing party (Die Linke) revealed that an undercover criminal investigation against the collective had been underway for the past 16 months — on the legal grounds of “suspicion of formation of a criminal group” under article 129 of Germany’s penal code (StGB). [...]

Less than a week after it became publicly known and numerous German artists and intellectuals expressed their fierce objection, the investigation was closed with immediate effect. Thuringia’s minister of culture has called the message this prosecution sends to Germany’s art scene “disastrous”. But this is more than just a disastrous prosecution, more than just a scandalous denial of artistic freedom, and certainly more than just a bad apple: it is symptomatic of an unacceptable ambiguity at the heart of counter-terrorism regulation. It shouldn’t be hard to decide where to stand on this. Read more - Lire plus

Turquie : perpétuité confirmée pour les journalistes Ahmet Altan et Nazli Ilicak
Le Monde 03/05/2019 - Condamnés à la prison à perpétuité, les journalistes turcs Ahmet Altan et Nazli Ilicak gardaient pourtant espoir. Ils comptaient sur les recours individuels déposés auprès de la Cour constitutionnelle pour entrevoir la fin de leur incarcération, intervenue dans le cadre des purges qui ont suivi le coup d’Etat manqué du 15 juillet 2016.

Vendredi 3 mai, la plus haute juridiction du pays a tranché en leur défaveur. Neuf juges, sur les quinze qui siègent à la Cour – trois nommés par le Parlement, douze par le président – ont estimé que les autorités turques n’avaient pas attenté à leurs libertés. Ahmet Altan, 69 ans, ancien rédacteur en chef du quotidien Taraf, et Nazli Ilicak, 75 ans, journaliste de renom et ancienne députée (1999-2001), vont donc rester en prison.

Arrêtés peu après le coup d’Etat manqué, tous les deux ont été condamnés à la perpétuité pour leur coopération présumée avec « l’organisation terroriste » du prédicateur Fethullah Gülen, accusé par Ankara d’avoir fomenté le coup. Une collusion assimilée à une « tentative de renversement de l’ordre constitutionnel ».

Court mais sanglant (250 morts), le soulèvement d’une partie de l’armée, le 15 juillet 2016, a servi de prétexte au président Recep Tayyip Erdogan pour mettre la société civile en coupe réglée. Magistrats, universitaires, journalistes ont été condamnés à des peines de prison pour leur collusion présumée avec Gülen et/ou avec les militants autonomistes kurdes du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK). Read more - Lire plus 
Coalition Letter to DHS Opposing Surveillance of Activists, Journalists, and Lawyers
cdt 01/05/2019 - We are a coalition of 103 civil liberties, civil rights, corporate responsibility, faith-based, human rights, immigrant rights, journalism, media, privacy, and government transparency organizations, legal service providers, and trade associations.

We write to express our deep concern with reports of surveillance and targeting of activists, journalists, and lawyers by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Those reports indicate that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) created dossiers on activists, journalists, and lawyers, and targeted these individuals for heightened border screening based on their association with migrants seeking asylum. They also indicate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) documented and shared a spreadsheet of “Anti-Trump” protests in New York City.

The actions of CBP and ICE-HSI may violate the Privacy Act of 1974 and threaten the exercise of First Amendment-protected activities, including freedom of speech and association and freedom of the press, as well as the delivery of legal services. These actions also diminish public confidence that the power granted to DHS and its agencies is wielded with appropriate discretion.

Leaked CBP slides dated January 9, 2019 included photographs and biographic information of 59 activists, journalists, and lawyers, approximately 40 of whom are U.S. citizens. The slides categorized each target’s alleged association to migrants seeking asylum at the southern border as “instigator,” “associate,” “journalist,” “organizer,” “media,” “lawyer,” “Administrator on Caravan Support Network Facebook page,” “coordinator,” or “unknown.” Alerts were placed in records about each target so that the target would be subject to heightened scrutiny when entering the United States, or, in the case of non-U.S. citizens, excluded from entry altogether.

In the case of the U.S. citizen targets, alerts were placed in records about many of their passports. Targets were interrogated at the border, and had their electronic devices detained and possibly searched, and some had their visas revoked. The source that leaked the slides stated that, in addition to creating the slides, CBP compiled dossiers on the surveillance targets. Reports in February indicated that for months, activists, journalists, and lawyers faced a pattern of harassment including lengthy detentions, interrogations, and device detentions and searches in the San Diego area. Read more - Lire plus 

For the Military Commissions, a Fork in the Road on Torture
Just Security 06/05/2019 - “It’s time for everyone to admit that the Guantanamo military commissions have failed.” That’s what Steve Vladeck wrote last month in a characteristically excellent post  discussing the D.C. Circuit’s recent decision in  In re Al-Nashiri III . Of course, unless and until either the executive branch or Congress acknowledges the same and decides to do something about it, the commissions will drag on. And as they do, “the shadow of CIA torture”—to which Steve correctly ascribes (at least in part) the commissions’ painful struggles to date—will darken, further complicating any efforts to achieve justice.

Take Majid Khan, for example. After pleading guilty before the commissions in 2012, he has been cooperating with the government and is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in July. On May 1, he filed a motion that puts the legacy of CIA torture and the question of accountability squarely before Army Judge Col. Douglas Watkins. How Judge Watkins resolves the motion will say a lot about whether the commissions can ever grapple seriously and fairly with these issues.

Specifically, Khan argues that pursuant to the Due Process clause of the Constitution, Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and longstanding support in the common law for the presumption of innocence and prohibition on pre-trial punishment, his sentence should be reduced on the basis of the torture to which the CIA subjected him during his three and a half years in CIA custody, plus additional abuses he alleges after his transfer to Guantanamo. [...]

Perhaps by now it goes without saying, but almost two decades removed from the United States’ decision to build a torture program, there has been precious little accountability for the government officials who authorized and implemented it, and even less by way of redress for victims. Khan’s motion is an opportunity to take a small but meaningful step in the other direction. For the military commissions in particular, it’s a chance to demonstrate that, at least in one instance, in one case, they can be more than the cascade of fiascoes that they have come to represent. Read more - Lire plus
NEW No Weapons for Saudi. No New Nuclear Arms Race. YES to Peace
CANSEC, the largest war profiteer/arms manufacturer trade show in Canada is coming up. Multinational corporations making billions in profit off nuclear weapons manufacturing and violence overseas – including Canada’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia - will be there.
Join us at the EY Centre in Ottawa at 7 am on May 29th: it's time to send a message to the Government of Canada, to take a stand for peace and a for a greener future.
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”. 

There has never been any formal, independent review of how and why the police response went so badly wrong. In December, the UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to address this glaring gap in police accountability by ensuring that a thorough and impartial review is finally carried out.
Respectez les droits des!
Migrer ou mourir. Des milliers de personnes d'Amérique centrale, y compris des familles, ont été forcées de quitter ce qu'elles connaissent et aiment pour trouver la sécurité et une vie meilleure pour leurs enfants. Elles ont marché pendant des semaines vers les États-Unis pour échapper aux menaces, à la violence et à une pauvreté extrême - non par choix, mais par obligation.

Mais Donald Trump et son administration travaillent dur pour s’assurer qu’ils ne pourront pas rechercher la sécurité aux États-Unis.
Les droits humains ne dépendent pas du document que vous possédez ou de votre nationalité. Ils appartiennent à tout le monde.

Signez cette pétition pour soutenir les personnes et les familles en quête de protection.
Tell China to close its secret ‘re-education’ camps for ethnic minorities
It is estimated that up to one million people - predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities - are being arbitrarily detained in “de-extremification" camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Among them are Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority groups whose religious and cultural practices are key to their identity.
The detentions appear to be part of an effort by the Chinese government to wipe out religious beliefs and aspects of cultural identity in order to enforce political loyalty for the State and the Communist Party of China.
Make January 29 a National Day
On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim-Canadian worshipers. By the time the shooting had ended, six had been tragically killed, and 19 more injured. 

 W e, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to henceforth designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination or a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance .
Call on Justin Trudeau to ensure justice for Abousfian Abdelrazik
In September 2003, Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik was arrested in Sudan, while he was back in the country visiting his ailing mother. Over the next three years he was imprisoned for nearly 20 months and was held under house arrest for 12 months. He was denied a lawyer, and was never charged or brought before a judge. There were lengthy periods when he had no family or consular visits. During that time he was badly tortured in three different prisons. Not only did Canada fail to take steps to protect him, CSIS officials frequently obstructed efforts to secure his release. Those actions prolonged his detention, with no concern for the obvious risk of mistreatment he was facing.
Don’t invest my CPP contributions in Trump’s racist agenda
An investigation by the Guardian just revealed that the  Canada Pension Plan (CPP), is pouring millions of your pension dollars into the US private prison corporations that are executing Trump’s cruel and inhumane anti-immigration agenda. That’s your money.  If you’ve ever worked in Canada, you’ve paid contributions to the CPP fund. We can’t let our CPP contributions flow to corporations that are profiting from Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Tell the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB): Stop investing our savings in private US prison corporations that are executing Trump’s cruel and inhumane anti-immigration agenda.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.

They want to force companies to crush the encryption that protects our private data and messages. But ordinary people need and use encryption every day, in everything from online banking to personal messaging in apps like WhatsApp.
Tell ministers to stop their attacks, and commit to protecting our privacy and security.
Iran: Free Saeed Malekpour!
Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian national with permanent residency in Canada, has been imprisoned in Iran since his arrest on 4 October 2008. In late 2010, he was initially sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on earth” in relation to a web programme he created for uploading photos which the Iranian authorities said was used on pornographic websites. This was an open source programme and Saeed Malekpour has maintained that the use of this web programme on other websites was without his knowledge. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2012.
Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
to our amazing supporters!
We would like to thank all our member organizations, and our patrons who are supporting ICLMG on Patreon ! As a reward, we are listing our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without you, our work wouldn't be possible!

Kathryn Dingle
Mary Ann Higgs
Kevin Malseed
Brian Murphy
Bob Stevenson
Chantal Vallerand

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!