International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
7 février 2020
Hassan Diab will be holding a Press Conference on Friday, February 7, at 10:00 am ET
HDSC 06/02/2020 - As you know, since Hassan Diab’s release from detention in France in 2018, we (with your support) have repeatedly called for a public inquiry into Hassan’s case and a serious reform of Canada’s extradition law so that no other Canadian would go through what Hassan and his family have suffered over the past decade; however, our requests were completely ignored.

Faced with no other choice to get justice, accountability, and reform, Hassan and his family have launched a civil claim against the government of Canada. Hassan and his legal team will be holding a press conference on Friday, February 7, at 10:00 am Eastern to address the civil claim.

The Internatio nal Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) will be live-streaming the press conference. To watch, please visit ICLMG's Facebook page . The video will appear at the above Facebook page as soon as we start live-streaming. Source
Emergency Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Rally on Friday, February 7, at noon in Ottawa!
Ottawa groups - An RCMP raid began on Feb 6, 2020, arresting and removing land defenders from the yintah, Wet'suwet'en territory.

Join this emergency rally in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en and condemn the RCMP's violations of Wet'suwet'en traditional law. We need everyone in the streets!
Un descente de la GRC a commencé le 6 février, 2020, appréhendant et retirant des défendeurs de yintah, la territoire Wet'suwet'en.

Joignez-vous à ce rassemblement d'urgence pour se tenir en solidarité avec la nation Wet'suwet'en et pour condamner les violations de la territoire traditionnelle de la nation wet'suwet'en par la GRC. Nous avons besoin de tout le monde dans la rue!

6 arrested at Wet'suwet'en anti-pipeline camp
CBC News 06/02/2020 - Six people were arrested at a camp on traditional Wet'suwet'en territory as RCMP conducted a pre-dawn raid to enforce an injunction order against those blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. According to supporters of the blockade, more than a dozen RCMP officers moved past the police checkpoint on Morice Forest Service Road early Thursday morning. "It's a whole damn army up there," said Wet'suwet'en hereditary Chief Woos, who also goes by the name Frank Alec. "They've got guns on, they've got tactical gear on. They look like they're ready for war."

The arrests were made at kilometre 39 — one of three camps built by supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs — on the traditional territory near Houston, B.C., Gidimt'en clan spokesperson Molly Wickham said in a Facebook video. "They're clearing out 39-kilometre camp, which is the supply camp. We have word they started tearing down the tents," Wickham told CBC News by phone, just before watching several RCMP trucks drive past her. "[We're] frustrated and worried about people."

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs president called the police action a blow to reconciliation. "It's an absolute outrage and deeply frustrating that the RCMP is acting in the capacity of a goon squad on behalf of business and industry," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. "It's particularly frustrating in the province of British Columbia in the aftermath of the enactment of Bill 41, which fully embraces the UN Declaration, which speaks about free prior and informed consent. It was to be the framework to chart a path forward." Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde echoed the sentiment. "The use of force against peaceful people is a violation of human rights and First Nations' rights," he said. "The RCMP is sworn to uphold Canada's law, but Canada must respect First Nations laws and Wet'suwet'en laws" Mounties say they will provide information on the arrests later today. [...]

As RCMP moved in Thursday, Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs announced they were launching a court challenge against the pipeline's environmental approval. The application is asking for a judicial review of the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office's decision to extend an environment certificate for the pipeline by five years. A statement said the extension was granted "despite over 50 instances of non-compliance" by Coastal GasLink as well as a failure to incorporate recent findings of the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,  which found links between resource-extraction projects , "man-camp" environments and increased violence against Indigenous women. Protests against the police action sprung up at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria and the entrance to the Port of Vancouver at the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Street in Vancouver. Read more - Lire plus

ICLMG and NCCM presented in front of new National Security Transparency Advisory Group
NCCM 03/02/2020 - ICLMG's National Coordinator, Tim McSorley, NCCM's Director of Legal Affairs, Sameha Omer, and national security lecturer, Leah West, presented on the importance of transparency and accountability in front of the National Security Transparency Advisory Group on Monday. Source
Federal agencies mishandled sensitive documents more than 5,000 times last year
The Canadian Press 02/02/2020 - As a senior RCMP intelligence official faces charges of disclosing secret information, new figures reveal thousands of incidents last year in which federal agencies, including the national police force, mishandled sensitive documents. Answers tabled in Parliament in response to a query from Ontario Conservative MP Jamie Schmale show 38 agencies reported a total of more than 5,000 incidents between Jan. 1 and Dec. 10 in which classified or otherwise protected documents were stored in a manner that did not meet security requirements. That averages out to about 20 such incidents across the government each working day. The number is likely higher given that one large department, Global Affairs Canada, did not provide figures for the year but reported thousands of such incidents in a 2016 survey.

The agencies say no one lost their security clearance as a result of the 2019 lapses, which Schmale finds concerning. "As we all know, it only takes one incident for the wrong information to get into the wrong hands," he said in an interview. "These procedures are in place for a reason. It's disappointing that there are so many violations per day." Schmale would like to know more about the infractions. "How serious were the violations? Is it computers left open? Is it documents left on a desk? Is it briefcases left wide open?" he asked. "I think there needs to be an evaluation done as to what is causing this to happen so frequently. And once you get an idea of that, then you can take steps to fix it."
The government says it is committed to the highest standards of document security. Violations are identified through routine security sweeps — a measure designed to continually improve practices.

Cameron Jay Ortis, the director general of the RCMP's National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre, was arrested in September for allegedly revealing secrets and planning to give additional classified information to an unspecified foreign entity. His criminal case is before an Ontario court. In response to Schmale's query, the RCMP reported three cases of improper document handling last year. The cyberspies at the Communications Security Establishment noted 197 incidents, while the Canadian Security Intelligence Service reported 52. Read more - Lire plus

Cyberspies "mistakenly" eyed Canadian for five years, watchdog report says
The Canadian Press 05/02/2020 - The national cyberspying agency monitored a Canadian citizen, contrary to policy, for several years due to a series of internal mistakes, a newly released watchdog report says.The Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment collects a wide array of foreign communications, including phone calls and emails, in search of information of interest to Canada. The CSE is forbidden by law from directing its activities against Canadians anywhere in the world and must try to protect their privacy when using or keeping intercepted information.

CSE commissioner Jean-Pierre Plouffe, the long-time watchdog over the agency, noticed a privacy lapse that prompted him to conduct an in-depth review. In his 2018-19 annual report, recently tabled in Parliament, Plouffe says a foreign national who was identified as possibly holding Canadian citizenship was monitored by the CSE from 2010 to 2015. As part of Canada's role in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, the CSE works closely with spy services from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In 2018, one of these agencies, which the report does not identify, drew CSE's attention to the fact that the issue of the person's nationality "had not been fully addressed" in 2010 when his or her possible Canadian citizenship was first discovered, Plouffe's report says. The CSE then "obtained the necessary information to confirm that the targeted person was indeed Canadian," the report says. [...]

The episode "certainly is evidence that a constant watch needs to be maintained" on the agency's evolving practices, said Bill Robinson, a research fellow with The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. "It's concerning to see these things come up year after year," said Robinson, who closely watches the CSE. The spy service's corrective steps are undoubtedly sincere but they don't mean the same sort of problem won't happen again, he added. Read more - Lire plus

Ontario watchdog would be ‘very concerned’ about police using tools like Clearview AI
Global News 24/01/2020 - Four out of 11 major Canadian law enforcement agencies say they use or are exploring using facial recognition software, the controversial technology that has been found to be flawed and has prompted privacy advocates to call for it to be banned. And Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner is expressing concern over the prospect of police using a new type of facial recognition software that collects billions of images of people from social media and other sites. Global News asked the law enforcement agencies whether they have tested or used facial recognition technology following a recent New York Times report about a facial recognition tool by a company called Clearview AI that’s being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in North America, including in Canada. No specific Canadian law enforcement agency was identified in the report.

Of the four agencies that said they used or were exploring using facial recognition technology, the Toronto police, Calgary police and Edmonton police said they did not use Clearview AI, while the Ontario Provincial Police said it would not identify the company it has used. The app by Clearview AI cross-references uploaded images of people against three billion photos it says it has in a database containing images scraped from social media sites, including Facebook and millions of other websites. Privacy rules in most democracies generally prohibit governments from collecting this type of personal information, particularly when it comes to law enforcement agencies amassing material that is unrelated to any active investigation.

The Clearview AI database is more expansive than any other known collection created by the U.S. government or law enforcement agencies — and has alarmed many advocates who consider it to be a massive invasion of privacy. A recent study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. found that many facial recognition systems misidentify people of colour more often than white people. Brian Beamish, Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner, said in an email that privacy laws allow police to collect personal information only “for legitimate, limited and specific law enforcement purposes.” “We would be very concerned if police services in Ontario were using or planning to use a service that automatically collects images of people’s faces from across the internet,” he wrote. Read more - Lire plus

Privacy Commissioner files Notice of Application with the Federal Court against Facebook, Inc.
PCC 06/02/2020 - The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has filed a Notice of Application in the Federal Court seeking a declaration that Facebook has contravened Canada’s federal private sector privacy law. The application follows a joint investigation last year by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia that found major shortcomings in the social media giant’s privacy practices.

The investigation followed a complaint that Facebook had allowed an organization to use an app to access users’ personal information and then share that information with other organizations, including Cambridge Analytica, which was involved in U.S. political campaigns. Facebook disputed the findings of the investigation and refused to implement recommendations to address the deficiencies identified. A Notice of Application marks the beginning of a formal legal proceeding before the Federal Court.

The application asks the Federal Court for:
  • A declaration that Facebook contravened the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA);
  • An order requiring Facebook to implement effective, specific and easily accessible measures to obtain, and ensure it maintains, meaningful consent from all users;
  • An order requiring Facebook to specify the technical revisions, modifications and amendments to be made to its practices to achieve compliance with PIPEDA;
  • An order that the parties follow-up with the Court, as well as an order that the Court retain jurisdiction for the purposes of ongoing monitoring and enforcement;
  • An order prohibiting Facebook from further collecting, using and disclosing any personal information of users in any manner that contravenes PIPEDA; and
  • An order requiring Facebook to publish a public notice of any action taken or proposed to be taken to correct its practices that contravene PIPEDA.

The Federal Court has, among other powers, the authority to impose binding orders requiring an organization to correct or change its practices and comply with the law. Read more - Lire plus
How counter-terror police quash dissent
NewInt 15/01/2020 - Extinction Rebellion is not the first protest group to find itself labelled a threat because of alleged ‘extreme or violent ideologies’ and sadly it is unlikely to be the last. Over the past decade, Netpol (Network for Policy Monitoring) has documented unwarranted attention and intensive surveillance by UK counter-terrorism police across a wide range of social and political movements: from anti-fascists, anti-arms trade campaigners and individuals involved in international solidarity (especially for the Kurds and Palestinians), to opponents of fracking, open-cast mining, airport expansion and groups resisting immigration deportations.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this ongoing list also extends to campaigners who oppose authoritarian counter-terrorism laws and police spying on legitimate political dissent.
Extinction Rebellion campaigners are not the only ones to feel justifiably aggrieved about their inclusion in the latest guide for local authority staff in the south-east of England entitled, ‘Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism’. Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), which wrote and published the guide, has said it made an ‘error of judgement’ in including Extinction Rebellion. But there has been no similar apology or admission of error for including legitimate opposition to animal testing and wearing fur, or ‘adopting health-conscious and environmentally sustainable lifestyles’ as indicators of potential extremism.

Furthermore, although there is now ample evidence that the fox hunting ban is routinely ignored , it is the Hunt Saboteurs Association – a direct action group to stop fox hunting – which is mentioned as a potential threat. In the CTPSE’s region it is the hunt saboteurs, rather than hunt supporters, who are categorized as ‘domestic extremists’ and who have faced prosecution. Why does this keep happening? In part, it is because there is no legal definition of what ‘domestic extremism’ means. The current criteria used by the police is so broad and ambiguous that David Anderson, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has described it as ‘ manifestly deficient ’. In practice, decisions about who is labelled an ‘extremist’ are left to police units who have complete discretion in the matter and who are also deeply antagonistic towards protest movements, particularly those involved in direct action and civil disobedience or challenging state and corporate power.

The impetus for including Extinction Rebellion in the recent guidance appears to have come from a report last year  by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange. It makes a number of unfounded claims, speculating that ‘it is not inconceivable that some on the fringes of the movement might at some point break with organizational discipline and engage in violence’. It also insists that believing environmental catastrophe ‘can only be averted if the free market and economic growth are abandoned’ is itself evidence of extremism. The report was co-authored by a former senior police officer, Richard Walton, who was previously head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, and until 2016 had a key role in assessing the alleged risk posed by ‘extremist’ campaign groups. Given this knowledge, it’s hardly surprising, therefore, that police judgments about political campaigners are so highly subjective, so overtly political, but also so extremely helpful in providing a justification for intensive surveillance. Designating a campaign as ‘extremist’ means that all those associated with it may also be labelled in this way – even if they do nothing unlawful. There is no need to have a conviction, or even face any suspicion of criminality, to find yourself categorized in this way. [...]

This is what we are up against. It is the reason why Netpol is calling for stronger legal protections for the right to protest to be able to challenge disproportionate or excessive policing. Netpol is also calling for a complete end to the police use of the ‘domestic extremism’ label, in line with Home Office and other government department statements that it should be abandoned.It is abundantly clear too, that police counter-terrorism units have no business whatsoever involving themselves in protest policing. Read more - Lire plus
Dispatch from Guantanamo: U.S. Must Open Criminal Investigation into Mitchell and Jessen, Two Torture Program Psychologists
Amnesty International 31/01/2020 - Following testimony at Guantanamo over the past two weeks of James E. Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen–two contract psychologists who played leading roles in designing and implementing the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”–in which Mitchell described in detail their direct participation in torture, Amnesty International issued a call for a criminal investigation to be opened immediately .

Zeke Johnson, the senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA, said: “No longer can those responsible for torture justify their brutality by claiming that they were told their actions were legal. These practices were illegal back then and they are illegal now. Not only that, their actions were cruel and dehumanizing by all possible standards. No magical thinking can make torture and torment justified. The administration said the ‘gloves were off’ and wanted to go beyond the law to abuse people in ways they knew were wrong and unlawful. Government lawyers’ claims that enhanced techniques were not torture are entirely self-serving.” Amnesty International is calling for an effective criminal investigation of Mitchell and Jessen and any other contractors or government personnel who participated in, ordered, authorized, or enabled torture or other crimes under international law, whether as part of the CIA, Department of Defense, FBI or other United States government agency.

Amnesty International has long called for accountability for torture and other human rights violations committed by the U.S. government in the name of national security. Accountability requires a full investigation, including the complicity of other governments in secret detention, and criminal prosecutions where warranted, from those at the very top of the U.S. government who authorized or ordered such violations, to those who directly participated or encouraged them. This includes former President George W. Bush, given that he specifically admitted to authorizing the waterboarding of several individuals whose subjection to this torture technique has been confirmed. It is widely known that secret CIA sites operated in Poland, Lithuania, and Romania between 2002 and 2006. Any person responsible for facilitating the disappearance and torture of detainees in those sites should be investigated by the three respective EU members states and perpetrators must be brought to justice as well. Read more - Lire plus
European complicity in CIA torture in 'black sites'
Amnesty International 03/02/2020 - Mitchell and his business partner, John “Bruce” Jessen had a leading role in designing and implementing the notorious “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were used to torture men in black sites around the globe. No one responsible for the US torture programme has been held to account. 

But the US did not act alone. At least three EU member states hosted secret CIA sites as part of the global “war on terror”. The men in the Guantánamo courtroom had been tortured and ill-treated in Poland, Lithuania and Romania. But the complicity of these countries in torture, a crime under international law, was not mentioned once in the courtroom. Everyone in the courtroom was forbidden from saying or indicating that European countries hosted black sites and facilitated the abuse that went on in them. No individual in any of these countries has been charged for facilitating these crimes.

The European Court of Human Rights has already ruled in a civil case against Poland for complicity in the enforced disappearance and torture of CIA detainees Mohammed al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, both of whom are still in Guantánamo. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash and Ramzi bin al-Shaibh were also held in the Polish black site, located in Stare Kiejkuty, which operated between 2002 and 2004.

Al-Nashiri was subjected to mock execution and had a gun held to his head; interrogators threatened to sexually assault his mother. James Mitchell would say that those “techniques” exceeded what was “authorized” in legal memos drummed up by the White House Office of Legal Counsel to justify the unjustifiable. But it is evident from the range of sadistic behaviors revealed in a 2014 Senate report that the “authorized” enhanced interrogation techniques often served to embolden interrogators – and gave them the momentum and cover to inflict ever more vicious abuse on some detainees. 

Mustafa al-Hawsawi, one of the 9/11 defendants in the courtroom, suffered new heights of barbarism in CIA custody. The 2014 Senate report documented some of Mustafa al-Hawsawi’s ongoing health problems, specifically related to a “rectal exam” which was conducted with “excessive force” while he was in a secret prison in Afghanistan. “CIA records indicate that one of the detainees, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, was later diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse.” 

Al-Hawsawi was anally raped in CIA custody and the ongoing effects of the physical damage he suffered were a key issue when he was transferred to a secret prison in Lithuania in 2005. The Lithuanian authorities refused medical treatment for al-Hawsawi’s and other prisoners’ acute ailments and the US was forced to contract with other governments for that treatment. The ECHR has also ruled against Lithuania for its willing facilitation of the disappearance and torture of Abu Zubaydah in the secret CIA prison it hosted. This year, Mustafal-Hawsawi’s civil case against Lithuania will also be heard by the ECHR.

Watching Mustafa al-Hawsawi in the courtroom, the impact of the torture he suffered was clear. He moved with a slow gait and needed to sit on a pillow while listening to John Mitchell’s testimony. Here in Guantánamo he filed a motion in the military commission requesting that his case be thrown out due to “outrageous government conduct.” Amnesty has repeatedly said that detainees at Guantánamo should be given fair trials in US federal courts or released – Guantánamo’s military tribunals do not meet international fair trial standards. But this renewed spotlight on Guantánamo is also an opportunity to hold to account the US’s European friends which hosted key black sites, helped to “disappear” detainees, and facilitated torture and ill-treatment. The fact that they watch the proceedings at Guantánamo from afar – unscathed and unaccountable – is also an outrage. Read more - Lire plus
MI5 policy allowing informants to commit serious crimes ruled lawful
The Guardian 20/12/2019 - MI5’s partially secret policy allowing agents and informants to participate in serious crimes is lawful, judges have ruled by a three-to-two majority. In a 56-page judgment, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT), which hears legal complaints about the intelligence agencies, declared that the guidelines do not breach human rights or grant absolute immunity to those who commit offences such as murder or torture. It is the first time the IPT has published dissenting judgments, both of which in this case are highly critical of the statutory framework surrounding the handling of agents. Many of the key arguments turned on the exploitation of informants within the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

The coalition of civil liberty groups that brought the challenge – Reprieve, the Pat Finucane Centre, Privacy International and the Committee for the Administration of Justice – announced immediately they would appeal. Opening the majority judgment, Lord Justice Singh, Lord Boyd and Sir Richard McLaughlin acknowledged: “This case raises one of the most profound issues which can face a democratic society governed by the rule of law.” Lawyers for the civil liberty organisations argued that what is known as the “ third direction ” – guidelines permitting agents to become involved in criminal conduct, which were revealed in March 2018 – were illegal. [...] Dr Ilia Siatitsa, a legal officer at Privacy International, said: “Today the investigatory powers tribunal decided that MI5 can secretly give informants permission to commit grave crimes in the UK, including violence. But two of its five members produced powerful dissenting opinions, seeking to uphold basic rule of law standards. “We think the bare majority of the IPT got it seriously wrong. We will seek permission to appeal to protect the public from this abusive secretive power.” Read more - Lire plus
Russia Independent Media Rally to Cause of Jailed Journalist
VOA 27/01/2020 - Leading independent Russian media have issued a video appeal calling for the release of a journalist jailed on terrorism charges in Russia’s North Caucasus, arguing that the case is an attempt by authorities to silence a rare independent voice in the troubled region. Abdulmumin Gadzhiev, religious affairs editor of the independent weekly  Chernovik , was arrested in June 2019 in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan and accused of financing and participating in a terrorist organization.

The charges stem from a single interview Gadzhiev conducted with a preacher who ran a charity organization and was later accused of ties to terrorism under what government critics say are vaguely worded anti-extremism laws. Investigators subsequently detained and charged Gadzhiev, arguing his interview regarding the charity encouraged public funding of the organization’s alleged terrorism efforts. A key government witness supporting Gadzhiev’s guilt appeared in court with heavy bruises and said he was tortured into providing evidence. [...]

Security officials have repeatedly carried out search raids of  Chernovik’ s offices, seizing computers and other equipment, say the newspaper’s employees. “It’s an attempt to close the newspaper, and Gadzhiev is the instrument to do so,” assistant managing editor Magomed Magamedov told VOA. It wouldn’t be the newspaper’s first brush with danger, notes the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.  Chernovik’ s founder, Khadzhimurad Mamalov, was murdered in 2011 in a case that remains unsolved. “We publish inconvenient information — about human rights, about the courts — and sometimes the authorities don’t like that,” Magamedov said. On Monday, Dagestan’s high court denied a request to move Gadzhiev’s detention to house arrest pending an ongoing investigation by Russia’s Federal Security Services or FSB. If convicted on the terrorism charges, Gadzhiev faces life in prison. Read more - Lire plus
U.S. Counterterrorism Rule Hampers Vital Humanitarian Aid in Nigeria
Just Security 23/01/2020 - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) established a special provision for its funding of humanitarian aid in Nigeria a year ago that is making it harder for organizations to operate in the northeastern parts of the country in accordance with core humanitarian principles.

The new clause , included in all grant contracts for humanitarian activities in Nigeria, requires that recipient agencies “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 the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-West Africa [now the Islamic State in West Africa Province, or ISWAP], as combatants or non-combatants.”

Importantly, the provision states that “[f]ormer affiliates do not include civilian populations who only resided in areas that were, at some point in time, controlled by the groups,” and that the agreement officer’s decision “shall be provided promptly.” But USAID provides no further information on its understanding of ‘affiliation.’ Without further definition, former ‘affiliation’ is incredibly broad and can be understood to include individuals with former ties of any kind to the armed groups, including children and other family members of present or former members.

This clause significantly complicates the situation for aid workers on the ground in one of the world’s gravest humanitarian crises . First, it is unclear the extent to which aid providers are expected to investigate the ultimate recipients of the aid they distribute. Second, while the request for approval means aid provision is not impossible, it is unclear whether USAID agreement officers are able to provide timely approval in a fast-moving humanitarian environment, and how often approval is being required for maintenance of infrastructure projects such as wells built to support an entire community.

Third, while the requirement of affirmative knowledge narrows the situations in which the requirements apply and theoretically leaves aid providers room to maneuver, it does nothing to bring the clause in line with humanitarian principles. Indeed, while the clause is intended to prevent terrorist groups from benefiting, even indirectly, from U.S. funding, it challenges core humanitarian principles and compounds the difficulties humanitarian organizations already face as a result of other counterterrorism measures. Read more - Lire plus
Iraq: UN human rights report voices concern over conduct of ISIL fighter trials
UN News 28/01/2020 - A new  UN report  published on Tuesday shows that while considerable effort has been made by Iraqi authorities to bring former ISIL terrorist fighters to justice, there are “serious concerns” about the fairness of the proceedings. The joint report by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq ( UNAMI ) and the  UN human rights office  found that basic fair trial standards were not respected in terrorism-related trials, thus placing defendants at a serious disadvantage. 

“A fair and just criminal justice system is a central element to the democratic way of life, and key to building trust and legitimacy, and promoting and protecting human rights”, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. “Those responsible for widespread atrocities against the Iraqi population must be held to account for their crimes, and it is important that the victims see that justice is delivered. At the same time, those accused have the right to a fair trial, and these standards must be strictly applied.” [...]

The report is based on independent monitoring of 794 criminal court trials mainly involving ISIL defendants held in eight Iraqi provinces from 1 May 2018 through 31 October 2019. The majority of the hearings, 619, concerned people facing anti-terrorism charges. While proceedings were generally orderly and well organized, with judges who were routinely prepared with investigation files, UN human rights officers found defendants had ineffective legal representation and limited possibilities to present or challenge evidence. 

Prosecutions mainly focused on “association” or “membership” of a terrorist organization, with no distinction being made between people who participated in violence and those who joined ISIL for their own survival, or through coercion. For example, UNAMI observed a trial in Erbil where the wife of an ISIL fighter was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment based on an informer’s evidence that she used to cook meals for her husband and other fighters. In another case, a 14-year-old boy in Baghdad was condemned to 15 years in jail based on the admission that his family was among civilians forced to act as “human shields” to protect ISIL fighters from aerial attack. Furthermore, the report stated “the over-reliance on confessions, with frequent allegations of torture that were inadequately addressed—while constituting a human rights violation in itself—further added to the concerns”.

Recommendations include revising the anti-terrorism laws to comply with international law, and ensuring defendants have sufficient time to prepare and present their cases. 
“Robust safeguards for detention, due process and fair trials not only demonstrate commitment to justice: they are a necessary building block for resilience. We are well aware that a variety of grievances, including unfair trials and detainee abuse, have been exploited in the past by ISIL to fuel its violent agenda,” said UNAMI chief, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. Read more - Lire plus

Les autorités françaises entretiennent des camps de prisonniers pour enfants en Syrie
Libération 08/01/2020 - Le Collectif des familles unies regroupe plus d’une centaine de familles dont les petits-enfants, les nièces ou les neveux croupissent dans les camps de prisonniers de Roj et Al-Hol, en Syrie. Nous sommes en contact, régulièrement pour certains d’entre nous et de façon plus sporadique pour d’autres, avec ces enfants oubliés et leurs mères. Depuis des mois et parfois des années, nous recevons des photos, des appels, des cris de peur et de désespoir, des messages d’espoir aussi quand nous avons l’impression, quand ils ont l’impression, qu’une porte s’entrouvre sur une perspective de retour. Nous voyons nos petits-enfants, nos neveux et nos nièces grandir et dépérir derrière des grilles et des barbelés, n’ayant pour seul horizon que la tente de fortune qu’ils partagent avec leur mère, de la boue et des cailloux.

Nous connaissons leurs peurs, nous savons quand ils ont froid, quand ils ont faim et quand ils ont mal. Nous, les familles, les grands-parents, les tantes et les oncles, nous souffrons tous les jours dans notre chair de les savoir si démunis, si faibles et si vulnérables. Nous savons que ces enfants sont bien loin des caricatures monstrueuses que certains distillent dans l’opinion comme un venin, bien loin de ces «bombes à retardement biberonnées à la haine». Nos petits-enfants, nos nièces et nos neveux souffrent de traumatismes qui nécessitent une prise en charge médicale et psychologique. Certains d’entre eux ont survécu à de terribles scènes, mais chaque enfant est une histoire particulière : personne ne devrait pouvoir les réduire à un «portrait-robot» tronqué et fabriqué de toutes pièces. Esseulés au milieu d’un désert qui empeste le pétrole, ils veulent aller à l’école, avoir des jouets et s’amuser, comme tous les enfants du monde. Et comme tous les enfants du monde, ils dessinent sous leur tente des champs verdoyants, des fleurs et des soleils.

Le Défenseur des droits a demandé au gouvernement de faire cesser les «traitements inhumains et dégradants» dont sont victimes les enfants français dans les camps. L’Unicef, la Croix-Rouge et le secrétaire général de l’ONU ont demandé à la France de rapatrier les enfants français et leurs mères. En vain. Seuls 17 enfants français, dont 15 orphelins, ont été rapatriés des camps syriens en mars et juin 2019. Dans une tribune publiée le 3 novembre, le pédopsychiatre Boris Cyrulnik et le président de l’Unicef rappelaient avec force que «s’il est vrai que tous les enfants exposés aux conflits armés ont vécu des traumatismes, il a été aussi prouvé qu’ils sont capables de résilience en dépit des privations et des violences extrêmes qu’ils ont subies, s’ils sont accompagnés et aidés. Il est essentiel de ne pas les séparer ni de les emmener loin de leur mère, et de maintenir le lien affectif qui a pu se construire».

Serge Hefez, psychiatre traitant des mineurs de retour de Syrie, a à son tour rappelé qu’ils étaient «très avides de liens, de paix» et que «la plupart […] avaient une résilience, une envie de vivre, une envie de reprendre une vie normale absolument extraordinaires». Alors, arrêtons d’avoir peur et arrêtons de faire peur : parce que ces enfants sont des victimes et parce qu’ils sont Français, il faut les accueillir et réparer les traumatismes. C’est en les laissant là-bas que ceux qui survivront pourront nourrir une haine contre leur pays qui les aura abandonnés à leur triste sort et condamnés à la prison et à l’exil, alors qu’ils ne sont coupables de rien. Les autorités françaises assument que des dizaines d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants français soient détenus sans jugement, sans procédures engagées contre eux, sans avocat, sans droit de visite, et de manière indéfinie dans un no man’s land juridique. L’Europe démocratique avait condamné à l’époque et de façon unanime la création du bagne de Guantánamo parce que des hommes pouvaient y être détenus dans des conditions inhumaines, indéfiniment et sans procès. Read more - Lire plus

Belgian government defies ruling of its supreme court on PKK
The Brussels Times 30/01/2020 - The Belgian Court of Cassation confirmed on Tuesday a decision by the Brussels Court of Appeal that PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey, should not be classified as a terrorist organisation. The Belgian Minster of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Goffin, responded that the ruling would not affect the government’s position. The ruling by the court, in fact Belgium’s supreme court, states that EU anti-terrorism legislation cannot be applied on PKK since it is party in a non-international armed conflict or civil war where the use of legitimate military force is allowed. PKK is included in an EU list of terrorist organisations decided by the European Council. The Court of First Instance, part of the European Court of Justice, ruled last November that the decisions taken by the Council since 2014 to include PKK in the list were taken on insufficient reasons. The Council has appealed that decision and continues to include PKK in the list.

The EU terrorist list sets out persons, groups and entities subject to restrictive measures with a view to combating terrorism. Persons, groups and entities on the list are subject to the freezing of their funds and other financial assets in the EU. It is also prohibited for EU operators to make funds and economic resources available to them. The Belgian court case dragged on for years and involved 41 individuals and entities in Belgium, including a Kurdish media company, for their alleged membership in PKK. They were not accused of any crimes in Belgium but for belonging to PKK which the Turkish government considers a terrorist organisation. At a press briefing at Press Club Brussels today (30 January), the legal team representing the defendants explained the judicial proceedings. MEPs of three political party groups in the European Parliament (S&D, GUE/NGL and Greens/EFA) spoke also at the briefing. According to the legal team, the Turkish government was recognized as a civil party in the trial and had full access to all documents. The team also claimed that the US embassy in Brussels exerted pressure on Belgium to outlaw PKK. “The decision of the Court is the expression of the judiciary, which is strictly independent of the executive, and as such must be understood by all actors,” the Belgian foreign minister said vaguely in a statement.

The Brussels Times asked the legal team if not a government in a rule of law country is obliged to obey by the rulings of its own court and apply it when voting on the terrorist list in the European Council. Jan Fermon, Secretary General of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, replied that a mere expression of opinion cannot be considered as non-respect of the court. “The Council decision on listing organisations in the EU terrorist list is mainly a political decision,” he said. Members of the legal team hoped that the Belgian court ruling would pave the way for the delisting of PKK. The Council reviews the list at least every 6 months According to the Council’s criteria for listing, the list should be drawn up from precise information indicating that a decision has been taken by a judicial or equivalent competent authority in respect of the person, group or entity concerned. Read more - Lire plus
2019 has been very busy, and we are looking at a busy year 2020! Before giving you the summary of what we've been up to in the second half of 2019, here are a few things we will do in 2020:

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

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

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

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

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 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
Jo Wood

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