SFSC Video: Singing the Praises of the ‘Anti-Terrorist’ Bill C-51

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Why Seriously Free Speech?

Over the last decade more and more people have started questioning the policies and actions of the State of Israel. In response, some of Israel’s supporters have increasingly tried to suppress open political debate of Palestine/Israel. This campaign to vilify, intimidate and harass Israel’s critics has intensified since December 2009 when live video showed Israel’s treatment of Palestinians during its military assault on Gaza.

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SFSC Event Sept 24: Big Brother is Watching – A discussion of Bills C51 & C24

Thursday September 24, 5:30pm-7pm
Rm 7000 SFU Downtown, 515 West Hastings St, Vancouver

Big Brother is Watching Continue reading

SFSC Article: Bill C51 – Zero Tolerance for Criticism of Israel

fearMany Canadians are aware of the Harper government’s big fear agenda in this federal election. Bill C-51’s threats to the fundamental rights and liberties of Canadian citizens have been highlighted by judges, present and former MPs, lawyers, academics, unions, environmental groups, First Nations, civil libertarians, business leaders, and mainstream media.

Less well-known, but equally frightening, are the Conservative’s actions to be “Israel’s best friend” no matter what it does. That includes suppressing Canadians who criticize Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and those who support non-violent efforts – such as boycotts – to end the occupation. Continue reading

Vancouver Sun: Award-winning library director calls terrorism bill this generation’s ‘most repressive’ legislation

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

Brian Campbell, former director of the Vancouver Public Library, has been named recipient of 2015 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada from the Canadian Library Association.

The retired 71-year-old former systems and planning director has defended free speech and promoted free and equal access to information both inside and outside of libraries throughout his career.

During Campbell’s 25-year B.C. library career, he played a leading role in library association campaigns against federal government plans to reduce statistics gathering programs, raise fees for government information, and eliminate the government depository program. He also chaired library committees that campaigned for passage of provincial freedom of information and protection of privacy laws.

In his acceptance speech on May 21, Campbell, who helped found and run Vancouver FreeNet (now Vancouver Community Network), described the Harper government’s anti-terrorism bill (C-51) as the “most repressive piece of legislation introduced in this generation.” He warned that libraries could be put at risk by the bill’s broad definition of terrorist. Continue reading

URGENT – The Lancet is under attack: Your support is needed!

From: Mads Gilbert

As you probably know, the attacks against the editor of The Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton and also against The Lancet, have continued unabated since July 2014.

And at this stage, it is becoming necessary to go public with a response to the latest complaint to Reed Elsevier (publishers-owners of The Lancet) which summarizes the issue beginning July, in defense of Richard and the Manduca letter publication in the Lancet during the onslaught on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 (“An open letter for the people of Gaza”), and asserting the importance of not stifling medical journal editors and debates.

Our response is now public, and we are soliciting supporting signatures.

Please go to the following website to read our response:

http://handsoffthelancet.com/ Continue reading

CBC: Bill C-51 – First Nation chief warns labour activists about jail time

RCMP spied on Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief Donny Morris during
2008 mining dispute
By Jody Porter, CBC News

A First Nation leader, who went to jail defending his community’s
traditional territory in northern Ontario, is warning other activists
about the risks of government spying posed by Bill C-51.

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief Donny Morris already has the
documents to show that the RCMP and government officials were spying on
his community during a mining dispute in 2008.

He filed an access to information request on Thursday to discover the
extent of the surveillance and called on other First Nations to do the same.

“Eventually if you’re categorized as a terrorist, you’re going to be
spending the rest of your life in prison and for myself, spending time
in jail for our action, I didn’t really appreciated that,” Morris told
CBC News. “It was humilating.” Continue reading

BCCLA: Freedom of expression and criticism of Israel

BC Civil Liberties Association

The BC Civil Liberties Association is deeply concerned about the effects on freedom of expression of recent changes to hate speech laws and the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation.

Section 318 of the Criminal Code prohibits advocating or promoting “genocide.” Genocide is defined as intending to destroy, in whole or in part, any “identifiable group” by killing members of the group or deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction. The “identifiable groups” covered by this provision were expanded in 2014 in the misnamed “cyber-bullying bill.” Identifiable groups now include sections of the public not only distinguishable by ethnic origin, but also by national origin.

Whatever other subjects the government intended to capture by expanding the hate speech laws to include “national origin,” it surely had a view to Israel, given that shortly after the passing of the Bill, the government issued an MOU with Israel in which it claims “that the selective targeting of Israel reflects the new face of anti-Semitism.” Continue reading

Globe and Mail: The government has not made its case for C-51

KENT ROACH and CRAIG FORCESE, The Globe and Mail

Kent Roach teaches at the University of Toronto law faculty and worked with both the Arar and Air India commissions. Craig Forcese is a law professor teaching national security law at the University of Ottawa and a participant in the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society. Their analysis of C-51 is at antiterrorlaw.ca.

We must exercise caution in judging the government’s amendments to its security law, C-51. We have received what appears to be the official government language. There is some good, some bad and much that remains ugly.

First the good: it is helpful that the proposed changes will now exclude from the national security information sharing regime protests of all sort, and not just protest complying with each and every regulatory law. The amendments will also temper language that might have authorized further sharing of information to “anyone”, including in disregard of security caveats attached to that information.

But in all other respects the government has disregarded warnings of the Privacy Commissioner (and many others) about the reach and potentially ungovernable nature of this vast privacy-limiting power. Downstream sharing can still take place so long as it is “in accordance with law”, which include many exceptions to privacy. Continue reading

Huffington Post: CSIS Records On Northern Gateway Pipeline Show Spies Went Too Far says BCCLA

Huffington Post – A civil liberties group says newly disclosed Canadian Security Intelligence Service records on protest surveillance bolster its formal complaint that spies went too far in eyeing environmental activists.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has asked the Security Intelligence Review Committee to consider the documents — which reveal CSIS deliberations on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline — as it investigates the spying allegations.

The association filed a complaint with the review committee in February 2014 after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider opposition to the petroleum industry a threat to national security.

The complaint also cited reports that CSIS had shared information with the National Energy Board about “radicalized environmentalist” groups seeking to participate in the board’s hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, which would see Alberta crude flow to westward to Kitimat, B.C.

The groups included Leadnow, ForestEthics Advocacy Association, the Council of Canadians, the Dogwood Initiative, EcoSociety, the Sierra Club of British Columbia, and the aboriginal rights movement Idle No More.

The civil liberties association said it expected the investigation to address why CSIS monitors the groups, the length of time it has been doing so, and the authority or law allowing such surveillance.

The association also wants to know why the spy service has shared intelligence with the petroleum industry, as well as copies of any notes, transcripts or recordings it has made available. Continue reading

SFSC at Just Film Fest

IMG_20150322_130801SFSC had table at the Just Film Festival at Langara College last weekend (both Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd) and sponsored two films: “The Koch Brothers” on Saturday at noon, and “Vessel” (about abortion rights) Sunday at 1:30.

Films on Palestine/Israel at the festival included: The People and The Olive, Al Helm: MLK in Palestine and The Lab

Lots of people dropped by the table to see our leaflets and books.