International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
8 novembre 2019
Justice for Hassan Diab: Contact the PM!
Justice for Hassan Diab Support Committee & ICLMG 07/11/2019 - Canada’s Extradition Act is in urgent need of reform. A recent “external review” of Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition commissioned by the Minister of Justice does nothing to prevent future injustices like those suffered by Hassan. But we are not giving up! Here's what you can do:

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

2) On Friday November 8, please call PM Trudeau ’s office at (613) 992-4211, and reiterate your message.

When you call, please give your name and where you are calling from. You can leave a message to this effect: “Hello, I’m calling about Dr. Hassan Diab, who is thankfully back in Canada after being wrongfully extradited to France. The Segal report commissioned by the Department of Justice in 2018 does nothing to address the flaws in Canada’s Extradition Act. We need to know why Hassan languished in solitary confinement for over three years, and what can be done to reform Canada's broken system of extradition. In the mandate for the next Minister of Justice, I urge Prime Minister Trudeau to authorize a public inquiry into Hassan Diab’s extradition case, and to reform Canada’s Extradition Act, so no one suffers like Hassan did.”

Please invite your friends and share widely. Thank you! Version française ici
Share on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram

***Please mention Michele (MM) in your emails and calls. She fought against extradition to the US for 8 years. Her "crime"? Saving her children from a violent father. After the Supreme Court recently refused to hear her case, she was found dead in her cell on Tuesday. This tragedy could have been avoided if the extradition law had been reformed and Justice Ministers had acted. This should never happen again. Source 1 + Source 2 + Source 3
RCMP launches review of its social media monitoring operation
CBC 05/11/2019 - Privacy experts are calling for the imposition of clear controls on the RCMP's online monitoring. Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, said there's a mistaken belief out there that anything published online is fair game for the police. "In Canada when you publish, say, on Twitter or a public Facebook message or something like that, you still actually retain an element of control and privacy over what's stated," he said. "So before the government can go and download, access, read or analyze what you've put up, they have to have a direct and clear reason. And it can't be something like, 'What we want is to know what's going on in Toronto. So we're monitoring all communications in Toronto.' That would be a disproportionate form of mass surveillance."

Parsons said that kind of surveillance can get dangerous for individuals when police interpret snarky or humorous tweets as threats. Back in 2012, a U.K. tourist was denied entry to the U.S. after tweeting that he was going to "destroy America" — which is slang for "party." "We assume that what we've put online is understood by the people who receive it, and there's all sorts of situations of social media monitoring, especially cases out of the U.S., where people have had very, very severe and problematic... consequences for entirely banal, legitimate, innocent tweets," Parsons said. He said he wants to see the RCMP set some firm guidelines for social media monitoring. "I think generally Canadians should be concerned, because not all Canadians know they're under suspicion," he said. "Moreover, those who are in privileged groups within Canada, especially people of Caucasian descent, it's really important for us to stand up and say, 'No, there has to be a policy.' You can't do this just willy-nilly, because we know that there's a huge population in Canada that does face inappropriate policing." Read more - Lire plus
Federal employees concerned 'insider threat' training means spying on co-workers
CBC 03/11/2019 - At least two federal government departments have introduced training so staff can identify and report "insider threats," and it is raising concerns from employees who don't want to spy on their colleagues. Insider threats are defined in the training documents as "purposeful, malicious action" by employees or contractors who have access to inside information, and who act "in opposition to the interests of the organization." Since February, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada have offered four on-site sessions to staff in Ottawa and Winnipeg, as well as providing online training to staff in other locations. 

An online training module was added to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's security awareness training in August. The department says all employees have been asked to take it. CBC News has obtained copies of both courses. They are slightly different because they were developed for specific departments, but they cover much of the same information. Several scientists told CBC the training puts them in an awkward position of spying on their co-workers and partners, some of whom have dual citizenship with China. Some also have a relationship with Chinese universities and the Chinese Academy of Science, which sends fully sponsored students to study in Canada. The training provides specific instructions on how to report their suspicions. One researcher who took the course described it as "James Bond-type" training.

"It is an issue that we federal scientists are treated like secret agents," said the scientist, one of several who asked not to be identified over fears of being reprimanded for speaking to the media. Staff are being told it is an offence and a national threat to share their research results and data outside their departments without proper authorization. Scientists say waiting for that authorization is not always realistic or practical, and say the training was created by people who have no idea about the extent of international collaboration in research. "We scientists work in a fast-evolving, globalized world where sharing data and ideas with colleagues in our fields is the way to generate new knowledge. Because science is ultra-specialized, the colleagues working in the same field are usually in other countries," one researcher told CBC. Read more - Lire plus
Don’t Expand the War on Terror in the Name of Antiracism
Jacobin 01/11/2019 - Declaring white nationalism a form of terrorism won’t combat white nationalism — but it will grant more arbitrary powers to a carceral state that preys on the most vulnerable. Over the last few months, there have been growing calls to categorize white nationalism as a form of terrorism and to extend counterterrorism laws to explicitly target domestic terrorism, particularly white supremacist violence. [...] Many concerned about white supremacist violence support these proposals, highlighting the stark discrepancy in the ways the government treats Muslims and whites when they commit acts of political violence. What could be wrong with wanting to remove the racial biases in the application of counterterrorism? Why wouldn’t we want the full force of federal law to be applied to racist mass murderers? But to think that would be a mistake. It would actually end up worsening the problem of white supremacy and further expanding the reach of law enforcement.

To understand why requires understanding how the word “terrorism” operates in US political and legal culture and the racially coercive powers its use enables. It also requires taking seriously the arguments of prison abolitionists who caution against “reforms” that actually give law enforcement more power. [...] Like with imprisonment, a radical examination of “counterterrorism” shows it fails to work even on its own terms: many more civilians have been killed as a result of the war on terror than the “jihadists” have killed, or could ever have hoped to kill. The wars, bombings, and covert operations pursued by the United States have killed nearly five hundred thousand people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, according to a Brown University estimate . Families and whole swaths of communities within the United States have been devastated by domestic practices of intensive targeting and prosecution. Like the war on drugs, the war on terror at home does not reduce violence but spreads it; its impacts reverberate from schools to family life to diminished political power for Muslim-American communities. Under the guise of policing “homegrown terrorism,” it has dramatically expanded the politics of fear and suspicion around Muslims and the sphere of law enforcement around Muslim communities.

Just as the so-called war on drugs mobilizes a racial idea of gangs to criminalize — for example, by adding people to gang databases simply for residing at a particular housing project — the so-called war on terror uses notions of terrorism and extremism to criminalize Muslim identity and “anti-American” political thought. Both use policing and prosecution as key tools of “war.” The very premise of the post-9/11 counterterrorism industry was that a Muslim threat required every arm of government on high alert and new, wide-ranging tools to combat. For the past two decades, holding certain political ideas as a Muslim, engaging in certain religious practices as a Muslim, looking at certain materials online as a Muslim, fraternizing with certain kinds of Muslims, traveling to certain parts of the world as a Muslim have become suspect. The FBI, along with local police like the NYPD, have used such ideas and activities to trigger intensive surveillance and criminalization. This has led to post-9/11 immigration sweeps, which resulted in zero actual prosecutions despite the detentions, and a steady stream of FBI stings and domestic material support prosecutions, where plots are often masterminded by government informants or charges stem largely from First Amendment conduct (now effectively criminalized through material support bans). The current sprawling system of counterterrorism policing has its origins in the 1970s, when the United States, faced with anticolonial movements that had unsettled geopolitical realities, found a new enemy — a Muslim menace. [...]

As an extensive report by Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute demonstrated , material support convictions have encompassed prosecuting Muslim charities like the Holy Land Foundation, and criminalizing the translation of websites , allowing friends to store luggage in your apartment , and loaning money for plane tickets. Buying travel tickets or going on paintball excursions , which Americans do all the time, figure as suspicious activities for Muslims. And these cases, once filed by the government, are hugely successful for federal prosecutors; they have a near total conviction rate. In turn, these prosecutions give law enforcement agencies an apparent justification for the mountains of money they request each year. As the FBI explained in requesting its 2019 budget of $8.9 billion, “counterterrorism” is its top priority. In other words, they contribute to the mass expansion and sustenance of law enforcement today. [...] To see the injustices in “counterterrorism” law enforcement is to see how racialized fear works to validate amplified policing and incarceration more broadly. Waving the flag of counterterrorism works as a silencer, placing a protective shield around law enforcement and government action, cloaking their actions in secrecy and necessity. Policing and prosecution get one of their biggest justifications from policing terrorism. By looking directly at counterterrorism policing, the injustices rife within it come into view. And by questioning its practices, one of the central pillars of why we need expanded policing is undermined.

Like challenges to the criminal legal system more generally, taking on national security abuses means taking on the apparatus and architecture of national security law enforcement itself. People are right to point out that there is a disparity in how white and Muslim perpetrators of mass violence are labeled. The way forward, though, is not to broaden the use of the term “terrorism” — and the assumptions and government practices that go with it — but to reassess the ways the country currently polices terrorism and probe more deeply into the social and political roots of ideological and racial violence. One of the great myths after 9/11 was that the government didn’t have the tools to go after foreign terrorist violence — they did. But we gave them massively expanded powers leading to widespread surveillance at home, a mushrooming of government informants, the widespread targeting of Muslim organizations, and the policing of new political groups. One of the great myths today is that they don’t have the tools to go after white supremacists — they do. We have all the tools we need to prosecute white supremacist violence. We don’t need material support extended to domestic terrorism; we need it repealed for foreign terrorist organizations. In other words, we shouldn’t level up but level down.

Part of what the use of the term “terrorism” does is grant law enforcement greater leverage, deeper reach into the realm of political ideas and association, and dramatically expanded funds. Ending the material support statute is one element in removing Muslim political identity and religious association from the sphere of criminalization. Curtailing the mass deployment of informants in Muslim communities is another. We must be wary of reforms that say they will address racism through expanding policing and prosecuting powers. Under the guise of safety, they expand surveillance. Under the guise of antiracism, they fuel criminalization. Under the guise of fairness, they expand state scrutiny and law enforcement power. Read more - Lire plus

Security and intelligence incursions in academic research: a threat to all of social science
Discover Society 02/10/2019 - In the US in the late 1960s, state incursions into academia, which had occurred in the context of the Cold War, and in the wake of McCarthyism, faced a concerted push back from academics, students and social movements. The campaign to keep the CIA off campus, which lasted for over a decade, highlighted the relationships the agency had developed with academics via consultancies, scholars-in residence programmes and research contracts. In response to the growing criticisms of its activities, the CIA developed covert relationships, requiring that academics in receipt of funds should not publicly acknowledge their relationship with the agency. Scholars such as Samuel Huntington then produced articles in academic journals such as International Security (as late as 1985), which unbeknown to readers were connected to CIA funding.

Such deceptions are widely regarded as unethical, but it is an open question how extensive they now are. In this article, we examine a contemporary case of state incursion into academia: the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats ( CREST ), based at the University of Lancaster, which is funded by the UK intelligence agencies. This, we argue, raises a number of serious issues around transparency, conflicts of interest and research ethics. Since secrecy legislation is invoked as a condition of the funding, and the intelligence agencies play some role in approving publication, there is an issue in terms of assessing the evidence base being undermined. But there is also a danger of scholars endorsing, legitimating or enhancing coercive and/or deceptive governmental activities. We argue that this would undermine the public responsibilities of scientists and academics since coercion removes choice and volition, while deception manipulates the information environment in which citizens make political judgements. Read more - Lire plus
‘This Is Ethnic Cleansing’: A Dispatch from Kurdish Syria
The New York Review of Books 23/10/2019 - When my mom called to ask me where I was, I lied to her. Sometimes I do not want to worry her, as I’m often reporting on stories from places that aren’t safe. When she said, “Get ready to move,” I realized something was wrong. Qamishli was under attack. “Can’t you hear the shelling?” she screamed. She lives in Rimelan, a city an hour away, but she was here to visit my brother. The Turks were targeting my neighborhood, she said.That was Wednesday afternoon, October 9, the first day of Turkey’s attack on Rojava, Western Kurdistan, as we call it in Kurdish. Qamishli, my city, was one of the few places in northeast Syria that had enjoyed relative peace despite Syria’s eight-year civil war. 

In past years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made constant threats against us, but I never really expected him to make a move. The Americans were here, and they promised they would protect us. So Erdoğan’s bluster seemed meaningless. I was wrong. First, we experienced clashes with the regime forces of Bashar al-Assad, then it was our turn to face the fighters of ISIS, the so-called Islamic State. After the group rose in 2014, ISIS detonated bombs and planned suicide attacks in Qamishli and the towns of northeast Syria. For all that, we never had artillery shelling before. So, when my mother called, I was scared. Everyone was. [...]

In the days since Turkey’s so-called Peace Spring operation started, some 235 civilians have been killed , including twenty-two children, with a further 677 people injured. Approximately 200,000 people have been displaced, the latest refugee crisis of the Syrian civil war, thanks to the American president. And whether Turkey wins or Assad regains control, thousands of ISIS prisoners will have fled. In the past seven years, the Kurds have achieved so much—and not just for the Kurds alone. We built a political system, a grassroots democracy, in which everyone was welcome and no distinction made between a Kurd, an Arab, or a Syriac. We built a revolution in women’s rights that has inspired millions in movements around the world. All that could now be lost. Read more - Lire plus

Hundreds in Turkey Arrested in Crackdown on Critics of Military Offensive in Syria
Amnesty International 01/11/2019 - Hundreds of people have been detained in Turkey for commenting or reporting on Turkey’s recent military offensive in northeast Syria and are facing absurd criminal charges as the government intensifies its crackdown on critical voices, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

We can’t complain ’ reveals how last month’s offensive – Operation Peace Spring – was accompanied by a wave of repression in Turkey which swept up anyone who deviated from the government’s official line. Journalists, social media users and protesters have been accused of “terrorism” and subjected to criminal investigation, arbitrary detention and travel bans. If prosecuted and found guilty, they could face lengthy prison sentences.

“As the tanks rolled across the Syrian border, the government took the opportunity to launch a domestic campaign to eradicate dissenting opinions from media, social media and the streets. Critical discussion on issues of Kurdish rights and politics has become even further off limits,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Marie Struthers.
“Language around the military incursion was heavily policed, and hundreds of people who expressed their dissenting opinions about Turkey’s military operation were rounded up and are facing investigations under anti-terrorism laws.” Read more - Lire plus
New Zealand Labour-led government extends draconian anti-terror laws
WSWS 07/11/2019 - According to law professor Andrew Geddis, under the current Act it would be difficult for the government to prosecute Taylor without evidence that he had committed a terrorist act. “Standing around a fuel dump with an AK-47 isn’t a terrorist act,” he noted. Prosecutors would have to prove he was “enhancing the ability of [ISIS] to carry out a terrorist act… What exactly that means we don’t know, because it’s never been prosecuted in New Zealand,” Geddis told Stuff. The Bill is designed to circumvent such difficulties, while its applications go well beyond Taylor and other “foreign fighters.” It empowers police to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on anyone accused of engaging in purported terrorism-related activities overseas. Police would outline the level of risk a person allegedly poses and the orders they want. No actual trial, with the presentation and testing of evidence, is required.

The wide-ranging restraints include curfews, reporting regularly to a police station, wearing an electronically monitored bracelet, restrictions on mobile phones, internet use and even bank accounts, and limits on who they can see. The orders can be extended if the person is deemed to pose an ongoing risk, and a penalty of up to 12 months’ imprisonment for non-compliance applies. Civil rights lawyer Michael Bott told Radio NZ that the Bill is “over-reaching” and an “over-reaction to a limited problem.” People who have not been convicted of any offence can have draconian orders placed upon them because “of how some person overseas labelled you,” he said. The possibility for “political manipulation,” as occurred with Ahmed Zaoui, an Algerian asylum seeker falsely classified by the NZ security agencies as a high security risk, is very strong. Bott noted that the level of proof required is based on a “balance of probability,” a substantially lower evidential threshold than the “beyond reasonable doubt” provision in criminal law. Hearings would be held in secret and an interim order issued in the person’s absence, without legal representation and on the basis of evidence they have not seen. Bott concluded that the legislation would not make the country safer from terrorism “and is open to abuse.” Like governments in the US, Europe and internationally, the Ardern Labour government is using the pretext of fighting terrorism to enact police-state measures. Read more - Lire plus
Haïti: au moins 42 morts dont 19 tués par la police depuis mi-septembre
JDM 01/11/2019 - Selon les informations recueillies par le Haut-Commissariat de l’ONU aux droits de l’Homme, « les forces de sécurité sont responsables de 19 morts, les autres ayant été tués par des individus armés ou des auteurs (d’attaques) inconnus », a expliqué une porte-parole, Marta Hurtado, au cours d’un point de presse à Genève.
« Au moins 42 personnes sont mortes et 86 ont été blessées lors de l’escalade des tensions depuis le début de la dernière vague de manifestations, le 15 septembre, selon des informations vérifiées par notre bureau », a-t-elle relevé. La grande majorité d’entre elles ont été blessées par balle.

Après avoir analysé plusieurs documents vidéos, Amnesty International a pour sa part interpellé directement le chef de l’État haïtien, car l’unité chargée de sa protection et de celle du Palais national est impliquée dans plusieurs incidents. « Les forces de sécurité sous le commandement du président Jovenel Moïse ont eu recours à une force excessive. Ces faits doivent sans délai faire l’objet d’une enquête approfondie et efficace », a déclaré Erika Guevara-Rosas, directrice du programme Amérique d’Amnesty International.
L’organisation non gouvernementale précise notamment dans son rapport que « des policiers, équipés d’armes semi-automatiques, ont tiré à balles réelles pendant des manifestations, bafouant ainsi le droit international relatif aux droits humains et les normes relatives au recours à la force ». L’usage abusif de grenades lacrymogènes, lancées sur des manifestants pacifiques depuis un véhicule de police en mouvement, et des tirs répétés à bout portant de balles dites à létalité réduite sont aussi condamnés par Amnesty International. Vendredi, un nouveau cas d’homicide qui impliquerait la police nationale haïtienne (PNH) a été pointé. Read more - Lire plus

Aid workers question USAID counter-terror clause in Nigeria
The New Humanitarian 05/11/2019 - Reaching all those in need in conflict-hit northeastern Nigeria has long been a struggle for aid workers. But now – in addition to the hostility of the jihadist insurgents and a Nigerian military suspicious of humanitarian efforts – the US development agency has imposed controversial new restrictions on those who can be helped with the money it provides. USAID, the biggest funder by far in Nigeria, introduced a clause late last year into all its grant contracts with tough new conditions aimed at preventing Boko Haram and the breakaway Islamic State of West Africa Province, or ISWAP, from benefiting from US assistance. In practice, NGO officials say, this means aid agencies receiving USAID money risk falling foul of US anti-terror legislation if they don’t vet those in need and refuse help to all civilians they suspect could have had links with the jihadists.

That, aid workers worry, not only contravenes humanitarian principles, but is also impractical to implement in the field and could potentially put them in harm’s way.
The clause, obtained by TNH, states that all recipient agencies: “must obtain the prior written approval of the USAID Agreement Officer before providing any assistance... to individuals whom the Recipient affirmatively knows to have been formerly affiliated with Boko Haram or [ISWAP], as combatants or non-combatants”. There is no clear guidance on what “formerly affiliated” means. The clause notes that it does not include “civilian populations who only resided in areas that were, at some point in time, controlled by the groups”, but, despite an emailed request, USAID provided The New Humanitarian with no further definition. “Malnourished children come into our feeding centres and we assume among them are some who might be ‘formerly affiliated’,” said an aid worker, who asked for anonymity. “But, before we can treat them, we need to inform the USAID ‘agreement officer’ – I assume in Washington – and wait for feedback?” UNICEF is the only UN agency in Nigeria to have turned down USAID funding based on the new clause. It has made up the financing shortfall from other donors and internal borrowing. “UNICEF programmes are guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and by the humanitarian principles that are essential to the pursuit of its humanitarian mandate,” UNICEF emergency manager Nicki Bennett said in a statement to TNH.

The new language in USAID contracts is seen by objectors as running counter to the principles guiding humanitarian action – that aid should be based on need, and be neutral, impartial, and independent. The United States is the world’s largest humanitarian donor, but its anti-terror legislation is dense, and the scope of what it outlaws under a concept of “material support” extremely broad . For humanitarian organisations, compliance has had a “chilling effect”, effectively limiting their “operational footprint and compelling them to engage in humanitarian action only in areas understood to be safe from legal risk”, notes a new CSIS report authored by Kurtzer. In northeast Nigeria, where more than seven million people are in need of relief after a decade of war, aid workers fear that USAID’s restrictions may be replicated by other donors. “They don’t have that kind of language yet, but they might do,” said one humanitarian official. “If it’s adopted by the Brits and Europeans, then we really are screwed.” Read more - Lire plus

Punished for committing no crime: How the Safe Third Country Agreement violates the Charter rights to equality, liberty and security
Amnesty International 06/11/2019 - Court hearings can be dry, but when we listen to the facts and stories presented over the past two days in the challenge to the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), it is hard not to have an emotional reaction. On the second day of the hearings in Toronto, counsel for the applicants – Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and individual refugee claimants – continued to present their legal arguments and reviewed how the STCA violates equality rights under section 15 of the Canadian Charter, and the rights to liberty and security of the person under section 7. As a party to the United Nations Refugee Convention, Canada has an obligation to not return refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be in danger. Under the STCA framework, Canada can designate a country as ‘safe’ for refugees if that country is fulfilling its international law obligations under the Refugee Convention and has an acceptable human rights record. The applicants have demonstrated that the US is no longer living up to its international obligations, and that returning refugee claimants to the US violates the Charter.

In particular, the section 15 equality rights of women who are returned under the STCA are disproportionately impacted by US policies. In the applicants’ submissions, counsel Leigh Salsberg asked the hard-hitting question: are refugee women fleeing gender-based violence in their own homes unworthy of Canada’s protection? Under the current US legal framework, women are effectively prevented from making refugee claims based on a fear of gender-based violence – a ground which has long been recognized in both Canadian and international jurisprudence. Because of this, victims of gender-based violence who are returned to the US are disproportionately impacted by the STCA and face a greater risk of being returned to the very countries they are fleeing. Meanwhile, Canada is naively waiting for the US system to self-correct itself, despite requirements under international law to keep these refugee claimants safe. Woven through the Charter arguments were the human stories at the heart of this case:
  • The mother of two from El-Salvador who, upon fleeing gender-based violence at the hands of the M-13 gang in El-Salvador, discovered her claim would not likely succeed in the US, only to then be turned back when she looked to Canada for protection;
  • The refugee claimant returned to the US under the STCA who was detained for 20 months while he waited a decision on his claim, only to be forcibly returned to his county where he experienced serious violence;
  • Or the young woman who was prevented from making a refugee claim in Canada and detained in the US for 51 days in a glass room where she was forced to sleep with the lights on and use the toilet with no privacy. 

As these stories – and those of many others – show, the current legal framework punishes refugee claimants for doing something all individuals have a right to do under international law: seek protection against persecution. They have committed no crime in asking for Canada’s protection. And yet, for those who are returned to the US under the STCA after attempting to make refugee claims in Canada, automatic detention is the rule and not the exception. For the many reasons stressed by the applicants, the detention of STCA returnees in the US engages the rights to liberty and security of the person under section 7 of the Charter. As counsel Andrew Brouwer emphasized, “it is incredibly difficult to make an asylum claim from a jail cell,” particularly when access to legal support and interpretation services are limited. On top of this, the detention conditions faced by STCA returnees are shameful. Treated like prisoners, those detained face inadequate access to health and mental care, high rates of sexual assaults and physical violence, inadequate supplies of food and water and several have spent time in solitary confinement. The psychological and physical impacts of these conditions are completely out of sync with international human rights standards and the Canadian Charter. Over the last couple days, counsel for the applicants have skillfully delivered arguments and shared stories that demonstrate how calling the US a ‘safe’ country for refugees is nothing more than a fiction. Read more - Lire plus

Your DNA Profile is Private? A Florida Judge Just Said Otherwise
The New York Times 05/11/2019 - For police officers around the country, the genetic profiles that 20 million people have uploaded to consumer DNA sites represent a tantalizing resource that could be used to solve cases both new and cold. But for years, the vast majority of the data have been off limits to investigators. The two largest sites, and 23andMe, have long pledged to keep their users’ genetic information private, and a smaller one, GEDmatch, severely restricted police access to its records this year. Last week, however, a Florida detective announced at a police convention that he had obtained a warrant to penetrate GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users. Legal experts said that this appeared to be the first time a judge had approved such a warrant, and that the development could have profound implications for genetic privacy.

“That’s a huge game-changer,” said Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University. “The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that’s been overridden by a court. It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe.” DNA policy experts said the development was likely to encourage other agencies to request similar search warrants from 23andMe, which has 10 million users, and, which has 15 million. If that comes to pass, the Florida judge’s decision will affect not only the users of these sites but  huge swaths of the population , including those who have never taken a DNA test. That’s because this emerging forensic technique makes it possible to identify a DNA profile even through distant family relationships. Read more - Lire plus
New report shows 100+ members of civil society targeted as NSO Group continues to evade scrutiny
AccessNow 29/10/2019 - In May this year, we published an article detailing a WhatsApp breach where the secure messaging app was found to be vulnerable to a specific type of attack by malicious actors. Today, on the back of a lengthy investigation by WhatsApp and our friends at Citizen Lab, we are finally learning more about who the targets of those attacks were and how they were carried out. The joint investigation revealed that a total of 1400+ individuals were targeted, out of whom over 100 have already been identified as members of civil society (human rights defenders, activists, journalists). According to Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, all those affected by this security breach are being contacted by WhatsApp and referred to a website with instructions on how to proceed.

The investigation found evidence to attribute the attack to NSO Group, a known peddler of spyware to governments around the globe. We, together with several other NGOs, wrote several times to Novalpina, which recently acquired a stake in NSO Group, regarding the lack of human rights protections and safeguards for NSO products.
Despite promises of “robust transparency,” Novalpina has not adequately addressed the threats we outlined, nor answered our questions on its exports from E.U. countries, although as a result the company has come out with a human rights policy and now claims that NSO Group is “in line” with best practices under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights . Needless to say, the targets of spyware attacks and those studying how these attacks were enabled and carried out would argue that NSO Group is not in line with these guiding principles. U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye has issued detailed questions to NSO Group on its new policy and implementation, but to date the company has not responded.

As the cyber-surveillance industry continues to thrive, there remain few protections and safeguards put in place to ensure that fundamental human rights do not suffer as a result. This alarming trend led Special Rapporteur Kaye to call for a moratorium on the transfer, sale, and use of surveillance technology until “rigorous human rights safeguards are put in place to regulate such practices and guarantee that Governments and non-State actors use the tools in legitimate ways.” We support this call, which aligns with our recommendation for a “ presumptive prohibition on all government hacking ” in our 2016 paper, A Human Rights Response to Government Hacking , as well as the U.N. General Assembly’s consensus resolution in fall of 2018, “recognizing States should refrain from employing unlawful or arbitrary surveillance techniques, which may include forms of hacking.” The impact that surveillance technology has had on people in marginalized and vulnerable communities demonstrates why comprehensive, systemic regulation of this industry is necessary. Export controls are one of the instruments that democratic countries can leverage to control, and, when necessary, stifle the trade of certain categories of spyware. While we are still waiting for a new E.U.-wide framework to be implemented, we continue to be concerned by the reports that NSO Group/Novalpina have been issued licenses by trade authorities in Bulgaria and Cyprus. Read more - Lire more

Extinction Rebellion: High Court rules London protest ban unlawful
BBC 06/11/2019 - A police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London last month was unlawful, High Court judges have ruled. The Metropolitan Police imposed the ban, which prevented two or more people from the group taking part in protests, under the Public Order Act. But judges have ruled that police had no power to do this because the law did not cover "separate assemblies". Activists say the police could now face claims for false imprisonment from "potentially hundreds" of protesters. The Met said it would "carefully consider" the ruling. The protests cost £24m to police and led to 1,828 arrests, with 165 people charged with offences, the Met says. During the court hearing, the force had argued that the ban was the only way to tackle widespread disruption.

Announcing their judgement , however, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Chamberlain ruled in favour of Extinction Rebellion. Lord Justice Dingemans said: "Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if co-ordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of... the Act. "The XR [Extinction Rebellion] autumn uprising intended to be held from October 14 to 19 was not therefore a public assembly... therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under... the Act." During 10 days of climate change protests last month, activists shut down areas around Parliament and the Bank of England, and targeted London City Airport.

Police had previously warned protesters to keep demonstrations in Trafalgar Square, or risk arrest - before issuing a city-wide ban on 14 October, under Section 14 of the Public Order Act. The court was told that the ban was issued on the same day as a message posted online by London activists. It told protesters to adopt the "be water" tactics used by demonstrators in Hong Kong. "Be water, crowds split up into fast moving groups and pairs, that network via phones," it said. "You gather at particular spots in large numbers, until the police response building then you move to a new disruptive site." The ban was lifted four days later, with officers saying that it was no longer necessary because demonstrations had ended. Read more - Lire plus
Canada’s access to information and privacy guardians urge governments to modernize legislation to better protect Canadians
OPC 06/11/2019 - In a joint resolution , Canada’s access to information and privacy guardians note that along with its many benefits, the rapid advancement of technologies has had an impact on fundamental democratic principles and human rights, including access to information and privacy. They further point out that Canadians have growing concerns about the use and exploitation of their personal information by both government and private businesses. “Most Canadian access and privacy laws have not been fundamentally changed since their passage, some more than 35 years ago,” the resolution says. “They have sadly fallen behind the laws of many other countries in the level of privacy protection provided to citizens.”

While there have been legislative advances made in some Canadian jurisdictions, work is still required to ensure modern legislation is in place across the country in order to better protect Canadians. The resolution notes that privacy and access to information are fundamental to self-determination, democracy and good government. It calls for:
  • a legislative framework to ensure the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies
  • all public and private sector entities engaged in handling personal information to be subject to privacy laws
  • Enforcement powers, such as legislating order-making powers and the power to impose penalties, fines or sanctions
  • the right of access should apply to all information held by public entities, regardless of format
Canada’s Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate, make recommendations to government, and to continue to study and make public how access and privacy laws impact all Canadians. 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!

Send a letter opposing cameras in the ByWard Market
Send a letter in support of CAMS Ottawa's response to Mayor Watson. While we share concerns about ongoing violence in the Market, installing surveillance cameras is not an appropriate solution. The very premise that CCTV can deter violent crime is highly doubtful. Video surveillance also raise significant concerns regarding the treatment of marginalized members of our community. We urge you to take the above problems and the following evidence into consideration and reconsider implementing such an ineffective, costly, and intrusive system.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

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

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

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

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

And send a message to Chrystia Freeland demanding that Canada actively support an independent and unrestricted international fact-finding initiative to Xinjiang.
Free Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed is an award winning human rights defender and blogger. The UAE has said Ahmed had been arrested for using his social media accounts to “publish false information that damages the country’s reputation” and to “spread hatred and sectarianism”. Right now, Ahmed is being held in solitary confinement and has not had access to a lawyer, an d he is on hunger strike. Act now and demand that the UAE release Ahmed immediately and unconditionally. TWITTER ACTION
All-in-one action page: Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
Call PM Trudeau, write a letter to Public Safety Minister & your MP, and sign Sophie Harkat's petition to stop the deportation of Moe Harkat.

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

No one should be deported to torture. Ever.
OPP must be held accountable for violent repression of land defenders
The terrifying incident happened in April 2008 during a land occupation and road blockades by members of Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation, near Belleville, Ontario. Although the road blockades involved only a small number of community members – none of whom were armed -- the Ontario Provincial Police sent more than 200 officers, including the Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), tasked with responding to “the most serious threats to peace and order”. The UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to launch a thorough and impartial review to ensure accountability.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.

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

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

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

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!