Author Archives: ICLMG CSILC

We did it! What now?

It’s been a busy summer, but we wanted to take some time to reflect both on what we’ve accomplished over the past year, as well as the important work that still needs to be done – hopefully with your help!

THE VICTORIES

  • The results of the federal government’s national security consultation were unequivocally in favour of our positions.
  • The government plans on creating a new overarching review agency for all national security activities – something we have advocated for since 2006.
  • The government has finally settled multiple cases with torture victims. The ICLMG, along with other human rights groups, campaigned alongside these survivors for several years.
  • Citizenship equality was restored with the adoption of Bill C-6; the ICLMG was one of the first organizations to speak out when the Conservative government weakened citizenship in 2014.

For more details, check out our Achievements and Gains page!

With continuous support, we could secure many more victories! This is why we created a page on Patreon. Patreon is a platform where people can support people and organizations in exchange for rewards so they can do their work sustainably and freely without having to rely on corporate sponsors. You can give as little as $1 per month (that’s just $12 per year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. We hope you’ll become an ICLMG patron and support our work!

THE WORK AHEAD

While we have had successes, there are still major challenges ahead, and we have our work cut out for us.

The Trudeau government has presented Bill C-59 as their way to fix the tremendous problems caused by the dangerous and useless Anti-terrorism Act of 2015 (also known as Bill C-51). But C-59 is a complex omnibus bill that will bring in a wide array of changes. To fully grasp what’s in it, we need to do a full analysis and work with other experts across the country. What is clear already though: C-59 does not repeal Bill C-51, and even proposes to give new powers to Canada’s spy agencies.

We need your help to ensure Bill C-59 will protect our human rights!

Beyond C-59, we will continue our work on several other campaigns, including:

  • The release of Hassan Diab from jail in France
  • Justice for Mohamed Harkat who risks deportation to torture
  • The removal of the torture memos
  • A public inquiry into Canada’s role in the torture of Afghan detainees
  • The protection of privacy and bodily integrity at the border
  • Ending the no-fly list and the “terrorist” entities list
  • Analyzing the impact of “counter-radicalization” plans on our rights
  • Protecting freedom of expression, freedom of the press and the right to dissent, and more.

We do not receive any funding from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties so we need your support to continue our work. If you’d rather not use Patreon, or would prefer to make a one-time donation, click on the button below.
Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 5.28.07 PMThank you for your investment in protecting our civil liberties!

Anne & Tim

VIDEO: Guantanamo meets Hollywood: The case of Ammar al Baluchi

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Amidst speculation about whether the new US administration will move to fill up Guantanamo’s cells rather than close it down for good, the case of Ammar al Baluchi illustrates everything that is wrong with the ongoing detention and trial regime. Raashid Williams, Ammar Al-Baluchi’s defense counsel, was in Ottawa to discuss Al-Baluchi’s case and the human rights issues around Guantanamo Bay prison.

The talk taught us a lot about the kafkaesque universe of Guantanamo – it will blow you away!

If you were unable to attend, we have filmed the presentation and the following Q&A. Please share in your networks so that people are informed of what is happening in Gitmo!

The presentation was co-sponsored by the ICLMG, Octopus Books, and Amnesty International.


About Raashid Williams:

Maj. Raashid Williams is defense counsel for one of Guantánamo’s “high value” detainees Ammar Al-Baluchi.

About Ammar al Baluchi:

“The result of over classification is that my memories are classified, my thoughts are classified, my pain and suffering is classified, my post torture (post trauma) symptoms are classified.” Ammar al Baluchi, December 2015

Taken into custody in Pakistan in April 2003, Ammar al Baluchi was subjected to enforced disappearance in secret CIA custody until he was transferred to Guantánamo in early September 2006. He currently faces an unfair trial before the military commission for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks. During his three and a half years in CIA custody he was held in a number of locations, the identity of which remain classified Top Secret. The countries in which “black sites” operated by the CIA were located during the time that Ammar al Baluchi was in CIA custody are believed to have included Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, Morocco, and Lithuania.

While the details about his treatment in CIA custody were withheld from Ammar’s legal team, they may have been shared by the CIA with the makers of the 2012 Hollywood film, Zero Dark Thirty. A draft CIA document released under Freedom of Information Act notes that the film “includes several interrogation scenes the first of which is an interrogation of a character who is modelled after Ammar al-Baluchi”. As an article in Time Magazine put it in 2013, “the first 25 or so minutes of the film are largely taken up with torture: Ammar is strung up, beaten, waterboarded and kept awake for 96 hours straight”. According to the scriptwriter’s initial email contact with the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, “we intend to make accuracy and authenticity hallmarks of the production, for we believe that this is one of those rare instances where truth really is more interesting than fiction”. The matter is currently before US courts.

About Guantanamo:

There are 41 detainees still in Guantánamo. Five are cleared for transfer to third countries while over 20 remain in the legal limbo of continued indefinite wartime detention.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties.

You can become our patron on Patreon and get rewards in exchange for your support. You can give as little as $1/month (that’s only $12/year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.panel-54141172-image-6fa93d06d6081076-320-320You can also make a one-time donation or donate monthly via Paypal by clicking on the button below. On the fence about giving? Check out our Achievements and Gains since we were created in 2002. Thank you for your generosity!
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Government must take action on shocking, disturbing allegations of discrimination and racism within ranks of CSIS: civil liberties coalition

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The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), a coalition of more than 40 organizations across Canada, is expressing extreme concern over the shocking allegations of Islamophobia, homophobia, racism and sexism in the workplace brought by five Canadian Security and Intelligence Service employees.

The coalition is calling on the Liberal government to open an immediate investigation to examine both these allegations, as well as a possible culture of intolerance at the spy agency. The allegations have not been proven in court, but are grave enough that the government should be proactive in investigating.

“These allegations are shocking beyond belief. This includes the fact that it appears that once the harassment was reported, the employees were not taken seriously,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator at the ICLMG. “The government must make sure there is complete transparency and accountability over these allegations.”

In their statement of claim, the five CSIS employees allege a litany of workplace harassment based on religion, race, gender and sexual orientation. These allegations include:

  • A manager yelling that, “all Muslims are terrorists.”
  • A Muslim intelligence officer facing scrutiny about how she could carry out her duties after she started wearing the hijab, and asked to report her activities in the Muslim community (including attending her mosque).
  • A colleague telling a gay employee whose partner is Muslim, “Careful your Muslim in-laws don’t behead you in your sleep for being homo.”
  • A manager writing to a gay employee in an email, “Hey tapette, you’re just a fag hiding in you little corner sobbing
  • The service’s first female Black intelligence officer claiming she was told, “it’s people like you the Service likes to promote.”

For more than a decade, ICLMG and its members have raised concerns about CSIS’ attitude towards Muslim and Arab communities, alleging that these communities were unduly targeted by the spy agency for surveillance and questioning.

These allegations also come as the public is questioning the trustworthiness of CSIS. A recent report on the government’s 2016 consultation on national security pointed to a “growing level of distrust in key institutions involved in national security and law enforcement.”

“The latest allegations speak not only to concerns about CSIS’ workplace culture, but also to the beliefs and attitudes brought to their work as the country’s spy agency,” said McSorley. “This concern is compounded by the fact that governments continue to grant CSIS more and more powers.”

In 2015, CSIS was granted broad powers of “disruption” on top of its traditional surveillance role. While the proposed Bill C-59 attempts to regulate some of those powers, they remain on the books until any reforms are passed.

“The ICLMG has long been concerned about the transparency and accountability of CSIS,” said McSorley. “While the government has recently made moves to rectify the situation, the ongoing ‘culture of secrecy’ pointed to in the statement of claims makes it impossible to know for sure what is happening at the spy agency.”

The allegations made by CSIS employees should be of concern to all Canadians, not just those communities allegedly derided, said McSorley. “How can an agency been trusted to protect the security of Canadians’ if, as the statement of claim describes, managers harass and discriminate openly in the workplace?”

The coalition is asking that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and the Liberal government act to shed a light on these allegations, and calling on Canadians to let their MPs know that they expect action. “Speaking up about these issues cannot be left to Muslim, LGBTQI and Black communities,” said McSorley. “When these kinds of issues arise, all Canadians must speak out.”

Read the full statement of claim here: https://www.scribd.com/document/353767258/CSIS-harassment-lawsuit-statement-of-claim#from_embed

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