International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
May 7, 2021
ICLMG 07/05/2020 - On Friday, April 30th, the Intelligence Commissioner (IC) tabled his 2020 Annual Report in Parliament. To date, there has been no media coverage of the reports findings, although ChrisParsons, senior research associate at the Citizen Lab, and Leah West, assistant professor of national security law and counterterrorism at Carleton University, have both posted some important insights into different aspects of the report on Twitter, here & here. [...] Overall, the IC approved all authorizations for CSE foreign intelligence and cybersecurity activities, as well as all authorizations and determinations for CSIS datasets and acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute an offence. Based on that alone, it would appear there is nothing of concern and we can all just move on.

But the approvals of the IC are based upon the reasonableness of the decisions. And while he found all the authorizations and determinations to be reasonable, he goes on to point out some “opportunities for improvement” in most areas that deserve closer examination. These are areas where potentially deeper problems could arise. To those of us who are critical of current government surveillance powers, some of the issues may appear more concerning than how the IC presents them (although oversight bodies are known for their understated language). There is also the question of what doesn’t appear in this report, through no fault of the IC, revealing the weaknesses in the reporting and review system in place. [...]

In relation to foreign dataset retention, the IC states that insufficient or even non-existent information in the CSIS authorization meant he was forced to “[defer] to the Director’s expertise concerning the handling of dataset backups, as well as his expertise in determining that the information contained in the dataset would likely assist CSIS in the performance of its duties and functions.” Parsons rightly characterizes this as “unsettling” and asks, “Does the IC not require CSIS to clearly explain how datasets will be useful before approving their retention and use?” This is especially given that the secrecy of this authorization and approval process is meant to be counter-balanced by independent, third party and quasi-judicial oversight. If even the IC is not being provided a complete record and must “defer” to the expertise of the CSIS director, it raises important questions about the effectiveness of these safeguards. [...]

Finally, on to the mystery of the disappearing Canadian datasets. First, no Canadian datasets have been lost. But what has disappeared is any information about if and how these new powers are being used. It reveals a significant gap in transparency and raises some important questions. One of the powers granted to CSIS under the new dataset regime is the collection, retention and use of Canadian datasets: information about Canadians or people in Canada that is not directly related to a threat to Canada, but that is “relevant” to CSIS’s activities. (ICLMG has raised concerns with this new dataset regime overall, which you can read here). [...]

The collection of Canadian datasets is one of the most powerful new tools granted to CSIS with the adoption of the National Security Act in July 2019. It is part of a significant shift that allows intelligence agencies to not just collect information that is related to a national security threat, but troves of unrelated information that is simply relevant to their work that they can analyze and sift through in the hopes of identifying links to existing threats, or new and emerging threats. It also means that more and more of our private information is collected and used in secret, being analyzed with algorithms we don’t have access too, leading to conclusions that are not publicly shared or challenged. Agencies that operate in secret can make mistakes, can over-reach, and can even abuse the system. Read more - Lire plus + Share on Facebook + Twitter
ICLMG on "RCMP Secret Facial Recognition Tool Looked for Matches with 700,000 ‘Terrorists’"
Twitter 20/04/2021 - Some more incredible - and damning - reporting from The Tyee's Bryan Carney about the RCMP, surveillance & facial recognition. RCMP officers broke their own internal policies and then hid the use of a "terrorist" facial recognition system contracted from a US firm.

The system includes a database of 700,000 facial images of alleged "terrorists," but provides no transparency about how they reach that conclusion or on what legal basis the images are collected. Law enforcement can then use the company's facial recognition software to compare images. 

The RCMP states that the contract with IntelCenter was just for "testing", despite the RCMP purchasing licenses for three years that would allow it to run tens of thousands of searches by unlimited users and with 24/7 support. As Bryan Carney points out, the RCMP has used the cover of "testing" to avoid public disclosure of new and controversial tools in the past. He also makes the astute link that the RCMP ended its contract with IntelCenter the same year it started using Clearview AI. 

The RCMP is currently under investigation by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) for the force's use of Clearview AI. Given the similarities: a database of dubious legality being used by the RCMP to secretly run facial recognition software of questionable accuracy, it would be interesting to see the OPC expand its investigation into the use of IntelCenter or, ideally, the RCMP's use of facial recognition technology overall. This is also another example of why police shouldn't have access to facial recognition surveillance tech, & the need for a full-fledged investigation into their use of facial recognition tech. Source

RCMP Secret Facial Recognition Tool Looked for Matches with 700,000 ‘Terrorists’
The Tyee 28/04/2021 - Internal emails reveal that in 2016 the RCMP became a client of U.S.-based IntelCenter, whose website boasts of a massive cache of images acquired from various sources online, including social media. IntelCenter offers enforcement agencies the ability to match against more than 700,000 faces the company says are tied to terrorism. Until now, military, intelligence and law enforcement customers of the firm’s facial recognition service have remained secret. The BC RCMP units are IntelCenter’s first publicly revealed clients.

To create its software, IntelCenter partnered with a facial recognition tech company named Morpho, later bought and renamed Idemia, which provided biometric services for clients including the FBI, Interpol and the Chinese government. In documents acquired by The Tyee through access to information requests, the RCMP blanked out its total volume of searches, but the US$20,000 price paid on contracts indicates the force likely purchased thousands of searches annually. [...]

Kate Robertson, a criminal defence lawyer and researcher at University of Toronto’s internet security-focused Citizen Lab sees the RCMP’s buying and using of IntelCenter Check as further evidence of the need for better oversight on how the force conducts surveillance. “A fundamentally new approach is needed which prioritizes, at every turn, the elimination of systemic discrimination and racial profiling in Canada’s justice system, rather than investing in flawed and biased technologies that put human rights on the chopping block,” Robertson wrote in an email to The Tyee. Robertson questions how Canadian authorities could be certain of the methods used to associate individuals with terrorism. “It appears that this image database at least partially included data scraped from social media platforms, which is a dangerous and inaccurate method of data analysis that is unlikely to produce accurate or reliable intelligence. The name of the software tells us absolutely nothing about the validity of its underlying data,” wrote Robertson. The Tyee sought an interview with IntelCenter but received no response.

Tim McSorley of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group notes that the Canada Border Services Agency announced it was using facial recognition technology about the time the RCMP signed on with IntelCenter. CBSA completed a privacy impact assessment and released summaries to the public outlining its plans to test and implement facial recognition tools. The RCMP has failed to file and release summaries of such privacy impact for similar technologies it was discovered to have used. Those include the RCMP’s use of Babel X, as reported by The Tyee. McSorley also has concerns about how someone ends up in IntelCenter’s cache of people with alleged ties to terrorism. “Where is this database of over half a million faces coming from and what lawful basis is the RCMP using it to verify the identity of individuals?”

Mike Larsen of BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has questions, too. “I’d be very curious to hear at what stage in a process does the RCMP deem it to be legally reasonable to use this and then what’s the outcome of a hit if you get a positive?” asked Larsen. “There’s only a handful of national security investigations going on in Canada at a given time by the RCMP. This would, by definition, be much broader than that,” Larsen added. Read more - Lire plus
Collins and Mazigh: Canada must repatriate women and children from prison camps
Ottawa Citizen 03/05/2021 - Separation must have been heartbreakingly difficult for Irene (a pseudonym for a Canadian mother) and her four-year-old Canadian daughter. They were recently parted from each other so that the daughter could be safe in Canada and cared for here by her aunt. Mother and child had been living in camp al-Hol, under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, at the Annex, a camp section where families of foreign nationalities with alleged ties to ISIL have been kept. With the help of former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, the Canadian aunt of the four-year old girl was able to “rescue” her niece from the camp but Irene, the mother, had to stay behind. Our Canadian government refused to repatriate Irene, who is suspected of having joining ISIL. It did issue a travel document for the little girl.

This separation of parent and child is not restricted to Irene and her daughter. Human rights lawyer Paul Champ recently informed MPs at the foreign affairs committee that there are 64,000 people at the al-Hol and al-Roj prison camps in the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration for Northeast Syria and that 25 Canadian children remain there. Countries such as France and Denmark have repatriated their citizens using approaches such as prosecution, rehabilitation or a combination. Why hasn’t Canada?

The international community is taking notice. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says it is “absolutely essential” that countries including Canada repatriate their women and children held in prison camps in Syria. Canada is violating the rights of these Canadian children and their family members. First, as a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Canada should “take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures” to implement children’s rights, including respect of parents’ rights and duties. The Convention says: “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her … family” and children have “the right to know and be cared for” by parents.

Children are also entitled to human rights including non-discrimination; best interests; measures to protect children from violence or neglect; to the highest standard of health and treatment; nutritious food and water; social security; a “standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development” and education.
Second, under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which Canada has also ratified, parental responsibility is affirmed in the “upbringing and development of their children,” whose interest is “the primordial consideration.” Third, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Canada should provide for the rights of families, where children need protection and assistance. These commitments elaborate the acknowledgement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

Researchers and practitioners, including doctors, emphasize the significance of nurturing and attachment between a mother and her child. Psychologists attribute many misbehaviours or learning challenges in children — and later difficulties as adults — to a break in that relationship. They constantly warn about the danger of separation of a mother and her child, whether emotional or physical, forced or natural. This is why international law is so explicit about these relationships. Given the desperate situation of these children and their family members, along with our formal international legal commitments to human rights, urgent action must be taken to reunite Irene with her daughter, and redress the situation of other Canadian children and their primary caregivers in these camps. The government of Canada has an essential responsibility to protect its own citizens: young and older. Due to our government’s lack of action, these children in the camp are living a life of instability and fear, along with imminent risk of harm. It is time to act. Read more - Lire plus
Bianca Mugyenyi: Should Canada spend $77 billion on new fighter jets?
The Spec 25/05/2021 - Recently more than 100 activists across the country joined a fast to oppose the government’s plan to purchase 88 new warplanes. Vancouver-based family physician Brendan Martin and Voice of Women for Peace co-ordinator Vanessa Lanteigne completed a 14-day water-only fast last Friday in opposition to the expensive, polluting and destructive purchase. The federal government says it expects to spend about $19 billion on the jets. But that’s the sticker price. Depending on whether they select Lockheed Martin’s F-35, Saab’s Gripen or Boeing’s Super Hornet, the full cost could be four times that sum. According to a recent report by the No Fighter Jets Coalition, the life-cycle cost — from acquisition to upkeep to disposal of the planes — will top $77 billion.

Those resources could finance far more socially useful endeavours, from improving drinking water on reserves to mass transit infrastructure, building public housing to making post-secondary education more accessible. Or the $77 billion could turbocharge the transition away from fossil fuels and fund a just recovery. [...] Not only do cutting-edge fighter jets aggravate the climate crisis, they aren’t required to protect Canadians. They are largely useless in dealing with a global pandemic, natural disasters, 9/11-style attack, in peacekeeping or with international humanitarian relief. These are offensive weapons designed to enhance the Air Force’s ability to join operations with the U.S. and NATO.

In recent decades, fighter jets have repeatedly been employed far from Canada’s shores. They played a significant role in the U.S.-led bombing of Iraq (1991), Serbia (1999), Libya (2011) as well as in Syria and Iraq (2014-2016). To differing degrees, these wars violated international law and left these countries worse off. In Libya, the bombing led to an upsurge in anti-Blackness, including slave markets, and violence that quickly spilled southward to Mali and across much of Africa’s Sahel region. An October Nanos poll revealed that bombing campaigns are an unpopular use of the military and supporting NATO and ally-led missions is a low priority. The ongoing pandemic and worsening climate crisis present an opportune moment to question our understanding of security and defence. A good place to start is questioning whether Canada should spend tens of billions of dollars on dangerous, climate-destroying, new fighter jets. Read more - Lire plus

Canada plans to spend $5 billion on military drones armed with missiles and laser-guided bombs
PBI 07/05/2021 - On May 5, the Canadian Press reported: “Canada is inching closer to the purchase of armed drones for its military as details around how the controversial weapons will be used are starting to come together after nearly two decades of delays and discussion.” That article adds: “A formal request for bids from the two dronemakers shortlisted for the competition – worth up to $5-billion – is set to kick off in the fall.”

It further notes: “The government and military say the unmanned aircraft will be used for surveillance and intelligence gathering as well as delivering pinpoint strikes from the air on enemy forces in places where the use of force has been approved.” This builds on a news report by Justin Ling in Vice in August 2020. Vice reported: “In 2015, not long after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected, Ottawa signalled interest in purchasing armed drones.” It would also appear that around that time: “In a briefing for industry players, a representative from the procurement arm of the Canadian government laid out Canada’s desire for its long-range, medium-altitude drone.”

That article concluded that in 2019 the Canadian government announced two possible suppliers: L3 Technologies and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.
– “L3 Technologies is working with Israel Aerospace Industries to pitch a modified version of its Heron drone, which has become a favourite of the Israeli Defence Forces (Canada has actually leased these systems from Israel).”
– “General Atomics is proposing Canada buy the MQ-9B SkyGuardian—a successor to the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator, which became synonymous with the Obama administration’s overseas drone operations.”

In 2016, Ling had also reported: “In December [2015], government memos obtained by VICE News show that the government was looking into the infamous American Reaper and Predator drones as a possibility for its air force.” That article suggested Canada could buy up to 12 drones. Overall, the Canadian government has committed to increase spending on the military from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27, with total spending over a 20-year period of $553 billion on a cash basis. Read more - Lire plus
Canada urged to cut anti-terror aid to Philippines amid 'epidemic of human rights violations'
GMA News 05/04/2021 - Human rights advocates have formally called on the Canadian government to cease giving anti-terrorism aid to the Philippines amid the alleged use of anti-terrorism policies to crack down on dissent and purge human rights workers.

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan Alliance Philippines; Catherine Coumans, research coordinator of MiningWatch Canada; Guy-Lin Beaudoin, co-chair of the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines – Quebec; and Filipino journalist Maria Ressa issued this appeal during the Canadian parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meeting on Wednesday morning (Manila time).

Palabay cited the death of 15 Karapatan members in the last five years, including paralegal Sara Alvarez who was killed by unidentified assailants in August 2020. Alvarez died after her photo appeared in a tarpaulin branding her as a communist personality.
“These deaths [of human rights workers] define the climate of fear and impunity in the country. Perjured testimonies, fabricated evidence, questionable search warrants are used for arbitrary arrests and detention. We get death, rape and sexual violence threats online and offline. Canadian dollars and taxes should not be used to kill and silence us,” Palabay told the subcommittee.

Palabay then said that the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which allows authorities to detain suspected terrorists for 24 days without a warrant and filing of charges against them, only worsened the "epidemic of human rights violations." “Community pantries, journalists, lawyers, the opposition, the Commission on Human Rights are consistent targets of red-tagging which reduces democratic and civil spaces — a part of counterinsurgency and murderous campaign which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. We implore the Canadian government to take action on these concerns with urgency as our country further descends to an authoritarian state,” Palabay said. Read more - Lire plus

Fifteen years in a Chinese prison: Burlington woman laments husband's fate
RecognizeCelil 14/04/2021 - When the nightmare had just begun, the Burlington woman received help from a Turkish translator to communicate how she felt about her husband’s fate. That was a long time ago. Today, Kamila Telendibaeva speaks English just fine, and her husband, Burlington’s Huseyin Celil, 52, has been held in a Chinese jail 15 years. “It’s hard for me to talk about it, all the emotions, my heart starts beating,” she told The Spectator. “When I get out the pictures of the kids, back then they were small … when I see the pictures it hurts me a lot.” The four boys she shares with her husband but has been raising herself are 14, 16, 18, and 21.

She was six months pregnant on March 27, 2006, and visiting family overseas with her husband and children, when he was taken away. She has had no communication with him since, not a letter or phone call all this time. “I haven’t even heard his voice. It’s very hard. I can’t really explain it in words. It is awful.” The jailing of Celil was big news at the time. Media covered Telendibaeva speaking at an Amnesty International news conference on Parliament Hill, and protesting in the rain in front of the Chinese consulate in Toronto. Eight months after his incarceration, Prime Minister Stephen Harper raised the issue with Chinese leaders at a summit in Vietnam. Reports quoted a Canadian official who said that when they mentioned Celil, Chinese diplomats responded: “You mean that Uyghur terrorist?”

Celil grew up among about 12 million Uyghurs in northwestern China, in the region of Xinjiang, that was annexed by the Chinese 70 years ago. Uyghurs speak a language similar to Turkish. Like most Uyghurs, Celil is Muslim. Reports say that in the mid-2000s, the Chinese government moved about one million ethnic Uyghurs and other minorities into internment camps, accusing them of terrorist separatism. Six months ago, Canada was among 39 countries condemning China for abusing the Uyghurs, including policies of forced labour and sterilization. In his teens, Celil agitated for Uyghur human rights, taking part in free speech rallies in China, which Telendibaeva says led to his first arrest when he was 14 or 15. It was on a trip in 1998 to Uzbekistan that he met Telendibaeva, and they married in 1999. Soon after they moved to Turkey, where their oldest child was born, and in 2001 immigrated to Canada, with Celil claiming political refugee status. “It was October when we went to Canada, I remember that; we were preparing for Halloween,” she says.

Telendibaeva says it was the wrong decision for the couple to leave Canada with their kids and visit her parents in Uzbekistan in 2006. But she had not seen her family in about seven years, and her mother had been sick. [...] Reports in 2007 said Celil appeared in a Chinese courtroom and told the court he had been tortured. After initially allowing members of his family in China to visit him in jail once every six months, he was cut off entirely from visits and all external communications. Telendibaeva, 41, says she receives regular calls from an official in Ottawa with Global Affairs Canada, and last month spoke on the phone with Canada’s ambassador to China, Dominic Barton. He had no new information about Celil. He asked if she had an address for her husband’s family in China, but she no longer has their contact information. His family keeps a low profile, terrified of being sent to a prison camp themselves.

In response to a Spectator request for comment, Global Affairs spokesperson Jason Kung wrote in an email: “Canada remains deeply concerned by this case. The Government of Canada continues to press the Chinese government for consular access to Mr. Celil. The case has been raised at senior levels and we continue to engage with China to verify Mr. Celil’s well-being. Consular officials remain in regular contact with Mr. Celil’s family in Canada. Due to provisions of the Privacy Act, we cannot release further details on this case.” “I appreciate the phone calls,” says Telendibaeva. “They are very nice, but they are doing (diplomacy) in small steps, they are very soft with China, they don’t know how to defend their citizens. It’s frustrating, of course … I can’t believe it’s been 15 years.” While the federal government lobbying China has not led to her husband’s freedom, his Canadian connection has helped accomplish one thing: survival. Or so she believes, because she concedes she doesn’t know for sure. “China wanted to give him the death penalty but he was travelling with a Canadian passport. The Canadian passport is the only thing keeping him alive.” Read more - Lire plus

Almost everything Biden said about ending the Afghanistan War was a lie
Alternet 23/04/2021 - President Joe Biden, in announcing an ostensible end to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, is continuing his streak of paying eloquent lip service to progressive causes while maintaining the implied status quo. In a televised address from the White House on April 14, Biden said, "it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home." But just a day later, the New York Times reported without a hint of irony that "the Pentagon, American spy agencies and Western allies are refining plans to deploy a less visible but still potent force in the region." This means we are ending the war, but not really.

U.S. military leaders and generals gave a much more accurate assessment of the war's future in the days following Biden's speech. Former CIA officer and counterterrorism expert Marc Polymeropoulos explained to the Times, "What we are really talking about are how to collect intelligence and then act against terrorist targets without any infrastructure or personnel in the country other than essentially the embassy in Kabul." In other words, the U.S. wants to wage a remotely run war against Afghanistan, as it has done in other nations like Yemen, Syria, and Somalia.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin added his two cents, underscoring the U.S.'s ability to wage war without troops on the ground, saying, "There's probably not a space on the globe that the United States and its allies can't reach." Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. echoed this sentiment in ominous terms on April 20 at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, saying, "if we're going to strike something [in Afghanistan], we're going to strike it in concert with the law of armed conflict and the American way of war."

One may suppose that this "American way of war" is unlike a traditional war where troops occupy a country—a type of war that is generally deeply unpopular with the U.S. public. By publicly promising a withdrawal of troops while quietly continuing airstrikes, Biden ensures that U.S. violence against Afghanistan remains invisible to the American people. Biden also failed to mention in his speech that there are tens of thousands of private military contractors employed in Afghanistan. According to the Times, "[m]ore than 16,000 civilian contractors, including over 6,000 Americans, now provide security, logistics and other support in Afghanistan." The Times did not see fit to ask how the war can be declared over if mercenaries remain on the ground, nor how Biden can declare the war as ending if airstrikes will continue. Read more

Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah to file complaint with UN agency
AFP 30/04/2021 - According to his lawyer, he was handed over to the CIA in 2002, which moved him through a series of secret units in several countries where he was brutally interrogated. In 2003 he was transferred to Guantanamo, where he has stayed ever since. US officials have since admitted he was never a member of Al-Qaeda or an important figure among Islamic extremists.

Moreover, one of his interrogators, an FBI agent, has said that he cooperated easily before he was tortured, so that he had nothing to add once he was subjected to the CIA's extreme interrogation methods, which included 83 instances of waterboarding. Like most others among the last 40 detainees in Guantanamo, Abu Zubaydah has never been charged and faces indefinite imprisonment. "His 19-year detention has no lawful basis in international law (and) offends all principles of due process," Duffy said in a statement.

The petition will ask the UN agency to find that the United States is obliged to release him. It also demands that six other countries involved in his disappearance and rendition -- Britain, Thailand, Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Morocco -- use their powers to secure his release and relocation. Read more - Lire plus

The National Security State Doesn’t Protect Us. Let’s Redefine Security for All.
TruthOut 26/02/2021 - After the nation watched white supremacists take over the Capitol building, the failure of the national security state to appropriately recognize and address the threat became a national scandal. But this “failure” shouldn’t have surprised us. If there is one thing that the trillion-dollar national security apparatus is good at, it’s under-hyping and misinterpreting threats that aren’t based on threats from “outsiders,” while overhyping the threats that are.

It’s not just white supremacy that the national security state often overlooks. The downplayed threats are often those that aren’t suggestive of national security “solutions.” Everyone knows that bombs can’t stop climate change, a virus or a hurricane (with the exception of one former president). In the case of white supremacist violence, the failure to appreciate the danger reflects a reluctance to use the full violence of state power against white citizens, but the effects are similar. And when it isn’t ignoring them, the national security state co-opts these threats rather than relinquish power to other arms of government.

Of course, the bread and butter of the national security state is the idea that we need plenty of bombs (and ships, jets, troops and so on) to deal with threats posed by terrorists from “over there,” or countries that would threaten U.S. global primacy. The overhyping of a supposed threat posed by China is particularly insidious, as it threatens not only to ignite a new Cold War, but to drag climate negotiations, future pandemic preparations and the rest of the world down with it. National security needs to be reimagined twice: once to refocus it on real threats like climate change, global pandemics and authoritarianism, and again to refocus the response to those crises away from a militarized response and toward real solutions. It will take significant outside pressure to make that happen. [...]

The Search for True Security
Living under COVID for the past year has driven home the reality that militarization doesn’t buy security. The new administration and Congress have an opportunity to redefine security, so that it encompasses justice, health, housing, food, education, civil rights and more. That’s a necessary step, but it’s not enough. The next step has to be demilitarizing security by downsizing the massive security state. Movements like the Poor People’s CampaignDefund HateBlack Lives MatterDissenters, and People Over Pentagon have made real inroads at building power and accomplishing both, but the road ahead is long. The solution is to keep building power until these movements and others are strong enough to push back. Read more - Lire plus
NEXT WEEK Challenging Security Inadmissibility in Canada's Immigration System
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 2pm to 3:30pm EST, online. Register here

Co-presented by the Canadian Council for Refugees, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers

Join us for a discussion on how Canada labels non-citizens as security threats based on broad and vague grounds, the severe impacts that this has on individuals, and ways we can challenge the provisions and fix the system through the courts and through public advocacy. Following the short presentations by our three resource persons, participants will be invited to discuss opportunities to challenge the security inadmissibility system and organize.

Resource persons: Sharry Aiken, Associate Professor at Queen’s Law and former CCR President, Warda Shazadi Meighen, refugee, immigration and human rights lawyer, and partner at Landings Law, and Washim Ahmed, refugee and immigration lawyer and co-founder of OWS Law. More details - Plus de détails
Invite your friends and share on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram. Thank you!
NEW Tell PM Trudeau: No Second Extradition for Hassan Diab!
Following the French Court of Appeal decision, numerous organizations and individuals have spoken out in support of Hassan, including Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

Independent Jewish Voices invites you to add your voice by writing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Please urge him to use whatever means he has to rescue Dr. Diab from the claws of injustice. Demand that the case of Dr. Diab be dropped once and for all.

New Tell PM Trudeau: No New Fighter Jets!
The Canadian government has launched a competition for 88 new fighter jets, for a starting price of $19 billion (and a cost of at least $77B over the lifespan of the jets). This is the second most expensive procurement in Canadian history.

This purchase is planned for early 2022. It's crucial that the government hears from all of us, now!

Send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, National Defence Minister Sajjan, Foreign Affairs Minister Champagne, and all Members of Parliament.
Protect our rights from facial recognition!
Facial recognition surveillance is invasive and inaccurate. This unregulated technology poses a threat to the fundamental rights of people across Canada.

Federal intelligence agencies refuse to disclose whether they use facial recognition technology. The RCMP has admitted (after lying about it) to using facial recognition for 18 years without regulation, let alone a public debate regarding whether it should have been allowed in the first place.

Send a message to Prime Minister Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair calling for a ban now.
CSIS is NOT above the law!
Two recent court decisions revealed the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) engaged in potentially illegal activities and lied to the courts. This is unacceptable, especially given that this is not the first time these serious problems have been raised. CSIS cannot be allowed to act as though they are above the law.

Send a message to the Public Safety Minister demanding that he take action to put an end to this abuse of power and hold those CSIS officers involved accountable. Your message will also be sent to your MP and to Minister of Justice David Lametti.
Save Abdo from deportation
Abdelrahman El Mady is a father, a husband, a human rights activist and a refugee. He escaped persecution in his home country of Egypt, hoping to find safety in Canada. Instead he faced profiling and Islamophobia at the hands of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA has deemed him inadmissible and is now trying to deport him to Egypt.

The Canadian government must hold the CBSA accountable, offer Abdo protection from the risks of detention and torture in Egypt, and reunite him with his wife and children in Canada.
New action to help free Cihan Erdal
CUPE member Cihan Erdal has been unjustly jailed for six months in Turkey. With a trial date approaching, we are calling on the Canadian government to work to free Cihan and bring him safely home. Click below to add your voice and press for immediate action.

Even if you have already sent a letter it is vitally important to send this new letter, which is based on the latest updates about his situation and outlines key steps the Canadian government must take.

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.
Tell Transport Minister to cancel Canada's drone contract now!
Canada’s Transportation Ministry recently approved a $36M contract for drone technology from Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons company. The money will purchase a “civilian” version of Elbit’s lethal military drone, the same one which was used to kill civilians during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014.
Click below to message the Transport Minister, the Prime Minister, federal political leaders, and your MP.
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.
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.
Reunite Ayub, Khalil, and Salahidin with their families
Ayub Mohammed, Salahidin Abdulahad, and Khalil Mamut are 3 Uyghur men who fled China's persecution. They were sold by bounty hunters to the US military in 2001 and taken with 19 other Uyghurs to Guantanamo.

Despite being exonerated in 2003, they were kept in Guantanamo for years. Now in forced exile, their families are here in Canada, and their kids growing up without their fathers.

Despite posing no threat to Canadian national security, these men have been waiting over 5 years to reunite with their families.

Take action to reunite them!
Call on China to allow reunion of Uyghur families
Many Uyghur parents overseas have had to leave one or more children in the care of family members in Xinjiang. Some parents have since learned their children were taken to state-run “orphan camps” or boarding schools after the relatives taking care of them had been detained.
The mass detention campaign in Xinjiang has prevented Uyghur parents from returning to China to take care of their children themselves.

Sign the petition and call on China's President to ensure that children are allowed to leave China to be reunited as promptly as possible with their parents and siblings already living abroad, if that is preferred by them.
China: Free Canadian Huseyin Celil
The Chinese authorities accused Huseyin of offences related to his activities in support of Uighur rights. They held Huseyin in a secret place. They gave him no access to a lawyer, to his family, or to Canadian officials. They threatened him and forced him to sign a confession. They refused to recognize Huseyin’s status as a Canadian citizen, and they did not allow Canadian officials to attend his trial. It was not conducted fairly, and resulted in a sentence of life in prison in China. His life sentence was reduced to 20 years in February 2016. Huseyin has spent much of his time in solitary confinement. He lacks healthy food and is in poor health. Kamila needs her husband, and the boys need their father back.
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.

Protect Encryption in Canada
Our ability to use the Internet safely, securely and privately is under threat. Canada wants to create 'back doors' into encryption like some of our partner countries in the Five Eyes Alliance have already done.

This weakens Internet safety for all of us. If we don’t act, Canada could be next.

We need a policy that explicitly protects our right to encryption now.
Environmental defenders are not terrorists!
We, the undersigned environmental and climate activists from the Philippines and the international community, urge Filipino public authorities to undertake preventive interventions against the continued red-tagging and the possible escalation of reprisals against environmental defenders.

We urge legislators to declare red-tagging as a crime punishable by law for curtailing constitutionally-guaranteed free speech and other civil liberties.
Defund the police & the RCMP
More and more people are calling on their city councils to reduce and eliminate budgets for policing. We are no longer going to pay for police to harm our communities. These funds can be re-directed to support the recovery and provide much need improvements to public housing, transit, and food security programs among other basic needs. Please use this e-mail tool to tell your City Councillor to act now to defund the police in your communities. Together we keep each other safe.

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.
From July to December 2020
ICLMG - 2020 has been BUSY! Click below to see what we’ve accomplished in the second half of 2020, but first here is our plan for the next year.

In 2021, we will continue fighting:
  • against facial recognition technology, governments' attacks on encryption, and online mass surveillance
  • for a review mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency
  • to abolish security certificates and end deportation to torture
  • to repeal of the Canadian No Fly List
  • for justice for Hassan Diab & the reform of the Extradition Act

and much more! Find out how you can help here and see what we did in 2020 below:

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 the hundreds of people who have supported us over the years, including on Patreon! As a reward, we are listing below our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without all of you, our work wouldn't be possible!

Mary Ann Higgs
Kevin Malseed
Brian Murphy
Colin Stuart
Bob Thomson
James Turk
John & Rosemary Williams
Jo Wood
The late Bob Stevenson

Nous tenons à remercier nos organisations membres ainsi que les centaines de personnes qui ont soutenu notre travail à travers les années, y compris sur Patreon! En récompense, nous nommons ci-dessus nos mécènes qui donnent 10$ ou plus par mois et voulaient être mentionné.es directement dans la Revue de l'actualité. Sans vous tous et toutes, notre travail ne serait pas possible!