News from ICLMG

Book Launch: Big Data Surveillance and Security Intelligence: The Canadian Case

ICLMG’s National Coordinator Tim McSorley and Communications & Research Coordinator Anne Dagenais Guertin have contributed a chapter to the recently published book “Big Data Surveillance and Security Intelligence: The Canadian Case”. Our chapter is entitled: Confronting Big Data: Popular Resistance to Government Surveillance in Canada since 2001.

Purchase a physical copy or the ebook at UBC Press today!

Table of contents 

Book description

Reviews


Big Data Surveillance Book Launch featuring ICLMG’s National Coordinator Tim McSorley

Watch the recorded panel by clicking here and entering the following passcode: u#UY3+2T

You will need a Zoom account to watch it. ICLMG’s Tim McSorley’s presentation starts at the 33 minute mark.

The Centre for Research on Security Practices, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Surveillance Studies Centre, Queens University co-hosted the above virtual book launch and panel discussion on the book, “Big Data Surveillance and Security Intelligence: The Canadian Case”. In this virtual book launch, chapter contributors and editors will share their research findings, field questions and discuss the relevance of their work in the present COVID-19 environment.

Panelists include:
David Lyon – Professor, Queen’s University
David Murakami Wood – Associate Professor, Queen’s University
Andrew Clement – Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
Tim McSorley – National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Midori Ogasawara – Assistant Professor, University of Victoria
Chris Parsons – Senior Research Associate, Citizen Lab
Scott Thompson – Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan

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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Open letter to federal leaders: Do not expand anti-terrorism laws in the name of anti-racism

This letter was originally sent on Feb. 22, 2021, to the leaders of the five political parties represented in the House of Commons, signed by 175 individuals and organizations with expertise in anti-racism, law, and/or human rights. We are still accepting signatures to the statement. If you or your organization would like to be added, please click here to fill out the form.

February 22, 2021

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

The Honourable Erin O’Toole
Leader of the Opposition
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Jagmeet Singh
Leader of the New Democratic Party
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Yves-François Blanchet
Leader of the Bloc Québécois
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Annamie Paul
Leader of the Green Party
Green Party of Canada
812-116 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G3

Via email

Re: Use of anti-terrorism laws to combat racism and white supremacism

Prime Minister Trudeau, Mr. O’Toole, Mr. Singh, M. Blanchet and Ms. Paul,

As organizations and individuals with expertise in anti-racism, law, and/or human rights, we write to express our deep concern about the use of anti-terrorism powers to address the threat of White supremacism.

The growth, proliferation, and emboldening of White supremacist and far-right groups across Canada – numbering more than 300, according to one recent academic count[i] – is alarming, and urgently requires a strong response. We applaud and support the intention to condemn White supremacism communicated by the recent addition of the Proud Boys, Atomwaffen, the Base, and the Russian Imperial Movement to the terrorist entities list. However, the entrenchment and expansion of problematic anti-terrorism tools threatens to further intensify racism, rather than alleviate it.

Serious issues with Canada’s terrorist listing procedure identified by civil liberties groups, lawyers, and legal academics include: the imposition of serious financial and possibly criminal consequences on the basis of unaccountable executive listing decisions; the use of secret evidence; the likelihood of false positives; and the absence of adequate avenues for challenging listings and obtaining redress. This is exacerbated by the seizure of assets, making legal counsel difficult if not impossible to retain.[ii]

These shortcomings and the need for a substantive overhaul of the listing procedure were highlighted by many experts and advocates when Bill C-36, the Anti-Terrorism Act, was debated and adopted twenty years ago, and have been consistently pressed over the years since.

As University of Toronto Law Professor and noted national security expert Kent Roach has observed: “Unfortunately, a few token additions [of far-right organizations] to long lists of proscribed groups does nothing to address the many due process and operational flaws of proscription.”[iii]

Indeed, nine more groups identified as “Islamist” were added as terrorist entities at the same time as the Proud Boys and others. This perpetuates the discriminatorily Muslim-centric focus of Canadian anti-terrorism in general,[iv] and the listing procedure in particular,[v] despite the far greater toll inflicted by White supremacist and right-wing actors within Canada.[vi] The listing of organizations like the Proud Boys alongside Palestinian and Kashmiri groups – as well as charities like IRFAN, proscribed for donating medical equipment to the Gaza Strip[vii] – conflates groups originating under or responding to long-term military occupation,[viii] with White supremacists and neo-Nazis, all under the rubric of a broad and inconsistent concept of “terrorism.”[ix]

Moreover, given repeated revelations about the use of anti-terrorism surveillance tools against Indigenous land and water protectors and rights advocates,[x] we are profoundly concerned about the possibility of future listings being deployed to target Indigenous nations defending their sovereign, constitutional, and international rights.

The systemic racism pervasive in Canadian national security institutions has been documented by, inter alia: the 2006 O’Connor Inquiry (regarding the torture of Maher Arar);[xi] the 2008 Iacobucci Inquiry (regarding the torture of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati, and Muayyed Nureddin);[xii] the 2016 BC Supreme Court decision in R v Nuttall (detailing the entrapment of two Muslim individuals struggling with mental illness);[xiii] the 2020 report of the National Security Transparency Advisory Group;[xiv] the consistent findings of United Nations human rights bodies (including their condemnation of Canada’s complicity in torture and the use of security certificates);[xv] and multiple lawsuits against CSIS alleging severe racial discrimination and harassment against Muslim and racialized employees.[xvi] In 2011, the Canadian Human Rights Commission called on national security agencies to collect and analyze race-disaggregated data about their practices[xvii] – a basic transparency measure that remains unimplemented.

And so, instead of expanding anti-terrorism in the name of anti-racism, we urge you to address the pressing concerns raised repeatedly by civil liberties and anti-racism organizations[xviii] about the anti-terrorism apparatus itself.

Sincerely,

Azeezah Kanji
Legal academic and journalist

Tim McSorley
National Coordinator
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

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Expanding and entrenching problematic anti-terrorism laws is the wrong approach in the urgent fight against white supremacist and hate-based violence

Feb. 3, 2021, OTTAWA – The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) recognizes the pressing need to address the threat of white supremacist and hate-based violence in Canada, and supports the urgent call from civil society groups across Canada for the government to take concrete action to address this threat.

While today’s announcement from the federal government listing four new white supremacist and hate-based groups sends a signal that they are taking the threat more seriously, we strongly believe that the government’s decision today to expand and entrench the use of laws like the Terrorist Entities List is the wrong approach and could ultimately cause more harm to the pursuit of safety and security, and ending hate and violence in Canada. We must also note that nine other organizations were added, bringing the total on the list to 73 organizations.

“We cannot hope to achieve a more just, safe, and equitable society by using discretionary laws that have time and again been shown to not just undermine the fundamental rights of people in Canada, but have also perpetuated the xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist tropes of the so-called ‘War on Terror,’” said ICLMG National Coordinator Tim McSorley.

The Terrorist Entities List is a rights-violating and politicized process that allows for decisions to be made behind closed doors, based on secret information that does not need to meet the legal standard of evidence, and which can be withheld from the listed entity on vague grounds of “injuring national security.” Such secrecy undermines the justice system and prevents the accused of mounting a proper legal defense.

Moreover, the discretionary nature of which organizations are added to the list is highly problematic, and has resulted in the list perpetuating the harmful myth that terrorism and violence are primarily associated with non-white, non-western and non-Christian communities. This is despite the fact that there has been a documented rise in white supremacist violence worldwide.

The answer instead lies in the calls that have gone out from civil liberties, anti-racist and legal experts since 2001: there are tools in Canada’s criminal code that can be used to protect our safety and address organized violence without needing to resort to anti-terrorism laws which undermine due process and violate our rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We are deeply concerned that future Canadian governments could easily take advantage of a growing acceptance of the Terrorist Entities List to add those fighting for justice – but against their political interests – to the list, including Indigenous and environmental organizations, or those fighting for racial justice,” said McSorley. “And we would be left without credibility to challenge them.”

There are other options on the table, including strong proposals to use and improve upon existing criminal code provisions and anti-hate legislation, without recourse to anti-terrorism laws.

The coalition is therefore urging the government to combat white supremacist and hate-based violence by focusing on laws and regulations that increase the security of people in Canada all while protecting their rights, and disavowing the use of anti-terrorism laws such as the Terrorist Entities List.

The ICLMG is also reiterating its long-standing call that the federal government end the use of the Terrorist Entities List entirely, in favour of other measures that prohibit criminal activity, criminal organizations and violent crimes.

About the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG)
The ICLMG is a national coalition of Canadian civil society organizations that was established after the adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 in order to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror.” The coalition brings together 45 NGOs, unions, professional associations, faith groups, environmental organizations, human rights and civil liberties advocates, as well as groups representing immigrant and refugee communities in Canada.

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!
make-a-donation-button

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