International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
24 janvier 2020
ICLMG Event: "When Poverty Mattered" Ottawa Book Launch
Thursday, January 30th, 2020
7pm to 9pm
338 Somerset Street West (Enter through side entrance)
Free event - all welcome!
Building, room and bathrooms are fully accessible.
Author Paul Weinberg will be in conversation with Tim McSorley, National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, to discuss the history of national security surveillance of radical, progressive organizations and lessons that still resonate today. It will be a timely conversation, given recent laws allowing CSIS to engage in new, secret activities, as well as ongoing revelations of government surveillance and criminalization of activists. After a short discussion and reading, there will be a Q & A.
About the book: Founded in Toronto in 1968, the Praxis Corporation was a progressive research institute mandated to spark political discussion about a range of social issues, such as poverty, homelessness, anti-war activism, community activism and worker organization. Deemed a radical threat by the Canadian state, Praxis was put under RCMP surveillance. In 1970, Praxis’ office was burgled and burned to the ground. In When Poverty Mattered , Paul Weinberg combines insights gleaned from internal government documents, access to information requests and investigative journalism to provide both a history of radical politics in 1960s Canada and an illustration of misdeeds and dirty tricks the Canadian government orchestrated in order to disrupt activist organizations fighting for a more just society. Details
Algerian man fights to stay in Canada after years of uncertainty
Al Jazeera 16/12/2019 - It has been nearly two decades since Sophie Lamarche-Harkat's husband was arrested outside their home in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. Since then, the circumstances surrounding Mohamed Harakat's detention and restricted release have shifted, but the couple's life together remains mired in uncertainty."I'm just exhausted. I'm burnt out from all this. This has taken a toll on both of us," Sophie told Al Jazeera in a telephone interview last week. "It feels unreal [that] it's been 17 years." Harkat fled Algeria as civil war gripped the country in the mid-1990s. He eventually moved to Canada, where he obtained refugee status. On December 10, 2002, however, he was arrested in Ottawa. Accused of being tied to al-Qaeda and associating with extremists, allegations he denies, he was detained under what is called a "security certificate". Used against a handful of people in Canada in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States , the security certificate mechanism is an immigration tool that allows the Canadian government to detain and deport non-citizens on national security grounds.

With security certificates, the government does not have to charge the accused with a crime and it can rely on evidence it keeps secret for reasons of security. In Harkat's case, he was detained for more than three years before being released with restrictions.
The 17-year anniversary of Harkat's arrest has prompted renewed calls for the Canadian government to lift the security certificate and allow Harkat to remain in the country.
The case has also put the spotlight on Canadian immigration processes - and raised new questions about the government's long-standing security certificates system, as well as fears Harkat would face torture in Algeria. "Mo's never been charged and everybody's that's met and loves him will tell you that he doesn't have an ounce of hate in him. My husband is loving, hard-working, he's funny," Sophie said. "It's so shameful that in Canada - a Canada that's known for human rights, has put my husband through hell. Not only him, me and my entire family." [...]

It was later revealed that in Harkat's case, the Canadian government used information it obtained from a Guantanamo Bay detainee known as Abu Zubaydah who was subjected to torture at the hands of US interrogators, including 83 rounds of waterboarding in a single month. After his arrest, Harkat spent more than three years in Ontario's Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, known as Canada's Guantanamo North before being released in 2006 under what advocates said were some of the country's strictest bail conditions, including 24-hour supervision and a GPS monitoring device. Harkat has denied the government's claim that he is associated with al-Qaeda. But he has struggled to defend himself without knowing all the charges against him. Sophie said both she and her husband have struggled to find employment due to the stigma surrounding the case. He currently works as a custodian at a church in Ottawa, but ongoing restrictions on his mobile phone and computer use has made that work more difficult, she added.

"It feels absurd. It's really Kafkaesque," said Tim McSorley, national coordinator at the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, an advocacy organisation in Ottawa, about the security certificates system. McSorley explained that security certificates are "applied as an anti-terrorism tool and because of that they are done in a large degree of secrecy".
The accused in these cases are "not being charged with a crime, they're not going to a criminal court, they don't have the same rights to defend themselves", he told Al Jazeera. [...] Harkat's lawyer, Barbara Jackman, told Al Jazeera she filed for a judicial review of his deportation order in November 2018. But the federal court still has not received all the information on which the government based its removal decision, she said, and without the complete record, it is unclear when the case will proceed. Jackman described the government's behaviour in Harkat's case as "perverse". "I think it's just face-saving," she said, about why she believes the government has not dropped the case. "I think that they spent so much money and invested so much in it that they can't be seen as saying, 'OK, this isn't well founded'… I think it's perverse in terms of what they're doing and how long they've been doing it."

Harkat's supporters have raised serious concerns that he could be tortured in Algeria should Canada follow through with his deportation. On December 10, human rights groups, unions and concerned Canadians sent a letter to the new public safety minister, Bill Blair, to ask for him to intervene to prevent Harkat's removal from the country. They said Canada would be putting Harkat's life in danger should it deport him to Algeria, which has a poor human rights record and where anti-government protests have been held regularly over the last year. [...] For her part, Harkat's wife, Sophie, said it has been "extremely frustrating because the minister just has to sign a piece of paper and we can just move on with our lives". She said she prefers not to think about the possibility that her husband could be sent to Algeria. "Mo lives with that cloud every day over his head - constant. And he still has nightmares about it. I'm somewhat in denial; I don't want to discuss this," she told Al Jazeera. "If the government sends him back, they'll have blood on their hands." Read more - Lire plus

Hassan Diab and family suing federal government for $90 million over failed terrorism probe
CBC 13/01/2020 - Hassan Diab and his family are suing the federal government over the role Canada played in his extradition to France and years of imprisonment in a French jail — the results of a terrorism probe that ultimately fell apart due to weak evidence. In a notice of action filed with the Ontario Superior Court, Diab, his wife Rania Tfaily and their two young children seek $90 million in damages. Diab, a 66-year-old Ottawa university lecturer, was accused by French authorities of involvement in a 1980 bombing outside a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured more than 40. Diab was arrested by RCMP in November 2008 and placed under strict bail conditions until he was extradited to France in 2014. Diab was never charged — but he spent more than three years in near-solitary confinement while France investigated his alleged involvement in the terror attack.

The lawsuit accuses the government, Department of Justice lawyers and Rob Nicholson, who served as justice minister under then-prime minister Stephen Harper, of negligence, malicious prosecution, deceit and abuse of process. Diab and his family are not commenting on the lawsuit. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice would only say officials are "looking into this matter." The legal action represents an abrupt change of strategy for Diab and his family, who have said all along they didn't want financial compensation. Their longstanding public demands have been for a judge-led public inquiry into Diab's case and reform of Canada's extradition law. The tipping point seems to be the findings of an department-ordered review of Diab's case by former deputy attorney general of Ontario Murray Segal. Segal concluded government lawyers acted ethically and followed proper procedures in extraditing him to France. Diab accused the federal government of perpetrating a "whitewash" by hiring Segal to perform the review instead of appointing a judge to hold a public inquiry with full power to subpoena evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

Diab boycotted this review, arguing its scope was too narrow and it appeared to be nothing more than a "concerted damage-control effort." "It's a one-sided report. Its purpose is not to provide accountability. Its purpose is to absolve the Department of Justice of any accountability, and to shield senior officials at the department of any accountability," Diab said last July. In the notice of claim, Diab seeks $50 million in compensation for himself for malicious prosecution, breaches of his charter rights and punitive damages. His wife and their two young children seek a total of $40 million for intentional infliction of emotional distress, breaches of charter rights and punitive damages. Numerous problems with France's case against Diab were evident during the extradition hearings, while others were revealed by CBC News after Diab returned to Canada. [...] "My suffering and that of my family was prolonged by senior officials at the Department of Justice," Diab said last July. "I trusted the government's promise that what happened to me would never happen to anyone else." Read more - Lire plus
Boy at forefront of 'no-fly list' fight flagged again, redress system not expected until late 2020
CBC 14/12/2019 - A 10-year-old boy at the forefront of a fight to solve the problem of innocent Canadians ending up on the so called no-fly list has once again found himself red-flagged — and the federal government now says a solution isn't expected until late 2020. Adam Ahmed was just six years old when he was stopped at Toronto's Pearson International Airport while travelling with his father to a hockey game to see his beloved Montreal Canadiens — and flagged as a possible security threat. Nearly four years later, it's happened again — again on the way to see the Habs — with the government now saying a redress system isn't expected to be operational until late next year.

That's news to Ahmed's mother, Khadija Cajee, who said the government had previously told her family a system would be in place in June of next year. "It's definitely not what we want to hear, but as they know by now, we're not going anywhere," Cajee said. "We just try to deal with it as best we can and keep the pressure up." Since Ahmed's story first made headlines in 2016, he and his parents — along with dozens of other families — have been actively pushing for a redress system for those falsely flagged on the controversial list, which is built on names rather than on unique identifiers such as dates of birth or passport numbers. That fight even included an eight-year-old Adam, dressed in his best suit and sneakers, attending a closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill two years ago to push for the system to become a reality. 

Canada's so-called no-fly list — officially called the Specified Persons List under the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) — dates back to 2007. The government said at the time it contained around 2,000 names. But recent research by a pair of University of Western Ontario students suggests the number of people flagged is closer to 100,000. When Adam's name came up on the list again Saturday, his father took to Twitter in frustration. [...] Adam's mother said she's looking forward to working with the new [Public Safety] minister, but that change can't come soon enough. "It's just absolutely ridiculous that you know children continue to be flagged in this way," she said. "It's been four years that we've been advocating on it, but it's been 10 years since my son has been on this list and 12 years since it was implemented. So I think that's long enough," said Cajee. Read more - Lire plus

Canada's long history of criminalizing Indigenous resistance 14/01/2020 - The supposed impartiality of state institutions and international human rights obligations towards Indigenous land defenders are crucial elements in making space for peace. This is coming to the fore after the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation recently evicted TC Energy/Coastal GasLink from their territory in British Columbia. The hereditary chiefs have not given their free, prior and informed consent to the construction of the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline on their lands. On January 7, the Canadian Press  reported  that the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination had called for the RCMP and other security and police to withdraw from Wet'suwet'en traditional lands. On January 8, the RCMP  stated , "We want to emphasize that we are impartial in this dispute and our priority is to facilitate a dialogue between the various stakeholders involved. We remain hopeful that these efforts will result in a resolution." That statement from the RCMP merits examination.

On January 7, 2019, heavily armed RCMP officers raided the Gidimt'en checkpoint situated within the Wet'suwet'en Nation. By January 10, the hereditary chiefs said they would open the Unist'ot'en checkpoint to avoid further police violence. The Guardian subsequently reported , "Canadian police were prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia… The RCMP commanders also instructed officers to 'use as much violence toward the gate as you want'… The RCMP were [also] prepared to arrest children and grandparents…"
This despite, the article notes, police intelligence reporting "no single threat indicating that [land defenders] will use firearms." Bruce McIvor, principal of First Peoples Law Corporation, has  commented , "The sight of heavily-armed RCMP officers scaling the checkpoint and forcibly subduing Indigenous people shakes and threatens constitutional legal principles painstakingly developed through a series of Supreme Court of Canada decisions including Calder (1973), Delgamuukw (1997), Marshall/Bernard (2005) and Tsilhqot'in (2014)." Read more - Lire plus

Reporter's Charter rights not violated, mischief trial to proceed, judge rules
CBC 17/12/2019 - A judge has ruled that reporter Justin Brake's Charter rights have not been violated and the criminal charge of mischief against him will proceed. Brake was charged with mischief over $5,000, after he entered the Muskrat Falls site to cover a protest that shut down work at the site in the fall of 2016. 

In November, Brake's lawyer, Geoff Budden, argued for a stay of proceedings under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At the time, Budden noted that civil charges Brake was facing were dismissed earlier this year by Supreme Court Justice Derek Green. "Given the findings of Justice Green on the appeal of the contempt matter, where he made very clear findings that Mr. Brake was not doing anything on the site other than covering a story, in those circumstances to run a mischief trial would be to ... unfairly subject, not just Mr. Brake but the entire administration of justice to this lengthy, unnecessary matter that couldn't reasonable result in a conviction," Budden argued in court in early November.

But on Tuesday, Judge Phyllis Harris said that appeal court decision "does not have the effect of determining the outcome of criminal trial for mischief." "Mr. Brake has not demonstrated that his Charter rights are being violated as a result of continued prosecution," she said. Brake, who was working for the Independent, an online news site, in October 2016, entered the work site alongside a large group voicing concerns about the project. They occupied the site for several days, work was stopped and workers were sent home. When it comes to the criminal charge against Brake, Budden has previously said, "We're rather baffled that [the Crown] would feel it's in the public interest to proceed with this charge." 

Crown prosecutor Stephen Anstey had previously argued he did not have to prove that Brake wilfully obstructed work, only that what he did had the effect of obstructing work on the site. "Mere presence on the property, depending on the character or location, may or may not constitute an obstruction, interruption or interference," Anstey told the judge in November. A date for the trial will be set on Jan. 15 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Read more - Lire plus
CBSA broke law with digital device searches, privacy watchdog says
The Toronto Star 07/01/2020 - Canada’s border agency violated the law by carrying out unduly invasive searches of personal digital devices, in one case viewing a traveller’s social media and online banking information, an investigation by the federal privacy watchdog has found. Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien looked into complaints against the Canada Border Services Agency concerning the examination of devices, such as cellphones, tablets and laptop computers, at ports of entry. Therrien found the border agency contravened federal law and noted significant shortcomings in the agency’s overall practices related to digital devices.

Border officers cannot routinely examine such devices, and can only proceed in the event a number of indicators suggest a search would produce evidence of illegal activities.
Such signs could include a traveller’s behaviour, the way they answer a question, coding on a suitcase that doesn’t match the person’s itinerary or the fact a ticket was purchased at the last minute. Therrien examined six complaints from Canadian citizens whose devices were searched upon returning home from abroad. Border officers accessed content including documents, text messages, photographs and, in one case, content on Facebook and banking details. “Digital devices clearly contain vast amounts of personal, and sometimes sensitive, information about identifiable individuals,” the privacy commissioner’s investigation report says. The commissioner accepts that border officers can search electronic documents stored on a device but not information that can be accessed remotely via an internet connection. As a result, officers are supposed to disable connectivity before examining a device.

Therrien found:
— Connectivity was not disabled — for instance, by switching a device to airplane mode — in at least four of the six cases;
— In one case, an officer improperly took photos of the content on the complainant’s phone;
— Certain information relating to examination of the complainants’ digital devices was destroyed in two cases despite the fact the Privacy Act and regulations require that such material be kept for at least two years;
— In all six cases, officers failed to record the indicators that led to searches of the digital devices, which areas of the devices were accessed or why those areas were searched. Read more - Lire plus
'I'm appalled': Lawyers alarmed as Ottawa gives more powers to U.S. border officers at Canadian airports
CBC 17/01/2020 - Concerns are mounting over added powers Ottawa has granted U.S. customs officers to strip-search, question and detain U.S.-bound travellers — on Canadian soil. The changes are part of Canada's new preclearance act, which the federal government says will enhance border security and make travel to the U.S. easier. But Pantea Jafari, an Iranian-Canadian immigration lawyer, fears it could make travel more difficult for her. That's because the act gives U.S. customs officers in Canada broader interrogation powers — at a time when the U.S. has toughened its stance on immigration and has increasingly hostile relations with Iran.

"I will not allow a border officer to have access to me and have unfettered right to question me to no end," said Jafari, who's based in Toronto and serves many Iranian clients. Since the preclearance act took effect in August, she has stopped travelling to the U.S. and says the country's current standoff with Iran has only strengthened her resolve. 
"My concerns of going to the U.S. have now 100 times increased." Canada's new preclearance act overrides a previous agreement with the United States that allowed travellers to clear U.S. customs in preclearance zones at Canadian airports, before flying across the border.  Eight major Canadian airports already have preclearance areas — and the new act paves the way for more zones involving all modes of transport. [...]

While they don't dispute the benefits of preclearance, some immigration lawyers claim the new act could jeopardize Canadian rights. The big concern is that American preclearance officers could now further interrogate Canadians who withdraw their application to enter the U.S., perhaps because they feel uncomfortable during a customs inspection. Previously, law-abiding travellers  could simply leave and return home , because they were still on Canadian soil. Now they could be detained — even handed over to Canadian authorities to face charges — for refusing to answer questions about why they're withdrawing. "You say, 'I think you're racially profiling me and I'm offended. I don't want to go to your country, I want to leave,'" said Calgary-based immigration lawyer Michael Greene. "[U.S. officers are] entitled to examine those reasons and if they think you're not being truthful, they're entitled to detain you." [...] Immigration lawyers are also concerned that under the new act, U.S. preclearance officers can now strip-search Canadian travellers. Read more - Lire plus

How the Prosecution of Animal Rights Activists as Terrorists Foretold Today’s Criminalization of Dissent
The Intercept 12/12/2019 - “You see the train coming, but it hits you anyway,” said animal rights activist Josh Harper. “They just went down the list and it was ‘guilty as charged,’ ‘guilty as charged,’ ‘guilty as charged’ — every defendant, every count.” This is how, in the new documentary film “The Animal People,” Harper describes learning that he and his five co-defendants had been convicted on terrorism charges by a federal jury in 2006 for their involvement in animal rights struggle. The train was an apt metaphor for a case in which the government’s approach was indeed as grimly predictable as a commuter rail schedule, but nonetheless delivered a violent and shocking blow to the defendants, their movement, and those who believed in free speech rights in this country.

The convicted activists were members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, known as SHAC, a decentralized animal rights movement that spread across the U.K. and U.S. from the late 1990s into the mid-2000s. The movement took aim at the notorious animal testing lab company Huntingdon Life Sciences, which did contract work for corporations. SHAC organized a potent direct-action campaign, which, at a number of points, threatened to shutter the huge testing corporation by driving investors to disaffiliate and divest. The tactics were diverse, from spreading information on animal cruelty, to holding demonstrations, to the occasional act of property damage. In response to SHAC activity, the FBI in 2005 deemed the animal liberation movement to be America’s No. 1 domestic terrorism threat . This, despite the fact that not a single human or animal was injured by SHAC activity in the country.

“The Animal People,” which is available on demand as of this week, focuses on the story of Harper and his co-defendants, all of whom were convicted under spurious charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism — though none of whom were found to have participated directly in any illegal acts. These were activists who attended raucous but legal protests, shared publicly available information about corporations on their website, and celebrated and supported militant actions taken in the name of the SHAC campaign. That is, they were convicted as terrorists for speech activity. Read more - Lire plus
Australia's Leader Called For A Crackdown On Environmentalists Before Fires Broke Out
Buzzfeed 17/01/2020 - Just weeks before unprecedented wildfires broke out across Australia, killing an estimated 1 billion animals, the prime minister declared that the country faced a terrible threat: environmental protesters. “A new breed of radical activism is on the march,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a November speech. He added that there was a “place for peaceful protests,” but he wasn’t going to stand for environmentalists obstructing and delaying mining projects or calling for boycotts of banks that finance the country’s coal industry. He promised to find a way to “successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians.”

The wildfire crisis began — and Morrison went on vacation in Hawaii — before the prime minister could advance any anti-protest measures, but he wasn’t making an idle threat. State lawmakers had already passed a new law targeting environmental protesters, which allows officers to search activists without a warrant and criminalizes the use of locking devices that make it hard for police to remove protesters during a sit-in. This fell short of what some state lawmakers from Morrison’s ruling coalition had hoped; they had also proposed prison sentences for people arrested more than once during protests. Morrison’s promise to quell environmental protesters in Australia is part of a global trend. Being an environmentalist has long been dangerous — at least 164 activists worldwide were killed in 2018, according to the NGO Global Witness . Many more were threatened, arrested, or slapped with lawsuits by corporations hoping to tie them up in court. As the climate crisis intensifies, so are environmental protests. And many places — even countries with strong free-speech protections — are increasingly casting environmental activists as a new kind of extremist and using broader powers to punish and marginalize them.

Almost 100 prosecutions were documented worldwide against environmentalists or activists defending community land rights from corporate interests last year by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. Ana Zbona, a project manager at the center, told BuzzFeed News that such prosecutions were most common in countries like Peru, Russia, and the Philippines, but said it was rapidly becoming more common in the US. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in Nicaragua or the US, powerful people want to stop you. And the government is prepared to help,” said Carla Garcia Zendejas, director of the people, land, and resources program at the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington. “And they don't just use brute force — governments use the rule of law and create the legitimate legal backing to put people in jail because you’ve equated environmental protesters with terrorists.” Read more - Lire plus
Revealed: US listed climate activist group as ‘extremists’ alongside mass killers
The Guardian 13/01/2020 - A group of US environmental activists engaged in non-violent civil disobedience targeting the oil industry have been listed in internal Department of Homeland Security documents as “extremists” and some of its members listed alongside white nationalists and mass killers, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The group have been dubbed the Valve Turners, after closing the valves on pipelines in four states carrying crude oil from Canada’s tar sands on 11 October 2016 which accounted for about 15% of US daily consumption. It was described as the largest coordinated action of its kind and for a few hours the oil stopped flowing. The five climate activists, members of Climate Direct Action, cut their way through fencing and turned the valves. The activists notified the energy companies whose pipelines were being disrupted and posted videos of their protest online and waited patiently to be arrested.

They have since been dubbed the “Valve Turners”, profiled in the New York Times magazine and featured in a recent documentary titled The Reluctant Radical. Their trials have also tested the willingness of courts to allow climate activists to make use of the necessity defense – the idea that a criminal action is justified if it helps to prevent greater future harm – as part of a legal strategy. But the group’s actions attracted the attention of the DHS. In a recent intelligence bulletin evaluating domestic terrorism threats between 2018 and 2020, the department included the Valve Turners and described the group as “suspected environmental rights extremists”. The document also listed two of the group’s members alongside violent white supremacists and other extremists who have engaged in mass killings, including the man behind the racist 2015 slaying of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Read more - Lire plus
Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and many non-violent groups included with neo-Nazis on UK counter-terror list
The Guardian 09/12/2019 - A counter-terrorism police document distributed to medical staff and teachers as part of anti-extremism briefings included Greenpeace , Peta and other non-violent groups as well as neo-Nazis, the Guardian has learned. The guide, produced by Counter Terrorism Policing, is used across England as part of training for Prevent, the anti-radicalisation scheme designed to catch those at risk of committing terrorist violence. Last week, police said documents uncovered by the Guardian that listed the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion (XR) alongside far-right extremists and jihadists were a local error.

But the list of groups viewed as a potential concern contained in the new 24-page document includes Extinction Rebellion. It also includes Greenpeace – among whose supporters are Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Gillian Anderson and Joanna Lumley – and the ocean pollution campaigners Sea Shepherd, whose supporters include Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan. Also included is Stop the Badger Cull, which is backed by Sir Brian May, the Queen guitarist. They appear alongside a number of extremist rightwing groups including Combat 18 and the National Front, as well as National Action, which has been banned for terrorist violence. The last page of an accompanying visual guide seen by the Guardian advises people to report “any concerns identified via this document” using an online portal for reporting suspicious activity that is operated by Counter Terrorism Policing under the slogan: “Action counters terrorism”. Read more - Lire plus

Take it from Britain's Muslims, it's not Extinction Rebellion that's the problem, it's Prevent
The New Arab 16/01/2020 - The 12 page guide issued by police included a profile on the non-violent group, calling it a threat due its "anti-establishment philosophy", and warning readers - police officers and teachers who are legally obliged to report 'signs of extremism' - to be on the lookout for people speaking, "in strong or emotive terms about environmental issues". 

The backlash that ensued led to the document to be recalled and figures from Keir Starmer, a candidate for the next Labour Party leadership, to Sir Peter Fahy, a previous head of Prevent, to publicly condemn the decision and Home Secretary, Priti Patel's, defence of it. Police declared the decision to include the group a mistake, and commentators on social media spoke out against the danger for climate change activists and the responsibility of Johnson's government. But this discussion has - for the most part - ignored the heart of the matter; it is not XR's addition to the extremist list which is the problem here, but the Prevent scheme itself. Also overlooked is the fact that Prevent cannot be laid at Johnson's door alone, as it has been in place for nearly 15 years. Why, after so much criticism, does the scheme exist? The answer will be an uncomfortable one for many; until now, it has focused primarily on children from a Muslim and ethnic minority background.

Prevent was launched in 2006 under the New Labour government as one of the four strands of the counter-terrorism strategy 'Contest'. Since then, it has been widely condemned for being both ineffective in its mission to combat extremism, and discriminatory towards Muslim children and young people in particular, encouraging a climate of distrust and suspicion in state institutions. Students have protested the implementation of Prevent in universities, and highlighted how it targets a marginalised group of students who already face discrimination on campus. The state-backed racism it promotes sends the disturbing message that all young Muslims need to be watched, for fear of radicalisation.

In 2016, the National Union of Teachers voted in favour of scrapping Prevent, and speakers voiced the need to "Stop education professionals being the secret service of the public sector." A secret database run by counter-terrorism police with sensitive and personal information on citizens as young as primary school children is still in place, even though only 1 in 10 reported radicalisation cases has resulted in specialist support. Despite this policing and reporting being a long and painful experience for Muslim communities, many have seemed to approach the scheme as being a necessary evil for battling "extremism," a term that is open to interpretation and individual prejudice, since it has not been defined by law.

It's no wonder then, that Muslim children are disproportionately targeted, when studies show 31 percent of the British public believes Islam to be a threat to the British way of life. Extinction Rebellion had a brief appearance in Prevent's guide to reporting extremist ideology, and the decision was quickly reversed when it came under criticism. In contrast, after over a decade of the scheme targeting Muslims and other minorities, as well as trade unions, teachers, charities and students calling for the scheme's closure, it's still seen as a legitimate use of police force. To understand the reasoning behind this, it is worth looking at XR's track record when it comes to people of colour . The activist group, in a reflection of the environmental sector as a whole, demonstrably lacks inclusion of black and brown activists. 

Its core strategy - to sacrifice activists to arrest - ignores the reality for ethnic minorities in Britain; more than half of young people in British prisons are from a BAME background . Black and ethnic minority young people do not have the luxury of seeking out arrest to protest, safe in the knowledge they will be treated fairly by the system. The public outcry over the treatment of XR and not other activist groups and children is a chilling reminder of this. Prevent's targeting of XR is not an  "error of judgement" but the result of a racist and oppressive scheme that has been allowed to reign unchecked through five successive governments. It has been largely ignored because until now it has only affected ethnic minorities and Muslims. As others have argued, the governments's counter terrorism strategy is heading in a more aggressive and broader direction as it targets the "far-left" and "anti-imperialism" under the wider bracket of "hateful extremism". This, as with radicalisation with British Muslims, is easily stereotyped. How do we protect our communities against this? By protesting the scheme as a whole. Read more - Lire plus
Targeted killings via drone becoming 'normalised' – report
The Guardian 19/01/2020 - Targeted assassinations via drone strikes, such as the killing of Iran’s Qassem Suleimani, have become progressively normalised with the help of official secrecy, government propaganda and some uncritical press coverage, according to a report.

In The Frame, published by pressure group Drone Wars , concludes that “an easy narrative for targeted killing” had been constructed by the UK and the US during the conflict with Islamic State, where several high-profile individuals were killed by drones and the existence of a British “kill list” emerged. Chris Cole, the director of Drone Wars, said it helped reinforce the justifications for the US assassination of Suleimani, the leader of the Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, earlier this month.

“It is surely unarguable now that drones have enabled and normalised a culture of targeted killing which is eroding international law norms and making the world a more dangerous place,” Cole said. He argued the recent strike could usher in a violent “new era in drone warfare”. Read more - Lire plus

A Torturer Meets His Victims: CIA Psychologist Defends Brutal Methods at Guantánamo Military Hearing
DemocracyNow! 22/01/2020 - On Tuesday, the psychologist identified as the “architect” of the CIA’s torture program testified for the first time to the war court at Guantánamo Bay. James Mitchell was in the courtroom for a pretrial hearing for five 9/11 suspects who had been subject to torture, euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen, were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the agency’s most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation.

At the hearing, Mitchell reportedly told defense lawyers he only came to Guantánamo to testify in person before the families of the 9/11 victims, and at one point told the torture survivors, “You folks have been saying untrue and malicious things about me and Dr. Jessen for years.” In 2014, James Mitchell confirmed to Vice News that he personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Earlier this month, protesters marked the 18th anniversary of Guantánamo by donning orange jumpsuits and lining up in front of the White House. They later held a mock funeral at Trump International Hotel for those who died at the U.S. detention facility. We speak with Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Read more - Lire plus

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It
The New York Times 18/01/2020 - Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow hair on their own photos. Then Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.

His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants. Read more - Lire plus

The Privacy Project: Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy
The New York Times 19 /12/2019 - Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files. The Times Privacy Project obtained one such file, by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists. It holds more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Each piece of information in this file represents the precise location of a single smartphone over a period of several months in 2016 and 2017. The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so. The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.

After spending months sifting through the data, tracking the movements of people across the country and speaking with dozens of data companies, technologists, lawyers and academics who study this field, we feel the same sense of alarm. In the cities that the data file covers, it tracks people from nearly every neighborhood and block, whether they live in mobile homes in Alexandria, Va., or luxury towers in Manhattan.
One search turned up more than a dozen people visiting the Playboy Mansion, some overnight. Without much effort we spotted visitors to the estates of Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, connecting the devices’ owners to the residences indefinitely. If you lived in one of the cities the dataset covers and use apps that share your location — anything from weather apps to local news apps to coupon savers — you could be in there, too. If you could see the full trove, you might never use your phone the same way again.

The data reviewed by Times Opinion didn’t come from a telecom or giant tech company, nor did it come from a governmental surveillance operation. It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps. You’ve probably never heard of most of the companies — and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist’s office or a massage parlor. The Times and other news organizations have reported on smartphone tracking in the past. But never with a data set so large. Even still, this file represents just a small slice of what’s collected and sold every day by the location tracking industry — surveillance so omnipresent in our digital lives that it now seems impossible for anyone to avoid. 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.

Justice Dies in the Darkness: Hassan Diab
Group of 78 Luncheon Speaker Series
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 12:00 p.m. 
Palais Imperial Restaurant, 311- 313 Dalhousie St., Ottawa
$30 for luncheon and presentation (12:00 p.m.)
$5 for presentation only (arrive 12:45 p.m. Coffee and tea will be available)
RESERVATIONS: , 613-565-9449 ext. 22 or Eventbrite
Join us for Lunch RSVP by Friday, January 24, 2020, at 12:00 p.m., presentation only participants are welcome to walk in, seating is on a first-come first-serve basis.

Prof. Diab will focus on the repercussions of the little known oppressive Canadian Extradition Law. He will talk about the absence of any legal protection (due process included) against that “rubber stamp Law” and provide his view of the dire price that anyone accused would pay. Tickets - Billets
Send a letter opposing cameras in the ByWard Market
Send a letter in support of CAMS Ottawa's response to Mayor Watson. While we share concerns about ongoing violence in the Market, installing surveillance cameras is not an appropriate solution. The very premise that CCTV can deter violent crime is highly doubtful. Video surveillance also raise significant concerns regarding the treatment of marginalized members of our community. We urge you to take the above problems and the following evidence into consideration and reconsider implementing such an ineffective, costly, and intrusive system.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Privacy and surveillance
Vie privée et surveillance

Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
to our amazing supporters!
We would like to thank all our member organizations, and our patrons who are supporting ICLMG on Patreon ! As a reward, we are listing our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without you, our work wouldn't be possible!

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