International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
6 décembre 2019
Podcast: Time to reform Canada's unjust Extradition Act
Red Eye 13/11/2019 - Canadian academic Hassan Diab was extradited to France five years ago on the basis of unreliable, unsourced intelligence. He spent three years in a French jail before he was finally released and returned home to Canada. Hassan Diab and his supporters are calling for a full public inquiry to find out what went wrong in his case. They also want to see significant changes to Canada’s Extradition Act to make sure that this doesn’t happen to another Canadian. We speak with Bessa Whitmore from the Hassan Diab Support Committee. [Update: David Lametti was re-appointed as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.] Read more - Lire plus

Experts dispute Canada’s claim of no link between Saudi arms sales and human rights abuses
Global News 22/11/2019 - Canada claims it has found no evidence linking its military exports to human rights violations committed by Saudi Arabia , even after video and photos of Canadian military goods have appeared amid the Yemen conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels. “There is no substantial risk that current Canadian exports of military equipment or other controlled items to KSA would result in any of the negative consequences,” reads a memo from Global Affairs addressed to former foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland .

Footage of Canadian-made light armoured vehicles (LAVs) has been captured over the last few years, as Saudi forces and Houthi rebels battle along the Saudi-Yemen border. Last September, video from Houthi-run Al Masirah TV and Al Jazeera showed what appeared to be Canadian-made LAVs. Two independent military experts confirmed the images are Canadian-made combat vehicles. Arms control advocate Cesar Jaramillo said there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to show Canadian military exports are appearing in areas of the Kingdom and in Yemen, where human rights violations are occurring.
“It’s an exercise in willfull blindness,” said Jaramillo, executive director of Project Ploughshares.

The Trudeau government has faced sharped criticism over its continued support of the Saudi deal, as the country has a lengthy history of human rights violations that include unlawful killings, forced renditions, forced disappearances, and torture of detainees by government agents. The memo also acknowledged that the Kingdom has been accused of “gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law due to its role leading a military coalition in Yemen.” The conflict in Yemen has seen thousands of civilians killed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and more than 24 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Read more - Lire plus

What's up with this mystery plane circling Stittsville?
CBC 22/11/2019 - An RCMP spy plane that last drew attention when it was detected circling over Kingston, Ont., during an anti-terrorism investigation has been spotted again, this time over rural Ottawa. On Wednesday, an amateur plane spotter using specialized software picked up C-GMPB flying over an area centred somewhere near Flewellyn Road and Black's Side Road, just outside Stittsville. [...] A screen grab showing the RCMP plane's flight path over the course of about one hour of a six-hour flight Wednesday reveals some interesting information. The aircraft's serial number, C065E0, is well-known among plane spotters.

The RCMP love the $6-million Pilatus PC-12, which costs about $2,400 per hour to fly. The Mounties have 12 of the Swiss-made planes in hangars across the country, using them to ferry prisoners, witnesses and evidence, and to transport officers to remote detachments. They're also used for surveillance work. C-GMPB is a "Spectre" model, which Pilatus describes as a "special mission" aircraft equipped with an electro-optical turret capable of capturing high-resolution video and photos, as well as intercepting radio and cellular communication. The manufacturer says the plane is capable of providing hours of surveillance "at distances undetectable by subjects on the ground." But earlier this year, when C-GMPB circled at several thousand feet above the Kingston home of a suspected terrorist, plenty of people detected it. Social media soon filled with the complaints from residents annoyed by the spy plane's incessant droning. Now, people in Ottawa are taking notice of C-GMPB. On a Facebook group for Barrhaven residents Wednesday, Dana Courdin asked: "Anyone else keep hearing that plane circling Barrhaven?" The RCMP claims to have no information about the flight. Read more - Lire plus
Activist says RCMP profile about her is ‘kind of creepy and unsettling’
The Toronto Star 30/11/2019 - An activist concerned about mining-industry abuses found it “kind of creepy and unsettling” to recently learn the RCMP compiled a six-page profile of her shortly after she turned up at a federal leaders debate during the 2015 election campaign.

An analyst with the RCMP’s Tactical Internet Intelligence Unit combed through online sources about Rachel Small to assemble the report detailing her age, address, education, language fluency, work experience and Facebook friends in the activist community, newly released documents show. The analyst ultimately found no indication that Small, a Toronto organizer with the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, “is involved in criminal acts.” Small was unaware of the profile until The Canadian Press provided her a copy released in August by the RCMP through the Access to Information Act. It turns out an associate of Small’s had submitted the request for records on the mining group, but for some reason never received the response.

The RCMP release, which also includes email messages, provides a glimpse into how the police force has made the careful monitoring of social media part of its work. “I found it kind of creepy and unsettling because of the way that they were compiling information about my life,” Small said in an interview. “It makes me wonder, what were they hoping to do with this information? And why is the RCMP spending so much time and resources to compile information on community organizers and activists in Toronto? “I have no way of knowing what else they’ve dug into, and it’s hard to not feel like your privacy has been invaded.” Read more - Lire plus

Keystone XL: police discussed stopping anti-pipeline activists 'by any means'
The Guardian 25/11/2019 - US law enforcement officials preparing for fresh Keystone XL pipeline protests have privately discussed tactics to stop activists “by any means” and have labeled demonstrators potential “domestic terrorism” threats, records reveal.
Internal government documents seen by the Guardian show that police and local authorities in Montana and the surrounding region have been preparing a coordinated response in the event of a new wave of protests opposing the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada to Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Civil rights organizations say the documents raise concerns that law enforcement is preparing to launch an even more brutal and aggressive response than the police tactics utilized during the 2016 Standing Rock movement, which drew thousands of indigenous and environmental activists opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) to North Dakota.

At Standing Rock, law enforcement organized repeated rounds of mass arrests and filed a wide array of serious charges in local and federal courts against activists. Police also deployed water cannons, teargas grenades, bean bag rounds and other weapons, causing serious injuries to protesters . The documents are mostly emails from 2017 and 2018 between local and federal authorities discussing possible Keystone protests. They show that police officials are anticipating construction will spark a sustained resistance campaign akin to the one at Standing Rock and that police are considering closing public lands near the pipeline project. The new records have come to light as the Keystone pipeline project has overcome numerous legal hurdles with help from the Trump administration, and as the project’s owner, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), is moving forward with initial construction efforts.

Among the major revelations in the documents:
  • Officials at a 2017 law enforcement briefing on potential Keystone XL protests said one key tactic would be to “initially deny access to the property by protestors and keep them as far away [from] the contested locations as possible by any means”, according to an email summary from a US army corps of engineers security manager in Nebraska in July 2017.
  • Officials with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said in 2017 that the bureau had 10 armed officers in Montana and was prepared to “work with local [law enforcement] to deny access to federal property”. In 2018, army corps officials were also in discussions with the Montana disaster and emergency services department to discuss ways to “close access” to lands near the pipeline route, including areas typically open for hunting and other activities.
  • A “joint terrorism task force” involving the US attorney’s office and other agencies, along with federal “counterterrorism” officials, said it was prepared to assist in the response to protests and a “critical incident response team” would be available for “domestic terrorism or threats to critical infrastructure”. Authorities have also pre-emptively discussed specific potential felony charges that protesters could face, noting that a “civil disorder” statute was used to prosecute activists at Standing Rock.
  • Authorities have been preparing for possible protests in the Fort Peck area, home to a Native American reservation and indigenous people opposing the project.

“There is a lot of muscle behind this effort to make sure that Keystone is constructed,” said Alex Rate, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, which obtained the documents through records act requests and shared them with the Guardian. “There are historically marginalized communities, primarily indigenous folks, who have grave concerns about the impact of this pipeline on their sovereignty, their resources, their religion and culture. They have a first amendment right to assemble and make their viewpoints heard.” Remi Bald Eagle, intergovernmental affairs coordinator of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, which is located along the pipeline route, said the police buildup was part of a long history of armed subjugation of native people in the region. “This is an experience of the tide of Manifest Destiny still coming at us,” Bald Eagle said, referring to the 19th-century belief that US settlers had the right to expand across the continent. The files follow repeated revelations that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have investigated environmental groups and leftwing activists as possible “ terrorists ”. Read more - Lire plus
These journalists have confounded China’s massive propaganda machine
The Washington Post 01/12/2019 - To punish  Gulchehra Hoja,  a Washington-based journalist for Radio Free Asia, and to stifle her reporting, China’s rulers have imprisoned her brother, harassed her parents and threatened many other relatives back home in Xinjiang, China. The punishment is keen. But no stifling has taken place. “Every time they threaten us, we are more proud of you,” Hoja’s mother, who is 72, told her daughter during one of their infrequent phone calls. “Keep doing your work.” And so she has.

Perhaps the greatest crime against humanity of our young century is unfolding in northwestern China. If it were not for Hoja and her 11 colleagues, we might not know it was taking place. Yes, you read that right: A dozen reporters and editors working for Radio Free Asia’s  Uyghur Service , reporting on events taking place halfway around the world, have confounded the massive propaganda machine of the Communist Party of China. They uncovered the massive but secret incarceration of innocent Uighur men, women and children in a gulag of concentration camps — camps that China at first said did not exist and then insisted were benign vocational training centers.

The RFA reporters disclosed terrible living conditions in orphanages where suddenly parentless children have been sent. They chronicled roundups of eminent poets, clerics and intellectuals. They have begun to report — always carefully, always with two sources or more, never sensationally — on mass deaths in the camps. Their reports, greeted with some skepticism when they first appeared in 2017, over time have been confirmed by satellite photography, foreign academics, other journalists and, most recently, an extraordinary leak of documents from the Communist Party itself. It is now accepted that more than 1 million and perhaps as many as 3 million Uighurs have been confined, and that thousands of mosques and other sacred spaces have been destroyed.

At every step, Chinese officials have sought to stymie the RFA reporting. When the journalists began reporting on the mass detentions, the Communist Party began threatening and then rounding up their relatives. A half-dozen RFA journalists, Uighurs living in unsought exile, have spoken publicly about family members back home — often dozens of them — being taken away, with explicit references to the journalists’ work. When hostage-taking did not deter the journalists, China began screening and blocking calls from the United States to Xinjiang, where the crimes are taking place. And when reporters found a way around that, China began employing artificial intelligence and voice recognition. Now, says reporter Shohret Hoshur, he can still call police desk sergeants and other potential sources — but his calls cut off after one minute.

No matter. It was Hoshur’s  Oct. 29 story  that confirmed the deaths of 150 people over the course of six months at the No. 1 Internment Camp in the Yengisher district of Kuchar county, “marking the first confirmation of mass deaths since the camps were introduced in 2017,” as the story notes. It was Hoja’s  Oct. 30 story  that disclosed a camp survivor’s account of forced sterilizations, sexual abuse and other torture in the camps. It was RFA reporters who disclosed intrusive surveillance, cameras installed even in homes, Uighur women forced to accept male Han Chinese “guests” in their homes and even in their beds, and efforts to make Uighurs eat pork and drink alcohol, in violation of their faith.

All of this, we now know from documents obtained by the  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists , is in service to a campaign instigated by President Xi Jinping. The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim, ethnic Turkic people who have lived in Central Asia — in what is now the Xinjiang region of China — for more than 1,000 years. On the pretext of suppressing Islamist extremism, China is trying to eradicate their culture and religion — their identity as a people. Read more - Lire plus

Former B.C. politician claims Chinese accused him of 'endangering national security'
CBC 29/11/2019 - A former deputy speaker of the B.C. government claims Chinese authorities accused him of "endangering national security" before ordering him out of the country in 2015 after detaining him for eight hours at a Shanghai airport. Richard Lee served as a Liberal MLA from 2001 until 2017 and was also parliamentary secretary for the Asia-Pacific in the previous Liberal provincial government.

In a letter first sent to former foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland he claimed he was isolated and questioned by Chinese authorities, who also examined his B.C. government phone. The alleged incident occurred at the start of what was supposed to be a 30th wedding anniversary trip. Lee claims he didn't go public at the time for fear of damaging relations between Canada and China but felt compelled to reveal it in the wake of tensions arising from the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in 2018. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office sent Lee a letter this week assuring him his "comments have been carefully reviewed" and sent to Freeland's successor, Francois-Phillipe Champagne.

Lee — a proponent of increased trade with China — told the CBC he was puzzled as to why the Chinese might see him as a threat, but noted that he has repeatedly honoured the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. "They said, 'You know what you did. You know what you have done is considered endangering national security,'" Lee told the CBC. "At that point, I said, 'How can I endanger security?' They said, 'You know what you did.'" [...] He said he was detained immediately after stepping off the plane and kept apart from his wife for eight hours. He was then ordered to return to Vancouver immediately. "'Endangering national security' in China is at times a vague accusation with some administrative arbitrariness to people with different opinions on Chinese government policies, including human rights activists and dissidents," Lee wrote in his letter to Freeland and Lu. Read more - Lire plus

HudBay Operations in Peru and Guatemala: Violence and Repression Found to Result from Mining Company Contracts with State Security Forces
Mining Watch Canada 28/11/2019 - Today, the Peruvian organization  Human Rights Without Borders-Cusco  (DHSF, from its initials in Spanish) presented the findings of its report “Mining Impacts Invisibilized: A view from the ground on HudBay’s Constancia Project” in Santo Tomás, Chumbivilcas province, where the Constancia mine is located. 

At the same time, HudBay Minerals’ responsibility in the 2007 rape of eleven Maya Q’eqchi women as a result of a paid relationship between the company and Guatemalan military and police was at the centre of a hearing in an Ontario courtroom  just a few weeks ago . DHSF’s report documents on the Constancia open pit copper mine demonstrates that the use of public force has been privatized through the company's agreement with the police force, wherein 20 police officers are assigned to provide protection, surveillance, security, and custody within the facilities and the ‘area of ​​influence’ of the project. The privatization of police forces for mining purposes was found to result in greater social conflict, greater social and territorial control, and the criminalization of protest and international solidarity to facilitate the operations of the mining company. [...]

As in Guatemala, there are serious concerns over security and freedom of association among residents in Peru, as well as concerns about collusion between public authorities, state security forces, and the company. In Peru, mining companies are allowed to sign security contracts directly with the Peruvian National Police (PNP). A 2019 report by EarthRights International, the Institute for Legal Defence, and Peru’s National Human Rights Coordinator, found that these contracts “compromise the impartiality and independence of the PNP to favour the rights of extractive companies over indigenous peoples and communities,” and that their existence “creates a hostile scenario that puts human rights, territorial and environmental defenders at risk.” A recent  article  by the Institute for Political Studies argues that the law that allows the privatization of police services is “just one example of how the law has been turned against Indigenous peoples and mining-affected communities in Peru and elsewhere, making fighting mega-projects an ever more dangerous vocation.”

The DHSF report notes that HudBay’s a contract with the police provides the context in which tensions between communities and the company are constantly managed, manipulated, controlled and repressed, either explicitly through criminalization and repression, or implicitly through “community relations” of the company that strengthen the surveillance, stigmatization, and delegitimization of local opposition, human rights organizations and defenders, while creating public relations “distractions”. Such is the case with the continuous criminalization of leaders and human rights defenders around the Constancia mine. According to the report, the conflicts around the company's activities in Chamaca in 2013 resulted in 4 leaders facing ongoing legal proceedings, and in 2016, in Velille, 6 leaders were charged with property damage for their role in protests. Read more - Lire plus
What the C.I.A.’s Torture Program Looked Like to the Tortured
The New York Times 04/12/2019 - Drawings done in captivity by the first prisoner known to undergo “enhanced interrogation” portray his account of what happened to him in vivid and disturbing ways. Content warning for depiction of torture techniques.

One shows the prisoner nude and strapped to a crude gurney, his entire body clenched as he is waterboarded by an unseen interrogator. Another shows him with his wrists cuffed to bars so high above his head he is forced on to his tiptoes, with a long wound stitched on his left leg and a howl emerging from his open mouth. Yet another depicts a captor smacking his head against a wall. They are sketches drawn in captivity by the Guantánamo Bay prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah, self-portraits of the torture he was subjected to during the four years he was held in secret prisons by the C.I.A. Published here for the first time, they are gritty and highly personal depictions that put flesh, bones and emotion on what until now had sometimes been portrayed in popular culture in sanitized or inaccurate ways: the so-called enhanced interrogations techniques used by the United States in secret overseas prisons during a feverish pursuit of Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In each illustration, Mr. Zubaydah — the first person to be subject to the interrogation program approved by President George W. Bush’s administration — portrays the particular techniques as he says they were used on him at a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in August 2002. They demonstrate how, more than a decade after the Obama administration outlawed the program — and then went on to partly declassify a Senate study that found the C.I.A. lied about both its effectiveness and its brutality — the final chapter of the black sites has yet to be written. Mr. Zubaydah, 48, drew them this year at Guantánamo for inclusion in a 61-page report, “ How America Tortures ,” by his lawyer, Mark P. Denbeaux, a professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, and some of Mr. Denbeaux’s students. The report uses firsthand accounts, internal Bush administration memos, prisoners’ memories and the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report to analyze the interrogation program. The program was initially set up for Mr. Zubaydah, who was mistakenly believed to be a top Qaeda lieutenant.

He was captured in a gun battle in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in March 2002, gravely injured, including a bad wound to his left thigh, and was sent to the C.I.A.’s overseas prison network. After an internal debate over whether Mr. Zubaydah was forthcoming to F.BI. interrogators, the agency hired two C.I.A. contract psychologists to create the now-outlawed program that would use violence, isolation and sleep deprivation on more than 100 men in secret sites, some described as dungeons, staffed by secret guards and medical officers. Descriptions of the methods began leaking out more than a decade ago, occasionally in wrenching detail but sometimes with little more than stick-figure depictions of what prisoners went through. But these newly released drawings depict specific C.I.A. techniques that were approved, described and categorized in memos prepared in 2002 by the Bush administration, and capture the perspective of the person being tortured, Mr. Zubaydah, a Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn. He was the first person known to be waterboarded by the C.I.A. — he endured it 83 times — and was the first person known to be crammed into a small confinement box as part of what the Seton Hall study called “a constantly rotating barrage” of methods meant to break what interrogators believed was his resistance. Read more - Lire plus

Donald Trump Keeps Navy SEALs Above the Law
The Intercept 05/12/2019 - Rear Admiral Collin Green had a problem. Green, a Navy SEAL and commander of Naval Special Warfare, knew that his community — 3,000 active duty SEALs, their families, and the several thousand former and retired SEALs who make up their elite military tribe — was locked in a culture war over one notorious SEAL. What could he do about Eddie Gallagher? Gallagher, a sniper and medic, had stabbed an injured and unarmed ISIS detainee who may have been as young as 14 during a deployment in Mosul, Iraq, in 2017. The case had made headlines internationally, and Gallagher had won prominent support from President Donald Trump and Fox News.

During Gallagher’s court martial, witness testimony and evidence made clear that the veteran SEAL, who had eight combat deployments and was the chief of his platoon, had gone to Iraq hoping to get a “knife kill.” The only dispute during the military trial was whether Gallagher’s stabbing killed the detainee, who was already suffering from internal injuries from a U.S. military rocket attack when he sustained the knife wound. In July, Gallagher was acquitted of murder, convicted of posing with the ISIS fighter’s corpse, and sentenced to a reduction in rank and time served. Trump congratulated him on Twitter. After the verdict, senior Navy officials demanded that Green clean up the SEAL command, which had been getting bad press for the Gallagher case as well as a string of criminal allegations against other deployed SEALs, including murder, drug use, and sexual assault. An entire SEAL platoon was sent home from a deployment in Iraq for heavy drinking.

So Green issued a letter and a directive to all Navy SEALs this summer. “We have a problem,” he wrote, adding that a “portion” of SEALs were “ethically misaligned.” With that, Green took the first step to correcting a problem that had been building for years: He publicly acknowledged it. No admiral before him had had the courage to do so.
The sordid tale of Trump’s repeated Twitter interventions on Gallagher’s behalf is both an affront to the rule of law and tragically ironic. The firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer last month over the SEAL command’s efforts to pull Gallagher’s Trident pin, the symbol of the SEALs, may be the final chapter in the “ Free Eddie ” saga. But the Pentagon, Congress, and the American public are now catching on to the fact that the Navy SEALs’ most closely guarded secrets are not their clandestine missions and classified gear but the leadership failures and cover-ups that are endemic to their organization.

Over the last 20 years, the SEALs have moved further from accountability as a result of their battlefield exploits, which have been publicized and lionized by three successive presidents. There was no single moment when the community was cast adrift, but rather a steady string of incidents during deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. SEAL units, and especially SEAL Team 6, became the war on terror’s entire strategy instead of being deployed as an elite unit in rare and specialized cases. Especially in the aftermath of the 2011 SEAL Team 6 mission in which Osama bin Laden was killed, the men who did the killing became the shiny object civilian leaders flashed to distract us from the government’s lack of any strategy beyond waging more war and killing more people. This was not inevitable. At the risk of oversimplifying a dynamic problem affecting a highly skilled force, the SEAL crisis breaks down into three components: leadership failure, an endless war, and the drive by both previous SEAL admirals and retired operators to profit from the SEAL brand, which has become a highly sought-after financial and cultural commodity. Read more - Lire plus
Homeland Security will soon have biometric data on nearly 260 million people
Quartz 07 /11/2019 - The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to have face, fingerprint, and iris scans of at least 259 million people in its biometrics database by 2022, according to a recent presentation from the agency’s Office of Procurement Operations reviewed by Quartz. That’s about 40 million more than the agency’s 2017 projections , which estimated 220 million unique identities by 2022, according to previous figures cited by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based privacy rights nonprofit.

A slide deck, shared with attendees at an Oct. 30 DHS industry day, includes a breakdown of what its systems currently contain, as well as an estimate of what the next few years will bring. The agency is transitioning from a legacy system called IDENT to a cloud-based system (hosted by Amazon Web Services) known as Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology, or HART. The biometrics collection maintained by DHS is the world’s second-largest , behind only India’s countrywide biometric ID network in size. The traveler data kept by DHS is shared with other US agencies, state and local law enforcement, as well as foreign governments.

A slide deck, shared with attendees at an Oct. 30 DHS industry day, includes a breakdown of what its systems currently contain, as well as an estimate of what the next few years will bring. The agency is transitioning from a legacy system called IDENT to a cloud-based system (hosted by Amazon Web Services) known as Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology, or HART. The biometrics collection maintained by DHS is the world’s second-largest , behind only India’s countrywide biometric ID network in size. The traveler data kept by DHS is shared with other US agencies, state and local law enforcement, as well as foreign governments.

Biometrics “make it possible to confirm the identity of travelers at any point in their travel,” Kevin McAleenan, US president Donald Trump’s recently-departed acting DHS secretary, told congress last year. The criteria used by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, a division of DHS, to screen out specific travelers as suspicious is top secret, but was determined in conjunction with Palantir , the Silicon Valley data-mining firm co-founded by controversial billionaire and ardent Trump supporter Peter Thiel. The EFF said it believes CBP could be tracking travelers “from the moment they begin their internet travel research.” As the group has noted, DHS says “the only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling.” Read more - Lire plus
Balancing act: Anti-terror efforts and humanitarian principles
The New Humanitarian 26/11/2019 - The unintended consequences of counter-terrorism legislation are increasingly hitting humanitarian workers: blocked aid to civilians, muddied international law, and donor governments pushed to  impose near-impossible conditions on NGOs . All of which, aid agencies note, makes neutrality more difficult and can criminalise legitimate aid work. "The whole idea of independent, neutral, and impartial humanitarian action has been hugely jeopardised," Jelena Pejic, senior legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told the audience at a panel discussion last month on counter-terrorism laws and the criminalisation of humanitarian action. The Red Cross movement began in 1863 to overcome the “barbarity” of denying people medical help but, with counter-terrorism measures blocking some such assistance, we’ve “slipped back into a situation where that is now more and more acceptable again”, she said.

In conversation with The New Humanitarian’s senior editor Ben Parker, panelists at the event  – part of the annual  Humanitarian Congress  gathering in Berlin – discussed how to balance humanitarian principles and increasingly strict counter-terrorism law. Noting the reach and impact of counter-terror measures, they explained the law and politics around defining terrorist groups, and offered definitions of the key term “material support”. Médecins Sans Frontières strategic adviser Sandrine Tiller pointed to parts of Nigeria where she said the government’s stance means her organisation’s impartiality and medical ethics are compromised and its staff put at risk of criminal accusations. Counter-terror law can lead to the “criminalisation” of adults and children in Syria linked to a terrorist enterprise, Tiller said. “It’s having quite a deep effect on our mission… on the whole humanitarian idea.”

Elisabeth Decrey Warner, founder of  Geneva Call , a humanitarian NGO that regularly deals with armed groups, said the “terrorist” label is politicised. She insisted that civilians should get medical and other humanitarian help, regardless of which group controls their area. “This is the basic starting point: they all have the same rights,” she said. Humanitarian advocates have won some battles. A draft British law was revised to exempt humanitarian aid from a new offence of visiting certain proscribed areas, while Norwegian Refugee Council’s humanitarian policy adviser Emma O’Leary said lobbying is underway on  a similar law in the Netherlands . Another “small movement in the right direction”, Pejic added, is recent  UN Security Council Resolution 2462 , which urges states to consider the impact on impartial humanitarian actors when assessing any legislation to control financing for terrorism. Even when humanitarian workers win special waivers under terrorism legislation, the problem of defining which organisations qualify as bona fide “humanitarian” groups still exists. Smaller organisations and local groups may find it difficult to benefit from the protections their larger, international counterparts – better known by donor governments – automatically receive. Highlights of the discussion, edited for length and clarity, are below. Read more - Lire plus

Egypt: State Security prosecution operating as a ‘sinister tool of repression’
Amnesty International 27/11/2019 - A new report published by Amnesty International exposes how Egypt’s Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) is routinely misusing counter-terror legislation to prosecute thousands of peaceful critics and suspend guarantees to fair trial. The report, Permanent State of Exceptio n, reveals how the SSSP, a special branch of the Public Prosecution responsible for investigating national security threats, is complicit in enforced disappearances, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture and other ill-treatment. It has detained thousands of people for prolonged periods on spurious grounds and rampantly violated detainees’ fair trial rights.

“In Egypt today, the Supreme State Security Prosecution has stretched the definition of ‘terrorism’ to encompass peaceful protests, social media posts and legitimate political activities, resulting in peaceful government critics being treated as enemies of the state. The SSSP has become a central tool of repression whose primary goal appears to be arbitrarily detaining and intimidating critics, all in the name of counter-terrorism,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. “Many of those prosecuted by the SSSP were detained for peacefully expressing their opinions or defending human rights and should never have been arrested in the first place.” Read more - Lire plus
Critical Turkey economist detained by anti-terrorism police
Ahval 02 /12/2019 - A Turkish economist critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s policies was detained by anti-terrorism police in Istanbul and accused of inciting division and hatred. Evrim Devrim Zelyut, chief strategist of Avrasya Investment, said police had arrived at his house early on Monday and taken him away for questioning. He was later released. Police and prosecutors were acting on a public complaint about his social media videos on Turkey’s economy, Zelyut said in a series of comments on Twitter.

“I am apparently carrying out acts of terrorism,” he said. “I will not step back from speaking the truth, even if they take further steps! I am not afraid! You cannot scare me!”
Erdoğan and his son-in-law, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, have warned economists and commentators in Turkey and abroad against stirring up economic instability, saying such acts are no different from those of terrorists. The government is implementing an unorthodox economic programme in an attempt to rescue the country from a currency crisis, but many analysts have criticised the moves. The currency volatility erupted in 2018 due to political tensions with the United States over the detention of a U.S. pastor on terrorism charges. Read more - Lire plus

London Bridge victim’s father condemns ‘beyond disgusting’ Boris Johnson for using son’s death for political gain
Independent 02/12/2019 - The father of a man killed in the London Bridge terror attack has shared posts calling Boris Johnson ’s​ response to the murders “beyond disgusting”. David Merritt, whose son Jack was one of two people killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan on Friday, condemned the prime minister and Priti Patel, the home secretary, for using the attack as justification for a series of tougher criminal policies. Mr Merritt suggested the Tories were using his son’s death to promote “vile propaganda” and shared a tweet accusing Mr Johnson of trying to “make political gain from people’s death in a terror incident”. Cambridge University graduate  Jack Merritt , 25, worked for the Learning Together programme, which uses education to try to rehabilitate prisoners into the community.

Following the attack, the  Conservatives vowed to toughen terror sentences and stop criminals entering the UK from the EU. They also launched a crackdown on people convicted of terrorism offences who had been released early. That prompted Mr Merritt to share a tweet by left-wing journalist and academic Ash Sarkar which said: “It’s beyond disgusting that Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and newspapers like the Mail are using Jack Merritt’s death and image to promote an agenda he fought against all his life. He was a passionate believer in rehabilitation and transformative justice, not draconian sentencing.”

He then retweeted a second post by Ms Sarkar which said: “Jack Merritt’s family and loved ones have asked that rightwing newspapers and political parties not use his murder to advance reactionary demands. If you see it happening, call it out. They deserve so much better.” Mr Merritt also posted two front-page articles about the Conservatives’ crackdown on released terror offenders, writing: “Don’t use my son’s death, and his and his colleague’s photos – to promote your vile propaganda. Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance.” Read more - Lire plus
Iran: Death toll from bloody crackdown on protests rises to 208
Amnesty International 02/12/2019 - The number of people believed to have been killed during demonstrations in Iran that broke out on 15 November has risen to at least 208, said Amnesty International, based on credible reports received by the organization. The real figure is likely to be higher. Dozens of the deaths have been recorded in Shahriar city in Tehran province – one of the cities with the highest death tolls. “This alarming death toll is further evidence that Iran’s security forces went on a horrific killing spree, that left at least 208 people dead in less than a week. This shocking death toll displays the Iranian authorities’ shameful disregard for human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Those responsible for this bloody clampdown on demonstrations must be held accountable for their actions. Since the Iranian authorities have previously shown they are unwilling to carry out independent, impartial and effective investigations into unlawful killings and other arbitrary use of force against protesters, we are calling on the international community to help ensure accountability.” According to information gathered by Amnesty International, families of victims have been threatened and warned not to speak to the media, or to hold funeral ceremonies for their loved ones. Some have been barred from printing and distributing funeral posters for their loved ones, a tradition in Iran. Some families are also being forced to make extortionate payments to have the bodies of their loved ones returned to them. Extensive video footage verified and analysed by Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps shows security forces shooting at unarmed protesters. Read more - Lire plus

Montreal pays activist $55,000 after brutal arrest by police officers
Montreal Gazette 28/11/2019 - With her punk look and dyed hair, Jennifer Paquette has been a fixture at demonstrations in downtown Montreal for years. Known as Bobette on the street, the 33-year-old circus artist participated in student strikes in the spring of 2012 and organized protests against police brutality and capitalism. As a political activist, she often carried a megaphone and belted out slogans chanted by protesters. Her rabble-rousing caught the attention of a group of Montreal police officers from downtown Station 21 who kept tabs on her at marches and crossed paths with her at a club on St-Denis St., where she organized punk shows.

Between 2012 and 2014, she says she was harassed because of her ideals and her participation in marches. “They would spot me at the demonstration and say: ‘Hey Bobette, on va te poigner et tu vas passer au cash (we’re going to grab you and you’re going to pay),’ ” she told the Montreal Gazette in an interview. The harassment was so frequent that even new recruits, who had just arrived from the police academy in Nicolet, recognized her on the street, she says. “Bobette, we have heard about you. Do you know your photo is posted in every police station in Montreal?” she recalls them saying. Paquette says she knew the harassment was unacceptable, but there was little she could do about it.

That changed, however, on May 1, 2014 when she suffered a neck sprain and head injury during a violent arrest by two police officers following an anti-capitalist demonstration. While she was standing in a parking lot opposite the Montreal courthouse, Constable Paul Junior Morin ran toward Paquette, barrelled into her and knocked her on her back. Following an arbitrary arrest and an illegal detention that night, Paquette sued four police officers and the city of Montreal for loss of income, pain and suffering, and a loss of enjoyment of life. In May, five years after filing the lawsuit, a Quebec Superior Court justice awarded Paquette $55,000 in damages. She had been seeking $85,000.
The city did not appeal the decision and Paquette picked up a cheque at her lawyer’s office several weeks later. Paquette’s lawyer, Geneviève Grey, welcomed the judgment, saying her client was a victim of political profiling. Read more - Lire plus
Charges dropped against more than 100 Extinction Rebellion protesters
The Guardian 27/11/2019 - More than 100 Extinction Rebellion protesters have had charges against them dropped after the ban forbidding protest in London last month was ruled unlawful.

The Crown Prosecution Service decision will affect about 105 cases immediately, mostly those involving defendants facing trial for allegedly breaching section 14 of the 1986 Public Order Act. Others formally accused of obstructing the highway will also have the cases against them discontinued, the CPS confirmed. Many cases will still go ahead.

The announcement may encourage large numbers of the estimated 1,800 protesters who were held between 14 October and 19 October to sue for wrongful arrest and detention. Earlier this month, the high court ruled that the section 14 order obtained by the Metropolitan police, which declared that XR “must now cease their protests within London”, exceeded the police powers. Read more - Lire plus
NEW Santa Says NO Secret Trials; Stop Moe's Deportation to Torture
Tuesday, December 10, 11:30AM
CBSA Headquarters, 191 Laurier Ave. West (next to the library main branch)

Join Santa, Elves, and other supporters to support Moe Harkat
NEW Detention Camps in Xinjiang: A Human Rights Appraisal
Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 2 p.m.
57 Louis-Pasteur Private, University of Ottawa

Organized by The Human Rights Research and Education Centre, the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies and SAR uOttawa. All are welcome.
UPDATED - Canada’s Extradition Act is in urgent need of reform. A recent “external review” of Dr. Hassan Diab’s extradition commissioned by the Minister of Justice does nothing to prevent future injustices like those suffered by Hassan. But we are not giving up! Here's what you can do:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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Nous tenons à remercier nos organisations membres et toutes les personnes qui soutiennent la CSILC sur Patreon ! En récompense, nous nommons ci-dessus nos mécènes qui donnent 10$ ou plus par mois directement dans le News Digest. Sans vous, notre travail ne serait pas possible!